This article contains spoilers for “The Book of Boba Fett” and “The Mandalorian.”
Disney’s latest live-action “Star Wars” venture, “The Book of Boba Fett,” saw its first season come to a close as the finale aired on Wednesday, Feb. 9. The show, created by Jon Favreau, premiered on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021, with episodes airing weekly on Disney+.
The show, a spin-off from “The Mandalorian,” follows the titular Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) as he attempts to take over what remains of the crime world on Tatooine. Morrison reprised the role of Boba Fett from his appearances in “The Mandalorian,” which saw its long-awaited return to the “Star Wars” universe. Morrison previously played bounty hunter Jango Fett (who raised Boba, an unaltered clone of Jango, as his son), along with the clone troopers, who shared Jango’s face, in “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones” (2002) and “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith” (2005). Boba Fett was originally portrayed by Jeremy Bulloch in “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back” (1980) and “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi” (1983), with voice actor Jason Wingreen voicing Boba the character in “The Empire Strikes Back.”
Continuing from the season 2 post-credits scene of “The Mandalorian,” which saw Boba killing Bib Fortuna and taking Jabba the Hutt’s old throne, “The Book of Boba Fett” opens with Boba teaming up with mercenary Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), who also returns from “The Mandalorian.” Though she was believed to have been fatally shot in the first season, the show later revealed that Fennec was rescued by Boba and restored with cybernetic technology. Much of the first half of the season sees Boba and Fennec settling into their new home in Jabba’s old palace as they take over the crime lord’s former territory.
The show intersperses this storyline with flashback scenes of Boba’s escape from the Sarlaac pit, the site of his presumed death in “Return of the Jedi,” and his newfound life with a tribe of Tusken Raiders, a nomadic race that lives on the planet of Tatooine. Like “The Mandalorian,” “The Book of Boba Fett” does much to provide another perspective on the Tuskens, showing what life in the tribe is like when hostilities are not involved. The prequel trilogy and other pieces of “Star Wars” media have typically depicted the Tuskens as dangerous and antagonistic, with Anakin Skywalker slaughtering an entire Tusken tribe in “Revenge of the Sith” after they kidnapped his mother.
However, in the two live-action series, the Tuskens’ culture is brought to the forefront. While the Tusken tribe first takes Boba as a prisoner, he eventually earns their trust and respect after he saves a young Tusken, and the tribe initiates him as one of their own. This perspective is a welcome chance for viewers to learn more about a group that has, in the past, only been shown as threatening and savage.
Back in the present-day, Boba and Fennec run into problems with the Pyke Syndicate, a criminal group who first appeared in the animated series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” (2008–2020) and is renowned in “Star Wars” for controlling much of the trade in spice, the universe’s fictional drug. In addition to his partnership with Fennec, Boba finds additional allies on Tatooine, including a Wookie named Krrsantan (Carey Jones) and the “Mods,” a group of young cyborgs from Mos Espa led by Drash (Sophie Thatcher) and Skad (Jordan Bolger).
While the first half of “The Book of Boba Fett” certainly provided interesting additions to the “Star Wars” universe, the show only really begins to gain traction with “Chapter 5: Return of the Mandalorian.” As the title of the episode suggests, Din Djarin, aka The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal), reappears in the middle of the search for a bounty, this time wielding the Darksaber that he won in battle at the end of the second season of “The Mandalorian.” Din reunites with the Armorer (Emily Swallow), though only briefly, to construct a chainmail beskar shirt for his young companion Grogu, and is warned that he has broken their creed’s code by removing his helmet and showing his face, as seen in “The Mandalorian.”
Though Grogu is conspicuously absent from Din’s side throughout this episode, it doesn’t take long for the youngling to reappear. “Chapter 6: From the Desert Comes a Stranger” sees the return of both Luke Skywalker (credited to Mark Hamill, though Luke’s appearance was created through a complex combination of a body double, a motion capture facial performance from Hamill himself, a digitally de-aged recreation of Hamill’s face, and an AI recreation of Hamill’s younger voice) and Grogu after the season 2 finale of “The Mandalorian,” in which Luke saved Din, Grogu, and their companions from an imperial cruiser.
The visual effects used to create this version of Luke have improved from “The Mandalorian,” with Hamill’s likeness looking more believable than before. It is always a delight to see Luke Skywalker in action, and his presence in “The Book of Boba Fett” is another opportunity to explore what the Jedi was up to in the decades between the events of “Return of the Jedi” and “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens” (2015).
This sixth episode of “The Book of Boba Fett” finds Luke training Grogu on a forest-covered planet, with the beginnings of Luke’s planned Jedi Academy taking shape in the background. Sadly, Din and Luke do not interact, with the Mandalorian watching the two training from afar. Din soon left after being cautioned by Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) of the consequences that Grogu’s attachment to him could have. While this felt like a missed moment for the show, the difficulties that Din clearly still faces while wielding the Darksaber in battle could lend themselves easily to a fresh plot line in the third season of “The Mandalorian.”
As Din leaves Grogu and Luke and returns to Tatooine to help Boba in his battle against the Pykes, the rest of the penultimate episode continues to build on long-beloved characters. This includes bringing the infamous bounty hunter Cad Bane (voiced by Corey Burton, physically portrayed by Dorian Kingi) to live-action for the first time after previous appearances in the animated series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and “Star Wars: The Bad Batch” (2021–present). Bane faces off against marshal Cobb Vanth (Timothy Olyphant) of Freetown (formerly called Mos Pelgo but renamed by the town’s residents in “The Book of Boba Fett”) after Din had briefly stopped by to ask Vanth for help fighting off the Pykes. Though Olyphant is as charming as Vanth as he was in “The Mandalorian,” he only gets a few minutes on screen before Bane, now employed by the Pykes, engages in a dramatic shootout with the marshal that leaves Vanth unconscious and possibly dead.
In a culmination of the events of season 1, the show’s finale, “Chapter 7: In the Name of Honor,” sees the fight between Boba and the Pyke Syndicate come to a head in the streets of Mos Espa. The two separate stories that the series had been building finally meet as Boba and Din are left to defend the city against the Pykes and Bane. “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” depicted the relationship between Bane and Boba when the latter was still a child, and “The Book of Boba Fett” pits the former bounty hunter against his old mentor in a fatal one-on-one duel. Just when Bane thinks he has the upper hand, Boba uses his Tusken gaffi stick to stab him, leaving Bane for dead.
Of course, Disney couldn’t let the season end without reuniting Din and his adopted son. Grogu returns to Din’s arms once again after he arrives on Tatooine in Luke’s X-wing and is taken to Din by Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris). This moment follows an ultimatum presented by Luke to Grogu at the end of “Chapter 6” between continuing to train with Luke as a Jedi or returning to Din. This seems like an out-of-character move for Luke, who believed that the light side remained in his father (Darth Vader) until the very end. The reasoning for this, though, might just be believable if Luke shows up once again in season three of “The Mandalorian” to explain himself.
Though it takes a rancor, the people of Freetown, and Grogu’s use of the Force, Boba and his allies eventually succeed in defeating the Pykes. The season comes to a close with Boba and Fennec being thanked by the residents of Mos Espa while Din and Grogu leave Tatooine in the Mandalorian’s new Naboo starfighter. The post-credits scene reveals that Vanth is still alive and healing in Boba’s bacta tank, surely setting up Olyphant’s return in an even bigger role.
A series like this would not have succeeded without a strong lead, and Morrison fulfills that role fairly well. Though he may not deliver as captivating a performance as Pascal does as the star of “The Mandalorian,” Morrison does what he can with the screen time that he is given. Considering that the show is named after Morrison’s character, viewers might be surprised by how limited Boba’s role becomes toward the end.
In this vein, the most disappointing thing about “The Book of Boba Fett” was that the show’s strongest episodes were those that did not center on the titular character, but instead on Din Djarin. At times, Din’s significance in the show makes it impossible not to see this first season of “The Book of Boba Fett” as the third season of “The Mandalorian.” Though it was delightful to see Pascal playing Din once again, it was hard not to wish that Favreau had spent more time developing Boba as a figure of his own after the fall of the Galactic Empire.
Despite this, Boba remains an iconic character in the “Star Wars” franchise. Morrison, who was born in New Zealand and is of Māori descent, has also spoken about what it means to be an actor from an Indigenous background playing a major role in the “Star Wars” universe, and how “The Book of Boba Fett” allowed him to incorporate his heritage into the role, particularly by bringing traditional Māori dance and weapon skills to the show’s portrayal of the Tusken culture.
As the first Asian actress to portray a major “Star Wars” villain or antihero, Wen’s role is also particularly important in terms of the strides being made for representation within the “Star Wars” universe. For a franchise that has historically lacked Asian characters, Wen stands out for her portrayal of Fennec as a powerful and commanding presence on screen. Fennec makes it clear that she can hold her own against both Boba and the various adversaries the two face, and while it would also have been great to see more of Fennec’s personality developed alongside her relationship with Boba, these casting choices still seem like breakthroughs for fans of color.
The welcome reception that Wen has received as Fennec Shand also stands in sharp contrast to the treatment that Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran), who was introduced in the sequel trilogy, received. Tran faced immense online backlash, mainly centered in sexist and racist critiques of her performance; her character was also sidelined after her debut in “Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi” (2017), and was given much less screen time in “Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker” (2019). It is crucial that “Star Wars” continues to allow and push for characters of color to appear in major roles, and that the franchise supports those actors so that Tran’s experience is never repeated.
With the third season of “The Mandalorian” expected to be released around late 2022, Disney will surely bring Boba Fett back to the screen soon, seeing how intertwined the two shows have been so far. However, with any luck, we’ll see Morrison reprising other “Star Wars” roles as well: one such chance could be if the live-action “Obi-Wan Kenobi” series, which is set to premiere on Wednesday, May 25, brings back clone troopers like Commander Cody.
Though “The Book of Boba Fett” struggled at times to make sense of its plot and balance Din Djarin’s place in the story, its first season ultimately created its greatest moments through the return of iconic “Star Wars” characters. If Disney decides to renew the show for another season, though, Favreau will need to ensure that the character of Boba Fett is given the space to carry the series on his own.
Jiyu Shin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.