“Jabba ruled with fear. I intend to rule with respect.”
Star Wars has always been known for its galaxy of infamous character designs. None may be more iconic than that of the bounty hunter Boba Fett. Debuting in the 1978 holiday special, the character went on to achieve incredible fan recognition in his appearances in both 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back and 1983’s Return of the Jedi. The mysterious, nearly silent warrior captivated audiences with iconic lines and a haunting helmet and armor. Boba Fett would go on to appear in countless other films, television series, books, comics, video games, and more. Now, after 43 years, the character has a series of his own. This is The Book of Boba Fett.
Throughout his rich history in both Star Wars canon and legends, the death of Boba Fett in Return of the Jedi at the hand of the Sarlacc has always been a point of contention amongst the fandom. How could a character of such status and expertise be killed so easily? In legends, it was always established that Boba had survived, but since Disney purchased the rights to the franchise in 2013 and established a new canon, his fate was much more unknown. Teases here and there across publishing and television led fans to speculate that Boba may have survived, culminating in the character’s triumphant return in The Mandalorian Season 2 last year.
This first episode picks up where we left off in the post-credits scene of the aforementioned Mandalorian, with Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) claiming the throne of his former employer Jabba the Hutt. Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) assassin and majordomo to Fett, also returns. The first episode serves primarily as set-up and exposition, re-introducing the audience to the world of the Star Wars underground. The story weaves flashbacks with “modern-day” sequences, showcasing Fett’s escape from the Sarlacc and his capture by the Sand People of Tatooine as well as his newfound life as a crime lord.
The strengths of this episode lie in its storytelling and performance. Temuera Morrison has really come into the role of Boba Fett after portraying his father Jango in 2002’s Attack of the Clones. While Morrison has done voice work for Fett for some time, he is fairly new to portraying the character in live-action, especially helmetless. His stoic, yet powerful presence on screen truly helps sell the motivations and actions of the character. Ming-Na Wen also shines as a seasoned performer bringing her own spin on Star Wars. Other performances that stand out are those of the Tusken Raiders, whose performance is limited to movement and sound design. Creatively, the team was able to convey a great amount of emotion using unintelligible dialogue.
This new series reunites the creative team from The Mandalorian, with Robert Rodriguez returning to direct the first episode as well as serving as Executive Producer alongside Dave Filoni (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and Jon Favreau (The Lion King), who also wrote the episode. Ludwig Göransson also returns to compose the score. Their influence absolutely shows, and this series feels very much like a sibling to its predecessor.
Where I feel the episode can falter is in its technical elements and execution. The use of virtual production has been both a blessing and a curse to the world of Star Wars television. While lighting and performance capabilities can be enhanced, production design and cinematography falter. A lack of physical, tangible production design set pieces in the desert scenes create a real lack of immersion, disconnecting the viewer. Scenes in the streets of Mos Espa and within the palace that use physical sets look considerably better.
Ultimately, this first episode of The Book of Boba Fett has me intrigued but not invested. There are wonderful glimpses of character development for Fett in this episode, namely in the opening scene, that I hope to see explored further throughout the next six episodes.
What did you think of the premiere of The Book of Boba Fett? Where do you think the show goes from here? Let us know in the comments below and on our social media pages!