The Book of Boba Fett: An Answer to the Question “Can It Get Worse?”
Star Wars is perhaps one of the most instantly recognizable franchises in all of fiction. Just the name alone brings a flood of unique and awe inspiring images to millions of fan’s minds, from Death Stars to lightsabers clashing to planets, varied and incredible. A story of destiny, hope and loss, failure and sacrifice, an opera set in the stars. And, quite frankly, it’s sucked to be a fan for a few years now. The Disney Star Wars era has been characterized by a slew of content that ranges from tolerably mediocre to destructive and insulting to the core tenants of the franchise, while managing to underutilize some of the greatest actors to ever be part of the saga as well as those returning, and failing to capitalize on possibilities of increased diversity and inclusion in a sci-fi universe perfect for it.
However, I moved on. I still had the originals and even the prequels to watch, not to mention multiple series. With the emergence of the Mandalorian, despite it being deeply flawed, I even found a bit of hope in what was to come. It had a large amount of problems, but it was fun, and at times made me truly feel the way Star Wars used to. The combat was usually great, and chief among the splendid action beats was the Boba Fett sequence in the show. It was stunning, epic, and unleashed a long beloved character and finally showed what he was capable of, taking apart storm troopers like the Star Wars equivalent of John Wick. So, despite my reservations, I found myself rather excited for The Book of Boba Fett, the first of multiple series promised after the Mandalorian. I was hoping for a simple action series; something easy to consume and easy to enjoy, even if it didn’t add anything particularly thoughtful to the world. And even in that, it managed to fall short of my expectations.
Despite the fact that my feelings have already begun to bleed through, I shall begin with the positives, as is my habit. I did enjoy the production quality of the series, although I didn’t really expect anything else from a series known for visuals being run by one of the richest corporations in media. The few action beats where characters are allowed to actually fight work well, either making use of Boba’s actor, Temeura Morrison and his physicality for more close quarters bits, and harkening back to the original inspiration of the series in old Western movies for some of the gunfighting scenes. And speaking of, Morrison is delightful in the moments when he is allowed to appear as the character he and the audience were promised, bringing the deadly bounty hunter to life with respect to the very first portrayal, mixed with his wonderful touches, both recognizing what has been past and making the role his own.
It is unfortunate that the last positive statement functions as a great segway into some of the many issues I found to be wrong with the series, and even worse that so many of them function as microcosms of issues that plague Disney Star Wars. But if Boba Fett’s portrayal when he’s allowed to be who we’ve gotten to know so far, is the high point, then everything else is the inverse of Morrison’s performance. The stories being told in this era insist on poorly rehashing what we’ve already seen. I remember when Tatooine was an exciting world, the birthplace of the Chosen One, and his son, who would become the greatest Jedi to ever live, a strange and mysterious planet among a multitude of others, reinforcing the fact that these stories are galaxy wide. But at this point, if the upcoming Star Wars media has any desert planet at all, I think I could actually cry. The sequel trilogy alone saw three different desert planets that look almost exactly the same, including Jakku, Rey’s home world, which is indicative of how much the Force Awakens is just a more poorly written New Hope. So why they chose to set the entirety of Boba Fett’s main plot on Tatooine I’m not sure I will ever understand. But on top of this, for the majority of the series, he’s hobbled. Keeping his helmet off, speaking at great length whereas he was previously characterized by his stoic silence and ability to strike fear with his presence alone. Morrison himself spoke at great length about this, stating that he’d requested multiple times for his lines to be given to some of his lackeys. With the systematic destruction of Boba Fett as a household name in terms of sheer cool factor comes the constant barrage of characters who we learn nothing about. I can say with certainty that every character introduced left no impression on me, no depth added to who they are or what they might want, how they might grow. And yet, there is still one final insult that stung more than any other, and it’s here I’ll mark a major spoiler for the series, right at the start of the next paragraph. If you wish to avoid that, and are going to watch for yourself, I wish you the best of luck, and for those of you reading on, I can’t hold back my nerd rage any longer.
I cannot believe they show us Luke Skywalker andadn in the most lackluster and underwhelming way humanly possible. Two characters hugely characterized by their connections to Anakin Skywalker, the Chosen One, Darth Vader, and the crux of most of the story, with Ashoka having been his only apprentice, and Luke, his son and eventual savior. Two characters who are among the most beloved from their respective runs of Star Wars, who could connect so deeply and so complexly, coming together because no one else in the galaxy is better suited to help them come to terms with Anakin’s memory. It is a scene that nearly writes itself. And yet, in an episode of a show about a completely different character, co-written by the very man who introduced Ashoka Tano and directed the Clone Wars, they speak one line to each other regarding Anakin, a passing remark about how Luke looks like his father. The resounding harm of that choice would take far too long for me to delve into, so I’ll conclude with the simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking observation that the vast majority of fan fiction writers who’ve been rehashing this scenario for roughly thirteen years have all handled the material better than its actual owners and creators did.