The Book Of Boba Fett Picked The Wrong Protagonist

The big surprise at the conclusion of The Mandalorian’s second season was the announcement of The Book Of Boba Fett. From a marketing perspective, this should’ve been a slam dunk. So why did this spinoff become a backdoor pilot for the show it already spun off of? Let’s close the book on Boba with SPOILERS! It’s either that or more hot takes on the Batman & his coterie of foes! Fett is Firefly. He’s certainly no Penguin!

Joe Johnston designed Boba Fett. He wasn’t invited to direct any episodes of TBOBF. That’s kind of surprising considering Captain America & The Rocketeer. Robert Rodriguez (he also voices Mos Espa’s Mayor, Mok Shaiz of Momaw Nadon’s species), Steph Green, Kevin Tancharoen, Bryce Dallas Howard, & Dave Filoni rotated instead. Disney+ stopped doing the same bastard thing as Netflix where they shrink the credits at the end to try to make you watch something else immediately!

Due partly to his minimal screentime, Boba Fett may be the most polarizing Star Wars character. Some fans revere him as a hypercompetent badass, which was reinforced by expanded universe tales that Disney considers non-canonical. Others view him as an overrated screw-up based on his embarrassing defeat at the start of Return Of The Jedi. Now that he’s been given a starring role, Boba doesn’t live up to either expectation. They don’t even blend the two extremes into a compelling protagonist. This characterization is a disservice to Temuera Morrison.

Here’s what Boba Fett was up to betwixt ROTJ & The Mandalorian. TBOBF confirms what the EU had long said of Boba’s Sarlacc survival. He used his armor’s armaments to burn his way out. The first episode also shows Imperial Stormtrooper helmets had their own air supply, a useful feature that’d be phased out in First Order Stormtroopers. After Jawas strip him of his gear, he’s captured by Tusken Raiders in black robes rather than ecru. (Will I be able to resist buying these eventual Black Series variants?) I’m really glad they kept Dengar out of this version of events. Tusken Raiders & Jawas are the only space mummies Star Wars needs! He wins their respect by saving a Tusken youngling & its lizard doggo by going Hutt-Slayer Leia on a Sand Kraken without having seen her perform this maneuver.

BobaFett_Kraken

Have you unleashed your Kraken today? Let the record show R2-D2 isn’t as cool as Bubo!

It’s lovely that the D+ series continue to expand Tusken culture. I’d watch a whole show about them if it was subtitled or had amusingly incongruous dubbing. After making his own gaffi stick, Boba proudly teaches them how to ride swoops to raid a spice train. This is Boba at his most competent yet not unbelievably so. Morison is most engaging in these scenes that borrow from A Man Called Horse, Lawrence Of Arabia, & Dances With Wolves.

Massiff lizard dogs are cute. Their history of being replaced by orrays on Genosis & replacing faybos on Tatooine is interesting. Bantha are Snuffaluffagus with horns instead of trunks. Boba is befuddled by hallucinogenic gecko.

Each episode I live in fear that the Tuskens will unwrap their faces instead of just being born looking that way. Then they got slaughtered & cremated at the top of episode three, so I guess that solves that anxiety. They still insist Jawas are very furry despite looking like smaller space mummies, which makes me wonder if they’re a secretly subspecies of Ewok adapted to desert life. Pelli dated one.

It turns out Boba didn’t have expertise in installing robot guts into the mortally wounded. He had to bring Fennec Shand to a professional for that procedure. She continues to hang out with him even after she repays her life-debt for unclear reasons. Fennec’s jaded wit makes her more compelling than the flatly noble titular star. Her cunning & superior displays of skill make it look like she ought to be Boba’s boss too.

Boba’s refurbished armor atop black Tusken robes looks so flat compared to his earlier outfits. It’s missing the feel of personal customization that made him such a standout bit player. Ironically Hasbro is charging deluxe prices for this edition despite it having fewer paint apps & accessories. Hasbro is riding the bag of chips strategy all the way to the bank.

Shand sadly kills the Chef Louie droid before a knife fight, so Boba vs. ratcatcher droid is the meatier The Little Mermaid homage. Slave-1 won’t be called that anymore. Apparently it’s a Firespray-31 class spaceship. I just presumed it was a completely bespoke vehicle. Maybe they are renaming it Firespray?

Boba forgot Jawas took his armor, so he almost gets himself & Fennec killed looking for it in The Sarlacc Pit. This is most reminiscent of the portrayal of Boba as an idiot. It’s up to Fenec to save their bacon by bombing The Sarlacc.

Why did Boba say Bib betrayed him? The Nikto biker gang that supposedly massacred the Tusken tribe was in his employ. He leaves none alive to interrogate. (The Pyke Syndicate shrewdly framed the bikers so they’d no longer need to pay protection money.) Bib Fortuna didn’t know, however, that Fett had survived The Pit until he was shot. He didn’t even have any outstanding business with the bounty hunter.

Boba needs the Muppets back! Where is the rest of Jabba’s criminal organization? Boba thinks he can run all the crime with just Fennec, 8D8, & a pair of Gamorreans. (Matt Berry voices the 8D8 torture droid that never gets to torture anyone. Its EV-9D9 compatriot seen bar tending the Mos Eisley Cantina was voiced by fellow vampire Mark Hamill.) He keeps saying that he’ll run the business with “respect,” but does he actually know what it entails? Respect is probably a good work ethos, but a show of strength & competency would be more useful with getting everyone in line for the new management. Is Boba not doing anything morally gray because Disney is trying to position him as an unambiguous hero? (This reminds me of the end of Luke Cage’s second season. It’s not as big a come down as Loki because Fett was never that impressive a villain to begin with.) Water baron Stephen Root is the first constituent to tell him nobody respects him.

Tatooine is played out. Star Wars should do stories set on Arrakis instead! Weasel got a new gig! Mean Disney made him wear clothes in the desert heat. Is famous jizz wailer Droopy McCool supposed to look phallic?

Twi’lek males all being grody politicians while the females are sexy prostitutes is humongous patriarchal stereotype. Does this rent boy’s prosthetics imply he’s transgender? Or did they just forget their own alien species continuity?  Some fans are so starved for any transgender representation they’re desperate for any scraps. I’d prefer Disney & Lucasfilm do this purposefully rather than receiving accidental kudos. Mayor Mok Shaiz’s nameless majordomo, played by Lodge 49’s David Pasquesi, also looks less sexually dimorphic than this species is reputed to be. (AMC is making a FOURTH The Walking Dead series but can’t use any of that zombie money to finish Lodge 49?)

“So then Black Krrsantan shows up.”

“He’s from the comics!”

“He sure is, sir!”

“So does he do anything?”

“No.”

Salvador Larocca wasn’t credited (nor was Chuck Wendig for Cobb Vanth). Dreamy Black Krrsanta (Carey Jones) does try to assassinate Boba an episode later but is thwarted. He tears off a Trandoshan’s arm to show he’s cooler than Chewbacca before Boba hires him.

The day after trying to assassinate Boba, Jabba’s cousins (one uses a living rodent as a handkerchief) depart when they realize their claim isn’t recognized. Who actually decides what crimesters get which territories? They give Boba an adorable Rancor calf with Danny Trejo as its minder. (He & Stephen Root  now come as a package deal after MOTU Revelation.) Rancors like scritches!

Boba’s new cyborg gang with their vibrant chrome hover-Vespas are both rockers & mods. (They’re body modifiers, get it?) They’re led by Sophie Bathsheba Thatcher’s obligatory petite brunette, Drash. (Bo-Katan & Enfys Nest are the galaxy’s only gingers whilst Cindel is its lone blonde?) This Ewok enthusiast looks distractingly like Jyn Erso. Some fans complained their aesthetic wasn’t Star Wars, but expecting an entire galaxy to conform to one vision is myopic. The Force forbids they try adding some novelty! Zips used to be off limits. Oh, they mean zippers not hover-scooters.

Boba’s bacta tank flashbacks are the best part of his story. Unfortunately he flounders once he’s caught up to the present. Would Boba be a good kingpin of crime, or has he bitten off more than he can chew? Did nearly dying & embracing the Tusken culture make him weak or has it galvanized him to be a bigger bastard? How will his reforms impact the underworld ecosystem? Is being a crimester under The New Republic a losing game anyway? Just when it seems like it’ll start exploring these intriguing threads, it abruptly becomes The Book Of Din Djarin.

Just like Boba Fett upstaged him in season two, Din Djarin steals a whole episode from him. The eponymous anti-hero is completely absent from chapter five & merely cameos in six. Flipping protagonist wouldn’t be as jarring if Disney’s televisual output was just titled Star Wars: The TV Series instead of discrete programs. Their plots dovetail together more than the Beeboverse lately. It wouldn’t even be that confusing if this was just called The Mandalorian season three. They’d probably need a separate name for the upcoming Kenobi & Andor (Together they fight crime!) set between the prequels & original trilogy though.

“The Return Of The Mandalorian” was spoiled by the previous episode using his theme music at the end. (Did the closed captioning ruin the surprise for the hearing impaired also? I could check, but I’m probably not gonna.) Although he won the duel for The Darksaber, The Armorer excommunicates him from their shrinking Mandolorian culvert for admitting he doffed his helmet. I guess season three will have to change its title now. He gets a mithril beskar shirt made for Grogu first though. Apparently customizing Din’s new ride, unsuitable for bounty hunting despite child car seat, required a previously prominent prop. Surprisingly, this is the best episode of the series. Bryce Dallas Howard should direct more Star Wars & play someone in it too.

r2d2_DinDjarin

“Nice bench ya got here. Sure would be a shame if somebody were to nap on it.”

Although the CGI has been improved, youthened Luke Skywalker’s performance is more soulless. Why didn’t they just have Mark Hamill record new dialogue & remix it so he sounds younger? Was Disney too cheap to pay Hamill for dubbing, or did they insist on wasting more money to do it badly with Respeecher? If it’s already this stilted, the gulf of its uncanny valley is going to grow even huger soon unless they intend to periodically patch the streaming episodes with software updates. (ILM co-founder Robert Blalack died.) Replacing deceased actors with fully digital simulacra is terrible for the acting profession.

The saddest thing about foundlings they have no parents! Grogu should choose both the lightsaber & shirt! Only a Jedi believes in absolutes! He’d make an adorable Mandalorian. Why can’t the Yodaling return for more Jedi training after he outlives Din? Why can’t Din even visit his adopted son who’s older than him? The new Jedi order was doomed to fail when they denied this reunion. (You’d think Ashoka & Luke would know better.)

Din Djarin was developed into a sympathetic every-man, chiefly through him adopting the hungriest Yodaling. (Him having to fly commercial & check his weapons added to this.) They use the same shortcut by having Boba adopt Tuskens, Fennec, Gammorreans, Mods, Krrsantan, & a baby Rancor. It just makes him look derivative. It’d be more intriguing to finally follow a scoundrel who didn’t have a heart of gold.

Jennifer Beals didn’t know she doing this particular series. Is this like how the MCU is unnecessarily secretive with what its thespians are filming? Madam Garsa Fwip doesn’t perform a lekku flashdance. The Pyke Syndicate blows up her club. I was expecting her to be the secret mastermind trying to eject the upstart Fett from beneath an obliging veneer. Beals did a lot with a character that’s barely there. Why was Max Rebo conveniently absent during the explosion? (Although not seeing a body often implies a character didn’t die, it also doesn’t necessarily mean they survived in a scenario like this.)

Madam_Garsa_Fwip

It’s what we’re all thinking!

Fett agrees to ban the spice trade in exchange for Freetown’s underwhelming aid. Fennec points out this is a terrible loss for his business. SPICE MUST FLOW! Why does Fett want to be a crime lord if he doesn’t approve of crime? Why not just run for mayor so he can get bribes with plausible deniability?

Qi’ra welcomes you to the gun show! Fans speculated she’d be the secret Big Bad behind the Pykes. No, it’s just them, voiced by Phil LaMarr. So much for writer Jon Favreau redeeming Solo too.

Cad Bane is still voiced by Corey Burton. He shoots Cobb Vanth, the Seth Bullock of space. (The finale’s stinger shows this silver fox survived.) The crime families that had truces with Fett obviously turn on him. The nameless & shirtless Gamorreans are slain! Your new Wookie boyfriend is grievously injured! Kneepad rockets & meager reinforcements are of no use when two overkill war machines strut in. Luckily Fett finally does something both useful & badass by riding his Rancor to battle them. KAIJU FIGHT! He wins with an assist from Din & Grogu, heartwarmingly reunited after Grogu hijacked R2-D2’s X-Wing. Most series would let their stars do cool things periodically, whereas this only allows bookends. The result is Mos Espa gets utterly wrecked!

Fett loses a blaster duel to the condescending Cad, but is able to impale him with his gaffi stick. Grogu the Hemandalorian prevents the rogue Rancor from dying like King Kong. As the most competent player, Fennec easily assassinates the treacherous crimesters, the mayor, & Pyke Syndicate leader. The citizens of Mos Espa then feel obliged to salute Fett for destroying their town & local economy. Boba better be getting kickbacks from construction guilds.

The demythification of Boba Fett could be an interesting direction for the series. Him being unsuited to his grand ambition would be a great contrast to Din being up to the unwanted responsibility thrust upon him. Whenever we see cracks in Fett, however, the series quickly moves on to another plot point. It’s acknowledged so lightly it’s almost subtext. This could even make for a “crime doesn’t pay” tragedy, yet Disney is terrified of subverting expectations that much for a marketable character.

This series would’ve be stronger had it just focused on developing Boba through his life with the Tuskens. It just would’ve been very anticlimactic, unless it had been released between the first & second seasons on The Mandalorian. The crimester stuff really needs its own season to delve into. Two episodes focusing on Din wouldn’t have been so djarring if the season finale didn’t follow immediately after. It was a huge distraction just as the the main story was finally heating up.

My aimless review mirrors the show. Should this book have been remaindered? This isn’t terrible, but there’s a lot of missed opportunities. It never rises out of its superior predecessor’s shadow. The Book Of Boba Fett is scattershot but looks great, which is apt for its eponymous Mandalorian.

~

C-3PO & R2-D2 should’ve complained about each other’s corpse stink like The Hidden Fortress.

The most important class in stormtrooper school is Wilhelm screaming. Contrariwise nobody cares about missing marksmanship classes.

This should’ve made Darth Vader’s kids suspicious. Fraternal twins secretly being raised on separate planets is basically He-Man & She-Ra. Luke has the Prince Adam hair yet he was the one that got screwed out of being brought up as royalty.

Lucas ruined ROTJ! #RestoreTheYubNubCut

Ewoks vs. AT-ST statue designed by Gurihiru!

Episode III + Home Alone

Was Padme complicit in Anakin’s murders?

Unleashed Padme stretched out Natalie Portman’s porportions.

Marketing for HasLab’s $350 Rancor was been botched. Unlike the immensely successful Razor Crest, it actively lost backers he more unlocks were revealed. They tried adding Malakili the Rancor keeper to the base level as an after thought, & it still didn’t meet the minimum funding requirement. If they just offered the Rancor as a Pulse exclusive with no unlock tiers at $200, it would’ve gone over much better. Why didn’t they include its ears within the part of the head that’s jointed? Perhaps they’ll try again with the calf?

They’re finally making Life Day merch but no Black Series Ackmena & rat set?

Melinda May customs here we come!

Koska Reeves gets a removable helmet but not Axe Woves?

Are digital Star Wars trading cards just a step up from NFTs?

Now you can pretend you killed Chewbacca & turned him into a rug, just like you’ve always wanted!

The New York Times crossword puzzle was bipartisan, unless you prefer Stargate.

~

My Peacemaker review comes in peace next week! Do you wanna taste it?

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