'The Book Of Boba Fett's Biggest Problem Is 'The Mandalorian'
We’re more than halfway through the first season The Book of Boba Fett, and the titular anti-hero has yet to even crack open so much as a Danielle Steel paperback. And there are other reasons to be disappointed too. While the show has inarguably given us some thrilling setpieces (and assuaged our 38-year-old concerns about the safety of Max Rebo) some people are straight-up claiming that the show has literally ruined Boba Fett, a character who used to regularly shake his butt to top 40 hits in order to satiate throngs of weirdly horny theme park guests.
Still, these critics have a point; Star Wars’ mysterious, cold-blooded assassin with the badass helmet is now an often-helmetless, generally pretty friendly dude who’s more likely to snuggle with a Bantha than shoot someone in the back. For so long, we’ve only thought of Boba Fett as a bounty hunter, but the entirety of this series concerns his obsession with taking over the criminal enterprise he once worked for, on a planet that we’ve always understood to be the depressing space suburb of the Star Wars galaxy. It’s a little like if the coolest kid from your high school returned to town with a fervent passion for becoming the new principal.
Granted, we never really knew all that much about Boba Fett to begin with. In the movies, he was basically just a blank slate for us to project all of our collective imagined awesomeness onto. He was a sci-fi version of Spaghetti Western-era Clint Eastwood. But this show isn’t about a cowboy-esque loner wandering into town; it’s about someone putting down roots and trying to run the town. And the reason why the Boba Fett show is so divergent from what we expect from the character seems pretty clear – and it rhymes with “Schplandalorian.”
You would think that a Boba Fett TV show would find him going from planet to planet, taking job to job, roughing up scoundrels, and, only occasionally, taking his helmet off. But that’s already the premise of The Mandalorian. It doesn’t seem like a coincidence that soon after Lucasfilm canceled plans for a Boba Fett movie, they greenlit a streaming show about a dude who looks just like Boba Fett and who just so happens to have the same exact job as his franchise doppelganger. The Mandalorian was a way of making a Boba Fett show but divorced from the baggage of any established continuity.
So after reviving Boba Fett, clearly, they had to find something different for the character to do. It's kind of like if someone made a gritty reboot of Johnny English in which he drinks martinis and battles SPECTRE, but then they got the rights to James Bond. They’d have to then come up with an entirely new project for Bond, like maybe he inherits a haunted hotel from his great uncle or something.
It’s not that Star Wars characters can’t or shouldn’t evolve. The Book of Boba Fett even gives us very good reasons for Boba Fett’s transformation: he has a near-death experience in the Sarlacc Pit and forms an unprecedented bond with a group of Tusken Raiders. He isn’t the same person that he was in The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and, to a lesser extent, The Star Wars Holiday Special – now he wants a “tribe,” a family like the one he lost when his dad was decapitated by Jedi Master Samuel L. Jackson.
But there are a few problems with this; most importantly, the show never actually showed us who Boba Fett was as a character before this change, forcing audiences to rely on the paltry six minutes of screentime he had in the original trilogy. And also, this is almost the exact same arc as Din Djarin in The Mandalorian. He, too, is an orphan who becomes a rugged bounty hunter, who then evolves emotionally after bonding with an alien and forming a makeshift family.
The big issue with The Book of Boba Fett isn’t that it’s ruining Boba Fett; it’s that they already made a Boba Fett show with some other guy while he was stuck in the belly of a sand monster.
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Top Image: Lucasfilm