Like any fan of the famed bounty hunter Boba Fett, I was instantly intrigued at the prospect of seeing the character in his own live-action TV show. His appearance on The Mandalorian only increased my excitement with actor Temuera Morrison supplying the role a certain amount of depth I hadn’t anticipated.
For me, Boba was merely a simple man making his way through the universe. Not a hero, or villain. Rather, a conductor of business who remained impartial to the grander war brewing about his person.
Kinda like Mando.
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Which is why my reaction to the first two episodes of Disney+’s The Book of Boba Fett has mostly consisted of the “Ehhhh” variety. Despite a few action sequences, notably Episode 2’s big train heist, and a couple of nifty stare-downs in the streets of Tatooine, The Book of Boba Fett has mostly offered up a slow-burning character study that is equal parts frustrating and fascinating.
Part of me wants to see, well, what I wanted in the first place: a badass series about everyone’s favorite badass bounty hunter doing badass things across the galaxy. The other part of me is intrigued by this carefully constructed, meandering, Dances with Wolves-styled western-in-space that has repurposed Boba’s character from a one-dimensional action figure into something more … human?
Oh sure, he’s still the badass warrior we all dreamed about during our childhoods — the bit in Episode 2 where he takes out a biker gang in a remote bar is pretty awesome — but there’s a rather alluring character lurking beneath the iconic mask, a man of flesh and blood at the tail end of his career who has stumbled into a life he probably doesn’t deserve and must now fight to protect.
At least, that’s where I think the story is going. Something along the lines of, “Boba yearns to transform Jabba the Hutt’s once unruly kingdom into an actual, legitimate business empire, and must confront and occasionally kill former friends and foes to preserve this newfound existence.” Sounds pretty great, especially if victims from the old days show up seeking revenge — à la David Cronenberg’s 2005 drama, A History of Violence — leaving audiences to question whether Boba’s past sins warrant forgiveness, much less the peace he seeks.
Assuming that’s the direction the show is headed then I can forgive Episodes 1 and 2 for their drawn-out bits of Boba living amongst and learning to love the Sand People — who are no longer evil desert monsters easily startled by dragon sounds, but, rather, peaceful tribesmen who listen to the wind and partake in violence only when absolutely necessary. (Really.)
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Ditto with Tatooine, a location I’m absolutely done with, but will patiently abide, assuming the decaying junk heap that is Mos Espa beckons complex villains and heroes from all corners of the galaxy for Boba to mingle with and occasionally fight.
In other words, I’m going to practice a little patience here. Thus far, The Book of Boba Fett hasn’t lived up to my expectations, but it has laid the groundwork for an exciting, even complex character drama, which is why I’m going to reserve judgment for the time being and assume Jon Favreau has some explosive tricks up his sleeve and just needed a little time to light the fuse.
Then again, a few more hours with the Sand People, or poorly rendered, four-armed desert monsters, and I may just pack it in and wait for the next Star Wars series to kick-off, and (sigh) pray for the best — in which case, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you might be my only hope.