The Book Of Boba Fett premiered today on Disney+ and it is carrying a lot of weight on its shoulders. With the massive critical, fan and commercial success of The […]
The Book Of Boba Fett premiered today on Disney+ and it is carrying a lot of weight on its shoulders. With the massive critical, fan and commercial success of The Mandalorian, creator Jon Favreau and director Robert Rodriguez have to deliver on high expectations to a fan base that has been craving high quality content regarding one of the universe’s most beloved, mysterious and deadly characters. Into the story of Boba Fett we go.
Below are my thoughts on the opening episode, which is entitled, Stranger In A Strange Land.
It is important to remember the time frame of when The Book Of Boba Fett is happening. This story is taking place after season two of The Mandalorian and this section of the Star Wars saga is all sandwiched between Star Wars Episode VI: The Return Of The Jedi and Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.
We are opening up the series with Boba Fett in a healing tank (one that familiar to people who have seen other Star Wars properties). In this time we are getting the memories of times past for Boba.
There is a flashback to Kamino and young Boba Fett raising his father’s (Jango Fett) head after the battle on Geonosis.
Obviously the best part of these blasts from the past is how Boba escaped from the Sarlacc pit. We see Boba use are from a deceased storm troopers suit followed a quick Falcon punch and an ignition of his frame thrower. Boom, the bounty hunter is free and his legacy continues.
There is an overarching theme to Stranger In A Strange Land: Favreau and Rodriguez are on a mission to make Boba Fett appear human. They aim to humble us the viewers and take away the allure that Fett is always unstoppable.
First we see Fett laying helpless in the desert while Jawas are taking away his armor
We already saw that Fett needs to be in a healing sleeping chamber to recover and be himself, and this will be even more magnified when at the end of the episode after a skirmish, he is beaten up and needs to be bathed in the healing waters soon after.
We will be getting to this shortly, but Fett in the captivity of the Tusken Raiders; we see him chained and at the behest of a young Raider who treats he and another captive like pets. We see Fett beaten in a duel against another Raider after an attempt to escape.
This tactic of humanizing the hero of focal point of the story is not foreign to Favreau. He and Dave Filoni did the same thing with Mando in The Mandalorian.
This depiction as Boba Fett is very different that Rodriguez’s directorial effort in The Mandalorian season two, The Tragedy. In that episode, Boba Fett was like Rambo on steroids battle whipping, smashing and decimating storm troopers left and right. This is not the same Boba Fett, and that is good.
A secret to Star Wars success is exploring lore that fans are familiar with and don’t know they necessarily want. Again, that secret ingredient is mixed in here as we continue to see through Fett’s flashbacks while asleep. Following the Jawa’s taking his armor, Fett is captured by the Tusken Raiders and brought to their camp. The last time I recall being in a Tusken camp is when Anakin was slaying the Raiders out of rage and anguish with the death of his mother in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith. This time we get to see a bit of the hierarchy of the Tusken camp, and we get to see how respect is what they value and it is a lesson that Boba Fett learns.
There are no English words spoken in Stranger In A Strange Land until Boba Fett is attempting his escape from the Raiders. He speaks to his fellow captive and asks if he’d like his bonds freed. This is a deliberate choice to have Boba’s first words spoken be of a charitable variety.
The duel with the trained Tusken Raider in the dark desert is proof of humbling motif spilled throughout the episode. Also in this battle we see how the club of the Tusken Raiders can be used as a skilled weapon and not just a blunt instrument. Boba Fett shows this mastery in his fighting in The Tragedy, but here we see who he is going to learn it from.
At this point of the episode we get back to the present tense. Fennec wakes up Bobba Fett and lets her boss (her words, not mine) know that people have begun lining up to pay him tribute. In case you are not up on it at this point, Boba Fett is considered Lord Fett by many, he is leader of the criminal world in and around Mos Espa.
Fun fact: The Major of Mos Espa refuses to visit Fett to pay tribute to him. Mos Espa is the town where Qui-Gon and the rest arrived in and birthplace of Anakin Skywalker.
The rather dramatic suiting up of Boba Fett was wonderfully over-the-top. It is also a wonderful case of practical effects as well.
The only sticking point in the tribute giving process is when the delegate of the mayor comes to the alter…for it was supposed to be the mayor of Mos Espa himself paying homage. The back and forth between Fennec, Boba Fett and the delegate with witty while also foreboding. I think it is safe to say that this mayor will eventually pay a part in this story.
What a wonderful callback to The Return Of The Jedi! The green Gamorrean guards of Jabba The Hutt are back! Fennec doesn’t want to trust them, but Boba sees it as a good idea. These Gamorrean’s are loyal to a fault, seeing how they were held captive after they fought for their dead leader. I am just glad these horned manics are back in the picture.
Boba Fett is going to be a different type of criminal leader compared to Jabba The Hutt. For example, he steps foot outside of his palace. Fett and Fennec go to Mos Espa and visit Garsa Fwip, an owner of a profitable bar/casino type cantina. The same musicians that were is Mos Eisley in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope are now in Mos Espa, all be it playing a different tune.
Walking out of this cantina, we get Boba Fett saying the line that he is not going to rule how Jabba ruled. Jabba ruled with fear, but he will with respect.
The action in Stranger In A Strange Land springs from nowhere. The episode takes on a samurai and ninja vibe with assassins coming from the rooftops and surrounding Fett and Fennec. Their battle shields are proving difficult to deal with but eventually Fett, Fennec and the Gamorrean’s handle business. Fennec goes chasing after a pair of survivors from the ambush because Fett is beaten down. She captures one alive, which will be used later. Also its Fennec who gets the classic 2-on-1 underdog solo fight; another example of showing the audience that Boba isn’t the only ass-kicker.
In terms of the action in Mos Espa, I found myself longing for a more fluid battle. The flow seems stunted stitching the punches and deflections together. It was really the only part of the whole episode that I had a problem with.
Boba goes in the healing tank back home and we head back to the past. This final portion of the episode is all set up by a kid taking two pets for a walk, and by that I mean he is taking Boba Fett and his Greedo-esq companion out to dig in the desert.
What happens next is just cool. A Goro (Mortal Kombat) type beast arises from the desert and just starts throwing haymakers. The kid Tusken, Boba, the animal side-kick of the kid are left to their own devices to survive this monster after it buried the orange Greedo (literally).
Cue the Boba is still a bad-ass scene. In chains, the bounty hunter “watch me do this” genetics join the fight. Boba is able to kill the four-armed beast by choking it with a chain…WHICH IS EXACTLY HOW LEIA KILLED JABBA IN THE RETURN OF THE KING.
When Boba is just standing on the beast like Legolas did in The Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King(2003)…that is just cool as all hell.
Boba Fett returns to the tribe of Tusken Raiders unchained. Holding the head of the slain monster is the child raider, who is glorifying the telling the tale of how he and their prisoner felled death off. The most important bit of this scene is the chief Tusken Raider standing next to Boba Fett as a peer, and handing him a cup of water. The gift of water in the desert is sign of respect. Boba Fett will rule with respect in the future.
Listen, good Star Wars is almost better than anything else in my life. The Mandalorian reignited my excitement after the debacle of Star Wars Episode IX: Rise Of Skywalker (2019). The Book Of Boba Fett‘s opening episode carries that momentum without needing to reveal any major plot points. We get the introduction of characters and themes and the nice shot of nostalgia. We learn something new but really remember the good of the old.
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