The Media Man Reviews: The Book of Boba Fett Season 1
Updated: Apr 24, 2022
The Star Wars franchise is in an...unusual place right now. Ever since the franchise was brought by Disney back in 2012, Star Wars came back with a vengeance with all sorts of new media from new movies to new TV shows and so much more. It's like Disney REALLY wanted to let us know that now they have Star Wars, they're giving us PLENTY of Star Wars! And sadly, they haven't treated the franchise all that great if we can be honest.
First of all, putting Kathleen Kennedy in charge proved to be a fatal error of judgement as she ended up trying to turn the franchise into a means for her to prop up her feminist agenda and all that did was end up alienating audiences and angering the fans. Her clear lack of respect for George Lucas especially didn't do her any favours. This was a woman who clearly had no respect for Star Wars and was the last person who should EVER have been put in charge of it. I mean when you unironically state "Star Wars has no source material to draw from", you're clearly not fit for purpose...
Then came the sequel trilogy and the films ended up becoming so polarizing that it caused people to look back and think "You know what, maybe the prequels AREN'T that bad after all!". Seriously, the backlash against the sequels is some of the biggest we've ever seen from the Star Wars franchise with some of it justified and a lot of it VERY overblown to the point fans started attacking the actors for them, even though they were only doing their job and didn't deserve any of the hate they got. Rian Johnson only made things worse with The Last Jedi in which he focused too much on subverting expectations and criticizing anyone who didn't like the movie, which left JJ Abrams in an impossible situation where he tried to please everyone with The Rise of Skywalker and in the end, pleased nobody.
For my stance on the films, they are definitely the worst to come out of Star Wars and this is the only trilogy I can say I don't like. Episode 7 is just A New Hope with a new coat of paint, Episode 8 had potential but failed to deliver thanks to subverting expectations in all the wrong ways and Episode 9 was just plain bad beginning to end. Expect full reviews on them in the future...
But then we have the spin-off media. While the franchise is in a bad place with movie-goers, Star Wars has seen better success in the other medias it covers with a critically acclaimed conclusion to The Clone Wars cartoon, a well-received spin-off starring The Bad Batch, a very well received video-game with Jedi Fallen Order and most important of all...The Mandalorian series. The Disney+ exclusive series has become one of the service's most important and popular series with both critics and Star Wars fans loving the show thanks to the writing of Jon Favreau, the collaboration between him and series veteran Dave Filoni and the fantastic acting of series star Pedro Pascal as The Mandalorian.
And so here we are today with another spin-off series, The Book of Boba Fett. For context, Boba Fett made his grand entrance in Season 2 of The Mandalorian and an after-credits scene set up his spin-off series with him killing Bib Fortuna and taking his place as the new man in charge after Jabba the Hutt's death at Princess Leia's hands. So is the Book of Boba Fett a worthy title about the galaxy's most feared bounty hunter? Or should we hire Boba Fett to destroy every last copy of this book? Let's fly into The Book of Boba Fett...
Section 1: The Story
The story of this show picks up where The Mandalorian Season 2 ended off with Boba having killed Bib Fortuna and seizing control of what was once Jabba the Hutt's territory on Tatooine. Boba intends to rule with respect rather than fear but he ends up with many challenges to his throne, namely the Pyke Syndicate who aren't at all interested in having him call the shots. As a result, Boba and his right-hand woman Fennec Shand may need to gather allies to fight a potential war for control over the streets of Tatooine...
Going into this show, Star Wars fans were hyped to the max for the most obvious reason of all: it's a show about Boba Fett! What's not to be excited about? And the premise of the show is even an intriguing one that gives us more of Boba Fett as a character and tells the story of a man who has had an epiphany after a near-death experience and wants to make a change in his life accordingly. Episode 1 even opens up with Boba Fett escaping the Sarlaac Pit and a chain of events that explains how he ended up where we last saw him in The Mandalorian Season 2. Seeing the flashbacks that show us Boba Fett's time with the Tusken Raiders gives us a keen insight into how he changed his ways and is no longer the cold-blooded bounty hunter that we once knew him as. It's really fascinating getting to see Boba's development as he goes from being a man who was once at the top of his game to a pathetic wreck after the Sarlaac incident in Return of the Jedi who gets enslaved by the Tusken Raiders and then later goes on to befriend them after he kills a giant monster and helps them stop a train that was running through their territory. It explains so well why Boba is the man he is now and how he wants to be a crime boss who wants to rule with respect rather than fear and control and has a stronger code of honour than he did before.
So with all this in mind, the show must be really awesome, right? Not so fast guys, I'm just getting started...
While the PREMISE of the Book of Boba Fett is fascinating, the execution...leaves a lot to be desired. The biggest problem this show has is a lack of proper focus and VERY strange priorities in the writing. The first four episodes are largely made up of flashback scenes that are merely there just to explain Boba's change in character and while that is nice to see, the show spends way too long on these flashbacks to the point that it barely has any time to develop the main plot that it has. If you take away all the flashback scenes from the first four episodes, I bet all the scenes set in the present day wouldn't even fill an episode of their own. Because of this strange priority on focusing too much on Boba Fett's past, we barely get anything of the main plot we're supposed to be getting, which is Boba asserting control on Tatooine. You'll be lucky if we get ANY kind of plot progression or development by the time the flashbacks are over, which gives The Book of Boba Fett an abysmal pace that makes it very easy to lose interest in what's going on because the plot isn't going anywhere. I guarantee you, these flashbacks could've been trimmed down significantly and we wouldn't miss anything. Like did we REALLY need a flashback showing us how Boba got Slave 1 back? Did we really need that weird scene with him getting the lizard thing up his nose and having an acid trip? And did we really need to devote several minutes of Boba getting his Tusken gear? The only flashbacks that I think are necessary to keep are the ones in Episode 1 and the one that shows us his Tusken Family dead at the hands of the Pyke Syndicate. The rest just feels like padding overall and didn't need to be there.
But that's NOTHING compared to the bizarre writing choices made in Episodes 5 and 6! Those two episodes just gave up on being about Boba Fett and changes focus to...Din Djarin. Yes, really. For a show that is called "The Book of Boba Fett", it forgets for those two episodes that it's meant to be ABOUT Boba Fett! Hell, he doesn't even appear in Episode 5 and in Episode 6 he appears for like five seconds and has no dialogue! I get that the show wanted to include Din Djarin so he and Boba Fett could have an awesome team-up in the finale, but you didn't need to completely change the focus of the episode so that Din ends up stealing Boba Fett's show! Episode 5 should've been about Boba tracking down Din and then recruiting him and then Episode 6 would have the two making their plan to fight the Pykes and Din suggesting the idea to recruit the people of Free Town! But for some weird reason, they thought setting up The Mandalorian Season 3 was more important than what people came to see, which was a show about BOBA FETT. If we want to watch The Mandalorian, we'll go watch The Mandalorian! When we watch a show about Boba Fett, we expect it to be ABOUT BOBA FETT!
Speaking of The Mandalorian, this show has managed to make Season 2 of The Mandalorian completely pointless thanks to one critical plot point involving Grogu (aka Baby Yoda). Yeah, remember how Season 2 was about returning him to his own kind and we had that heartfelt goodbye scene where he parts ways with Din to go with Luke Skywalker? Well too bad, it's all meaningless now because Grogu's back with Din again! Just why did they render Season 2 so pointless by resetting the status quo like this? Is Disney just frightened that people won't be interested in The Mandalorian anymore if Grogu's not in it? On the contrary, I want the show to continue without him because I want to see how Din carries the show without Grogu. But no, the little guy has to come back and we get no further development with the two.
Also because of this show's very strange priorities in what to focus on, the main conflict with the Pyke Syndicate feels like an afterthought and by the time we get to the last episode, it's difficult to care because the stakes have been so poorly established. We barely know anything about the Pyke Syndicate and why we should fear them and Cad Bane is introduced so late into the story he may as well not have been there. Even the Chibnall era of Doctor Who manages to establish its plot and stakes better than this, and that's the era of the show that's infamous for being overstuffed with plot and characters!
It says a lot when the story is so slow and unfocused that the most amount of enjoyment I get is when the episode is over and we get the downright EPIC theme song in the end credits. Seriously, give it a listen to, it's a masterpiece: Ludwig Göransson - The Book of Boba Fett (From "The Book of Boba Fett"/Audio Only) - YouTube
The Book of Boba Fett had all the potential in the world to be something amazing, but it was all wasted on poor pacing, lack of proper focus, strange plotting priorities and plot points that actively render previous developments useless in the end. Maybe all this just shows why Boba Fett was better being the mysterious guy with an unknown past that we knew from the films...
Section 2: The Characters
Because of the show's terrible plotting, the characters don't get used to their full potential here and in some cases, may as well not have been here.
There's the main man himself, Boba Fett, played by Temuera Morrison. His role is that of a bounty hunter who's had a change of heart after his near-death at the Sarlaac Pit and wants to start life anew, no longer as a hunter for hire but as the man calling the shots and controlling the streets of Tatooine. When the show is actually focused on him, it's pretty interesting stuff but as I said, the flashbacks shouldn't have been as long as they were as it's too focused on this change of heart and not on where Boba Fett is NOW and most of the time we do see him in the present, he's getting his ass kicked and being upstaged by his supporting cast! Now granted, he was being healed in the Bacta Tank and it clearly took a while to fully heal him but I remind you, this was the same guy who held his own effortlessly against a platoon of Stormtroopers, with and without his trademark weapons and armour, so him being in bad shape is no excuse! It takes until Episode 7 for him to finally be awesome and even then they screwed it up by making his final showdown with Cad Bane disappointingly brief! When we see a show about Boba Fett, we expect to see Boba Fett being awesome and sadly, we don't get much of that here. A total mishandling of such a beloved character.
For the supporting cast, we have Fennec Shand (played by Mulan herself, Ming-Na Wen) who is just Boba's right-hand woman and that's it and also has this annoying tendency to upstage him at several points in the show. I get it guys, she's this awesome sniper woman, but you can show that without making her look better than Boba Fett.
We also get Boba's subordinates, a street gang of cyborgs who once again upstage the main man himself by putting up a better fight against Black Krrsantan and getting the street chase through Tatooine on their brightly coloured hoverbikes while Boba just stands there and waits till its over before he gets involved. Neither of them are particularly cool or interesting characters and honestly feel like they belong in another show.
There's also Black Krrsantan, whom I like to call the Most Awesome Looking Wookiee ever because that guy looks downright EPIC! He starts off as a hired hand for the Hutt twins who tries to assassinate Boba but when Boba spares him in mercy instead of sending him back to the Hutts, he joins Boba Fett's crew and becomes a valuable team muscle with his array of gadgets and brute Wookiee strength. He was pretty cool to watch admittedly and seeing what a juggernaut he is in a fight makes him a pretty intimidating presence.
And then there's Din Djarin, played again by Pedro Pascal. While it's nice to see him again, I would've preferred it if it didn't come at the cost of hijacking Boba Fett's show for two episodes so we can set up The Mandalorian Season 3. Also his character regresses here as he's depicted as greatly missing Grogu and now Grogu's back with him, we won't ever see him develop and move on from the little guy. His character is basically back at square one now, and that really sucks.
And then we have our main villains of the show, the Pyke Syndicate. The show focuses on them so little that they barely have any character other than "the villains" and feel less like an opposing force and more an obstacle standing in Boba's way because of how underdeveloped they are. What makes this even worse is that it turns out fan-favourite Clone Wars villain, Cad Bane, is working with the Syndicate. Cad Bane is here purely for fan-service, and not very good fan-service at that as he only appears in the last two episodes, gets about probably ten minutes of screen time in total and in that screen time, he doesn't accomplish anything. His shooting the Marshall didn't stop the men in Free Town from coming to Boba Fett's aid and the Marshall somehow isn't dead after being shot by him so that was totally pointless! Even in the final episode, he doesn't do anything except get impaled by Boba Fett's Tusken stick that was forged for him, so why was he even here? You could take Cad Bane out of the show and NOTHING would change! It's a grievous mishandling of such a popular and beloved character from the Clone Wars series and he deserved much better.
It says a lot when out of all the characters in this show, the most interesting ones of the bunch are actually the Tuksen Raiders. In the films, we just know them as these brutal savages that are best off avoided in the deserts of Tatooine but here, we get to see that they're more than just beasts and actually have their own culture, code of honour and way of life. It was so fascinating getting to see a new side to a species that we know so little about in Star Wars and I genuinely felt sad to see them all dead in Episode 3, as inevitable as it may have been. If there's anything I can give this show, it made me actually like the Tusken Raiders for once and that's quite a feat! XD
The characters in this show are either misused, poorly developed or shouldn't even be here at all. This is a cast that definitely could've done with some rewrites to better utilize them.
Section 3: The Cinematography
Now onto unquestionably the best part of the show, the cinematography. This is a modern Star Wars property so of course it's going to look amazing and just like The Mandalorian before it, it's proof that a TV budget can go a long way.
The Book of Boba Fett boasts some absolutely amazing looking sets, great location filming, sensational use of practical and CGI effects and some fantastic costume designs. It really shows that the creators put a lot of effort into making the show look as good as it did with everything we have on offer. The effects deserve a lot of credit as it's genuinely hard to tell at times what's real and what's CGI. The Scorpenek droids admittedly do look pretty obviously fake but their designs are pretty awesome, as is their functionality as they're essentially the Droidekas from the prequel trilogy on steroids with their insect like legs, guns and force-fields to hold off physical attacks and gunfire. The directing and the camera work did a great job on making those droids look intimidating when they were onscreen and the impressive CGI work really gives the impression that our heroes are against really powerful machines that could take them out with ease. The fact they just wouldn't go down easily made them even more fearsome!
The most impressive effect for me has to be the Rancor. It already looked pretty impressive for the time in Return of the Jedi and here in The Book of Boba Fett, they combine CGI and animatronics to give us a really convincing looking Rancor that truly feels alive and like it's a real creature. Even when fighting the Scorpenek Droids, it really does look like it's really there and Boba Fett's really riding atop a huge, fearsome creature! Speaking of animatronics, I also feel that they've improved the animatronics on Grogu a little as he's not only able to waddle a bit, but seems a little more expressive than before and thanks to a mix of CGI, they're able to make it look like he can really jump high like what Yoda before him could do. I imagine for many people, it's great to see practical effects still being used in modern media and being used so well like they were here. Oh and the de-aging effects they did on Mark Hamill for his appearance as Luke Skywalker are really good too. Like REALLY good! It really does feel as if Mark Hamill's just travelled back in time and is suddenly younger now! And it's really convincing too! When a show like this is able to further blur the lines between fiction and reality on only a TV budget, you know filmmaking has come such a long way.
As I said before, the costume and prosthetic works are top-notch here too. Boba Fett looks great whenever he's in his trademark armour, the biker gang's cyborg parts look really convincing as if they actually do have a robotic eye or a robotic arm, Din looks as eye-catching as ever in his trademark armour and Cad Bane has made a logical and well-designed transition into live-action with how they've managed to make his design work for a live-action setting. True the coat should've been longer and he should be wearing a much bigger hat but still, I'm satisfied with how they did him here. As for cartoon characters making the jump to live-action, Ahsoka looks great here too with a much improved headpiece for Rosario Dawson that isn't quite as crinkled as the one she wore in The Mandalorian. You also see a variety of other aliens that looks really convincing here too like the Twi'leks, the Pykes, the Tusken Raiders or Black Krrsantan. With his tall appearance, black fur, spiked shoulder pads and electric knuckle dusters, he really looks menacing and is a far cry from the less savage looking Chewbacca with what we're used to seeing with Wookiees. I'd even say that if you took Chewbacca and put him in an anti-dimension where good characters are evil, this is what he would look like! And then there's the scene with Fennec being fitted with her cybernetics. How they managed to make that look so real, I'll never know. It really did look like her stomach was being fitted with all those robotic parts and they made it look believable in how it'd work as actual functioning cybernetics.
And then of course there's the sets. They somehow manage to make everything look so real here from the streets of Tatooine to Jabba's Palace to the space station that Din visits. These don't look like sets the actor's are interacting with, it really does look like they're in these places. What further sells this is in Episode 5 where we see Din arrive at this intergalactic city, walk through a hallway, visit a bunch of diners who paid him to a job, then he leaves and goes back to the lift and goes down it with someone else inside with him...and it's all done in a single shot! The camera even takes a moment to circle around the diners at the table as Din talks with them before it follows him back out again! These kinds of shots can really further sell that this is a real world they're in and it's hard to tell if it's a real set or a CGI one! It's incredible how Star Wars can make its worlds look so believable now, even in a TV series!
But a TV budget can only go so far and we see that in a few places. The Hutt twins for example look pretty obviously CGI. I see that even after the Special Edition release of A New Hope, they still haven't nailed CGI Hutts yet. Also as impressive as the effects and costumes are, we get some that are not so impressive like the leader of the Pyke Syndicate. His mouth barely matches what he's saying and the animatronics in his mouth at best can just give us anime lip flaps, which I imagine might lead to some humorous redubbing opportunities for some people. Honestly when Doctor Who's Judoon Captain from Fugitive of the Judoon has better mouth movement compared to a Star Wars character, you've gone wrong somewhere. And finally, while the action scenes are well done for the most part, the most glaring example of a lesser action scene is of course the one everyone loves to criticize: the speeder chase in Episode 3. It was honestly pretty weak overall with the simple fact that the speeders don't look like they're going particularly fast. It's so weird because they were able to pull it off with the speeder bikes in Boba Fett's flashbacks so why couldn't they do it here? When you're doing a chase scene and the vehicles look like they're moving slowly, it doesn't make for a convincing effect and just looks low-energy as a result, which a chase scene shouldn't do.
Overall though, the cinematography has very little to complain about and while the writing may not be up to scratch, at least the show was still pretty to look at so you can enjoy some gorgeous eye-candy when the story isn't doing it for you.
I can only describe The Book of Boba Fett Season 1 as "disappointing". It was a show that had so much potential but in the end, it was let down by terrible plotting, slow pacing, poor development, a mismanaged use of its characters and uneven focus. When the most praise I have for the show can go to its visuals and epic theme song, it really shows how much the show didn't live up to the hype. The Book of Boba Fett didn't get off to a good start with this season and given Disney's management of the Star Wars franchise, I'm not too confident they'll do any better in the future...
And that's it for this review. What did you think to The Book of Boba Fett? Feel free to share your thoughts down below. Next time, I'll be making a countdown of my personal favourite Yu-Gi-Oh Monster Cards. See you then media fans!