RELEASED: December 29th 2021 – February 9th 2022
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni, Robert Rodriguez, Kathleen Kennedy & Colin Wilson
WRITTEN BY: Jon Favreau & Dave Filoni
DIRECTED BY: Robert Rodriguez, Steph Green, Kevin Tancharoen, Bryce Dallas Howard & Dave Filoni
MUSIC BY: Joseph Shirley & Ludwig Göransson
STARRING: Temuera Morrison, Ming-Na Wen, Pedro Pascal, Matt Berry, David Pasquesi, Jennifer Beals, Carey Jones, Sophie Thatcher, Jordan Bolger, Amy Sedaris, Corey Burton, Rosario Dawson & Mark Hamill

REVIEW: I’ve spent the past two weeks doing jury service, and during the excessive amounts of time waiting around, I’ve been reading How Star Wars Conquered The Universe by Chris Taylor. At one point, Taylor offers up an interesting tidbit; Boba Fett’s dialogue in the Original Trilogy amounts to 28 words, the same amount of dialogue it takes Obi-Wan Kenobi to explain the force in the original Star Wars. Taylor stresses that Star Wars is at its most successful when it leans into that old adage ‘less is more’. Unfortunately, The Book of Boba Fett is in many ways the antithesis of that, committing the majority of its runtime to explain things that don’t need to be explained at the expense of telling an actual story.

While the show was marketed as Boba Fett stepping up to become a crimelord, it takes 4 whole episodes for us to even find out why this has become his new mission. The rest of that runtime is filled with (admittedly entertaining) flashbacks that fill us in on things we already could infer from Boba’s appearance on The Mandalorian.

Then, when the story finally reaches the point it should have been at in the first episode, the show pivots to focus on the story of Din Djarin, the eponymous Mandalorian from the show Book of Boba Fett spins off from.

While, for the most part, these Mandalorian-focused episodes provide many a Star Wars fan with their dream content, they further highlight the poor running of this show, which for the most part has no general sense of direction or plotting. Fan service is poured on in lieu of character development and proper storytelling, all of it largely irrelevant to the central narrative. Sure, it’s cool seeing what Mando is up to, and sure, the technology used to give us a post-Return of the Jedi Luke Skywalker is impressive, but why should we be concerned with that in a show where Favreau, Filoni and Rodriquez can’t thread together a story around a character whose story could easily write itself?

The Filoni-written and directed episode is the most egregious offender. While one episode catching us up on what Djarin has been doing can be forgiven, in the penultimate episode, Filoni decides to go full throttle into irrelevancy, touching on characters like Luke Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, Grogu and Cobb Vanth – all of whom, arguably, have no place in this show. So when today’s finale swung around, it’s even more apparent that the time spent on them is time that should have been spent fleshing out characters that actually contribute to the central plot. When things finally reach their climax, you’re left wondering why you should care about random townsfolk or teen biker gangs – they have little to no character, and like the Jedi mentioned above, little to no place in this story.

In fact, the only character Filoni reintroduces who arguably fits here is Cad Bane, the sort-of central antagonist of the series. But by showing up in the penultimate episode, even Bane struggles to have any real purpose, as the crux of his rivalry with Boba Fett is relegated to an old Clone Wars episode that was never aired. Introducing him earlier could have given audiences the necessary context, but as it stands, he’s just some vaguely cool seeming guy.

Many people have blamed a lot of the faults of this series on Executive Producer Robert Rodriguez, in part due to the fact that the three episodes he directed are easily the weakest, especially compared to the directorial outings of Bryce Dallas Howard and Steph Green. But Favreau and Filoni also shoulder much of the blame, as they, as writers, have delivered such a meandering and unfocused story that it makes you wonder why this series was even made in the first place. Their priorities clearly lie in the story of the Mandalorian, but every bit of development he’s given here would work just as well, if not better, in season 3 of his own series.

Thankfully, there are some saving graces to this series, namely series stars Temeura Morrison and Ming-Na Wen. Despite the shoddy plot, often weakly choreographed action (in the Rodriguez episodes, anyway) and occasionally spotty dialogue, they give their all. Similarly, Carey Jones brings an intense physicality and menacing glare to Wookie Bounty Hunter Black Krrsantan, while Amy Sedaris, Jennifer Beals and David Pasquesi are welcome additions to the show as the citizens of Tatooine caught in the crossfire.

If Favreau does succeed at one thing here, it’s the further world-building of the Star Wars galaxy between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. For many fans, that will be enough – after all, hasn’t Star Wars become synonymous with explaining every little detail and giving every character a backstory?

But if you’re like me, and you enjoy all of that, but prioritise a focused narrative over the wider worldbuilding, then this may well be a bit of a letdown.

Thanks for reading! What’s your take on Boba Fett? Is he capable of standing in the spotlight, or is this the best we could have hoped for? Let me know in the comments below!

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