I see what you did there, Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni.
You teased us with a new show named The Book of Boba Fett, and then it turned into another season of The Mandalorian. Maybe Season 2.5.
It’s okay. I forgive you. While I found the continuing tale of Fett to be entertaining, and I will take Ming-Na Wen whether she’s The Cavalry or Fennec Shand, I rejoiced at the return of Din Djarin, Baby Grogu, Ahsoka Tano and the CGI Luke Skywalker to the broader canvas that we call Star Wars.
I watched the first episode of this series on New Years Day 2022. I liked it a lot, and considered it an auspicious beginning to the year.
Since Favreau and Filoni were the masterminds of this series—the same dynamic duo who shepherded The Mandalorian to the big small screen—I knew I was in good hands. Which means that I didn’t approach this new piece of the Star Warsian mosaic with lowered expectations. That’s how I approached The Mandalorian, I’ll admit, and was pleasantly surprised. This series carries the additional burden of living up to its predecessor.
I’ve talked about Star Wars at length over the years, as my more vocal critics can attest. Odds are that I will continue to do so, since the past is the only reliable predictor of the future.
One of the theses about this topic that I’ve developed and revisited over the years is that the true brilliance of George Lucas resides in his fictional worldbuilding. It was never in his ability to write scintillating dialogue or create a cohesive narrative. Even his directing skills fall a little short of his contemporaries, such as Spielberg and Coppola.
This is not a true criticism of Lucas. I’m not hopping on that dogpile. The fact is that Lucas created an artistic vision and legacy that I—and millions of nerds of a similar bent—remain fascinated with forty-five years after it was created. That’s no small feat.
It’s true that it has always been a collaborative project. Even in the days when Lucas had to sign off on every significant detail about Star Wars, he willingly gave up some creative control to see what others could do with his brainchild. He was the chief fanboy of the intellectual property which made him super-wealthy. Only true fans of the franchise could take up the reins of this science-fantasy saga and do it justice. Fortunately, Favreau and Filoni are true fans.
When The Mandalorian was first announced, I thought it would be about Boba Fett. I knew that the bounty hunter wore Mandalorian armor decades before I knew what a Mandalorian was. Since I didn’t watch the episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars that dealt with the planet Mandalore until 2021, after I watched the first two seasons of The Madalorian and Season 1 of Star Wars: The Bad Batch, the story of Din Djarin and baby Grogu was something brand-new to me, a new facet of Lucas’s rich universe previously unexplored by me. It was a nice feeling, and I felt no resentment that Boba Fett wasn’t a part of the story. At least, until he was.
The character Boba Fett, and the assassin Fennec Shand, made guest appearances during the second season of The Mandalorian. It was sort of a backdoor pilot for the Boba Fett series that we already knew was coming. I was okay with this bit of internal marketing, which made me look forward to the series.
As this series begins, Fett (Temuera Morrison) has taken over the criminal throne vacated by Bib Fortuna, who was, of course, preceeded by Jabba the Hutt. Boba Fett is establishing himself as the new leader in Mos Espa, accepting tribute from the local citizens. The local mayor seems to be resisting his leadership. By the second episode, a hired assassin attempts to kill Boba and the cousins of Jabba—known as “The Twins”—arrive to assert their own claims to Jabba’s territory.
Meanwhile, Boba has to spend regular time in his private bacta tank, still healing from old injuries. While in the tank, the former bounty hunter dreams about his past. This is how we witness his escape from the Sarlaac Pit and learn how he was adopted by the Tusken Raiders.
For someone like me, who spends an inordinate amount of time looking back and reveling in nostalgia, the tank dreams are as entertaining as the story unfolding in “present” time. I love the fact that Boba-son-of-Jango is a survivor, and I accept that he is the hero of his own story, even if he may have been the villain in someone else’s.
Boba Fett and Fennec Shand are having to deal with a threat represented by the spice-trading Pyke Syndicate. Meanwhile, we return to the story of Din Djardin for a couple of episodes, as he heads out to present the infant Grogu with tiny chainmail armor fashioned from Beskar steel. Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) makes another memorable appearance, as does Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill and several others, it seems). The CGI effects that give us a deepfake Luke who looks like the Mark Hamill of four decades or so ago are better than they were in the last episode of the second season of The Mandalorian. I know it’s only a matter of time before I’m watching movies and television shows starring famous dead people. The technology is seriously now that good.
Timothy Olyphant also makes a guest appearance as the gunslinging marshall Cobb Vanth . The mercenary Cad Bane—who I know now from watching the first three seasons of The Clone Wars—makes his live-action debut as well.
Everything builds to a climactic seventh episode, directed by Robert Rodriguez with typical panache. I’m not going to spoil everything for those of you who haven’t watched the series yet. Suffice it to say that I found it a satisfying season finale. Don’t worry. Those of you who tuned in primarily for Baby Yoda will be happy that Grogu is in the finale as well.
Like every series discussed by anyone with internet access, this one has its critics. Maybe I’m easy to please, but I liked this one. I don’t know Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni. I mean, like, at all. I know that I’d get along with them, however. We’re cut from the same cloth and have similar influences. We’re members of the same tribe. At times, I felt that this series was created just for me. That’s nothing short of magic.
Firewater’s People-Like-Us-Don’t-Get-to-Decide-When-We’re-Finished Report Card: A
If you’re an OG fan like I am, you’ll find plenty to like here as well.