The Return of Kenobi Review, Part I

This article contains spoilers for the first episode of the Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi.

The anticipation for this series has been electric. The excitement has grown exponentially as the weekend of the premiere has finally arrived. The recent Vanity Fair article features four of the main characters from upcoming Star Wars projects to whet our appetite for all the exciting projects ahead. Leading up to the Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim California, there have been numerous video clips of brief commentary on what a historic time it is for Star Wars. Star Wars Celebration was perfectly scheduled the same weekend as the Obi-Wan Kenobi series premiere. Fans have worked themselves into a frenzied fervor over Kenobi excited to see Obi-Wan once again.

The fervor is contagious. Hayden Christensen's simple line of "This is where the fun begins" awoke twelve-year-old me’s nostalgia for Episode I: The Phantom Menace, and the beginning of the Prequels. Boy, nostalgia is one heck of a drug. 

I was curious as to how they were going to approach Kenobi in terms of the story. The Prequels, the Original Trilogy, and the Sequels all have their unique tone as they tell the ongoing dramatic story of the Skywalkers. Where was Kenobi going to fit in bridging the gap in tone between the Prequels and the Original Trilogy? 

Prior to the episode, there was a four-minute recap of what had transpired in the prequels. No other live-action Star Wars series has done this. This was a unique choice because we all know why we are here. We don’t need this reminder. It left me wondering if this exposition was going to be a continuous theme throughout Kenobi’s story. 

Meet the Inquisitors. They are high-ranking members of the Empire under the command of Darth Vader tasked with hunting any remaining Jedi in the galaxy and eliminating any potential threats to the Empire. When the Inquisitors find you, you have two choices: submit or die. 

The initial scene of their introduction seemed to over-explain this. The storytellers want us to know exactly who they are without any creative interpretation from us. The scene reminded me of the exchanges between Anakin and Obi-Wan in the Prequels: over-explaining, talking too much for the audience's sake, quick quips, and scoldingly reproaching a comrade for their differing tactical approach to a situation. It ends up leaving the scene with an apparent stalemate of opinions with lingering dissent under the surface of the interpersonal dynamics.

Kenobi's storytelling tone leans heavily into Prequel territory. Now that we know where we are on the spectrum, and what kind of Star Wars fans they are pandering to, let’s settle in for the ride.

Man... It is good to see Ewan McGregor again as Obi-Wan, or his new alias, Ben. Ten years have passed since the events of Episode III, and Obi-Wan still bears the weight of the war that was lost. He is depressed and seems to be content with a stagnant quiet life in hiding. However, he suffers from nightmares from losing his friend, his brother, Anakin.

Obi-Wan is still seeking guidance from Qui-Gon Jinn from beyond the grave. Will we get to see the legendary Jedi Master in his spectral form? It seems he has not yet mastered the technique to communicate with Qui-Gon, but maybe it’s because he is lacking faith in the Force. Obi-Wan is haunted by his past mistakes.

Watchfully keeping an eye from afar on Luke growing up a farm boy in the Tatooine desert, we get to see a softer side of Obi-Wan as he purchases a T-16 Skyhopper toy from a Jawa as a present for the boy.
This is the same ship Luke plays with when he meets C-3PO and R2-D2 in Episode IV: A New Hope. He wants to subtly let Luke know there's more to life than the Lars family farm. There’s a whole galaxy out there and he wants to help the boy aspire to more.

Enter Owen Lars. Owen confronts Obi-Wan about the gift. Obi-Wan’s presence in Luke’s life is not welcomed, even from a distance. Joel Edgerton does a phenomenal job at capturing the original actor Phill Brown's presence, perfectly mimicking his speech patterns, inflections, stance, and facial expressions. Joel even nails yelling for Luke around the farm. Edgerton must have watched those scenes with Uncle Owen in A New Hope over and over to achieve this performance.

I wasn't sure where the story was going to lead us, but I was not expecting to revisit a planet we briefly got to see in Episode III. Alderaan with her majestic mountainous peaks, pristine seas, and lush greenery, she is a sleek sophisticated utopia of peace. Alderaan is beautiful and the weight of her destruction seems to take on a heavier meaning even after all of these years being immersed in the Star Wars universe.

Little Leia steals the show. Her wardrobe is perfect for a young princess, (the booties!) with her biological mother's fiery sense of justice and being wise beyond her years we see a glimpse of the woman she will grow up to be. She's not the quintessential princess yet, but she is learning. There were tender moments between her and her adoptive parents. I loved seeing Little Leia and Bail together. It's clear the Organas view Leia as their own.

Later in the episode, the princess gets kidnapped. The kidnappers, the leader being none other than the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea, are hired by one of the Inquisitors: Reva, the Third Sister. Reva is focused on bringing Obi-Wan in.

Her personal vendetta against Kenobi has not been expounded upon or explained yet. Somehow she knows kidnapping the princess will lure Kenobi out of hiding. That's a pretty large assumption about someone whose trail has gone cold over ten years ago.

Bail Organa reached out to Obi-Wan for help. He doesn't want to trust Leia's safety to anyone else and does not want the news to go public. The Star Wars universe sure does love its secrets. Bail has to resort to paying Obi-Wan a visit in person to move him to action. 

Obi-Wan is hesitant and reluctant to take on this mission because he realizes his limitations and has started to doubt his abilities to succeed. Seeing Obi-Wan reluctant to take on a difficult mission was hard. What had happened in the Clone Wars had definitely changed him, and all these years later he is crippled by the fear of failing once again.

Obi-Wan's hesitation to get involved reminded me of Luke's reservation of jumping into the fight once again in the Sequels. Would it be so far-fetched that someone would want to live out the rest of their life quietly in hiding after so much betrayal and defeat? 

Obi-Wan journeys out to the desert to a seemingly random location and exhumes a box that contains his lightsaber and Anakin's. It's a heavy moment for him, but he takes up his saber once again.

Dressed in the brown robes similar to a Jedi, with the lightsaber on his belt, and after a significant hesitation, he boards a shuttle off-world leaving the sands of Tatooine behind.

I have a major gripe with how two significant scenes were filmed within Part I. The initial scene shows a group of younglings escaping the Jedi Temple during Order 66. The shaky-cam effect was used during this first scene and its unstable camera work rivaled Cloverfield.

Going for a documentary-style, realistic portrayal of Star Wars history felt… off. Any footage we've seen of Order 66 was not filmed in this style before. This technique can be used to help with immersion, but it took me out of the scene because I was trying to not get nauseous.

The second scene was where a Jedi tried to confront Obi-Wan in the desert. The scene was filmed in a way that was reminiscent of when R2-D2 got jumped by the Jawas in A New Hope. The slanted peering through the rocks and hiding techniques remained in effect during parts of the scene that should have been static. Not a fan of the cinematography choice of these scenes and I hope they don't resort back to it frequently. 
Kenobi does heavy fan service for those who grew up on the Prequels, yet sprinkles many Original Trilogy references to try to bridge the timelines. I am intrigued about where Obi-Wan’s story will lead us and, I will admit, I was not expecting his fate to be intertwined with Leia's during his exile. What were some of your favorite or least favorite moments from Part I?

The Games That Define a Generation - PlayStation Two

Another PlayStation article, another signature bootup sound. Let’s take a second and listen to another iconic sound in video game history:

From 2000 to 2018, the PlayStation 2 dominated the gaming landscape while an emerging console called the Xbox was still finding its feet as a competitor. Many innovations arose from the PS2’s life such as more robust online multiplayer experiences that originated from the Sega Dreamcast. The evolution of rhythm games with the release of the smash hit Guitar Hero and the use of the Playstation camera with the release of Eyetoy created new avenues for players to experience groundbreaking titles. Much like the original PlayStation, the PlayStation 2 was no slouch when it comes to competition-killing games. Here are some of my memorable titles along with other titles chosen by other Couch Soup contributors:

Monster Hunter (2004)

Box art from Monster Hunter (2004) with the flagship monster Rathalos

I recently wrote a piece on how Monster Hunter World is a great title to get into the franchise for new players. However, I first was converted to the series fold back when it was released in 2004. The different entries of the action RPG games center around a hunter who is part of a research team as they discover the world around them. That includes hunting monsters who have the nerve to be on the same planet as the player,  in order to harvest materials from said monsters to create better gear and further the plot of the game.

This was my first dabble into online multiplayer as well. From my friends in school who happen to have the game to players as far as Japan, it was cool to see a party hunting monsters to create sweet-looking armor and weapons. When a monster is vanquished and the famous quest victory theme blasts the TV speakers, a collective sigh of relief emerges for all the hard work from everyone in the party.

We don’t talk about Fatalis

The monsters are always the highlight during the hunt. From the flagship monster of the franchise Rathalos which breathes fire and can poison using its tail to the Plesioth which shoots water jets from its mouth and a hip check that can track players from a distance. Then there’s the almost unbeatable Fatalis which takes certain specific steps to defeat it. 

Each monster poses a unique challenge and obstacles. But it will still bring a level of satisfaction when those challenges are met whether on a solo hunt or with a party. Sometimes I often wonder if the monsters are the stars of the game rather than the player!

Guitar Hero (2005) and Rock Band (2007)

Trust me: You’re still a rock star with these buttons!

The rhythm game was popularized by Dance Dance Revolution in the arcades and Parappa the Rapper on the original PlayStation. The PlayStation 2 had its own renaissance of rhythm games with the rise of Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Playing hit songs from the likes of Foghat’s “Smoke on the Water” to the blistering tapping of “Eruption” from Van Halen can now be done from the comfort of home or with friends. While Guitar Hero introduced the guitar controller to the world, Rock Band took it a step further as a drum set and a microphone were included to have the live show experience fully realized in a video game. 

From a personal standpoint, I had a great time playing with friends during the week and playing Dani California by The Red Hot Chili Peppers countless times on Rock Band to get the song right. From those same friends, we got better musically and started to learn and play real instruments after countless hours of playing Rock Band.

Yes, we’re totally a rock band from this photo. Can you guess where I am?

Titles that define the Playstation 2, according to the Couch Soup Community:

Here are some other titles from fellow contributors about their PS2 titles that define them:

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004) - Tyler J. Graham

Grove Street 4 Life!

“I don’t have too many strong memories associated with the PlayStation 2 – it was a console released before I was even born. The one thing that vividly sticks out to me even to this day, though, was my early brush with the Grand Theft Auto series on the console. My dad loved playing GTA: San Andreas back when it was released in 2004, and I loved watching him drive the cars.

Sometimes, he would send me out of the room and carjack someone and then call me back in to drive the car around until I wrecked it. I’d go on to call San Andreas the “boomer game” because all I knew about it was that I got to drive cars around until they exploded. The PS2 was foundational for that memory, and I look back upon that quality time with my dad fondly.”

Star Wars: Bounty Hunter (2002) - Candance Rose

Jango Fett making the most out of an awkward situation

“I was fifteen years old when this game was released. At this age, I was delving deep into Star Wars lore so this game offered a great medium to explore the galaxy further. It captivated me for hours on end. It offered diverse environments along with new controls & menus to master for the different gadgets of Jango Fett. The game started off easy, but the further I got into the story the difficulty ramped as I got closer to the end. 

This game definitely played a part in my evolution as a gamer realizing that different difficulties offered different gaming experiences. I started to enjoy a near-impossible challenge. (This game also made me develop a love for the flamethrower, but that’s another story for another time.) Overall, this game left me craving more of its kind for the Star Wars universe so I could continue my quest to become the best bounty hunter in the galaxy.”

Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex (2001) - Michelle Holstine

One of the many flying levels in Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex

“My game that defines my PlayStation 2 era would be Crash Bandicoot: Wrath of Cortex. This game guaranteed hours of collaboration and enjoyment with my family in the living room, even as only one person was actually playing. It helped us work together and uncovered a love for puzzle solving, linear-based games that continued into my adulthood. It also quickly made us fall in love with Naughty Dog, who continued to develop games that we were able to enjoy as an entire family. Crash has a special place in my heart and gave us amazing memories to look back on as a family.”

Thanks Tyler, Candace, and Michelle for contributing to this article!

What titles define the PlayStation 2 for you? Sound off in the comments and let’s talk about it!

Art, Taste, and The Polarized Opinions of The Last Jedi

Ever since Star Wars: The Last Jedi came out, I have feared my status as a Star Wars fan. My birthday is May 4th, aka Star Wars day. I grew up with the originals AND the prequels. I’ve watched most, if not all, the shows. This fandom isn’t exactly something I can leave. I was literally born into it! But I don’t know if I want to participate in a fandom where I will be labeled and judged simply because of how I experienced ONE movie. And I want to understand why.

Any time another Star Wars project releases, people across YouTube, Twitter and Reddit bring up Star Wars: The Last Jedi. And I am so tired of it. I don’t understand why we are still in a stunted “discussion” of this “controversial” movie. From what I’ve seen, the main trend is that people LOVE it, HATE it, or just love to hate it. And the trending response is that anyone who disagrees with their take is WRONG. 

Nowadays, opinions are easily shared and nearly impossible to validate or accept, especially in regards to Star Wars. But here I’m going to break down the idea of "opinions" and use The Last Jedi as a basis. I'll take an objective point of view based on my own reasoning. So, without further ado, strap in and bear with me.

Let's start with art and movies. Based on Google definitions, "art" is the expression of human creative skill and imagination. Google also defines "movies" as stories or events recorded by a camera as a set of moving images. Imagery is used heavily in artwork like books and paintings. These each tie in to storytelling, which is one of the oldest art forms and has evolved wonderfully through time. From campfires to cave walls, stone to paper, words to paints, songs to dances. If movies are a form of storytelling, and storytelling is an art, then movies themselves can be considered works of art, right? 

Movies are a form of storytelling, which is a form of art. Movies are works of art. (Artist: James Jean)

Now let's look at a quote from Arthur Fleck in the 2019 film Joker about comedy, but I will replace "comedy" with the word "art": “Art is subjective, isn't that what they say? All of you, the system that knows so much: you decide what’s right or wrong the same way you decide what’s funny or not.”  Keep that in mind as we move on.

Next, let's talk about taste. The first definition Google provides refers to the sensation and perception of flavors. Other definitions regard “taste” as a liking or disliking of certain flavors or aesthetics and world views. But all forms of taste are taught.

Our preference in taste is affected by the environments we live in, including the womb. (Image by Arsh Raziuddin for The Atlantic)

Science and psychology provide examples of how we develop our own taste in food. During my research, I found this article: The Development of Food Preferences. It delves into the varying factors that create our taste pallets. Much like social skills, we can develop our tastes based on the environment we’re raised in. "Preferences detected by the sense of smell are generally highly affected with learning early in life, even in utero… In one study, infants whose mothers drank carrot juice during the last trimester of pregnancy enjoyed carrot-flavored cereals more than infants whose mothers did not drink carrot juice or eat carrots."

The main takeaway is that our tastes can be different. Not just in food, but in art as well.

So how do art, movies, and the science of taste correlate to The Last Jedi? Well, it is a movie, making it a work of art. And it has been critiqued by many in various ways. So, if it is art, is it objectively "good" or "bad"? The only facts attached to art are in who made it, how it was made, and that there is no "right" or "wrong" way to create or interpret it, even when the artist specifies the inspiration (in this case, the Star Wars universe).

This movie, like many others, "tastes" different to everyone. If you asked two people what they think, even if they're born from the same mother, you will probably get two different answers. This is the same as when you explore new foods in life— naturally, you compare them to familiar or favorite flavors. So it's understandable when an audience member might compare a new movie to a nostalgic one.

Although comparison is seen as the thief of joy, it's in our nature, and we can’t help it.

The audience is as divided as this beautiful poster from artist Bella Grace.

About those other definitions of taste I mentioned, they're just another way of saying "opinion." When I researched "taste," I never thought that judgment, discrimination, culture, decorum, and propriety would match as synonyms. When I see people sharing their opinions for The Last Jedi, "taste" is often used like a label to discriminate for or against, not as a means of being open and respectful of our differences. 

I find all this ironic since one of the things The Last Jedi teaches is that the Jedi and the Sith were wrong. They were both so passionate and absolute in their ways, yet they both failed in their ideals and died out as a result. In The Last Jedi, we are shown the same story many times from two different characters’ points of view before understanding what really happened. Did those that hate/love the movie decide which unreliable narration matched their own? I'm still wondering at what point while watching this did thousands of people decide, “I will fight people who didn’t watch this movie through my eyes?”

I could have broken down The Last Jedi itself, listing pros and cons from my point of view. But I didn’t want to. Like I said in the beginning, I can hardly discuss this movie with Star Wars fans because many don’t understand what I now understand: Art is subjective. There is no right or wrong way of expressing ourselves. Taste is a development, and not just for food, but for clothes, connection, and, of course, movies. Comparison is natural but not preferred. If life had the same flavor for everyone, it would become flavorless.

So, it is okay to see things differently. Conflicting opinions are good to have. Otherwise, engaging conversations would be rare. But the best way to connect and accept stories/humans is by recognizing the flaws AND the beauty. The worst way is to treat contrast as an illness and your single point of view as fact. 

And finally... The Last Jedi is a MOVIE. So let's all calm the hell down!

Thank you for attending my TED Talk. Good day, and may the Force be with you!

Book of Boba Fett - Getting to Know the Man Behind the Mask Chapter 6

THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS

Chapter 6: From the Desert Comes A Stranger 

Plains of Mos Pelgo, middle of nowheresville in the midst of many moisture evaporators, there are four Pykes around a landspeeder. There is an intricately carved wooden chest and a camtono, a security container typically used to store valuables, full of credits placed on the hood of a landspeeder. “We’ll leave the spice and take the credits back to Mos Eisley. The rest will follow,” one of the Pykes explains.  

“Do you know where you are, gentlemen?” Cobb Vanth interrupts, hand on his blaster, ready to draw, “Think it through,” he warns one Pyke as he sees them reaching for their blaster. “I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt being you’re not from around here and say you figured you’re in the middle of nowhere. But everything out there to everything out there is the Mos Pelgo territories and these stripes,” he points to his belt buckle, ”indicate I’m the marshal of said territories. Now, I don’t know what arrangements you have with the authorities of Mos Espa, and let’s be honest in Mos Eisley, anything goes, but out here, I’m the one tells folks what to do.” Vanth makes it clear he understands there may be certain ‘arrangements’ in other territories, but anything happening in his territory is his responsibility. 

There is a prolonged silence, a western-style standoff between the Pykes and Vanth. “I didn’t see what’s in that chest, and consequently, no laws have been broken far as I’m concerned. If you gentlemen load up your wares and head back to where you came, we can chalk this one up to you guys reading the map wrong.” Vanth is not looking for a fight. He is reasonable yet firm in spelling out the law and setting his expectations of not seeing them again in his territory. Two of the Pykes look at each other; one turns slightly and draws a blaster. Vanth sees the movement and pulls his weapon, blasting three of them from the hip. One remains standing. “Think it through,” Vanth says again. The Pyke surrenders, hands up.

“Think it through.” 

“I got a proposition for your bosses. Tell ‘em I’ve heard of the Syndicate. Take their credits back with you. And I say this with respect, anyone gets lost running spice through Mos Pelgo again will be lost forever. Now, unload that chest and go. Consider it a fine for trespassing,” Cobb cuts to the chase; he doesn't want trouble in his territory. The Pyke indicates the chest is worth more than Vanth’s town. “Well, then, maybe I’ll retire,” Vanth has no intentions of retiring any time soon. The Pyke places the wooden chest on the ground next to the landspeeder and secures the bucket of credits, jumping into the landspeeder. Vanth twirls his blaster, placing it back in its holster. 

The Pyke drives off with his message for his bosses, life intact. Vanth approaches the intricately carved wooden chest opening the top with his boot. The entire chest is filled with a golden brown, slightly metallic-looking powder. He tips the chest over, the spice spilling out and blending with the sands of Tatooine. 

Spice. Fortunes can be made from peddling the illicit substance.

Visiting A Little Friend

The N-1 starfighter emerges from hyperspace, heading toward a lush green planet, making its way through forested mountains and the occasional drifting fog. Din Djarin looks to the forests below, checking for any signs of life. An alert on his dash sounds. R2-D2 picked up the visitor on his scanners. Djarin lands the starfighter right next to R2. I wonder if R2 remembers his time in one of these N-1 fighters during the Battle of Naboo in Episode I: The Phantom Menace? Djarin exits the ship, greeting the droid in an uncharacteristically upbeat, pleasant tone, “Hello, friend. I’m looking for Skywalker.” Din Djarin has a customer service representative voice. Who would have thought? R2 greets him in his signature tweedle of beeps. “I came to see the kid, Grogu.” 

R2 slowly leads Djarin through a bamboo forest, happily humming to himself. A rock appears to be mysteriously lifted over a small ridge in the forest. An ant droid makes its way into view carrying it. Djarin stops to gawk. R2 reminds him to keep up, leading him to the beginning of what will be Luke Skywalker’s Jedi Academy. There is a colony of the ant droids slowly building the construct we saw in Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

R2 gives one of the ant droids an order. “Is this where they are?” Djarin inquires, still openly interested in the project’s construction. R2 powers down. “Hey. Droid. Hey. Don’t shut off. Wake up,” he goes over to inspect R2, clearly frustrated, waving his hand in front of the droid’s photoreceptor. The ant droids start building something near him. “Hey, I’m looking for Skywalker. He had a kid with him. Is that a bench? How long will I be waiting? Is anyone here? Anyone alive?” He reluctantly takes a seat on his new bench next to R2 and settles in to wait. 

Meditation With A Master 

Tranquility. A peaceful view of the bamboo forest. A hill with a short tree shading a Jedi and his new pupil. Grogu sits opposite Skywalker, who is wearing the familiar black Jedi robes we have seen him in Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Both are meditating when Grogu breaks his concentration as a frog leaps into view. He tries to go back to meditating but pops one eye open, tracking the frog as it leaps into a small pond. 

The frog starts levitating before it can breach the water’s surface. Grogu brings the frog over to himself using the Force, essentially ‘Force’ feeding himself. Luke opens his eyes, giving his pupil the distinctive disapproving Luke look, “Grogu.” Grogu drops the frog, and it escapes back into its natural habitat. 

Grogu goes back to meditating. Luke side-eyes the pond and reaches out his right hand lifting all of the frogs into the air. Grogu looks over when he hears the audible ribbiting; he’s surprised at this display. The surprise turns to absolute joy, and then a slight sadness crosses his face as he looks at his own little hand as if to say, “I was only able to lift one froggy while Master Luke lifted them all.” Luke drops the frogs back into the pond. 

“All right, let's go for a walk.” Luke gets up, and little Grogu follows. Luke lets him walk independently but uses the Force in an arcing sweeping motion to help Grogu keep pace with him. “I want to tell you about someone you remind me of a great deal. His name was Yoda. He was small like you, but his heart was huge, and the Force was strong in him. He once said to me, “Size matters not.” That’s how he talked. He would speak in riddles. Have you heard anyone talk like that back home? Do you remember back home?” Luke pauses, and his face gets intense, “Would you like to remember? Let me help you remember.” Luke places his hand on Grogu’s head. Grogu seems apprehensive at first, but then his little ears droop as he tries to remember with Luke’s help. 

Order 66

Grogu is wide-eyed tucked into blankets. Three Jedi stand their ground against a Legion of 501st clone troopers during the siege on the Jedi Temple during Order 66, 28 years before. The lead Jedi wielding a green lightsaber gets shot down first, the other two Jedi fall shortly after. One of the clones blasts the downed Jedi, ensuring the job is done. The 501st move in toward Grogu as we come back to the present. 

Grogu’s force memory is portrayed differently from Boba Fett’s dream memories. When we were getting a glimpse of Fett’s past, they were through his dreams which would transition from a slightly hazy filter overall before clarifying we had taken a step back in the timeline. Grogu’s memory vision was consistent with the warm Jedi vision filter of the haloed fish eye lens, where the vision is focused briefly on specific people and events in time. 

“Welcome back,” Luke and Grogu are sitting next to a scenic river surrounded by mountains. “The galaxy is a dangerous place, Grogu. I will teach you to protect yourself.” 

“Attachment is Forbidden” 

Djarin made himself comfortable on the newly constructed bench as he awaited an audience with someone other than droids. Laying flat on his back, he hears a twig snap underfoot. Quickdraw, ever ready. Ahsoka Tano poses next to a tree. “You. I didn’t expect to see you here,” Djarin says, surprised to see this familiar face. “I’m an old friend of the family,” she explains. That’s an understatement. “I thought you weren’t going to help train Grogu,” Djarin inquires, confused. “I’m not. Master Luke is,” Ahsoka is not offering up much information. “Then what are you doing here?” he presses further. “That’s my question for you,” she approaches R2 with a smile on her face. “I’m here to see the kid,” Djarin explains. “That’s why R2 brought you to me instead,” she rubs R2’s dome with an impish giggle. “What is this place?” Djarin is still looking for answers after being ignored. Ahsoka explains how it will be a great school one day, and Grogu will be the school's first student. “I’d like to know how he’s doing,” Din admits. “He’s doing fine,” the elusive gatekeeper says. “I wanna see him,” he pushes. Ahsoka heavily sighs, “I know you do. Let us take a walk.”

She leads him away from the unfinished temple back through the bamboo forest. Djarin checks to see if R2 will be following. R2 stays put. “I warned you when we met that your attachment to Grogu would be difficult to let go of,” she reminds him. “He was a Mandalorian foundling in my care. I just want to make sure he is safe,” Ahsoka can see through that simple reasoning knowing Din’s attachment to Grogu. “There is no place in the galaxy more safe than here with Luke,” she makes a strong point. “I don’t understand why you’re all right with Skywalker’s decision to train the kid when you wouldn’t,” Djarin is still trying to understand the ways of the Jedi. “Because it was his choice. I don’t control the wants of others,” Ahsoka did not want to take Grogu on as a padawan, but Luke is eager to start a new Jedi Academy and rebuild the Order. “Then, it’s my choice to go and see him,” determined to not let Ahsoka stand in his way. “Of course. If that is what you wish,” she looks off to the hill with the short tree with Luke and Grogu in the distance. 

“Are you doing this for Grogu, or are you doing this for yourself?” she asks. Djarin stops, “I just… I wanna give him this.” He pulls the founding gift wrapped in the orange and white kerchief resembling its recipient from the back of his belt. “Why? So he will remember you?” she presses, trying to expose his true intentions. “No. As a Mandalorian foundling, he should have this. It’s his right,” he explains. “Foundling. Perhaps he is a Padawan now,” she emphasizes that Grogu’s path has changed since he’s now in Luke’s care. “Well, either way, this armor will protect him,” Din gazes off into the distance, seeing Grogu with Luke in his new life. 

“If you are set on it, then allow me to deliver it,” Ahsoka offers a compromise. “I came all this way. He’s right there,” Din wants to reunite with Grogu. It’s not just about the Mandalorian right as a foundling. Ahsoka approaches and places her hand on his shoulder, “Grogu misses you a great deal. If he sees you, it will only make things more difficult for him.” Djarin looks on for a moment. He turns to Ahsoka, “Make sure he’s protected,” handing over Grogu’s right. 

She takes it from him, slightly surprised at his understanding of the situation and his sacrifice in not seeing him up close. He leaves her with the gift, making his way back to his ship. Grogu watches the unfamiliar ship leave, reaching out toward it. Was he able to sense Din’s presence? 

From One Generation to the Next

Luke sets down the backpack he was carrying Grogu in. “All right. It’s time to continue your training. Let’s see you jump.” Grogu does a little froggy jump. “Really? That’s all you got? Bend down, jump, and as you do, feel the Force flow through you,” Luke instructs. Grogu hesitates, thinks hard, and attempts another froggy jump. “You’re trying too hard. Don’t try. Do,” repeating what Master Yoda told him to do in his training days.  

Luke takes Grogu for a run in the backpack through the bamboo forest, reminding us of the days he trained with Yoda on Dagobah. “Hang On,” he does one of his signature flips. Luke jumps out on what appears to be a rock but is really some kind of water buffalo boar. He jumps from rock to rock, makes his way back to the forest, and climbs a tall bamboo stalk giving them a view of the valley and river below. “Look. The wide world exists in balance. Feel the Force all around you.” They close their eyes in meditation. Luke’s theme song plays. “Through the Force, you will find balance as well.” 

Down near the river, Luke and Grogu run through a concentration exercise. Grogu precariously balances on one leg on a downed mossy tree in the river. He slips but remains on the branch. “Use the Force,” Luke urges. He tries again. “That’s it. Very good. Better,” commends Luke. Grogu balances on bamboo, watches as Luke ignites his green lightsaber, and goes through the training stances and movements. 

Luke introduces an old familiar tool, “This is a training remote. It will test your reflexes.” He sets it next to Grogu, who is unsure of what to do with it, so he rolls it back toward Luke. “No, that isn’t how it works,” he sets it next to Grogu again. “This is how it works.” He uses the Force to turn the remote on. The remote starts to whoosh around. It blasts at Grogu’s feet. Grogu flies back, and lands on his backside, stunned that this thing would dare shoot at him. “Get back up. Always get back up,” a great life lesson from Luke. Grogu gets up. The training remote takes another shot at him, but Grogu leaps out of the way with the aid of the Force. “Very good.” 

Grogu’s training progresses. He’s a fast learner. He leaps from rock to rock into the river, dodging the training remote shots. He adorably jumps and scurries away as Luke watches from the shore. Ahsoka joins Luke. She has the orange and white kerchief in her hands. Grogu seems to tire of his training, and Force focuses on the training remote, crushing it. It explodes, falling into the river. Grogu squeals happily at his accomplishment.

“You’ve taught him well,” Ahsoka commends. “It’s more like he’s remembering than I’m actually teaching him anything,” Luke admits. “Sometimes the student guides the master,” she offers a layered riddle. They stand observing Grogu from afar for a moment. “The Mandalorian was here,” Luke felt Din’s presence. “As I told you. The two share a strong bond, and he brought him a gift,” she offers the kerchief. Luke weighs the gift in his hand, “Sometimes I wonder if his heart is in it.” “So much like your father,” Ahsoka smiles admiringly at Luke, remembering her old Master, Anakin Skywalker.

“What should I do about him?” Luke muses aloud, troubled. “Trust your instincts,” Ahsoka reminds him. Grogu decides to take a nap on the rock in the river after his busy day of training. “Will I see you again?” Luke sensing Ahsoka will be leaving. “Perhaps. May the Force be with you,” she puts her right hand over her heart and bows slightly, taking a final look at Grogu. Luke looks again at the gift contemplating what to do, watching over Grogu’s naptime. 

The Motley Crew

Djarin heads back to Tatooine. He lands the N-1 fighter in Fett’s palace hangar. He’s greeted by one of the Gamorrean guards who inquires of his business, not keen on letting him pass. “I’m here at the request of Fennec Shand.” That seems to be the magic password; the guard leads Djarin further into the palace. 

Boba Fett, (There he is!), with the Mods, Krrsantan, and Fennec Shand gather around a holo map of Mos Espa for a meeting, “The Pyke Syndicate has been gathering soldiers the last few weeks. Mayor Mok Shaiz is on their payroll and has flown off-world, which leads us to believe the storm is about to break,” Fennec circles around the map, explaining the current situation. Mok Shaiz’s majordomo approaches and corrects her, “It was a scheduled vacation, actually.” Fennec gives him a dirty look and continues, “Here’s a map of where they are gathering, based on whispers. The three crime families of Mos Espa seem willing to lay low and let the Pykes move on our territory,” she turns to acknowledge a new presence in the throne room. “This is the Mandalorian, Din Djarin.” He nods at Fett, and Fett nods back. “Thanks to him and Krrsantan, we now have enough experienced muscle to act as enforcers. The Mods have done a thorough job of surveying the streets, but we lack the numbers to cover our territory if an all-out war comes. We need foot soldiers.” “I might be able to help with that,” Djarin offers, prompting a surprised turn from those in the circle around the holomap. 

Djarin makes his way across the desert in the N-1 fighter on his new quest. He spots a Jawa Sandcrawler with the skull of the Krayt dragon mounted on top, acting as a sunshade canopy, and circles it. In The Mandalorian Chapter 9: The Marshal, we see Djarin’s battle with the Krayt dragon with a number of unlikely allies taking down a large communal problem. It seems the Jawas laid claim to part of it as a trophy. Djarin has been making a lot of waves out in the Dune Sea with his recent adventures. The Jawa’s recognize his ship since they have helped bring in rare parts and excitedly point and wave as he flies away. You always remember a good tipper. 

Attempting New Alliances With Old Friends

Djarin brings the N-1 fighter over Mos Pelgo, landing at the edge of town. “You want to park your starship; you got to do it out there in the flats,” the new deputy swaggers over. Ignoring the suggestion, Djarin states, “I’m looking for Marshal Vanth.” “I don’t think you heard what I said,” the deputy says condescendingly. “I heard you,” Djarin affirms. “I’ll take it from here, deputy,” Cobb Vanth approaches with a big smile on his face. There is a pause as the deputy walks away out of earshot. “He’s new. Still a bit jumpy. Is that a Naboo starfighter?” Vanth excitedly changed the subject and showed himself to be a real prequel fan. 

“That’s what it started off as. Haven’t seen you since you gave up your armor. How have you been?” Djarin inquires. “More careful. Where’s the little guy?” Vanth asks about Grogu. “Back with his own folk,” Djarin simply explains. “That’s too bad,” Grogu leaves behind a big impression on people despite being small in size. “I guess we both lost something we were fond of,” Vanth commiserates. “Can I buy you a drink?” Djarin offers. Vanth takes one last look admiring the shiny antique ship. Freetown’s local cantina has gotten an upgrade since the last time Djarin was here. The ribs and spine from the Krayt dragon have been assembled inside, adding an extra source of ambiance. 

“I need you to lead a garrison. Your people are good fighters, and there’s plenty of credit in it for them too,” Djarin explains. Fett is more than happy to compensate the people of Tatooine who will stand against the Syndicate. “The peace is intact, Mando. We took out that dragon. My people don’t want to fight no more,” Vanth is straight with Djarin of the current mindset of his people. “Your town might be good for now, but it’s all part of the same planet. We need good people to step up, or the spice is bound to come through these parts,” Djarin is unaware of Vanth’s previous run-in with the Pykes. “As long as I’m here, that’s not a problem,” Vantha takes a drink, “so why should they risk their lives for this Boba Fett?” “Mos Pelgo might be good right now…” Djarin taps the table and reiterates his point as he gets corrected by the Weequay bartender, “ Freetown.” “It’s called Freetown now,” Vanth confirms. “We changed the name. Suits us better,” the Weequay goes on to explain. “Well, I fought side-by-side with the citizens of Freetown, and they’re brave people, and the Pyke Syndicate has us outnumbered, and we need your help,” Djarin reasons. “The town wants no part of it. That’s a city folk fight,” the Weequay again interjects. 

“Is that what you say too, Marshal?” Djarin pushes, wondering what the Marshall’s real stance is on the situation. “We’re square, you and me,” Vanth says, weighing the safety of his citizens carefully before he agrees to anything that may disrupt the peace. “Yes, we are. But I didn’t think you were one to back down from bullies,” Djarin calls Vanth out, knowing very well this lawman has a strong sense for justice and doing what’s right. “See, that’s what I like about you, Mando. That big smile of yours lets you get away with anything,” Cobb playfully teases. “There’s no easy way to ask for a favor,” Din openly admits. “I’ll tell you what. Things are tough around here, but I’ll see what I can do,” Vanth seems to want to help but knows his responsibility is first to his people and their wants and needs. Djarin nods. 

Vanth and the Weequay stand outside the cantina and watch Djarin leave in his starfighter. “Get the word out. I want all men and women of fighting age to come to town. I want to have a meeting,” it’s time for Vanth to have a town hall about what’s been going on in their territory. “It’s not our problem, Marshal,” the Weequay argues. “No, but it might be, after they hear what I’m gonna say,” Vanth wants to come clean about his recent experience and see if there have been any other ongoing issues with the Pykes. The Weequay goes back inside. 

A Lone Stranger on the Horizon 

The heat of the Tatooine suns distorts a new apparition on the horizon. Vanth immediately recognizes a threat, “Hey, Jo. Do me a favor and tell these people to head inside for a spell.” Jo takes a look at the incoming stranger, “Is something wrong, Marshal?” she asks. “I hope not. Just rather err on the side of safety,” Vanth being honest. 

Cobb Vanth walks out into the middle of Freetown’s street to square off with the visitor. The townsfolk head inside, as deputy Scott steps outside, “What’s going on, boss?” “Let me handle this, Deputy,” Vanth doesn’t want the amateur adding any extra distractions. “I’m not leaving you out here alone,” Scott stubbornly refuses. The stranger approaches and squares off, “Cobb Vanth,” the newcomer says in a dry, gritty, distinctive voice. “And who might you be?” wonders Vanth. “Whatever Fett is paying you, we’ll match, and all you’ve got to do is stay put and let things play out,” keeping his head low and eyes obscured. “Hey, the Marshal ain’t for sale,” the deputy unhelpfully offers from the sidelines. Vanth gives him an incredulous look. 

“I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name,”  Vanth carefully pries. The stranger finally looks up. A blue-skinned, red-eyed Duros with jagged pointed teeth. The stranger doesn’t give his name to Vanth, but he is a familiar face to the Star Wars universe: Cad Bane. 

“I’d be careful where I was sticking my nose if I were you,” warns the stranger. The Deputy starts slowly advancing, trying to be discreet. “Is that friendly advice or a threat?” Vanth asks. “Boba Fett is a cold-blooded killer who worked with the Empire,” the stranger reminds Vanth. “You tell your spice runners Tatooine is closed for business. This planet’s seen enough violence,” Vanth’s stance is becoming more evident as a direct threat is being sent his way. “You should’ve never given up your armor,” the stranger is well informed of recent events. News travels fast in these parts. The stranger draws back the left side of his long coat, revealing his blaster. Vanth instinctually moves for his blaster, ready for a draw. There is a prolonged standoff. 

Deputy Scott slowly inches his way toward Bane with itchy fingers ready to draw. Vanth can sense the amateur about to make a big mistake and takes his eyes off Bane. Bane draws and blasts Vanth. The amateur doesn’t even get his blaster out of his holster and Bane guns him down next with multiple shots. 

“Tatooine belongs to the Syndicate. As long as the spice keeps running, everyone will be left alone,” Cad Bane slowly turns and walks out of town. The people of Freetown come out from hiding and rush to Cobb Vanth’s side. “Is he okay?” “The Marshall, is he breathing?” Cobb Vanth is not moving. The Weequay looks after Bane as he’s leaving vengeance in his eyes. If Freetown wasn’t concerned about taking a side before, the Syndicate just forced their hand. 

A Sanctuary No More 

Two Pykes enter The Sanctuary, a cantina run by the Twi’lek Garsa Fwip, with a camtono. As always, The Sanctuary is lively and full of customers. Garsa notices the Pykes enter and speaks closely with the yellow Twi’lek server we have seen throughout the series. There is a black and white drum droid that looks to be a modified R5 unit laying down some solid, rhythmic beats. It looks like Max Rebo is either on break or took the night off. 

The yellow and green Twi’lek servers approach the Pyke’s table, “Can we take your helmets for a cleaning?” This gesture typically implies Garsa will pay tribute to them. The Pykes refuse the ‘cleaning.’ The two servers return to Garsa and shake their heads. The two Pykes get up to leave, Garsa watches them go, perplexed. She was willing to pay to keep peace. 

A server droid calls out, “Oh, wait! You forgot your camtono.” Realization lights Garsa's eyes as we see a massive explosion. The Sanctuary erupts in flames. The Pyke Syndicate has declared war. 

A Big Choice For A Little One 

The main building of Luke’s Jedi Academy has been completed. Luke sits cross-legged from Grogu with a maroon cloth set between them. Luke places the orange and white kerchief on the maroon cloth to his left and unwraps Din’s present for Grogu: It’s a small chainmail shirt made from Beskar. “The Mandalorian wanted you to have this.” Grogu gets up to go to his new present, “But before you take it, I will give you a choice. This is a lightsaber.” Luke ignites the blade, and Grogu makes little excited breathy noises in anticipation. “It belonged to my teacher, Master Yoda. And now, I’m offering it to you,” he places the lightsaber on his right with his gloved hand. 

“But you may choose only one. If you choose the armor, You’ll return to your friend, the Mandalorian. However, you will be giving in to attachment to those that you love and forsaking the way of the Jedi. But if you choose the lightsaber, you will be the first student in my academy, and I will train you to be a great Jedi. It will take you many years to master the ways of the Force, and you may never see the Mandalorian again because, Grogu, a short time for you is a lifetime for someone else,” knowing Grogu’s species can live for hundreds of years Luke is trying to give the child a realistic view of his connection to his human, Din Djarin. Master Yoda was 900 years old when he passed away in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. Grogu contemplates which path he will choose, looking at both items, back and forth, weighing what each means. “Which do you choose?” Grogu looks up at Luke. 

Conclusion

Easing back into the story, getting teased with a standoff between Cobb Vanth and the Pykes, I thought we would be seeing a further in-depth development between the Syndicate and Boba Fett since the tension is running high on Tatooine and we spent the last chapter solely detoured with Din Djarin. I was wrong. 

Getting to see Luke Skywalker’s Jedi Academy in the first phases of being built was a welcomed surprise. The intermingling of fates throughout Star Wars history is brought to the fore once again but left me wondering when we would return to Fett’s story arch. Djarin is eager to see Grogu, but the man literally gets benched by R2 and Ahsoka while we get an introduction of Grogu’s training with Luke. 

Let’s talk about Luke. The technology used to capture young Mark Hamill’s essence has greatly improved from when we saw him last in the finale of the Mandalorian Season 2. A popular YouTuber that goes by the alias Shamook was hired by Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light and Magic, also known as ILM, after they greatly improved the visual effects on a de-aged Mark Hamill and posted a side by side comparison on their channel. Since Shamook is now a part of ILM, we can assume they had a large part in helping the believability of making sure the visual effects of a much younger Luke Skywalker were pristine. Shamook’s alias is not credited for this chapter, but their real name remains unknown. Their work is phenomenal, and it’s great to see talent being recognized and utilized for the greater good of the galaxy. 

Grogu’s memory of his time at the temple, while Order 66 was taking place, was intriguing and still leaves us with a lot of questions. During his memory vision, there was a focus on one of the 501st, highlighting their helmet and T-shaped visor very reminiscent of the Mandalorian helmet’s T-shaped visor. Did Grogu feel kin to Djarin when they first met because he had grown to trust that familiar helmet? Who saved Grogu from the Jedi Temple? Was it one of the clones? Did the clones take Grogu to Anakin as he was descending into darkness? Maybe Grogu sensed Luke’s likeness to his father? We can only speculate at this point. 

Speaking of Anakin Skywalker… Anakin, Luke’s father, trained Ahsoka. Yoda, presuming he’s Grogu’s father, trained Luke. Luke is now taking on his former Master’s child as hopefully his first student with some help and guidance from Ahsoka. Ahsoka clearly adores Luke, reminding her of another life during the Clone Wars, when Luke’s father was once a good man. It was refreshing to see them all together, being the last of their kind, sharing some warmhearted moments after all they have each been through in their own turbulent journeys. When timing and the right circumstances align, we should note and treasure those quiet moments when we’re with our tribes. 

Djarin insisting on Grogu being given a right of a Mandalorian foundling despite returning him to the Jedi created a reason to see Grogu again. Once being expelled from his own Tribe for violating his creed, seeing Grogu again carried a weight it may not have before. Coming to terms with the code Grogu would have to live by if he followed the path of a Jedi was like watching a father realize his child was growing up and that child didn’t need to rely on him any longer. His conversation with Ahsoka shed further light on how different Mandalorian and Jedi creeds are in terms of loyalty and attachment. He was able to see Grogu from afar, ensuring he was safe and happy. But was left disappointed without a formal reunion with his child, understanding ‘this is the way’ Grogu will need to follow from now on if he is to be a successful Jedi. 

When Djarin returns to Tatooine to follow up on helping Fett, we get to see our man Boba Fett for a total of one minute and nine seconds. Yes, I timed it. Fett did not say anything during this scene, only offering a nod to Djarin on his arrival. The Pykes have been busy, and Fett and his crew have been making preparations. Djarin offers to try to add numbers to help support Fett’s endeavors against the Syndicate taking hold of Tatooine. Paying a visit to Cobb Vanth, an old friend and ally, Djarin attempts to rally Vanth’s support from the people of Freetown, showing he has diplomacy skills and is willing to take the initiative on behalf of a good cause. He leaves with no guarantee anyone would want to get involved and formally take a side. As far as Freetown is concerned, the Syndicate problem is not their problem. Yet.

A stranger arrives with a message from the Syndicate. Even though I was barely able to make out who it was within the first glimpse on the horizon, I knew who the Pyke Syndicate was sending to make a statement. I feared for Cobb Vanth and was not surprised by the outcome of the duel. I knew this character had a storied past with a younger Boba Fett: Cad Bane. Cad Bane was first introduced in The Clone Wars animated series. Cad Bane’s character design is inspired by the villainous Angel Eyes played by Lee Van Cleef from the classic western: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Cad Bane is one of the most notoriously ruthless and dangerous bounty hunters in the galaxy who leaves a trail of bodies in his wake and doesn’t care about collateral damage. He only cares about himself and the credits. This man knows nothing of loyalty, creeds, or tribes. The ante has been upped for the stakes of Tatooine. 

Luke giving Grogu a choice to determine his own future is something new for the Jedi. Before the Empire, the Jedi of the Republic would recruit its members shortly after birth, not giving the being a choice in their own destiny. The choice Grogu faced meant a beginning of a new chapter. That choice would cement his fate on that path. Luke presents Din’s gift of a beskar chainmail shirt and then offers Yoda’s lightsaber with the admonition that Grogu could only choose one. Will Grogu follow in the footsteps of his presumed biological father as Luke did? Or will he return to his adoptive father and try a new way of life very different from what is expected of him because of his force sensitivity? We’ll have to wait to see in the next chapter. 

What did you think of Chapter 6? Let me know in the comments!  

Book of Boba Fett - Getting to Know the Man Behind the Mask Chapter 5

THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS 

Chapter 5: The Return of the Mandalorian 

The title of this chapter is a throwback to Return of the Jedi. Immediately we are met with a shift in the storyline. In a Klatooinian meat processing warehouse, the Mandalorian, silhouetted in a doorway, walks in like he belongs there, finding his way to his quarry. Amid the noise, you can hear his armor’s distinctive clanking, reminiscent of the sound of spurs. “You look lost,” an unnamed Klatooinian states. I thought this was Boba’s story. Perhaps a jest as to why we’re seeing Din Djarin instead of Fett?  

“I’m here for Kaba Biaz,'' Djarin says, speaking directly to the one that seems to be in charge sitting at a table. He takes out the tracking fab from his belt, shows it, and puts it back, “He owes someone important money.” “Well, if I see him, I’ll let him know,” the lead Klatooinian dismisses him. “I see him right now,” Djarin persists, placing a holopuck on the table showing the Klatooinian’s face. “That’s not me. That doesn’t even look like me,” it’s clearly the same Klatooinian with the same facial piercings and distinctive face tattoo. “I’m going to give the rest of you the opportunity to walk out that door. I have no quarrel with you,” he’s offering the rest of the crew an easy out. Kaba Biaz insinuates that Djarin is surrounded and outnumbered, “You look like the practical type. Let’s discuss our options.”

Djarin pauses before delivering his signature line, “I can bring you in warm, or I can bring you in cold.” As he starts reaching for his blaster, a Klatooinian on his right makes a move and bites his hand making him drop the blaster. He headbutts the biter and turns to a second attacker coming at him from his left side punching him out of commission. The one behind him starts shooting at him. He is used to taking hits with the Beskar armor and steels himself for his next attack. 

He activates the Darksaber, spins, and takes a swing at the blaster happy baddie. He lets out an oddly surprised grunt as if he’s not used to the weapon’s feedback. Another attacker takes a swing with a meat cleaver, and Mando kicks him away. He punches another out and turns back to the one he kicked away in a slow circular motion dragging the Darksaber in an arc to finish him off. 

The blade seems heavy, which is unusual for a weapon of this caliber. He spins again and stabs another of the attackers straight through with the heavy blade but misjudges the weapon weight and arc, burning the outside of his left thigh in the process. A very accurate depiction of what can happen to someone who is not well-versed in using a lightsaber and is only just beginning to learn the weapon. 

Two more Klatoonians attempt to grab him, but he holds each on either side of himself, the three locked in a brief struggle before he can break free and swing the Darksaber, slashing the two offenders. Kaba Biaz gets up from the table and starts unloading his blaster into Mando’s back. Again, in the defensive pose, weathering the attack because of the beskar, he waits until Biaz is within grappling range, spins, sticks a knife into Biaz’s chest, picks him up and lands him onto the table filled with credits. He does a complete over the head attack with the Darksaber cleaving Kaba Biaz and the table in two. Kaba Biaz is coming in cold. 

The workers in the other room had stopped and gathered outside the door hearing the fray from within, only seeing shadows and shades of the fight through the semi-translucent doorway. Din steps out, with a bag in his hand presumably containing the head of Kaba Biaz, and sees the crowd, “Your boss is dead. I’m here to collect on his bounty. I have no trouble with any of you. There is a pile of New Republic credits in there that I have no right to. If you do me the honor of letting me pass, you all can help yourselves to whatever you think you deserve from your former employer.” The workers all look at each other in silent agreement; they are not looking for a fight. One starts to edge around Mando, giving him a wide berth yet wanting a chance at that pile of credits. The rest of them rush past him into the back room. He slowly limps through the warehouse making his exit. 

Glavis 

Glavis is an immense ring space station floating in the cold of space, with day and night cycles alternating throughout the ring. We see Djarin slowly limp his way to his destination stepping from night to day. He enters an elevator with a Caskadag who looks down toward the bag, slowly eyeing upward, checking out the Beskar armor. Din turns to look at them, and the Caskadag sharply turns back, acting like they were not just eyeing him up. Way to make an elevator ride even more awkward. 

The elevator door opens, and Djarin steps out into a sophisticated bar with ambient laid-back yet upbeat electronic lounge music. The patrons are dressed in the familiar flare of what we’ve seen in Coruscant’s nightlife in Episode II: Attack of the Clones. I love the aesthetics, and this place fits right in on the modern ring world. 

“That was fast. You’re a good hunter,” the mystery client admires in Huttese. “I would like my reward and the information you promised,” ever straight to business, he places the bagged head of Kaba Biaz on the table amidst the diverse party-goers enjoying dinner. “Why are you rushing business Mando?” presses the client. “My business is my own. Where is it?” he gently demands. “Sit and feast with us or I will tell you nothing,” urges the client. If he were to feast with them, he would have to remove his helmet, and that’s against his religion. Insulted, he says, “You can keep your reward. There is a bounty on the Klatoonian. If you won’t give me the information, someone else will.” He grabs the bag and turns to leave. “It’s down Kolzoc Alley by the heat vent towers.” He turns back, places the head on the table again, and claims the credits, “I’d put that on ice if I were you,” referring to the now cold bounty.

He makes his way back to the elevator. When he is alone, he checks the side of his left thigh where he incurred the wound from the Darksaber. Getting a closer look, it's bad, Anakin Skywalker on Mustafar bad. Charred skin around deeply burned muscle tissue. The elevator stops near the Klozoc Alley. As he approaches the location, he pushes some buttons on his forearm, which changes his visual perspective in his HUD (heads-up display). He starts seeing secret indicators of which direction to go, finally seeing a secret mythosaur skull painted above a nondescript door. Accessing the substrata of the station, he starts to climb down to the walkways but loses his grip on the ladder and has to catch himself. 

The Armorer kneels at the end of one of the walkways, with the belly of the city overhead and an undisturbed view of the starscape below. Djarin makes his way slowly to her, but his injured leg gives out at the bottom of the descent of the stairs leading to her. She turns, “Tend to him.” Paz Vizsla, voiced by Jon Favreau, the larger hulking Mandalorian in blue armor, approaches Din with a medkit and kneels to help him, “I didn’t know if I’d ever see you again.” “Thank you for saving me on Nevarro. I am sorry for your sacrifice,” Din is referring to the last time he saw his tribe who abandoned their covertness to help Din escape Nevarro with Grogu. In retaliation, the Empire massacred their now exposed tribe. “There are three of us now,” says Paz. Djarin is clearly in a lot of pain as his wound is being tended to.  

The History of the Mandalorians & The Night of A Thousand Tears

“What weapon caused such a wound?” inquires the Armorer. Din holds out the Darksaber. The Armorer orders Paz Vizsla to bring it to her. Paz carefully takes the weapon and reverently carries it to the Armorer. “All this talk of the Empire, and they lasted less than 30 years. Mandalorians have existed 10,000,” she activates it, “What do you know of this blade?” “I am told it is the Darksaber. Whoever wields it can lead all of Mandalore,” Din offers. “If it is won by Creed in battle. It is said one warrior will defeat 20, and the multitudes will fall before it. If, however, it is not won in combat and falls into the hands of the undeserving, it will be a curse unto the nation,” she sheaths the blade, “Mandalore will be laid to waste and its people scattered to the four winds.” “The hilt is of a quality of beskar I have never seen before,” Djarin notes. “It was forged over 1,000 years ago by the Mandalore Tarre Vizsla. He was both Mandalorian and Jedi,” she explains. “I have met Jedi.” Ascertaining that he has completed his quest, she says, “Then you may rejoin our covert as we rebuild.” “This is the way,” they each repeat. The Armorer returns the Darksaber to its rightful owner. Vizsla has taken an obvious interest in the blade.

Din and Paz get to work on setting up the Armorer’s forge. Vizsla inquires how Djarin came across the Darksaber. “I defeated Moff Gideon,” explains Din. “Did you kill him?” Paz asks a loaded question. “No. But he was sent off to the New Republic for interrogation, and he will face justice for his crimes,” Din prefers the course of diplomatic justice than brutal vengeance. “Death would have been justice for his atrocities,” Vizsla disagrees. “This is true. The blood of millions of our kind is on his hands,” the Armorer agrees with Paz, referring to the Moff’s participation in the Empire’s Great Purge of Mandalore. “Then he will be executed for his crimes by the New Republic Tribunal,” says Djarin, convinced his course was the better for justice. 

“We shall see,” the Armorer turns as the forge is fired up. She goes to unpack the rest of her tools, “The songs of eons past foretold of the Mythosaur rising up to herald a new age of Mandalore. Sadly, it only exists in legends.” I, for one, am hoping to see this Legend brought to life. The Armorer notes Djarin has acquired a beskar spear. He explains how it came to be in his possession and how he used it to defeat Moff Gideon. Djarin seems to fancy the spear and how it’s so far served him. “It can pierce beskar armor. Its mere existence puts Mandalorians at risk. Mandalorian steel is meant for armor, not weapons,” the Armorer makes a valid point. “Then forge it into armor,” he readily offers the spear. “The Darksaber is a more noble weapon for you to wield,” the Armorer immediately gets to work on the spear. Din takes his place next to the forge as she works, watching the process. 

“Have you ever heard of Bo-Katan Kryze?” asks Djarin. “Bo-Katan is a cautionary tale,” explains the Armorer as she further works on the spear. “She once laid claim to rule Mandalore based purely on blood and the sword you now possess. But it was gifted to her and not won by Creed. Bo-Katan Kryze was born of a mighty house, but they lost sight of the way. Her rule ended in tragedy. They lost their way, and we lost our world. Had our sect not been cloistered on the moon of Concordia, we would have not survived the Great Purge.” Bo-Katan was gifted the Darksaber by Sabine Wren in Star Wars Rebels and used it to rally the remaining Mandalorian clans in a resistance against the Empire. 

We see a flashback of TIE bombers over Mandalore coalescing in a major attack on its capital domed city Sundari which can be seen in The Clone Wars animated series. “Those born of Mandalore strayed away from the path. Eventually, the Imperial interlopers destroyed all that we knew and loved in the Night of a Thousand Tears.” The imperials decimated everything on the surface, leaving the planet scorched. Imperial Security and probe droids searched for survivors to finish them in the complete annihilation of the Mandalorian people. 

“Only those that walked the way escaped the curse prophesied in the Creed. Though our numbers were scattered to the winds, our adherence to the way has preserved our legacy for the generations until we may someday return to our homeworld,” the Armorer finishes recounting their turbulent history.

Not Ready to Say Goodbye 

“What shall I forge?” the Armorer asks. “Something for a foundling,” he clarifies, “For a specific foundling. Grogu.” “He’s no longer in your care. He is with his own kind now,” she reminds him. “I want to see him. Make sure he’s safe,” Din is not ready to leave Grogu completely just yet. “In order to master the ways of the Force, the Jedi must forgo all attachment,” she says. “That is the opposite of our Creed. Loyalty and solidarity are the way,” he reasons. Even if Grogu has accepted the path of the Jedi, Din’s way of life means he will forever be loyal to Grogu because of their attachment. “What shall I forge for the foundling Grogu?” the Armorer concedes. 

Metalworking montage; it’s a process to forge the toughest metal in the galaxy. We see small chain links in a pile which probably takes even longer to forge due to its delicate intricacies. Will Grogu receive his own chainmail? The Armorer wraps the finished piece in a small orange and white kerchief. How she artfully wraps it resembles the recipient. She gently places the wrapped gift into Din’s hands. 

The Blade Never Lies

In Mando’a: Solus. T’ad. Ehn. One. Two. Three. The Armorer and Djarin spar with the Darksaber. She dodges one of his attacks, and he follows through on his momentum from the swing and falls off of the walkway. “You are fighting against the blade,” she observes. He uses his jetpack to return to the walkway. “It gets heavier with each move,” he admits. “That is because you are fighting against the blade. You should be fighting against your opponent. Stand up,” she chides. He stands, but it’s clear the blade is indeed heavy as he drags it along the ground until he’s ready to strike again. They resume sparing, but he’s slow. She knocks him on the top of his helmet with her hammer with a loud ring that reverberates. Ouch. She grabs the lower end of the T-shaped visor with her tongs. 

Reset. Before he is able to get the Darksaber up in a defensive position, she strikes fast and presses the attack. They lock. “There. Feel it. You are too weak to fight the Darksaber.” As they are locked, she presses him into taking a knee. You can see the saber is heating the beskar tools, which she has been fighting with. “It will win if you fight against it,” she pulls away, “You cannot control it with your strength.” “I want to try again,” he says determinedly. “Persistence without insight will lead to the same outcome. Your body is strong, but your mind is distracted,” the Armorer senses. “I am focused,” Din lies. “The blade says otherwise,” she reminds him.  

“Maybe the Darksaber belongs in someone else’s hands. It was forged by my ancestor, founder of House Vizsla,” explains Paz. “And now it belongs to me,” Djarin evenly states. “Because you won it in combat. And now I will win it from you,” Vizsla states his intent. The standoff feels like a disagreement between two brothers. 

Duel of the Fates

“Do you agree to this duel, Din Djarin?” inquires the Armorer. “I do,” Djarin is not backing down from his claim to the Darksaber. The two Mandalorians face off. Both remove their jetpacks and place them to the side. Din removes the Darksaber from his belt and ignites it. Paz’s weapon of choice is a vibroblade and gauntlet shield. 

They approach each other with intent and purpose. Din strikes low at the shield, the blade still heavy in his hands. Paz strikes his blade between Din’s chest plate and pauldron, driving him back a few steps. Attempting to lift the blade in defense, Din fails and gets hit in the helmet by Paz’s gauntlet shield. Din is able to manage a telegraphed overhead swing, but it is met by Paz’s shield, and again the blade sinks to the ground. Attempting another wide arc from the left, Din meets Paz’s right gauntlet but bounces off. Paz tries to take advantage of the opening on Din’s right and goes to strike with his vibroblade, but Din sees it coming and lifts his left arm in defense, blocking the blow. Paz uppercuts him with his fist with a loud clang and slashes overhead with the blade again, which is met by the Darksaber cutting the blade's hilt rendering it useless. Paz stares down at the blade for a moment, and Din takes the opportunity to elbow him in the face. He tries to take another swing at Paz with the Darksaber, but Paz grabs the hilt. They are locked in a struggle over the blade. Din headbutts Paz and turns to elbow him again in the face. Din is able to swing the blade around for an upswing attack at the unguarded Paz. He pushes the attack. Paz takes a knee as Din swings down and meets Paz’s gauntlet. Paz alters his grip to occupy Din’s grip on the blade and returns the headbutt. Paz grabs Din, being much larger in size, throws him to a lower segment of the walkways. Din lets out a surprised noise as he falls. He took off his jetpack, so any type of freefall in this environment would not be welcomed as they are still in the underbelly of the city with nothing but open space below them. 

Paz jumps down with a loud thud and grabs Din as he is trying to recover from the fall, brutally throwing him against a pillar. Paz reaches down and claims the fallen Darksaber, igniting it. “Fate has brought this blade back to my clan, and now fate will end yours,” he exclaims as he takes a downward swing at a downed Djarin. Din is quicker and moves out of the way, stabbing Paz in the leg as he passes on his missed swing. Paz is struggling with the blade as well. Paz takes two more swings at Din but gets the blade stuck on the pillar. Din gets up, but Paz grabs him by the helmet and throws him once again against the pillar, downing him. Din gets back up and moves backward as Paz advances with the blade. Paz swings and gets stuck on the pillar again. Din jumps up and stabs Paz in the side and knee, where he knows there is a defenseless spot in the armor. Paz takes a labored overhead swing, but Din is quick and avoids it taking another slash at Paz and spins around behind Paz, grabbing him and placing the vibroblade to his throat. 

A Victorious Loss 

“It is done,” states the Armorer. “Paz Vizsla, have you ever removed your helmet?” she asks. “No,” he says.” “Has it ever been removed by others?” she inquires. “Never,” he says, defeated. “This is the way,” she continues. Paz repeats after her. As this exchange is happening, you can read Din’s body language shift, there is a cold realization of what is coming, and there is no way to avoid it. The reliance of subtleties in the building of a fully masked character is done spectacularly. 

The Armorer shifts her focus, “Din Djarin, have you ever removed your helmet?” He doesn’t respond. She presses, “Have you ever removed your helmet?” He remains silent. “By Creed, you must vow,” she reminds him. He lets go of Vizsla. “I have,” he admits. There have been two occasions where other living beings have seen his face: the first time with Mayfeld in the Imperial refinery obtaining information for the quest to find Grogu and the second on the bridge of Moff Gideon’s ship saying goodbye to Grogu as Din turns him over to Luke Skywalker. 

“Then, you are a Mandalorian no more,” a heavy statement from the Armorer. “I beg you for your forgiveness. How can I atone?” he pleads. “Leave, apostate,” Vizsla says. “According to Creed, one may only be redeemed in the living waters beneath the mines of Mandalore,” she offers. “But the mines have all been destroyed,” Din says. “This is the way,” there is a finality in the Armorer’s statement. They stand in prolonged silence. Djarin reclaims the fallen Darksaber along with his jetpack and leaves the new enclave without another word. He’s been banished from his Tribe. 

Commercial Flights & Security Checks

He makes his way to the spaceport and is forced to take a commercial flight because his Razor Crest was destroyed. As he tries to board, an alarm sounds, and he is greeted by an RX-Series droid, “Excuse me, sir. You're going to have to remove your weapons.” “I’m a Mandalorian. Weapons are part of my religion,” Djarin says. The calm perky droid is persistent and states he will have to remove his weapons to board the commercial flight. “Fine,” Din takes the ticket for the cargo container. Unarming montage, the Darksaber being the last weapon he parts with. “I know everything that’s in there,” he reminds the droid. Personally, I’m not sure I could part with the Darksaber. He boards the starcruiser. 

Window seat, gazing into the void of space, contemplating what’s transpired, Din turns to look at a child Rodian who’s intently peering at him from over the back of his seat. The child waves and its mother pats the child, reminding them not to be rude and to turn around and face forward. This child reminds him of his child. He reaches for his present resembling Grogu and looks at it, contemplating his little green friend. The ship lands in Mos Eisley. Din is greeted by another RX-Series droid and finds all his weapons intact in the case. Nothing is missing. 

Return to a Spunky Mechanic 

In Peli Motto’s hangar bay, a BD unit cutely wanders into view, shortly after getting grabbed by a womp rat. BD units were designed as small companion droids programmed to be the assistant to explorers alone in the field. BD-1 appears in the video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. This kind of droid is rare to see in the galaxy because its manufacturer went out of business many years prior. 

Peli is taking potshots at the rodent disturbance, “Treadwell, get in there and move that engine block so I can blast it.” Treadwell does not go to move the engine block. “No? You can’t say no. You’re a droid. What is this, a democracy all of a sudden? R5?” Remember the R5 unit that had a bad motivator in A New Hope? “Fine, I’ll take care of it,” Motto says, her odd collection of droids cowering in fear behind the spunky mechanic wielding a blaster. “Come out, come out, wherever you are,” she chides as she slowly moves toward where the rat was last seen. She screams, and something takes her down behind the engine block. She hangs on to the edge, trying desperately not to get dragged away. “Oh, it’s got me! It’s chewing!” 

Enter Djarin. He blasts the womp rat, and it lets go of Peli. “What an entrance!” she exclaims as she gets up. She checks on BD. The little droid seems okay, but its right leg seems injured. “Hey, look, everyone. It’s Mando.” The droids don’t seem as enthused as she is to see him, but he doesn’t really care for droids, so I’m sure the feeling is mutual. “What do we owe the pleasure? You here to slay another dragon? Chasing down some elusive bounty?” she recounts his recent adventures. 

“I got your message,” he says. “Message. What message?” She is genuinely confused. “You said you found me a replacement for the Razor Crest,” he reminds her. “Yeah, that's right. That’s what I said. That’s what I do. I’ve been working my butt off, yeah. Did you bring the cash?” she inquires. She instructs the droids to count the money he hands over and fire up the grill before the womp rat gets gamey.

“Where’s the Razor Crest?”

“Where’s your unlikely companion?” she inquiries of Grogu.“I returned him to his own kind,” Din explains. “Why the hell would you do that? I could’ve made good money off that thing. Open a petting zoo,” ever the entrepreneur. I mean, she has a point. I would pay good money to go hang out with Grogu at Peli’s Petting Zoo. “Ready to have your mind blown?” She unveils the ‘ship’ from under a heavily dust ladened cover. “Where’s the Razor Crest?” Djarin exasperatedly asks. “I never said I had a Razor Crest. I said I had a replacement for a Razor Crest,” Peli reasons. “I don’t have time for this,” he turns to leave. “Hang on a second,” here comes Peli’s hard sell, “Do you have any idea what this is? This is an N-1 starfighter handmade for the royal guard and commissioned personally by the Queen of Naboo.” “This is a pile of junk,” he’s not sold. “Droids, bring this lovely man his money. Sorry to waste your time.” 

Caption: The N-1 Starfighter as seen in Episode I: The Phantom Menace in its original condition 

She heavily sighs, and there is a shared awkward silence between them. “While we’re waiting, can I tell you a little something about this honey? I know she doesn’t look like much, but you got here a lot earlier than I expected, and I didn’t get a chance to finish. I mean, clearly, you can see I’ve got all the parts right here. It all has a home.” This ‘ship’ clearly has seen better days and is in pieces; long abandoned, it will need a lot of work. “You know how hard it is to find all original parts from way back in the Galactic Republic?” As Peli is making her way around the ship, Din starts taking a closer look at it. “I mean, these are all handmade. No droids.” That’s quite a selling point for him. “And not only that, what I’m gonna do, just because I like you, is I’m going to add on some custom modifications that’ll make her faster than a fathier, and because this baby’s pre-Empire, she’s off the grid. And did I mention she can jump into hyperspace with no docking ring? I mean, come on! You gotta see the potential.” She pulls off the last sheet so he can get a good look at the entire piece. “I’m telling you, Mando, you gotta believe me. This is a classic. Look, at least let me put her together before you decide. Can you give me that? Get this baby up and goin’. You know it’d be a lot faster if you helped,” she offers him a wrench. Peli Motto knows how to make a sale. 

Parts are everywhere. Djarin is a car mechanic lying under the grounded starfighter working on its underbelly. The little BD droid is working on getting the lighting just right for him. “Great news. I found you a turbonic venturi power assimilator. You’re going to be the fastest ship on the Outer Rim,” Peli celebrates. “Where did you get this?” Din inquires. “It’s brand-new. Well, Jawa new,” she goes on to explain that she gives the Jawas a list of parts she wants. They go and find whatever she needs under a strict “don't ask, don’t tell” policy, “Tatooine is a garden of many bounties.” Djarin wants to meet the Jawas. Peli asks R5 to summon them, admitting, “Dated a Jawa for a while. They’re quite furry. Very furry,” she makes a weird licky face, “Lot of issues.” Din shrugs unphased, nonjudgmental. The Jawas enter the hanger. Peli speaks Jawaese, “They said make a wishlist, and they’ll see what’s available.” The Jawa says something to Peli in Jawaese. “Oh, that’s okay. I’m working on me right now. Just go find the parts.” She turns back to Din and shakes her head, “Furry.” 

Fixing the ship montage: Djarin sanding the yellow paint off one of the engines, Peli fixing the cockpit display’s wiring and finding a scurrier inside, both cutting the underside of one of the wings, the pit droids trying to find the right parts. “I don’t know why you’re always in such a hurry. Build me a ship. Fix my blaster holes. You know, I never went anywhere, and look how good I got it. You know, I’ve never even been off-world. That’s all right. I’m a local gal,” Peli admits while they’re working. Din finds some of Peli’s modifications, and she explains why her way will be more efficient overall. With all of this ship-building montaging happening, I feel like I know more about Djarin’s new ship than I do my own car. 

“Where does this panel go?” asks Din. BD scans the part and holoprojects where it should be placed on one of the engines. “Thanks, little guy,” Din seems to be warming up to the little droid, and the droid is excited to be helping. They get the canopy in place over the cockpit and part of the 2 Nubian 221 sublight engines in place with the pit droids.

The Jawas approach with one of the requested parts. “That was fast. Where did they get a cryogenic density combustion booster?” Din asks. Peli speaks Jawaese again, “They said they crawled under a Pyke spice runner and crimped it off while they were refueling.” “Gutsy little fellas,” Din is impressed. “Let me tell you something. Pykes do not mess around. Ever since they’ve been moving spice through the system, everything’s gone to hell. Everyone’s afraid of ‘em, and law enforcement won’t even go near ‘em,” Peli explains Tatooinie’s current situation, bringing us back to the series' ongoing conflict. “Well, thanks,” Din throws the Jawas a few credits.

Quite the Pair 

Dawn of a new day on Tatooine. The now silver N-1 fighter stripped of all but a few yellow stripes of paint gleams in the sun as the pit droids glide it out of the hangar. Din walks around the ship hesitantly, admiring her. Din noticed the droid port had been changed, “I figured with your disposition you’d wanna forgo the astromech,” Peli knows him well. He continues revering the ship, Peli looking on, noticing his change of opinion toward the once pile of junk. A stringed version of the Mandalorian theme plays. He looks good with his new ship; they make quite the pair. “Think she’s ready?” he tentatively asks. “Ready as she’ll ever be. Start her up,” Peli urges.  

After giving the ship a little more juice, she turns over, and the engine starts up powerfully. “That’s a lot of engine for a little ship. Shouldn’t we run a diagnostic first?” he worries. “Nah! I can hear her! She’s purring! Send her up!” Peli wants to see what the ship can do. The N-1 Fighter gradually rises above Mos Eisley. “She handles a little bumpy,” he admits at first. “You’re used to a gunship, but she’s a starfighter, so fly her like one,” reminds Peli. “Okay, I’ll open her up,” engines fully engaged, he takes her out of the city, “Dank Ferrick, she’s fast.” “Point your navigational disposition between the two suns. You’ll come up to Beggar’s Canyon,”  Peli instructs, then asks, “How's the handling?” “ Tight. She tracks like a railspeeder,” he says. “Let’s see what she’s got.” Djarin pulls out of Beggars Canyon and straight into the atmosphere. 

Check Out the Beggar’s Canyon Run From Episode I versus Din Djarin’s Test Flight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HstwEUUGfYY 

We see the Rodian child and its mother again on a commercial flight. Din pulls up alongside the star cruiser in the N-1 Fighter. The child stands up and takes note of the shiny little ship. Din gives the kid a nod and buzzes the cruiser. He’s out for a joy ride as he’s testing the controls, looping the ship. An alarm starts to beep. Dank Ferrick. It’s two New Republic X-Wings. What a buzzkill. 

“Was I doing something wrong, officer?” Djarin inquires as he is getting pulled over by the authorities. The first X-Wing pilot goes on to state the law about not flying so close to a commercial ship, operating without a beacon, engine model not matching the power drive, title tabs, sending a ping, the whole nine yards of bureaucratic rundown for the legalization of a starship. Djarin remains calm and respectfully explains the situation of the newly built ship and taking her for a test run. The X-Wing pilot wants Djarin to relinquish the controls so these officers can help him get things sorted. The second X-Wing pilot, Carson Teva, finally speaks up, “I think we can let him off with a warning this time. One thing before you go. Your voice is mighty familiar. Did you used to fly a Razor Crest?” Teva was in one of the X-Wings that tracked Djarin with the Frog Lady passenger when the Razor Crest crashed on the ice spider world, Maldo Kreis, “That ship showed up on a transponder log back in Nevarro in an incident involving Imperial remnants. I’m just connecting some dots here. You mind answering a few questions?” Djarin looks over and activates his sublight thrusters. He’s gone. “There’s no trace of him on our sensors. We reporting this?” Lieutenant Reed asks, played by Max Lloyd-Jones, who was also a double for Luke Skywalker in the Mandalorian. “You want to go back to base, fill out reports all day?” Teva retorts.   

“Well, how was it?” Peli asks on Din’s return. “Wizard,” he says. What a great throwback line of Kitster, Anakin Skywalker’s friend in Episode I. Speaking of old friends… “By the way, an old friend of yours dropped by; she said she was looking for you. Don’t worry. I told her I didn’t know where you were. Then I locked her out and engaged the hangar security system,” Peli has Din’s back. “She tell you her name?” he asks, genuinely curious.  

"Wizard"

“Fennec Shand,” Fennec calls from one of the rafters of the hangar bay. Fennec descends fancifully. “By any chance, are you looking for work?” she approaches with a pep in her step, “The pay is good,” she offers as she tosses him a bag of credits. “What’s the bounty?” Djarin asks. “No bounty. We need muscle,” Fennec explains. “Boba Fett,” Djarin understands. “He sure would appreciate it,” she states. “Tell him it’s on the house,” he tosses the credits back to her, “But first, I have to pay a visit to a little friend.” 

Conclusion

Intrigued by Mando’s current situation and slipping deep into the escapism the Star Wars universe easily offers, I felt like this next phase of the story needed to be told at this particular moment. We are seeing how there are unique intricate facets of the universe, each playing a key role in larger events yet bringing our main characters together to achieve aligned goals in massive galaxy-altering story arcs. 

I didn’t mind stepping back into Djarin’s life for a moment to see how his story would cross once again into Fett’s. We were all ecstatic to see Boba make his appearance in The Mandalorian Season Two. As much as I love Fett, it felt fair to welcome Din back into Boba’s story, as the larger story starts to foreshadow the two of them becoming brothers in arms. The obvious respect for each other, along with Djarin’s eagerness to help Fett out with his current situation on Tatooine shows a growing camaraderie between the two. Perhaps Djarin is redefining what he has always thought was family? 

Din and Boba’s lives share a similar tragic arc. Both were orphaned in the Clone Wars, finding their way to hunting as a career path. Boba figuratively died in the sarlacc pit and put to rest his old life, to be reborn into a new life with grander aspirations. Din started to experience internal change as he discovered the true meaning of family with Grogu. His priorities shifted, and now he has been shunned by his tribe because of two occasions he prioritized Grogu over his own vows to his strict order. Both men have come to realize that they are stronger with loyal ones at their back rather than alone. Boba and Din, both the last of their ‘tribes,’ have forged an inevitable friendship and bonds of loyalty true to the Mandalorian way. 

I find it interesting they decided to do a full rundown of Mandalorian history within the Book of Boba Fett and not in the Mandalorian. Could they be foreshadowing a story arc that will intertwine both men’s fate? Fett has his eyes set on grander goals and may be able to help Djarin realize his full potential now that he’s acquired the Darksaber. The Book of Boba Fett seems to be setting the stage for a much larger tale. 

Bryce Dallas Howard knows how to weave a seamlessly flowing story where we crave to see more. Once we realize we are at the end of her Chapter, we can’t wait to see what’s in store for the next as we get new glimpses into the events of the Star Wars universe as the story continues to unfold. 

A brief summary of Chapter 5: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evMEJT0STp4 

What did you think of the transitioning story of Chapter 5? Let me know in the comments! 

Book of Boba Fett - Getting to Know the Man Behind the Mask Chapter 3

THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS

Chapter 3: The Streets of Mos Espa

 Forever Altered

As the chapter starts, we see a throwback to a familiar horrifying background creature, a B’omarr monk, skittering toward the new Daimyo’s palace. Essentially these extreme monks are enlightened beings who opted to have their brains removed from the physical body and placed into a jar in a spider-like walker droid.  It’s nice to see a familiar aspect of the palace return to its home. The palace was originally the B’omarr monks' monastery. Over time, smugglers and crime lords adopted this structure as their own safe haven. Most who rose to power left the monks to their own devices, content with living side by side with them. This opening, simple as it may be, is heavy in foreshadowing what is to come. 

In the Daimyo’s court, 8D8 seems hesitant to offend his new boss by mentioning the previous being in power, Jabba. Fett does not care if previous powers are mentioned. The dead will not hurt his ego. 8D8 then explains the three families of Mos Espa: The Trandoshans who control the city center, the Aquila presides over the worker’s district, and the Klatooinians control the spaceport and upper sprawl of the city. Bib did not have the power of Jabba. He relied on uneasy alliances to preserve his tribute and title. “Where does that leave us now,” Fett asks. “Everyone is waiting to see what kind of leader you are,” states the droid.  

A vassal, Lortha Peel, played by Stephen Root, seeks an audience with the Daimyo without an appointment. Fett is willing to see him despite the breach in protocol. “No one respects you.” What a way to start the conversation. Peel claims the streets have turned to chaos.

An interesting note about this conversation is Lortha tends to heavily rely on alluding to specific events and dances around directly broaching certain topics. Fett quietly demands those who rely on this form of communication to state what they mean and spell out what they are thinking to have a clear view of what exactly he’s dealing with. That way, there will be no confusion from clear, concise communication. State what you mean.

Lortha Peel is a water broker for the moisture farmers. He takes a percentage from them, acts as a middle man, and sells water to the locals. The problem he claims is a gang of youths who are half men and half machine who modify themselves to make themselves more deadly. They’ve been taking his water and not paying what he is charging. He promises the Daimyo double the tribute if he solves the problem. Fett makes a comment about growing up surrounded by water. 

 "If There's A Bright Center Of The Universe, You're On The Planet That's Farthest From."

Fett walks the streets himself, accompanied by his usual entourage of Fennec and the Gamorrean guards to observe and solve the issue. He follows the sound of the driving bass of a trap music mix with a hard electric hook mixed in reverberating down the open streets. (I want a soundtrack from this series). He finds the gang, youths who have undergone mechanical modification to suit their personal identities. This group stands out as extremely different from the rest of the beige Tatooine setting. The colorful gang seems to wish to be anywhere other than on this backwater world, with their wardrobe, modifications, and larger world views reflecting youths from the Core worlds. They are out of place on this desert world with their shiny enhancements and shiny rides. Their rides remind me of the colorful speeders on Coruscant we saw in Episode II, which was inspired by George Lucas' film American Graffiti. This part of the episode drew a lot of inspiration from Episode II, in which we met Boba’s father, Jango Fett. We saw a bit of the Coruscant underworld, and there was a nice colorful speeder chase. 

The Daimyo confronts the gang about their water theft. They openly admit to stealing the water with no remorse and claim it’s a crime what the water broker is charging: a month's wages for a week's worth of water. “Look, old man,” states one of the girls, Drash, the gang leader played by Sophie Thatcher.  “My name is Boba Fett.” He is again reinforcing his name and his right to rule. “I am the Daimyo of this district, and I will bring order.” ‘You’re a crime boss like the rest of them,” Drash shoots back. It’s a glaring contradiction. He discovers they have no work, which is why they have been stealing water. He takes his helmet off and states, “Then you will work for me. You’ve got guts; I’ll give you that. You better fight as good as you talk.” 

The water broker comes out of his shop and demands that the gang owes him 1300 credits. “For water?!” Fett is visibly angry at this price. “Take the 500 and consider it resolved if you want to continue to do business in my territory. If you don’t like it, you can move to Mos Eisley (the den of scum and villainy). And cut your prices.” His word is law. 

Grainy Transition to the Past

In the Bacta Pod, a returning dream haunts Boba where he is a boy on Kamino watching Jango, his father, leave for a job. Not long ago, he saw this same vision in his vision quest for the Gafferdi stick. We flashback to his time with the Tuskens. We see him on a somber trek across the Dune Sea atop a Bantha in it’s slow lumbering course. As Boba enters the city atop the beast, clothed in his robes of the Tuskens, he sees clues of the Empire's fall. Stormtrooper helmets streaked in blood and scorch marks are on pikes in clear display for all. Do those familiar helmets remind him of his own origins? Peli Motto, the spunky mechanic we were introduced to in the Mandalorian, and her droids make their way through the streets in a cameo. 

Fett approaches where the Pyke syndicate is located in town. They are expecting him. “Protection arrangements are all a part of doing business in the Outer Rim,” the Pyke leader, voiced by Phil LaMarr, understands how business is done. There is a catch: The superiors on Oba Diah are unwilling to pay protection to more than one party. The Kintan Striders, a bandit gang, are already collecting payment for the territory that belongs to the Tuskens. Fett argues the sands have belonged to the Tuskens since before the oceans dried. The Pyke leader is firm; the syndicate is willing to do business with one party, not both. Fett states he will resolve this problem and return. 

As Fett returns to camp on his Bantha, he sees smoke in the distance. The camp has been decimated by the bandit gang. The Tuskens are all dead. The Kintan Striders left their mark on one of the tents to send a warning. Fett is just one man, but he will stop at nothing to complete his goals once he’s made up his mind. 

“Not just the men, but the women and the children too.”

Fett lies to rest the bodies of his fallen clan, cremating them just as they did when they took some losses from the train skirmish in the last chapter. He adds the Gaderffii of the fallen to the fire. He adds one last stick, which is much smaller than the rest, the training stick from his little friend whom he saved from the sand beast in the first episode. This child clearly looked up to Boba throughout their unlikely friendship and was so proud of Boba as he became a part of the clan. Fett takes a moment to mourn his losses. He once knew family with his father, Jango, and he gained another with the Tuskens in his rebirth. Yet again, he is alone. 

Abruptly he is awoken from his dream in his Bacta tank by Krrsantan. The Wookiee gets the jump on the vulnerable Daimyo and makes the most of his advantage in this fight. The Daimyo is without his armor or any weapons and gets thrown around extensively in this fight. 

Weapon of Choice

Fett makes it over to his weapons and chooses his ready-to-go Gaderffii (gaffi stick), which he lodges in the Wookiees massive back. Krrsantan bear hugs Fett attempting to break his back, crush his ribs, and burst his organs. People like to whisper about Wookiee dismemberment being terrible, but getting an aggressive bear hug would be a worse way to end a fight. 

The youth gang steps in to even the odds in the fight. They’re a scrappy bunch who work well together, and they do know how to fight. Their numbers are in their favor, and Krrsantan makes a run for it straight into the Gamorrean guards. The Gamorreans are loyal to the new Daimyo and take damage. The modified youths catch up and surround Krrsantan as he’s standing on the pit’s grate in the throne room. Fennec once again pulls the lever to send yet another tumbling into the pit.

Once Krrsantan has been caged. Fett demands the Gamorrean who took damage get to his bacta tank for healing. The new Daimyo shows he is loyal to those loyal to him. He wants his people in tip-top shape because there will be many more attempts on his life with how things are going. 

 Mixed Messages 

“Enjoy the trappings,” Fennec chides as she digs into a banquet. It’s clear Fett has other things on his mind. “Everyone is watching. Waiting for me to make the next move. I must respond. I have to send a message.” Fennec thinks locking Krrsantan in the dungeon is enough. The gears are turning in Fett’s head, and he thinks this will just give the Hutts another opportunity to strike. They did warn him to sleep lightly. 

As he is musing over an untouched feast fit for a king, 8D8 apologetically interrupts, “The Twins are here. They have brought a gift.” The Hutts have come to apologize. They admit to sending the wookiee to kill him but come bearing a gift. Talk about sending mixed messages. The Twins offer the new Daimyo a rancor, along with a handler for the beast. Danny Trejo makes the perfect rancor trainer. Fennec seems very impressed with the gift of the rancor.

Fett warns the Hutt Twins to clear off Tatooine, and he would consider a truce. They agree but admit to leaving for a reason other than Fett. “There is something you should know.” “We have both been lied to.” “This territory has already been promised to another syndicate.” The Mayor, Mok Shaiz, is making promises and deals that are beyond his to make. The Hutts again state they don’t want a war because it’s bad for business. They recommend Fett leave Tatooine as well. 

The Daimyo offers to release Krrsantan back to the Hutts, but they decline, saying the Wookiee is a part of their tribute. If the Daimyo doesn’t want him,  he could sell Krrsantan to the gladiators. “Release him.” Fett does not barter and sell beings. Addressing Krrsantan, “ No hard feelings. It’s just business. Take it from an ex-bounty hunter, don’t work for scugholes. It’s not worth it.” 

 “Quite the gift.” 

Fett inspects his new beast in the pit, wondering why this monster is just lying there. “It’s depressed. Rancors are emotionally complex creatures,” explains the handler. Fett asked why the rancor is wearing blinders. “It’s a calf bred from champions for fighting,” the rancor trainer explains he saved this one to train himself. The blinders are because rancors imprint on the first human they see. Rancors are actually quite peaceful unless threatened. Over time the beast can be loving. They’re powerful fighters but form strong bonds with their owners, which explains why Jabba’s rancor handler was visibly upset, breaking down in tears when that beast was vanquished by Luke Skywalker in Return of the Jedi. “It is said that the witches of Dathomir even rode them through the forest and fens.” This lore runs deep in the Star Wars universe and was further cemented in canon by this statement. 

Fett surprises the handler, “I want to ride it. I’ve ridden beasts ten times its size. Teach me.” The handler seems reluctant and warns of the time and discipline it will take to master the bond. Fett is adamant, “We begin today.” Boba clearly feels drawn to this creature, kin to its nature, being bred to fight from champions much like his own origin. He already seems at ease with the beast and genuinely smiles at it. Boba was fascinated with the beasts fighting in the gladiator pit on Geonosis as a boy. He seems to have not lost that boyish fascination with large ferocious beasts later in life. 8D8 tries to interrupt the Daimyo as he is bonding with the creature, and this is the first time Boba tells the droid no. 

The droid's message is important; the Mayor is putting the Daimyo off once again. That won’t do. The Daimyo poses up and heads into town, now flanked by his new addition of the mechanically modified youth gang. Once in the Mayor’s office, Fett and Fennec are met with excuses of the Mayor’s schedule being complicated. Fennec threatens violence if they’re not let in to see the Mok Shiaz. His Twi’lek aid seems to weigh his next move carefully. He disappears behind the door, locking it behind himself. Fennec immediately opens the door panel and unlocks it with a quick snip of her knife. 

“Dank Farrick”

The office is empty. Fett and Fennec rush out to see the Twi’lek escaping in a speeder. The shiny speeder gang of youths takes off after him. They chase the Twi’lek through the streets of Mos Espa, making quite the splash. These speeders are not geared to go incredibly fast in residential and business areas. It’s clear that the Twi’lek is not a great pilot and keeps making amateur mistakes. The gang finally maneuvers, so he crashes in the marketplace. The Daimyo makes his entrance via jet pack. The caught assistant admits the Mayor is working with the Pykes. 

Fett plants eyes at the spaceport and gets the report that confirms what others have been saying: the Pykes are arriving in large numbers on a commercial starline. This is just the first wave. They’re going to war. “Then we will be ready,” the Daimyo states. 

 Conclusion

This chapter had layers. The Daimyo is still struggling to assert his dominance over his new territory with various aspects of minor squabbles and issues, leading to discovering much larger problems at hand. He seems to be gaining allies of worth with his steady, level-headed approach. His demand for clarification in his political dealings is going to safeguard him in the future. He’s winning over allies with his promise of loyalty for loyalty, in which he is sharing his domain with those who are helping him secure it. 

He remembers the Tuskens, who welcomed him into their clan. They gave him a second chance at life, and he is determined not to waste it. Their loss took a heavy toll on him, but he won’t forget why they did for him. 

The acquisition of a new ‘pet,’ the rancor, was a fun twist in which we were able to get a glimpse of a softer side of Boba, who clearly adores it. If he is able to tame this beast, will he eventually get the chance at taming another much larger, legendary one? I have some theories of where the story arc is headed. My hopes are high, and the story has not disappointed yet. 

This portrayal of Boba Fett is living up to every expectation I had for his character. He is a complicated man but is sticking to his guns when it comes to his own personal moral code. He wants business to be fair for all involved and on the level. If business parties are happy, then squabbling will be nonexistent, and money can be made. He understands the finesse and intricacies his new role demands. But how will the Daimyo face the new threat from the Pyke Syndicate? Will this greater threat force him to compromise? 

What did you think about Chapter 3? Let me know in the comments!

11 Films You Need To Watch After The Book of Boba Fett

Not sure what to fill your Star Wars streaming gap until the upcoming Obi-Wan series? Check out these Westerns and samurai films.

Star Wars creator George Lucas was inspired by the American Western and Japanese samurai cinema films he grew up with. At the core of those films is typically a solitary male hero who's an expert fighter with a past life that he is eager to put behind him, a willingness to help others in need, and no hesitation to make sure people get swift justice for their crimes. He lives by his weapon and a strong moral code.

Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni brought a more explicit version of this core character to Star Wars in the form of Star Wars: The Mandalorian. When Favreau got his friend and fellow filmmaking genius Robert Rodriguez to direct some Mandalorian episodes, the creators doubled down on their commitment to these genres. Now, Rodriguez carries that forward as the showrunner on Star Wars: The Book of Boba Fett

If you're enjoying what they've brought to the Star Wars universe, check out these films. Fair warning, though, some of these are for mature audiences and not typical of what you'd see on Disney+.

Robert Rodriguez, Jon Favreau, and Dave Filoni have brought in some amazing directors, writers, crew, and cast to usher in this new era of Star Wars storytelling.

Stagecoach (1939) 

Where to find it: HBO Max

What to expect: When this film was released, filmmaker John Ford was already an established filmmaker who'd spent 30+ years building the landscape for the early 20th century Western. Stagecoach is an ensemble piece that includes legendary Western actor John Wayne. The motley group of strangers makes a multi-day journey in a stagecoach, a form of 19th-century public transportation consisting of a carriage pulled by a team of horses. If you can get past the comically stereotyped versions of women, Mexicans, and Native Americans in Stagecoach, you'll appreciate its adventure and humor. (Also recommended by my dad!)

Star Wars moments similar in this film: 

Some of the ensemble cast of Stagecoach (1939).

Seven Samurai (1956)

Where to find it: HBO Max

What to expect: Seven Samurai is one of the most revered projects by legendary Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. This ensemble piece is set in 1586 during Japan's Sengoku period, a time that had similar chaos and conflict to the 19th century West in the U.S. The film is also my favorite acting performance from the incomparable Toshirō Mifune. You'll find that the Samurai films of the 1950s and 1960s reflected a lot of the same themes and storylines of classic American Westerns. It's even hard to say who influenced who between the two genres with similar themes and storylines reflected in both.

Star Wars moments similar in this film:

The hired samurai help the villagers prepare to defend themselves.

The Magnificent Seven (1960)

Where to find it: for rent from Amazon Prime, or on Apple TV+

What to expect: John Sturges translated Seven Samurai into the classic American Western genre, and it's great to watch it side-by-side with Kurosawa's original. It featured an all-star cast with Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, and more. There was a remake of this film in 2016 that I admit I haven't seen, but I'd love to hear any thoughts you have on how it stacks up to the original.

Star Wars moments similar in this filmA blend of the things I listed in Seven Samurai with the Western settings and tropes you would see in films like Stagecoach or Shane (1953)

This classic trailer for the The Magnificent Seven (1960) features a cheesy-yet-catchy theme song.

Dollars Trilogy (1964-66)

Where to find it: for free (with ads) on Roku TV or for rent from Amazon Prime, or on Apple TV+

What to expect: Sergio Leone created iconic films that started a subgenre: the Spaghetti Western. These films shared settings and tropes with American Westerns, but they were created in Europe with a mostly European cast and crew. The Dollars Trilogy refers to three consecutive films with separate stories but one common theme: they star Clint Eastwood as a master gunman and antihero, a wanderer trying to earn some money while keeping to a moral code. The films are A Fist Full of Dollars (1964), For A Few Dollars More (1965), and The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (1966). Lee Van Cleef is a counterpoint to Eastwood in the second and third films, and Eli Wallach (also in The Magnificent Seven) rounded out the title trio in the third film. The success of these films in the U.S. resulted in a revival and evolution for the Western genre for American filmmakers.

Star Wars moments similar in these films:

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly also makes for great memes.

Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance (1972)

Where to find it: HBO Max

What to expect: If you have followed many internet reviewers of The Mandalorian, you may have heard buzz about it being a modern take on a 28-volume Japanese manga from the 1970s, Lone Wolf and Cub, by writer Kazuo Koike and artist Goseki Kojima. This film is the first of three adapted from the manga by director Kenji Misumi. Samurai cinema favorite Tomisaburo Wakayama plays a shogun's executioner, Itto, who is framed as a traitor during a political power play. After losing their household and livelihood, Itto and his son, Daigoro, become wanderers (ronin). In their travels, they get caught up in a series of adventures that involve helping others and fighting off bad guys.

Star Wars moments similar in this film:

Itto assembles a naginata out of parts of Daigoro's cart so he's ready to fight, even if disarmed.

The Train Robbers (1973)

Where to find it: for rent at Amazon Prime and other services

What to expect: Even as Leone changed the landscape for Westerns in the 1960s, director Burt Kennedy and actor John Wayne (then in his 60s) sustained Ford's American Western-style from the 1940s and 1950s. The Train Robbers features a group hired to recover stolen gold hidden in the wreckage of a missing train engine. Ann-Margaret co-stars with Wayne in a female role that ditches the heavy skirts and perfectly curled hair for dungarees and a cowboy hat. If you're watching this film for the first time, you'll definitely not want to miss Ricardo Montalban's lines right at the end! 

Star Wars moments similar in this film:

Mexico Trilogy (1993-2003)

Where to find it: The first film for rent on Amazon Prime; second and third films are on Netflix

What to expect: This three-film series follows a man known only as El Mariachi. The film El Mariachi (1993), famously made for only $7000, was the launch of Robert Rodriguez's career as a writer and director. This led to his meteoric rise and a higher-budget sequel two years later, Desperado, with Antonio Banderas as El Mariachi. Banderas reprised the role in 2003 to round out the trilogy in Once Upon a Time in Mexico. The storytelling styles and directing nuances in these films are part of Rodriguez' signature, and they've found their way into his work in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett. Throughout Desperado and Once Upon a Time in Mexico, you'll probably also recognize a lot of other familiar faces.

Star Wars moments similar in these films:

For a profile of Robert Rodriguez as a director, check out this IMdB Director Supercut:

Also don't miss these other productions:

It's hard to narrow down a recommendation list like this, but you can help me extend this list in the comments! Let me know what other Westerns and samurai cinema films you'd recommend to fans of The Book of Boba Fett or The Mandalorian

Also, don't miss Candace Bissonette's series for more on Boba Fett:
Book of Boba Fett - Getting to Know the Man Behind the Mask

Book of Boba Fett - Getting to Know the Man Behind the Mask Chapter 2

THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS

Chapter 2: The Tribes of Tatooine 

“Sometimes fate steps in to rescue the wretched,” states Fett. After the skirmish in the streets of Mos Espa in Chapter 1, we are left with a lot of questions. One stands out the most: Who wants Boba Fett dead? With a prisoner in tow, Fennec Shand makes her long trek back to Boba’s palace. Fett & Fennec attempt to interrogate the assassin, but the prisoner remains silent, only speaking to hurl a curse at the Daimyo. “We spared your life after you tried to take mine, and you curse me?” Fett’s frustration is growing with the ongoing insolence around him.  

We learn from 8D8, the droid that has been frequenting Boba’s court during meetings, that the assassin is of the order of the Night Wind. Fett seems intrigued. He’s used to being the hunter, not the hunted. Fennec is completely unimpressed, “Overpriced. You’re paying for the name. They’re just people in hoods.” It makes me wonder what Fennec thought of Boba prior to their meeting. Were clients just paying for his name as well? 

Fennec’s disdain for this assassin is apparent. “Perhaps he fears the rancor,” she states as she triggers the trapdoor and the assassin plunges into the pit. Fennec’s ability to read people is spot on yet again, and the assassin confesses as to who hired him: the Mayor of Mos Espa, Mok Shaiz. As the door rises, it reveals a lone rat in the pit. Technically now two rats and no rancor. 

Where Is Your Pomp and Circumstance? 

It’s time to visit the mayor. The small parade back into Mos Espa includes Boba, Fennec, the assassin, and the two Gomorean guards. The group is met with more insufferable disrespect when they arrive to meet the mayor. “Do you have an appointment?” “I didn’t see your litter arrive.” Fett storms into the mayor’s chambers. Mok Shaiz, voiced by Robert Rodriguez, acts like he doesn’t know who the new Daimyo is. “You know damn well who I am. If you don’t know who I am, then why did you send this man to kill me?” Fett growls at Mok Shaiz. Shaiz orders the assassin killed. These assassins are not allowed to operate outside of Hutt space, and he thanks Fett for turning him in, giving him a reward. 

“I am not a bounty hunter.” Fett is clearly trying to make a new name for himself, elevating himself from his previous position. “I’ve heard otherwise,” Mok Shaiz is content with treating Fett as he would a hired gun. 

The mayor offers a warning of the complications of running a family and gives the new Daimyo a lead to visit Garsa’s Sanctuary again. Begrudgingly following the mayor’s information, the ensemble goes to pay her a visit. Garsa then informs them that the Twins laid claim to the territory. The Twins are Jabba’s cousins. The sound of steady beating drums is heard approaching. It seems like the Hutt’s litter has arrived with the usual customs the people are used to seeing from the Daimyo. 

Black Krrsantan makes his first appearance as an intimidating figure hired by the Twins. Boba is familiar with Krrsantan and references his past of being trained as a gladiator.

You can cut the tension of the stand-off in the street with a knife. Fett makes it clear that this territory is his, and he has earned it by killing Bib Fortuna, who for a short time took Jabba’s throne after the Hutt’s death. “If you want it, you will have to kill me for it.” The Hutts decide against starting a war. “Bloodshed is bad for business. We can deal with this later.” They decide to handle the dispute at a later time. Fennec alludes to the fact Fett would have to get permission to kill the Hutts. The Hutt clan is one of the biggest, well-connected crime syndicates in the galaxy. Putting a hit out on one of them means taking a stand against all of them. 

 Back to Bacta

Once again, we are getting a glimpse of Fett’s time in the desert before taking the title Daimyo. The Tusken’s are now treating him more of an equal than a prisoner. They are training him in their form of combat, teaching him to use the Gaderffii or Gaffi stick. The clan seems invested in his advancement, even if he struggles to master the fighting form at first. Both parties in training seem frustrated with each other, yet that doesn’t stop the training session. 

The training session is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of a train. Sharpshooters from the train take potshots at the Tuskens as it passes through their territory. The Tuskens take heavy losses from the surprise encounter. The Tuskens mourn their family and tend to the wounded that night. Fett happens to catch a glance of the bandits, the Niktos, on speeders pass not far from where the clan is encamped. 

Fett is tired of the useless slaughter and approaches the clan leader, saying he could stop the train. The Tuskens let him go, and he sets out on his own. He tracks the bandits to Tosche Station.

Right before Fett arrives, we get a glimpse of local life. A quiet cantina is turned rowdy with the presence of the bandits. Laze and Camie, a young couple, are trying to mind their own business. A deleted scene from A New Hope featured Camie at Tosche station. This couple knew Luke and Biggs Darklighter. They never chased dreams off-planet but instead settled for the simple life. This couple gives off the feeling they knew the settlers the Niktos bandits killed. The thugs start taking their food and drink, imposing their presence on the couple. “It’s not right!” exclaims Laze. A scuffle breaks out, and it’s clear the Niktos will win this fight just by sheer numbers. 

Fett Walks Into A Bar

A fight breaks out. Fett downs the Niktos, leaving the bartender and human couple untouched. His mission here was a simple one: retrieve the speeder bikes. He ties them together, bringing his own makeshift train back to the Tuskens. 

On his return, it’s clear he already has a plan in mind. The gears are turning in his head, and his goal is to solve this ongoing problem. As he approaches the chief, the other Tuskens start to disable the speeder bikes. The Tuskens have long stuck to their primitive ways in the desert for survival, so Fett will need to overcome their predisposed dislike for these advanced mechanical rides. He has to reason with them to stop their dismantling, saying, “No. These are mine. This is how we stop the train.” 

With his newfound trust won with the Tuskens, he sets to work at teaching them his ways. Their ongoing communication is backed with sign language to ensure the communication is clear. They have eased into a comfortable friendship with each other, and they have a mutual understanding they are now allies.

“It’s Like Riding a Bantha”

Fett has his work cut out for himself in teaching the Tuskens how to ride the speeder bikes. He starts out with the basics, which results in one of the most gif-able situations in the series. I enjoyed watching the Tuskens learn to pilot and get their bearings jumping from one speeder to another. Practice makes perfect as they try and try again to perfect their new skills. 

While Fett is teaching the Tuskens, he does not stop training with them in the use of the Gaderffii, or gaffi, stick. Trust and respect start to run deep as his instructor starts showing a more sportsmanlike attitude toward Boba. 

A Clan of Tuskens on Speeder Bikes Pull a Train Heist

Fett leads the attack. It’s obvious he trained them well. They seem comfortable in the task at hand, and they know what they must do to eliminate this threat. Fett teamed with the Tuskens make a good team with different backgrounds in fighting skills. The clan chief makes a dramatic appearance to help turn the waning tide in the Tusken’s favor by slamming a speeder straight into the train and barely clearing the jump to aid in the fight. Fett reaches the control and brings the train to a stop. 

With the train halted, Fett addresses their captives, a group of Pykes. Pykes are best known for their distribution of the illicit substance of spice (basically space crack.) Spice is harvested by slaves in mines on the planet Kessel. Fett wants to know if they are carrying spice on this train. The leader plays dumb at first, but the Tuskens immediately uncover a very large stash. Fett sets up some new rules for the Pykes, letting them know, “These sands are no longer free for you to pass. These people (the Tuskens) lay ancestral claim to the dune sea.” Letting them go free with their lives, pointing them in the right direction, Fett lets them know their passage is under the watch of the Tuskens, and going free is a sign of their civility. 

“I Thought He Was A Part of the Dream”

It’s clear the Tuskens have accepted Fett as one of their own. The matter of officially making him a part of the clan is at hand. They give him a gift, a small lizard, saying, “Now this will guide you.” As soon as the lizard is revealed, it jumps at Fett’s face and climbs into his nose, disappearing. He seems apologetic for losing the lizard immediately and somehow handles the situation with a diplomatic grace that understates the fact that a lizard just disappeared into his sinuses.  Doesn’t that tickle or hurt? This shows Fett’s calm and collected disposition that can stand the test of whatever unexpected or bizarre trial he may face. The chief explains that the lizard will guide Fett from inside his head.

Fett goes on a vision quest, being overtaken with hallucinations of the Dune Sea transforming into a literal rolling great sea of water, reminiscent of his homeworld Kamino. There is a massive gnarled tree atop one of the crests. As Boba gets closer to the tree, it begins to entangle him, which brings back memories of being smothered and trapped within the Sarlacc pit. He sees a vision of himself as a boy watching his father leave Kamino in the Firespray on Kamino. He breaks free from the tree and is rewarded with a dry branch. 

He makes his way back to the camp, where he is welcomed by the chief, who calls back the lizard, which crawls back out of Fett’s nose. “I thought he was a part of the dream.” 

The clan starts Boba’s final rite of passage. They clothe him as one of their own in their ceremonial garb. The child he saved excitedly leads him to the crafting station, where they teach Fett how to craft his very own Gaderffii stick. Boba is attentive to detail and has an eager willingness to learn their technique so he can incorporate it into his own life and adopt his newfound skills. Fett was orphaned at ten, and the Tuskens welcomed him into their family, accepting him as one of their own. They end the ceremonial day at night around a fire where they start the movements of war which turn into a tribal dance in which they all partake. He is now one of them. 

 Conclusion

Fett presently has much work to do as the new Daimyo. He is determined to do things his way and enact new standards overriding long-entrenched traditions and ideas of what his position means for those he presides over. His overall goal is to bring stability to this area’s ongoing bickering factions. He’s a shrewd businessman and knows there is more profit to be made when there is clear, concise communication between the powers that be. He wants to avoid an all-out war and offers compromises without wavering in his stance and vision. 

His time with the Tuskens has proven to be a true rebirth. His vision quest where his past met his present helped us see as an audience the transition from his old life to his new one. He returns, determined to embrace the change. 

Perhaps the time in the Sarlacc made him reevaluate his own priorities? He’s earned the reputation of the best bounty hunter in the galaxy, yet he seems ready to take the next step into something much larger than just business for himself. He will have to prove himself all over again in this new role. Will he be able to succeed as Daimyo? 

What did you think of Chapter 2? Let me know your favorite parts in the comments! 

Our Journey As Female Gamers Part V - Featuring Brandy Brown & Samantha Drake

When you grow up as a gamer, it’s interesting to hear experiences of how others got into gaming and why they have continued pursuing this hobby and passion. Everyone’s path is unique, and each person’s preference for the games they hold dear may speak about their very own character in the real world. 

I talked with Brandy Brown (she/her) and Samantha Drake (they/them) to delve further into this topic. Brandy’s father made sure to be a part of the technological advancement of in-home gaming units for his family as soon as they were available, which has exposed Brandy to many different worlds throughout her gaming life. Sam’s father and cousin played a role in their early years, opening the path to a lifelong hobby that has inspired Sam to further creative endeavors and passions. 

I wanted to know what path their journeys have taken to be a gamer and their take on the gender gap in the video game industry.

Let’s get to know them better: 

How did you become a gamer, and was there a specific influence that led you down this path?

Brandy: I have been a gamer for as long as I can remember. When the first gaming consoles became available for in-home use, my dad made sure we had one. That was 1982 for the Colecovision, I believe. We had an old computer (you know the old white box) hooked up to our old TV with the click dials and antenna. My dad is an engineer and always got us involved in one nerdy project or another. He brought home some of the first computers and consoles. I’d say my dad was a huge influence, but I also have to think that growing up, watching Star Wars and Star Trek was a big influence also. The futuristic gadgets fascinated me, my dad, and my brothers so we were always involved with games somewhere.

Sam: I’ve been a gamer for 15 years, give or take. I was first exposed to gaming through my father’s Atari Lynx, which I played on often as a child. Then my first step into ‘modern’ gaming was with my cousin’s Gameboy advance. I then just casually played Nintendo games until, through the encouragement of the male friends in secondary/high school, I bought into Xbox and PlayStation games. I picked up both the Atari Lynx and the Gameboy out of pure curiosity. Nobody had forced it into my hand or asked if I wanted a go; I just wanted to see what it was for myself. My cousin was very supportive, though, and allowed me to play the few games she had whenever I visited.

Little Sam with Crash Bandicoot

What are some of your favorite games you grew up with and why? What kind of gamer are you? Do you like challenges? Is it more for the social aspect? Do you prefer games that are puzzles or have a relaxing element to them? Has that preference evolved over time? 

Brandy: Honestly, I played the crap out of Smurf Rescue on the Coleco, and I loved playing Space Invaders on my Aunt’s Atari. They were basically mindless fun. You push yourself to get better and better scores each round, and each round becomes harder and harder. It was the challenge. I’m all over the place. Sometimes I love the social aspect of gaming and have played a lot of MMOs on PC. I was involved in guilds and the giant 40 person raids. When that became tiring, I also loved playing solo or single-player RPGs. I also like super chill building-type games like My Time at Portia and some puzzle games that are great for unwinding after stressful days. I do like a challenge occasionally, especially when trying to figure out the best way to down that pain in the ass boss. I mostly just like the fact that games let me turn my brain off. 

(In Smurf Rescue, Smurfette has been kidnapped and is being held atop a platform in Gargamel's castle. You play as a smurf to rescue her. You have to encounter many obstacles along the way.)

Sam: I absolutely loved playing Halo 3 with my friends from school and Simpsons Hit and Run, but games like Club Penguin, Animal Crossing: Wild World, and Super Mario Bros were my bread and butter growing up. I am either a really casual gamer (I pick it up once and then not touch it again for months) or an ‘I’m going to sit here and excessively play this game until I forget what time of the year it is’ gamer. There is no in-between. I prefer games that have a role-playing element to them. If I can escape reality within it, I will likely love it. Games like Stardew Valley scratch an itch when I’m in need of immediate escapism, but when I want to spend a lot of time away from the world, I’ll jump into a rich story-based game. As a child and maybe a bit into my teenage years, I would have said I prefer video games for the social aspect of playing online. I kept the stories to the books, and video games were essential to my social circle.

Sam loves to immerse themselves into the wonderful world of Club Penguin to Animal Crossing to Super Mario Word. 

Throughout the years, have you noticed a shift in women gamers? What’s been your personal experience with this?

Brandy: When I first started playing MMO’s 20 or so years ago, there were very few female gamers that I ran across but now it seems to be a considerable shift and feels almost a 50-50 split. It’s a great thing because female gamers bring so much to the table. I feel like it helps balance the gameplay much better (especially in guilds). 

Sam: I actually was very lucky to have been sheltered from the toxicity women experienced when I was younger. As I’ve grown up and put more of myself online, I have definitely felt a shift in how grossly women are treated as gamers. I feel as though the group of boys I kept to, in secondary/high school, somewhat gave me immunity to it all because if I joined a lobby with them, the people who didn’t know me were told that I was ‘good.’ The boys I hung out with would laugh when I was bad at a game, but it was more laughing with me than at me. The first time I played Halo with them (or ever), I surprised both myself and them with how well I did. There were jokes because I was the only female in the group, which I just fought back with sarcasm or even played along with them. I feel as though there has always been a stigma around female gamers that I just never addressed or acknowledged back then because they were my friends. In recent years, discrimination because of gender within gaming has been more evident, especially in the comments that some men make when seeing a female exclaim about their favorite games or even making unsolicited comments through the anonymity of a Twitch chat. I have had backseat gaming, disgusting questions, and sexist jokes made at my expense, more so within recent years.

Have there been any specific female leads in games over the years that have inspired or motivated you? How did they do so? 

Brandy: I usually always play RPGs versus a single-player game where you play a specific character. I tend to have my own avatars, which are always powerful women, and I guess I create them in a vision of who I would like to be myself. In the Star Wars the Old Republic MMO, I always liked Satele Shan, the head of the Jedi council. Her wisdom and insight is always an inspiration for me. She is far from perfect and makes mistakes, but she does her best to lead the Jedi council in the best way possible.

(Satele Shan, a descendant of the legendary Jedi Knights Revan and Bastila Shan, encountered many challenges in the turbulent time she lived in a galaxy far, far away. Her wisdom and insight helped guide the way for the Jedi of her time.)

Satele Shan

Sam: Immediately, the character of Lara Croft comes to mind. I have always been obsessed with adventure and discovery. Seeing Lara Croft and the franchise around her has always been a huge motivation for creating adventure within my own life. My love for history has always existed, but seeing the female leads within the Assassin’s Creed series (Evie and Kassandra are the two I have personally played) further pushed my love for historical events and legends. They have inspired me to write historical fiction with female protagonists because of how well their characters are written. The persistence and determination of the female leads have always pushed me to be better within myself, giving me a goal for where I want to be even if I can’t raid tombs or run within Victorian London myself.

Evie & Kassandra have bridged the medium from historical fiction to modern-day gaming and inspired Sam to write their own historical fiction featuring complex female leads.

Do you feel that women have been underrepresented as leads in games throughout the years? Have you noticed a shift in recent years? Expand on this. 

Brandy: Absolutely, they are underrepresented. Even now, gaming and gaming development is still a very male-dominated industry. I believe they are trying to make a shift. Uncharted Lost Legacy, Hellblade, and others have been created in the past few years, and that gives me hope that there will be many, many more. Even in AC Valhalla, you are given the option to play as a female Viking, which I believe is a very important shift.

The gaming industry has made a shift at representing strong, diverse female leads that guide us through many challenges, yet they resiliently rise to conquer the conflict. 

Sam: Absolutely. As I look up at my physical game shelf, I can only point out one game where you have to play the female lead. There are a few where there is the choice to play a female or male lead, but only one where the story surrounds a female character that the player has to play. The number of games with male leads that you cannot choose who you play is ridiculous. Most of the games within recent years have been giving you the option to choose which gender you play, which I think is progressive but does not exactly mean all is well. Some people will still complain about even being given the option to play a female character. It seems that the default is still male when it comes to story-based games. It has gotten better. I feel indie titles are better at creating diversity within their characters, but bigger studios are definitely catching up.

Some of us are streamers: 

What’s been your experience with becoming a streamer? 

Brandy: I won’t lie. It’s been tough. It seems that so many people are streamers now that you almost have to have a gimmick to get any attention. The females that get the most attention tend to be more sexualized, and that disappoints me. I will never and can’t ever be that way, so I will sit in the back and enjoy my games. 

Sam: It was a slow burn with building up a channel that I am proud of and enjoy. Friends were and continue to be supportive, and I was lucky to not receive a lot of push-back from the Twitch community. A few bots here and there, some disgusting comments that were easy to remove, but nothing that I haven’t been able to handle.

What are some of your favorite things about streaming versus your least favorite things? 

Brandy: I like sharing some of the games I enjoy with others that may not have seen them. I like laughing and goofing off with friends in streams. My least favorite thing is how hard it can be to get an audience and it gets very discouraging. 

Sam: My favorite thing about streaming is the community aspect. It’s like playing video games with your friends, just hanging out and having a laugh. I get to share my favorite games with people that may never get the chance to play them or even influence others to get the games they enjoy watching me play. I know a lot of people have picked up Stardew Valley after watching me stream it for many, many hours, and getting to share that experience with them is wonderful.
My least favorite thing is people backseat gaming or the men that come into my chat feeling entitled to know my personal life… That’s a big one. It doesn’t happen very often, but being friendly on a stream does not mean that I can be walked over, as these few and far between seem to think.

For the most part, though, streaming is an absolute joy.

Sam plays Stardew Valley while chatting with her Twitch community. (I got into Stardew Valley after watching Sam stream, and now it’s my wholesome addiction. Thanks, Sam!) 

Back to gaming:

What is one of your favorite achievements in your personal gaming history you’ve accomplished? A game you’ve beaten, an achievement reached, or a charity stream goal achieved? 

After Brandy took a long break from console gaming, she beat her first console game, Jedi Fallen Order. 

Brandy: My favorite achievement is actually getting back into console gaming after so many years of doing nothing but PC gaming and beating my first console game, Jedi Fallen Order. I was pretty proud of that. 

Sam: It’s not so much an achievement but a personal goal that I have embarked on. A friend of mine passed, and the next day the new entry into his favorite franchise was announced. I have since been saying that I will play it in his memory and I finally got around to playing it this past year. So, to me, that is a personal achievement that I have reached within gaming.

Video games have evolved significantly in the last few years in regards to diversity and strong female leads. What more would you like to see from the industry in the future?

Brandy: More female game devs in leadership positions. 

Sam: I would absolutely love to see more story-based games with female leads. Well-written characters and plot. Oh, and I’d love to see some more games where the female is independent, with no romantic interests, and it’s just women being badasses.

I really appreciated the journey that both Brandy and Sam have taken to this point as gamers. Getting into technology in their younger years, changing consoles and game types, and being inspired by strong female leads in their own lives has helped me see how far the gaming industry and gaming communities have come. Playing and streaming online has presented challenges, but having supportive friends helps keep the online experience positive. 

As gaming communities continue to grow in diversity, there is an ongoing call to see this diversity reflected in the video games played by this growing audience. Gender gaps and stigmas are slowly being called out and not tolerated by the many. The video game industry is heeding this call and making needed adjustments in long-entrenched habitual male leads and common story arcs. We have come a far way within the last decade. However, there is still more representation, diverse character types, and complex storytelling that can be developed within the medium of video games. I look forward to seeing what the gaming industry will do to further meet this call within my lifetime.

I’d love to hear about your personal journey in the comments! Do you relate to any of Brandy or Sam’s experiences? 

Check out their socials!

Brandy - Twitter: @watery_tart19 | Twitch: twitch.tv/watery_tart19 | Instagram: watery_tart19

Samantha - Twitter: @SamLDrake | Twitch: twitch.tv/SamLDrake | Instagram: iamsamdrake

Book of Boba Fett - Getting to Know the Man Behind the Mask Chapter 1

THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS

I’ve been waiting a very, very long time to see Boba Fett have his story told on screen. I was ecstatic to hear about the release of the Book of Boba Fett

I fell in love with Star Wars when I was ten years old. George Lucas re-released the original trilogy in theaters in 1997, and my parents took me to see the films for the first time. I was captivated. 

Empire Strikes Back was my first glimpse of the mysterious helmeted figure of Boba Fett. I soon delved into  novels, comic books, and video games, where the universe expanded. I discovered there was a lot more depth to this onscreen two-dimensional character. He had one heck of a story. As the layers were peeled back and glimpses of his present and past unfolded, he quickly became my favorite character in the franchise. He thought himself a simple man, yet his character revealed he was far more complex than he liked to let on. That was part of his legacy. 

Here is the conundrum: Everything I thought I knew about Fett might be wrong. Once Disney acquired Star Wars, if it wasn’t in the film or animated series, it ran the risk of being *gasp* Legend. Would the character I grew to love simply vanish and diminish into the ether? The memory of the great man be undone and re-written in a way that insulted fans like myself?

Let me give you a rundown of the first chapter and see what story unfolds. 

Chapter 1: Stranger in a Strange Land

Jabba’s palace lies quiet and nearly desolate, long silent are the raging parties and booming laughter of the deceased Hutt and former crime boss. We get our first view of Boba submerged in a Bacta pod, vulnerable, dreaming of his recent return to the living. What led him here? 

Awakened in the Sarlacc's stomach rumored to digest its prey over a thousand years, Boba does what he does best: survive. Cutting through the Sarlacc, he makes his way out and digs himself out from a deep grave. We don’t know precisely how long he has been here, but it’s been long enough for the Sarlacc's digestive fluids to penetrate his gear and for him to run out of his own supply of oxygen. Covered in stomach acid, the harsh sands of Tatooine cling to him like any hope for survival. I was surprised his immediate reaction was not to turn around and detonate his jet pack’s missile straight into the pit, but this went to show how bad of a state he was in. 

Disoriented and still on the brink of death, the Jawas find him and strip him of his beloved, iconic armor. The Jawas have proven to be an ongoing menace throughout the galaxy. Barely hanging on and drained beyond exhaustion, the mask he’s been hiding behind for years is now gone. Beings throughout the galaxy respect what the armor stands for, but Fett’s reputation and brand are known by the bold green, red, and gold-colored Beskar. It’s rumored he chose his colors for the responsibility he felt for avenging his father’s death and the responsibility to live up to his legacy. If Boba survives this, will he still hold the same respect if he can’t get back his armor? 

 The Sarlacc, Jawas and Tusken Raiders. Oh My!

Boba is unlucky enough to meet all three within a short time. The Tuskens have plans for their new prisoner. Burned, scarred from acid, delusional, dehydrated, being dragged through the sands of Tatooine, a notoriously harsh planet as notorious as his own reputation. It’s fitting we see him resurrected here in a resounding contradiction from the water world Kamino where he was born. His survival through these extreme circumstances is a true testament to his grit, endurance, and will to survive against all odds. 

Resurrected from the harsh sands of Tatooine is a stark contrast from where he was born on the stormy water world of Kamino. 

The first line of basic (what English is referred to in the Star Wars universe) in our story is nine minutes in: “Rodian, do you want me to cut your bonds?” A foreshadowing of his intent on a larger scale, perhaps?  Boba is offering an alliance so they can both have a chance again at freedom and survival. It doesn’t go well. The Rodian is a snitch and gets Boba in trouble with the Tuskens. The first battle of wills between Boba and the Tusken clan. 

The term Daimyo originally comes from the Japanese, meaning "great name" or "large estate."

We’re brought back to the present, where Boba is still healing after his stint in the desert. “The dreams are back,” he greets Fennec. We see him suit up and take the throne as the new Daimyo, a great moment of significance. 

 Politics and Tribute 

“We really need a protocol droid,” clear communication seems to be an ongoing problem for those who bear this title. We see roles reversed as the rank of power has shifted as one of his former employers' approaches and offers the hide of a Wookiee as tribute. “I used to work for that guy, ” Fett says as Robert Rodriguez, the director, approaches as a Trandoshan. 

Boba once hunted Wookies and wore their braids as trophies

Not all are in favor of the new Daimyo, as we soon see the Mayor send a delegation not offering tribute but asking for tribute. Fennec is quick to resort to the immediate power play of killing the offender, but Boba shows himself to be a smart man by looking at the larger picture and setting forth to resolve this… misunderstanding. He never got upset but was calculated in his response. 

Mos Espa, in all its sprawling glory, expects the new Daimyo to hold to certain standards and traditions, but Fett is uninterested in pomp and circumstance. He chooses to walk the streets himself rather than be carried in a grand display. Fennec keeps reminding him, “Things will go a lot smoother if you accept their ways.”  Fett is sticking to his guns with his intent to rule with respect rather than fear.  

Fennec chides Boba to go along with certain grandiose customs, so Boba takes her advice on a minor issue of having his helmet serviced, replying with her very own words on his reasoning.

Meeting Garsa Fwip a Twi’lek, played by Jennifer Beals, at her cantina, the Sanctuary, Boba is straight to business. I really hope we get a Max Rebo band album soon because he was laying down some jazzy tunes. Garsa Fwip, ever the great hostess, most likely is used to having to cater to the whims of the Daimyo. She seems slightly relieved yet dismissive of Fett’s businesslike no-nonsense approach. She has her business to run, and so does he. She pays tribute in New Republic credits which lends a clue to where we are in the grand timeline of Star Wars.  

Shortly after leaving The Sanctuary, Fett and Fennec are ambushed in the streets by a band of assassins. It’s clear someone or many people want him dead. They are surrounded by masked, shield, and electro-blade-wielding baddies. Once the fight breaks and Boba blows up one of the assailants with his wrist rocket, Fennec gives chase with instructions of taking one of the two escaping alive. She is highly skilled and easily deciphers who will give up the information they are looking for. She only needs one of them alive. 

Well, that escalated quickly.

The fight took a lot out of Boba as we see him forced back into the Bacta pod for more healing. 

The cinematic fuzzy filter transition from the present day to his past lets us know we are once again in his dreams and reliving his past. 

 A Tusken kid and his dog (massiff) take two prisoners for a walk to find water. 

Along the way, they encounter a settlement being raided by bandits. The bandits are harsh and excessively violent. Even Fett averts his gaze as they kill their victim. Fett may be the best bounty hunter in the galaxy, but he doesn’t enjoy violence and unnecessary suffering. The way his character is subtly being built and reinforced will bring us a greater understanding of who he really is moving forward. I am glad to see this as it stays true to who I know Boba Fett to be. 

As Fett and the Rodian dig for the precious life-giving water, the Tusken child and its massiff (dog creature) lay not far from them. Boba, upon finding water, does not ask permission to drink but takes what he knows he needs to survive. The kid isn’t happy about it and wastes the rest of the water to show who’s boss in their current situation. 

The Rodian unearths a beast hiding in the unforgiving sands. The new, unfamiliar creature kills the snitch and turns on Fett. Survival instinct kicking in, Boba goes to work and kills the new beast with the chains that bound him just as the beast was closing in on the Tusken child. This earns his tentative freedom, and he follows the kid back to camp as the kid totes the head of the beast as a trophy, barking in the unique Tusken tongue about what just transpired. Fett has proved he’s more useful, not as a prisoner but as an equal. The episode closes as one chieftain offers his water pod to Fett as a silent thank you and gesture of respect for returning one of their own. 

Son of Jango, unchained.

Conclusion

As the credits roll, the theme song starts its crescendo. It reminds me of a haunting sea shanty with tribal elements tying his past with his present. A steadfast cadence that signifies his life as it starts and goes darker in its elements yet builds into a hopeful, uplifting melody ending with somber horns. 

Listen to it here:

The story builds slowly as we observe who the man Boba Fett really is. I appreciate the delicate approach and the reliance on subtleties throughout this introduction. We get to judge and interpret his story as it unfolds, as the layers peel away. As much as I love the action Mandalorians tend to ensure wherever they go, I am enjoying the slow, realistic portrayal of Boba’s quest for survival. It’s clear his return to society has taken time, along with his healing process from the event of the Sarlacc pit. He’s a highly skilled man with limitations when the odds keep stacking against him, but his perseverance is rewarded time and again. Sometimes the solution to the problem isn’t violence with a quick blaster fight or calling on the mystical energies of the universe in a grand display of power. Sometimes the solution lies in sheer determination and pacing yourself to get to where you need to be. Fett shows himself to be a patient man, and that proves to be a strong virtue. Temuera Morrison has done a phenomenal job in his portrayal of the beloved character of Boba Fett. 

Tell me what your favorite moments were in Chapter One in the comments! Is the story living up to your expectations? 

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