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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?