To cut off any accusations of gate-keeping at the pass, the following anecdote is not to cement my Star Wars bonafides as much as point out that I started out as a small little idiot and only got slightly smarter over time. If there’s a lesson here, it’s that it’s a miracle that I never swallowed a quarter. Anyway, thanks to sliding out of my maternal Tauntaun in the year 1980, I’ve been inundated with Star Wars since the day I was born. I have vague flashes of watching The Empire Strikes Back while my family huddled around my uncle’s BetaMax connected to a blurry, maybe 20-inch TV at best. I remember seeing Return of the Jedi at the Stroud Mall theater, but only my dad telling me at the start of the Star Wars logo, “Here comes, Chewie!” From there, it’s a scattered memory field of action figures, NBC marathons, and relying on any of the original three films whenever my grandmother let us rent a movie. (We didn’t have our own VCR until I was 12.)
Yet, despite being bathed in Star Wars, I had no freaking clue Boba Fett even existed until, I dunno, 1990? Maybe later? We had just moved to a new house, and the neighbor kid across the street was exactly my age. At some point, we got to talking about Star Wars, and he said his favorite character is Boba Fett. (Who was mine? Luke Skywalker. I mentioned this is a tale about a simple dolt, right?) The kid might as well have said “Engelbert Humperdinck” because I had no clue what he was talking about. He then explained that Boba Fett is a bounty hunter and Han Solo’s mortal enemy while I sat there wondering if we even watched the same movies.
With a more observant eye, I remember going back to rewatch the films, and OK, yup, halfway through the trilogy, there’s Mr. Fett alright. The helmet guy who shows up for the sole purpose of carting Han Solo away, which I guess counts as a mortal enemy. Do they have an epic showdown in the next film? Nope. He gets unceremoniously knocked into the Sarlacc Pit by a blind-as-balls Han who’s just lazily swinging at anything. He could’ve killed Darth Vader in the melee and not have given a f*ck.
Long story short, the saying is true: Boba Fett is nothing more than a cool helmet. Have there been attempts to tell stories about him? Sure. If you’re nerd enough to track down the labyrinthian Expanded Universe books and/or the Dark Horse Comics, which no longer count as canon, and barely did to begin with. But as far as moviegoers are concerned, he was just another random alien dude in the background, and there was some business about his dad in the prequels that, again, only the hardcore dorks will care about.
Of course, Lucasfilm finally managed to flesh out the person behind the helmet, except no wait, they did it with an entirely different Mandalorian bounty hunter who was modeled after Boba Fett’s original look from The Star Wars Holiday Special. For some ass reason, Lucasfilm really wanted to do a cool gunslinger/samurai-style Boba Fett story, but just not with Boba Fett. Which is why it was very weird that, after having The Mandalorian eat his whole lunch, Boba Fett was dropped into The Mandalorian and handed his own spinoff series despite having every inch of his thunder stolen.
And that brings us to… The Book of Boba Fett.
If you can’t tell, I have a whole lot of questions about the necessity of this show after, again, Lucasfilm delivered a pretty solid and well-received Boba Fett show even though it wasn’t really Boba Fett, just mostly. Don’t get me wrong, Book of Boba Fett has freaking style for days thanks to Ludwig Göransson delivering another slapping score with some strong and welcomed Robert Rodriguez vibes. The opening scene of Boba Fett escaping the Sarlacc? Picture perfect. But as for its substance… it’s weird.
Again, it seems like The Mandalorian bogarted what Boba Fett should be, so now, we’re given a strange, timeline-jumping story about how he’s some brutal warrior that left the Sandpeople in awe of his might five years earlier. Yet, in the present, he’s also a sweet crime lord who just wants everybody to get along by ruling with “respect.” The two sides of the story just aren’t gelling, and maybe they will! I’m open to finding out, but I’m not sitting here going, “Damn, I wonder what that Boba Fett does next,” like Baby Yoda did for a wider audience.
To put it another way, if someone liked The Mandalorian, but they weren’t like a huge Star Wars head, I wouldn’t steer them towards Book of Boba Fett. Yet. It’s barely hitting for me, and I get 97% of the deep cuts. Plus it criminally wasted Matt Berry’s voice talents. I didn’t even know he was in it until I saw his name in the credits!
One rambling rant of a “recap” aside, there is one amazing thing that Book of Boba Fett did, and I will not shut up about this until the day I die. After escaping the Sarlacc, Boba Fett is left for dead by a pack of Jawas after they strip him of his armor, which we know, eventually, finds its way onto a silver fox Timothy Olyphant. Later, Boba is found by Sandpeople who — and you cannot make this shit up — bring him back to life by jizzing a space worm into his mouth.
Don’t believe me? Let’s go to the screencap.
That’s official Lucasfilm canon, Kyle!
Header Image Source: Lucasfilm