The Book Of Boba Fett Review - The Bounty Hunter Is The Least Interesting Part

The latest Star Wars show tries to build on the mythos of the infamous bounty hunter, but he's just not that interesting.

In both Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Boba Fett appeared on screen for six and a half minutes before meeting his supposed fate. However, he's back, and he has his own show now. But does a show revolving entirely around a character designed to look cool--and nothing else--work? Not really, unless it has a stellar supporting cast to hold the viewer's attention.

Warning: There are some spoilers for some major moments in various episodes of The Book of Boba Fett, but there are no spoilers for the finale.

The Book of Boba Fett tells the story of the titular character's rise to power as the Daimyo of Mos Espa, taking over from Bib Fortuna, and before him, the Hutts. Additionally, the show dives into Fett's connection to the Tuskens. As Fett rules over Mos Espa, he deals with the Pyke Syndicate who are running spice through his neck of the woods, and the two sides come to a head.

Even with all of that, though, the series plays less like a story about the infamous bounty hunter and more like a tourism commercial for Mos Espa and the planet Tatooine as a whole.. Star Wars has always had an odd obsession with the very first planet we see in A New Hope. It's an outer rim planet--meaning it's a bit of the wild west for civilization almost outside the long arm of government or dictatorship, depending who is in charge. Darth Vader was born there. Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi lived there for a long time. It's an interesting planet, but why do all these characters consistently gravitate towards it, when there is so much galaxy to explore? Star Wars's next original series is Obi-Wan Kenobi, which will undoubtedly feature the planet once again.

The first few episodes of the season are a mixture of showing present-day Fett (Temuera Morrison) and his accomplice Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) becoming the crime bosses of Mos Espa--the largest city on Tatooine--and Fett's days of escaping the Sarlacc pit and hanging out with Tuskens, where he learns how to follow and learns how to lead. The back-and-forth of the first few episodes is tiresome, and much like Star Wars as a whole, it has one foot stuck in the past while trying to move forward to the future.

The issue with Boba Fett isn't the world around him though. It's that he isn't an interesting character. He's the clone of a Mandalorian foundling with little to no connection to those people, and he spent his early years--after his father's death--learning to be a bounty hunter under the tutelage of Cad Bane. Yes, that story is very interesting, but we already saw that story in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series.

What we're left with is a story of Boba Fett being an apathetic mob boss two minutes away from total lethargy. Watching him make this grandiose plan to be the Daimyo of Mos Espa is a bore, primarily because Boba Fett is the least interesting part of Boba Fett. Without going too in-depth, what originally made Boba such an engaging character in the original trilogy was that he was mysterious. In the prequels, that veil was lifted, and the animated series gave him an interesting backstory. Now, he's alive, but very quickly, there's this realization that what made him a cool character is that we know nothing about him, and now that we get a look--figuratively and literally--under the helmet, Boba comes off as a cardboard cutout of Din Djarin, without any evolution as a character. Boba is flat, and the adult version of this character has always been flat too.

And that's where the supporting cast comes in. As far as Star Wars goes, it may be the best supporting cast in the history of the franchise--even if the majority of it comes from The Mandalorian. From previously mentioned Shand to Matt Berry's 8D8 to Thundercat and Sophie Thatcher's modders to Casey Jones's Black Krrsantan to Corey Burton's live-action debut as Cad Bane to Danny Trejo popping up as a Rancor trainer, there's a lot to love about the way this show builds on Star Wars lore. And that's even if it is introducing something which is seemingly off-putting at first like the cyberpunk modders--something which makes a lot more sense when you remember how many humanoids in Star Wars movies have robotic hands. While the show utilizes the past to tell a new story, it's really trying to flesh out the world with new concepts, or heavily expanding on well-known ones, like how we learn a bit more about Tusken culture. And it needs to be noted that Wen was phenomenal on this show as Shand, even though she was incredibly underutilized.

But The Book of Boba Fett relies heavily on The Mandalorian to make the back half of the first season work, and while it's is technically a spin-off The Mandalorian, it's not a good sign when the best episodes of the new series (especially the one directed by Bryce Dallas Howard) are when the main character is not involved at all. The episodes focussing on Din Djarin and Grogu were wonderful. It brought a much-needed sense of fun, adventure, and awe to the show--something Star Wars as a whole has always been about. But again, when your best episodes feel like Season 2.5 of another show, there's a problem at the heart of your series.

How The Book of Boba Fett distracts the average Star Wars fan from its weaknesses is by tossing in faces hardcore fans will know and casual fans will spend time looking up. Was it really cool to see Cad Bane and Black Krrsantan for the first time in live-action? Yes. Did it work for the story being told? Yes and no. Bane's inclusion in the latter half of the season as the big bad's right-hand man was exciting, as long as you followed The Clone Wars. A brewing battle between master and apprentice has been a major part of Star Wars storytelling, but it's shortsited here. We don't get the build. All the cards are tossed on the table in one episode and the very short battle in the next. It was a bit of a let down. And again, to really appreciate this, the viewer needs to watch specific episodes of an animated series from a few years back--though you should anyway.

Then, there's Black K's inclusion--a character from the Marvel Comics Star Wars series. The wookie bounty hunter worked as far as storytelling goes a bit better here as a foe-turned-friend, as it's obvious the two know each other from a previous life--like 5 years prior--but the relationship wasn't deep, as they worked for Jabba the Hutt and were hired by Darth Vader for a job. They were essentially coworkers who sat a couple cubicles away from each other but never really talked.

Black K's inclusion worked well for the story and Cad Bane's failed to meet the mark, but both moments--along with every time a Mandalorian character popped on the screen--felt like distractions.

The best thing about The Book of Boba Fett was the special effects. The series feels on par with the films, and in many cases, it feels superior to the movies as it utilizes practical effects over an abundance of CG. This made the show feel a bit more grounded and down-to-Earth, which helped with the tone of the series as well. It looks like Star Wars, which may sound silly, but that's incredibly important to make it fit into this world.

Where the Book of Boba Fett shined is the season finale. It was a wildly entertaining conclusion, which was basically an hour of battles and a lot of surprises. If you love well-thought out action sequences that feel along the lines of great shootouts in westerns, this is the episode for you. There is also one fantastic Chekhov's Gun moment in the episode we won't discuss here that has one of the most entertaining payoffs in any Star Wars series so far.

The only real issue with the finale was that the Pyke Syndicate didn't feel like a real threat until Episode 6, so there wasn't a lot of credibility as a threat until then, but again, that all goes back to the fact the story wasn't very strong.

The Book of Boba Fett is a very mixed bag. It had an incredibly rocky start and the supporting cast made up primarily of characters from The Mandalorian did most of the heavy lifting. The show never leaves the audience wanting more--unless that "more" is a solo series from Fennec Shand. However, the back half of the show was a lot of fun to watch play out, even if it had almost nothing to do with Boba Fett. While the series does build on the lore and mythos of vacation destination Tatooine in smart ways, it's time to get off of this planet to look for something new.

Mat Elfring on Google+

The Good

  • The Mandalorian episodes are a lot of fun.
  • It has a stellar supporting cast that fleshes out Star Wars lore.
  • Special effects and the overall look of the show is top notch.
  • A wildly entertaining finale.

The Bad

  • Boba Fett is an uninteresting character.
  • The best episodes of the season should be episodes of The Mandalorian.
  • It caters heavily to hardcore Star Wars fans in a way that is distracting.
  • Not enough Fennec Shand.

About the Author

Mat Elfring is an entertainment editor at GameSpot. He watched every episode on its air date on Disney+.