The Book of Boba Fett shows some early promise but very little ambition

Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison), holding his helmet in one hand, stands next to Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen). They're stood on a Tattooine street, looking around them.

For the most part, Boba Fett is something of a cypher: that sense of mystery, married to some distinctive costume design, makes it easy to project different things onto the character. Beyond the iconography, though, there’s not actually much substance to Boba Fett, and many Star Wars fans resisted George Lucas’ attempts to add to the character in the prequel trilogy (though, in fairness, “Star Wars fans resisted something” is not exactly unique to Boba Fett). Previous Disney+ Star Wars series The Mandalorian seemed to have found an answer to the Boba Fett problem – in borrowing that iconography, taking the cool costume and applying it to an actual character, they’d seemingly opened up the potential of the idea without having to address the simplicity of the character.

The question The Book of Boba Fett has to answer, then, is why? Is this character one worth building a television series around – particularly given there’s already a very popular Star Wars spinoff about a bounty hunter with a moral code and a shiny helmet? Is there something substantially new here, or is The Book of Boba Fett content to offer only the dim thrill of recognition and not much else?

I could never get into The Mandalorian particularly, and I rolled my eyes a bit when this was announced, but I enjoyed this more than I thought I would really. (I do wonder if maybe part of that is because I’ve never been particularly fussed by Boba Fett – reaction so far seems to have been negative, perhaps because the show is having to swim against the tide in terms of who and what people think Boba Fett should be?)

Anyway, here is my theory or expectation for the rest of the series: as the split timelines catch up to one another (structurally this show reminds me a lot of Arrow, incidentally), we learn a lot about Boba Fett’s time with the Tusken Raiders, and realise how much that’s influenced him in the present. The main reason he’s taken over Jabba’s empire is to pay off a debt to them – he’s planning to (intentionally very loaded word here) “liberate” the Tusken Raiders.

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