Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers about “The Book of Boba Fett” finale.
With the benefit of hindsight, “The Book of Boba Fett” was part epilogue, a whole lot of prologue, and one giant valentine to the original “Star Wars” trilogy, attempting to put a different spin on peripheral players and underdeveloped life forms.
That was a lot (indeed, a bit too much) to juggle, as became clear when the series took an abrupt turn back into what felt more like a third season of “The Mandalorian” in the midst of its seven-episode run. Boba Fett might have great armor, but as characters go, the series exposed a rather hollow shell.
Still, series creator Jon Favreau and collaborators Dave Filoni and Robert Rodriguez clearly had plenty of action figures with which they wanted to play, all while maneuvering to reunite the central duo from “The Mandalorian.”
The action-packed finale included a protracted showdown between Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) and his ragtag roster of allies against the criminal Pyke syndicate, which not only had them outnumbered but seemingly outflanked. The ensuing battle – in the season’s longest installment – contained numerous last-minute rescues and an old-style western gunfight, pitting Boba against the bounty hunter Cad Bane (again voiced by Corey Burton), another fan favorites imported from the “Star Wars” animated universe, which planted fertile seeds for the live-action fare.
One recurring theme in “Book of Boba Fett” sought to showcase residents of Tatooine that played minor roles in the original trilogy in a different light. Here, that included Boba’s (somewhat) tamed Rancor monster joining in the final battle, which followed the more sympathetic view of the Tuskens during Boba’s time with them in earlier episodes.
Despite rousing moments the series couldn’t entirely overcome its awkward structure, which underscored that “Boba Fett” existed as an offshoot of “The Mandalorian.” The final episodes thus went about the task of bringing that title character back together with Grogu, a.k.a. Baby Yoda, after he had found a new home and destiny under the tutelage of Luke Skywalker. (An encore appearance by Mark Hamill, along with Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano, elevated “fan service” to almost giddy extremes.)
While that term is usually evoked derisively, Favreau and Filoni have embraced the idea of giving the audience what it wants – less out of a sense of obligation than because that’s what they want to see too.
That said, after the crescendo of that Luke cameo at the end of season two, one suspects the reunion was motivated at least in part by Disney’s desire to ensure that it can keep peddling “Baby Yoda” merchandise.
Overall, “Book of Boba Fett” represented an interesting if not wholly successful experiment, adding pieces to a “Star Wars” live-action arsenal for Disney+ that can now look forward to eagerly anticipated series featuring Obi-Wan Kenobi and Ahsoka – characters with more heft than Boba Fett ultimately brought to the party.
Given the tone of these shows, think of this as a very expensive “B” western. As for those who might have been skeptical whether Boba Fett, given his limited screen time through the years, could sustain his own program, the way “The Book of Boba Fett” unfolded, for better and worse, basically rendered that question moot.