Review: Chapter 1 of "The Book of Boba Fett"

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I can’t believe that it’s finally been a year since the end of “The Mandalorian” Season 2 and the announcement of its unexpected successor. But, at long last, we can now open the “Book” that chronicles the newest adventures of everyone’s favorite “former” bounty hunter (and renowned “Fortnite” character) Boba Fett.

We start the journey looking throughout Jabba’s Palace. This place, of course, is a historical location. These are the very steps Luke Skywalker descended to meet with Jabba. This is the very throne room where Leia, disguised as a bounty hunter, pretended to claim the bounty on Chewbacca, and threatened Jabba with a thermal detonator (which, in turn, provoked Boba to raise his EE-3 into firing position). This is also the place where plenty of absurd slugfests happened, if you happen to have played the Battlefront games. The scum and villainy who gathered here committed all sorts of pains and pleasures. They were explorers, in the further regions of experience. Tormentors to some, saviors to others.

But all of that is gone now. Few remained after Jabba’s death, and the rest were presumably killed with respect by Boba Fett and Fennec Shand. In a nicely lit recovery room, we see Boba healing in some sort of bacta tank/bed. While in the equivalent of the actor at the Polynesian spa, he is reliving the critical moments of his life.

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The first shot immediately took me by surprise. It was Kamino, during a time when Jango Fett was still alive and well. We know this because we see the Slave I, still in his colors, on the landing pad in Tipoca City. This was very meaningful to me because we haven’t seen Jango Fett’s Slave I in live-action since “Attack of the Clones.”

The next shot is even more powerful, drastically so. It is perhaps my favorite shot in the entire episode, because it is heavily sentimental, to both me as a fan and to Boba in-universe. It is an alternate execution of the same, iconic scene from Episode II where a newly orphaned Boba Fett picked up Jango Fett’s empty helmet and mourned his terrible loss. In particular, the shot where we see Jango Fett’s helmet up close from Boba’s point of view was utterly gripping to me. It was the end of one legend, and the beginning of another. It is also difficult to imagine the tremendous pain and sadness Boba must have felt in this unforgettable moment.

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As if these shots weren’t heavy enough, the next one is of paramount importance, and 38 years in the making: we see Boba Fett inside the Sarlacc. It is a rare treat to see him back in his “Return of the Jedi” outfit. Unfortunately, the Sarlacc’s guts look cheaply made. When Boba moves them around, it looks like he is moving towels or drapes hanging from the ceiling. Cutting corners in something as important and long awaited as the Sarlacc escape shouldn’t have happened.

As Boba struggles in the Sarlacc, he comes across a trapped Imperial Stormtrooper. He has obviously been trapped there since at least before “Return of the Jedi.” The first shot of him looks like an action figure rather than an actual person or life size prop, but I’m not 100% certain.

The Sarlacc’s gut is clearly full of toxins in addition to the acid. Boba is struggling to breathe, and yanks the breathing tube from the stormtrooper’s helmet to use for himself. I have to again wonder how long the Stormtrooper has been here, given that the breathing tube is still operational. Boba then punches through the Sarlacc’s gut and uses his flamethrower to destroy as much of its organic tissue as possible.

What follows is something that has been pictured in fans minds for the last 38 years, which we now get to see come to fruition. The remains of Jabba the Hutt’s sail barge lie next to the Sarlacc, which is perhaps now dead given the damage that Boba inflicted on it.

Then… it happens. Boba Fett’s hand bursts from the sand, followed by the rest of him emerging. I absolutely love everything about this shot — the music, the sand and goo covering the armor, the desperate struggle — everything. But most of all, I love the fact that the legendary Sarlacc escape is canon. Sure, we already knew that it happened ever since Season 2 of “The Mandalorian.” But it hits differently to actually witness it, once and for all. It vindicates what I’ve been saying ever since I was a kid: that Boba Fett is resilience incarnate, and if anyone was going to survive the Sarlacc, it would be him. It is a feat that inspired me for years, so it was truly rewarding and redeeming to finally see it for myself.

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That being said, it is also bittersweet. I still feel that this scene was somewhat rushed, and the escape a bit easy. There has been some pretty epic fan artwork over the years, showing a more harrowing escape. Also, this is the point where one of my favorite Expanded Universe/Legends stories becomes contradicted and is left unused. In “The Mandalorian Armor,” the first book of the Bounty Hunter Wars trilogy, Boba Fett is rescued by everyone’s other favorite bounty hunter, Dengar. Along with Neelah, a slave girl from Jabba’s palace who has her own reasons for wanting Fett alive, Dengar helps him recover from the Sarlacc. The 3 of them then collaborate during the rest of the trilogy, and it ends up being a very satisfying, meanwhile, and worthwhile arc. I know that this isn’t canon, and it’s no surprise that it wasn’t used. But canon does not determine quality or merit. Although I am grateful that Boba’s survival is canon, I must still give a shout out to that trilogy of books. Dengar was the best wingman in the galaxy. Perhaps some element of their partnership can still be salvaged in the future.

But nevertheless, there is great integrity and dignity in giving fans something this meaningful. I got to witness Boba escape the Sarlacc. It is also bizarre but cool to see Temuera Morrison, the actor of Jango Fett, in Boba Fett’s original flight suit and boots. He is standing in for someone who no longer can, who is no longer with us. I want to believe that Jeremy Bulloch walked, so that Tem could run. That is why, despite my reservations, I am hoping this show succeeds in giving a portrayal of Boba Fett that is faithful to his character.

Hours later, the Jawas come across the wreckage and Boba Fett, who of course has fainted from the exhaustion of his ordeal. It was infuriating and difficult to watch them take Boba Fett’s armor — I never thought I would be tempted to slug individuals who are only 3 feet tall, yet here we are. I had originally imagined that Boba Fett had removed most of his outfit because of the agony of the Sarlacc acid, then stumbled away and perhaps been rescued at some point. Thankfully, we know from “The Mandalorian” that he eventually reclaims his armor.

Boba’s trial in the desert continues as now Tusken Raiders find him. They revive him by feeding him the juicy guts of some worm. Truly an enticing delicacy, out in the Tatooine desert. They drag him for what seems to be an eternity to their camp. Boba is in atrocious condition; it is truly a miracle that he hasn’t died from thirst, or exhaustion, or the acid damage from the Sarlacc. It speaks to how resilient he is.

His ordeal with the Tuskens, which mostly involves being beat, ends when Fennec wakes him. He suits up to prepare for the criminals who have come to pay tribute. I don’t know if it’s just me, but this brief sequence seems to be a loose homage to the suit up scene in the first “Iron Man” film. Maybe it is, given that Jon Favreau is involved in both. For some reason, I also find Boba’s new butler droids to be adorable. They look like pit droids but zoom around on the floor with something round, rather than with legs. I cherish them already and look forward to seeing their continued service under Boba.

Holding court was amusing, but it leads me to address perhaps my core disagreement with this show: Boba Fett being a crime lord. I feel that this is far beneath his potential, and the warrior ethos that he carried with his father’s legacy. In the Expanded Universe, he still operated as a bounty hunter for a while, before becoming Mandalore to honor a promise made to a dying Fenn Shysa (a renowned Mandalorian). He participated in legendary campaigns, such as the war against the Yuuzhan Vong, a race of conquerors who are immune to the Force. So taking Jabba’s place is way beneath this. Furthermore, why would he want this now? I am hoping that the show- and this career change- lead to something higher in the future. In the meantime, I think this course is different from who his character has been up until this point. Funny enough, Boba seems somewhat out of his element both in this scene and the rest of the episode.

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Other than Robert Rodriguez making a cameo as Trandoshan Dokk Strassi, the most notable part of this scene is the Mayor’s majordomo. The Mayor of Mos Espa (who I’m guessing is the Ithorian/Hammerhead from the teasers) does not respect Fett’s claim as a Daimyo — a title from feudal Japan, which in this case refers to crime lords I suppose. Instead, he has sent his Twi’lek majordomo to ask Fett for tribute instead. This is a disrespectful mistake, and the unforgiving Fett that I know would make him pay with his life. But what will the new Boba Fett do about this? Will he force the Mayor into cooperation- with respect?

Lastly, two Gamorrean guards are brought before Boba. They previously worked for both Jabba the Hutt and Bib Fortuna. Fennec Shand thinks that it is a mistake to spare them, but Boba asks them to swear loyalty, and they do. We will see who is correct between Fennec and Boba.

Fennec and Boba pay a visit to what I presume is Mos Espa, although it looks quite different from anything we saw in the Phantom Menace. Boba continues to defy the expectations of a Daimyo, saying that he won’t be carried in a litter like a useless noble. I agree with and approve of this sentiment.

Boba enters a fancy establishment, and — wouldn’t you know it — everyone’s favorite musician Max Rebo is here! Confirmed by name in the descriptive audio track of the episode, he somehow survived the sail barge explosion in “Return of the Jedi.” Most will know him from his Grammy winning single: “I Already Told You I’m Not An Elephant.”

A pair of Twi’leks offer to service and clean their helmets. Boba volunteers both his and Fennec’s. I straight up thought that this was a mistake, and can’t help but think the Fett from the Original Trilogy would not have done this. I guess things have changed…

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They are welcomed by Garsa Fwip, the attractive Twi’lek patron of this place apparently called The Sanctuary. She is surprised that Boba was not carried by a litter — it seems Boba’s defiance of tradition might make things more difficult for him. Boba simply wanted to introduce himself, and let her know that he has replaced Bib Fortuna. He pledges that she will still thrive under his “watchful eye.” Fennec and Boba get their helmets back, with Boba’s having a tribute of credits in it. The tactically sound thing to do here would have been to pocket the credits and put the helmet back on. Instead, with his head exposed, Boba and Fennec step outside.

It was heavily implied in the trailers and teasers that, although Jabba ruled with fear, Boba intends to rule with respect. Fennec believes that fear is the better approach. As if right on cue, a bunch of goons with red outfits, shields, and electric baton things leap out and surround Boba and Fennec. Now, here is a suspicious detail: the pair of Gamorrean bodyguards that Boba spared earlier had been accompanying him and Fennec this entire time, even in and out of The Sanctuary. But when this ambush happens, they are suddenly nowhere to be found. This is either 1. an editing mistake, 2. a convenient plot inconvenience, to get Boba and Fennec surrounded, or 3. the Gamorreans were in on it. They may secretly be working for someone else, and working against Boba. In the world of bounty hunting — and by extension, the criminal underworld — your number one rule must be to trust no one. Trusting the wrong person the first time… could end up being the last time.

For now, the fight is on. Boba tries to break their formation with a wrist rocket, but this fails and he falls back. His helmet, still full of the credits, tumbles along the ground in a manner similar to the way this very helmet tumbled when Jango was slain in the arena on Geonosis. Perhaps this is implying that if Boba Fett continues to pursue the path that he’s on, that he may might a similar fate. I personally doubt it, maybe it’s just a simple homage to Jango’s death.

The brawl was ok, somewhat slow and clumsy. I have to question why Boba Fett didn’t use his jetpack in this encounter, or none of his multiple weapons. At least at the end, he blasts away a retreating assassin with a wrist rocket.

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The last two assassins (or ninjas, or whatever they are) try to retreat. As Fennec gives chase, Boba says “alive” to Fennec. Then he asks the Gamorreans to take him back to the bacta pod. It seems he has not fully recovered from his time in the Sarlacc. I find this a bit odd, given that he seemed fairly capable in “The Mandalorian.” Maybe he was just toughing out the pain.

Fennec and the ninjas compete in an impressive display of parkour, but she is able to kill one and capture the other. Meanwhile, the Gamorreans do get him back to the bacta pod. Maybe they aren’t traitors, seeing as they could’ve easily killed him at this point. But I still don’t trust them; another plan could be in place. Betrayal and deception in the gritty part of Star Wars is as prevalent as oxygen in the atmosphere.

The bacta pod takes us to another flashback with the Tuskens. Boba and a Rodian prisoner accompany a Tusken kid (can’t tell what gender they are) to go dig for those odd, round pod things that contain water. It’s the same type that was offered to Cobb Vanth in “The Mandalorian.”

They come across some raiders stealing water from the homestead of moisture farmers. These raiders paint a symbol — it seems to be the letter “K” in Huttese. I wonder what this could mean? I believe this is setting up a potential confrontation between them and Boba Fett — it seems like quite a specific thing to show us in these flashbacks.

During their time digging for water, the Rodian comes across something odd and scaly. It turns out to be the arm of some reptilian beast with 6 limbs. Good Lord, how many sand monsters does this planet have?? This thing is large, large enough to be a serious threat to the average humanoid. It kind of looks like Goro from “Mortal Kombat.” Ironically, Boba Fett defeated a similar enemy in the recent Marvel comics — but that was with his usual load out and Mandalorian armor.

After an awesome struggle, the monster makes quick work on the Rodian and is about to either kill or eat the Tusken kid. But Boba Fett uses the chain he was previously bound with to strangle the monster to death. When you’re faced with a larger opponent, strangulation is a viable approach. I also believe that this was a loose homage to how Leia killed Jabba the Hutt. On one hand, I kind of felt sorry for this creature — it was just doing its own thing out in the sand. On the other hand, nature is ruthless, and can often put one in a situation of kill or be killed. If I had to choose between the life of myself or this creature, I would choose my own 11 times out of 10. Boba defeating this monster seems to earn enthusiastic gratitude and admiration from Tusken kid.

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Tusken kid, Boba, and the mastiff that was with them make it back safely to the camp. Tusken kid excitedly shows his people the head of the slain creature, and from body language we gather that he explains to them what happened. As a sign of respect, the Tusken Chieftain hands Boba one of those delicious water pods. I absolutely love this particular scene. I am always enthusiastic to learn about new cultures, especially if they involve cool weapons. Perhaps this is how Boba will earn the Tusken Cycler and Gaffi Stick that we see him use in “The Mandalorian.” I also envied Din Djarin’s connection with the Tuskens in “The Mandalorian,” so perhaps we will see Boba cultivate a similar connection.

Overall, I thought this was an ok episode at best. I feel that the good and the bad is almost equal. Given how long it was anticipated and fantasized about, I believe the ordeal with the Sarlacc merited a bit more struggle, but it is what it is. Some things I would like to have on the show are the following:

  • More flashbacks, potentially with Jango Fett (others like Zam Wesell and Aurra Sing would be cool too)
  • At least a mention of Jaster Mereel’s name and/or the True Mandalorians
  • Durge as an antagonist
  • Other bounty hunters from the original trilogy (e.g. Bossk, Dengar)
  • At least the higher quality parts of the Expanded Universe used in canon
  • More lethality and use of his weapons from Boba Fett
  • The overall arc evolving into something greater than being a crime lord

My faith in the show is slightly decreased, but I don’t want to jump the gun. I hope the next 6 episodes deliver on my wishlist, or at least execute a story worthy of the Fett legacy.

Rating

3 / 5 1
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5 Comments

  1. EvilleMikeD says:

    It was definitely a stormtrooper action figure in the Sarlacc in the first shot when Boba turns on the spotlight. Perhaps even an old Kenner figure. He mentioned in the gallery doc for Mando season 2 how he was inspired to become a director by playing with Kenner action figures in his back yard. That and the Ray Harryhausen style creature Boba killed fit with Rodriquez style as a director and paying homage to his past. He’s a few years older than me, so I appreciated the callbacks but it does make some of the visuals look “cheap” compared to other things we’ve seen in the Mandalorian.

  2. Fade says:

    I share your opinions. A few other things that bothered me:

    1: his armor was incomplete. We know it is now but coming out of the sarlacc where was the cod piece? The cape? Braids? I think the belt was also missing. Made me think they cut corners in costume design. I agree the sarlacc escape should have gotten all the best treatment.

    2.why didn’t they bring their weapons to the city??

    3. I don’t think the attack was meant to kill them more than intimidate and make a scene. If they wanted to kill Boba they would of just shot him in the head from anywhere cause he wasn’t wearing a helmet lol

    4. I think maybe he didn’t pull his weapons cause he was concerned about ricochet after getting blown on his back from the first rocket.

    5. The difference in fighting is the stormtroopers didnt land any blows did they? Boba caught them unprepared for him and they were intimidated and afraid. The ninja guys were not and much better fighters and he took multiple blows. Also I noticed that the tusken that beat him up when he tried to escape hit him in the same side/ spot and thats when he went down in that scene too. Maybe he has an injury there?

    I loved the episode but I feel like they cut corners. And it could have been better. I am happy to follow this story and happy to have more Boba Fett content. I loved so much about the episode. I loved how he seemed out of his element. That his experiences were changing him and he is growing as a person. I think the friendship between Fennec and him is interesting. Love the slight joking back and forth. She seems more serious and he is a little cheeky. His character was set up with so much room to grow and I’m looking forward to it.

  3. Paulo Alexandre says:

    The jetpack part and the gamorreans I noticed too… your review made me like this episode a little less hahaha, but still a very good episode yet, watched it 6 times already, i’m really looking forward to watching the other episodes.

  4. Mavro Fett says:

    Oh my gosh guys. Perhaps I’m not as hardcore of a fan–I didn’t “fall in love” with Fett’s droids–but this is such a nitpicky, too fanobyish review, that I can hardly stand it and won’t be back. WE. SHOULD. BE. THANKFUL. THIS. SHOW. EXISTS. They definitely, definitely did NOT cut corners in this production. If you know anything about television production costs, you know that this is most likely one of the most expensive shows in existence. They spared no expense. And I think what might help is to remember that this show isn’t for Boba Fett-woshipping Mandalore students only. It is for the wide audience. To spend an inordinate amount of time getting him out of the Sarlacc would be a waste.

    I did not like the amount of time that the helmet was off either, but I do think they balanced it nicely. The feel that they recaptured–straight out of 1977–was amazing. To say that you’re “halfway” enjoying the show is to be too locked on to your own non-canon mythos, and missing the celebration of Boba that is 38 years in the making. We should be glad that a current generation of Star Wars fans will include his story in their universe; he is no longer an angry scratch by George Lucas. I look forward to watching the rest of the series multiple times, and the new era of Boba Fett relevance that we live in.

    1. Ryder says:

      Well said. It was good, and there’s very good points made by oc, but im also noticing people comparing this new direction with the legends books, and that’s just setting many for disappointment cause Disney will obviously ignore anything with them. Cheers guys.

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