TV review: The Book of Boba Fett

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A Stormtrooper or something. Nicole Love via Wikimedia

Disney show centred on fan favourite gives a watered-down version of the villain

by amir said, contributor

Boba Fett: when you read that name, what did you think of? If you don’t know or care about Star Wars, maybe you didn’t think of anything at all. If you’re like me and millions of other Star Wars fans worldwide, though, you probably imagined a badass bounty hunter with an unforgettable look. Maybe you imagined his constant silence and air of mystery, his damaged armor and endless supply of weaponry, or his ability to still be menacing while standing still – a character who is undoubtedly one of the most popular and beloved characters in the franchise’s long history. His appeal really can’t be understated: he’s been portrayed by six actors, stars in books, comics, and even his own TV show, and has an action figure worth up to $45,000.

But if you’re a Boba Fett fan like me, you were probably disappointed when you saw Return of the Jedi for the first time. The movie’s first act has Boba Fett accidentally get whacked by a blind guy’s stick and fall into a giant monster’s mouth. Then, when season two of The Mandalorian aired in 2020, you were probably blown away by his sudden return. He’s alive! He flies in with his signature ship and starts massacring Stormtroopers left and right. Awesome!

The folks over at Lucasfilm know how much the fandom loves Boba Fett, so they gave him his own show. The Book of Boba Fett was announced as soon as season two of The Mandalorian ended in December 2020, which had fans hyped beyond belief. A show starring one of the most iconic characters not only in Star Wars but in fiction as a whole? What could go wrong?

The results? Disappointing.

In this new show, Boba Fett’s the exact opposite of the character fans know and love. His silent demeanor? Now he’s a chatterbox that makes wisecracks like he’s straight out of a Marvel movie. His deadliness? Now he spares the lives of adversaries and would-be assassins, something that the torturous and murderous Boba Fett we know and love would never do. His armor? Now it’s repainted and he spends most of his time without his trademark helmet on. In fact, he doesn’t even wear it at all in the unnecessary flashbacks that take up most of the show’s first half. Basically, picture everything that made Boba Fett cool, and now picture the exact opposite of that.

Disney seems to be trying to redeem him, but why? The whole point of his character is that he is an irredeemable villain. He’s a sociopath, a murderer, a torturer, and an all-around embodiment of, as Obi-Wan Kenobi would put it, “scum and villainy,” and he does it all while looking super cool. He’s earned the adoration of everyone around him, both in the Star Wars universe and in the real world. To take a character known for being a mysterious murderer and make him a talkative open book that refuses to kill is nothing short of character assassination.

An interesting comparison can be made to another Disney-owned killer: Deadpool. Fans love Deadpool for being an irredeemable murderer with a specific costume and personality traits. His popularity led to him getting his own movie in 2016, which spawned a sequel in 2018. Both these movies depict Deadpool as the wisecracking maniac fans know and love from his countless comic appearances, while mixing in a bit of redemption through his loyalty to his friends and love interest.

Unlike Deadpool, whose recent live-action adaptation was able to stay true to his roots while having some originality thrown in to resounding critical and commercial success, Boba Fett’s show has failed to uphold his legacy in any way. Disney’s taken everything that made Boba Fett the icon he is and thrown it out the window, with the result being a merciful protagonist that occasionally commits acts of violence for the greater good. This is a character archetype we’ve already seen in Star Wars through the likes of Anakin Skywalker, Han Solo, Din Djarin, and more, and it isn’t one we needed to see Boba Fett become.

In short, while The Book of Boba Fett is certainly an entertaining show when you don’t put too much thought into the logistics and plot holes, it doesn’t do justice to the legendary character of Boba Fett. It only serves to make him a boring and redundant shell of what he once was.

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