Does Boba Fett deserve his own show?
Star Wars extends its franchise with new Disney+ series focused on fan-favorite character
The new Disney+ and Lucasfilm series "The Book of Boba Fett" debuted last week with new episodes dropping on Wednesdays.
Boba Fett and I have a troubled history, which requires a little backstory to explain. The character was introduced to "Star Wars" fans in an animated segment of the much maligned 1978 "Star Wars Holiday Special."
He then became a popular Kenner toy that same year. The action figure was not available in stores and had to be special ordered. The rocket firing back pack that was advertised, however, was disabled on the toy because of supposed safety issues causing a prototype of toy with the firing rocket to appear on eBay for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The character finally appeared in the film franchise in "The Empire Strikes Back" in 1980. Fett (played by Jeremy Bulloch) was introduced amongst a group of bounty hunters hired by Darth Vader to capture Han Solo.
But here’s my problem: How did such a minor character with barely any screen time and one that put my beloved Han Solo in carbonite develop such a cult following?
The film franchise hastily dispatched the character three years later in "Return of the Jedi" when he met an ignominious fate falling into the sarlaac. Yet Boba Fett somehow managed to become a fan favorite perhaps because of the cool costume or maybe the toy or maybe he just sparked the imaginations of kids at a certain age. Over the years he eventually was developed more in the prequels and the Star Wars extended universe.
Now, he has been resurrected for the new series "The Book of Boba Fett." The show is a spin off from the wildly successful, much loved, and critically acclaimed series "The Mandalorian." But while that show immediately hooked me with its mysterious but oddly honorable character, I am still scratching my head a bit about Boba Fett.
The series does open with a clever reveal of how Boba Fett escaped the sarlaac (this was definitely the highlight of the episode for me). But by the end of episode one Boba Fett still felt like a secondary character that has yet to prove himself to be any kind of badass or just to be of any real interest. In fact in that first episode he turns out to be a rather ineffective crime lord as he tries to take over for the dead Jabba the Hut. He says Jabba ruled with fear and he wants to rule with respect but the episode suggested nothing in terms of what that means.
The first episode was unremarkably directed by Robert Rodriguez, even the action, which he usually excels at felt underwhelming, especially a lame pseudo-parkour rooftop chase. I've seen kids on YouTube with more breathtaking style and technique. Rodriguez (who directed "El Mariachi" and "Once Upon a Time in Mexico") did give us a great "Mandalorian" episode in season two, and Jon Favreau, who oversaw that series, is also overseeing this so I am hopeful "The Book of Boba Fett" will improve.
But I admit, Boba Fett has an uphill battle proving to me that the guy who delivered Han to Jabba and who spoke only a handful of lines in the original trilogy is worth my time. "The Mandalorian," however, built up a lot of good will in me toward the franchise and what it is capable of so I am down for at least a few more episodes of "The Book of Boba Fett." And there are moments, like a Matt Berry cameo and a Ray Harryhausen-looking monster, that give me hope.