So that’s it, The Book of Boba Fett is over. I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting for this series, and even after making my way through all seven episodes, I’m not entirely sure what it is that I’ve seen! Let’s talk about the last two episodes to begin, though, and then I’ll see about summing up.
Episode six was mainly another departure from Boba’s story, as we follow the Mandalorian visiting Grogu at Luke’s nascent Jedi Academy. In a small tie-in to the Sequel trilogy, we see the round house being built by labour droids. Mando seems to be given a test of waiting to meet Luke, while the de-aged Mark Hamill works with Grogu to rediscover the training he had received prior to Order 66. Ahsoka shows up and tells Mando it might be more of a hindrance to Grogu to meet with him, so he leaves the beskar gift with her and returns to Tatooine. While Luke is attempting to open Grogu further to the Force, progress is still slow and so he offers the youngling a choice: Yoda’s lightsaber (continue the ways of the Jedi) or Mando’s gift (return to his foster-father-figure).
Meanwhile on Tatooine, Mando goes to Cobb Vanth to discuss Fett’s need for footsoldiers in the escalating war against the Pyke Syndicate. The hired gun Cad Bane later arrives and orders Vanth to allow the Pykes to keep running spice through the area, shooting both Vanth and his deputy before leaving. The episode ends with two Pykes bombing the Sanctuary cantina on Fett’s territory.
This episode was pretty intense, I have to say. The young Luke effects seemed a lot more believable this time around, and I think this is really quite exciting, going forward. His training of Grogu seemed to bring an element of spirituality back into the Force, which I liked. It was of course derivative of Luke’s own time on Dagobah, and I think that has always been a bit of a handicap of Star Wars as we don’t really ever see how Jedi training is meant to be outside of a jungle swamp setting, but still. It had a beautiful, serene aspect to it that I liked a lot.
As if seeing the Child again wasn’t enough, and seeing Ahsoka again where she talks about Anakin, we also have Cad Bane making his live-action debut! Never entered my head that he would be a part of this, but as he is one of the best aspects of the Clone Wars cartoon, I was extremely happy to see him show up.
The season finale is basically a culmination of the conflict between the Pykes and Fett. Over the course of an hour, we learn that the other crime families have double-crossed Fett and sided with the Pykes, and the two factions clash amid the ruins of the Sanctuary cantina, with some wild swings from one side to another – the Pykes bring in massive droideka-like shielded attack droids; Fett brings in his rancor. It’s all very swingy, and amid the carnage, Grogu appears having made his choice to abandon his Jedi heritage in favour of returning to Mando’s side. During the climax of the battle, Fett kills Cad Bane. Fennec Shand kills the leaders of the crime families and the Pyke Syndicate, and the show ends with Fett and Shand walking through the streets of Mos Espa as benevolent rulers. In a mid-credits scene, we see Cobb Vanth in the bacta tank, being tended to by the mod parlour guy.
The end of this show has been likened to a kid clashing his toys together in utter carnage, and to some extent that approach isn’t far wrong. I mean, there’s a rancor, there are two Mandalorians, there are Pykes, there are shielded droids, a massive Wookiee, the list goes on! But given that the show has been building to this battle, it is actually a decent pay-off having everybody basically throwing themselves at it.
Overall, I think The Book of Boba Fett has been a very odd duck. I wasn’t exactly sure what it was going to be about, as the title is a little vague, but while everything seemed to be pointing so much to the idea of Boba Fett taking over the criminal underworld on Tatooine, it seemed to fall quite flat in many respects. I often got the sense that it was a gangster story written by a really nice guy, who has no idea how bad people behave. Was it trying too hard to make Fett “Disney suitable” maybe? I do feel that they show didn’t really know what to do with Fett as a character, which is symptomatic of how he has been treated since his costume inspired a generation back in 1980. What amounted to a few minutes of screen time has spawned a legend that can never really be satisfactorily dealt with, which is a shame. If the show had leant a bit more into the criminal underworld, then maybe it would have been better. Jabba’s empire was built on spice, slavery and other unsavoury practices; if Fett wants to take it over, he needs to get his hands dirty. I find it interesting that Fett’s solution amounts more to a protection racket than anything else. But it’s all very flowery – he’s got an exotic title and demands “tribute” and therefore he can be the almost hero of the tale.
The Mandalorian season 2.5 side episodes were, for me, a real highlight. And this is where I feel like the point of this series may come into it. The Book of Boba Fett almost feels like it’s a testing bed to see what else they could do with live action Star Wars, a bit like season two of The Mandalorian. We have the young Luke stuff which could be testing the water to see if that is suitable for protracted use in something like Ahsoka’s upcoming series; we have Cad Bane who I’m sure will be returning in some form (Kenobi, maybe?), and the Pyke stuff which could run into a Solo follow-up with the Crimson Dawn. I keep banging that drum because it just makes so much sense, if not to follow up the film with Qi’ra and all the stuff with Maul, then to catch up with them 10 years or however long it is later. It really feels like a very loose thread that we have there, and I would absolutely love for those characters to be revisited.
Will there be a season two? Does there even need to be a season two? It feels like this was the Boba Fett standalone movie that we were hearing about, off and on, for years. Is there more story that can be told? Who knows. I guess he’s a popular enough character, whether he rides a rancor or not, so it would allow for fan service again. I don’t think it would kill me if we didn’t get another season, but I imagine that Fett and Shand will be popping up again as this MandoVerse idea kicks into full swing…