The Book of Boba Fett, when it was set up at the conclusion of the second season of The Mandalorian, was intriguing. The lead-in was setting up the idea of Boba Fett becoming the new crime boss of Tatooine. The final product, however, has left many underwhelmed, and it’s worth talking about why.
Probably the biggest place Book of Boba Fett stumbles is with the narrative structure. The show is split between two disparate stories. One is on what Fett was up to after getting out of the Sarlacc, and the other is on Fett and Fennic Shand taking control of their new empire.
On the one hand, the story of Fett being ultimately rescued by the Tuskins and learning their culture starts well – and having Temura Morrison, who is Maori, playing Fett feels like it reduces some of the White Savior cringe. Not eliminates, but reduces. The other half of the story, of Fett taking over Tatooine as warlord (the show uses the term “Daimyo” which… is also cringe-worthy), is, by contrast, half-baked.
The second half of the plot seems focused around the idea of Fett wanting to go legit, and feeling the way to do that is to become a warlord, but not knowing exactly how to do that, having mainly been other people’s muscle. However, all of that has to be inferred in the story, and it’s not even implied well. Worse, the flashbacks with the Tuskens actually obstruct the flow of this second plot.
Considering how poorly show-runner Robert Rodriguez’s previous TV series – the TV series adaptation of “From Dusk Till Dawn” for El Rey – was regarded, it makes me wonder if Rodriguez’s shortcoming as a storyteller is serialized storytelling on TV. You have to structure a narrative arc on television much more differently than in film – with the narrative for each episode having to tell a mostly complete story on its own, while also forwarding the plot of the series’ larger arc. It’s a difficult skill to pull off, one that multiple talented writers have struggled at, and it’s possible that Rodriguez has just not developed that skill yet, but elected to dive in the deep end anyway.
Certainly, the pandemic can’t have helped, and ultimately left us with a half-baked show with some strong moments, that don’t quite come together into a cohesive whole. I didn’t hate it – but I didn’t love it either.
Star Wars: The Book of Boba Fett is currently available for streaming on Disney+.
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