If there is one thing that the highly fickle and fragmented Star Wars fandom can agree on, it’s that the only thing good to come out of 1978’s infamous Star Wars Holiday Special was the mysterious bounty hunter known as Boba Fett (and arguably Mark Hamill’s Carol Brady haircut). The cold-blooded killer’s screentime after this coke-fueled and bizarre debut was minimal, having just a few lines in the original Star Wars trilogy before being unceremoniously thrown into a sarlacc pit, but his staying power (and ability to sell toys) was undeniable. It would take over 40 years since his introduction to get his own spinoff, however, and that spinoff is the sometimes boring, sometimes awesome, sometimes unfocused The Book of Boba Fett, a Disney+ original/spinoff of The Mandalorian.
Sixty-one-year-old Temuera Morrison stars as the roughly 41-year-old Boba Fett after previously playing his father/clone template Jango (as well as other clones) in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. Along for the ride is Ming-Na Wen, reprising her roll as master assassin Fennec Shand from The Mandalorian, as well as a couple of new characters that you probably won’t care about and a few that will only be familiar if you’re a fan of the Star Wars comics and animated series (one from the latter I was particularly jazzed about, but that would be a spoiler). There’s not too much to the story: After the events of Return of the Jedi Boba slowly gets his groove back, decides he wants to retire from bounty hunting and become a crime boss but comes into conflict with a rival syndicate, and Western standoffs and sci-fi explosions ensue. The first four episodes or so are rather boring, relying far too much on flashbacks to pad the barebones “present-day” storyline, which mostly consists of talking and posturing, and the action varies greatly in quality as well. There isn’t really an excuse for this latter complaint because while the lead is 61, he also plays a character that wears a helmet and could therefore be played by a stuntman for a good deal of the time (the same is true of Wen, who is supposedly 58 but must have an aging portrait sitting in her attic ala Dorian Gray or Paul Rudd). To be fair, the action is not all underwhelming, just inconsistent (as the awesome train scene will attest), and in episode five things finally start to pick up instead of merely chugging along.
The only problem? The titular character is completely absent in one of those three final episodes, is barely in another, and has to share focus in the third. It is when The Book of Boba Fett is no longer about Boba Fett that the series gets really good, which is a downright shame considering how long he has waited to get his own spinoff. These last episodes are not awesome because they are furthering Boba’s story, but because they are furthering other stories in the Star Wars galaxy. This alone makes The Book of Boba Fett worth watching, but it would have been nice to have these stories told elsewhere to tighten the focus of the show. Boba deserves better.
Also, there is no book. The title is a lie.
All seven episodes of The Book of Boba Fett are now available on Disney+.