The Book of Boba Fett – a Postmodern Mashup

This week, the final episode aired of The Book of Boba Fett, an action bonanza featuring the biggest laser gun battle Star Wars has ever seen. It’s directed by Robert Rodriquez, who shows he is still a true action cannoneer.

The series initially got a luke(skywalker)warm reception, but during the second half the reviews improved. Not coincidentally, this was after the Mandalorian showed up and took central stage for an entire episode. And this reveals the show’s weakness, namely the title character. Who ever said Boba Fett, who barely had any lines in the original movies, was an interesting enough character to give his own television show? The Mandalorian on the other hand is great; he’s mysterious, a badass, can crack a joke once in a whole and follows a strict code of honor. Therefore his show is widely considered as the most successful Star Wars production under Disney since the acquisition from Lucasfilm in 2012.

The Mandalorian – like TBoBB developed by actor-director Jon Favreau – was loosely based on the classic Japanese manga Lone Wolf and Cub, about an assassin traveling through feudal Japan with his infant boy. The boy in The Mandalorian was Baby Yoda, an instant audience favorite. The Book of Boba Fett is based on another classic: The Godfather. Boba Fett, after surviving being swallowed by the Sarlacc and taken prisoner by the Tusken Raiders, moves to Tatooine to take over the crime syndicate previously ruled by Jabba the Hutt. Unfortunately, Boba is closer to Fredo than Vito, Michael or Sonny Corleone. He is just not particularly intelligent or cunning and it’s hard at times to figure out what’s even driving him at all. And frankly, Temuera Morrison is not the most versatile actor in the world. Why would he be suitable for a lead role?

So far the bad news, because TBoBB certainly has its merits. The supporting characters are excellent for one thing. The first one is called Fennec Shand (portrayed by Ming-Na Wen), a female assassin who partners up with Boba. She’s an interesting character and has good chemistry with Boba/Temuera. Second, the already mentioned Mandalorian shows up and the same applies for Baby Yoda (Grogu) and Luke Skywalker (the post Return of the Jedi-version). Finally, Cad Bane arrives in style in episode 6 and I can truthfully say that this one of those genuinely terrific bad guys Star Wars is known for. So thumbs up for that.

Another reason to watch: the amazing set pieces. This is pure Star Wars cinema quality. It’s incredible what they can do nowadays in cinema let alone television. It looks and smells and feels 100% like Star Wars. What might also persuade movie lovers is the tons of references, both visually and verbally, to classic cult movies. To Star Wars itself obviously (Wookies really do pull arms out of sockets), spaghetti westerns, Robert Rodriquez-references, The Godfather (‘it is the smart move’, ‘my offer is this: nothing’), The Untouchables, Lone Wolf and Cub, and probably many more I missed or forgot. You really get the feeling that you’re watching a show made by people who didn’t have an original concept to go on, but do love movies and had a huge budget to spend, so they threw in all this stuff from the classics.

Therefore, though obviously not as great as The Mandalorian, it still provides plenty of bang for your spacebucks.

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