Basically Mandalorian Season 3
Star Wars spin-off show The Book of Boba Fett just wrapped up, and I’m mainly left wondering why they didn’t call it The Mandalorian Season 3. Because that’s what the series sharply jumps to after four episodes (in a series of seven), leaving Boba Fett and its own pantheon of characters behind in the Tatooine dust wondering what the point of it all was.
Look, I love Mando and Baby Yoda as much as the next person, but that doesn’t mean Star Wars TV shows can’t work without making it all about them. This is the same kind of insecurity that brought Palpatine back from the dead in The Rise of Skywalker.
Star Wars has an essentially limitless universe with plots and characters, with proven success in stories that had absolutely nothing to do with the central canon, so for The Book of Boba Feet to end up being 40% what we’re already familiar with feels like a massive failing of imagination.
A Great Show Cut For Time
The show is hurt by its lack of focus on its central character within an already short runtime. I take the single-shot flashbacks to Boba’s childhood on Kamino are a microcosm of the whole show – pretty but ultimately meaningless.
Likewise, the flashbacks to Boba’s time with the Tusken Raiders feel perfunctory at best, explaining how he ended up where he did in Mandalorian Season 2 but informing very little about how the experience changed his character.
The show is paced like a far longer series of 10-12 episodes, something I would have welcomed. Characters like the Twins and the owner of the Sanctuary cantina are given lengthy introductions that seem to establish them as major players in the game, only to be quickly dropped with minimal impact on the story.
Those that ended up actually becoming important to the plot, such as the Mayor and the various crime bosses, bizarrely received so little characterisation by comparison that it genuinely surprised me that they were the ultimate villains of the story.
The result is a show that started out wanting to be Game of Thrones in space with all its shady characters and political manoeuvring, then pivoted to wanting to be Seven Samurai in space, never reaching the full potential of either.
The Mouse Demands Tribute
With everything trimmed down for time so savagely, characters only have time to look cool posing and shooting things. Absent is anything resembling character development beyond briefly describing their gimmick to Boba, the biggest culprits of this being Krrsantan and the cyborgs.
From the multi-coloured Power Ranger-esque scooter gang, to Mando’s (admittedly awesome) new N-1 starfighter, the show is packed with merchandising potential that unfortunately contributes nothing to the story of Boba Fett.
Star Wars has been about selling toys for 40 years now but it’s always a bit egregious seeing just how badly they want to sell toys. Coming soon to a Disney store near you – choose an add-on for your plush Baby Yoda: Mandalorian armour or Jedi lightsaber! What does it have to do with Boba Fett? Why, nothing of course!
It’s about when Cad Bane shows up that it feels like they’re just throwing Star Wars things at the screen in the hopes you get excited. With only about 30 lines (delivered fantastically by veteran voice actor Corey Burton) he bites the dust, an anti-climactic end for villain who entered the game so late he gave Diamondback from Luke Cage a run for his money.
Were There Any Positives?
The CGI on Luke is far better this time around, and the effects in general are consistently great. I’m actually all for the live-action Cad Bane design, and thought he looked menacing as heck.
The music was a real earworm, a bizarre mashup of medieval chanting, 808 beats, and Zimmer-esque stings. Though I can only give so many points for this since Ludwig Goranson could fart out a legendary theme tune any day of the week.
I got a great laugh out of Thundercat’s cameo and will retract all criticism for the show if this trend continues and we get cameos from, say, Flying Lotus and Reggie Watts in the other Star Wars shows. And yes, we now have ‘like a bantha’.
A Supporting Character In His Own Show
The overall feeling is that no one involved ever had any interest in telling a Boba Fett story, or any faith that his story could stand up on its own without support from The Mandalorian characters.
Boba Fett came from humble beginnings as a well-dressed goon to end up with one of the most in-depth mythologies in Star Wars. Screen appearances have never lived up to the legend built up in the expanded universe, so this was a great opportunity for Disney to solidify him in canon for casual Star Wars viewers. An opportunity wasted for the sake of Baby Yoda. I think that’s a real shame.