‘The Book of Boba Fett’ Episode 1 recap: “Stranger in a Strange Land”
Not every story needs to be told. Not every story needs to be expanded upon. In this age of sequels and exploiting the most from intellectual properties, it appears the new Disney+ series, The Book of Boba Fett, is something of a misfire, if the first episode is any indication of what’s to come.
The Mandalorian successfully brought even the most casual Star Wars fan into its narrative. There was something for everyone. Watching the first episode of The Book of Boba Fett had all the entertainment value of listening to Ben Stein narrate a chapter in the Star Wars encyclopedia. If someone is a hardcore fan, there’s nothing this show could do that would cause them to turn the channel but is that the sole audience the show is targeting? You’d think they would want a broader rather than niche audience as they expand their universe.
Director Robert Rodriguez (Spy Kids, From Dusk Till Dawn) is tasked with bridging the gap between the plausible and improbable. Everyone saw Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) die at the end of Return of the Jedi. How does a bounty hunter defy the odds and escape a Sarlacc Pit? Well, by apparently using a flame thrower and digging your way out (duh). Through various flashbacks, we see that Jawas have scavenged his Mandalorian bounty hunter gear, and he’s been captured by Tusken Raiders. We know he’s managed to overcome these odds as he’s now sitting on Jabba The Hutt’s throne with Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) as his second in command. From bounty hunter to crime boss of a place Obi-Wan once referred to as a place full of scum and villainy. Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni appear to be giving the world an inside look at the galactic underworld. Were fans really clamoring for a series like this?
Perhaps, but Filoni and Favreau provide us with no hook into this new saga. Are we supposed to show up each week to see who challenges for Boba’s throne next? Based on what we have seen so far, Morrison and Wen do their best with the material presented. The score and production design stood out most in the first episode. Ludwig Göransson’s score is a delicate balance between the western tone of this series and the galaxy far… far away that this story takes place in. The production design in the first episode captures the vibe of the west while honoring the Star Wars universe as well. There’s even a scene towards the end of episode one where Boba Fett and Fennec Shand face off against many assassins in Mos Eisley’s town square, which gave off some serious Sergio Leone vibes.
The only question left unanswered after the first episode is the intentions of Madam Garsa Fwip (Jennifer Beals), who we are introduced to when Fennec and Boba go into the cantina. She appears to accept that Boba is the new crime lord (as evident by her tribute to him), but it seems suspicious that they are attacked shortly after they leave that establishment. Could Fwip have her eyes on Jabba’s throne? Based on Filoni and Favreau’s previous work, the answer may not be that simple. What does need to occur as the series moves forward are more sequences like the one which happened in the town’s square. That sequence pumped energy into what had been a lifeless first episode.
While this first episode was a disappointment, Filoni and Favreau have earned the benefit of the doubt. I’d expect things to improve as The Book of Boba Fett progresses. If it doesn’t, we could be having a different discussion in the weeks ahead.
Episodes of The Book of Boba Fett will be released every Wednesday only on Disney+.