The Book of Boba Fett: How It Started vs. How It’s Going
Spoilers and discussion below the cut...
Let me begin by saying I do understand the disappointment of some fans when they believe they were getting one thing, and instead get served something else. I felt the same thing at the end of the sequel trilogy. But I have never once felt disappointed by anything that Filoni and Favreau have worked on. Nothing. Did it always go the way that I wanted it to? No. Would I have written things differently? Sure. My fanfiction accounts are full of things I *did* write differently. That doesn’t mean I’m disappointed with the canon.
For something to be considered quality Star Wars content, it needs to fit the overarching narrative of Star Wars. You can’t take one show or one movie and put it by itself, it has to be taken in context of the other content. Always. That’s where the sequels failed, in my opinion. The Book of Boba Fett is not a stand-alone story, and people seem to think it was intended to be, and are somehow disappointed that it’s not.
The Mandalorian brought in a great many characters that were already familiar to us. The Book of Boba Fett is no different. What we’re learning is that this story is not just about Boba, it’s telling the story of Tatooine predominantly (but not exclusively) through the eyes of Boba. We have seen the people of this planet represented from the richest to the poorest, from the indigenous to the immigrant, from the young to the old. We have been introduced to new ideas and new subcultures of the planet.
Boba has always been a man without a people. When Jango died, he had no other family. The clones were not his family. The Mandalorians were not his family. The Kaminoans were not his family. The bounty hunters who helped raise him were not his family. He’s always been alone and that reflected in his mannerisms in the OT, such as we saw in the 6 minutes he was onscreen. Now, he has had the benefit of a tribe - a real family - and it has changed his outlook on life and how he treats people. This is why I don’t understand why people complain about him not being the same as he was. He’s not a static character, he has grown beyond his old ways. This isn’t a bad thing. And I will never complain that a man is expressing himself with words too much. Silent men are a dime a dozen, so I am 100% okay with Boba expressing himself more, even if some people (including Tem) think it’s too much. Plus, it advances the narrative.
Each episode had showcased different parts of the Tatooine culture, while simultaneously explaining how Boba has changed, what changed him, how he got to where he is, who he met, and what his plans are. It may feel choppy to some, but it works. We are learning Boba’s journey with two different timelines (thankfully, the flashbacks were better marked that in The Witcher), but the narrative is clearly moving forward to a conflict with the Pyke Syndicate. The fate of all the people on Tatooine, from the poor moisture farmers to the wealthy crime lords, hinges on the outcome of this conflict.
Meanwhile, Boba is building his family. With a protective Fennec always at his side, he is winning the loyalty of people of different species, different cultures, different socio-economic status, and different generations. He isn’t greedy. He doesn’t back down from a fight, nor does he make enemies unnecessarily. He is proving himself to be a wise leader, someone who can unify people who come from very different backgrounds.
Then suddenly, the narrative takes a pause and skips over to the other side of the galaxy to catch us up with Din Djarin, whose show brought Boba back to the limelight, I hasten to point out. Yes, one entire episode is spent just on Din. We see him rediscover his old tribe, with the legendary Darksaber in his possession. If there was any doubt before that the Children of the Watch were a cult, there is none now. The Armorer’s recounting of the events are blatantly biased. She speaks about a prophecy that foretold the doom of Mandalore should the Darksaber fall into the hands of the “undeserving” who did not win it in combat, blaming Bo-Katan for their fall to the Empire.
Full stop for an actual history lesson. It’s unclear if Pre Vizsla won the Darksaber by combat, but we have been told elsewhere that the Darksaber had been passed down through generation to generation within the Vizsla family after it was recovered from the Jedi Temple. Pre was the governor on Concordia, where he secretly lead Death Watch until he made his first bid for power to oust Satine Kryze and her pacifist regime during the Clone Wars. He failed. He succeeded when he joined forces with Maul, who immediately betrayed him and won the Darksaber in combat. Bo-Katan was unwilling to accept an outsider as ruler of Mandalore, so she took her Night Owls and led a resistance against Maul and his supporters, enlisting the aide of the Republic. Maul was defeated by Ahsoka and his people were subdued by the clones. Hours later, Order 66 is issued. Maul escaped and went into hiding, still in possession of the Darksaber. It was later found by Sabine Wren about 17 years later. Sabine was trained by a Jedi to wield it, and she too encountered the saber’s odd habit of becoming weighty to those who have a conflicted heart. Later, when she saw Bo’s willingness to fight the Empire and how others would follow her, Sabine felt led to give the Darksaber to Bo. The leaders from House Kryze, House Vizsla, Clan Wren, Clan Eldar, Clan Rook, and Fenn Rau, last of the Protectors, all pledged their fealty to her and joined forces against the Empire. Gar Saxon was killed by Ursa Wren and his brother was also killed in the ensuing battle. This uprising caught the attention of Emperor Palpatine, and the Great Purge was his answer.
Would the outcome have been different if Bo had fought Sabine for possession of the Darksaber? Of course not. But that’s what the Armorer would have Din believe. Of course, if their covert had answered the call of the Darksaber wielder and joined forces against the Empire, the outcome probably wouldn’t have been different either. Whether she actually believes the prophecy is true, or if it just something she tells herself to assuage the guilt of watching from Concordia as her home burned, the Armorer is clearly an unreliable narrator. If she is Maul’s lieutenant, Rook Kast, as many believe, there is certainly even more reason to understand her personal dislike of Bo-Katan. The Armorer also cites another prophecy when she meets with Din, a legend that tells of the return of the mythosaur, long believed to be extinct, which will herald the return of Mandalore to its former glory. More on this later.
The Armorer attempts to teach Din to wield the saber, but his heart isn’t in it and he can barely lift it. She humiliates him time and again using nothing but her forging tools, berating him for fighting the blade instead of his opponent. It’s comical to see Din swing so hard he causes himself to fall off the platform he’s standing on. But one viewer isn’t laughing.
Paz Vizsla, who has long believed that Din had divided loyalties, is seething in the background. It would be easy to write off his behavior as pure jealousy, but I think it goes deeper. Paz is even more brainwashed than Din is. His hatred for the Empire runs deep. “Our world was shattered by the Empire, with whom this coward shares tables”, he said of Din. Then he learned that Moff Gideon, the person responsible for that massacre, was at Din’s mercy. Instead of killing him with the Darksaber, Din hands him over to the New Republic. Even to the casual viewer, this feels like a betrayal. And now he sees Din’s struggle to wield the legendary blade forged by his ancestor and believes that it is once again in the hands of someone “unworthy”, as the Armorer said. And who can blame him? Din isn’t exactly inspiring confidence at this point. But Paz’s bid for the Darksaber ends with failure. In the brief moments he held it, it proved to be just as heavy in his hands. Din remains the rightful bearer of the Darksaber by Mandalorian creed.
One problem: Also by creed, Din is no longer a Mandalorian (according to the Armorer). He is told to atone by going to the sacred waters in the mines on Mandalore. When he points out that this is impossible because the mines were destroyed, the Armorer simply replies “This is the Way”. The last two members of the only family he has known since he was a boy banish him, leaving him with very little hope of ever rejoining them. Even so, he retains his armor and the Darksaber, and still refers to himself as a Mandalorian. This is an important turning point for Din. He is now without a family to call his own, but he seems to have begun to accept the fact that not all Mandalorians think or believe the same way. He returns to Tatooine, goes and restores a midlife crisis vintage muscle car spaceship, and agrees to help Boba with his Pyke problem (after one more side quest, because it’s Din).
At this point, many are thinking that episode six is going to get us back on track quickly, because there’s only two episodes left of the show and we’ve got an all out war to wage here. Subverted expectations strike again, and once more, characters that have nothing to do with the current storyline are eating up precious screentime. Or are they?
The episode begins with a quick callback to Cobb Vanth, who has his own run in with the Pyke. But since he’s - almost - the quickest draw on Tatooine, he quickly subdues them. Then we jump back to Din, who is about to be reunited with his precious Grogu. At this point, half the audience is groaning and the other half is squealing in glee and rasping “I would like to see the baby” in thick Germanic accents, storyline narratives be damned. Meanwhile, I’m trying to connect dots. Why is this happening here and now? Why was it important for Din to have this reunion in Boba’s show instead of his own? What are we missing?
And then my favorite Togruta pops up out of nowhere to provide some insight. Ahsoka has indeed met Luke - we can all stop wondering about that. It happened. And before anyone gripes about it happening offscreen, may I remind you that Ahsoka is getting her own show soon and it’s bound to have as many flashbacks as Boba’s. Ahsoka also suddenly seems to be perpetuating that old Jedi “no attachments” rule. This seems like a stark contrast to Anakin’s padawan, who had nearly as many loved ones as he did, though she was always better at letting them go. She’s seen a lot since then, though. She witnessed the reign of the Empire and saw firsthand how Vader hunted down the last of the Jedi, causing horror wherever he went. It wasn’t until just before Luke joined the rebellion that she found out that Vader was Anakin (moments before he tried to kill her). With that realization, she can clearly see just how important it is for a Jedi to be able to let go of loved ones. And I think she and Luke had a very long discussion about this, influencing his opinions on it as well.
Now, she encourages Din to let go of his attachments to Grogu and let the child reclaim his path of becoming a Jedi. Din concedes for Grogu’s sake, but he gets her to agree to give Grogu the chainmail shirt. Ahsoka’s conversation with Luke reveals that Luke also believes that Grogu’s heart isn’t in his training, but with his Mandalorian father, much like Din’s heart was divided when he was training with the Darksaber. Luke isn’t sure how to proceed. So he does the one thing that I have never seen a Jedi Master do with a padawan...he gives Grogu the choice.
Now, some people are angry at Luke for this, and I cannot for the life of me figure out why. How could he be so cruel as to make a child choose between being a Jedi and having a family? Did we somehow miss the fact that Grogu was already given this choice when he was first taken by the Jedi and raised at the Temple decades before this? Now, Luke is giving him the choice again, with the pros and cons of both. Go and be reunited with your friend and make a life with him, but you’ll be forsaking the Jedi way. Or you can stay and become a Jedi, but you might not ever see your friend again because a little while for you is a lifetime for him. Luke is making sure that Grogu is forced to make the choice that no one ever made Anakin make. Anakin tried to have it both ways, and it was disastrous. Luke is desperately trying not to repeat the same mistakes that cost him and others so dearly.
We don’t know what Grogu will choose, but I think it’s a good bet that it will be Din. One, we know that Grogu is not Luke’s student when Ben Solo flees and the school is destroyed. Two, I suspect that Luke’s role in this story is not yet done. After all, if The Book of Boba Fett is more about the fight for the fate of Tatooine, then how can we leave Luke out of that story? It’s HIS home too. That, and I just really want to see a Boba/Luke reunion, which goes from tense to tentative allies, and in which Boba warns Luke to stay away from his Rancor.
If, however, my hopes are dashed and Luke does not return home for one last hoorah through Beggar’s Canyon, I will not be disappointed. His role in this story is still pivotal, regardless. Star Wars always features the familiar trope of found family, but sometimes, we have more than one choice before us for which family we wish to stay with.
Boba lived apart for twenty-six years after his father’s death. He was taken into a family with the Tuskens and then lost them. Now he is determined to create his own by reaching out to those around him and inviting them to share his wealth and protection. His family illustrates a sharp contrast to the Children of the Watch and the Jedi. He encourages attachments and bonds. He takes his helmet off frequently to show his face and to connect to the people he invites in. He is not afraid to allow others to see into the windows of his soul, because he is a man with nothing to hide. He is not afraid to be vulnerable with others.
Din lost his first family to the Separatists. With the Mandalorians he found a new family, but his status in that family was contingent on him never revealing his face, either to a loved one outside his immediate family or because he was defeated in battle. If you fail just once in battle and lose your helmet, you’re not a Mandalorian. If you love a person outside your clan and show them your face, you’re not a Mandalorian. Now an outcast, Din has to decide if the rigid rules of the Children of the Watch truly is “the way”.
Grogu chose to reject family and become a Jedi at a very young age, or perhaps he was an orphan who was taken in without much choice in the matter at all. In any case, Anakin and the 501st tore that life away from him, and he was presumably without family or loved ones for twenty-four years (or a bit less, depending on how long whoever rescued him stayed with him). Then Din became his family, only to return him to his old life as a Jedi. Now Grogu has to decide between the path he was set on as a small...er child and the new life that was opened up to him as a Mandalorian foundling.
Luke’s family is just a trainwreck and I won’t spend much time elaborating on that further - we all know. Thanks to the sequels, we are assured that his family life continues to be as screwed up as ever with the next generation as we watch ever member of his family die before the name gets picked up by a Palpatine. Yes, I’m still salty about that one. Anyway, I digress. Luke shares one thing in common with Din, Boba, and Grogu - his family was destroyed by the Empire. Perhaps he will see the merit in family ties should he play a larger role in this story, we shall see.
So, where is it all headed? How are we going to wrap up Boba’s story in one episode? Well, unless he dies next week, we aren’t. We might be able to wrap up Tatooine’s story, but Cad Bane’s appearance has just opened up a new opportunity to continue Boba’s quest beyond the daimyo of Moss Espa. I wouldn’t be surprised if we learn that it was Cad Bane working for the Pyke who slaughtered Boba’s Tusken family and made it look like it was the biker gang. Not that Boba needs more reasons to kill Bane, but this would be a good one. More importantly, the last time we saw Bane, he was getting his ass whooped by Fennec Shand while she was attempting to save BOBA’S SISTER from him. I don’t know if they’ll name drop Omega before The Bad Batch season 2 is out, but I’m hoping so.
Of course, after killing shooting Cobb Vanth, Din is also going to want a crack at Bane. Between him, Boba, and Fennec, I’m fairly certain that the wily Duros’ days are numbered and those numbers don’t extend past next Wednesday. But this brings me back to why we had to spend a whole episode on Din. Is he furthering Boba’s story or is Boba furthering his? The answer is “yes”. I believe their stories are inextricably woven together at this point. Din couldn’t have saved Grogu without Boba. And Boba won’t be able to save his family without Din. Furthermore, Din is now without a family or a home. His Naboo fighter is too small to eat, sleep, or take potty breaks in. His days as a bounty hunter are coming to a close. He needs a home base, a place to rest his head. I think that Boba will provide that for him, for a time anyway.
The Mandalorian Season 3 may very well begin with Din living on Tatooine with Boba and Fennec. Grogu will probably choose Din over life as a Jedi as well, so he’ll also be there. Also, I need a Grogu and Uncle Boba scene like I need water. There is a good possibility Din will still go back to Mandalore to check out those mines, because, why not go on yet another side quest? Hopefully, at that point, he won’t be trying to cleanse himself to get back in with his cult, though. Maybe he’ll go to Mandalore for entirely different reasons.
I think one of two things is going to happen: Din is going to go into those mines and find a mythosaur and rise up to become Mand’alor and bring his people together despite still being a walking dumpster fire. Grogu will become the first Mandalorian Jedi since Tarre Vizsla, trained by Ezra Bridger who has finally been found by Ahsoka and Sabine and who gives zero f***s about attachments. They will all unite to fight against Thrawn.
The mythosaur that was thought to be dead is a metaphor for Boba and he’s going to reclaim his destiny (from the Legends books) to become Mand’alor. He’ll put those excellent people skills to use by teaching everybody from Rook Kast The Armorer to Bo-Katan how to strike the balance between loyalty to creed and loyalty to family. Rancors, massiffs, and banthas will be imported to Mandalore. He will meet Omega and she will help mastermind the effort to take down Thrawn.
We can be assured that Disney will stretch this story out for as long as they can make money off it. Undoubtedly, these shows (The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, Ahsoka, The Bad Batch, Obi-Wan, etc.) are going to tie in to each other whenever possible, building up to a conflict with a single “Thanos-level” antagonist - who is almost certainly going to be Thrawn.
If you made it this far, I applaud you. I’ll close with this: I know Star Wars fans aren’t happy unless they are complaining about something (and I’ve done my fair share of complaining about the sequels, so I am guilty of this as well), but I do wish that we would learn to stop treating these shows and episodes as if they exist in a vacuum. Star Wars is one story. Different characters rise to the forefront and fade into the background fluidly as we move from one place to another. The plot isn’t always smooth or linear, as happens when many different people are all adding chapters to one book; but one can never take those individual stories out of the context of the overarching narrative and be satisfied. Some may genuinely dislike the whole story when it’s done, and some might just nitpick it to death along the way because they can’t let go of their desires. And that is one of the central themes of Star Wars right there that we often miss - don’t let your attachment to your desires rob you of the joy of the moment, or tempt you down a path that leads to bitterness and hate. It might not always go the way we want it to, but that doesn’t mean we always have to be angry or disappointed about it. Here’s to making Star Wars a less toxic fandom, and may the Force be with you.