Peacemaker is to superhero as ringworm is to earthworm. It might seem like these two
Boba Fett is a hard guy to kill.
Just ask the sarlacc, whose gaping maw Mr. Fett tumbled into during Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi. Had a nature documentary team been on the desert planet of Tatooine at the time, a man with a gentle, deep voice would’ve said Boba Fett was doomed to be digested, slowly, over the next thousand years or so. As it was understood, once you were lodged in the creature’s gut, there was no escape.
One disgusting escape and one nearly dead sarlacc later, the documentary narrator would’ve been proven wrong.
And having seen the absolute worst side of Tatooine, Boba Fett is now determined to see the rest of it—from the throne of his old employer, Jabba the Hutt.
But that oversized seat can be mighty uncomfortable on this crime-riven planet. Sure, Fett has proven difficult to knock off—but plenty of rivals on Tatooine will give it a go.
You could argue that Fett is a kinder, gentler version of himself these days. The former bounty hunter has never been squeamish about doing the galaxy’s dirty work. Sure, he was a little worried about Han Solo’s safety when Darth Vader froze the guy in carbonite, but that was mainly because Jabba demanded that his most prominent debtor be brought to him alive. “He’s no good to me dead,” he tells Vader in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.
But perhaps his time in the sarlacc or his days with a band of Tusken Raiders gave him opportunity to re-evaluate his life choices. Perhaps he should settle down. Become a relatively benevolent ruler. Unlike Jabba, he’d rather not feed every malcontent to a rancor. Well, not immediately, anyway.
“Living with the Tuskens has made you soft,” Fett’s right-hand assassin, Fennec Shand, tells him.
“No, it has made me strong,” he says. “You can only go so far without a tribe.”
Still, on a planet like Tatooine—ruled by crime lords who appreciate the value of a cracked head or two—respect is best earned when seasoned with a little terror. And if Boba Fett hopes to keep Jabba’s old empire alive and thriving (and the galactic credits flowing) he’ll need to prove he’s tough enough to do it.
Yeah, in the end, escaping the sarlacc might’ve been Fett’s easiest challenge on Tatooine.
Disney+ opens The Book of Boba Fett in fine fashion. Like its much-lauded series The Mandalorian, this show offers viewers a gritty story in a grimy corner of the galaxy—but without ever getting particularly slimy.
Oh, you’ll see actual slime, no question. Plenty of creature-based goo and glop land on the Tatooine sands from the first episode on. And given that the show centers on a violent character on a violent world, you’ll see plenty of combat, too. Rarely will viewers be more than a few minutes away from a frenetic fistfight or laser-streaked shootout. Fett is no pacifist, and he hesitates not a whisker before killing someone who’s trying to do the same to him. And even as the show positions him to be a good(ish) guy, he’s not above slaughtering whole gangs or killing someone in cold blood.
And lest we forget, the power struggles we see here are between crime lords. Tatooine is a planet full of villains, so rooting interests are relative.
But the level of violence and gore is pretty much on par, so far, with The Mandalorian, and perhaps only a Kowakian monkey-lizard’s hair more extreme than what we see in the movies. Language doesn’t appear to be much of an issue either, though an occasional stray profanity can slip through. And bathroom humor? It seems in this galaxy far, far away, calls of nature seem universally limited—which means jokes predicated on such calls are practically non-existent.
Oh, and for those who might be discomforted by the Star Wars concept of the Force, that seems pretty much non-existent here, as well. No mystical energy field is controlling his destiny.
The Book of Boba Fett marks another entry into the Star Wars television canon—one that many families will be able to navigate. But for those looking for this book to be on par with The Mandalorian, you may walk away disappointed. And, of course, you might find a stray content sarlacc or two in the sands. Boba Fett’s Houdini-like escape aside, they’re not always so easy to crawl out of.
We spend most of the episode in a flashback. Fett finds and revives a nearly dead assassin named Fennec Shand. Fennec appreciates the rescue, and the two team up to retrieve Fett’s ship from Jabba the Hutt’s old palace. Woe to any guards—or droids—who get in their way. In the present, Fett collects another henchman (the fearsome Wookiee Black Krrsantan from the previous episode) and makes an offer to Mos Espa’s quarrelsome crime lords.
Black Krrsantan appears to have some anger management issues. Under the influence of some sort of intoxicating beverage, the Wookiee attacks a handful of tavern patrons—throwing them around, knocking them about and ripping the arm off of one. (So many galactic denizens lose their arms in Star Wars.)
In an extended flashback, Fett saves Fennec by taking her to a mod center (where people are given various droid parts to make them more powerful). A bunch of her innards are replaced by machinery. (It’s not particularly gory: We only see the metal pipes and translucent tubes in an opening in her abdomen.) They fight with several guards in Jabba’s old pad, killing a few with bloodless laser blasts. Fennec engages in bruising hand-to-hand combat with a couple guards, too. They also dispatch a couple of droids, including cutting the head off of one. In other scenes, Fett blasts a speeder gang out of existence (plenty of explosions, but no blood), and he seems to straight-up murder Jabba’s successor to claim the throne.
But perhaps the most frightening, gruesome confrontation is with a not-so-dead sarlacc. The monster’s beak-like mouth does its best to snap through Fett’s ship and gobble both him and Fennec up, and slimy tentacles work to pull them closer. A bomb dropped into the pit seemingly ends the beast for good, but Fett still goes spelunking in the creature’s slime.
Characters drink and gamble at a Mos Espa watering hole, served by sometimes scantily-clad employees. Fett is seen shirtless occasionally. We hear the word “d–mit” twice. Bones of a dead Bantha are seen in passing. A live bantha licks her owner. A creature meant to be part of a stew tries to crawl out of a pot. (He’s promptly thwacked with a spoon, ending his escape attempt.)
For a planet that everyone seems to agree is an utterly worthless backwater wasteland full of nothing but sand and scoundrels, there sure are a lot of folks who want a piece of Tatooine. Boba Fett continues to encounter all kinds of resistance to his attempt to assume the late Jabba the Hutt’s rule over the underworld of Mos Espa, a city full of ne’er-do-wells who aren’t frightened by Fett’s rocket pack or flamethrower.
Fett must quell a petty rebellion of street thugs stealing overpriced water from a watermonger—which he does by recruiting them to be his henchmen. Meanwhile, Mos Espa Mayor Mok Shaiz seems to determined to undermine Fett’s implicit authority in the city. The dreaded Hutt twins remain intent upon reclaiming Jabba’s former territory as well. And still another faction known the Pike Syndicate begins to flex its influence muscles ominously. No one seems to fear Fett or respect him—a matter he and his right-hand woman Fennec Shand seek to rectify, often treating potential foes with more mercy and justice than anyone expects (and earning their loyalty along the way). The overall narrative continues to cultivate a Sopranos-meets-Gunsmoke-in-space kind of vibe.
Boba Fett is attacked by the Wookie bounty hunter known as Black Krrsantan. The Wookie yanks a slumbering Fett (who’s wearing only swimming-trunk style briefs) out of his watery tank and beats him badly, hitting, biting, choking and trying to crush Fett. Fennec Shand and other Fett underlings manage to rescue Fett and capture the raging Wookie. We see a flashback to Fett discovering that the village of the Tusken Raiders who essentially adopted him has been destroyed, with their corpses strewn about the burning camp. Stormtrooper helmets (and perhaps heads) are mounted on pikes outside of the spaceport city of Mos Eisley. A speeder chase through the dusty alleys of Mos Espa knocks various characters about.
Fennec drinks a dark, wine-like beverage. Someone gives Boba Fett the lavish gift of a tranquilized rancor, a huge and fierce beast (last seen in Return of the Jedi) that Fett treats like a big pet dog.
This episode splits its time between Boba Fett’s present and the past. In the present, Boba Fett tries to track down why someone hired a bunch of assassins to kill him. And as he questions one suspect, he learns that some of Jabba the Hutt’s relatives have laid claim to Fett’s new crime domain. Meanwhile, in the past, Boba Fett learns how to use the Tusken Raider gaderffii (the group’s traditional hooked weapon) and, in turn, he teaches them how to ride speeders—prep for robbing a train.
Fett procures said speeders by taking on, essentially, the Star Wars equivalent of a motorcycle gang. It does not go well for the gang: Its members are all incapacitated or unconscious by the end of the battle, and the melee includes beating someone over the head and thwacking another in the crotch. (The fight takes place in a bar; before Fett arrived, the bikers had been attacking a patron with shock weapons.)
During the train heist, several Tusken Raiders and defenders are shot and presumably killed. A couple of people get blown off the top of the train by its engine. Others either fall or are thrown off the train, and someone appears to get run over (even though the train floats a foot or two off the ground). Other Raiders and their Bantha steeds (think furry, elephant-sized rams) are shot and killed. Bodies are thrown on a fire to be cremated. Tusken Raiders fall off speeders during training. Fett and his teacher spar with the gaderffii.
Fett bonds with a hallucinogenic lizard (it shoots into his nose and apparently crawls into his brain). In this impaired state, he imagines he’s back in the stomach of the sarlacc, fighting with the beast’s slimy inner tendrils as they morph into vines.
We see Fett shirtless at times. Workers at a popular Mos Espa tavern wear skimpy garb. We hear a couple of death threats. Fett utters a mild profanity. Someone lies to frighten a prisoner. A train is robbed.
Boba Fett has assumed control of Jabba the Hutt’s crime empire, and he’s trying to cement his authority. But after a delegate refuses to offer tribute and he and his lethal lieutenant Fennec Shand are attacked in downtown Mos Espa, Fett realizes it won’t be an easy task.
Still, it’s got to be easier than his escape from the sarlacc and its immediate aftermath, which we see flashbacks of. We see him in the creature’s slimy gut, streaked in green digestive acids. He escapes in part by using the breathing apparatus of an apparently dead stormtrooper, and he burns his way out of the monster’s belly. (We don’t know if the sarlacc dies or not, but its tentacles certainly don’t seem very lively when Fett crawls out of the sand.)
Still in flashback, Fett is captured by Tusken Raiders—dragged painfully through the sand to an encampment. He fights a Tusken, is beaten by Tusken children and violently wrangles with a toothy, lizard-dog-like creature. A monster attacks a handful of characters and kills one; the creature dies himself, and his head is taken back as a trophy. In the episode’s present, Fett and Fennec Shand fight several attackers armed with electric shields and clubs. Several people die (though bloodlessly and, for the most part, off screen).
Fett and Shand go into a familiar cantina and are offered beverages. Humanoids in skimpy garb display brightly colored skin. Fett himself is seen shirtless a few times.
After serving as an associate editor at NavPress’ Discipleship Journal and consulting editor for Current Thoughts and Trends, Adam now oversees the editing and publishing of Plugged In’s reviews as the site’s director. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three children. In their free time, the Holzes enjoy playing games, a variety of musical instruments, swimming and … watching movies.
Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.
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