I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t eagerly anticipating The Book of Boba Fett. New Star Wars is new Star Wars, but I didn’t stay up to watch it at midnight, nor did I rush out to read reviews or interviews.
In fact, media attention has been quiet on the series so far due to the holiday launch and the lack of advance press screeners.
But with The Book of Boba Fett approaching the halfway mark of season 1, I’m already enjoying it even more than The Mandalorian – and it just might act as a preview of Star Wars shows of the future.
Two narratives, one story
The Book of Boba Fett looks and feels a lot like The Mandalorian on the surface. It has shared characters, a focus on a lone gunman, and it builds on similar themes of self-identifying within rigid codes of honor. It certainly exists within the same Favreau-verse. That much is obvious. It’s even produced using the immersive visual-effects system known as “The Volume,” giving the show a familiar visual feel.
But The Book of Boba Fett deviates from The Mando in narrative structure, which is key.
The Mandalorian’s first season, in particular, was built around an episodic, monster-of-the-week cadence. Each week, it was a new planet and a new adventure, with not much of a narrative thread to weave all the pieces together. It ended up being a great way to start small and remain flexible with the storytelling.
But it felt overly rigid, both for a Star Wars series and for modern television storytelling in general. Animated shows like Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels have gone the episodic route, but for Star Wars’ first venture into a live action series, it was notably old school.
The Book of Boba Fett takes an entirely different approach. The show’s framing is instead split between two stories, one in the past and one in the present. But it’s the way these two narratives are tied together that makes it compelling.
Boba Fett’s rise from his sandy grave in the past and his current attempts to rise through the underworld play off each other beautifully. That was most notable in Episode 2, where we witnessed two stories involving paying tribute for territories and struggles to gain respect in a foreign land.
Lessons learned in one arc find new context in the other, and the themes that arise prove that this is far more than just series creator Jon Favreau playing with his childhood action figures. (Not that there would be anything wrong with that.)
We’re getting to watch Boba Fett’s leadership style and code of honor refined, and as it turns out, there’s more depth and nuance to the mysterious character than I assumed there could be. It makes for a show that feels far more modern in its construction. But more importantly, it’s a really good sign for the future of Star Wars television.
A peek at the future
The Mandalorian will eventually continue in Season 3, and I’ll happily watch along. The show was the first out of the gate for Star Wars television, and a lot was riding on its success. Fortunately, its widespread acceptance by fans and critics has led to it becoming a vehicle for launching other series, specifically in Season 2. The return of Boba Fett, Ahsoka, and even Luke Skywalker himself has opened up possibilities. (Still waiting on a dedicated Luke Skywalker series, but we’ll see.)
But I have a feeling the future of Star Wars television will look more like The Book of Boba Fett than The Mandalorian. That is, a singular narrative with fewer episodes and that fills in a connective thread of the larger narrative. A more focused scope certainly fits the bill of upcoming shows like Ahsoka and Obi-Wan Kenobi — both of which have fans like myself buzzing with anticipation.
Both of these character-based shows, like The Book of Boba Fett, will highlight a previously untold window of time in a popular character’s story. Interestingly, like Boba Fett, these are characters that also just happen to be ones that span multiple trilogies within the Star Wars timeline.
Could we see more flashbacks and connective tissue in these shows? You bet. Lessons from past entries in the character’s life that play out in new ways? Absolutely. Seeing how a character like Obi-Wan could function in this type of series – with so many decades of storytelling as the context – sounds thrilling.
We’ll have to wait and see how the final episodes in the Boba Fett saga play out. Will it set up the events of The Mandalorian season 3? Will it put a definitive end to the character? All that is up in the air. But so far, it’s a show that has me more and more excited for the future of Star Wars television.
Disney’s The Book of Boba Fett can be seen on Disney+ streaming service.
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