REVIEW: ‘The Book Of Boba Fett,’ Episode 1 — “Chapter 1: Stranger In A Strange Land”

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The Book of Boba Fett

The Book of Boba Fett Episode 1 launches a Disney+ Original series, spinning out of the Season 2 finale of The Mandalorian and starring Temuera Morrison as the titular bounty hunter. “Stranger in A Strange Land” centers on Fett’s rise to power as daimyo of Mos Espa, following the fall of Boba Fett and Bib Fortuna. Fett intends to do things differently from Jabba, despite reservations from his right hand and fellow bounty Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) and other factions attempting to muscle in on his territory.

One of the best things about Season 2 of The Mandalorian is that it finally turned Fett into an actual character instead of a mere action figure; much like Din Djarin, he has a code of honor and a connection to Mandalorian culture via his late father Jango. Book of Boba Fett expands upon this base, with Fett showing mercy to Jabba’s Gamorean guards and also choosing to walk among the people of Tattoine rather than just sit on his throne. “Jabba ruled with fear,” he tells Shand. “I intend to rule with respect.” While this is a noble aspiration, an attempt on Fett’s life proves that he still has to earn the respect of Mos Espa’s other crime lords.

Morrison continues to build up Fett as a character throughout the episode, whether he’s dealing with the world of crime or reminiscing about his survival. Much like Pedro Pascal’s performance as Din Djarin, Morrison lets his body language do the talking; he doesn’t lounge on his throne but sits upright, with his blaster at the ready. Another element that I enjoy is that Fett gets his ass kicked; though he’s no slouch he takes a fair amount of punishment throughout the issue. One of the things that annoyed me about previous portrayals of Fett, including the old Expanded Universe, is that writers would often portray him as having the edge in every fight. That gets boring after a while, and I’ve always preferred characters who have to work for their victories-it looks like Morrison wants to apply that principle to Fett.

It helps that he also has Shand as his right hand, who offers her own frank advice and also manages to hold her own during the ambush on Fett. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Wen’s portrayal as Shand; she’s expressed her love for the Star Wars universe and fits perfectly into its narrative as Shand. I also love the rapport between Fett and Shand; too often in genre fiction, you’ll see a crime lord or villain suffer betrayal at the hands of their second in command. Fett and Shand’s bond is built on mutual respect, as he saved her from near death and she informs him of the ins and outs of the crime world.

Speaking of near-death experiences, The Book of Boba Fett Episode 1 explores perhaps the biggest question on Star Wars fans’ minds: how exactly did Fett escape the Sarlacc’s stomach after the events of Return of the Jedi? Director Robert Rodriguez and Mandalorian showrunner Jon Favreau, who penned the episode, waste no time in exploring this as the episode cuts between Fett’s rule as daimyo and his survival on the harsh sands of Tatooine. Rodriguez is definitely more interested in the former, opening “Stranger in a Strange Land” with a shot of Fett trapped in the Sarlacc’s stomach and struggling to escape as its digestive juices eat away at his armor & flesh. It’s also revealed that Fett formed a connection with the Tusken Raiders; continuing another trend from The Mandalorian, the Tatooine natives are shown to have their own customs and are actually humanized instead of being merely portrayed as savages.

Rodriguez also explores more of Tatooine, including the city of Mos Espa and the Tusken Raiders camp. Tatooine is perhaps one of the most famous planets in Star Wars history, serving as the birthplace of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader; now audiences get to see more of the planet’s infrastructure, especially how Mos Espa is a hive of scum and villainy that even rivals its sister city, Mos Eisley. I do wish the episode had spent more time exploring the world of Mos Espa, as it feels genuinely distinct from anything we’ve seen from Tatooine in previous Star Wars projects.

The Book of Boba Fett Episode 1 is a solid premiere that sets the stage for Fett’s new reign as an intergalactic crime lord while revealing how he survived the harsh sands of Tatooine. While the series may be off to a slow start I feel that fans of Boba Fett, along with those who’ve enjoyed Star Wars‘ previous television efforts, will be more than willing to stick around for the long haul.

New episodes of The Book of Boba Fett premiere Wednesdays on Disney+.


'The Book Of Boba Fett Episode 1 — "Chapter 1: Stranger In A Strange Land"
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL;DR

The Book of Boba Fett Episode 1 is a solid premiere that sets the stage for Fett’s new reign as an intergalactic crime lord while revealing how he survived the harsh sands of Tatooine. While the series may be off to a slow start I feel that fans of Boba Fett, along with those who’ve enjoyed Star Wars‘ previous television efforts, will be more than willing to stick around for the long haul.

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