After a long wait, The Book of Boba Fett has finally premiered on Disney+. After making his grand return as the titular character in The Mandalorian, Temuera Morrison continues the story in the first of many spinoffs that’ll expand the galaxy far, far away. The first episode “Stranger in a Strange Land” takes a very different approach to what you may expect from what was teased as Star Wars‘ take on the Godfather. While we still get those elements that hint at the series’ bigger picture, it takes a few steps back to build up the character we always knew surprisingly little about. Does it falter under the weight of expectation, or shine new light upon the Mandalorian clone?
Most of the episode is spent with the aftermath of 1983’s Return of the Jedi, as we finally find out how exactly Boba Fett survived the Sarlacc Pit. It was almost expected that they’d fill in the blanks that were left purposefully vague before, as it strengthens the character we’re about to see grow throughout this series. Yet, we already know he survived and it left us questioning what these extensive flashbacks will bring to the series’ overarching narrative. The actual plotline revolves around Boba’s new role as the daimyo after taking over from Bib Fortuna. Yet, we spend very little time with him in that role.
The biggest mystery set up in this episode is the identity of the “Mayor.” He’s hinted at as Boba’s biggest threat, especially when he’s the only one who refuses to not pay tribute to the new underworld leader. There’s an interesting conflict brewing between these two parties, but the episode doesn’t effectively use its runtime to focus on the world-building of Tatooine’s underbelly. We see a casino, he gets attacked (and his ass handed to him) before we move back to the flashback. While it worked as an opening segment to tease future development, it is trying to build something up that has no clear goal.
The Book of Boba Fett‘s opening is sadly more lukewarm than exciting due to the first episode not set up many future plotlines to explore. The cliffhanger we are left with is Boba back in his flashback. There’s a lost momentum to what exactly the show is trying to be or even set up. We have no clear indication if these flashbacks and his time with the Tusken Raiders might connect to the current storyline. It’s good they don’t give too much away, but it leaves you wondering what exactly the show is going for after the credits roll.
It’s strange how often Morrison gets beaten up in this first episode. While it makes sense in the flashbacks, he makes his grand entrance as the new Tatooine Kingpin only for random stragglers to pretty much beat him so badly, he needs to go back to the Bacta tank. I am not sure if him quitting halfway early on was a hint that he’s out of it, but when he and Ming-Na Wen‘s Fennec Shand get surrounded, it seemed odd they couldn’t get out without help. It does fall back on the “jetpack” fallacy, as he could’ve easily flown out of there, but he didn’t even give it a thought.
The action still has its moments, his fight at the end was well done and gave Boba a moment to finally shine. Shand’s chase sequence was probably a highlight, as she uses clever – even if unclear – tactics to outmaneuver their attackers. Yet, it felt like something was missing throughout the show, especially with how little its titular character is used. He does get a cheap shot in, which is potentially to highlight his conflict on ruling with fear or respect, which is very likely going to be his character arc. We’ll see if future episodes will offer a clearer picture of where the show is heading.