The Book of Boba Fett S01E01 & S01E02 Review: Dances with Tuskens

Whichever canon you follow, Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) eventually finds his way out of the Sarlaac Pit. It's not really a spoiler, because you wouldn't otherwise have a show that takes place post Return of the Jedi (1983). Guess it's one of the many benefits of Beskar armor in the Star Wars universe, to survive being swallowed and absorbed stomach acid. As we finally see Boba claw his way out to freedom before passing out, we see the franchise's most opportunistic scavengers of all of sci-fi in the Jawas stripping his armor faster than Eric Idle constantly shouting "Bring out your dead!" in the plague scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail during the premiere episode of The Book of Boba Fett, "Stranger in a Strange Land".

Boba Fett
(L-R): Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) and Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) in Lucasfilm's THE BOOK OF BOBA FETT, exclusively on Disney+. © 2021 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.

As part of his morning routine, we see Boba emerge from his bacta tank that heals him from his battle wounds. With the Rebels taking out Jabba the Hutt, Boba declares himself as Daimyo of Mos Espa in Tatooine and receives tribute as his predecessor did. Yes, would be remiss to mention that in The Mandalorian end credit scene, he did take over for Bib Fortuna, but for the interest of the series, no one will ever really care to revisit his seat-warming reign for the purposes of the plot. We're treated to a series of flashbacks between Boba dealing with transitioning and his time prior to his reintroduction in The Mandalorian. We're not really treated to an actual explanation why he decides to rule and leave his life of bounty hunting behind. Guess they'll explain his motivation with each episode. He gets kidnapped into slavery from a tribe of Tusken Raiders as he struggles to learn their ways. While we get the idea of Boba's new life and newer characters played by Matt Berry, David Pasquesi, and Jennifer Beals, they're largely placeholders in the premiere for the ongoing story that will develop, but the main focus appeared to be Boba's journey back to civilization.

The Book of Boba Fett S01E01 & S01E02 Review: Dances with Tuskens
Robert Rodriguez on the set of Lucasfilm's THE BOOK OF BOBA FETT, exclusively on Disney+. © 2021 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.

Directed by Robert Rodriguez and written by Jon Favreau and Noah Kloor, there are a few action-oriented sequences that keep the premiere moving along. It still largely remains too pedestrian, because I didn't feel a sense of urgency for the character to really change his ways other than the fact he's lucky and fortunate to survive. It didn't shed new light on why the loner we always knew him to be is now regularly running with Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen). It seems to me if you're going to reintroduce a character in "Star Wars" canon, at least try to explain why he doesn't do certain things anymore (like bounty hunt).

The Tribes of Tatooine

While composing thoughts on these past two episodes, The Book of Boba Fett looks like it's not trying to rewrite the title character's past per se, but trying to justify his existence as more of a fully-fleshed-out character beyond the handful of minutes he's appeared in past canon. The episode "Chapter 2: The Tribes of Tatooine" hopes you've seen The Mandalorian episode "Chapter 14: The Tragedy" where Boba personally demonstrates to imperial stormtroopers and audiences alike how awesome gaderffii (or gaffi stick) is becoming, a melee tour-de-force not seen in the Star Wars universe outside of a Jedi or Sith's lightsaber. For the five of you who decided to skip The Mandalorian altogether (which come with the follow-up question "Why?!") then it's a coming-of-age story about a man who learns the way of a "foreign" and often maligned people and subsequently shaming audiences for not seeing them with empathy.

Star Wars: The Book of Boba Fett - Episode 1 - Figures We Want
Credit: Disney

In this case, it's the Tuskens, who infamously nearly took out Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) before Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) saved him during the events of A New Hope (1977) and killed Anakin's (Hayden Christensen) mother Shmi (Pernilla August) driving him to a bloodthirsty rage wiping out the tribe during Attack of the Clones (2002). As Temeura Morrison does his best Kevin Costner impression from Dances With Wolves (1990), Boba learns the ways of the Tuskens actually teaching them the value of technology rather than simply stripping it of parts. He manages to work with his one-time captors in taking out a train convoy that regularly attacks the Tusken camp.

Star Wars: The Book of Boba Fett - Episode 1 - Figures We Want
Credit: Disney

Boba's Tusken Journey in The Book of Boba Fett

As the second part of diving into Boba's past, we find out he does actually enjoy helping to lead their tribe in conquering their enemy. Yes, you can argue if it was done simply out of survival or out of mutual respect to help one another. Guess one can theorize that spending days out in the desert without hydration and food can change a person, right? Credit does go to the Tusken actors (especially Boba's sparring partner played by Joanna Bennett) who only communicate via gestures and a series of grunts. Would it have killed Disney to provide subtitles for them as a fictional language? Directed by Steph Green, the series did an adequate job keeping up the narrative to its satisfying conclusion by adding layers to a misunderstood race in the "Star Wars" universe, and I would be remiss not to mention the exciting train sequence. And yes, there are those looking to challenge Boba & Fennec's plan as we get the live-action debut of Jabba's cousins, The Twins. Since this is episodic television we're talking about and we have more episodes still to burn, the introduction won't be leading until any kind of resolution until later. And that's my biggest concern two episodes in, that we'll get a lot of ideas thrown at us that the series won't be able to properly address by the time it wraps but here's hoping that I'm wrong.

The Book of Boba Fett Season 1 E01 & E02: "Stranger in a Strange Land" & "The Tribes of Tatooine"

Boba Fett
Review by Tom Chang

5.5/10
While I won't fault director Robert Rodriguez nor Steph Green with the framework they had to work with because they do turn in some fun action sequences. But I do The Books of Boba Fett series creator Jon Favreau for stumbling out of the gate by not really defining for viewers why Boba Fett is looking to shift his "career goals" from bounty hunter to crime lord. Running with a more localized "space western" theme, the first two episodes present the start of our lead's redemption story without giving us nearly enough to work with to truly appreciate what he's looking to redeem himself from.
Credits

Director
Robert Rodriguez, Steph Green

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About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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