By: John M Jerva
The highly anticipated The Book of Boba Fett finally debuted its first episode yesterday and even though I have yet to watch the rest of Hawkeye to complete my review, I figured I’d give my initial first reaction thoughts to the premiere episode which features the triumphant return of the most feared bounty hunter in the Star Wars universe.
Temuera Morrison makes his return after his surprising debut in the second season of The Mandalorian and the first chapter, titled Stranger in a Strange Land gives fans the much needed answer as to what happened to Fett when he was unceremoniously thrust into the Sarlacc Pit in Return of the Jedi. I won’t go into specifics but his survival and escape plan is very straight forward but believable. One cool aspect is that we are able to see Fett inside the pit and his emergence from it is quite worthy of the character.
Unfortunately for Fett, things go from bad to worse as he is mugged by Jawas and kidnapped by a herd of Sand People. All of this is played in flashback form as Boba is recovering in a bacta tank. The first twelve minutes go on without a word spoken which makes for a real dramatic effect.
His dreams are interrupted however by his right hand ally Fennec Shand (Ming Na) and so events are set in motion as Fett takes the thrown left vacant by Jabba the Hutt’s death which was teased by the stinger scene at the end of The Mandalorian where he killed Bib Fortuna who had taken the seat.
The rest of the brief 39 minute episode goes back and forth between Fett’s flashback of what happened to him mixed in with his first day as the new ruler of the underworld of Tatooine.
The initial setup is a treat for fans and upon watching the episode I was immediately thrown into the world of Boba Fett as he was one of my favorite characters from the original films even with his lack of screen time.
It is quite clear that Fett is set on being a different kind of boss as he states that he wants to be respected and not feared like Jabba. Shand is right by his side as they navigate the inner workings of the underworld of Tatooine which is outlined with danger at every turn.
This is but one chapter in the series so expect more to be unveiled and the plot to thicken as it goes in. Morrison is solid as usual in the role just like before and Ming Na is bad ass as Fett’s assassin comrade.
There is ample action as one sequence has Fett and Shand fending for themselves when attacked by marauders which culminates in a thrilling throwdown and fisticuffs filled battle and peaks with a parkour style chase on the tops of buildings as Shand chases down two assailants.
The episode ends with Fett fighting off a giant four armed sand creature in a flashback that earns him the respect of the Sand People when he saves a youngling. Morrison is definitely up to the task in the action sequences but Ming Na really steals the show in the physical department.
This initial episode might come off as slow but I think they’re establishing Fett’s world and Robert Rodriguez still directs with flair. Jon Favreau, who created the show and wrote this episode hasn’t disappointed yet and I think when all is said and done, this will play out as a longer feature film like the other limited series on Disney Plus.
The biggest complaint I have is that Morrison is without his helmet for too long. It’s another case of the makers of the show thinking that we need to see the actor and that we won’t relate to him if he’s wearing the helmet. It’s a tad confusing because Pedro Pascal has only shown his face for mere minutes on The Mandalorian and it still works. Hopefully that’ll change in future episodes.
Also, Boba Fett is a little passive and forgiving here and I want a more merciless anti-hero. He does want to command respect instead of fear but I do hope that he switches it up and gets to be more brutal. On a good note, he still is bad ass in the action sequences and brings it when the time does come.
Overall, as a die hard Star Wars fan who’s been there since the very beginning and a die hard Boba Fett fan, they are correcting a massive mistake and a grave injustice that was done to this iconic character back in 1983. Morrison is superb as the feared bounty hunter and warrior and Ming Na is proving how invaluable she is to the story and the dynamic of this world.
This inaugural episode might be a tad slow but I believe it’s a smaller piece to the bigger puzzle and Favreau and company will definitely have s few tricks and surprises up their sleeves. Anyway you look at it, Star Wars is back again and so is the nostalgia factor and I think the longevity of this franchise will be stronger with these special limited series. Boba Fett is getting the recognition and respect that he deserves and Morrison is perfect in the role just like when he was Jango Fett in the prequel series. I’m on board and can’t wait to see what happens next.
I’ll give my star rating and full opinion when I’ve seen the complete season but it’s looking good in my eyes. Keep it locked and loaded right here.