‘Boba Fett’ is a master class in how not to tell an anti-hero story
Who is Boba Fett?
If you’d asked Star Wars fans that question before The Book of Boba Fett was released, odds are they would have described him as a ruthless, cold-blooded bounty hunter with a cool set of armor. But The Book of Boba Fett Season 1 has changed him from one of the most calculating and capable characters in all of Star Wars to a figure that, unfortunately, is much more familiar to fans of the franchise.
The Book of Boba Fett hasn’t just taken away what little remained of its central figure’s mystique — it’s also turned him into a noble and righteous character, one who’s determined to rule Tatooine with honor and compassion.
Maybe that’s the direction some fans wanted to see Boba Fett go after The Mandalorian Season 2, but there’s something undeniably disappointing about how The Book of Boba Fett robs Star Wars of its most iconic anti-hero.
The Unnecessary Redemption of Boba Fett
Before he got his own Disney+ series, Temuera Morrison’s Boba Fett stood in stark contrast to many of Star Wars’ other scoundrels and ne’er-do-wells. The Original Trilogy established him as a mercenary figure who lacks Han Solo’s capacity to do good, and that’s part of what made him such an interesting figure. It wasn’t just that he had a cool suit, but that he was the more ruthless and uncaring version of the series’ more prominent “criminals.”
Boba was never presented as an evil figure in the same vein as Emperor Palpatine or Darth Vader, but as an anti-hero willing to work for whoever would pay him. That made him a compelling character, one who existed in a morally gray space that most other Star Wars characters don’t.
Lucasfilm’s decision to make a show centered entirely around Boba Fett’s rise to power on Tatooine was therefore exciting when it was announced. Unlike so many of the recent Star Wars TV shows and movies we’ve seen over the years, The Book of Boba Fett had the chance to be the franchise’s Sopranos or Godfather, a crime thriller about an anti-hero rising to the top of a ruthless criminal underworld. The series had the chance to avoid telling the same hero’s journey that all the franchise’s other entries have.
But rather than embrace the opportunity to be different from titles like Solo, A New Hope, or The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett chose to be disappointingly familiar. Not only does the series fail to tell the crime story so many Star Wars fans expected, but it also takes Boba Fett on an unnecessary redemption arc.
After opening with the character’s post-Return of the Jedi escape from the Sarlacc Pit, the series spends its first four episodes establishing Boba as a man who rediscovered honor and compassion after being taken in by a tribe of Tusken Raiders. The show’s finale, meanwhile, rounds out Boba’s redemptive arc by having him save the citizens of Mos Espa and reunite with his crew of good-hearted Tatooine enforcers.
It’s an ending that explicitly says Boba Fett isn’t just the new daimyo of Mos Espa, but also one who cares for and is adored by his subjects. So Boba Fett has gone from being one of Star Wars’ most intriguing figures to being a reformed criminal reminiscent of Han Solo and Lando Calrissian, but without the charisma or interesting story.
The Inverse Analysis — The Book of Boba Fett didn’t have to be a show about a bad guy doing bad things in the name of accruing power, and it didn’t have to make the character as morally reprehensible as Tony Montana or Tony Soprano. It could have easily been a show about someone who isn’t good or bad, but who does whatever he can to cement his place in the galaxy.
Unfortunately, in The Book of Boba Fett’s desperation to avoid making a show about a “bad guy,” it turned one of Star Wars’ most unique figures into a bland, generic hero robbed of the very characteristics that made him compelling in the first place.
All that remains now of the Boba Fett fans used to know and love is his armor — and even that’s cleaner than it used to be.
The Book of Boba Fett is streaming now on Disney+.