Warning: The following contains spoilers about the season one finale of The Book of Boba Fett, “In the Name of Honor” directed by Robert Rodriguez on Disney+.
The bounty hunter Cad Bane, who mentored Boba Fett in the deeper Star Wars mythology of the animated series Clone Wars, spoke a lot of truths in the season one finale of The Book of Boba Fett.
Having sided with the spice-running mobsters, the Pykes, Cad (played by Corey Burton) confronts Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) in the streets of Mos Espa, to gravely insist that his former apprentice back the heck down from attempting to bring law and order to the Tatooine spaceport.
“You’re going soft in your old age,” Cad tells Boba. No kidding. Later on in the episode, during a face-off with Boba, Cad tells him something that’s been on our minds all season about The Mandalorian spinoff: “What’s your angle?”
As a Star Wars fan since the age of five, I’ve been dying for a Boba Fett movie, and actually was thrilled with Lucasfilm’s original plans to make standalone movies about the classic characters. However, if The Book of Boba Fett was a movie, I would say the result, despite having it’s dazzling moments, is half-hearted, and slightly upsetting.
To use a western term, season one of The Book of Boba Fett was pokey.
Even though the season ender delivered a rollicking battle, evoking Godzilla on a pint-sized level, Book of Boba Fett lacked the intensity of The Mandalorian‘s season one finale, and in its western-inspired showdown felt a bit old hat. That’s when Mando (Pedro Pascal) was in a near death square-off with Moff Gideon. All season long during The Book of Boba Fett, the bad guys here, the Pykes, were even goofier than the alien villains in Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Please, don’t try to scare us with a good time!
Bacta-addled, a curmudgeon, a disciple of the Tusken raiders, and a softie mob boss looking to rule Mos Espa in egalitarian means in a post-Jabba the Hutt era — this is not the Boba Fett I ever imagined. I just don’t buy it.
I know, I know: he’s arguably the most famous Star Wars character without a fire-breathing backstory, his fame initially juiced as a mail-in (yet dangerous to kids under 5) toy, further made notorious by his capturing of Han Solo in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and doing the bidding of both Darth Vader and Jabba the Hutt.
However, I would say that in Lucasfilm’s overreaching to further exploit Star Wars as a TV series, The Mandalorian has not only stolen Boba Fett’s thunder, he’s stolen his story line. Heck, Mando robbed two episodes away from The Book of Boba Fett, despite the fact that they were really sublime and further built out the whole Baby Yoda legend (who some theorize could ultimately turn to the dark side; he’s already a conflicted little dude who’s left his Jedi training).
Wait, what’s that?! Calm down Reddit denizens and Clone Wars fans, let me explain. The Mandalorian is a perfect series, and in fact if they called it The Boba Fett show out of the gate, I’d believe it, because Mando possesses all the qualities we’re familiar with in a guy like Boba: He talks in a whisper, he’s sleek, by reputation he works for the highest bidder, and he’s fearless. Heck, Mando even carbon freezes his bounties. The carbon freezing chamber didn’t even make a cameo in The Book of Boba Fett. Mando is the type of ruthless warrior I’d imagine Boba would grow up to be, especially after watching his father get decapitated by Jedi Mace Windu in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones.
If there was any good news tonight, it’s that Boba Fett wasn’t killed off. It’s been the Lucasfilm tendency of late in the recent episode movies to off classic characters like Luke Skywalker and Han Solo.
Heading into the season one finale, we knew that the action was building into a standoff between the Pykes and Boba Fett and Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen). So who better to come to their military aid, in addition to Mando, then the return of Baby Yoda aka Grogu with an arsenal of Jedi skills under his belt? He shows up at the beginning of the episode flying in with an X-wing fighter and R2-D2 in the rear pit. He’s even wearing the disco shirt (sorry, Mandalorian armor) that was gifted to him by Mando.
Then Cad Bane, after supposedly killing the Marshall of Freetown, Cobb Vanth (Timothy Olyphant) in cold blood, shows up to complicate Boba’s life. He’s of course, working for the Pykes, and knows, having trained Boba, how to get inside his head. Cad instigates, yet tells Boba the truth: It wasn’t a biker gang that killed the Sandpeople who saved your life, rather the Pykes.
If Mando is a guy who has a crisis of conscience and goes soft, stealing back the bounty he’s seized (Grogu) from the employer who hired him (the Empire), then Boba is a guy, once fierce and corrupt, who is looking to go legit, but who Cad pegs in his final gasps as “a killer”.
Fennec quells Boba from going nuts on Cad. “We fight on our terms, not theirs,” she says. Boba tells his old master to inform the Pykes that “negotiations are terminated”. The different family tribes (if you will) of Mos Espa that the Pykes have made allies of, begin to turn on Boba’s henchmen, i.e., the Trandoshan pile on to the nasty wookie-gone-good, Krrsantan. But, that’s not the real problem in this street war. Two large laser shooting, walking robots with force fields, descend on Boba and friends. These fighting machines look very similar to the rolling ones we saw in Phantom Menace. Later on in the episode, Amy Sedaris’ Peli Motto informs uneducated viewers that the battle machines are called Scorpeck droids. Neither Boba’s backpack missile nor Mando’s black saber can break their force field. The big hunks of metal are finally taken out by Boba riding a rancor monster, Mando finally penetrating their shield with the black saber and Grogu’s force powers.
Right before this battle droid melee breaks out, Boba and Mando have a tender moment, at least as tender as it gets between stiff bounty hunters out in space.
“I suppose you’re heading out,” Boba asks Mando during the quiet of the fight.
“I’m not,” answers Mando, “It’s against the creed. I gave you my word. I’m with you till we both fall.”
“I can’t abandon Mos Espa,” says Boba, “These people are counting on me.”
“We’ll both die in the name of honor,” answers Mando.
At which point the mind just reels wondering if Mando is the illegitimate son of Boba.
With the battle droids in pieces, Cad finally squares off with Boba, blowing fire in the face of the rancor, bucking the bounty hunter off the beast; the monster dashing away over buildings.
“Don’t toy with me anymore, I’m not a boy anymore,” Boba tells Cad, “you’re an old man!”
Cad is quite the quick draw, blasting Boba down. Standing over him, and ripping his helmet off, it looks like Cad has the upper hand, giving his apprentice his “final lesson”: “Look out for yourself, anything else is weakness.” At which point Boba stabs Cad with a Tusken raider staff, taking out all his anger, and avenging the death of Cobb Vanth. And right there, as Cad had indicated, Boba, in all his brutality, is the bounty hunter we once imagined.
With Cad dead, it’s still not time for Boba, Mando and Krrsantan to head back to the palace for good for a Bacta bath. Boba’s pet rancor spins out of control, and begins to turn on Mando, throwing him around. That’s when Grogu steps in and subdues the giant with his Jedi powers into a deep sleep in the middle of the streets.
The episode climaxes Pykes’ boss quarters. He’s about to cut and run out of Mos Espa. Half his men were killed or eaten by a rancor. This town just ain’t hospitable enough. Then suddenly the heads of the ruling alien families around him are snipered mysteriously. The Hammerhead mayor of Mos Espa choked, and the Pykes Boss stabbed by a sleek Fennec.
A beat later, Boba and Fennec stroll the streets, peace and order around them. She suggests Boba take a dip in the Bacta tank. He says it’s being used.
Jump ahead to the end-credits epilogue and we see that it’s Cobb Vanth taking a soak, but with orange-haired Modifier (Stephen “Thundercat” Bass) standing over him. The Modifier was the guy earlier this season, who repaired Fennec with cyborg parts after she nearly died.
“We are not suited for this,” Boba tells her looking at the gentle citizens around him who are bestowing fruit upon him.
“If not us, then who?” Fennec responds.
Hopefully someone else, because Boba, you’re too much of a pushover to be mayor of this town. Best to get back on Slave I and follow Mando and Grogu to bigger fights in outer space.
Hopefully Cad Bane can find a Bacta tank, too. That dude in all his Lee Van Cleef aura, is just too cool to kill off.
At the time of the finale’s initial streaming, there were no placards at the end of The Book of Boba Fett indicating the drop dates of future Star Wars shows.
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