We’re already a few episodes into Disney’s new series about everyone’s favorite bounty hunter: Boba Fett.
Thanks to the success of the newly created Din Djarin, aka the Mandalorian, Disney and Lucasfilm went to work on tons of new Star Wars series. And of course, a show on the intriguing Boba Fett was an important part of that new content.
For decades, Fett was as mysterious as he was cool looking. He racked up less than 20 minutes of screen time in the original trilogy as a dangerous mercenary with a cloudy moral compass. Even Darth Vader had to tell him to rein it in.
Despite the lack of screen time or dialog, he still managed to become one of the most recognizable and popular characters in the Star Wars universe. We saw him again for the prequels, as a young kid with dad Jango Fett. And again, for the animated series The Clone Wars, where he’s bent on revenge.
To be honest, I’m surprised it took Fett this long to get his own project.
So now that he’s got his own show, why are fans less than enthused? BOBF has left many of us, well frankly, confused. I’m not alone in my confusion, either. When the show was announced, Fett fans were thrilled to find out that their favorite mysterious mercenary was finally getting the story he deserved. But when the show aired, they all started complaining.
Let’s start with the most obvious problem here: Boba Fett seems to be a really nice guy. There’s nothing wrong with being a nice guy–except when it’s Fett.
He wants to rule with “respect, not fear.” He’s showing a surprising amount of restraint and mercy as he asserts himself the daimyo on Tatooine.
We don’t even have to dig very far into the Star Wars universe to see how… not nice Boba Fett can be. At the end of The Mandalorian season finale, we watched the bounty hunter stroll into Jabba the Hutt’s palace and off his former right-hand man, Bib Fortuna. Why? Because he wanted to rule Jabba’s crime empire. Fett shot the guy without saying a word, dumped his body, and took his place on the throne.
If that’s not enough evidence for you, we can go all the way back to the original trilogy. He first appears on the big screen in The Empire Strikes Back. When audiences got their first glance at the guy, he was one of the most feared bounty hunters in the galaxy. Darth Vader hired a group of bounty hunters, including Fett, to go after the Millennium Falcon. The sith lord walks up to Fett specifically and demands, “No disintegrations.” Seems like the bounty hunter’s reputation precedes him.
Does any of that seem to jive with the whole “kind-hearted crime lord ruling through respect” narrative?
If Boba Fett’s characterization in the original trilogy wasn’t enough to convince you that he’s not a good guy, perhaps his origins might. According to George Lucas, Fett is more connected to Darth Vader than fans may have ever imagined.
When George Lucas was developing the Dark Lord himself, he originally started as “a kind of intergalactic bounty hunter in a space suit” before he evolved to what we now know him as. That bounty hunter idea ended up becoming the beginnings of Boba Fett’s character.
“When I was writing the early scripts for Star Wars, I wanted to develop an essentially evil character that was frightening. Darth Vader started as a kind of intergalactic bounty hunter in a space suit and evolved into a more grotesque knight as I got more into knights and the codes of everything. He became more of a Dark Lord than a mercenary bounty hunter,” said George Lucas. “The Boba Fett character is really an early version of Darth Vader. He is also very much like the man-with-no-name from the Sergio Leone Westerns.”
Early drafts of Darth Vader, combined with super-stormtrooper ideas, combined to create the “real villain” we all came to know and love, morally ambiguous and selling his services to the highest bidder.
This was the throne of Jabba the Hutt. The guy was one of the galaxy’s most powerful gangsters, with a wealth of influence over politicians and the criminal underworld. The crime lord had reach all over the galaxy, and his crime empire controlled a bulk of the Outer Rim.
Now that Boba Fett has taken over as daimyo, it looks like he doesn’t have the same reach. His should be at least a planetary-wide rule, but so far it seems like he only has the city of Mos Espa. Is it because Bib Fortuna’s subsequent rule whittled down the size of the backwater planet empire? Or is it merely because no one has any respect for him?
My guess is the latter, considering just how few people seem to work for Fett. So far, he’s got Fennec Shand, two Gamorrean bodyguards, a droid, and a handful of angsty teens on candy-colored space Vespas. Seems pretty unlikely that he’s got the bulk of the Outer Rim under his thumb.
Up until now, we’ve come to know Boba Fett as the baddest of the bad, so how is he so bad at being a crime lord? It goes beyond the whole “good guy ruling with respect” schtick. At this point, we’ve seen Fett take it from the mayor’s assistant, Jabba’s cousins, the aforementioned gang of teens on candy-colored space Vespas, some mysterious ninjas, a Wookiee that came to assassinate him… the list goes on.
I’m not saying he should go around offing anyone who dares to speak to him or anything, but it feels like he hasn’t even been trying to be a mob boss. I know he wants to rule in a different way than Jabba, but he’s going to have to step it up a smidge. How is he going to gain that respect he wants, if he can’t even stand up for himself?
On top of all that, it seems like we’ve already seen Boba Fett on the brink of being defeated, which is super confusing.
In the first episode, he is ambushed in Mos Espa after leaving the bar. And while he puts up a fight, he sure seemed… tired, as he sent Fennec Shand off to catch them and drag one back for questioning. It happened again as Black Krrsantan ripped him out of his bacta tank. Had it not been for his misfit crew hanging around, the Wookiee would have surely defeated him.
Through all of this, I understand that Fett is nursing wounds from escaping the Sarlacc pit and all, but it feels like maybe he just isn’t the best fit for the job. After all, we already saw him kicking butt in The Mandalorian, not to mention all the butt-kicking he’s been doing in his flashbacks.
Is it because he isn’t cut out to be the mob boss, crime lord type? After all, he spent all those years working on his own as a bounty hunter for hire. It might be a sharp contrast to sitting on a throne all day and having to manage so many moving parts. So far, he’s had zero interest in the fringe benefits that come with the position. In other words, I’m having a hard time feeling like he is genuinely enthusiastic about the crime boss life.
Will I keep tuning in every Wednesday to see what Boba Fett is up to? Absolutely! I need answers to all these questions, and I love Fett too much not to stick around for those answers.
At this point, I can only hope that BOBF is just getting off to a slow start. With Fett being one of the most widely recognized and most loved characters in the Star Wars Universe, It’s expected that the series would need to cover a lot of ground before it can really get into the meat of Fett’s current story. After Disney labeled the Star Wars Expanded Universe as the non-canon Legends, we lost all the stories about what happened to the bounty hunter after falling into a Sarlacc pit.
The show is already focusing more on the present, now that we’re roughly halfway through the first season. There were definitely fewer flashbacks in the third episode versus the first two. And with the mayor selling off Mos Espa to the Pykes, a war is coming. I can only hope that means things are finally about to get good.