There is one episode remaining in this season of The Book of Boba Fett, and the season’s structure has admittedly been quite strange and, on initial appearances, a bit of a mess. But as is often the case, there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye.
This show is about Boba Fett, and the first four episodes of this show explored Boba’s development as a character. We spent much of the time in flashbacks, seeing how he survived the sarlacc pit and his ensuing years in the desert, while then also spending time in the present day when Boba seeks to establish his own house in Jabba the Hutt’s place. That’s what we knew the show was about, and we figured it was as straightforward as that. So although some didn’t take a liking to the heavy reliance on flashbacks, we nonetheless were seeing how Boba changed and became the person we know him as in this era – no longer a bounty hunter, but seeking to be better and forge a new life and new identity.
And then the fifth episode was an interlude, not showing Boba Fett whatsoever. It felt in some ways like a totally different show, yet one that kept some of the same themes at heart. It was all about Din Djarin and how he got to the point of coming to Fett’s aid. But books have interludes (that’s where Cobb Vanth first showed up in the Aftermath books, for example), and so that felt normal and understandable. It’s a one-episode excursion inserted in the midst of the show to help us get up to speed on what Djarin’s been up to since we last saw him.
But that impression changed again after Chapter 6, when Boba Fett actually appeared this time, but as nothing more than a cameo in his own show. Luke Skywalker, Grogu, Ahsoka Tano, Din Djarin, Cobb Vanth, and Cad Bane all stole the show, with Fett only appearing in one scene and saying nothing. Which means that in a seven-episode show that bears his name, we’ve now gone two straight episodes with Fett making only one appearance and saying zero lines. He’s been the most minor of characters, which is a very curious decision, especially with only one episode left. From initial appearances it looks like the show lacks direction and cohesion, not able to stick with its main character. But I think what’s actually going on is something deeper than that, and we need to pay attention to it.
I think this show is highlighting exactly what we should expect from these live-action shows in this era: it’s not so much a bunch of connected stories that will eventually converge, but one main story that’s all leading somewhere. In many ways this actually IS The Mandalorian season three, and the story about Boba Fett is the interlude rather than the other way around. So after seeing him return in The Mandalorian season two, now the showrunners are filling us in on what happened to him and exploring where he’s at during this period.
This isn’t anything new, storytelling-wise. Right now the High Republic is doing something similar in publishing, as the individual books are nonetheless all telling one main overarching story. These stories focus on different characters and different events, yet they’re all connecting together to further the main narrative. Or then there’s The Clone Wars, where different arcs focused on different characters and battles. It kept a loose overarching story and kept returning to some of the same characters. And I think we’re beginning to see what shape The Mandalorian and its related stories will take too, as it looks similar: they’re going to break away and focus on specific characters for an arc here and there, but it’s always going to be in close connection with the overall story going on.
Once we begin to understand that, then we’ll gain a much better appreciation for The Book of Boba Fett (and likely more shows to come). We could talk about whether this is the best title for it or not, but it’s clear that this is a continuation of the story we’ve already seen. What this show is doing is exploring how Boba Fett got to this point, and where his head is at right now, as we then follow the next developments in the larger story. I’m guessing The Mandalorian, Ahsoka, and The Book of Boba Fett will be like this, to varying degrees, as well as other shows. And I actually think that’s a really exciting thing, as Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni are telling an intricately connected story.
So should Star Wars have marketed this show better? That’s a discussion worth having, especially only a few years out from the Solo marketing fiasco, and my answer is yes. I’m personally a big fan of trying to keep secrets and not just giving away everything, so I think it’s good that The Book of Boba Fett really didn’t give away much in the trailers. But at the same time, I think it could have been clearer that this is very closely connected to The Mandalorian, such that it will actually be furthering that same story. That admittedly might have taken the focus off of Boba Fett right from the start, but at least it would have helped with the expectations. And at the end of the day, if they did reveal that Din Djarin was going to appear, they’d have still been able to keep Black Krrsantan, the Rancor, the twin Hutts, the Pykes, Luke Skywalker, Grogu, R2-D2, Ahsoka Tano, Cobb Vanth, and Cad Bane all a secret – among others! I think they could have spared a slight reveal about Djarin in order to help with expectations.
But with all of that in mind, I think it’s worth re-visiting how this was originally communicated all along. At the Disney Investor Day reveal in December 2020, as the second season of The Mandalorian was airing, Lucasfilm President Kathy Kennedy announced several spinoff shows that would all culminate in a “climactic story event.” She then said that the “next chapter” of The Mandalorian would be coming in December 2021. Shortly after that, The Book of Boba Fett was announced as coming at that same time. In other words: the next chapter of The Mandalorian storyline was going to be The Book of Boba Fett!
Showrunner Jon Favreau emphasized that in a Good Morning America interview following the announcement, as he pointed out that Kennedy spoke of the “next chapter” and how that next chapter would be The Book of Boba Fett, which would be followed by The Mandalorian season three soon after. So the only thing we could even dispute at all would be his definition of what “pretty soon” actually is. The official announcement about the series doesn’t include anything about what it would be about, but did mention that it is “set within the timeline of The Mandalorian,” again specifying how connected they are.
Clarity has really been there all along, then. From the time this series was announced, it was made evident that The Book of Boba Fett was being viewed as the next chapter of The Mandalorian storyline, which would be branching off into spinoff shows that are interconnected. The more recent marketing could have probably served to remind people of that better, but make no mistake: this has been the plan all along. And it’s going to surely be the plan moving forward as well. And that’s creating the potential for a massive interconnected story that’s all the stronger for it.