Warning: This is the Way to our The Book of Boba Fett episode 1 review which contains mild spoilers – turn around to go in completely clean!
Boba Fett returns! If that statement does not have you excited, then The Book of Boba Fett may not be the series for you. Rather than opening with an episode filled with cameos from across the galaxy, or introducing a Baby Yoda-sized MacGuffin, the premiere keeps things low-key, setting the scene without offering anything unexpected. Writer Jon Favreau and director Robert Rodriguez know exactly why you’re here – to watch one of cinema’s most iconic silent characters being a badass – and do not stray from that objective. That, in itself, is a treat for fans who have been desperate to know more about this helmet head since his debut back in 1978’s Star Wars Holiday Special. For anyone looking for something more, you may struggle to find a reason to return following this lean first episode.
The episode starts with a few flashbacks, showing how Boba’s haunted by the events on Geonosis, where Samuel L. Jackson’s Mace Windu decapitated his father, Jango Fett. There’s a brief explanation of how Boba escaped the Sarlacc Pit (apparently not as difficult as many fans had assumed) and, from there, Boba’s captured by Tusken Raiders, with half the remaining runtime spent revealing how he manages to win the Sand People’s favor.
Tusken Raiders have had their culture already fleshed out in The Mandalorian, and, once again, we come to a greater understanding of their ways. Yet, exactly why we spend so much time with these creatures remains a mystery. We witness Boba being a more benevolent man than his legacy – of freezing Han Solo in carbonite and selling him to Jabba the Hutt – may dictate, though that was also already shown in The Mandalorian. The Tusken Raiders will no doubt play some role in Boba’s own eventual takeover of Mos Espa, but the flashbacks’ feel like they could have been condensed a little more, or perhaps shown across more episodes. The real excitement of The Book of Boba Fett – a title that promises to reveal more about Boba’s entire life rather than just his kingpin days – lies in the present.
Boba’s currently in Tatooine, having just taken over as Mos Espa’s crime lord following the death of Bib Fortuna. Alongside a blood-thirsty Fennec Shand (played by the unaging Ming-Na Wen), the pair must earn the settlement’s respect, Boba promising to do things differently from the Hutts. After collecting tribute from a nostalgic cantina, the duo – along with their newly-found loyal Gamorreans – are attacked by mysterious assassins. Just as with The Mandalorian, Temuera Morrison has come to truly embody the terrifying bounty hunter during action scenes, and Boba will no doubt have plenty of reason to fight moving forward. Who exactly will prove his biggest nemesis remains to be seen, though the assassins were surely sent by Mos Espa’s mayor. A shame, perhaps, there are not more leads to go on.
There’s a certain pleasure in being back in the Star Wars universe. One particularly beautiful sweeping shot that sets Mos Espa in one of Tatooine's craters is jaw-dropping, while the general market and the cantina have a few nods to Star Wars lore. The creatures are all familiar, too, from Jennifer Beals' Twi'lek to the Rodian (the one who looks like Greedo) locked up with Boba. The only real surprise comes towards the end – when a many-armed beast emerges from the sand to fight Boba. Looking one part Goro from Mortal Kombat, the other Machamp from Pokémon, the ferocious animal has a scaly aesthetic that’s unlike anything else in Star Wars and shows Favreau’s ability to gradually introduce news toys to the sandpit.
The premiere could have done with a little more of that ingenuity. Instead, we get a slimine re-introduction to Boba Fett that re-establishes the feared bounty hunter’s place in the galaxy far, far away without offering a major hook for those not already absorbed in the cult of Boba to return. Fingers crossed the next episode gets the ball rolling a little more.
The Book of Boba Fett is released weekly on Disney Plus. Check out our full The Book of Boba Fett release schedule for more details. And if you want to know even more about what's coming to that galaxy far, far away, then read our guide to all the upcoming Star Wars movies and show heading your way soon.