Widescreen: If you've been bored with 'Boba Fett,' this week's episode is the one to watch

  • Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) is nowhere to be found in this week's episode of "The Book of Boba Fett," and that's a relief.

    Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) is nowhere to be found in this week's episode of "The Book of Boba Fett," and that's a relief. Courtesy of Disney+

 
 
Updated 1/27/2022 11:21 AM

Much of the excitement of 2020's second season of "The Mandalorian" -- the huge phenomenon featuring tiny green Grogu -- was owed to its guest stars from other branches of the "Star Wars" tree. Animated "Clone Wars" heroes Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) and Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) joined the live-action fun, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) returned with a digital facelift, and inexplicable fan favorite Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) laid waste to a platoon of Stormtroopers.

Fitting, then, that Morrison's own spinoff series, "The Book of Boba Fett," finally gets interesting in this week's new episode (now streaming on Disney+) when Mandalorian bounty hunter Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) shows up in the opening scene, wielding Bo-Katan's dark saber while collecting a bounty on what looks very much like the title setting of "Halo."

 

But it doesn't stop at the opening scene. The entire episode is devoted to Mando and other characters from his show, and contains significant plot developments for his story arc. Despite the title card that says otherwise, this is not really an episode of "The Book of Boba Fett," an ambling, inert show that has found shockingly uninteresting answers to how the bounty hunter escaped the Sarlacc from "Return of the Jedi," and what he intends to do as the new crime boss on Tatooine.

Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), seen here in Season 2 of "The Mandalorian," returns to Tatooine in this week's episode of "The Book of Boba Fett."
Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), seen here in Season 2 of "The Mandalorian," returns to Tatooine in this week's episode of "The Book of Boba Fett." - Courtesy of Disney+

And while this bonus "Mandalorian" episode eventually does bring us back to that desert planet at the center of the "Star Wars" universe, the opening scenes' aesthetic shift to the stars reinforces how much we've missed Mando -- and how disappointing "Book of Boba" has been.

"Star Wars" has been with me all my life, and I've never understood the fervor for Boba Fett, a masked bounty hunter born in an animated segment of the infamous "Star Wars Holiday Special" in 1978 and made real in "The Empire Strikes Back."

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He hides out in some trash, takes Han Solo (Harrison Ford) to Jabba the Hutt, then gets chucked into the gaping maw of the Sarlacc. And that was enough to make him a cult favorite within the larger cult of "Star Wars," even before we learned any of his back story in 2002's "Attack of the Clones."

Rumors of a Boba Fett movie had been brewing for years, and the TV series airing right now isn't the gunslinging romp most fans were expecting -- which would be fine, if what we got instead was exciting. Or funny. Or, uh, competently made. (Seriously, did you see that laser-shield fight in the premiere? Or that speeder-bike chase in Episode 3?)

But now I sound like one of those angry "Star Wars" fans that get me reaching for the "block" button on Twitter. No reason to be angry about a surprise episode of "The Mandalorian," written by Jon Favreau and directed by Bryce Dallas Howard.

• Season 3 of "The Mandalorian" is expected at the end of the year. The final two episodes of "The Book of Boba Fett" premiere over the next two Wednesdays.

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