Honestly, it wasn’t that difficult a prediction to make: the return of Din Djarin to Disney+’s broadcast schedule was bound to last more than a single episode. Since Chapter 5 ended with the bounty hunter saying he needed to see ‘a little friend’ (or thereabouts), it was pretty clear where the audience was headed. And as I tried to be perfectly clear in that review, I have no essential problem with Djarin’s storyline except for the fact that this isn’t his show. This was supposed to be about Boba Fett, and very little of what transpired in “Chapter 6: From The Desert Comes A Stranger” tied back thematically to the galaxy far, far away’s original hunter … with some minor exceptions that I’ll get to in a moment.
Now, I get that Din Djarin’s popularity for the Star Wars franchise is quite literally through the roof, and perhaps on a marketing and/or logistics level it makes perfect sense to tie in this new fan favorite into Boba Fett’s serialized introduction. Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni tied them together nicely in The Mandalorian’s second season, and the Robert Rodriguez directed episode introducing their kinda/sorta partnership remains one of the franchise’s most satisfying entries. This was the Boba Fett fans wanted to see because it underscored pitch perfectly what we’d always suspected: the deadliest hired gun in the galaxy – so far as the Original Trilogy was concerned – was Fett. It was dynamic. It was intoxicating. The action was fast, the payoff was exceptional, and fandom was pleased.
Flash forward to The Book Of Boba Fett: Djarin shows up in what’s now Fett’s palace on Tatooine, and the two share only a single nod.
A single nod?
Still, it was great to finally see Fett again as he was curiously absent from Chapter 5.
As for the rest of Chapter 6?
Those who are calling the hour ‘an awful lot of fan service’ certainly are raising a good point. The just-short-of-50-minutes packed in a wealth of guest star appearances, a return to locations already featured in both Fett and Mando’s shows, and the introduction of a big, big, big baddie in a big, big, big way.
For those unaware, Cad Bane is another of the galaxy’s deadliest ilk. Wikipedia.org credits Bane’s creation to Filoni, Star Wars’ original mastermind George Lucas, and screenwriter Henry Gilroy. I’m pretty certain his first appearance was in a continuing arc of the stellar Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series; and since then he’s suited up once more in Star Wars: The Bad Batch (another fabulous addition). I believe it was Filoni (in an interview) who stated Bane was inspired by screen actor Lee Van Cleef’s character from Sergio Leone’s The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly (a 1966 Spaghetti Western epic), so it was entirely fitting the way this blue-skinned Duros strode across Tatooine sands into a showdown with marshal Cobb Vanth. That alone was genius storytelling, my friends.
Again, it’s hard not to pick a few bones when one’s trying to critically dissect what works and what may not have worked as well in episodic television. Motion pictures tend to spend a bit more time and a bit more money in crafting their blazing highwater marks; and I’m inclined to yet again point out that The Book Of Boba Fett remains shy of a few. This isn’t a gripe about Fett’s storyline of the first three or four episodes because anyone challenging me now is free to go back and see what I penned then: I’ve been perfectly fine with the pace of bringing Fett to life in this show. I’m just discouraged he feels like a second-tier character in a program bearing his name.
While it’s grand to see what Luke Skywalker has been up to, I found it more than a bit disheartening that he’s seemingly accomplished next to nothing with Grogu in the two to three months interim between the end of The Mandalorian’s second season and his appearance in Chapter 6. Seriously? From what I recall, Skywalker himself was doing Jedi exercises competently after only a few days in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back; but, as an instructor, he’s barely even begun scratching the surface with his new student here. No, no, no, I’m not talking about a little comic relief: Grogu’s clearly got a taste for frogs … but apparently the little bugger has little to no interest in the Force.
Thematically, this development with Grogu makes sense: fans know all too well that Jedis are encouraged to avoid ‘entanglements,’ and the time this Foundling and Djarin have spent together was about building a father/son dynamic between two wayward souls trying to make their way across the universe. I found their separation at the end of Mando’s second season a bit weird in that regard, but it was clear that the bounty hunter made the decision for his surrogate child in what he believed was everyone’s best interest. Now we see that Grogu’s future depends upon making his own decision about where he wishes to put his faith; Luke was faced with the same dilemma in The Empire Strikes Back – stay and complete the training or leave to save your friends. (As George Lucas likes to say, “It’s like poetry, and it rhymes.”) Grogu should face no less.
As this season of Fett’s is advertised to be a scant seven episodes long, it looks like there’s an awful lot of mileage that needs to be covered in the last ordeal. There are a lot of loose ends needing to be tied up, and – dare I say? – I wasn’t expecting all of this to be hammered out in a single installment. That appears to be where we’re heading … and I’ve no idea how that’ll all roll out. Who knows? Favreau and Filoni might be playing their trump cards close to their chests, waiting to really surprise watchers with a big, bold, brash finale.
Whatever the case, I’ll be there. Watching.
Probably cheering, too.