Star Wars Explained is our ongoing series where we delve into the latest Star Wars shows, movies, trailers, and news stories to divine the franchise’s future. This entry examines The Book of Boba Fett trailer and how it promises to unpack (and probably explode) the Star Wars underworld.
You can’t go home again. Unless you live in Star Wars. Here we can return to Tatooine over and over because there’s never been a more beautifully wretched hive of scum and villainy. We want to relive our first trip to Mos Eisley’s cantina; we want to be amongst the walrus men and hammer-headed chaps. It’s our Cheers, and everyone knows our name. And if they don’t, they certainly know the name of the galaxy’s most fearsome bounty hunter.
The Mandalorian‘s second season end-credits scene offered an epic promise, The Book of Boba Fett, with our favorite clone daddy sitting on the throne that once belonged to Jabba the Hutt. Why he would want such a thing was initially unclear, but this week we got the first trailer, and our understanding of Fett’s plans comes into focus. The gangster’s gangster will no longer take orders. He’s only in the business of giving them now.
The Star Wars Crime Story
The Star Wars underworld has always been a little shady. Not in terms of morality (duh) but in terms of its function. We saw a little bit of how it operated during The Clone Wars and how it thrived beneath Imperial rule, but figuring out its place in the New Republic is a little trickier. In The Mandalorian, the implication seemed to be that the Bounty Hunter’s guild was like any other organization, monitored and possibly managed by the new government. They were a taxable business, not an illegal practice.
By The Clone Wars’ climax, Darth Maul had advanced into a position giving him control over the Shadow Collective. The former Sith apprentice used this criminal alliance to challenge Darth Sidious’ galactic grip. And this is why we saw him in Solo: A Star Wars Story, addressing Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) shortly after she dispatched Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany).
Obi-Wan Kenobi eventually killed Maul in Star Wars: Rebels, creating a power vacuum within the Shadow Collective, allowing Jabba the Hutt to position himself as the top dog. However, when Leia choked him out in Return of the Jedi, another vacuum was created, and apparently Bib Fortuna took his seat. That pathetic lackey was never going to last, and frankly, it’s impressive that he sat there until Boba Fett came around and put a blaster hole in his chest.
“I Am Not A Bounty Hunter.”
The Book of Boba Fett trailer opens with our titular badass proclaiming, “I am not a bounty hunter.” Like the person listening on the other end, we hear this as a lie. Of course, Boba Fett is a bounty hunter. He collected Han Solo from Darth Vader and delivered him to Jabba for coin, not sport. He followed in his father’s footsteps, adapting to the family trade with violent efficiency.
But shame on us for trapping a man into a status he no longer desires. The Boba Fett we met in The Mandalorian is not the same Boba Fett who went into the Sarlacc pit. The years have changed him, his goals are not the ones he once clung upon. Adhering to the gig economy gave little reward. It’s time Boba dreamed a little bigger.
He explains how he’ll rule with respect, not fear. He addresses a table full of Jabba’s former captains, laying out Tatooine’s new world order. We get the impression that they’ve been squabbling, and their in-fighting has gotten in the way of their prosperity. The thug at the other end of the table balks at the proposition, but Boba bounces back with an offer he can’t refuse. Join him or die, basically.
It’s a scene we’ve seen in numerous gangster flicks, from The Godfather Part II to Dick Tracy. Boba Fett is Big Boy Corleone, squeezing the little fish who think they’re big fish. But why does Boba desire such a criminal station? It can’t merely be for credits. There has to be a larger game at play here.
Boba Fett’s Solo Star Wars Story
The Boba Fett we saw in the second season of The Mandalorian was a man seeking purpose. After his encounter with the Sarlacc, he wandered Tatooine without his armor. In reclaiming his father’s suit, he reaffirmed for himself what it means to be a Mandalorian. When speaking with Din Djarin, he proudly displayed his genealogy via his chain code. His people were destined for more than collecting and hauling goons across the galaxy. He understands this better than before.
Now, he can’t simply join Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) and her mission to take back her homeworld. He’s done too much, seen too much, to fall into their ranks. He must find his honor on his own terms, and that quest will be our guide through the woefully unexplored Star Wars underworld.
The Book of Boba Fett could deliver on what Solo: A Star Wars Story teased with its Maul reveal. We can be free from hokey religions and ancient weapons. As Han said in A New Hope, they’re no match for a good blaster at your side. While The Mandalorian got us as far away from the Skywalker Saga as we’ve ever come (until it ruined it all with its finale surprise), The Book of Boba Fett can finally block that narrative boomerang.
Of course, every Star Wars property tends to shrink the universe while also attempting to evolve it. After all, The Book of Boba Fett begins, once again, on Tatooine. So, the series won’t be radically new in its material. But if it can frolic through the gangster genre and give some distance from Jedi superstitions, we should be gifted a massively desired franchise expansion.
The Book of Boba Fett starts streaming on Disney+ on 12/29.