Star Wars Holocron

REVIEW: The Book of Boba Fett Chapter 7

by @holocronGeorge and @holocronJosh

WARNING: This review contains spoilers for The Book of Boba Fett – Chapter 7

After a few episodes stepping away from the spotlight, Boba Fett returns centerstage (mostly) for an action-packed finale of The Book of Boba Fett. Chapter 7 follows Boba and his assembled syndicate as they have a final showdown with the Pykes in Mos Espa.

The bold decision to relegate Boba Fett to a side character, at best, in the last two episodes in favor of a continuation of The Mandalorian’s central plot meant that, heading into Chapter 7, it felt like a while since we’d caught up with Boba. Indeed, amidst the myriad of flashbacks that dominated the first half of the show and the focus on Din and Grogu in Chapters 5 and 6, Boba’s return to the spotlight was refreshing and also slightly jarring. Just when the series was gaining momentum in its narrative following Boba’s fight with the Pykes, the series pivoted away toward two absolutely brilliant, but ultimately rather unrelated installments. Thankfully, Chapter 7 shifts the focus back to Boba in order to provide closure to the series’ core plot.

Chapter 7 plays out like a sprawling action set-piece one would come to expect from a classic Western film. The underdogs are fewer in numbers and resources, but most hold their ground against the powerful and villainous invaders. Director Robert Rodriguez harkens back to his work on The Mandalorian by crafting a series of captivating action sequences in this episode. Rodriguez knows how to make his characters look and feel badass, and we definitely see this realized with Boba, Cad Bane, Din, Fennec, and various others in Chapter 7. The episode maintains a level of tension throughout, which is a compliment considering the finale plays out in a largely predictable manner. We know Din will escape and live another day. The same can be said for Boba and probably Fennec. But, Rodriguez manages to capture some incredible suspense and intensity in the narrow streets of Mos Espa. This isn’t a sprawling final battle like one would see in The Rise of Skywalker with the Battle of Exegol. The battlefield here is much tighter and intimate, and further lends itself to the Western film comparisons.

Amidst the action, the finale delivers plenty of truly satisfying moments. The interactions between Boba and Cad Bane were long-awaited, especially after their deadly duel was cut from The Clone Wars following its cancellation. It’s clear that these two characters have a rich history, and those who know this history will enjoy Boba and Bane’s scenes even more. Cad Bane is a menacing figure in live-action, as he is in animation, which is why it was a shame to see him die after only two brief appearances. That being said, seeing Boba use his Tusken weapon to deal the fatal blow brought the plot of the show full circle.

Speaking of satisfying moments, Grogu plays an unexpectedly major role in Chapter 7. Grogu’s reunion with Din was sweet and touching, and his use of the Force to subdue the Rancor was so cute. It seems somewhat unusual that season 2 of The Mandalorian ends with the dramatic departure of these two characters, only to see them be reunited fairly shortly after before we even get to The Mandalorian season 3. Does it undermine some of the emotional weight of The Mandalorian’s second season finale? Possibly. But, we all want to see Grogu and his dad together again and knew it would happen eventually.

Before Cad Bane’s death, the bounty hunter and Boba briefly discuss Boba’s reputation as a cold-blooded killer and his motivation for cleaning up his act to rule and protect Mos Espa. Ultimately, The Book of Boba Fett didn’t do a great job conveying the audience why Boba was so motivated to change his ways like this. The Boba we know is ruthless, seen in various comics and the original trilogy, as a formidable threat. The flashbacks offer some insight into Boba’s emotional side and the trauma he experienced in losing his Tusken family. But it’s quite a leap to go from losing his Tusken family to wanting to take Jabba’s position as daimyo of Mos Espa. Chapter 7 could have explored Boba’s motivations a little more explicitly, but, ultimately, it was probably too late in the run of the series to do so.

Unlike The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett doesn’t conclude on a big twist or reveal. There’s no moment like Gideon wielding the dark saber or Luke showing up to save the day that brings the series to an epic conclusion. Usually, this would be a harsh criticism to throw at the show, but The Book of Boba Fett definitely felt like it was missing some incredible twist or spin on its main plot. The Pykes are very disposable as the bad guys, which made us think that a reveal of someone pulling the strings would come in Chapter 7. Without a reveal like that, The Book of Boba Fett’s finale ultimately felt a tad underwhelming.

Verdict: 7/10

The Book of Boba Fett caps off its season with a finale full of exciting action and satisfying moments. Boba’s return to the spotlight is welcomed, and director Robert Rodriguez excels in crafting a finale high in intensity and suspense. The finale falls somewhat flat with the resolution of the Pyke narrative and the absence of some twist or unexpected reveal. Nonetheless, Chapter 7 remains thoroughly enjoyable and has us eagerly awaiting the next appearances of these characters.

Images courtesy of Disney+ and Lucasfilm

Star Wars Holocron

How The Book of Boba Fett Chapter 6 Pays Tribute to the Prequels and Foreshadows The Last Jedi

by @holocronGeorge and @holocronJosh

WARNING: This review contains spoilers for The Book of Boba Fett – Chapter 6

Chapter 6 of The Book of Boba Fett was breathtaking to say the least. The return of Grogu. The live-action debut of Cad Bane. Ahsoka and Luke together. But, although there was plenty for fans to feast on in this episode, the latest episode of the Disney+ series subtly plays an interesting and ominous role in the larger Skywalker saga.

The episode concludes with a “duel of the fates” of sorts. Grogu must decide between following the path of the Jedi with Luke or following his emotional attachment to The Mandalorian and return to his adoptive father. The theme of attachment resonates throughout the Skywalker saga, but is particularly evident in the prequel trilogy as it plays an integral role in the fall of Anakin Skywalker and the rise of Darth Vader. Anakin’s journey in the prequels largely encompasses a struggle between two ends of the same spectrum: total, almost obsessive attachment to another and the complete negation of emotional attachment. The former represents the stance of Palpatine and the appeal the dark lord of the Sith held in the eyes of Anakin. Meanwhile, the latter represents the almost impersonal stance of the Jedi Order. George Lucas has spoken extensively about the warring pulls of attachment and detachment that ultimately led to Anakin’s fall:

“The thing with Anakin is that he started out a great kid, he was very compassionate. So the issue was, how did he turn bad. How did he go to the Dark Side? He went to the Dark Side, Jedi aren’t supposed to have attachments. They can love people, they can do that. But they can’t attach. That’s the problem in the world of fear, once you are attached to something, then you become afraid of losing it. And when you become afraid of losing it, then you turn to the Dark Side, and you want to hold onto it, and that was Anakin’s issue ultimately, that he wanted to hold onto his wife who he knew, he had a premonition that she was going to die. He didn’t know how to stop it, so he went to the Dark Side to find… in mythology you go to Hades, and you talk to the Devil, and the Devil says ‘this is what you do’ and basically you sell your soul to the devil. When you do that, and you’re afraid and you’re on the Dark Side and you fall off the golden path of compassion because you are greedy, you want to hold on to something that you love and he didn’t do the right thing and as a result he turned bad.”

Ultimately, one of the lessons of Anakin’s fall is that both the Jedi and the Sith were wrong. The devil-like qualities of the Sith that Lucas speaks of glaringly show the wrong-doing of the Sith, as Palpatine seduces Anakin on the premise that he can save his beloved wife from certain death. But the Jedi are also misguided in their views on attachment as well. In so bluntly discouraging attachment, the Jedi exhibited compassion, but not the deep rooted emotional connections we associate with love. In a way, the Jedi feared what would happen if a person became too emotionally attached (as seen with Anakin). The Jedi, though, are also off-base. In maintaining such a strong stance on attachments and adopting an attitude so devoid of emotion and compassion, the Jedi inadvertently pushed Anakin toward the dark side. Anakin was struggling with his feelings and fears and, when given a choice between unrelenting attachment and total detachment, it was inevitable he would lapse to the dark side. The lesson this all serves is that the Sith were wrong in overly prioritizing attachment and the Jedi were wrong in neglecting the importance of attachment. A balance, of sorts, is necessary.

So, how does this relate to the latest chapter of The Book of Boba Fett? Luke and Ahsoka both speak of Grogu’s attachment to Din Djarin in a somewhat negative light. In The Mandalorian Season 2, Ahsoka outright refuses to train Grogu on the basis of his attachment to The Mandalorian, which is seen as in direct opposition to the dogma of the Jedi Order. Luke holds similar sentiments in The Book of Boba Fett. Luke and Ahsoka have seemingly failed to learn the lesson of Anakin’s downfall: that attachment is inherently wrong. Instead, Luke and Ahsoka seem somewhat blind to the balance in attachment that would’ve saved Anakin and likely the Jedi Order altogether. Now, Grogu is being placed in a similarly impossible position between two mutually exclusive choices that do not need to be mutually exclusive. Grogu can train in the ways of the Force and be a Mandalorian foundling. But, Luke and Ahsoka don’t see it this way.

Flash forward to The Last Jedi and we have a hardened Luke scarred by his urge to kill his nephew Ben Solo. Totally cut off from the Force, Luke laments the failures of Jedi dogma. He criticizes the hubris of the Jedi Order in believing they always knew what was best. He criticizes the Jedi Order in claiming that their attempts to help led to unfathomable harm. And he points out the hypocrisies in the Jedi that Palpatine also identified. Many of the failings in the Jedi that The Last Jedi-era Luke points out are exhibited by the Luke we see in The Book of Boba Fett. On the surface, Luke is more powerful than ever, confident in his abilities in the Force as he trains Grogu and attempts to restart the Jedi Order. But, in putting Grogu in such a difficult position, Luke is evidencing his narrow mindedness that the Luke of 30 years later is hyper-critical of. We can feel the hubris and confidence in Luke. He has no doubts in regards to his stance on attachment, despite how similar situations led to the fall of his father to the dark side.

Moving forward in the Disney+ run of Star Wars series, it will be interesting to see if this theme is explored more deeply. As a viewer, we have this excitement and love for the return of Luke that, in some ways, may blind us to the possibility that he is overly confident and misguided in his perspectives. Nonetheless, the incredible writing in Chapter 6 contains brilliant references to the broader Star Wars saga, but also touches on more intimate and subtle themes that nicely tie the prequel and sequel trilogies together.

Images courtesy of Disney+ and Lucasfilm

Star Wars Holocron

REVIEW: The Book of Boba Fett – Chapter 6

by @HolocronGeorge and @HolocronJosh

Warning: This review contains spoilers for Chapter 6 of The Book of Boba Fett

After a slow burn start to the series, The Book of Boba Fett is certainly racing to the finish line. The first four episodes were largely flashback focused, with writer Jon Favreau teasing the Pykes as the present day threat for Boba Fett and Fennec Shand. Chapter 5 flipped the script, with Fett not appearing at all, with the Mandalorian the center focus of the episode. Chapter 6 spends a bit more on the villainous Pykes and the actual plot of the series, but also continues to focus on expanding the world of The Mandalorian.

As teased at the end of the last episode, Din Djarin and Grogu are set for a reunion…or so we thought. Djarin traveled to see his adopted son, and was greeted by R2-D2 and even Ahsoka Tano before finally giving and leaving, allowing Grogu to train with Luke without attachment, as is the Jedi way. There’s some amazing scenes here with Luke and Grogu in particular, and Dave Filoni does a great job as director to show us this amazing new planet that they’re on. Fans never got to see Luke with a Padawan like this in live action, with the Jedi a recluse and beyond his prime in the Sequel Trilogy. It definitely seems as if they’re going down this route to show us what fans have always wanted to see, Luke as a Jedi master.

All of this culminates in an incredibly emotional way, as the episode certainly hits these beats. Djarin being so close yet so far from Grogu, the little green alien training with Luke and even an Order 66 flashback, and Ahsoka telling Luke that he’s similar to his father are all some of the strongest emotional moments in Star Wars in recent years. Emotionally, this episode succeeds wholeheartedly.

The rest of the episode takes place on Tatooine, where Cobb Vanth has been reintroduced and is not fond of the Pykes and the spice they’re bringing into his town. Boba Fett needs warriors, and Mando arrives to help, and goes to Vanth to recruit him. Vanth is hesitant, particularly as he doesn’t want to risk the lives of the people he’s supposed to protect, so Djarin leaves uncertain if he’ll get the help Fett needs. Vanth then has a shootout with none other than Cad Bane, and looks hurt as he gets shot by the bounty hunter first seen in The Clone Wars.

Overall, this episode is full of cameos, from R2-D2 to Ahsoka to Cobb Vanth and many others. With so many, it would be relatively easy to struggle to fit all these characters in to the same episode, but Filoni and Favreau do a good job with it here. All of it seems logical and not simply an appearance for the sake of having a famous character return. Luke and Grogu are training together, so if they latter was going to show up then it would be strange to not have Skywalker with him. Cobb Vanth is a formidable and honorable warrior on Tatooine, so Fett trying to recruit him makes sense. Some have criticized fan service in recent years for being a disservice to the overall story, citing their belief that it’s designed purely for an initial thrill of seeing something that the audience recognizes from the past, but it’s hard to see how one could be against the events of Chapter 6 of The Book of Boba Fett. Again, it’s all logical and feels right.

Once again, Boba Fett takes a backseat in this episode. As purely an episode of Star Wars TV, it doesn’t make much of a difference, as the story of Fett’s show is progressed as well as expanding the world of The Mandalorian more broadly, and it doesn’t take away from the fact that this is an amazing episode. Still, with only one episode left of the season, it’s unclear how much character development Boba Fett will have in this initial solo outing, or how much more audiences have learned about the character. It seems a bit of a missed opportunity to not explore Fett further in his own show, but future seasons are now the most likely place for that.

Verdict: 9/10

Chapter 6 of The Book of Boba Fett feels more aligned to the Skywalker Saga or the Star Wars franchise more broadly than just Boba Fett. It’s an incredibly emotional episode that hits all the major beats it attempts, and is well directed by Dave Filoni. The Pykes are more interesting now that we’ve learned more about them, but Boba Fett once again is almost non-existent. It’s a shame that more hasn’t been done with Fett in his own show, but it doesn’t take away from how great this episode is.

Images courtesy of Disney and Lucasfilm