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'The Book of Boba Fett' reviews say Star Wars spinoff collects nostalgic, if lacking, Disney+ bounty
The new series puts the spotlight on Temuera Morrison's iconic bounty hunter.
Boba is back! But how does the iconic bounty hunter's spinoff series stack up to the galactic exploits of Din Djarin? Reviews for The Book of Boba Fett have started to land online and critics are a bit underwhelmed with the show's first episode (now streaming on Disney+). We can't say we totally disagree with that sentiment.
Compared to The Mandalorian, the season opener is rather tame, even with a flashback to Boba's escape from the slowly-digesting innards of the Sarlacc, which swallowed him whole in Return of the Jedi.
As several outlets have pointed out, the debut episode is packed with nostalgia for longtime Star Wars fans (Remember the Trandoshans? Remember Max Rebo?), while at the same time lacking a Baby Yoda-esque reveal to stir up the cultural conversation. It all just feels a little too safe as Fett (Temuera Morrison) — with the help of his master assassin Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) — assumes control of Jabba's criminal empire on Tatooine, only to learn that heavy is the head that wears the crown. He's going to need to leave the relative safety of his bacta tank and start busting heads if he wants people to take him seriously as the new mafioso on the sandy block.
Still, it's rather unfair to make a general assumption about the entire show after a single episode and many critics are optimistic that the story will pick up in excitement as the story moves forward. Jon Favreau, who created and executive produces the Fistful of Dollar-meets-Godfather spinoff, penned the first chapter (titled "Stranger in the Strange Land"), with Robert Rodriguez in the director's chair. Rodriguez, who also serves as an executive producer, was the person who memorably reintroduced Fett back into the Star Wars canon in Season 2 of The Mandalorian.
Head below to collect the bounty on what critics are saying...
"The Book of Boba Fett will have to prove out its vision of Boba Fett — a figure who seeks the respect of those around him without intimidation or grandeur — in the episodes to come. But here, it’s delivered with a narrative economy that is striking for a franchise that’s lately grown flabby. The show’s tidy establishment of the personality, beliefs, and challenges of a character franchise fans know only as a helmeted side character suggests a willingness to pare things down that looks, at a first glance, refreshing." -Daniel D'Addario, Variety
"Though it has won piles of awards, The Mandalorian has always felt primarily like popcorn TV. The Book of Boba Fett‘s debut episode feels like something more like salt or butter — an appealing accompaniment, if nowhere near substantive enough to be a snack, much less the main course. Will it aspire to anything more than that or just be content as an interlude between Disney+’s tentpole shows in the Marvel and Star Wars universes? We’ll just have to wait and see, I suppose." -Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter
"'Stranger in a Strange Land'" is a strong but restrained opening to this new Star Wars spinoff with some choice Easter eggs and flashbacks that establish Boba Fett 2.0. A focus on the past hampers the present-day pace but the set up of a redemptive plot and Morrison and Wen solidifying their badass double team status teases intriguing schemes and violent escapades to come." -Hanna Ines Flint, IGN
"As a series opener, it’s an entertaining, low-key start with Fett’s gangster’s paradise the most compelling aspect. But, even for a first episode, it needs a bit of jet-pack propulsion." -Ian Freer, Empire Magazine
"Given how crucial Grogu was to the early appeal of its parent show, we’ll see if Book of Boba Fett ... can capture the public imagination without such a cute, instantly meme-worthy character. But 'Stranger in a Strange Land' was a promising start, lean and mean in a manner befitting its taciturn title character." -Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone Magazine
"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." -Jack Sheperd, GamesRadar
"The Book of Boba Fett is ... more of the same: more Tatooine, more battle-scarred helmets, more shameless attempts to capitalise on Star Wars fans’ desire for storytelling that recaptures the magic of Lucas’s original trilogy. Of course, that was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. And, after a shoulder-shrug of an opening chapter, there are genuine grounds for worrying that Boba Fett’s adventures in the desert will turn out to have been built on sand." -Ed Power, The Telegraph
"More than anything, The Book of Boba Fett conveys the impression of a group of folks weaned on Star Wars being given the opportunity to essentially transform playing with action figure as kids into an actual series. For anyone who possesses a similar connection to these stories, the almost irresistible temptation is to dive right in with them, until you can almost feel the sands of Tatooine between your toes." -Brian Lowry, CNN
"Barring a Baby Yoda-level twist in the coming weeks, The Book of Boba Fett seems like it’ll be spending the next six episodes telling both of these stories: filling in his missing years with the Tuskans (because if there’s one thing Star Wars hates, its leaving literally any piece of backstory unexplained) and his rise as a new kind of power in Tatooine’s political and criminal world, like a sci-fi version of The Wire with the edges sanded off to be more family friendly." -Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge
"The series seems primed to deliver a much more focused story, without relying heavily on larger galactic connections—at least in the premiere. Given a motif in Ludwig Göransson’s theme for the series, there is a possibility that the Crimson Dawn, who were first introduced in Solo: A Star Wars Story and are currently the central focus of Charles Soule’s Crimson Reign comic series, could make an appearance. The premiere of The Book of Boba Fett left the door wide open for anything to happen." -Maggie Lovitt, Collider
"It’s hard to deny how much fun this series is to watch ... The Star Wars world feels fully realized, the action and characterization are strong, and generally speaking its muscular, old-fashioned storytelling that you don’t see much on TV any more. This is a pretty imperfect first episode, but maybe it had to be to get the series going. Certainly, I remember being a little underwhelmed by the first episode of The Mandalorian, and look where that took us in the end." -Hew Fullerton, The Radio Times
The pilot episode of The Book of Boba Fett is streaming now on Disney+. New episodes drop every Wednesday.