Review by Brian Lowry, CNN
Unlike Las Vegas, what happens in the Sarlacc Pit doesn’t stay in the Sarlacc Pit, which is good news for Disney+ and “Star Wars” fans. Enter “The Book of Boba Fett,” which has returned to where it all began on the sands of Tatooine with a spare, almost silent premiere episode filled with a dizzying arsenal of callbacks to the franchise’s past.
Despite being presumed dead in “The Return of the Jedi,” the armor-clad bounty hunter escaped that fate, a history recounted in a series of flashbacks that opened the episode. Indeed, executive producers Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni and Robert Rodriguez appear to have gleefully reached into the “Star Wars” grab bag and unearthed as many references as they could muster in 40 minutes or so, unabashedly catering to that fan appetite in much the way they did by incorporating the character into “The Mandalorian.”
Those scenes fleshed out what Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) endured in the wake of his defeat and the loss of his armor, before jumping into the present, where he and fellow killer Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) have assumed control of the criminal empire once presided over by Jabba the Hutt.
“Jabba ruled with fear,” Boba Fett tells her. “I intend to rule with respect.”
What respect means in the wilds of Tatooine remains to be seen, but the duo almost immediately face an assassination attempt, so resting on his laurels, and throne, doesn’t appear to be in the cards.
Like “The Mandalorian,” “Boba Fett” approximates the texture of an old western, although as constructed its roots tapping into “Star Wars” lore are even more direct. As a bonus for science-fiction and fantasy buffs, in addition to the familiar creatures spotted the premiere featured what looked like an homage to special effect wizard Ray Harryhausen, with a knowing nod to how Jabba met his end as the cherry on top.
The premiere didn’t contain many clues, frankly, on where the overall story is heading, but with such an abundance of action and “Star Wars” nostalgia, nor did it really need to.
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.
“The Book of Boba Fett” is streaming on Disney+.
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