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Why Boba Fett’s Character Development Matters

WARNING: The following contains spoilers from the first season of The Book of Boba Fett.

All the episodes of the first season of the second Star Wars live-action series, The Book of Boba Fett, are now streaming on Disney+. The underworld of Tatooine is turned on its head when Boba Fett and Fennec Shand roll into town, looking to rule over the territory that once belonged to Jabba the Hutt. It’s easier said than done, as the two are quick to realize.

The series has since received a number of mixed reviews and responses from audiences over the course of the season’s seven-week run. One that has stuck out to me is that for a show about one of the most badass figures in Star Wars lore, his desire to want to be better than he has been in the past and to rule with respect rather than fear is a direction that, I think, not a lot of people were expecting. But it’s this direction with the character that was not only fascinating to me as a viewer, but tells a story in the Star Wars universe that I’ve really only heard so much of in real life.

Boba was just a child when he was traumatized by the sight of Jedi Master Mace Windu beheading his father, bounty hunter Jango Fett, at the start of — what would eventually be — the Clone Wars. Orphaned and alone, Boba needed guidance and love, but instead sought revenge for his father’s murder. While attempts were made over the course of the Clone Wars, needless to say, he was unsuccessful; so much to where while still a kid, he found himself in prison at one point.

Of course, he became the infamous bounty hunter of few words in adulthood. But down the line, it’s fair to say that after nearly being digested by a sarlacc, nearly dying on the sands of Tatooine, having his armor stolen off his unconscious body by Jawas, before being held a prisoner – and later being accepted — by a tribe of Tusken Raiders is enough to shake anyone to the core. That tribe is the community he needed in his youth, and their care and acceptance of him was impressionable enough to where he felt motivated to be better. His metamorphosis humanized him, and I find that more interesting to see than him just running around, being a “shoot now, think later” kind of guy.

His desire to both continuously expand his community and extend out second chances is shown through saving Fennec from dying and offering the Mods the opportunity to stay out of trouble by coming to work for him. His compassion for individuals like them paid off, especially in the season finale.

Some might be quick to retaliate by pointing out how brutally he took out Bib Fortuna, and later Cad Bane in the finale. To quote the latter, “I knew you were a killer.” Considering the fact that the former was no better than Jabba to the point where he too was enslaving people, Boba and Fennec probably did the people of Tatooine a favor by taking him out as quickly as they did. As for taking out Cad with not a gun but the gaderffii stick he earned through a Tusken Raiders tribal rite of passage, I see it no different than when Obi-Wan Kenobi and Maul dueled one last time in the third season of Star Wars Rebels. Quoting the Jedi master, “Look what I’ve risen above.”

The Book of Boba Fett — as oddly structured of a show as it is — tells a story that has never been fully explored in the galaxy far, far away until now. One might go through hell for a very long time and not make the best decisions along the way, but when surrounded by good people and shown a different way, that can change everything for the better.

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