‘The Book of Boba Fett’: Inside the Mysterious Bounty Hunter’s Return to ‘Star Wars’ Universe
In a Star Wars Universe that has found great glory in returning favorites (Young Han! Old Luke! Baby Yoda!), there may be no resurrection more welcome than The Book of Boba Fett. As faithful fans of the franchise know, stoic bounty hunter Boba Fett is the space-set canon’s ultimate quiet masked antihero, a character who piqued great interest in the 1980 film Episode V—The Empire Strikes Back, met a ridiculous end in 1983’s Episode VI—Return of the Jedi and had his backstory told in the prequel films that followed. Finally, he’s back.
The badass fighter played by Temuera Morrison was technically reintroduced during the second season of The Mandalorian to help the heroic Mando (Pedro Pascal) rescue a kidnapped Grogu, aka Baby Yoda. But now, after a return that fans have waited nearly four decades for, Boba snaps on his fiery wrist rockets—and tries to run an underworld empire—in the Disney+ spinoff, next in the long line of Lucasfilm’s onscreen space Westerns to come.
Trying to find out how Boba survived his big-screen demise (he somehow escaped from a toothy Sarlacc pit) and what he’s been up to is like anything in the hush-hush Star Wars world, where the questions outweigh the answers. But the series offers some details on the mysterious character. “He’s hard and raw, but he changes a lot,” says Morrison, who originally played Boba’s father Jango Fett and his clones in the 2000s prequel films. “He’s had a tough upbringing in terms of losing his dad and having to find his way and figure out who he is, where he’s from. He has a few chips on his shoulders.”
That murky history leaves a fairly blank slate for the character, which excited executive producer Robert Rodriguez, who directs three of the seven episodes in Book’s first season. “I always loved Boba Fett and that there wasn’t very much known about him,” he says. “Now I think Boba will be synonymous with a really great time. There are a lot of challenges that he deals with in a very unorthodox way.”
Those challenges stem from Boba’s actions in last December’s after-credits scene in The Mandalorian’s Season 2 finale, where the warrior returns to the double-sun desert planet Tatooine. Viewers saw Boba swiftly kill the successor of gangster villain Jabba the Hutt (who was taken out by Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia in Jedi), Bib Fortuna (Matthew Wood), and steal the throne—with the help of mercenary Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen). “Not that much time has passed [since],” explains Wen about where the new story begins. “We’re setting up this underworld that has never really been explored.”
The dangerous underbelly to the sandy planet will be filled with threats for Boba and Fennec to fight off as they try to take control of the criminal inhabitants. “They definitely get outgunned a lot,” teases Rodriguez. We’ll quickly see how well these two warriors rise to the occasion. Wen likens it to The Godfather. “Boba grew up with that sort of military training,” she says. “Fennec, she grew up on the streets. The combination of their knowledge and experience really complements each other.”
Their still-new union also benefits from a shared experience—cheating the grim reaper. “They could both relate to being buried in the sand,” Morrison says. But bumping heads is not out of the question in the early days of ruling Tatooine. “Boba has his eye on trying to be different [from Jabba] and maybe Fennec doesn’t necessarily see it that way,” Rodriguez hints. “But they make a great team.”
They’ll need that teamwork to take on the brutal fights ahead in this desert world, which Rodriguez, a master of high-adrenaline films like Desperado and Sin City, shaped with one simple objective: “I always like action that tells you something about the character,” he says. Wen sums it up. “They’re doers, not talkers,” she says.
The drama’s many action sequences had pros and cons for Morrison and Wen, who did much of the work themselves while battling one major foe—the desert banks of the Los Angeles set. Sand “gets in your nose, in your eyes,” says Wen. “That alone is difficult terrain to work on.” The trade-off? Playing in the Star Wars sandbox. “I have so many amazing toys that viewers are going to just be gaga over,” Wen, a self-confessed massive Star Wars fan, says with a laugh. “Every day on set, I’d gasp, and Tem would have to reel me back and say, ‘Ming, c’mon, let’s work.’”
One thing’s for sure: Boba and Fennec have a lot of work ahead of them in their quest for domination. “Boba’s a bounty hunter. He’s not used to this—not just being in power, but trying to lead and deal with all the different factions,” says Rodriguez. “Every time something new walks in, that’s a new challenge. And you never know what’s going to come through that door.”
The Book of Boba Fett, Series Premiere Wednesday, December 29, Disney+