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The Book of Boba Fett has a Disney problem

Temeura Morrison and Ming-Na Wen star in The Book of Boba Fett
(Image credit: Disney Plus)

The Book of Boba Fett is now more than two-thirds of the way through its first season, but critics and viewers (it only has a 59% Metacritic score) alike have been less than impressed with this extended look at the once-enigmatic bounty hunter. 

Expectations were especially high given the success of The Mandalorian. (And some people argue that The Mandalorian has saddled The Book of Boba Fett with a big problem.) While there have been more than one explanation as to why this latest Star Wars series has fizzled like a busted hyperdrive, I have my own theory. The main problem with Boba Fett? He’s too nice.

Maybe Fett had some sort of awakening while he was being digested in the Sarlacc pit, but where’s the guy who was so cold-blooded that even Darth Vader had to remind him “no disintegrations” when going after Luke Skywalker? 

What kind of crime boss is this?

In setting up shop on Tatooine, Fett says “Jabba ruled with fear. I want to rule with respect.” With all due, uh, respect, that’s not how to run a successful criminal empire. Tony Soprano talked about respect, but he also had a fair number of his enemies chopped to bits at Satriale’s. 

When hosting all the other crime lords for dinner, he does manage to frighten them by having his rancor poke its claws through the floor. You know what would be even more effective? Pulling a Dr. Evil, and having a trap door open under one of their seats. That baby rancor has to be at least a little hungry. 

Star Wars as a whole has never been all that dark or graphic — though I was expecting a bit more blood when Black Krrsantan ripped the arm off a Trandoshan — but you would think that a series that deals with the criminal underworld would be at least slightly more brutal. 

Where The Book of Boba Fett could have gone

A more gruesome universe probably isn’t in the Sabacc cards now that it’s a Disney-owned property. Still, it would have been far more interesting if Boba Fett broke bad and became, if not a Walter White, then at least a Gus Fring. 

At the very least, though, there doesn’t seem to be any ruthlessness to Fett’s character. Yes, he seems to have a code — a man’s got to have a code — but he doesn’t seem to have the grasping ambition or desire to do whatever is necessary to become the unofficial ruler of Tatooine. He was an amoral character to begin with, so why not lean into the anti-heroness of it all? Some of the best TV shows of the past 20 years — The Wire, the Sopranos, Breaking Bad — have all had, at their center, very despicable people. 

Maybe it’s his age. Rather than kicking ass each week, Boba Fett seems to be the one getting his kicked, and needing Fennec Shand or some biker kids to save his hide. As Obi-Wan once said, “I’m getting too old for this sort of thing.”

Apart from feats of strength, Boba Fett has yet to really face any crisis of faith, or anything that truly tests his character. The Mandalorian followed a similar adventure-of-the-week thread, but at least Din had to question — and in some cases, compromise — his beliefs in order to achieve his goals, the repercussions of which we saw in last week’s Boba Fett episode. 

Absent some greater introspection — or more vivisections — the Book of Boba Fett is in the same tier as Solo: A Star Wars Story: mildly entertaining, but unnecessary. 

Michael A. Prospero is the deputy editor at Tom’s Guide. He oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories, but also tests out the latest standing desks, webcams, drones, and electric scooters. He has worked at Tom's Guide for many a year; before that, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight or chagrin of his family.