We’re running a recap of The Book of Boba Fett on Disney+. There are spoilers, duh! You’ve been warned.
Be careful what you wish for. When I suggested a few weeks ago that The Book of Boba Fett will only work as an ensemble show, I didn’t expect the showrunners to sideline their main character for two full chapters of a seven-episode season. But with the reintroductions of Mando and Grogu, along with Cobb Vanth (Timothy Olyphant), Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), and Luke Skywalker (fake Mark Hamill), we’ve heard hardly a word from our title character in the build-up to this week’s season finale.
Who’s complaining? Not me. Boba Fett as the boss guy is well and good for his character. Let him have his fun in Jabba’s palace. But as the central character of his own anthology, I’ve little interest in watching a boss be a boss.
We learned by episode 4 that Boba Fett is on the cusp of his workers’ revolution. He’s got credits coming out of his ears, but muscle is the missing piece of the fledgling empire. It stands to reason we can’t have a showdown with the Pyke Syndicate without employing the help of Din Djarin. And if you bring the Mandalorian back to the mold—if you give a mouse a cookie—you’ll need to drop in on Disney’s most merchandisable foundling, Baby Yoda, and tease out all that hullabaloo with the Darksaber and the Great Purge of Mandalore while you’re at it. So the fine people at Lucasfilm squeezed the epilogue of The Mandalorian’s second season into The Book of Boba Fett’s first, to the delight of guys and gals who eat that stuff up.
People like me.
Not long before all this, Mando learned he’d been raised in a cult. As a Child of the Watch, he’d been led to believe that all Mandalorians looked and acted like his orthodox splinter group of Mandalorians, the ones who followed strict adherence to “the Way.” So ingrained was this way of life that Din Djarin was unable to recognize other Mandalorians when he saw them. As I shared at the time, this was the biblical equivalent of mistaking the Remnant of Israel for Israel at large or being so locked into your own church that you fail to recognize the “big C” Church when you see it.
Mando has changed, but he’s since learned that the Way, like any other cult or high control group, never can. It doesn’t matter that Din Djarin is now the rightful steward of the Darksaber. It doesn’t matter that he’s been a faithful zealot his whole life. It doesn’t even matter that “Loyalty and solidarity are the way.” Mando sacrificed the sacred to rescue Grogu for the sake of actual loyalty and solidarity over his strict adherence to the Creed. And for this, for the unforgivable sin of removing his helmet, Mando is now excommunicated from his community.
Anyone who’s done some deconstruction can tell you it comes as a great shock to learn the people who taught you the ideals for which you’ve pledged your life actually idolize religious form and practice and national identity over the pure religion of looking after orphans and widows in their distress.
But, like any new deconstructionist, Mando still holds residuals of the Way in him, which is why throughout two episodes with Din Djarin at the center, we’ve still not seen his face again. It’s the same reason he initially balked, “Weapons are part of my religion,” at the suggestion of checking his weaponry before boarding a commercial flight to Tatooine. So even if his church won’t claim him, he’s still claiming the Way as the faith of his youth.
On a related note, I have failed my role as Christ and Pop Culture’s foremost authority on all matters tangential to Disney Parks if I do not mention Star Tours here. If you’ve ever visited Disneyland Park in California or Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida, you’ve probably ridden this simulator attraction, playing the role of a tourist within the Star Wars galaxy, passing through a commercial spaceport and boarding a spaceliner which, after jumping through hyperspace, travels through multiple destinations and events over the timeline of the Skywalker Saga’s nine films.
While Lucasfilm seems incapable of acknowledging it outside of the theme parks, the in-story Star Tours agency within the Star Wars series is—I cannot stress this enough—canon. Star Tours operates across the galaxy far, far away during the exact period that Mando has to take a commercial starship to Tatooine. The droid who makes him fork over his artillery? That’s an RX-Series droid, the exact model of droid that piloted the original Star Tours attraction and is now repurposed as the DJ of Oga’s Cantina inside the Galaxy’s Edge themed land on both coasts. So the connection is right there, but Lucasfilm hates the people who love their theme parks, just like everyone else.
Back when I first started recapping The Mandalorian, a number of readers got back to me that I really ought to catch up on The Clone Wars and Rebels television series to fill in the missing gaps of my Star Wars knowledge. I told myself I’d do my homework leading up to The Book of Boba Fett, but never did. So while much of the fandom lost their ever-loving minds with the entrance of Cad Bane in the penultimate episode’s final minutes, I’m ashamed to admit I was in the crowd of people who intuited Bane was someone important but had no idea why.
I will happily arm wrestle anyone who believes me undeserving to write another word about this series ever again.
Until then, we enter the final chapter with a newly assembled army in Boba Fett’s collective, facing the Pyke Syndicate who have revealed themselves as unafraid of terrorizing civilians, blowing up city blocks, and employing the galaxy’s most notorious bounty hunter to knock Fett’s new empire off the map.
Meanwhile, Grogu will choose whether he’ll be a Mandalorian foundling or Jedi Padawan. It’s a confusing proposition, given that the entire premise of The Mandalorian’s second season was how Baby Yoda must be returned to his kind because the Force in the untrained hands of someone as powerful as Grogu would mean Grogu would never be safe unless he learned to master those powers.
So, of course, he must choose to remain a Jedi.
But also, the idea of forsaking his status of a foundling, to forego his relational attachments, seems equally confounding given that the Empire was toppled precisely because Luke ignored Yoda’s direction and let his love and attachment for his father bring Anakin back from the dark side and save the galaxy. Which will Grogu choose? Why not both?