The Book of Boba Fett First Reviews: Critics Say Episode 1 Is a Slow-Burn Reintroduction to a Star Wars Icon

The Mandalorian spin-off reintroduces the galaxy's most feared bounty hunter to streaming audiences with a first episode that's heavy on character backstory and world-building.

by | December 29, 2021 | Comments

The return of legendary bounty hunter Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) was teased in the end-credit sequence of The Mandalorian’s season 2 finale and after a year-long wait, The Book of Boba Fett made its official premiere on Disney+With mercenary Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) by his side, Fett takes over Tatooine, the sandy planet where galactic gangster Jabba the Hutt once ruled, as the new crime lord in charge.

Technically a spinoff of The Mandalorian, the series could also be viewed as a sequel of sorts to The Empire Strikes Back. The second installment of the original Star Wars trilogy found Fett doing Darth Vader’s dirty work, as he went on attack mode to take the crew of the Millennium Falcon for the notorious Sith Lord. The fan-favorite character appeared briefly in Return of the Jedi before getting trapped in the Sarlacc Pit and, for all we knew, was gone forever. But, as The Mandalorian revealed, he survived, and The Book of Boba Fett aims to give the bounty hunter his due.

Anticipation for the series has been quite high. Does the newest Star Wars adventure — which is, at the time this article was written, Certified Fresh with an 85% score on the Tomatometer — deliver the goods? Here’s what critics are saying about episode 1 of The Book of Boba Fett.

Is it the Boba Fett story we’ve been looking for?

Temuera Morrison in THE BOOK OF BOBA FETT

(Photo by © 2021 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.)

It’s early days for the series, which launched with one episode (no further episodes were made available to critics). But say this much: The pilot, directed by Robert Rodriguez, evinces an elegant refusal to lard on undue narrative or aesthetic complication. This story — depicting the rise of the legendary bounty hunter — begins with clean narrative lines, crisp visuals, and a compelling central performance that takes off Fett’s helmet but preserves his mystique. – Daniel D’Addario, Variety

The creative team of Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni and Robert Rodriguez and stars Temuera Morrison appear up to the challenge if the first chapter, the only one made available to critics in advance, is any indication. – Joey Morona, Cleveland Plain Dealer

The result is a solid, always enjoyable, if slightly unremarkable start. – Ian Freer, Empire Magazine

Like its titular hero, this episode is blunt and to the point about what Boba’s current situation and his path ahead. There is no Luke Skywalker in a hallway here, nor is there a baby Yoda… nothing to upend what we could expect out of Star Wars’ status quo. How did Boba Fett escape the Sarlacc? He got out of it. What’s he doing on Tatooine now? Exactly what you’d expect. Who is Boba Fett? Who you have always wanted him to be. – James Whitbrook, io9

Does the cast deliver?

(Photo by © 2021 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.)

Temeura Morrison is more than capable of transfixing an audience with his wild glare, so it makes sense that he’s a man of action rather than words. – Brian Lloyd,

Morrison’s relative unfamiliarity is an asset here: We’re seeing a famous character’s face for the first time, but there’s no star persona at work other than the character’s own. And Morrison brings grit and dignity to a character who operates according to his own code. – Daniel D’Addario, Variety

Admittedly, the series doesn’t ask a great deal of Temuera Morrison, who reprises his role as Boba Fett here. The character is still essentially taciturn, still essentially mysterious, still seems to live by a code. Morrison portrays it well, lending the role a certain gravitas and sense of control; he’s also got an easy repartee with Ming-Na Wen (here playing intergalactic assassin Fennec Shand), and the pair of them together are always watchable if nothing else. – Alex Moreland, National World

Morrison is solid as the steely, yet vulnerable Boba Fett. You could almost call him charming, though that’s probably just his Kiwi accent. But it’s Wen who commands your attention as Fennec Shand. Brutally honest, cleverly cunning and downright lethal, she’s one of the coolest characters in the galaxy. – Joey Morona, Cleveland Plain Dealer

How are the visual effects and world-building?

(Photo by © 2021 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.)

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. – Brian Lowry,

But The Book of Boba Fett also has a much bigger task than a new crime empire or some expository backstory: filling in Fett’s conspicuously missing character and motivations. Right now, the show’s ostensible hero is still a blank slate. Despite appearances in two films and more than one episode of The Mandalorian, his most defining moment is still a decades-old warning from Darth Vader that disintegrations are off the menu for his chase of Han Solo. – Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

This series takes advantage of the technology in a way that Return of the Jedi never could. For one, the Sarlacc Pit. The limits of special effects technology in 1983 meant that George Lucas could not show it in the way he really wanted. Droids and aliens have evolved over the years in their appearances and this episode is no exception. The Gamorrean guards look much better in The Book of Boba Fett than they ever did in any previous Star Wars films. We owe much thanks to the updates in visual effects technology. – Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

Like so many Mandalorian stories, these flashbacks trade heavily on familiar tropes from classic Westerns, once again treating the Tuskens as Native Americans pushing back against settlers. When Fennec wakes Boba up to deal with the business of running Jabba the Hutt’s former empire, the influences look more to the east. As various crime bosses arrive at Jabba’s old palace to pay tribute to its new owner, one of them — Dokk Strassi, played by Robert Rodriguez himself under a lot of makeup to look Trandoshan — refers to Boba as the new daimyō, a term for a Japanese feudal lord. Such men appeared at the center of multiple films by Akira Kurosawa, whose The Hidden Fortress gave George Lucas the template to write the original Star Wars film. The lines between the two hemispheres blurs at various points — the ninja-like assassins Fennec chases across the Mos Espa rooftops are fond of parkour, for instance — but it offers something of a clear delineation between Boba’s past and his present. – Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone

Where the filmmaker does excel is with the action, and The Book of Boba Fett is so far at its best when its title character and Shand get to show why they’re the best at what they do in this Galaxy. – Josh Wilding,

Any final thoughts?

(Photo by © 2021 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.)

The Book of Boba Fett is going to scratch your itch while you wait for The Mandalorian Season 3 and it’s clearly designed to do just that. It almost feels like The Mandalorian Season 2.5 or a downloadable story expansion for a video game. Within that, there is certainly fun to be had. But it also portends the blandening of what was once one of the most imaginative fictional universes in modern history. – Drew Dietsch, Giant Freaking Robot

Insofar as it makes a case for itself, it perhaps doesn’t convince that Boba Fett is a character that can sustain his own television show, but it does still seem worth tuning in next week. – Alex Moreland, National World

If The Book of Boba Fett intends to chase down these threads, even as it re-assures us that its titular hero is who we always wanted him to be, it could add some intriguing texture to the man behind one of Star Wars’ most iconic masks. For now, though, it is simply content to be as direct: It knows who Boba Fett is. For now, and for many, that will be enough. – James Whitbrook, io9

It may get better as it goes along, but “Book of Boba” is starting out so stale and puerile it’s hard to see daylight and/or originality peeking through even eventually. If you’re not tired of seeing these “Star Wars” beans fried, refried, refrigerated and refried again, this must seem like a Golden Age to you. The rest of us know the only “golden” thing here is what’s spilling off the screen. – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

As an episode there is nothing to blow you away — no big twists or reveals — but the chemistry between Morrison and Wen is engaging and, it 100% feels like Star Wars. But, as to whether Fett is better to remain a galactic man of mystery, the jury is still out. – Ian Freer, Empire Magazine

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