Serial Consumer celebrates and interrogates Evan’s relationship to franchised media and his addiction to purchasing its licensed products.

I continue to be of two minds right now regarding The Book of Boba Fett. On one hand, I enjoy it. It’s a Star Wars product with some fun references to other Star Wars products and a compelling lead performance by Temuera Morrison, who really loves the role. On the other, it has the same storytelling problems as The Bad Batch: It is afraid to commit to a premise that requires the main character to actually do anything. Events happen around the main character, and he reacts to them. That became a big, big issue as The Bad Batch ended and none of the five Clone characters felt remotely like developed individuals, which is what the initial pitch promised. It’s even more frustrating this early on in Boba Fett because the character himself doesn’t require a lot: The most feared bounty hunter in the galaxy. He’s a badass. People should be frightened of him. Instead, he’s just kind of an idiot.

The plot of Book thus far is that the most deadly man in the galaxy was brought low before he was reborn and is now setting out to get his due. The last episode, “The Tribes of Tatooine,” felt like it was locked into that story with its engaging flashbacks. “The Streets of Mos Espa” — perhaps due to Robert Rodriguez returning as an underwhelming force behind the camera — focuses more on the presen tense, where nobody involved in the production seems to understand the story they are telling or the character with whom they’re telling it.

Boba is chilling in the palace he stole when a villager (guest star Stephen Root) shows up to complain about a gang of street thugs stealing his water. The villager also tells Boba that nobody in town respects Boba, which makes sense because three episodes in, Boba has yet to do anything remotely interesting as a crime lord. So Boba’s solution is to … have a friendly chat with the thugs, who ride space Vespas, and politely ask them to be on his team. They say yes.

I’m not as down on the gang thing as other reviewers, but their depiction as poor street rats is strange when their tech is far beyond what we’ve seen on Tatooine thus far. Their glossy, American Graffiti-inspired rides are particularly garish. My main complaint is that Boba does nothing to earn their respect. He’s done nothing to earn anyone’s respect or behave like a criminal at all. Even when he’s assaulted by Black Krrsantan in an incredibly lazy assassination attempt, Boba basically just shrugs and lets his former colleague walk off into the desert. Why not hire Krrsantan to keep him around? That would’ve been pretty badass.

The Hutt twins addressing their conflict with Boba should be the most exciting development in the episode, but even that is resolved … and they deliver him a new Rancor for his troubles. Boba’s excited about it (and references Dathomir from The Clone Wars). It’s clear he’ll probably ride this Rancor into battle at some point, which will be neat, but … this show needed to start with something as big and bold as the image of Boba riding the Rancor and then develop into even more outlandish Star Wars action. Worse, it would’ve been more interesting if Boba riding the Rancor was a badass moment of improvisation and not something the show sets up in Episode 3. And if he never rides the Rancor … yikes.

In the present day, Boba is a complete cipher. The story is aimless and aggressively contrived. I don’t understand why this is the second Star Wars show to never settle on a real premise before writing started. It’s like they let Jon Favreau do whatever he wants even if it is subpar. I really enjoyed most of The Mandalorian, but the problems with the finale to Season Two — where Luke shows up to remove all agency and excitement from the heroes overcoming their season-long foes — feels like it truly was a sign of things to come in how Lucasfilm views this property. Star Wars is being written for the fans and the fans only. That’s a long-term problem.

I have such a hard time believing Rodriguez looked at the opportunity to tell a story about Boba Fett, one of the most iconic sci-fi desperados in American fiction, and thought to himself, “I want it to look like a cheap TV show, and he has got to cross over with the Spy Kids.” It’s just kind of inexplicable, and I’m glad he is only directing one more episode. Sadly, Favreau is writing the rest of them and I think there need to be more interesting writers hired to work on these shows. He served his role bringing The Mandalorian to life in the first season, but he’s since proven inadequate at growing and evolving the universe in an organic and interesting way.

Maybe the biggest disappointment in this episode, however, is the brief flashback to Boba discovering his new family of Tuskens was killed while he was trying to collect payments from the Pyke Syndicate. Given that they were the most interesting part of the show so far, this bodes poorly for further flashbacks. This can’t be the end of the flashbacks, either: We still have to see him rescue Fennec, find Slave I and return from his adventures in The Mandalorian.

I just wish there was a real sense of tension to the present-day stuff. I enjoy watching it because I love Star Wars, but so far, it feels like every other episode is a big waste of potential.

That said, I’ll enjoy it every time Danny Trejo shows up and talks about Rancors.

What I Bought

I did not purchase or preorder anything Star Wars-related this week. However, I did get a discounted annual sub to Marvel Unlimited thanks to my buddy John’s recommendation. My first read-through was War of the Bounty Hunters, which was a huge letdown. I have been very disappointed in the larger-view storytelling in the Marvel comics; Star Wars: The High Republic does nothing for me. Nothing important or interesting happens in War of the Bounty Hunters besides the return of Qi’ra, who does nothing in the story. It’s a shame this replaced Shadows of the Empire, which, for all its faults, felt like a lot of incident in that Empire Strikes Back / Return of the Jedi interstitial timeframe.

I still enjoy the new Darth Vader stuff and parts of the current Star Wars series, but otherwise I’m kind of uninspired by the recent crop of comics.

What I’d Buy

Danny Trejo Rancor Keeper — $22