The Book of Boba Fett is getting relatively disappointed feedback from fans, and The Mandalorian is the most likely reason why. Both The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett express clear western and Samurai film influences, much like the original Star Wars trilogy. In this vein, these shows hit Star Wars’ raw soul and explore its world through a more personal, character-based lens. However, despite their wide-ranging similarities, the two shows have a slightly different focus. The Book of Boba Fett feels more mature and reflective, appropriate considering that it focuses on a more seasoned character with a wiser outlook on life. Meanwhile, The Mandalorian feels more adventurous and forward-focused, following a character growing from his past as new opportunities challenge his values and world outlook. Even though both shows follow reserved characters, they differ in their pacing and general tone. It is this difference, coupled with the overwhelming success of the more energetic The Mandalorian that is causing problems for The Book of Boba Fett.
Following the adventures of principled bounty hunter Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), The Mandalorian premiered on Disney+ in 2019 to almost immediate success. At the end of The Mandalorian’s season 2, an end-credit teaser scene for The Book of Boba Fett came. Having premiered on December 29, 2021, The Book of Boba Fett follows the fan-favorite titular character’s story beginning between the events of Return of the Jedi’s beginning and his appearance on The Mandalorian. While the character is an understandable choice for a Mandalorian spin-off, Boba Fett’s reflection of modern Star Wars makes it the ultimate litmus test for what works and what doesn’t with the newer Star Wars media.
Considering that The Mandalorian’s season 2 showed a changed Boba, The Book of Boba Fett offers answers to compelling questions about the bounty hunter. Overall, The Book of Boba Fett isn’t a bad show by any means, but its heavy similarities to the highly successful and generally better-executed Mandalorian make Boba Fett a little disappointing. It may take some fans time to adjust to a differently paced Star Wars show, but The Book of Boba Fett’s reception in relation to The Mandalorian does carry some merit. Here’s how The Mandalorian influences ratings for The Book of Boba Fett.
The Mandalorian Set The Bar For Star Wars TV Shows
The Mandalorian received an explosive reaction upon its release. It shared its series premiere with Disney+ and gave many people a reason to invest in the streaming service. Viewership for The Mandalorian set it as one of the top 20 most-watched TV shows of 2020 according to streaming data, and it’s easy to see why. Setting itself appropriately as one of 2022’s biggest returning TV shows, The Mandalorian left season 2 with pressing questions on where the show could go.
The Mandalorian sets the bar for Disney’s Star Wars TV shows by effectively exploring other aspects of a franchise bursting with material. By wisely introducing a new main character with an orphaned alien child, using a premise heavily influenced by Kenji Misumi’s 1972 film Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance, the show provides the audience reason to be invested in its otherwise closed-off lead. There’s a healthy balance of well-paced action and gripping lore, along with natural opportunities to present familiar characters like Rosario Dawson’s Ahsoka Tano and Temuera Morrison’s Boba Fett. Naturally, The Mandalorian was destined to be the ultimate launching point for many Star Wars Disney+ TV shows, and the show’s execution places the bar high.
The Mandalorian Made Din Djarin The Better Boba Fett
Boba Fett’s exciting potential as a Mandalorian is set up thanks to Din Djarin’s excellent character development. So much personality still comes through Djarin’s beskar iron helmet, through his actions and choices that exemplify the character’s deepest values. Missions help viewers connect to what’s valuable to the Mandalorian, and his connection with Grogu strengthens the importance of those missions. While The Mandalorian’s popularity owes itself to the very existence of Boba Fett, the show sets Djarin up as the better Boba Fett regardless. Pascal’s Mandalorian exudes a reserved demeanor that strengthens the character rather than holds him back. His personality traits are tools for development and character growth, not obstacles.
Din Djarin’s clear value set makes something as simple as removing his helmet a huge character choice. Boba Fett’s helmet ethics doesn’t give the character this kind of luxury, which isn’t a problem besides the fact that character development must come in different ways. So far, there’s only so much that viewers can truly care about Boba compared to the Mandalorian.
The Mandalorian Brought Boba Fett Back & Made Him Cooler
Boba Fett’s appearance in The Mandalorian brought all that fans wanted and more. Never meant to be a deep character, The Mandalorian still brought Boba back from the sarlacc pit in an unexpected reveal. Star Wars fans love Boba as the reserved killer whose mysterious aura built his legendary status over the years. Up until The Mandalorian, Boba’s only onscreen presence consisted of glimpses of his preteen self in the prequels, and all of four lines in the original trilogy.
Developing Boba Fett is certainly welcome by Star Wars fans, but The Mandalorian understands that such development is really the proverbial cherry on top of Fett’s character. Boba Fett’s Mandalorian appearance in full armor is one of many points about his character that, if explained, would simply be a treat for fans to appreciate the character more. The Book of Boba Fett does a lot to develop Fett as a character, but The Mandalorian’s bits-and-pieces mentality towards revealing him is more effective. The Mandalorian recognizes the pertinent questions about him, answers them for fans, and then leaves viewers wanting just a touch more. Over-explaining Boba Fett runs the risk of forgetting what makes the character valuable. He’s a character of action, of choosing to do things on his own terms. Anything else is cake icing.
The Book Of Boba Fett Doesn’t Fit Well With The Mandalorian
The Book of Boba Fett has a slower pace than The Mandalorian, with many viewers remarking on the frequent and long flashback scenes in the bacta tank. While the flashbacks help develop Boba Fett and Star Wars’ Tusken Raiders, improving the franchise, it overall feels inefficient compared to how The Mandalorian approaches its character development. Executive producer Jon Favreau has a heavy hand in writing and directing much of both The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, but the two shows differ in their delivery. While Boba Fett can feel like a clone of The Mandalorian, which is ironic considering that Boba Fett is about a clone, the two shows still differ in pacing and development.
This isn’t to say that The Book of Boba Fett should be just as fast-paced and action-packed as The Mandalorian. In fact, as mentioned previously, its more pensive and reflective approach is appropriate for the character it follows. Still, it’s not as engaging as it has the potential to be based on standards set by The Mandalorian. Episodes actually prompt fan theories explaining Boba Fett’s weaknesses. While The Book of Boba Fett exposing character flaws creates engaging character development, its execution is underwhelming. Compared to The Mandalorian, character arcs and development unfold through its pulse on what really matters about the Mandalorian and then conveying such information in an efficient, emotional way. The Mandalorian began as a nobody character that viewers quickly grew to care about. Viewers already care about Boba Fett, but they’re seeing drawn-out character arcs that have relatively little payoff.
A big factor to The Book of Boba Fett’s reception has to do with The Mandalorian’s high-set expectations for modern Star Wars. Even with things like Book of Boba Fett’s badly-received bike chase in episode 3, Boba Fett is becoming a character with interesting values and motivations. His reasoning behind taking over as daimyo, as revealed in episode 4, elevates who he is and adds a refreshing component to his character. It also expands on Star Wars’ themes of power imbalances and personal destiny. As The Book of Boba Fett continues, it addresses more interesting elements to the Star Wars universe. However, it’s so far harder for audiences to engage in it compared to The Mandalorian.