The Book of Boba Fett may have drawn high praise for a few of its episodes, but the show ended up with the worst Rotten Tomatoes score out of all Star Wars TV shows like The Mandalorian. Thanks to some highly popular animated series and the debut of live-action shows on Disney+ with The Mandalorian, Star Wars’s biggest stories are being told on the small screen, but The Book of Boba Fett doesn’t meet the high bar set by its predecessors.
Boba Fett only had a small presence in the Star Wars movies, but his story was heavily featured in additional books and comics from the original Star Wars Expanded Universe, but after Disney purchased Lucasfilm, it took a long time to get the character back to the same level of prominence in the post-Disney canon. A Boba Fett movie was one of many canceled Star Wars projects before he finally got his live-action debut in season 2 of The Mandalorian, which finally set him up for his own Disney+ solo series. Despite the excitement for The Book of Boba Fett, the show had a rocky start, getting the most praise for episodes that felt more like the start of The Mandalorian season 3 thanks to Boba Fett’s story taking a back seat to Din Djarin and the little Yoda-like Baby Grogu.
The show’s final episode finally put the focus more fully on Boba Fett and his story, but it was too late to revive the show’s mixed reviews, becoming the lowest-rated Star Wars show on Rotten Tomatoes with an overall score of 73 percent thanks to two “Rotten” rated episodes, including the Star Wars television low 53 percent score for the finale. Star Wars TV, both animation and live-action, and movies under Disney have seen mostly positive reviews, so The Book of Boba Fett’s poor reception is inconsistent with most other Star Wars reviews and Rotten Tomatoes scores.
The Mandalorian’s Reception Helped Boba Fett’s Early Episode Reviews
After the poor reception of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and a lack of new Star Wars movies on the horizon, the success of The Mandalorian and a growing slate of shows on Disney+ suggested the franchise’s future could be best suited in TV form on streaming. With the popularity of Din Djarin, the idea of a show focused on the original legendary bounty hunter in Mandalorian armor had a lot of promise. The first few episodes had a slow start, but thanks but the strong performance of The Mandalorian, which averaged 93 percent for the first season and improved t0 94 percent for season 2, with no episodes scoring lower than 73 percent (and most in the 90s with multiple 100 percent episodes) it’s understandable why many reviews would assume The Book of Boba Fett was going to improve as it went on, resulting in softer criticisms of the show’s early flaws like an under-baked plot.
This issue is also partially exacerbated by the nature of TV reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. While movie reviews are usually a simple one-and-done affair, episodic content can be harder to evaluate on a per-episode basis prior to seeing the entire season. Plots elements or character arcs that don’t seem developed or impactful early on in a show can improve thanks to reveals in later episodes, and the story could play out in a totally different context by the time the season has fully played out. When the past precedent for a franchise show is the first two seasons of The Mandalorian, it would have seemed safe to assume The Book of Boba Fett was going to follow in The Mandalorian’s footsteps, but by the time it became clear the under-developed plot and character arcs weren’t going to be fixed, the impact is going to be seen on the scores of later episodes when that realization is made, not the earlier episodes that were already reviewed.
The Book Of Boba Fett’s Highest Rated Episodes Weren’t About Boba Fett
Through the first four chapters, The Book of Boba Fett had averaged just 79 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, but chapters 5 and 6 drew scores of 100 percent and 90 percent, respectively. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but since those two episodes combined only featured one scene of Boba Fett and serviced plotlines and character arcs that were almost entirely detached from The Book of Boba Fett.
The reception of the detour in chapter 5 and 6 showed just how much more invested the audience was in The Mandalorian and highlighted the comparative lack of focus and development on Boba Fett in his own show. The excitement over the events of those episodes meant when The Book of Boba Fett finally returned to Boba Fett’s story for the season finale, Chapter 8, the show had an even higher bar to meet to not only bring home the story from the first four episodes, but also to justify why Boba Fett had his own show anyway when audiences would have rather seen more adventures with Din Djarin and Grogu.
Why The Book Of Boba Fett’s Finale Had The Season’s Lowest Rotten Tomatoes Score
So, despite Boba Fett’s story not being as fully explained or fleshed out in the first few episodes of The Book of Boba Fett, those complaints were hardly dealbreakers as critics can simply say “hopefully this is explored more later on.” This is true for most characters and plots in The Book of Boba Fett. Boba himself was subject to drawn-out flashback sequences explaining what happened to him between climbing out of the Sarlacc pit and meeting up with Din Djarin in the end of The Mandalorian, but his present-timeline story wasn’t fully explained and it wasn’t even clear who the villains until the Pykes arrive in Chapter 4, although they’re still mostly a faceless, ambiguous menace until Cad Bane shows up at the end of Chapter 6. While fans were thrilled to see the bounty hunter and one-time mentor to Boba Fett in The Clone Wars animated series, Bane’s late-season introduction deprived him of character development and deprived Boba Fett of any kind of foil to aid his own character development.
Oddly, while Chapters 5 and 6 saw the most praise of the whole show, that praise worked against The Book of Boba Fett. Bringing in major reveals such as Din Djarin getting a new ship, Luke Skywalker training Grogu, and even the first interaction between Luke and his father’s former padawan, Ahsoka Tano raised the bar for the finale to include similar reveals, especially since incorporating Luke and Ahsoka or other similarly big characters or cameos would help make sense out of why the show would abandon its protagonist for the two episodes preceding the finale. A finale focusing on Boba Fett was certainly the right choice, but after the brief visit to Luke’s new Jedi temple, the return to Tatooine felt even smaller, and a lack of attention to Boba Fett’s plot leading up to the finale meant the show was deprived of any momentum leading into its conclusion. Leaving the show’s most popular elements behind, the finale wrapped up the plot points tied to Boba Fett’s story, which were both under-developed and lacking urgency thanks to the detour into The Mandalorian.
While the earlier episodes were partially propped up by good faith and hope for the development of certain plot points, the same phenomenon worked against the finale, which bore the brunt of many of the criticisms critics held judgment on at the season’s start. Under-baked elements were seen as opportunities for development instead of storytelling failures, but when the season was all said and done, those same critiques became missed opportunities.
Of course, Rotten Tomatoes is subjective. The Book of Boba Fett still saw stronger viewership than The Mandalorian despite all these issues, although with a low audience score for the whole season, the audience may have been less forgiving than critics. Fortunately, the teases for season 3 of The Mandalorian were one of the show’s biggest bright spots, so a return to that story will hopefully not face the same issues as The Book of Boba Fett. As for Boba himself, his story is far from over, but with the lower Rotten Tomatoes score of The Book of Boba Fett, it’s not clear if that story will be continued in a second season or if Boba Fett’s future remains as a side character on The Mandalorian, or perhaps gets more of a focus in animation, comics, and books, like his initial rise to popularity in the old Expanded Universe.