Arguably one of the most popular Star Wars characters outside the core ensemble, Boba Fett is finally taking center stage in his own namesake series on Disney+, The Book of Boba Fett. It marks an important shift in the tone and type of Star Wars story fans are used to. Not only that, it could challenge viewers rooting for a character that doesn’t feel compelled to always do the right thing, leaving the opportunity for moral conundrums that run divergent from traditionally black and white Star Wars characters.
The polarizing division between good and evil is the backbone of the Star Wars universe. People and creatures are primarily thrust into one of these camps. While it makes them easy to identify, root for, or cheer against, reality tends to spend a lot more time in the grey. This is why an anti-hero like Boba Fett, who is fully committed to profit and personal gain, stays grounded and remains unpredictable, but not irrational. When a character has the capability of breaking to either side of an issue, without clear expectations of which way they’ll go, is a great story-telling asset a character like Boba Fett will benefit from. The inability for the audience to expect and predict what happens next should make for great storytelling.
Boba Fett is not a character that needs to embark on a quest for self-realization and personal discovery. He is an anti-hero who knows who he is and so does the audience. We don’t expect him to be the most honest person in the room, but also know he’s not a character predisposed to indiscriminate killing. Which helps serve the believability and popularity. That, however, doesn’t mean there isn’t much more to discover behind his Mandalorian armor.
Growth is a natural part of a good character's story development, but growth doesn’t have to equal transformative change that alters the fundamental core of who they are. Being an anti-hero just helps lower expectations for always doing the right thing, within limits. Hopefully, the character can stay true to these kinds of traits that made him so exciting. It's also a great opportunity to further explore the backstory hinted at in The Mandalorian. The struggle may come if the show’s producers decide moral ambiguity isn’t exciting enough. However, utilizing a character like Boba Fett, who is as comfortable in the shadows as the light, would be wasted if he were to suddenly shun the mysterious personality that made him so compelling.
Star Wars likes to present characters that appeal to straddle the line between the light and dark, but often quickly fall one side or the other, or reveal themselves to already be firmly entrenched on the side of good or evil. We see the tease but then always the turn to one side or the other. From Han Solo and Lando Calrissian to Cassian Andor. All were set up as anti-heroes, only to be revealed as anything but.
Despite a paltry amount of screen-time across the main studio films, after a cameo-like appearance in 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back (his debut in the cringe-worthy Star Wars Holiday Special, notwithstanding) audiences were never given enough of the fan-favorite bounty hunter. Now, The Book of Boba Fett on Disney+ lets Star Wars explore the galaxy in a way that was never done before.
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