He’s among the most popular Star Wars characters of all time. He was a fan-favourite years before he appeared on screen in The Empire Strikes Back. He was so popular he was retroactively inserted into A New Hope and then introduced in the prequels, where he’s treated with so much narrative reverence he effectively became the might of the Galactic Empire itself. His armour alone inspired the massive mythos of Mandalore. And yet, despite all this, Boba Fett is a chump.
To be fair, despite the reputation, on screen Boba was a chump in the original trilogy, so him continuing to be a chump in The Book of Boba Fett makes sense. All he successfully managed to accomplish in the former was track Han Solo to Bespin then deliver his carbonite form to Jabba, then get knocked off the skiff into the Sarlacc pit by an accidental swing of a staff by the blind Han Solo. Boba Fett absolutely looked cool and acted cool — there’s a reason people still love him — but he accomplished almost nothing in his limited amount of screen time. He called Vader and delivered a package, then accidentally and ignominiously died.
When Temuera Morrison returned as Fett in The Mandalorian’s second season, fans thought that they would finally get to see him as the badass he’d always been in their hearts, and he certainly kicked some butt in his few appearances on the show. But now that he’s the star (“star” being loose, given the past few episodes) of his own series, he’s back to being a chump.
I ask you to consider what The Book of Boba Fett has shown us of the man’s post-Sarlacc life. He escaped the beast, sure, and that’s an accomplishment even if he made it look weirdly easy. But upon freeing himself, he had his armour stolen by Jawas and got captured by Tuskens. Sure, he was weakened from his experience, but it still seems like the galaxy’s most feared bounty hunter should have been able to hold his own in a fight with a Tusken, if not successfully escape his imprisonment. Of course, he managed to murder a monster, save a Tusken child, and become part of the tribe, which would have been awesome if he also wasn’t responsible for getting that tribe slaughtered shortly thereafter.
Fett was naïve to think that helping the Tuskens attack the Pyke syndicate wouldn’t have repercussions, but being really, really naïve seems to be Boba Fett’s thing. His absurd decision to become Tatooine’s nicest crimelord in the face of that tragedy is a counterintuitive continuation of that, as is his initial idea that he could enforce his claim with just Fennic Shand by his side. He’s immediately attacked by energy shield-wielding assassins who kick his arse! Even after he picks up more employees, he can’t protect the one cantina that’s on board with his rule. I want to cut him some slack for getting absolutely jobbed by Black Krrsantan (who was clearly able to just walk in Boba’s front door because of how paltry his operation is) because he was sleeping in a bacta tank and nude, but rewatch the scene and just count how many times Fett tries to attack the Wookiee and gets tossed across the room instead. It’s kind of hilarious.
But nothing — and I mean nothing — best exemplifies Boba’s reckless naïveté than in episode four, when he heads back into the Sarlacc pit to look for his armour. A lot of hay has been made about why Fett thinks it would still be in there, since he would have needed to wear it to safely escape, and that’s a very valid point (he was also partially digested at the time, so not at his best). But what I want to concentrate on is how Fett flew his Firespray ship into the maw of the Sarlacc without ever thinking that, you know, it might want to grab him again. It’s a level of idiocy that is frankly unparalleled in live-action Star Wars. It’s so dumb it beggars belief, and it’s only because of Fennic Shand’s quick thinking that Fett survive this completely avoidable situation.
Honestly, Fett’s chumpery shouldn’t come as a surprise because he’s an identical clone of Jango Fett, who was also a bit of a chump. Sure, he fought off Obi-Wan on Kamino in Attack of the Clones, but Jango only managed to escape with help from Boba, who was manning their ship’s lasers. Once the Jedi arrived on Geonosis, Jango Fett tried to fight Mace Windu by trying to leap on Windu’s fallen lightsaber and failing. Then, while still on the ground, he’s trampled by a reek. After Jango regains his footing he kills the beast, sure, but only to be immediately beheaded by Mace Windu, having achieved absolutely nothing other than looking like, and being, a chump.
But at least Jango never faced the indignity of getting outshone on his titular TV series. There are only seven episodes of The Book of Boba Fett, with the finale dropping tomorrow. And yet, in the last two episodes — more than a quarter of the entire series — Boba’s been almost entirely absent save for a scene of a staff meeting for his nascent crime empire, barely over a minute long, where he doesn’t even speak. As soon as Fett’s backstory was finished being told, The Book of Boba Fett was effectively preempted by the show it was spun off from, The Mandalorian, and those two episodes that have been far more interesting, not least because Mando has effectively been the new and improved Boba Fett for years. He’s not perfect but he has a code, he has a mission, and he’s been on a personal journey that’s challenged him at every turn. The newly returned Boba Fett has a code, but his life’s goal is suddenly to be one of several crimelords in a city on Tatooine? It’s not an exciting tale, which is exactly why the show’s spotlight has moved from Boba onto Mando.
The truth is the cool, badass Boba Fett fans have always dreamed of seeing on-screen is nothing more than a myth, both in the Star Wars universe and in ours. Maybe the streak will be broken in tomorrow’s finale and Fett will end up kicking arse, but the truth is, he’ll still be the man who very nearly got himself eaten by the Sarlacc pit twice. There’s only one word written in his book, and it’s this: chump.