Television

The Casual Fan’s Guide to The Book of Boba Fett

Episode 1.

A man in a helmet faces the camera. A question mark illustration lays over his face.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Lucasfilm/Disney.

After a yearlong wait, The Mandalorian is back—well, sort of. Instead of a third season of the Star Wars TV drama, Disney+ is giving us its first official spinoff, picking up one of the plot threads introduced in last year’s Mandalorian season finale. Instead of Daddy Mando and Baby Yoda, The Book of Boba Fett follows fan-favorite bounty hunter Boba Fett, whose reappearance in The Mandalorian Season 2 was one of its best surprises.

For those not already well-versed in the Fett fandom, or who aren’t quite sure how this beloved character—who died in Return of the Jedi—is actually alive and well, follow along as we answer some of the biggest questions The Book of Boba Fett’s first episode has to offer.

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This post contains spoilers for the first episode of The Book of Boba Fett.  

What do I need to know about Boba Fett before watching The Book of Boba Fett?

Boba Fett was first introduced in the otherwise-maligned Star Wars Holiday Special in 1978. But it’s when he later appeared in Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi that most Star Wars fans got to know him: Despite never taking off his helmet, having minimal screen time, and dying an uncharacteristically silly death, the character—a bounty hunter tracking down Han Solo—captured fans’ imaginations.

Boba later got an extensive backstory in the prequel trilogy. His “father,” Jango Fett, also a bounty hunter, was cloned to create the Republic’s army. Boba is actually a clone of Jango, too, but Jango raised him as his own son. After Jango was killed by the Jedi, Boba eventually took over his father’s armor and career. The Book of Boba Fett alludes to these events in the brief flashbacks at the beginning of the first episode: We see the waves crashing on the cloners’ planet Kamino and a young Boba cradling his recently killed father’s helmet on Geonosis, both of which  took place in Attack of the Clones.

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The longest “flashback” here is actually new footage that answers a question raised by Boba’s reappearance in The Mandalorian: How did Boba survive falling into the pit of the Sarlacc, a monster that takes 1,000 years to digest its victims, in Return of the Jedi? 

And?? How did he survive???

In the Star Wars Legends books (that aren’t officially canonical anymore), Boba uses his jetpack to create an explosion, freeing him from the Sarlacc’s stomach. In The Book of Boba Fett—and therefore, official Star Wars canon—he instead punches through the Sarlacc’s intestine and activates his wrist flamethrower, eventually clawing his way to the surface.
  
When and where does all of this take place?

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The scene of Boba escaping the Sarlacc takes place shortly after the events of Return of the Jedi. The present-day scenes, in which Boba is Tatooine’s new crime lord, take place shortly after The Mandalorian’s Season 2 finale. So far, all of the action takes place on the desert planet.

Remind me how Boba Fett became in charge, again?

In a post-credits scene at the end of The Mandalorian’s second season, Boba Fett returns to Tatooine and kills Bib Fortuna, who had taken over Jabba the Hutt’s criminal operation after Jabba’s death in Return of the Jedi. He then takes the throne in Jabba’s Palace for himself.

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Who is Fennec Shand? What’s her whole deal? 

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She’s a bounty hunter and assassin who clashed with Din Djarin (aka the Mandalorian) in the first season of The Mandalorian and was left for dead—only to return in the second season, having been saved by Boba Fett. She’s now his right hand. Considering The Book of Boba Fett’s structure, which jumps back and forth between his present-day power struggles as Tatooine’s new daimyo and his past journey getting there, we may eventually get to see a flashback to when the two first met that explains their alliance.      

Why does that droid in Jabba’s Palace look so familiar? And sound so familiar?

You may recognize that droid, whose name is 8D8, from a very brief appearance in Return of the Jedi, where he served Jabba the Hutt and terrorized other droids in Jabba’s menagerie. Evidently, he remains bloodthirsty as ever, as he advises Boba to torture Jabba’s old guards to set an example. In The Book of Boba Fett, 8D8 is unmistakably voiced by Matt Berry, of What We Do in the Shadows fame.

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Also, and this is very important, if you look at 8D8’s name sideways, it looks like a laughing face with a bowtie.

Is Boba a Mandalorian? And where’s the Mandalorian, Din Djarin, from The Mandalorian?

Star Wars has been “from a certain point of view”–ing the question of whether Boba is Mandalorian for a long time, and the fuzziness of what is and isn’t canon in this new era of Star Wars doesn’t make the answer any simpler. Here’s what we can say for sure: Boba undoubtedly wears Mandalorian armor. He got that armor from his father, Jango, who was a Mandalorian “foundling,” meaning he was adopted by Mandalorians, just like our pal Din Djarin. Boba doesn’t seem to identify as a Mandalorian, but Mandalorians have played a major role in his heritage. Let’s call him Mandalorian-ish.

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Din Djarin is not expected to appear in The Book of Boba Fett, so we’ll likely have to wait until Season 3 of The Mandalorian to learn what he’s up to.

Most importantly: WHERE IS BABY YODA??????????? 

I know, I miss him too. Presumably he’s still out there, training with Luke Skywalker, who also is absent from this premiere. The first episode of The Mandalorian ended with little Grogu’s big reveal, and I found myself anticipating a similar surprise at the end of the first episode of The Book of Boba Fett. That wasn’t the case—but, hey, at least we know Max Rebo is still alive and jamming?

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