Can You Watch The Book Of Boba Fett Without Seeing The Mandalorian?

How accessible is "The Book of Boba Fett" to someone who isn't a "Star Wars" superfan? What if you're like me, and you've seen some of the movies, watched the occasional "Clone Wars" episode, and still hasn't gotten around to watching "The Mandalorian" despite their daughter's current obsession with Grogu? That's the question I'm here to answer, having spent my morning/early afternoon sipping a boba latte while getting acquainted with Boba Fett.

In order to properly answer the titular question, I established a few guidelines to keep in mind while viewing:

  • How necessary does viewing "The Mandalorian" and having previous "Star Wars" knowledge feel while watching?

  • Is there adequate exposition in this first episode?

  • Is it even interesting for someone who doesn't know a whole lot about "Star Wars" and hasn't seen "The Mandalorian"?

The Answer Is...

In my opinion, watching "The Mandalorian" first would likely enhance the viewing experience in that whatever Easter eggs the episode may be laced with are certainly for dedicated "Star Wars" fans, but it didn't feel necessary to understanding "The Book of Boba Fett" so far. For perspective, the only relevant knowledge I had prior to watching the series is that Boba Fett is a bounty hunter and a clone of Jango Fett – don't ask me who that is because I could not tell you – facts I mostly learned via pop-cultural osmosis and the enthusiasm of several friends who are much more immersed in the 40+ years of "Star Wars" lore than I am. I knew nothing of his moral alignment, personality, or much of anything else other than the fact that a lot of people like to cosplay him at conventions and he's a pretty popular character. Like I said, I've seen some "Star Wars" media over the years, but I clearly didn't retain too much information from these experiences.

Despite my very limited knowledge, I was able to follow along with episode 1, entitled "Stranger in a Strange Land," fairly easily. This is pretty impressive considering that the episode begins with Boba Fett going through absolute hell, just getting his s*** rocked for like 12 minutes straight. Seriously. He's getting his ass beat left and right, knocked unconscious, and being held captive by alien creatures who occasionally speak in some indecipherable language. There was no other dialogue during this first part, which took up nearly a third of the episode, but the visuals were strong enough to adequately tell the story, and I found myself wondering, "Who is this man?" and "Why do they keep beating his ass like this?" which was enough to capture my attention.

Eventually, we learn that these initial scenes are dreams (flashbacks?) because Boba (the man, not my drink) wakes up from some weird sleep chamber and declares that the dreams are still occurring. Then we learn the basics: Boba Fett is now the crime lord of the city, and he intends to rule differently than those who came before him: with respect rather than fear.

His deviation from the comparably more ruthless norm of how someone in his position is expected to wield power is noticed by everyone around him. We also learn that he's a skilled fighter and pretty reasonable guy. He has some sense of fairness and justice, as he spares the lives of some humanoid pig looking creatures when he doesn't have to, and he wants to command authority without being a d**k. He's kind of like that one teacher who is cool and well-liked, but he still commands a level of respect that makes most students not want to test the limits of that coolness ... though others were all the more eager to try.

There was enough exposition to get the gist of who Boba Fett is, as well as the setting and other relevant plot elements without having watched "The Mandalorian" or being someone who could easily engage in passionate "Star Wars" discourse. Overall, it was easy to understand, so I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything major while I watched the action unfold.

Interesting Enough to Come Back For More?

Now that we've determined that watching "The Mandalorian" is not mandatory to enjoy this new series, there's another question to be answered: Is episode 1 of "The Book of Boba Fett" interesting enough for casual "Star Wars" fans or completely new viewers to watch it in the first place? Personally, I'd say yes. 

"The Book of Boba Fett" wasn't the most exciting premiere I've ever seen in my life, but as an occasional guest in the "Star Wars" fandom, rather than a full-time resident, enough of my curiosity was piqued to make me want to see where it goes. This is partially due to the fact that I'm a sucker for impressive special effects, and I love a good "new guy in town trying to prove himself" narrative. I also imagine "The Book of Boba Fett" would appeal to anyone who has some level of fondness for the sci-fi genre in general. After all, there's a variety of super cool-looking, unique alien races and a potentially compelling space-story to be told.

Ultimately, if you're relatively unseasoned where "Star Wars" is concerned, I'd say diving into Boba Fett raw is worth it. There are certainly far worse ways to spend 39 minutes of your life than watching the otherworldly exploits of a man desperately in need of a good skincare routine.

"The Book of Boba Fett" is currently streaming on Disney+.