The Book Of Boba Fett Episode 2 Should've Been Episode 1

Spoilers ahead for "The Book of Boba Fett" episode two.

Where the first episode of "The Mandalorian" quickly got people buzzing thanks to its unexpected little green guest star, the pilot for its spin-off series, "The Book of Boba Fett," elicited more shrugs than applause. It's not that the latter's first episode, "Stranger in a Strange Land," was bad so much as overly familiar. True, it finally explained how Boba escaped the Sarlacc in Disney's "Star Wars" canon, but the answer wasn't exactly revelatory. (He used his flame thrower to punch his way out of the creature's stomach.) Much of what happened in the episode's later flashbacks had also been heavily alluded to in "The Mandalorian," like how a group of Jawas stole Boba's armor before he was taken in by some Tusken Raiders.

One of the best parts of "Stranger in a Strange Land," as I wrote about last week, was its structure. The way the episode shifted between Boba's painful memories of his past and his efforts to establish his foothold as the successor (or Daimyo) to Jabba's criminal empire on Tatooine brought "The Godfather Part II" to mind. Outside of this, however, the show's pilot didn't do enough to make "The Book of Boba Fett" feel like a mob drama set in the "Star Wars" galaxy (as the show's cast and creatives have described it) and set it apart from the western and samurai genre-inspired vibe of "The Mandalorian." Thankfully, that changed with episode 2, "The Tribes of Tatooine."

Heavy Is The Head That Wears Jabba's Crown

Rather that continuing to set the table, "The Tribes of Tatooine" dived right into the conflict at the heart of "The Book of Boba Fett": the power grab on Tatooine in the wake of Jabba the Hutt's death and the downfall of the Galactic Empire five years earlier. It also offered a proper introduction to Mos Espa's mayor Mok Shaiz, building upon the mystery around him from episode one but without revealing too much about the crafty politician's motives or endgame in the process. Perhaps most importantly of all, the episode brought the Hutts (essentially, the most powerful mobsters in the "Star Wars" universe) into the mix and made it clear that they know all about Boba casually taking over Jabba's former domain. In doing so, "The Book of Boba Fett" has set Tatooine's governing and gangster forces on a collision course with Boba — one that will really challenge him to prove that his declared intent to rule with respect and not fear is more than just words.

When it came to the episode's flashbacks, "The Tribes of Tatooine" likewise got to the most compelling part of Boba's journey post-"Return of the Jedi": how he came to be accepted by the Tusken Raiders. Seeing as he was dressed like them and wielded a gaderffii stick (their weapon of choice) on "The Mandalorian," there was never any question Boba would go from being their prisoner to living freely among them, even before the last scene in "Stranger in a Strange Land." As such, getting to watch Boba learn how to use his gaderffii stick like a boss and, in return, give the Tusken Raiders the tools they need (namely, speeder bikes) to fight back against the members of the Pyke Syndicate trespassing on their land and killing their own was pretty satisfying. But more than that, it offered real insight into how Boba — who found a way to help the Tuskens assert their rights as Tatooine's Indigenous people without inadvertently starting a full-blown war with the Pykes — first came to realize he could (and wanted to) be more than a hired gun.

Did We Even Need the First Episode?

Given how things played out in "The Tribes of Tatooine," it asks the question of whether "The Book of Boba Fett" even needed to devote a whole episode to the events from "Stranger in a Strange Land." It might've been better to condense the two episodes into one feature-length premiere instead, similar to what the animated series "Star Wars: The Bad Batch" did last year. Alternatively, Disney could have dropped both episodes at once, like it did with the MCU shows "WandaVision" and "Hawkeye." In both of those cases, the series were able to get off to a stronger start than "The Book of Boba Fett" — in terms of not just generating positive word of mouth but also building up more plot momentum.

Ever since Disney bought Lucasfilm, the "Star Wars" franchise has gotten into a bad habit of trying to answer every single question viewers might have while knitting its mythology into a tightly-woven tapestry. And while some of that can and absolutely should be blamed on Disney for trying to copy the MCU model in its efforts to get fans to consume every single piece of "Star Wars" content it churns out, creatives like "The Mandalorian" and "The Book of Boba Fett" creator Jon Favreau shouldn't be let completely off the hook, either. Indeed, in the case of the latter show, Favreau and his collaborators arguably would've benefitted from taking a more efficient storytelling approach with the first two chapters.

"The Book of Boba Fett" episodes 1 and 2 are now streaming on Disney+.