Ok. First things first, the next piece has spoilers for Episode Two of The Book of Boba Fett, “The Tribes of Tatooine”.
Yes. 2022, the ultimate Star Wars year is here. Boba Fett, Andor, the second season of Bad Batch, High Republic, and of course Obi-Wan. And just five days in, The Book of Boba Fett blew my mind.
Not only the first live-action appearance of Black Krrsantan, demonstrating that comic book characters and plots in Star Wars are as cannon and relevant as Vader being Luke’s father. Not only did we get the first live-action appearance of the Hutt crime family (outside of Jabba), as logical, well-justified, even scary antagonists for the show. Not only the best train heist of the franchise (sorry Solo, this one is for Fett and the Tuskens). Not only Max Rebo (again!). This episode elevated Star Wars’ narrative potential to an unprecedented level, at least for me, a life-long fan obsessed with it. Through different narrative elements, Jon Favreau (writer) and Steph Green (director) achieved depth and development in the setting, characters, and context. Something we’ve only seen for main characters like Luke, Anakin, Rey, and maybe Han Solo. They transformed the Star Wars universe into a more complex narrative setting. And here is how I think they did it.
First of all: Tatooine. The planet that started it all. An essential planet, idea, and ambiance for Star Wars mythos. But for 44 years that planet was some kind of deserted no man’s land. A place where dreams are shattered and cool pod-races happen once in a while. At least on-screen, Tatooine was just the unfortunate destiny of the Skywalkers and company. An inhospitable place to be. A big dessert and not more. But The Book of Boba Fett gave it a life long-awaited. I can finally understand why it was a key point for Jabba and the Hutts to control. Spice routes, corrupt politicians, Mos Espa as an important Outer Rim city, a vibrant and diverse population…a fancy (and powerful) cantina! The planet passed from a kind of small forgotten village to a living, crime-filled world. I know The Phantom Menace and The Mandalorian gave us a hint to all this, but The Book of Boba Fett injected a realness to it!
Then there’s Boba himself. When I saw him back in The Mandalorian I wasn’t as excited as many. I thought there were better (“dead”) characters to share the screen with Din and Grogu. Of course by Season Two, Episode Six “The Tragedy,” I was speechless and once again, Favreau, Filoni, and everyone involved had my gratitude. We finally saw the knee rockets in action and a powerful Fett warrior. But even then, Boba was for me, still an awesome cosplay inspiration and cool action figure. But in just two new episodes of his own show, he became a man seeking his origins and calling. A cool-looking bounty hunter was transformed into a motivated complex character. Discovering who he truly is. Not just a clone, not the forced bearer of Jango’s infamous legacy, not the feared assassin; but a man seeking family, belonging, and power beyond a blaster and a wrist flame thrower.
Of course, Temuera Morrison’s performance and love for the character and armor has given this amazing development a powerful punch. Favreau’s writing and especially Steph Greene’s Star Wars directorial debut made “The Tribes of Tatooine” a clear character study. It isn’t (only) a Lawrence of Arabia homage, it is a well-constructed episode to show us old and new fans that this amazing warrior is someone worth watching, and of course, loving. Boba Fett’s legacy is amazing and a quintessential aspect for Star Wars commercial success, but now it is nourished by a great development of the character, his origins, and surroundings.
Last, but not least, the Tusken Raiders. So a long time ago… in a city not so far away, George Lucas imagined brutal, murderous, mysterious savage desert people. Like fremen (Frank Herbert’s influence on them is very clear), but scary and brutal. For 40+ years that’s what they were. If you went to Tatooine you just had to be careful of the “sand people”. But Favreau and Filoni had another vision. Since The Mandalorian, we’ve seen a new face for the Tuskens. More of an intelligent, nature-connected people. But with The Tribes of Tatooine, this was exponentiated.
We found out about Tatooine’s ocean past, about the complexity of the multiple tribes. On how they are the true natives, not just of the Dune Sea, but of the whole planet. We learned about them. And not just the men, but the women and the children too (pun intended). On their culture, rituals, ways of living, traditions. On how imperialism, industrial exploitation, and social violence affect them. On how they are one with the dessert and their obstacles. On how they communicate between them and with Boba. On how they are victims of violence and aggression too. Yes, they are brutal. Tuskens tortured and killed Shmi Skywalker. But after what we saw this last episode, they become something more than a narrative device to make Tatooine worse.
I know some comics and other material have given them new perspectives. For example; I love how in Darth Vader #25, one tribe transforms Vader into a scary god-like figure after his vicious attack. But it was this episode that showed that they are valid and profound characters. The last 15 minutes of the episode are great at showing this. Boba’s journey to get his own branch for a Gaffi Stick and his learnings on how to build it himself. Boba dressed in Tusken robes, adding depth to his renewed look. The glances between him and the tribe leaders, and finally the bonfire dancing, making Boba one of them. That ritualistic bond showed unity, familiarity, culture, and belonging. In this episode Tatooine, Boba Fett, the Tuskens, and everything surrounding all these elements got deeper, more interesting, and more impactful. We finally understood how complex anyone in the Star Wars Universe can be.
So…yes! I believe that “The Tribes of Tatooine” just unlocked a new, better era for Star Wars’ narrative (especially on the screen). Because it shows how this magnificent universe can be complex, vibrant, and meaningful. Not only a superficial cool visual setting for Skywalkers, Rebels, or Jedi, but a narrative playground for diverse characters, plots, and situations. Once again, Filoni, Favreau, Green, and the whole The Book of Boba Fett and Lucasfilm team have my gratitude and appreciation. I can’t wait to see what’s next!