Tuesday, January 11, 2022

The Book Of Boba Fett, Season 1, Episode 1: Stranger In A Strange Land

Hey, it's the series premiere of The Book Of Boba Fett!

Wow, who'd have ever guessed we'd get a second live-action Star Wars series on TV? And one starring Boba Fett, my all-time favorite character from the franchise yet! I should be ecstatic about the show! So why do I feel so indifferent about it?

I've loved the character of Boba Fett ever since he first appeared wayyyyy back in 1980. I'm not sure why, as he never really did much of anything in the movies. In fact he only appeared for an astonishingly short two minutes and eight seconds in the Original Trilogy, and uttered a total of four lines!

I think the main reason I liked him is because he looked so damned awesome. His armor was so unique and well designed that he looked cool even when he was standing still.

There was also the fact that we knew little or nothing about him. He was a completely blank slate, which allowed the audience to project their own backstory onto him.

Alas, George Lucas took care of that in the mediocre Prequel Trilogy though, grafting an underwhelming origin onto the character by making him the clone of Jango Fett— the template for the Prequel Stormtroopers. Yawn.

My love for the character— and the Star Wars franchise as a whole— cooled quite a bit after the subpar Prequels, and it died altogether after the abysmal Sequel Trilogy.

And then The Mandalorian happened. In just a handful of episodes, series creator Jon Favreau and producer Dave Filoni managed to churn out a Star Wars show that restored the franchise to its former glory and rekindled my interest in the property.

Even better, they managed to use the series to completely redeem the character of Boba Fett, turning him into the badass he never really got the chance to be in the films.

So all that said, why aren't I more excited about The Book Of Boba Fett?

I think the problem is I don't quite know what to make of the show. Do we even need a Boba Fett series at this point? Especially when we already have The Mandalorian? On the surface the two shows are so similar, a casual fan might be hard-pressed to tell them apart. How weird is it that out of all the hundreds of potential characters in the Star Wars Universe, there are now 2, count 'em TWO current TV shows about helmeted Mandalorians? It's honestly a bit weird.

I'm not too enthused about the show's premise, either. When Fett guest starred on The Mandalorian, it was evident he'd somehow escaped from the Sarlacc, been robbed of his armor and picked up some new fighting skills from a tribe of Tusken Raiders.

I completely understood those things, and could easily imagine how each of them occurred. I don't need an entire TV series dedicated to depicting these events in excruciating detail. 

But that's where we are in pop culture today. The slightest throwaway line is now fodder for an entire series of films. We can't just assume Boba Fett got out of the Sarlacc, dammit, we need to SEE it happen!

It doesn't help matters that the badass Boba Fett we saw in The Mandalorian seems to be absent here in his own series. For whatever reason, he seems to have been significantly neutered in this first episode, which was disappointing to say the least. More on that below.

Hopefully things will pick up once the series finds its footing.

Lastly, as with The Mandalorian, The Book Of Boba Fett was created by Jon Favreau and produced by Dave Filoni. Favreau is the amazing talent who helped kick off the MCU, as he directed the first Iron Man movie. Filoni developed and directed The Clone Wars animated series. 

As I said above, the two of them managed to breath new life into Star Wars and get the franchise back on track with The Mandalorian. Despite this somewhat rocky start, I'm hopeful they'll do the same with The Book Of Boba Fett


The Plot:
We open on Jabba The Hutt's palace on Tatooine (where else?). The place is empty, save for Boba Fett, who lies sleeping in a horizontal bacta tank.

Boba begins dreaming in the tank, so the writers can pack the episode with unnecessary flashbacks. We see shots of the watery planet of Kamino, where Boba was "born." Next we see Young Boba holding the helmet of his recently decapitated father on Geonosis.

He then dreams of being inside the Sarlacc on Tatooine, shortly ( guess?) after the events of Return Of The Jedi. He turns on his helmet light and sees a dead Stormtrooper being absorbed by the creature's stomach. He makes his way over to the trooper and disconnects his oxygen hose and attaches it to his own helmet (?). He then ignites his wrist flamethrower.

Up on the surface, Boba's hand punches through the ground, and he climbs out onto the sand. The landscape's littered with the wreckage of Jabba's sail barge. He collapses and passes out. That night a Sandcrawler pulls up next to him, and a group of Jawas strips him of his armor. He's too weak to stop them.

The next day a tribe of Tusken Raiders discover Boba, revive him and bind his hands with a rope. They then ride banthas (single file!) back to their camp with him in tow.

Sometime later Boba wakes, tied to a wooden post in the Tusken camp. Several young Tuskens approach and begin beating him with sticks, knocking him unconscious again (does this guy ever stay awake for long?). He wakes up that night and sees a Rodian (Greedo's species) tied next to him. He tries to cut his ropes on a sharp outcropping, but one of the Tusken's massiffs (lizard-like dog things) sees him and attacks. Boba knocks it out and uses its teeth to cut his ropes.

He asks the Rodian if he wants to escape as well, but for some reason alien alerts the Tuskens. One of the Young Tuskens (who may be the Chief's son) attacks Boba but he easily overpowers him and takes his gaderffi stick. Fett raises it over his head, intending to kill his attacker. When he sees it's just a kid, he relents and flees into the desert.

The massiff runs after him, and after a brief chase catches up to him. He fights it until a group of adult Tuskens arrive and call off the beast. One of the Tuskens approaches Fett, and the two battle for a bit, till Boba's hit and knocked out— AGAIN! Jaysis.

Suddenly Boba wakes and sees his partner Fennec Shand hovering over him in the "present day." He suspends his healing season as he drains the bacta tank. He tells Fennec his dreams are coming back. She tells him to get ready, as he's due to receive their guests. Several droids help Fett suit up in his armor.

Cut to the throne room, where Fett sits listening to the various delegates from Mos Espa, who've arrived to pay tribute to him. Among them are a Transdoshan named Dokk Strassi, who Fett says he used to work for.

The Mayor of Mos Espa, Mok Shaiz, sends his sniveling Majordomo in his place, rather than showing up himself. The Majordomo offers the Mayor's "heartfelt welcome" as his tribute. He then implies the Mayor expects Fett to pay tribute to him. Fennec says Fett's the new crime lord in town, and says his tribute is allowing the Majordomo to leave "unmolested." Fett tells Fennec they'll need to keep an eye on the Mayor and his Majordomo.

Fett's 8D8 droid then brings in two Gamorrean prisoners, who worked for both Jabba and Bib Fortuna. The droid suggests torturing them to death, but Fett refuses. He offers to let them live if they pledge their loyalty to him. They bow down in supplication, and he spares their lives. Fennec tells him this is a bad idea. At least she didn't say she has a "bad feeling about this."

Sometime later, Fett and Fennec stroll through Mos Espa, with the two Gamorrean bodyguards trailing behind. Fennec says Fett should be parading around town on a litter, but he says being carried like a useless noble isn't his way.

They make their way to the local Cantina, run by a female Twi'lek named Garsa Fwip. Fett introduces himself, and says he's replaced Bib Fortuna as the new crime lord. He assures her that her business will continue as usual— under his watchful eye. She thanks him, saying the Cantina is now his. She has his helmet filled with coins and returns it to him.

They leave the Cantina, and Fett says Jabba ruled by fear, while he intends to rule by respect. Just then they're attacked by six masked figures, armed with stun batons and energy shields. The assassins surround the pair and begin stabbing at them with their batons.

After an intense battle, Fett and Fennec manage to defeat four of the assassins. The last two parkour up the side of a nearby building. Fennec chases after them, and Fett tells her to leave one alive for questioning. He then collapses and orders the Gamorreans to get him back to his bacta tank.

Fennec chases the two over the rooftops of Mos Espa, and finally heads them off. She grabs an energy baton and knocks one of the assassins off the rooftop. The remaining one surrenders to her.

Meanwhile, Fett's placed in his tank, which starts up another flashback, er, I mean "dream." He's still tied up in the Tusken camp. The Young Tusken he encountered earlier approaches and begins jabbering away at him. For some reason, the Youngling untiles Fett and the Rodian, and he and his massiff march them into the deep desert.

After trudging along for miles, they see smoke in the distance. They hide behind a ridge and see a group of desert marauders ransacking a homestead. The marauders beat the owner, destroy his water supply and paint a symbol on the side of his house before speeding off. I'm sure this will all be important later in the season.

The group continues through the desert, till the Youngling stops and orders Fett and the Rodian to start digging. The Rodian digs up a small black gourd, and the Youngling grabs it out of his hand. He breaks it open, revealing it's full of liquid. Fett finally understands and begins digging. He finds one and begins drinking from it, and the Youngling tries taking it from him. Fett stops him, saying he needs water if he's to dig all day.

The Rodian is much better at finding gourds than Fett, digging up several to his one. At one point the alien uncovers something scaly, and peers at it with interest. Suddenly several arms pop up and grab the Rodian. A giant six-limbed creature rises up out of the sand and attacks them.

The creature kills the Rodian, and the Youngling stabs it in the foot. It's just about to kill the Youngling, when Fett runs up its back and wraps his leg chains around its neck. He strangles the creature with his chains, and it falls dead to the ground.

Sometime later, the Youngling, Fett and the massiff return to the Tusken camp. The Youngling parades around with the creature's severed head, showing it off to the rest of the villagers. 
As the others congratulate the Youngling for his skill and bravery, the Tusken Leader knowingly approaches Fett. Without saying a word, he offers him a black gourd. Fett smiles faintly and drinks.

• At some point it's a given that my clumsy fingers are gonna type "Feet" instead of "Fett." Please bear with me and overlook any such fox paws.

• The title of this episode is from the Bible, specifically Exodus 2: 22. It's also the title of a 1961 sci-fi novel by Robert A. Heinlein.

• Just like The Mandalorian did, The Book Of Boba Fett starts out with images of iconic helmets and droids from the Star Wars Universe, outline in blue and red lights. If you watch closely, the last two helmets belong to Fennec and Fett themselves! Cool.

• Ah, it's a Flashback Episode! The crutch of modern TV writers (I'm lookin' at you, The Walking Dead), who use the format to rearrange story elements and make their plotlines seem more complex than they really are.

• I think the main beef I have with this episode and the series premise in general: What the hell happened to the Boba Fett we saw in The Mandalorian?

If you'll recall, Fett first appeared for the first time in decades in The Tragedy. In that episode, Fett was a straight-up badass who took out an entire squad of Stormtroopers by himself, armed with nothing but a Tusken gaderffii stick!

Then in a post credit scene in The Rescue, Fett and his partner Fennec Shand burst into Jabba The Hutt's old palace on Tatooine, which had been taken over by Bib Fortuna. Fett wiped out the various palace guards, then brutally murdered Fortuna in cold blood. He then shoved his steaming corpse out of the way and plopped down on his throne, decreeing himself the new head of Jabba's old crime syndicate.

It was an awesome scene, and demonstrated that Fett was a force (heh) to be reckoned with.

Annnnnnd then this episode happened. Suddenly Fett's seemingly been neutered, as he shows mercy to prisoners and tells Fennec he wants to rule with respect, not through fear. And then there are the flashbacks, in which he's knocked out cold at least four times— once by a group of kids!

What the hell?

If I had to guess, I'd say Favreau and Filoni realized they'd written themselves into a creative corner. It's perfectly fine to have Lethal Badass Boba Fett show up for a guest appearance or two in The Mandalorian. But you can't very well have a series which features a ruthless killer as the ostensible hero. Hence, they had to "declaw" Fett in order to give him his own show. Feh.

Hopefully they'll find some middle ground here as the show goes forward.

• As anyone who's read my reviews of The Mandalorian knows by now, I have this irrational prejudice toward the planet Tatooine.

Actually it's not really a prejudice... it's more like I'm just tired of the place! No, wait... I'm not tired of it. SICK of it would be more apt!

Tatooine's been featured in SIX of the nine theatrical movies, and dozens of times in the various animated series. It popped up at least four times over on The Mandalorian as well. And now we have an entire series that's presumably set on the planet.

Which is why I honestly wasn't looking forward to this series, despite it starring my favorite Star Wars character.

I don't understand the creator's fascination with the place. It's an unremarkable backwater world locaed in the outskirts of the galaxy. Luke Skywalker himself summed up the place perfectly when he said, “If there's a bright center to the universe, you're on the planet that it's farthest from.”

It's just galling to me that there's an entire galaxy of planets in the Star Wars Universe, that are ripe for exploration. And yet over and over the stories keep returning to this same ferkakte world, that we've already seen too many times.

So why's Tatooine's so attractive to the creators? The answer's simple— money! Setting a story on the massive city-planet of Coruscant would cost millions in complicated model work and labor-intensive CGI.

But Tattoine's a featureless desert planet. All the crew needs to do is take a short drive into the California desert, and boom! They're on Tatooine! Heck, with their new Stagecraft background simulation system, they likely don't even have to film on location— just take a few hi-res shots of the desert and project it behind the actors!

I'm hoping that once the show gets past Fett's origin story, he might deign to venture off-world once or twice, to give us a much-needed look at another planet besides Tatooine. I mean, they can't set the WHOLE series on this world, right? Please say that they can't!

• Since much of the action takes place inside Jabba's palace, I'm assuming the producers must have painstakingly recreated the sets from Return Of The Jedi.

• When we first see Fett, he's recovering in a horizontal bacta tank. Several things here:

First of all, his tank is similar to the one used to heal Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back.

Secondly, for some reason the bacta tank emits a sound effect that's identical to that of an Earthly sonogram. You know, that low-pitched, mechanical "wow-wow-wow" sound. Weird.

Lastly, the tank's air regulator only fits over Fett's mouth. How's he keep from breathing the fluid in through his nose? Especially while he's unconscious?

• Fett experiences various flashbacks, er, I mean "dreams" inside the tank, which handily recap the events of his life for audience members who may not be familiar with him.

First up we see Kamino (from Attack Of The Clones), the water planet where he was cloned by his "father" Jango Fett.

We then see a young Fett mournfully holding the helmet of his father, who was decapitated by Mace Windu, also from Attack Of The Clones

We then snap forward twenty years or so, as Fett's trapped in the guts of the Sarlacc, shortly (?) after falling into the beast's mouth in the first act of Return Of The Jedi. There's a LOT to unpack in this brief little scene.

Fett looks around the innards of the Sarlacc, and sees a dead Stormtrooper who's being absorbed into the creature's stomach lining. He makes his way over to the Trooper and disconnects the air supply from his helmet.

Wait, what? Stormtrooper helmets are airtight? Since when? 
Ah, but it doesn't stop there! Fett then takes the air tube from the Stormtrooper's armor and connects it to his own Mandalorian helmet. We then hear a familiar pneumatic whine (the same one used when Darth Vader seals his helmet in The Empire Strikes Back) as his helmet seals itself. So apparently Fett's helmet is hermetically sealed as well!

What. The. Hell.

can't think of a single instance in the forty five year history of the entire Star Wars franchise in which there was ever any indication that Stormtrooper or Mandalorian helmets are airtight and have an external oxygen supply. From the very beginning they've been portrayed as simple protective head coverings. Buckets, if you will. I don't know where this came from or why it's suddenly a thing, but it's most definitely a retcon.

Also, where'd that Stormtrooper come from? Was he part of one of the patrols sent out to find C-3PO and R2-D2 in A New Hope, and accidentally fell into the Sarlacc's maw? Or was he from a later squad who was patrolling the area for some reason? Whatever the explanation, it was mighty convenient that he was there to provide Fett with some much needed oxygen.

• Once Fett replenishes his air supply, he uses his wrist-mounted flamethrower to burn his way out of the Sarlacc. We then see his hand burst dramatically through the sand, as he claws his way back to the surface.

Everyone and their dog has already pointed this out, but his method of escape seen here is virtually identical to the one described by Patton Oswalt several years ago in Parks And Recreation!

In the Season 5 episode Article TwoOswalt plays Garth Blundin, a concerned citizen of Pawnee who's upset at Leslie Knope's attempt to eliminate an outdated town law. To prevent the law from being overturned, he performs a filibuster at a City Council meeting.

Oswalt's epic improvised rant went on for over eight minutes (although it was cut down for broadcast), and is truly something to behold as he VERY accurately outlined Boba Fett's escape from the Sarlacc in this episode, right down to the stage directions! Here's a transcript of the relevant part of his filibuster:

"Begin with standard title sequence and John Williams fanfare followed by a scroll to be written. I would like to mention that Brian De Palma wrote the original opening scroll for Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope. I think it would be a nice nod, uh, to the franchise if he were to write this opening scroll. Then pan down from the twin suns of Tattoine, uh, we are now close on the mouth of the Sarlacc pit. After a beat, the gloved, Mandalorian armor gauntlet of Boba Fett grabs onto the sand outside the Sarlacc pit, and the feared bounty hunter pulls himself from the maw of the sand beast. And we, and we realize that he survived his fall during the battle at Jabba’s, uh, palace ship."

WOW! That's pretty darned accurate! Eerily so, in fact!

Although to be completely fair, it's not like Oswalt is some supernatural seer who peered into the future. How the hell else would Boba Fett escape, other than by blasting his way out of the Sarlacc's stomach? And how else would get to the surface besides clawing his way through the sand? It's still fairly impressive though, since as I said, he even predicted the exact camera shots!

Note that in his filibuster, he also predicted the MCU's Avengers: Infinity War several years before it became a reality 

• So how long was Fett inside the Sarlacc? probably not very long, since the wreckage of Jabba's sail barge is still strewn about the sand when he escapes. The Jawas would likely have hauled off the debris shortly after the explosion, so I'm guessing he was in there for far less than a day— probably just a few hours!

What about the Stormtrooper who's in there with him? How long's he been down there? Again, it can't have been too awfully long, since his armor still contains a viable oxygen supply!

• Once Fett escapes from the Sarlacc's belly, a group of Jawas strips him of his Mandalorian armor. We then see he's wearing an all-white jumpsuit (?). 

Although this might seem like a major continuity error, I don't think it is. I'm betting the Sarlacc's digestive fluids must have bleached his clothing, since since before he fell into the pit he was wearing his standard blue-gray uniform. Nice touch!

• After the Jawas steal Fett's armor, a tribe of Tusken Raiders appears and takes him captive. One of them squirts the juice from some kind of work into his mouth to revive him. Yuck!

Also, note the scars on Fett's head. When we showed up back in Season 2 of The Mandalorian and removed his helmet, we saw his head was covered in scars. At the time I assumed he'd gotten them from being inside the Sarlacc.

But then in this episode, we saw his helmet was apparently airtight— meaning the creature's stomach acid couldn't have gotten to his head. That means he must have somehow acquired the scars long before Return Of The Jedi.

This seems like as good a time as any to bring this up: How old is Boba Fett supposed to be here? His first chronological appearance was in Attack Of The Clones, when he was a child. Actor Daniel Logan was fifteen when he played Young Fett, so I'm gonna assume that was the character's age as well. 

According to the official timeline, Attack Of The Clones was set twenty two years before A New Hope. The Book Of Boba Fett supposedly takes place eight years after that. If my math's correct, that would make Fett forty six in this episode.

Actor Temuera Morrison is currently sixty one years old, and if I'm being honest he looks every day of it in this episode. I guess we could say Fett's had a hard life and looks a lot older than he really is.

Maybe humans just age faster in the Star Wars Universe. After all, Obi-Wan Kenobi went from looking like Ewen McGregor to Alec Guinness in just nineteen short years!

• The Tuskens take Fett prisoner and force him to follow behind their convoy. Note that true to Obi-Wan's word, the Sandpeople ride single file to hide their numbers.

• As Fett enters the Tusken camp, the Chief watches him while sipping liquid from a black goud.

I won't ask how he's drinking with his mask on...

• That night we see Fett and a Rodian have been tied to what appear to be ancient, gnarled dead tree stumps. A couple things here:

First of all, tree stumps? So I guess at one point there were trees on Tatooine? If so, then I'm pretty sure this is the first time we've seen any indication there was ever any kind of plant life on the desert planet (the Chief's gourd notwithstanding).

Secondly, it was nice of the Tuskens to build a cozy campfire to help keep their captives warm! I guess they're not all bad!

• Are massiffs intelligent? When Fett tries to cut his ropes and free himself, the dog-lizard sees what he's doing, growls and starts creeping toward him to attack. So it has to be fairly smart and self-aware, right? Otherwise why would it care if Fett cut his bonds? Or even understand what he was doing?

• Interestingly, Fett speaks the first line in this episode at the 9:16 mark, when he asks the Rodian prisoner if he wants his bonds cut. Up to that point there's zero dialogue— apart from a few unintelligible Tusken grunts and squeals.

• In the "present," Fett gets dressed in his armor before receiving tribute from his subjects. Once again we see his helmet's apparently airtight. When he puts it on, there's an audible pneumatic "whine" as the airtight seal activates (the same sound effect we hear when Vader's helmet attaches in The Empire Strikes Back). 

I don't get why Mandalorian helmets are suddenly airtight. We never heard this happen when Manny put his on over on The Mandalorian?

• In the "present," Fett's accompanied by his partner Fennec Shand— bounty hunter, mercenary and master assassin.

Fennec's played by actress Ming-Na Wen, of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. fame (among many other credits). I've said it many, many times, but it's still worth a repeat— I cannot believe Wen is currently 58 years old. She looks a good twenty years younger, if not more. Just goes to show what having good genes— as well as a net worth of $5 million dollars can do for you!

I've been a fan of Ming-Na Wen since her As The World Turns days, so it's awesome to see her in the Star Wars Universe.

• Fett holds court inside his newly-acquired palace, and local dignitaries stop by to pay tribute. Among them is an Aqualish (the same species as Ponda Baba, aka "Walrus Man" in A New Hope) who grunts and shrieks his respects. Fett quips to Fennec that they really need an interpreter droid so they can understand what the hell these aliens are saying. Haw!

In virtually every Star Wars property, everyone can inexplicably understand everyone else, no matter if they growl, hoot or even beep. So it was refreshing to finally see someone who couldn't understand an alien's speech.

• Does the droid who announces the visiting dignitaries look familiar?

He's 8D8, the torture droid seen in Return Of The Jedi. Apparently Fett reprogrammed and repurposed him as a steward— a much less sinister function.

You'd never know it from listening to him, but 8D8 here is voiced by actor Matt Berry, of The IT Crowd fame. He's actually the second alumnus of that series to voice a droid in a Star Wars TV show, as his co-star Richard Ayoade played Zero in The Prisoner over on The Mandalorian.

So hold up... A few seconds ago, Fett said he really needs to get an interpreter droid. So why not just use 8D8 here? I get that he's probably not an interpreter model, but so what? He's a droid! How hard would it be to reprogram him, or download a language module into his brain? Is that not a thing in the Star Wars Universe?

• At one point a Trandoshan dignitary stops by with a tribute. He's of the same species as the bounty hunter Boskk in The Empire Strikes Back. If you look closely, the item he's offering is a Wookiee pelt— which is more than a little disturbing!

Fett has the following conversation with the Trandoshan:

Fett: "It's an honor to be welcomed to Mos Espa by you, Dokk Strassi."
Strassi: "May you never leave Mos Espa."
Fett: (to Fennec) "Even when a Trandoshan pays you a compliment, it sounds like a threat."

• Fett's presented with a couple of Gamorrean guards who were loyal to Jabba and later on to Bib Fortuna. He tells them he'll spare their lives if they swear to serve him.

Apparently prosthetics have improved quite a bit since Return Of The Jedi in 1983. Back then the Gamorreans looked remarkably fake, as they couldn't create convincing foam latex bodies for them and had to cover the characters with armor and furs.

We're now at the point where the producers can create realistic full-body makeups for the Gammorreans, which allows them to be appear shirtless.

• At one point Fett and Fennec take a stroll through downtown Mos Espa. For some reason they pass a woman herding a flock of Boston Dynamics dog robots through the streets!

What the hell? I can't speak for anyone else, but this shot took me right out of the show. By now everyone's seen videos of those real-world robots and knows they're a 21st Century Earth invention— and not something that existed A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far, Far Away.

Why would they stick those things in the episode? It's like seeing a line of Volkswagen Beetles parked along the street.

• Fett and Fennec pay a visit to the local Cantina.

Wait a minute... Are... are those droids? In a cantina? Serving drinks? What the heck are THEY doing there?

What happened to "We don't serve their kind here?"

If you'll recall, back in A New Hope R2-D2 and C-3PO were denied service at the Cantina over in Mos Eisley. Maybe it's a backward settlement, and Mos Espa here's more enlightened and inclusive of their clientele.

• Inside the Cantina we see a small band playing. A LOT to unpack here. 

First of all, if you listen closely they're playing a jazzy, almost Spanish guitar version of the song heard in the Mos Eisley Cantina in A New Hope. I see what you did there, Favreau!

Secondly, I assumed the blue-skinned alien seen here was simply a member of the same species as Max Rebo, leader of the band who played exclusively in Jabba's palace in Return Of The Jedi. According to the interwebs though, this really IS Max Rebo seen here!

That seems... unlikely. Max and his bandmates were onboard Jabba's sail barge when it blew up real good, so I don't see how it could possibly be him.

On the other hand, Bib Fortuna apparently survived the destruction of the sail barge as well, and went on to take over Jabba's crime syndicate, until he was killed by Fett in the Season 2 finale of The Mandalorian.

For the record, this is what the sail barge explosion looked like. I'll let the reader decide if anyone would have possibly survived this conflagration.

Lastly, take a close look at Max here. He's sitting on a brown cushion, and it appears his body ends just below his arms! What the hell? Did he get blown in half in the sail barge explosion or something?

Believe it or not, Max Rebo's physique is a source of controversy in Star Wars fandom. Back in the 1980s, Kenner made a be-diapered action figure of Max that depicted him with a lower torso and stumpy legs. Although unofficial, many fans consider the figure's body structure to be canon.

Supposedly that was never the intent. Creature designer Phil Tippett created numerous maquettes of various aliens for Return Of The Jedi, including this one of Max Rebo. You can see here that Max doesn't have any arms, and is actually playing the keyboard with his legs and feet!  

So the "half-body" version of Max seen in this episode would seem to be correct, as it matches the artist's original intent!
• In the Cantina, Fett and Fennec are approached by two Twi'leks, who offer to clean and service their helmets. Amazingly, Fett agrees! 

What the hell? Like its sister city Mos Eisley, Mos Espa is a wretched hive of scum and villainy. Why in the name of sanity would Fett allow his precious helmet out of his sight? For all he knows the Twi'leks might plant some kind of b bug or other monitoring device inside their helmets!

• Fett meets with the owner of the Cantina, an attractive Twi'lek named Garsa Fwip (which is as Star Wars-y a name as I've ever heard!).

Fwip's played by Jennifer Beals, of Flashdance fame! Holy cow! I didn't recognize her at all! I figured she'd be an old lady by now, so I was surprised to see she still looks so young, and dare I say it— hot!

• On their way back to the palace, Fett and Fennec are ambushed by a group of space ninjas with electro-prods and shields.

I love this move by Fennec, in which she stabs a ninja with a prod, then flips him over her head so he lands on his buddy's shield and gets fried. Cool!

• Fett has another flashback, er, I mean dream, in which the Tusken Youngling marches him and the Rodian out into the desert.

I can't figure out what this kid was trying to do here. He takes two prisoners out of the camp in broad daylight, and none of the other Tuskens pays the slightest bit of attention to him. Is the the chief's son or something, and can do whatever the hell he wants?

And why is Fett going along with this? The Youngling's half his size. This would have been the perfect chance to knock out the brat and escape.

• While doing whatever they're doing in the desert, the little band runs across a group of marauders or pirates who're attacking a homestead. Before leaving, one of them paints a symbol on the front of the house, that looks like opposing letter "Js." Or maybe it's a pair of socks, I dunno. 

This is an obvious bit of setup, so I'm sure we'll find out who they are and what that symbol means in future flashbacks.

• I'm in awe of this show of the massiff kicking up sand as it walks! Now that's some damn good CGI!

• Once they're miles into the deep desert, the Tusken Youngling orders Fett and the Rodian to start digging in the sand. 

At first I thought the episode had taken a dark turn, and he was ordering them to dig their own graves! Thankfully that wasn't the case. Apparently this kid dragged them all the way out here to dig for tiny, liquid-filled black gourds (!). Got it.

So... they couldn't have done this closer to the camp? I suppose it's possible the Tuskens have already depleted the gourd supply there, so the kid needed to range out farther.

• While digging for gourds, the Rodian inadvertently wakes a large, six limbed creature that attacks the trio.

Many fans are claiming the creature's a nod to the four-armed Tharks, one of the alien races in Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter Of Mars series.

Eh, I guess it's possible. I thought it looked much more like the alien Ymir from 1957's 20 Million Miles To Earth— which featured stop motion animation from the late, great Ray Harryhausen. Not only does the creature in this episode resemble the Ymir, but it had the same body language as all of Harryhausen's classic monsters. Especially the way it reared up as it held its arms out straight.

Whatever the creature's inspiration, I really enjoyed the way it could switch from a two legged to four legged gait at will! I'm also amazed at just how "stop-motion-y" it looks here. You could splice this scene into any Harryhausen movie and it wouldn't look out of place. That's a good thing, by the way!

• The appearance of this previously unseen creature brings up a good question— why the frak did humans ever settle on Tatooine?

First of all the planet orbits twin suns, making it a dry, desolate desert word where little or nothing can grow.

Then there's the wildlife, most of which is deadly. Massiffs, Sarlaccs, Worts, Rancors and even Krayt Dragons! And now whatever this thing is. About the only animals who don't seem to be actively trying to kill everyone are Dewbacks and Banthas.

And don't forget the indigenous tribes! You've got the scavenging Jawas, who can be deadly despite their diminutive size. And of course the Tuskens, who shoot first and grunt questions later.

The entire planet is nothing but a nightmare of hardship and certain death, and I don't understand why anyone would willingly ever live there.

• The Tuskens clearly are a pre-industrial society. So where'd they get their sneakers with the fancy treads? WHOOPS!

I suppose we could say they might have looted them from an unlucky colonist. I suppose we could say that, but I don't know why we should.

• I assume the scene of Fett strangling the creature with his chains is an homage to Return Of The Jedi, since Princess Leia killed Jabba the exact same way.

• Back at the camp, the Youngling carries the creature's severed head and parades it around the camp. The others feign interest in this and fawn all over him, reinforcing my theory that he's the Tusken Chief's son.

• Loved the moment at the end between Fett and the Chief. The leader obviously knows his son's full of sh*t and wasn't the one who killed the beast. He then wordlessly thanks Fett for saving his kid's life— along with officially accepting him into the tribe.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Site Meter