The Structure of Star Wars Streaming Shows…

So, The Book of Boba Fett is done and with it brings cries of happiness, satisfaction, and contentment from the ever-forgiving Star Wars fan base…

Who am I kidding? Of course, it didn’t. The series has attracted more condemnation than usual for a Star Wars Disney+ series, including some from this very show, and critically the show was liked if not loved – Rotten Tomatoes has the show sitting at 73% with the show’s Metacritic score boasting a mediocre 59.

(Of course, these aggregator sites shouldn’t be the only barometers of success but they certainly help to provide an approximate consensus. Lots of great minds are there too.)

One of the main criticisms that’s being thrown about is the perceived lack of structure to the show. From the lopsided blend of flashbacks and present-day daimyo action to the total sidelining of the titular character in Chapters Five and Six, The Book of Boba Fett certainly felt uneven. But should it have?

A Collider report from June 2021 gained traction as it claimed that “The Book of Boba Fett will be a more closely-linked spinoff [to The Mandalorian] as well and sources have told us to think of the series as “The Mandalorian Season 2.5”. Additionally, the show was announced in a post-credits scene following the conclusion of The Mandalorian Season Two, a season that ushered in the return of Boba Fett himself. So, surely it would come as no surprise that the two shows would feel intrinsically linked?

At Disney’s Investor Day event on December 10th, 2020, Kathleen Kennedy announced that the “next chapter” in the interconnecting story (including Rangers of the New Republic (RIP) and Ahsoka) set during The Mandalorian timeline would premiere in December 2021. It’s interesting to note that she doesn’t call it the next chapter of The Mandalorian or its story.

So why the issue with the structure of The Book of Boba Fett? For me, it comes down to a few things. Namely, the title of the show. I’ve seen many people online jumping through hoops to describe the deviations as ‘interludes’ alongside suggestions that Boba Fett stole the show in Din Djarin’s own show, specifically The Mandalorian – Chapter Fourteen: The Tragedy therefore it’s fair game for Din to overshadow Boba. In terms of the latter, Din was still a major player in the episode (as well as every other episode across both seasons) so that argument is a bit weak. As for the former, that is a valid shout, however, did the interludes advance the story of The Book of Boba Fett OR The Mandalorian season three? We knew Din would be brought back into the fold but to dedicate nearly two entire episodes to him seemed like overkill and that’s before we even consider Luke Skywalker, Ahsoka, and Grogu. It seemed as if Jon and Dave saw this as an opportunity to tidy things up ahead of launching into their prized project, The Mandalorian season three – maybe this genuinely wasn’t the case but the argument can be made that some housekeeping was being conducted ahead of time. Also, have the events of The Book of Boba Fett negated the impact of The Mandalorian – Chapter Sixteen: The Rescue? I think it’s hard to argue they haven’t.

As per above, another key issue for me was the nagging feeling that certain elements were included simply to provide backdoor exposition and setup for future series – i.e. Ahsoka, The Mandalorian season three, and possibly more as-yet-unannounced projects. This in itself is not a problem, but when they deflect and absorb much-needed story building from the supposed main story then their inclusion feels like a hindrance…especially when they are seemingly as random as Ahsoka’s appearance in Chapter Six. The finale of The Book of Boba Fett was evidence that the show desperately needed that time to develop its own story – what was Boba’s angle? Why were the people of Mos Espa his people? Why should we fear the Pykes? When did Boba learn to ride that massive rancor? These and other qualms led to my lukewarm reaction to the season finale.

The flipside to the above points is equally as hard to argue with. Chapters Five and Six delivered some of the best Star Wars moments in years, and, possibly, ever. They were just damn good Star Wars which does soften the blow somewhat. If you’re going to ignore your titular character and the focus of the show, this is the way (no pun intended) to do it. Obviously, this doesn’t take away from the fact that Boba Fett and his story suffered because of the shift in focus, but those two particular chapters were some top-tier Star Wars storytelling.

Honestly, I don’t think it’s wrong or unfair to assume that people expected a show titled The Book of Boba Fett to be focused solely on Boba Fett and his story. Had it been called The Book of Boba Fett & Friends or The Mandalorian: The Book of Boba Fett then most of the structural/narrative criticisms would melt away – certainly my own.

None of this is intended as a critique of the show, the showrunners, or those that have a differing opinion. I enjoyed The Book of Boba Fett but I will always be honest with my thoughts and, for me, despite some fantastic moments and episodes (looking at you, Chapter Two) it felt tonally uneven throughout, and the narrative decisions taken detracted overall from the story of Boba Fett.

This month, on my Patreon show, Jibba Jabba with Jabba the Hud, I mused on the idea of whether a series set under one banner that encapsulates a variety of stories would work better? Similarly to how The Clone Wars shifted attention on characters, events, locations, etc regularly whilst keeping the focus of the story intact. Whilst there was a core group of main characters, that show didn’t follow Anakin, Obi-Wan, Ahsoka, et al every week, but, on the whole, the show felt connected and like one big story. I also used the campaign story of Battlefront II as an example. Iden Version is our key character and we also have the chance to play as Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Lando Calrissian, Han Solo, and Kylo Ren without feeling like the nucleus of the story was being sacrificed.

Personally, I could see this working effectively in live-action as well. That way, no one character is given top-billing above another and it’s apparent that we’re covering the story of a certain slice of the canon timeline as well as developing characters that are active within it. Appearances would feel less intrusive or gratuitous and, if anything, it would stand to add some scope and scale to the story as well.

Of course, this is just my opinion but I would love to see it come to fruition one day. However, I’m more than happy with the upcoming slate of Star Wars streaming series and am extremely confident that we will be receiving more and more superb Star Wars episodes and moments – even if the titular character is absent for an episode or two.

Would you like to see a more unified approach to live-action storytelling at times or do you prefer the individual character series? Let us know via the Contact page or social media.