I’ve already seen some people complaining about last week’s premiere episode of Star Wars: The Book of Boba Fett because it leaned too heavily on flashbacks instead of giving more forward momentum to the title character’s ongoing journey in becoming crimelord of Mos Espa. Well unfortunately for those people, they’re going to have a lot more to grumble about (not that I agree), because Episode 2 of the new live-action Disney+ series– entitled “The Tribes of Tatooine”– devotes about 75-80% of its 52-minute runtime to more of Boba’s backstory and the period he spent living with the Tusken Raiders of the desert planet Luke Skywalker once called home.
But first, Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) and his right-hand cyborg Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) use an amusing interrogation tactic to get some information out of their captured assassin (accomplished stunt performer Paul Darnell)– not pointing them toward Crimson Dawn, as many fans have theorized, but toward Mos Espa’s mayor Mok Shaiz (voiced by executive producer Robert Rodriguez), who failed to show his Ithorian face at Jabba the Hutt’s former palace last week.
From the mayor’s office, Fett and Shand return to the Sanctuary casino, where they’re informed by Garsa Fwip (Jennifer Beals) that a pair of Hutts known as “The Twins” have arrived in town seeking to lay claim to their deceased cousin Jabba’s throne. A tense showdown in the streets of Mos Espa ends in a standoff, and then Boba returns to the palace for another bacta bath and an extended trip down memory lane for the remainder of the episode. We see the former bounty hunter training in gaffi stick combat, followed by him helping to plan an unabashedly Western-style train heist when a few of his new Tusken friends are picked off by the Pyke syndicate, who are evidently transporting weapons and spice across the Dune Sea without the permission of Tatooine’s native population.
Again, I think there are people who are going to be disappointed with the amount of time still being committed to filling in the gaps in Boba Fett’s past (between the events of Return of the Jedi and the character’s appearances in The Mandalorian) this week, but I also have a feeling that this pattern is going to continue– with flashbacks accentuating or even dominating the “present-day” action in episodes that only make small, incremental stretches of progress in the actual plot. And I will say that that doesn’t really bother me personally all that much, as I’m really enjoying the world-building going on with the deep-dive into Tusken Raider culture, though I have to imagine Fett is going to move on from his tribe eventually once he finds out that the Jawas sold his armor to Cobb Vanth over in Mos Pelgo.
Plus, that train heist sequence and the bar fight that preceded it were undeniably well-crafted by director Steph Green (The Americans) and entertaining– not to mention the fact that this episode features at least three deep-cut Star Wars character cameos that should keep hardcore fans buzzing for the next seven days until we get to see more. Until then, I’m still digging the slow burn in developing Boba Fett’s arc, both in the backstory and in the crimelord phase of the character’s life. Admittedly, I had hoped that if any Hutts were to pop up in these live-action Star Wars series, they would be created using practical puppets (like Jabba in 1983) rather than CGI, but I never– not in a million years– would have predicted we’d get to see Black Krrsantan in the flesh… er, I mean fur. What a battle that’s eventually going to be.
New episodes of Star Wars: The Book of Boba Fett are released Wednesdays, exclusively on Disney+.
Mike serves as Laughing Place’s lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly “Who’s the Bossk?” Star Wars podcast. He’s been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general all his life and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.