The Book of Boba Fett‘s sixth chapter had fans jumping up and down in their seats, and for a good reason. Correction: for more than one good reason. This episode was so stuffed with cameos that you cannot really call them cameos anymore. The appearance of Luke, Ahsoka and others can probably hardly be concealed even from those who had not been watching the series.
A notable amount of fans also likely shares the sentiment that this is what Episode 7 should have been like. That is one of the questions I would like to try answering. Should it have been like this?
Everyone Comes Together
If I said about the previous episode that it was amazing, but it was not The Book of Boba Fett episode, the same could be said about Chapter 6. Boba at least appears here, but it is for just one short scene. Over half of the episode is spent with Luke and Grogu training near the newly constructed Jedi temple. (The building is, in fact, also a cameo. We have first seen it in a flashback in The Force Awakens after being set on fire by Kylo Ren.)
The remaining time of the episode is dedicated to the Tatooine plotline, but focuses on Marshal Cobb Vanth and sets up Freetown’s (anticipated) involvement in Boba’s war against the Pykes. In the end, if the bombs dropped before were not enough, another character from The Clone Wars appears: the bounty hunter Cad Bane. He is introduced in a proper High Noon-style scene. And he is, in fact, so cool that even if none of Luke or the other cameos had appeared in this episode, he could easily have stolen all the shine for himself, and it would still have been a pretty epic episode.
Now This Is CGI!
But the shine definitely was stolen by the super-cute “baby Yoda” AND his training with Luke. There is probably nobody who would have missed the parallels between this and Luke’s training with Yoda on Dagobah. Luke’s CGI, for that matter, is amazing – compared to Leia’s in Rogue One, we have certainly passed miles since then. I was not as convinced by some of Luke’s lines or behaviour. He is certainly close to the Episode VI Luke, who was fairly self-confident, but for a first attempt to show him as a teacher – and given that it is his first time teaching – I would have expected a little more of the farmer boy’s uncertainty shining through. But one also has to keep in mind that despite the CGI being great, the script was clearly made with the intention not to make him do any complicated, nuanced acting that would rely on minute details in facial expression and such. It was pretty cool overall.
Equally remarkable was the (however brief) appearance of Ahsoka Tano, and of course the entire emotionally loaded Din-Grogu dynamic. The episode could not have ended on a stronger cliffhanger than with Grogu being presented the choice between a lightsaber and a mithril- sorry, I mean, beskar-coat.
Which, given that this is not The Book of Boba Fett‘s main plot, somewhat leaves me dreading that this was only as far as the cameo would go – and that for the resolution, we will have to wait until season 3 of The Mandalorian. Or, on the other hand, in the best case for the final episode of TBoBF, when suddenly in the middle of the final battle, Grogu appears in his new armour and Force pushes Cad Bane into the Sarlacc pit, or somesuch.
TBoBF As Trojan Horse
Chapters 5 and 6 of The Book of Boba Fett have Dave Filoni’s handwriting all over them, it is the way he has been doing things for years: using a series about X as a Trojan horse for telling us about Y. In this case, starting from a story of a random bounty hunter (the Mando) to tell us soon everything we wanted to know about what happened to Luke and the Galaxy after Episode VI. (And as a side note, also what happened to Boba Fett, to the Darksaber, to Ahsoka Tano… you name it.)
And this prompts the question: would it have been better if we had had a stand-alone Episode VII that would have told just that?
My tentative answer is actually negative. The intervowen character of the stories makes them more interesting. That is something writers and storytellers have known for ages. You leave one storyline hanging and switch to another, which keeps the audience interested in both, because they want to know what happened next. You could have made a separate series just about Boba and the Tatooine plotline, and another just about the Mando, and maybe even another just about Luke. But would you really watch several episodes of Luke and Grogu just jumping around in the woods?
It still does not diminish the fact that the storytelling is awfully scattered. The main problem with it will, in my opinion, appear only later, when somebody new is going to want to watch it several years from now. They would not be just able to put on a “Luke Skywalker and Grogu” movie. They will have to watch the entirety of The Mandalorian S1, 2 and The Book of Boba Fett in order to get this. (Or, they won’t, but the setup may turn away multiple potential viewers.)
There is hardly an optimal way out of this. For now we can only hope that those stories will turn out to be so great that people will not mind watching them all.