After the surprising return of Din Djarin in episode 5 of The Book of Boba Fett, the narrative of The Mandalorian continues. That’s both a blessing, and a curse for the series, but at least the show is starting to make waves with Star Wars fans who found the opening half a prodding bore.
NOTE: This review contains many important spoilers, so we suggest you watch the episode before continuing any further.
The sixth episode of The Book of Boba Fett continues to sideline its own titular character in favor of Din Djarin’s story, which at this point is only loosely connected to the main narrative. In this particular instance, that’s not a bad thing, as it carves out a self-contained story that is among the best seen in The Mandalorian.
Djarin travels to a seemingly uninhabited planet where Luke Skywalker is busy building a Jedi Enclave through which he will begin training the next line of Jedi Knights. His objective is to deliver a small gift to Grogu, who is taking his first steps into a larger world.
First, it needs to be said just how spectacular Luke Skywalker’s de-aging technology is in comparison to his earth-shattering appearance at the end of The Mandalorian season 2. Favreau and his team seem to have listened to the criticism, and one-upped their game. This young CGI Skywalker has never looked better, even if the performance isn’t quite perfect.
For instance, the dubbing of the lines feels artificial when paired with Skywalker’s lip movements, but honestly, this is a minor quibble. There’s so much more detail, facial articulation and eye realism, that it easily makes up for the minor flaws in the performance. If this is where deepfake technology is headed, then it won’t be long before aged or deceased actors are brought back to life to continue their performances, as long as the family estate signs off.
It’s also nice to see little Grogu once more, who is just as adorable as ever. Here, Skywalker teaches Grogu the arts of Jedi meditation, levitation and reflex training. Grogu’s performance as a puppet is a bit wobbly whenever he’s called on to do an action sequence, but again, the sheer charm of it outweighs the technical stumbles.
If that weren’t enough, Djarin is also reacquainted with R2-D2 during a short cameo, as well as Ahsoka Tano, who offers him some guidance along the way. It’s also nice to see Ahsoka and Luke share a scene together, where they discuss a few things, including a brief reference to Anakin Skywalker.
There are so many iconic and riveting moments in the episode, but one of the absolute-best occurs when Luke Skywalker uses the Force to help bring Grogu’s repressed memories to the surface. For the first time, audiences learn that Grogu was indeed a Jedi Youngling in the days of the Old Republic, and was present when Darth Sidious executed Order 66 on the Jedi Temple.
It also confirms that Grogu is Luke Skywalker’s first student at his new Jedi Academy, provided of course, that he make a choice presented to him at the end of the episode. That choice ends on a cliffhanger, and it remains to be seen whether Grogu will go all in on his Jedi training, or find his way back to his father figure, Din Djarin.
Indeed, episode 6 is all about surprises, some of which are designed to bring a tear to the eye of nostalgic Star Wars fans, while others will hopefully set up a future payoff. One of the most shocking and effective twists comes near the end of the episode, when a classic Clone Wars character makes a stunning live-action debut.
Yes, that individual is none other than Cad Bane, once again voiced by Corey Burton. Bane’s fate was never really revealed in the animated Star Wars shows, which left the door open for his future return. It’s done to absolute perfection, showing Bane striding into Freetown and engaging in a tense Western-style standoff with returning character Cobb Vanth.
From there, The Book of Boba Fett injects an actual sense of danger into the show during a scene where the Sanctuary in Mos Espa is bombed by the Pyke Syndicate. The stakes are raised, the pieces are gathered, and war is brewing on the horizon.
All this, with only a minute or so of actual screen time from Boba Fett himself.
Again, this is the biggest problem with the show. It’s becoming more and more obvious that Fett’s involvement with current Star Wars projects should have been relegated to a supporting character. Of course, there’s always the possibility that Favreau and company will manage to somehow bring everything full circle back to Fett, but it feels more and more unlikely.
Whether by bait-and-switch design, or sheer lack of foresight, Din Djarin has effectively hijacked Boba Fett’s own show, even if what he’s bringing to the story is excellent. This is, for all intents and purposes, the third season of The Mandalorian, or at least a prologue.
Does it matter at this point? Not really. A show in desperate need of some Star Wars authenticity has just received a major shot in the arm, courtesy of its sister property, and that’s not a bad thing. Sure, Star Wars fans may gripe about the state of The Book of Boba Fett, but given Disney’s poor handling of the franchise thus far, this is a net positive.
Han Solo was once quoted as saying “Short help is better than no help at all, Chewie,” in reference to the Ewoks of Return of the Jedi. The same principle holds true here. It doesn’t really matter where a good story is coming from. Just take it, consume it, and enjoy it for what it’s worth, especially since we don’t know what’s coming next.
It’s all exciting stuff, but to truly enjoy it, disgruntled Star Wars fans will need to set aside a lot of their resentment, and that really sums up the franchise as a whole at this point. For all the slop that audiences have had to contend with from Disney over the past few years, there’s still something good and noble about Favreau’s universe that deserves a mention.
A big part of the reason why Favreau’s properties have done well – The Book of Boba Fett notwithstanding – is because they stick to George Lucas’s established lore, and stay well clear of the radioactivity of Disney’s sequel trilogy. However, the more time ticks on, the greater the risk that Favreau will be forced to start rubbing shoulders with the era of the First Order.
For now, however, Star Wars seems to be finding its footing again. The gamble of putting Boba Fett in the lead of his own show was an epic fail, but it seems like something good is coming out of it. For those who were upset about the pacing and weak story of the season’s first half, it’s recommended that they give it another shot.
Hopefully, the story pays off in a big way with even more surprises by the time the season is over. We won’t hold our breath for the surprise return of Gina Carano as Cara Dune, but you never know.