When the first set photos were released from Jon Favreau’s live-action Star Wars series The Mandalorian, the title character was instantly compared to fan-favorite bounty hunter Boba Fett. Ironically, after The Mandalorian’s second season brought back Boba himself and The Book of Boba Fett was announced, the Boba-centric spin-off was instantly compared to The Mandalorian itself.
Some Star Wars fans feared that another show about a gunslinger in Mando armor would feel repetitive. Unsurprisingly, The Book of Boba Fett – now streaming on Disney+ – does have a lot in common with The Mandalorian. But there’s a lot that sets it apart, too.
An Ice-Cool Gunslinger In Mandalorian Armor
The most obvious similarity between The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett – and the reason why some Star Wars fans were worried they’d be more or less the same show – is that Din Djarin and Boba Fett are both cool-as-ice gunslinging antiheroes who wear Mandalorian armor.
Despite their similar appearance, Din and Boba aren’t the same character. The Mandalorian’s second season already highlighted the differences between the two Mando gunslingers. For example, Boba is a more impulsive fighter than Mando (while also being a lot slower than him).
Exploring A Post-Return Of The Jedi World
After the sequel trilogy jumped ahead 30 years to the next empire’s reign, both The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett are exploring the immediate aftermath of Return of the Jedi. The Mandalorian has shown the New Republic policing the galaxy, the Imperial Remnants on the rise, and Luke Skywalker at the height of his Jedi powers.
The premiere episode of The Book of Boba Fett opened with a flashback to Boba escaping from the Sarlacc Pit after what appeared to be his unceremonious death scene in Jedi.
While The Book of Boba Fett has been taking plenty of cues from gangster movies, it’s as much of a space western as The Mandalorian. On top of their portrayal of gunfighters on a lawless frontier, Mando and Boba’s adventures are filled with overt references to western classics.
The Mandalorian had a shootout inspired by The Wild Bunch and the first episode of The Book of Boba Fett saw Boba being dragged through the desert, like Clint Eastwood in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
There are serialized story threads running through both The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, but each series also follows a traditional episodic format with an adventure-of-the-week narrative alongside the overarching storyline.
The second episode of The Book of Boba Fett wowed audiences with a thrilling train robbery sequence (another great callback to the western genre), while The Mandalorian has indulged in every plot framework from slay-the-dragon to Seven Samurai.
Pulpy Old-School Tone
Tonally, both The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett hark back to the pulpy old-school serials that inspired George Lucas to create a galaxy far, far away in the first place.
A lot of the Star Wars content since Lucas sold the property has failed to recapture the spirit of the saga. Jon Favreau’s Disney+ shows have united the fan base because, for better or worse, their stories feel like Star Wars.
Parallel Story Timelines
Like The Godfather Part II, The Book of Boba Fett explores two parallel story timelines, simultaneously acting as a prequel and a sequel. Each episode of The Book of Boba Fett flashes between the aftermath of Boba surviving his encounter with the Sarlacc Pit and his post-Mandalorian takeover of Mos Espa’s criminal underbelly.
One of the main criticisms levied at the series in reviews is that one of these story timelines is moving a lot faster than the other. The prequel storyline is exploring the long-awaited explanation of a missing piece of the canon, while the present-day storyline plays like a generic gangster saga.
Pedro Pascal is the only lead actor in The Mandalorian. There are plenty of recurring cast members, like Carl Weathers and Gina Carano and Giancarlo Esposito, and guest performers like Amy Sedaris and Bill Burr, but the only major characters to appear in every single episode are played by Pascal and an intricate puppet.
The Book of Boba Fett, on the other hand, has two lead actors. Temuera Morrison’s Boba is backed up by the iconic Ming-Na Wen as the equally badass Fennec Shand. As seen in The Mandalorian, Fennec owes Boba her life and now acts as his loyal sidekick.
Both The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett explore the criminal underworlds of the Star Wars universe, but they explore different corners of the crime world.
In The Mandalorian, bounty hunters collect cash rewards for the capture and, in some cases, assassination of high-profile targets. In The Book of Boba Fett, gangsters are squabbling over the territory left uncontrolled in the wake of Jabba the Hutt’s death.
In addition to following the space western tradition of The Mandalorian and the Star Wars saga in general, The Book of Boba Fett is a gangster saga in the vein of Goodfellas or The Godfather trilogy or Once Upon a Time in America.
Locals stop by Boba’s throne room to pay tribute – a throwback to the iconic opening scene from The Godfather – while gangland rivals threaten to encroach on his territory.
A True Antihero
Both the Mandalorian and Boba Fett are introduced as antiheroes in their shows, but Mando transitions into a straightforward hero in the third episode when he betrays the bounty hunter code to free Grogu from the Client.
Mando is characterized as an antihero, but his quest to protect a child from malicious forces is hardly amoral. Boba, on the other hand, is trying to seize control of a crime syndicate to increase his own wealth and power. His goals and motivations are much more morally gray. Unlike Mando, Boba is a true Star Wars antihero.
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