Warning: Spoilers ahead for "The Book of Boba Fett" episode 6
Last week's impressive information-overload-of-an-episode was always going to be a tough act to follow and executive producer, and co-creator of "The Mandalorian" Dave Filoni stepped up to the challenge this week.
However, for reasons that will soon become clear, it is now obvious that "The Book of Boba Fett" exists to serve a bigger, all-encompassing plot that is both exciting and disappointing. And if this trend continues, it's entirely possible that at least some of the forthcoming live-action "Star Wars" spinoff shows will also serve as supporting cast members instead of the lead role, so to speak.
We now know that the "Obi-Wan Kenobi" spinoff is coming to Disney+ in May, and apparently the story is set 10 years after the events of "Revenge of the Sith" where Kenobi faced his greatest defeat, the downfall and corruption of his best friend and Jedi apprentice, Anakin Skywalker. Kenobi went into self-imposed exile on Tatooine. It doesn't take a giant leap of imagination to assume that there will be some interconnected events. After all, Disney has all those closed Tatooine street sets to squeeze more from.
"The Book of Boba Fett" Chapter 6 — titled "From the Desert Comes a Stranger" — is full of surprises, and the first of those comes in the very first scene: the return of Cobb Vanth. You may recall this instantly likable character played to perfection by Timothy Olyphant and first introduced in "The Mandalorian" episode "Chapter 9: The Marshall."
He confronts some Pyke spice runners out in one of the moisture fields outside of Mos Pelgo, or Freetown as the locals are choosing to call it now. It's a beautiful set piece and Olyphant has really made the role of Vanth his. But just as quickly as we all shouted, "Oh yes!" we all sighed "oh no" and we're on what appears to be the planet Tython, where an army of worker drones is building what might be Luke's Jedi Temple, although that hasn't been confirmed because Luke's Jedi Temple that was destroyed in "Episode VIII: The Last Jedi" was at a secret location.
An interesting point that's been made on social media is how the N-1 is much more streamlined than the more practical Razor Crest, and that it doesn't include any bathroom facilities. And if it is the planet Tython, according to Legends (the new word for the old canon) it's 8,000 light-years away and the N-1 only has a 1,000 light-year range before needing to be refueled, presumably. So, that's a lot of coaxium station stops and beef jerky snacks.
The pace of the show slows significantly for this episode and love him or loathe him, CGI Luke Skywalker is back. The reveal is eased on us with the assistance of Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) the Togruta Jedi Knight from the animated series "The Clone Wars" and first introduced in live action in "The Mandalorian" episode "Chapter 13: The Jedi."
Thankfully, the VFX has come on a little bit since we last saw Luke collect Grogu in the Season 2 finale of "The Mandalorian" and he's actually played by a different actor. Bizarrely, the actor who appeared in that episode was Max Lloyd-Jones, but in this episode it's a different actor, Graham Hamilton. The vocal performance however, was put together with software, collating recordings of Mark Hamill’s performances as a young man and creating a library of sound that was used to synthesize his voice. What we saw wasn't perfect, and some creative camera angles are utilized to avoid too many very expensive close-ups of Skywalker's face, but at least the technique has improved.
Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) reluctantly decides not further confuse little Grogu while Luke is trying to train him and leaves the Beskar chain mail vest with Ahsoka, but that's not to say Grogu didn't feel his presence nearby. It's all actually rather emotional.
One unexpected bonus of this nostalgia fest is that Luke asks Grogu about his homeworld and for a fleeting moment, as our hearts stop, we almost believe that we're going to see that. Alas though, Grogu can only remember (or only chooses to remember) as far back as the attack on the Jedi Temple by Imperial troops as they execute "order 66" in "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith," and we're given a glimpse of that. This begs the question, who rescued Grogu from Coruscant?
There are a few throwbacks to earlier "Star Wars," including some of the phrases Luke uses to train Grogu that are very similar to when Yoda was training Luke on Dagobah in "Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back," and there's a Marksman-H training remote. And then Djarin heads back to Tatooine to take up arms with Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) and Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen). It seems we're going to be stuck with "knee-cam" shots as Djarin flies his as-yet-unnamed N-1 — they're the same point-of-view shots that you'd expect from Wedgie, Jock's pet snake in "Raiders of the Lost Ark."
Following a debrief at
Jabba's Fett's palace throne room with the Mos Espa Mod Squad and Black Krrsantan, Djarin suggests he can help by recruiting foot soldiers for the imminent, upcoming battle with the Pyke crime syndicate. A vague plan of sorts is hatched and off he goes to speak to Vanth. The Marshall of Freetown is naturally happy to see the Mandalorian once again; they haven't spoken since they killed the Krayt dragon in "The Mandalorian" Chapter 9 "The Marshall." However, Vanth says the people of the town formally known as Mos Pelgo are done fighting. So, no doubt we can expect them to show up next week after having a change of mind brandishing pitchforks and homemade weapons.
Djarin takes his leave and then something very interesting happens. You see, the idea was for us all to think that the "Stranger" from the episode title was referring to Vanth, but it isn't. Instead, a lone stranger appears on the horizon and walks menacingly towards the town. Naturally, this grabs Vanth's attention and he warns the townsfolk to get inside. Turns out to be none other than Cad Bane.
Now, even if you're not a devout worshipper of all things "Star Wars" and you have no clue who or how bad this cat is, the introduction of Bane was still impressive and care has clearly been taken to make his presence noteworthy regardless of your background knowledge of the "Star Wars" universe.
According to Wookiepedia, Cad Bane was a male Duros bounty hunter and mercenary whose career spanned from the fall of the Galactic Republic, the reign of the Galactic Empire and into the era of the New Republic. After the death of Jango Fett (from whom Boba was cloned) on Geonosis at the hands of Jedi Master Mace Windu, Bane was considered the best and one of the most ruthless bounty hunters of the era. He first appeared in the animated series "The Clone Wars" and his story was fleshed out in a number of episodes.
Bane instructs Vanth not to follow Djarin and Fett into a fight with the Pyke syndicate and only the dimwitted actions of his dopey deputy (played by J.J. Dashnaw) prevent a peaceful exchange. Deputy Defus is blown away in a hail of blaster fire, and poor Vanth takes one to the chest. Unfortunately, the scene ends with Vanth still lying motionless on the sand, so we hope he's not seriously hurt. However, this will probably be the motivation that the townsfolk need to join Fett's fight and rid Tatooine of the Pyke syndicate once and for all.
We then cut to Mos Espa, where two members of the Pyke syndicate leave behind a camino in the popular Sanctuary bar, and it's pretty clear what's going to happen next, as even Garsa Fwip (Jennifer Beals) realizes a split second before — a massive explosion rocks the streets of Mos Espa, destroying at least half of the cantina in an official declaration of war. But exactly who was killed in that blast remains to be seen, and our hopes of less Skywalker content blow up along with the bar and we're back to Luke and Grogu.
Luke senses that Grogu misses the Mandalorian and presents him with a choice; Luke lays down Yoda's old lightsaber next to the Beskar vest and says he must choose — each one represents a different path, one as Luke's padawan and the other as a companion of Din Djarin's. That's a hell of a cliffhanger, but we suspect that we won't see what choice Grogu makes in this show's finale. It's more likely that monumental moment will be carried over into Season 3 of "The Mandalorian."
A few questions remain as we go into the final episode: Will we actually see more of Boba Fett? After all, this show was named after him. Will Fett ride his Rancor into battle? Or will he utilize air superiority like he did in Chapter 4, cutting up a gang of Kintan Striders on speeders with his Firespray class gunship? Or will Shand perhaps pilot that? Will there be a showdown between Fett and Bane?
And finally, will we get a second season of "The Book of Boba Fett" or will this remain a standalone, limited series as we were told was the original idea? Temuera Morrison has said that he wants to hunt down Mace Windu in a potential second season, "I owe him big time for [Jango Fett]... He's top of the list."
Stellan Skarsgård has revealed that "Andor" was getting a second season, so perhaps "The Book of Boba Fett" will too. "Star Wars" needs to expand beyond Tatooine and show off its full universe and hopefully some of the new live-action spin-off shows will do that.
Seasons 1 and 2 of "The Mandalorian" are available to stream on Disney+ in the US and so is every episode of "The Book of Boba Fett" along with every TV show and every movie in the "Star Wars" universe. Disney+ will launch in 42 countries and 11 territories this summer, including South Africa, Turkey, Poland and the United Arab Emirates.