Following a more subdued premiere, The Book of Boba Fett’s “Chapter 2: The Tribes of Tatooine,” delivered one of the best and most thematically rich episodes of Star Wars television to date. The episode opens on Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) and Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) interrogating their new prisoner—a member of the Order of the Night Wind. Under the fear of being eaten by a Rancor that no longer exists, the assassin reveals that he was sent by the Mayor, which leads Boba and Fennec on a bit of a wild goose chase.
The duo head into Mos Espa to get an audience with the Mayor, much to the chagrin of his Majordomo (David Pasquesi). Moz Shaiz (voiced by Robert Rodriguez) has the assassin killed and pays Boba off like he’s hauled in a bounty, which—perhaps to the surprise of fans—prompts Boba to announce that he isn’t a bounty hunter. At least, not anymore. Moz Shaiz offers Boba some sage advice about ruling before sending them on their way to question Garsa Fwip (Jennifer Beals) about the assassin. At the Sanctuary, conversations about assassins are quickly forgotten when Fwip reveals that Jabba the Hutt’s cousins have come to Tatooine to lay claim to their cousin’s palace. But this wasn’t a tease for a later episode. Beyond the Sanctuary, drums are heard, heralding the arrival of the twin Hutts.
All of this takes place over the course of the first 14 minutes of a whopping 50-minute episode—clocking it in as one of the longest episodes of Star Wars television to date. From there, the remainder of the episode is focused on Boba Fett’s time with the Tuskens and his evolution as a person. It lays the groundwork for who he is as a leader in the present: someone willing to find a way to work together, rather than attacking when first provoked. Without his armor or his ship, Boba Fett is forced to be reborn as a new person in the most literal sense of the phrase.
For the majority of Boba Fett’s canon existence, he has been cast as a ruthless, bloodthirsty, and violent bounty hunter who is willing to do whatever his employer requests. George Lucas’ prequel era films and the subsequent Clone Wars animated series made strides to remind audiences that he was once a little boy who lost his father, but it wasn’t until The Book of Boba Fett (and by extension, his reintroduction in The Mandalorian) that this has become thematically important for who he is as a character.
From its very inception, Star Wars has always been viewed as a Western and with The Mandalorian, the current creative team has leaned heavily into the narrative structure of this genre. Rather than borrowing further from the regressive trope of viewing the Tusken Raiders as “savages,” which was first set into motion during the Original Trilogy and further perpetuated by Attack of the Clones, The Book of Boba Fett has gone to great lengths to humanize these people — not just through their interactions with Boba Fett, but by underscoring their history as the native peoples of Tatooine who have been mistreated by the off-worlders settling there.
With the Tuskens, Boba Fett finds a pseudo-family. He has the Tusken he trains with and finds kinship with. One of the young Tuskens is like his shadow, always trailing along beside him. He cares for them—mourning their dead and partaking in their rituals. He actively tries to find ways to protect them and better their circumstances without changing who they fundamentally are. He also has a deep respect for who they are as people, reflected in his speech following the train heist.
In the final act of the episode, once the dead have been burned and the dust has settled, Boba Fett is welcomed into the Tusken Chief’s tent and presented with a gift for his service. Morrison’s performance here is spectacular because he treads a humorous line of humbled gratitude and bewilderment—especially when the small lizard climbs into his nose to guide him. Star Wars is at its best when it’s weird, and it gets real weird here as Boba is taken on a hallucinogenic journey. Seeing the literal depiction of a soul-searching quest—one filled with visceral memories of near-death experiences, the oceans of Boba’s homeworld Kamino, and his rebirth—paints a vivid scene.
“The Tribes of Tatooine” also re-canonizes a pair of characters that were cut from the Original Trilogy. When Boba Fett ventures to the Tosche Station to fight the marauders and steal their land speeders, a pair of locals are there being roughed up by the group. Camie (Mandy Kowalski) and Laze “Fixer” Loneozner (Skyler Bible) were first introduced as friends of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, but they were later cut from the film. What’s interesting about their inclusion is that it’s very much a deep-cut reference. If you don’t have an in-depth knowledge of deleted scenes, or if you don’t watch The Book of Boba Fett with subtitles on, you would never know who this pair was. Unlike some cameos that overshadow the central character, their inclusion just strengthens the connection to Tatooine without distracting from Boba Fett’s story.
While the script undoubtedly bears the hallmarks of Jon Favreau’s storytelling style, a lot of the credit for this episode goes to its director Steph Green, who expertly employs montages, dynamic and narrative-driven scene composition, and fast-paced action to create one of, if not the best, episodes of Star Wars television to date. When Boba is with the Tuskens, so much of their communication is through sign language and minimal dialogue, which requires heavy lifting from Morrison to stay fully engaged with each action and reaction. There is no better actor to embody this role, as he infuses his performance with so much of his own Māori culture. With “The Tribes of Tatooine,” The Book of Boba Fett reminds us that Star Wars is about so much more than the Skywalkers and the Jedi and epic space battles; it’s about individual stories, rich cultures, and the give-and-take of shared experiences.
The first two episodes of The Book of Boba Fett are streaming now on Disney+.