Legendary Bounty Hunter Boba Fett made a long-overdue and long-awaited return in Season 2 of The Mandalorian, with rumours of his death clearly exaggerated. Since first appearing in animated form in the otherwise worthless cringefest, the Star Wars Holiday Special, then popping up to make a deal with Darth Vader in order to retrieve Han Solo for Jabba the Hutt, Fett has been a hugely popular character.

His popularity was perhaps due to the fact that he was so enigmatic and briefly seen across the original trilogy; not long after we were first introduced to him in live action form in The Empire Strikes Back, he was rather off-handedly dispatched as a punchline in Return of the Jedi, three years later – being accidentally knocked into the mouth of the Sarlacc – treated as such a joke that we even get a close up of the creature burping as it swallows the supposedly badass Bounty Hunter.

Appearances of him as an annoying kid in the Star Wars prequels didn’t help much, filling in his backstory needlessly – giving him unnecessary motivation and an idea of where his look (and some of his equipment) came from.

He’s made plenty of non-canonical appearances in other media over the years – though they weren’t always considered non-canon of course. And he popped up once more in animated form in Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series too.

Yet the lingering unfairness around his sudden demise was always there – so when he popped up in Season 2 of The Mandalorian, it was a genuinely thrilling development for fans. Though we didn’t get all the answers we wanted as to how he survived being swallowed by the Sarlacc in the Great Pit of Carkoon, we did get to see him being a badass in some absolutely stunning fight scenes – showing how ruthless and skilled he was in combat, which is something us fans perhaps didn’t even realise we hadn’t seen before (much like Vader’s incredible corridor scene at the climax of Rogue One). And it set him up nicely to take the ex-throne of Jabba from the Hutt’s previous right hand man, Bib Fortuna – putting the pieces in place for his own series: The Book of Boba Fett. And here we are with the first episode.

Boba Fett is a haunted man, his dreams reminding him of his past – his birth as a clone on Kamino, the loss of his father on Geonosis and his traumatic escape from the Sarlacc, into even more danger and captivity in the Tatooine wastes after that. We flip between his dreams of the past and his present position as the new kingpin on Tatooine, doing his best to be a more benevolent ruler of the underworld than his predecessors – which may well come with a cost.

The episode shares the same phenomenal production values we saw in The Mandalorian. Similarly, we have Jon Favreau as the mastermind of the show behind the scenes and Robert Rodriguez on directing duties – just as he was for Fett’s badass full appearance in The Mandalorian.

I must admit that, even though certain themes do pop up, I missed having Ludwig Goransson on full soundtrack duties; Joseph Shirley’s score doesn’t match up to Goransson’s work on The Mandalorian and didn’t feel alien enough to me, but I accept that this may just be personal preference.

Temuera Morrison is once again great in the role of the titular Fett though, with a great sense of physicality and an intimidating presence. Ming-Na Wen, as his number two – Fennec Shand – also continues to perform admirably in all aspects of her role, both as a pragmatic adviser and more hands-on participant in combat where needed. There’s a surprising but immediately recognisable cameo from the brilliant Matt Berry as one of Jabba’s droids too.

The creature work – with one beautifully Harryhausen-esque beast particularly noteworthy – as well as the general look and feel of the show, is exceptional. It definitely has that authentic Star Wars feel, which isn’t always easy to pull off (even in some Star Wars shows and movies).

Though this first episode doesn’t really take us too far from the starting point, it gives us some good detail in filling in some of Fett’s backstory to get us up to speed – and it doesn’t spare the action either, as you’d expect with Robert Rodriguez in the role of director. It perhaps leans on a few familiar tropes and settings too much – Tatooine and the Sand People aren’t the most interesting things to focus on, having been covered and nauseum already – but it’s a promising start at least, with Fett settling in as a force to be reckoned with at the head of the Tatooine underworld by episode’s end.

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