What Obi-Wan Kenobi got right and Boba Fett got wrong

It deals with these guys. Photo from The Empire Strikes Back (Disney)

Now that the Obi-Wan Kenobi series has finished, it's fun to step back and appreciate the collective sense of patience and goodwill that Star Wars fans have toward the various directors, screenwriters, and actors who try to deliver fresh stories of the beloved galaxy far, far away. 

It is with this open-minded attitude that they have examined the various new series released by Disney Plus to add to the Star Wars canon.

Ha ha. Of course, I kid. We all know that any new content will have plenty of supporters and detractors. 

And while most fans will usually be in alignment, the vocal fringes often eat up most of the oxygen in the room. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what has been well received and what has disappointed “the base” Star Wars fans.

So without any hard data to base this on, we’re going to propose the following: The Book of Boba Fett failed to deliver as a Star Wars series (it was boring), while Obi-Wan Kenobi succeeded very well (that ending was FIRE).

Warning: Book of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi spoilers lurking like Sandpeople ahead. Beware.

It’s not that Boba Fett was a total disaster. Temuera Morrison is a strong actor and given the right story would have delivered us the saga we all wanted. Fennec Shand, played by Ming-Na Wen, was simply awesome. In fact, Shand may be the only character – other than the surprise Mandalorian visit – that gave the Book of Boba Fett any sense of passion or action.

She really wanted to be a criminal, but her boss is too…nice?

It’s also not that Obi-Wan was perfect. The Leia storyline was fine, but making a 10-year wise beyond her years and also uber-heroic is a tired trope that rarely works. But that aside, after finishing these series, one left us disappointed and the other exhilarated. Why?

What Obi-Wan Kenobi got right and Boba Fett got wrong

Neither of these guys are very sympathetic. And that's awesome

The Book of Boba Fett tried too hard to make Boba Fett a sympathetic character, and in the process robbed Boba of what made him so popular. Obi-Wan Kenobi, on the other hand, made sure that Darth Vader was a villain through-and-through.

The Book of Boba Fett got the antihero wrong

Let’s remember that Boba Fett was a criminal. Maybe one with his own peculiar code of honor, but a criminal.
Let’s recap his actions before he was unceremoniously launched into the belly of a Sarlac:
  1. He worked for a notorious gangster
  2. He also worked for the Empire
  3. As he was taking his carbonite-encased bounty to his ship (SLAVE 1), he tried to kill Luke Skywalker for no apparent reason
  4. He partied with Jabba’s goons, and was cool with watching the crime lord murder Luke, Han, and Chewie. And when they began to fight back, he tried personally to prevent their escape.

You can make the argument that he simply accepted a valid bounty on a known pirate who skipped out on his end of a criminal smuggling deal. That’s fair. But what makes him sinister is that even with a certain code of honor, he’s still a bad guy.

Remember the setup at the end of Season Two of the Mandelorian?

At that point we had witnessed the start of a war. Boba Fett didn’t waste time trying to bore Bib Fortuna into a mutually advantageous arrangement. He seized power. It was ruthless, and it was the perfect setup for the Boba Fett show we all wanted.

How can an image so awesome come from a story so boring?

The character development should have been a lot grittier. Boba was a crime lord, but the story turned him into a mayor. That’s not what we wanted to see.

Obi-Wan Kenobi got Darth Vader right

If the writers of Obi-Wan Kenobi were at all tempted to slip some sentimentality into Vader’s character, they decisively (and rightly) stamped it out. The chief driver of conflict was rage, which motivated both Vader and Reva Sevander. Jedi-centric stories often center on “hope” and so they wisely gave the redemption arc to Reva, and left Vader to be the villain the series really needed.

The lightsaber duel in the final episode was going to make or break the series. We all knew both characters would live, but would they be saddled with poor writing and/or shoddy “character development?” Even more to the point, would we be subjected to Anakin hesitating and/or apologizing for not being able to control himself?

Would the story try to make us feel sorry for Darth Vader?

Fortunately, the answer was no. Vader was at his most despicable, which is what was needed to link this series into the greater Star Wars narrative. We finished this series with the sense that good had prevailed against the same monolithic villain we knew in Rogue One, A New Hope, and The Empire Strikes Back, before finally completing his own redemption story in Return of the Jedi.

So what’s next?

Andor is coming up in August. Are there lessons that this next series should learn from this? Absolutely. Rogue One made it clear that Cassian Andor has a checkered past. Let’s see what it means.

War is not pretty. Andor can be both a hero, even with flaws. If Disney Plus does right by this character, we’ll get to see what makes Andor the hero that was both (initially) willing to assassinate Galen Erso as well as to sacrifice his life in service of the Rebellion.

Got a different take on The Book of Boba Fett or Obi-Wan Kenobi? And what’s your gut telling you about Andor? Let us know in the comments.

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