If there’s one thing science fiction and fantasy fans can agree on, it’s that we love a good map. Lord of the Rings paved the way for nerds to obsess over fictional geography thanks to the meticulous mapmaking of J.R.R. Tolkien. When George R.R. Martin was crafting the story that would become HBO’s Game of Thrones, he followed Tolkien’s lead with a detailed map of Westeros — even if his first step was simply taking a map of the U.K. and flipping it upside down.
Star Wars is no different. George Lucas might not be as much of a stickler for details as Martin and Tolkien, but there’s still no shortage of maps to explain his galaxy and the various planets within it. There are multiple competing maps of Tatooine revealing the distance between Jabba’s Palace, the Dune Sea, and the various sandy cities that all begin with the word “Mos.”
But the thing about maps is that they serve a more important purpose than decorating your college dorm room. Maps make a world feel real and lived in. That’s why the early seasons of Game of Thrones were riveting, but the end of the show was almost unwatchable. And it’s a big reason that The Mandalorian worked so well, while the latest Star Wars show, The Book of Boba Fett, is coming up short.
Boba Fett and Game of Thrones
Remember the very first episode of The Mandalorian? Din Djarin (then just an unnamed, faceless bounty hunter) spent much of the 37-minute premiere traversing the sandy surface of another planet called Nevarro. The pilot even devoted an entire scene to Mando taming a “Blurrg,” so he could ride it to his destination. Along the way, he bonded with Kuiil (Nick Nolte), who would appear again at the end of Season 1.
This type of storytelling was the foundation of Game of Thrones. For the first few years, we watched various characters get paired off on season-long walkabouts through Westeros. It was through these stories that we came to see Jaime Lannister as more than an incestual jerk, watched Jon Snow discover his true identity, and saw Daenerys Targaryen come into her own as a great (if flawed) leader.
Both shows used distance and the time it takes to travel as the bedrock of their stories. The Mandalorian Season 2 even does this to a fault at times, devoting an entire episode to a pit stop Mando is forced to make on an icy planet infested with giant spiders. But in The Book of Boba Fett, it seems maps and distance no longer matter, and the show has suffered as a result.
Boba Fett unlocks “fast travel”
In The Book of Boba Fett’s final episode, the distance between locations no longer matters. Boba is able to travel from Mos Espa back to Jabba’s Palace to grab the rancor in mere minutes, but according to every map we have, those two locations are pretty far from each other. The same goes for Fennec Shand’s mission to take out the leaders of the crime syndicate challenging Fett’s rule — the only conceivable purpose here being to remove Ming-Na Wen from the main action.
Sound familiar? In the later seasons of Game of Thrones, trips that would have taken multiple episodes suddenly happened offscreen between single scenes. Daenerys’ dragons gave her the ability to be literally anywhere at any time. (Side note: Should we be calling Boba Fett the “Mother of Rancors” moving forward?)
At the time, fans noted that Game of Thrones characters seemed to be using “Fast Travel,” a common video game mechanic that allows you to instantly teleport across the map to save time. This shattered the believability of HBO’s fantasy world, setting the stage for even more bad storytelling as GoT raced toward its unsatisfying finale.
Now, Star Wars seems to be doing the same thing. (And before you say it, yes I know that Star Wars is science fiction and has things like hyperdrive, but that still doesn’t explain how Boba Fett got back to his palace so quickly.) Even worse, the problem seems to be self-inflicted.
Pretty much everyone involved in Game of Thrones agreed the show needed additional seasons to finish the story, but its showrunners decided to wrap things up early so they could move on to new projects. Meanwhile, Disney seems determined to limit the length of each new series for no good reason. The Mandalorian got two eight-episode seasons, Boba Fett was limited to seven episodes, and Obi-Wan Kenobi will only get six.
Disney’s emphasis on short seasons has led to a glut of Marvel shows ending with a big battle that leaves no room for any satisfying closure. Boba Fett shows Star Wars isn’t immune to the same problems. Should we be worried about Kenobi?
Hopefully, Lucasfilm and Disney can correct the course soon. Otherwise, this golden age of Star Wars television may be as short-lived as Daenerys Targeryens’ rule in Westeros.
The Book of Boba Fett is now streaming on Disney+.