Book of Boba Fett is stealing a trick from one brilliant gangster movie
It never hurts to pay tribute to the classics.
The Book of Boba Fett isn’t structured like most Star Wars projects.
The series’ premiere jumps between two different timelines. The first takes place shortly after the events of Return of the Jedi, and follows Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) as he escapes the confines of a Sarlacc pit only to be taken prisoner by Tatooine’s Tusken Raiders. Meanwhile, the second timeline is set after the events of The Mandalorian Season 2 and sees Fett working with Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) to secure his place as Tatooine’s most powerful crime lord.
The episode’s structure gives it a unique pace and tone, and it helps to fill in some of the most notable gaps in Boba Fett’s story. However, the show’s reliance on flashbacks also functions as a subtle nod to one of the greatest films ever made.
Multiple Timelines — The Book of Boba Fett is Star Wars’ first real gangster title.
While the series’ past films and TV shows have occasionally dealt with crime syndicates and mob bosses, no Star Wars title has focused as heavily on the criminal underworld as The Book of Boba Fett. So it makes sense that the show’s creative team — especially Jon Favreau and Robert Rodriguez — have chosen to give The Book of Boba Fett the same structure as, arguably, the greatest mob movie ever made, 1974’s The Godfather Part II.
Much like The Book of Boba Fett, The Godfather Part II follows two different storylines, one set during the present day and one that takes place decades before it. Both projects, while wildly different in tone and intention, use their past timelines to inform and give further context to the contemporary events and actions of their characters.
Tatooine’s Godfather — Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Part II charts Michael Corleone’s (Al Pacino) continued descent into the mob world and the ongoing corruption of his soul. To do that, the film follows both Michael’s struggles as the leader of the Corleone crime family and the adventures of his father, Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro), decades earlier. Coppola uses Vito’s ascension to show how history can repeat itself, and to reveal how corruption and murder became integral parts of the Corleone family’s legacy.
The Book of Boba Fett uses its two-timeline structure to accomplish something similar.
By exploring Boba’s time with the Tusken Raiders, the Disney+ series seems to be showing viewers why the former bounty hunter has adopted the “lead with respect” approach he’s trying to implement on Tatooine. The Tusken leader gives Boba a drink of water at the end of the episode not because he’s afraid of him, but because he respects him for taking down a monster and saving the life of one of the tribe’s children.
Considering that the Book of Boba Fett’s premiere ends during a flashback, it seems safe to assume that the series will maintain its multiple timeline structure for at least a few more episodes. That means the series will hopefully continue to pay homage to The Godfather Part II by using the same structural trick the 1974 classic did.
The Inverse Analysis — Odds are, most Star Wars fans will be surprised by how The Book of Boba Fett’s premiere episode is structured. But while the series’ flashback-heavy approach makes it a unique entry in the Star Wars franchise, it also firmly cements The Book of Boba Fett’s place as a gangster series that’s well aware of its genre predecessors.
This isn’t the first time Star Wars has paid homage to the Godfather. As revealed in Laurent Bouzereau’s Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays, George Lucas chose to have Princess Leia strangle Jabba the Hutt with a chain as a nod to Luca Brasi’s violent end in The Godfather.
The Book of Boba Fett is streaming now on Disney+.