It is amazing how much time we have spent on Tatooine in Star Wars stories and how little information we have received about the CULTURE of Tatooine. Following in the footsteps of Dune, sometimes very close in the footsteps, The Book of Boba Fett Chapter Two lays down the landscape of Tatooine, and Boba Fett encounters various tribes in a truly special Star Wars episode. Is it full of tropes? Yes, but they are handled with respect and more nuance than most live-action (and even animated) Star Wars content.
Boba Fett has started to establish himself as the Daimyo of Mos Espa. The first item on the list, find out who sent assassins after him. Fennec gets the survivor, a member of the Order of Night Wind, to speak by threatening to feed him to their rancor. It works, even though the rancor pit is empty, and the assassin slips that the Mayor sent them. And that sets things in motion for Chapter Two:
There’s Something About That Second Episode…
I know it is hard to remember anything pre-Grogu in The Mandalorian but there was a whole episode that preceded Baby Yoda’s entrance into pop culture. And it was average. The first episode of The Mandalorian had all of the things that some complained about The Book of Boba Fett Chapter One: slow-paced, boring, etc. Then the show ended with a mic drop, and everything was forgotten and forgiven…for most. I have never rewatched the first episode just because I want to. The second episode, directed by Rick Famiyuwa, had a lot of weight to carry to keep viewers engaged. And it succeeded for the most part.
I am more on board for The Book of Boba Fett after “The Tribes of Tatooine” than I was after “The Child.” Both episodes are very similar: the hero has to learn the ways of the land to get something of value back, relying on the planet’s residents. In the end, the hero gains it back plus something more valuable. For Mando, he gained his ship parts back but gained a son. Boba Fett seeks to get pride back for the Tuskens from the mysterious train raiders who shoot indiscriminately at them every time they pass through, causing casualties for the tribe.
In the end, Boba Fett officially becomes a Tusken Raider and gets the garb we see at the end of season two of The Mandalorian “The Marshall.” The circle is almost complete.
Another Parallel Story and Double Meaning
Having a double-meaning title might be this show’s schtick. It’s clever and different from the “The” titles of The Mandalorian and more relevant to Boba Fett’s development as he transitions into a different person. Here, it is the tribes of Tatooine in the underworld (including the Mayor) and out with the Tusken Raiders.
While Boba deals with various threats in the present, his memories from the past continue to come back. After defeating the Harryhausen monster from Chapter One, Boba learns to fight with the gaffi stick from the Tusken tribe’s Warrior (Joanna Bennett putting on a show). Aside from showing off impressive fighting choreography, Boba continues to earn the respect of the Raiders by learning their culture. But he also sees their struggles as natives of Tatooine. When a train passing through opens fire on the tribe, killing many members, Boba is incredulous and makes a promise to the Chief that he will stop the train. He sees the Tatooine biker gang from the previous episode go by on speeders, follows them to a bar, and beats them up to steal their bikes. It is harsh, but the gang has already been portrayed negatively to erase any sympathy we would have.
After Boba teaches the Tusken’s how to ride the bikes, we are treated with the most Western sequence seen in the Disney Plus shows so far. A fabulous train sequence where it is revealed that the Pyke Syndicate is responsible for shooting at the Raiders. There are many unrealistic elements to this sequence that one must suspend disbelief (no one would just be able to walk on top of a moving train), but it is also not easy for Boba and the Tuskens. They still lose people in the pursuit, and I found myself afraid that we would lose the Tusken Warrior. The conductor, a new droid, bails on the train, and our heroes stop the speeding locomotive and capture the Pykes.
The Pyke Syndicate is a common adversary in the animated series The Clone Wars, but this is not the first time they make their live-action debut. They are connected with spice smuggling, and we see a few on Kessel in Solo: A Star Wars Story. In The Book of Boba Fett, their helmets look more similar to the animated series, and we see their faces. There will be some complaints on that translation but always expect room for adjustments when characters are brought into live-action because, unlike animation, these practical effects must move in real space. It works here, and most viewers will be none the wiser.
Boba makes a mob-like deal with the Pykes that they will have to pay the Tuskens for protection to pass through their land. He gives them some milk from the black melons and sends them to walk back home. A boss move.
While still learning about his adopted tribe, Boba is more familiar with the Syndicate world and can more easily navigate that tribe. We do not return to the present at the end of the episode but stay in the past. Boba has a final trial, which we will discuss later, and is welcomed as a member of the Tusken Raiders.
The Mayor Graces Us with His Presence
And he does not disappoint. Despite having some less intimidating barriers, the Ithorian Mayor of Mos Espa cuts an intimidating form.
After attempting the “I’m not home” trick, which Boba and Fennec ignore, the new crime lord comes face to face with Mayor Mok Shiaz. And the decision to have a translating vocoder, so time is not spent back and forth with a translation droid makes Mok Shiaz more formidable. The design of the Ithorian is a light blonde, which we are used to seeing Ithorians more dark brown. He will not be the only variation on a popular Star Wars species, but it will make Mok Shiak stand out from the crowd.
After Boba Fett brings the prisoner to him and confronts the Mayor about the assassination attempt. Under the guise that the Order of the Night Wind are not allowed to operate outside of Hutt Space (or so he will not talk), Mok Shiaz orders his guard to kill the assassin. The Mayor denies sending the Order after Fett but gives him a reward for bringing a member to him for justice. Then he offers advice as tribute: running a family is more complicated than bounty hunting. He sends Boba to Garsa Fwip’s establishment to make his point.
Because it is the second episode, I believe the Mayor (though I have no reason to, and killing the assassin was pretty sketchy). He could simply be another power player testing the strength of the new Daimyo, and the bigger threat remains a mystery. Boba Fett was the most feared bounty hunter, and you don’t get that reputation without making a lot of enemies.
Yes, that is Black Krrsantan. Are Other Comic Characters Coming Too?
When Boba and Fennec see Madam Garsa, she informs them that “The Twins have laid claim to their cousin’s bequest,” meaning they are taking over. Another challenge to Boba’s newly established power. And on time, The Twins make an appearance, carried in traditional Hutt fashion, to confront Boba over their late cousin’s empire. The effects look great, and it is nice to see more Hutt’s during this time in Star Wars.
But as cool as it was to see Jabba’s cousins, it feels like the true reason they were in this episode was to introduce Black Krrsantan/BK/Santy into live-action. Santy does not do much in his first scene except look the most intimidating out of every potential foe in the series thus far. But he did not need to do anything, just be there. He is a seed planted for a future return, probably on this show but likely on others as well. Black Krrsantan is the first major character from the comics introduced into live-action and originated in Darth Vader #1 (2015). The comic series is between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back as Darth Vader finds out that Luke is his son. He regularly worked with Jabba the Hutt, so it makes sense that he would be working with Jabba’s cousins, who might be the main antagonists for this series. He also has a history with Boba Fett and with Obi-Wan Kenobi, so an appearance in the Kenobi series is on the table. Having his past bounty hunter life collide with his new life is also another element that I wanted to see in this series, and it is great to see more bounty hunters not associated with the Original Trilogy.
But Santy is most associated with Doctor Aphra. There have been rumors that this popular comic character, who first appeared in Darth Vader# 3, would get her own series. However, no confirmations have been slipped from Disney or Lucasfilm. This could be the first big hint of Star Wars’ own Indiana Jones leaping off the comics pages. For more information on Doctor Aphra, you can check out my post, The Inevitability of a Star Wars: Doctor Aphra Series.
Boba Fett Gets a Lizard up His Nose and Things Get Weird
I cannot let this post pass without mentioning the strangest thing that occurred. After the battle with the Pykes, the Tusken Chief awards Boba Fett with the gift of a lizard up his nose. A fully realized lizard goes up into his nose with the intent to guide him from inside his head. As gross as that was to watch, I guess it is better than the brain worms from The Clone Wars. But it takes Boba to a tree surrounded by the oceans that once were to retrieve a branch. I do not need an explanation of how that works, it is part of the charm of Star Wars’ weirdness. In his lizard, drug-induced dream, Boba sees the Firespray leave Kamino, and relives his escape from the sarlacc pit. It is easy to see why being stuck in a pit that slowly digests you over a thousand years but there is still some context needed for Kamino.
With new footage of Kamino, this could indicate that Boba’s past will factor heavily in at least one episode this season (or perhaps future seasons). He retrieves the branch from the tree and builds the gaffi stick we see in The Mandalorian. The episode ends with a dance that feels inspired by the Maori people. It is a beautiful end to a beautiful episode that brings life to the Tusken culture and paints a more complex picture than the one-dimensional portrayal in the films.
“The Tribes of Tatooine” was not directed by Robert Rodriguez but by Steph Green as Star Wars and Marvel on Disney Plus continue to foster female directing talent. Steph Green has recently directed episodes of Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle and HBO’s Watchmen. It will be new voices behind the camera that will revitalize this franchise for new generations of fans. I hope that Lucasfilm remembers that when Star Wars returns to the theaters.