In just under one week, The Book of Boba Fett will make its long-awaited debut on Disney+. Initially announced by Lucasfilm through a surprise post-credit scene following The Mandalorian Season 2's finale, the series will follow Boba Fett's trials and tribulations as a rising crime lord on Tatooine. Alongside Temuera Morrison's former bounty hunter will be Ming-Na Wen's Fennec Shand, the mysterious sharpshooter serving as his right hand.
For a show on the brink of release, one wouldn't know it.
Lucasfilm has revealed an incredible poster featuring the main duo and the Slave I, as well as a chill-inducing teaser title "The Return". Beyond that, there's been very little marketing for the show, something that's become customary in the Disney era for Star Wars.
This trend has been particularly frustrating for the films and announced projects waiting in the wings for production greenlights, but the Disney+ series appear to have a formula that works. Though it's grueling for Star Wars diehards, promotions for the streaming series have generally been a last-minute affair, showing just enough to give an idea of what the world will feel like while giving absolutely nothing away regarding the plot.
For The Mandalorian Season 2, the approach helped maintain surprises for fans as the story progressed. Nothing from the second half of the season was shown in the trailers or TV spots, making the appearances of Ahsoka Tano, Boba Fett, and Luke Skywalker special moments that could be experienced organically.
The same is likely the case for the seven-episode season of The Book of Boba Fett. Many speculate that the footage shown goes no further than the events of the first two episodes, and the lack of story insight seems to corroborate the theory. From what's been shown, the general tone, setting, and approach from the leads has been made clear. But there's one thing that hasn't been introduced at all in the marketing.
Fans can expect the enemies Fett and Shand face initially to be more locally based. Scoundrels roaming the towns of Tatooine, perhaps, or members of rival gangs ordered to execute hits on the newcomers to the underworld. But everything Boba Fett has done to this point has been deliberate, and he undoubtedly has his eyes on a much larger target.
That foe is significant enough to be withheld from the series' marketing. It has to be someone fans know, a character whose appearance will make people gasp in much the same manner as those who joined the cast of The Mandalorian. And given the recent developments in canon storytelling, that antagonist can only be one person: Qi'ra.
Qi'ra vs. Boba Fett
The last time fans saw the former scrumrat onscreen, Emilia Clarke's Qi'ra was leaving Han Solo behind after slaying Dryden Vos to join Maul on Dathomir. Her future following the events of Solo had been left hanging for several years until she made her shocking return at the end of Marvel Comics' War of the Bounty Hunters Alpha, a prelude to the miniseries of the same name.
Now the leader of Crimson Dawn, Qi'ra brought the crime syndicate out of the shadows to make a move that would provide a new opportunity to gain power. In order to do so, she orchestrated the heist of her former flame, Han Solo, and invited all of the galaxy's biggest players to an auction for the smuggler. With the arc taking place shortly after The Empire Strikes Back, there was only one person she had to cross to acquire the auction's prize: Boba Fett.
And when the notorious bounty hunter learned of the theft, he was not happy.
When Boba Fett issues a death warrant, things usually don't go well for the recipient. For a time, the bounty hunter was unaware of who had stolen his property. But when shown the message Jabba the Hutt received by Bib Fortuna (who was gunned down himself for his lack of honor by Fett during The Mandalorian Season 2's post-credit scene), the hunter learned that Crimson Dawn was behind the theft, and he declared the group's leader would die for her insolence.
It didn't take long for Fett to infiltrate Crimson Dawn's auction and discover that Qi'ra was the one behind his strife. He ultimately succeeded in recovering Han Solo when all hell broke loose during the event, but Qi'ra took on Darth Vader and escaped before any of her enemies could destroy her. While the second installment in Charles Soule's planned trilogy of miniseries, Crimson Reign, has only just begun, it should be assumed that the two won't be crossing paths again before Return of the Jedi.
As the author has said, War of the Bounty Hunters is Boba's story while Crimson Reign is Qi'ra's. Details on The Hidden Empire are currently unknown, but for the time being it appears that Boba Fett's work in the comics is done.
Which leads to The Book of Boba Fett.
In the original trilogy, Boba Fett was the silent, but iconic mercenary. He had little characterization. But The Mandalorian changed everything.
When Fett was revealed to be the figure watching the twin suns set on the sands of Tatooine in "Chapter 9 - The Marshall," the appearance came with the promise of more. His subsequent arrival in "Chapter 14 - The Tragedy" was driven by his desire to reacquire his armor, previously owned by his father Jango. It became clear that Boba was a man on a mission, one briefly stalled when he honored his word to bring Grogu back to the safety of Din Djarin's hands.
Fett isn't a character who forgets. As has been previously noted, he slayed Bib Fortuna and took the obese Twi'lek's place on Jabba's former throne. That act was the better part of five years in the making, driven by fury to those who wronged him. He behaved similarly as a younger man in The Clone Wars, when he was hellbent on assassinating Mace Windu for killing his father on Geonosis.
The sticking point for the character is the lust for revenge. Sources have said that the series will be fueled by that theme for revenge which, coupled with the storyline introduced in the comics, makes Qi'ra and Crimson Dawn the prime candidates to serve as the villains in The Book of Boba Fett...not that the headlining characters should be considered heroes, either.
Boba held onto his grudge for Fortuna for half a decade, even though Fortuna committed a relatively minor offense compared to Qi'ra. Fett swore that she would die for stealing Han Solo, and he's now positioned himself to take Crimson Dawn head-on.
Early rumors for the series suggested that a character under the codename "Hammerhead" would be a temporary foe for Fett and Shand, but that they would join forces a few episodes in. That character's codename turned out to be literal, as a currently unnamed Ithorian was seen on a throne being visited by the starring pair in the first trailer.
The figures running along the rooftops in promotional footage may be members of the Ithorian's syndicate. Alternatively, the crime lord may have put a price on their head, and Fett turns them over as a show of good faith. In the trailer, Boba speaks of cooperation to the other underworld leaders on Tatooine, and that suggestion certainly extends to the Ithorian.
But what's the former bounty hunter's true motive? Sure, he mentions that working together could make all parties wealthy without the need for bloodshed. Yet that doesn't seem to be entirely in character for Fett. While making ends meet has always been important, he's described himself "as a simple man making his way through the galaxy."
Tatooine is known for its expansive underworld of scum and villainy. Boba isn't trying to form an alliance with the other crime syndicates because he wants riches. He's doing it for their resources. Alone, he stands no chance at taking down Qi'ra. But with the full might of the underworld at his disposal, Fett will be able to take on an enemy as expansive as Crimson Dawn.
It's been said that if The Mandalorian is essentially the Sergio Leone westerns set in space, then The Book of Boba Fett would be Star Wars' equivalent to The Godfather.
Don't expect the other crime lords to be around very long, either. If the analogy is accurate, Boba Fett could very well be on his way to becoming the Michael Corleone of the galaxy far, far away. Imagine a sequence where Fett consolidates his power by sending Fennec and his old bounty hunter allies out to execute hits on the underworld leaders of Tatooine...
After that business is finished, Boba will have all of the credits, forces, and supplies needed to begin his all-out assault on Qi'ra.
Every move made by Fett will be in service to achieving his larger goal for revenge. Qi'ra's shadow may only be alluded to at the outset, with hints of Crimson Dawn's presence being sprinkled in around the early efforts by Fett to gain power.
Qi'ra would serve as the ultimate foe for Boba Fett. Both Solo and War of the Bounty Hunters have demonstrated that she has the cunning and combat skills to hold her own against any who seeks to oppose her in the underworld. What's more, actress Emilia Clarke has expressed interest in reprising the role, and for all fans know, she may already have filmed her return to screen.
Another thing to factor in is how Crimson Dawn has been built to be a true powerhouse in the canon. The group was first introduced in Solo but has recently appeared in several of the new comic storylines and episodes of The Clone Wars' final season. If the rumors are true, the syndicate is also set to be featured in an animated series starring Darth Maul, titled Crimson Dawn.
Lucasfilm has been putting in the work to present Crimson Dawn as an underworld force as credible as Black Sun. One has to think that the groundwork has been working towards something, and a showdown with Boba Fett is a thrilling way to keep Qi'ra and the organization involved.
There has been some doubt cast on the possibility, however. The first issue of the Crimson Reign comic miniseries uses narration to suggest that the story will be telling "the fall of Crimson Dawn."
It's worth noting that the story is being told from a character who experienced the events firsthand, though wasn't necessarily present for everything. That doesn't take away from the chilling effect of the issue's final words, accompanied by an optimistic Qi'ra.
In all likelihood, the ending to Crimson Reign's first issue is a red herring. It seems unlikely that Crimson Dawn would collapse in the second act of the trilogy of Soule's comics, and even less probable that Qi'ra and crew will be destroyed so shortly after being reintroduced. Given that the words are a narration, the fall and tragedy described could be seen as such in the eyes of the narrator, but not particularly something to be taken literally.
As The Mandalorian has shown, the galaxy isn't in a great state at this point in the timeline. Neither is Boba Fett and, presumably, nor is Qi'ra. Two bitter enemies left behind by a universe that resents them is a relationship that has the makings of an iconic rivalry.
The story could be over and done with in the first season of Boba Fett, but more than likely it will be a slow build that leads to the stage being fully set by the final episode. It's assumed that there will be more than one season for the series, though nothing has been confirmed. If The Book of Boba Fett ends up being a limited run, the titular character's conflict with the femme fatale could spill over into a different series taking place in the MandoVerse.
There's something big Lucasfilm is hiding in their back pocket, and all signs point to Qi'ra. Boba Fett may have been the greatest bounty hunter in the galaxy, but he has a long way to go in proving his legitimacy as a crime lord. In time, his true intentions and the rival he'll be facing will be revealed.
The Book of Boba Fett debuts on Disney+ on December 29.