Disney’s questionable ending to The Book of Boba Fett presented problems for The Mandalorian season 3. The franchise’s unrelenting focus on Din Djarin and Grogu not only detracted from Boba Fett’s arc but also highlighted a critical assumption. With The Mandalorian season 3 release date slated for March 1, 2023, Disney will be forced to address the unnecessarily connected storylines of the two shows, or else create potential confusion for many viewers who didn’t follow The Book of Boba Fett — half-jokingly referred to by some as “The Mandalorian season 2.5″.
Despite the positive reception enjoyed by The Mandalorian, Disney’s second foray into the live-action Star Wars space was met with considerably less acclaim, as The Book of Boba Fett struggled to maintain a central narrative and instead relied on appearances from Din Djarin and Grogu. Moreover, this approach also presented future problems for The Mandalorian. A key plot point in The Book of Boba Fett was seeing Grogu reject the Jedi and return to Mando. Given that The Mandalorian season 2 ended with a heartfelt separation, any Mandalorian viewers unfamiliar with The Book of Boba Fett will therefore be shocked to see the pair back together with little explanation. By choosing to connect the two shows so closely, The Book of Boba Fett has created an awkward hurdle for The Mandalorian season 3.
Book Of Boba Fett Should Have Saved Mando’s Story
The fact that Boba’s storyline was given such a limited run makes Mando’s inclusion that much more puzzling, especially considering there are no confirmed plans for The Book of Boba Fett season 2. As enthralling as it was to see other characters like Luke Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, and Cad Bane make appearances in The Book of Boba Fett, a glaring over-reliance on familiarity and the bankable nature of nostalgia continues to permeate Disney-era Star Wars stories. Ahsoka’s inclusion was logical given her upcoming show, but shoehorning a Skywalker in both of the live-action series was forced, especially considering Grogu chooses to return to Din anyway. These unnecessary inclusions also placed Boba Fett and Fennec Shand’s crew on the back burner, when they actually had the chemistry and potential to establish their own niche in Star Wars’ live-action spaces instead of just being the foundations for “The Mandalorian 2.5.”
Having made the choice to continue Din and Grogu’s story in The Book of Boba Fett instead of saving this for the story arc of The Mandalorian season 3, Disney is operating under the presumption that audiences will have seen both shows. While this could be the case for most viewers, Disney runs the risk of alienating an entire sect of audience members who missed those Book of Boba Fett’s episodes which are effectively The Mandalorian season 2.5. Perhaps there was thoughtful intent behind The Book of Boba Fett’s narrative, as a Grogu and Mando reunion was always inevitable. However, by showing this moment outside the main Mandalorian series, Disney has potentially left many viewers in the dark.
Boba Fett Being The Mandalorian Season 2.5 Was Planned
While the move to heavily feature Mando in The Book of Boba Fett was welcomed by some and scrutinized by others, the show was always intended as a continuation of The Mandalorian. Speaking to Digital Spy, Ming-Na Wen, who played Fennec Shand, revealed that she was kept in the dark about the true nature of the show when filming:
“So for two weeks, while I was working with Tem and Robert [Rodriguez], I had no idea that I was actually shooting the spin-off… So, yeah, it was wonderful to finally discover that I was shooting The Book of Boba Fett. They call it The Mandalorian 2.5, in a way. So I wasn’t all wrong.”
However divisive this narrative choice may have been, it’s evident that Disney’s focus is centered around the Mandalorian and the Child with their new age of Star Wars storytelling. Ultimately, there’s still a place for the “fan service” prevalent in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, so long as Disney remains committed to more self-contained projects like Andor. The search for balance has always been a core Star Wars theme, so it’s important that Disney can take that message to heart.
Disney Is Bringing MCU Problems To Star Wars
There are many parallels between Star Wars and the MCU, as both franchises work with similarly grand scales and use both movies and series for long-term storytelling, which poses equally grand problems. Just like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars’ connected storylines mean that viewers need to have followed every previous canon Disney release to completely understand the overarching plot. While this has long been the case with the MCU, Star Wars didn’t have this problem in the past. Though the Star Wars‘ prequel, original, and sequel trilogies are connected, they are standalone stories that can be viewed independently of each other. This can’t be said for Disney’s Star Wars shows — but all-out expansion was always bound to be a double-edged dagger for Star Wars.
On one hand, The Book of Boba Fett functioning as The Mandalorian 2.5 could cause confusion for some viewers in The Mandalorian season 3 — extremely poor timing for what is essentially building up to be the grand culmination of recent Star Wars live-action storytelling. On the other hand, how Andor connected different Star Wars timelines proved that expansion is the right path for the franchise, and that there are ways to leverage Star Wars‘ storied past to make standalone stories even better. Undoubtedly, Disney is creating the same over-saturation issues that it has with Marvel properties, as every new installment seems to require viewing all the connected live-action and animated shows that came before. However, after the stellar first season of Andor and The Mandalorian season 3 potentially bringing an explosive endgame to the first chapter of Star Wars live-action shows, it may not be too late for Disney to find balance in the Force.