The Book of Boba Fett episode 6 is a blessing for Mandalorian and Clone Wars fans

Image: The Book of Boba Fett/Disney+
Image: The Book of Boba Fett/Disney+ /

Star Wars master Dave Filoni directed The Book of Boba Fett Episode 6, “From the Desert There Comes a Stranger,” so we knew we were in for a treat.

But that treat was sweeter than we could have imagined, as the legendary filmmaker behind The Clone Wars, Rebels and The Mandalorian packed his episode with enough cameos and callbacks that we barely noticed that the eponymous anti-hero himself was still largely absent.

Okay, we did notice. And we do miss Boba Fett appearing in his own show. But these last two episodes have been incredible diversions, and perfect teases for what’s coming in future Star Wars shows Ahsoka and The Mandalorian season 3.

*SPOILERS ahead for The Book of Boba Fett episode 6*

“From the Desert Comes a Stranger”

This episode essentially brings all of the pieces together ahead of the first season finale next week. There was a heavy hint in Episode 4 that the Mandalorian himself, Din Djarin, would return, and return he did in Episode 5. That episode provided a glimpse at what he’s been up to since he defeated Moff Gideon and left Grogu with Luke Skywalker.

“From the Desert Comes a Stranger” shows Mando checking in on the little guy and amassing some more muscle for Boba’s brewing war with the Pykes. We get a brief appearance by Temuera Morrison’s Boba toward the end of the episode, when he repeats what we already know: to take on the Pykes, Boba and his crew need more fighters.

Mando knows a guy, so he flies his sleek, new-ish Naboo N-1 Starfighter to Mos Pelgo to catch up with Marshal Cobb Vanth (Timothy Olyphant), who we met in The Mandalorian season 2. Cobb is still the perfect space cowboy — he’s got the swaggering walk, the heated stare and the drawl to match the most famous Western gunslingers. Mando asks Cobb for his help in ridding Tatooine of the Pykes, and the Marshal eventually agrees.

But before he can make a grand speech to his people about the need to fight in the coming war, a stranger walks into town from the desert. It’s none other than Cad Bane, a blue-skinned Duros bounty hunter from The Clone Wars whose reputation precedes him.

The scene of Cad Bane approaching and engaging Cobb in a classic cowboy standoff is executed with such perfect unease that it’s truly not clear who will walk away until the first shot is fired. Unfortunately (or maybe not?) Cad Bane is the one who survives this duel, leaving a deputy dead and Cobb severely wounded.

The ways of the Jedi

The return of our (new) favorite little green Jedi Grogu was unexpected. Episode 5 hinted we would see him again as Mando is hell-bent on checking up on his Mandalorian Foundling. But it was still a surprise to see Grogu and a CGI de-aged Luke Skywalker again so soon.

A good chunk of this episode, like the previous one, amount to fan service for the Skywalker saga. It’s well-done fan service, however, and doesn’t feel like we’re being Force-fed blatant callbacks.

On an unnamed, forested planet, Grogu is put through his paces to learn to use the Force. There are excellent sequences with a training droid and Luke Force-lifting a bunch of frogs to impress Grogu. Much of these scenes are direct callbacks to Luke’s training with Yoda on Dagobah in The Empire Strikes Back. The nods are even more apparent when Luke runs and flips through the forest of bamboo with little Grogu on his back — executing the same front flip he did carrying Yoda in Empire. Luke also tells Grogu that he reminds him of Yoda, even bringing back some of Yoda’s most famous lines: “Size matters not” and “Don’t try. Do.”

Elsewhere, Mando arrives on the planet and sees a bunch of spider-like droids arranging boulders to build a new Jedi temple. R2-D2 greets Din when he lands his Starfighter. He may not speak droid, but it’s clear R2-D2 recognizes this ship from way back when he flew one alongside a young Anakin Skywalker.

Mando has to wait a while, but eventually Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) shows up to talk to him about Grogu’s progress and the issue of their attachment to each other. She tells him how much Grogu misses him, but also that it would be a bad idea for them to see each other. Grogu’s emotions are still clouded by his attachment to the Mandalorian, and seeing him would make his training more difficult.

Mando agrees with her and reluctantly returns to Tatooine without seeing his little green Foundling.

An agonizing choice

Grogu is estimated to be about 50 years old, which means he was a Jedi Youngling during the Clone Wars and somehow escaped Order 66 and the Great Jedi Purge. He’s repressed much of these memories, however, until Luke begins to help him unlock his mind.

In a brief flashback, a baby Grogu watches three older Jedi try to fight off a squad of clone troopers. This scene clearly takes place after the troopers were ordered to execute Order 66, which forced them via inhibitor chip to murder their Jedi comrades. The troopers’ armor also has blue detailing, which means these clones were part of Anakin Skywalker’s/Darth Vader’s 501st unit.

The three Jedi protecting Grogu are cut down, and the flashback cuts away before we see who comes to his rescue. Theories abound on who exactly saved Grogu from the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, with some pointing to R2-D2, undercover Jedi Quinlan Vos or even Jedi archivist and librarian Jocasta Nu. Maybe we will find out in The Mandalorian season 3.

Meanwhile, Luke sees how much Grogu is struggling to fully let go and let the Force guide him because of his attachment to Din. He remarks to Ahsoka that he questions if Grogu’s heart is in his training. Ahsoka says Luke is “so much like your father.” Just seeing Ahsoka and Luke together elicits chills, but hearing her talk about his father, her former master Anakin Skywalker, is sublime.

The episode ends with Luke presenting Grogu with a choice: his gift from Din (the most adorable Beskar chain mail top) or a lightsaber. That lightsaber was Yoda’s — a glowing green blade fashioned with a small, simple hilt perfect for little hands.

Grogu is clearly mesmerized by the lightsaber and the power of the Force, but it’s also clear his heart still belongs to Mando. Who will he choose?

The verdict

Let me preface this by saying it’s been a blessing to see all these beloved Star Wars characters return and cameo in The Book of Boba Fett. The last two episodes have felt like grand Star Wars movies rather than story-threading television episodes. Call it cheesy fan service, but these last two episodes are some of the best Star Wars TV we’ve seen in years.

That being said, I can’t help but miss Boba Fett on this Boba Fett show. The first half of the season got under his armor and into his psyche, showing how he escaped the Sarlacc, how he became a fierce Tusken warrior and his advocacy for the natives of Tatooine. The show even delved into the ramifications of the trauma and violence he’s experienced in his life.

In Episode 6, Cad Bane even tells Cobb Vanth that Boba is a cold-blooded killer and that the Marshal should side with the Pykes. Cad Bane and Boba have a fraught history going back to the Clone Wars; Cad Bane even worked with and mentored Boba in the ways of bounty hunting. We need to see a Cad Bane-Boba Fett reunion ASAP.

Episode 6 was, as the cool kids say, wizard. But looking ahead to next week’s season finale, I can’t help but think the show is failing to actually make us care about how the main plotline plays out.

Maybe Boba has just been busy training with his Rancor and will burst out of the hangar atop the beast to lead his horde of modified youths and Black Krrstantan in an epic underdog battle against the Pykes.

What’s next?

Clearly, the finale is going to be an epic showdown between Boba’s crew and the Pykes, who have been slowly taking over Tatooine to run spice. But are the Pykes really the true big baddie of the series? Or will a criminal syndicate like, say, Crimson Dawn show up?

Since Episode 3, when the Hutt Twins quickly give up on fighting Boba for Mos Espa, fans have speculated that the Pykes aren’t the one striking fear in the Hutts. The Hutts fear very few people, but Crimson Dawn is one of them.

Crimson Dawn was introduced in Solo: A Star Wars Story. The movie showed Emilia Clarke’s Qi’ra taking over as the face of the syndicate with instructions from Darth Maul. After Maul was killed by Obi-Wan Kenobi on Tatooine in Rebels, Qi’ra took over. Her story continued in Marvel’s War of the Bounty Hunters crossover comic series, which saw Boba feuding with literally everyone between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

Crimson Dawn and Qi’ra have somewhat recent history with Boba, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to see the group return in the finale.

Looking beyond The Book of Boba Fett finale, the show’s last two episodes set up key plot points that will likely be explored in The Mandalorian season 3, specifically the likelihood of Grogu choosing to become a Mandalorian and give up on becoming a Jedi. This choice would also prevent the little guy from being killed in the future when Ben Solo torches Luke’s Jedi Temple, which is likely the same one we see being built in this episode.

There’s also the issue of Mando and the Darksaber. He is comically terrible at wielding it right now and desperately needs training. Will Luke train him? Will we find out that somehow Mando is also Force-sensitive? Is Din Djarin the second-coming of Tarre Vizsla and destined to unite the Mandalorian clans and restore his home planet?

It’s Star Wars TV, so anything is possible.

The season finale of The Book of Boba Fett airs on Feb. 9.

Next. The Book of Boba Fett episode 5 is Star Wars fan service at its best. dark

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