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‘The Book of Boba Fett’ is changing how we think about ‘Star Wars’ villains

‘The Book of Boba Fett’ is a story of an antihero, and it’s making us rethink our villains

Boba Fett in ‘The Book of Boba Fett.’
Boba Fett (Temura Morrison) in ‘The Book of Boba Fett.’
Lucasfilm Ltd.

Warning: This article contains light spoilers of Episode 3.

The entire idea behind “The Book of Boba Fett” was simple — a story about what happened to the bounty hunter Boba Fett in the years after “Return of the Jedi” and after the events of “The Mandalorian.”

The show, which focuses on the once-villain Boba Fett, has turned him into an antihero. He’s not squeaky clean like Captain America, but he’s not an evil being like Emperor Palpatine. But the show has taken everything one step farther by reshaping how we see, understand and perceive the villains of the “Star Wars” universe.

This hasn’t been more prevalent than in “The Book of Boba Fett” Episode 3, which showed us how Boba Fett is continuing to deal with the local crime syndicates as he tries to lead over Jabba’s Palace and that territory of Tatooine.

There are two major moments in the episode that highlights how the show has changed our perception of the bad guys in “Star Wars.” After Boba Fett visits the Pyke Syndicate for payment and protection for the Tusken Raiders, Fett returns to his home to find all of the Tusken raiders killed by a speed biker gang. The moment encouraged empathy and sympathy from the viewer, as we had learned to grow and care about the Tusken Raiders in the previous episode. The show has made us deeply care for the Tusken people, who were previously seen as major villains in the original “Star Wars” trilogy and the prequels. They’ve always been perceived as evil people. But this show made us care about them.

And then there’s the consideration of the rancor, the beastly creature who almost ate Luke Skywalker in “Return of the Jedi.” In this episode, Jabba the Hutt’s twin cousins visit Boba Fett and offer him free rancor for the palace, replacing the one that Luke Skywalker killed. When Boba is first meeting the rancor, he pets him and gains the beast’s trust, showing that these creatures are not always these man-eating monsters. They have a heart, too.

Slowly, “The Book of Boba Fett” has changed our perception of what it means to be a villain in “Star Wars.” Boba Fett — once a villain for capturing Han Solo — is now the heart of this series as he tries to gain power and present a new way of life for those on Tatooine. At the same time, we see a new side of the Tusken Raiders and the rancor beast.

This not only provides more context into the characters we’ve seen in the “Star Wars” movies, but it also gives us a different way to look at the whole series. As we saw with Anakin’s fall into Darth Vader, not all of the villains in the galaxy far, far away are always bad. Sometimes they’re pushed to do things because they were raised that way, or they’ve become desperate in their pursuit of happiness.

For many, “Star Wars” may have always seemed like a story about the good guys vs. the bad. And that’s still true. We still have the Empire vs. the Rebellion, the First Order vs. the Resistance, the Jedi vs. the Sith. But “The Book of Boba Fett” is rounding out the edges of the universe for us, allowing us to see the bigger picture that this universe is represented by all sorts of creatures and characters who have their own stories worth exploring.