This review contains spoilers for episode 2 of The Book of Boba Fett, ‘The Tribes of Tatooine’, now available to view on Disney+. To remind yourself of where we left off, check out our review of The Book of Boba Fett episode 1.
It’s no secret that Frank Herbert’s Dune influenced Star Wars in a massive way. In fact, some have argued that George Lucas practically ripped off the fundamental premise, characters and themes from the seminal sci-fi novel. That trend continues into The Book of Boba Fett with its second episode, which essentially puts Paul “Boba” Atreides among the Fremen.
“The Tribes of Tatooine ” spends the bulk of the episode in the past, with Boba’s bacta tank sessions again serving as the framing device for these flashback scenes. After rescuing a young Tusken Raider in the previous episode, the tribe has allowed Boba to live freely among them and are teaching him their warrior ways. This certainly explains why Boba was so nifty with his staff in The Mandalorian season 2, though amusing training scenes with the bounty hunter getting knocked on his ass a few times show it took a fair bit of practice to become so proficient.
The Book of Boba Fett – First Trailer Screenshots
When the tribe is fired upon by a freighter train navigating a Sansanna spice route from the slave mines of Kessel that’s run by the Pyke Syndicate, Boba takes it upon himself to lead the Tuskens in an assault on their attackers. But the indigenous people don’t have the machines to take down a speeding train, so the bounty hunter heads to a local cantina and takes out a swoop gang to steal their rides. It’s the type of violent beatdown Boba fans have been waiting for, with all the Western trappings of a lone outlaw swaggering into a bar and brutally knocking out the local menace, without breaking a sweat, before knocking back a shot of the brown stuff and taking their speeder bikes. Morrison oozes confidence and nonchalance, but it’s an amuse-bouche for the action to come.
Now, it’s Boba’s turn to teach the Tuskens some new tricks in a fun montage scene that has him teaching them his battle plan, assault tactics and how to both ride a speeder and jump from one to another. This leads to a brilliantly executed attack sequence on the freighter, with Boba and the Tuskens battling their way over and inside the vehicle against heavy gunfire. It’s high-octane and nerve-wracking, with expert choreography allowing both the bounty hunter and Tuskens to shine. It’s a scene that brings some of the theatrical drama of the Star Wars movies to the small screen.
With the train assault over, the uncomfortable saviorism correlations between Star Wars and Dune become more apparent. In Dune, protagonist Paul Atreides is also an outsider taken in by a nomadic warrior people, the Fremen, who he rallies into action against colonising forces who have stripped their lands for spice. This is reflected as Boba sits on a crate, like his new throne in the present, flanked by a badass Tusken warrior as he interrogates the defeated Pyke crime boss. Sure, Boba’s defending his new mates and demanding all future Syndicate passage through the Dune sea the Tusken’s “lay ancestral claim” to is paid for accordingly. But this arrangement removes the agency of the Tuskens. We don’t even know their names, not even the badass warrior who did a pretty daring jump from a speeder bike onto the moving train to save his comrades’ lives gets a title.
The lazy trend of showing indigenous people as in need of the “evolved”, as it were, guidance from off-worlders is a little tedious. However, we can certainly celebrate the continued humanisation of the Tuskens, for these people are not uncivilized barbarians. As Morrison has Maori heritage himself it’s not as jarring as it would be if it was a white savior, and the thematic symmetry between Boba starting life above the vast oceans of Kamino and the Tuskens whose ancestors once navigated the oceans of Tatooine before they dried up adds depth. He certainly earned the special Tusken staff and tribal uniform he was adorned with in The Mandalorian, but it seems he learnt just as much about being a fair-minded leader (well, as fair-minded as a crime lord can be) from the Tuskens as he did their fighting style.
He’ll certainly need both in the present with what looks to be the arrival of infamous bounty hunter Black Krrsantan into Mos Espa. The wookie has become a fan favorite after being introduced in the Darth Vader comics and later joining unethical archaeologist Doctor Aphra in her various misadventures. He also has a history with Boba, so with him being the champion of Jabba the Hutt’s twin cousins, who have turned up to lay claim to their dead relative’s former stronghold, it will be exciting to see just how their reunion pans out.
Hopefully episode 3 will give Fennec Shand more screen time because Ming-Na Wen is firing on all cylinders in the opening scenes. Her barbs about the Assassin Order of The Night Wind are delivered with such assured conviction you can’t help but chuckle. Her unfazed confidence is a delight, and after a short-but-sweet bit of ass kicking in the previous episode, I think I speak for most viewers that we want even more in addition to deeper exploration of who she is and where she’s been.