Spoilers for seasons 1-3 of The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett below..
Somehow, Grogu has returned. At least, that’s what a lot of people will assume when they tune in to the first episode of the mandalorian third season. When we last left our reclusive bounty hunter and pup, Grogu was on his way to some Jedi training with a creepy aging Luke Skywalker. The command took off his helmet and prepared for solitude. We all shed a tear. (How did a show get us to care so much about a monosyllabic man in armor and a green puppet? Bless you, executive producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni.)
But at the start of this season, Mando (aka Din Djarin) and Grogu pair up once again, saving people from giant monsters, fighting space pirates, and just generally being adorable. To a casual viewer, it’s as if that dramatic season two finale was a Jedi mind trick. It turns out that if he wanted to get the full story, which also explains why Din is flying a Ghost menace-was ship, or why Grogu is becoming a more expert force user – you had to watch the latest episodes of Boba Fett’s book.
If I wasn’t already a die-hard Star Wars fan, I’d be pretty confused and upset. How are normal people supposed to know that? Boba Fett’s book basically served as a gap between mandalorian seasons? Disney didn’t promote the connection between the shows much, so if you weren’t reading geeky news sites or talking to nerdy friends, it was easy to miss.
The first episodes of Boba Fett it made it seem like a much less ambitious series: did we really need to learn the details of how Sarlacc survived the pit? And who cares about his future as Jabba the Hutt’s replacement? I have spoken with several Star Wars fans who tapped early on, only to catch up once they heard Mando and Grogu show up. (Honestly, it almost seemed like Favreau and the team got sick of the Boba Fett story, and so did we.)
It’s not that I’m against the idea of narratives changing between different shows and movies. Everything Marvel has done since Iron Man has pretty much trained us to consume pop culture in this way, from the rise of the Avengers initiative to the ultimate showdown with Thanos in End of the game. My geeky side is overjoyed when I discover connections between the movies I love. (You should have seen me in the theater at the end of M. Night Shyamalan’s Split.) But the idea that viewers have to be aware all It starts to feel like a chore, and it’s particularly frustrating when one part of the media is inexplicably crucial to something that comes later.
that doesn’t help the mandalorian barely referenced Boba Fett’s book during his introductory episode. Even a little nudge during the “previously on” opening section would help. Instead, the premiere episode just wants us to get back to normal, with Mando going on a video game-like quest and Grogu having fun along the way. It’s a shame, as the season 2 finale made it seem the mandalorian it would actually change things in the future.