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Book of Boba Fett Chapter 5: Return of the Mandalorian
Director: Bryce Dallas Howard
Writer: Jon Favreau
Air date: January 26, 2022

So, about the latest episode of The Book of Boba Fett - err, the season 3 premier of The Mandalorian - um, maybe both? Which was it?

Doesn't matter. This was Star Wars at its finest, expertly woven together by director Bryce Dallas Howard.

Wednesday's fifth episode of the first season of The Book of Boba Fett took a sharp turn from following the exploits, past and present, of Boba Fett on Tatooine as he went about resetting his life after escaping the Sarlacc Pit. In this chapter, we see another familiar character, also going through kind of a life reset in the form of Din Djarin, the Mandalorian, famous of the show from the same name, currently filming its third season.

Return of the Mandalorian centers on Din after he delivers Grogu to Luke Skywalker in the season 2 finale of The Mandalorian. He has returned to his old bounty hunting ways, as we see him behead a low-level Klatoonian boss of a meat processing plant. 

After he delivers his bounty in a nightclub in a ring-shaped spaceport (think HALO), Din is directed to a lower level area of the station where he encounters two characters we haven't seen since the first season of The Mandalorian - The Armorer and Paz Viszla. Hugely important Mandalore history is revealed in this sequence, detailing how the Empire rained destruction down on the planet on Bo-Katan's watch. Viszla challenges Din to a duel for possession of the saber, which Din wins. However, the Armorer strips Din of his Mandalorian label after Din says he willfully removed his helmet. Din also chooses to give up his Beskar spear - given to him by Ahsoka Tano - having parts of it reforged into armor intended for Grogu.

Having lost his ship, lost his son (Grogu), lost his job/definition of self, Din forlornly boards a passenger starcruiser to Tatooine, where he hopes to find a replacement for his ship, the Razor Crest. There, he links back up with mechanic Pelli Motto, who has begun work on a new vehicle for Din.

This ship is the shell of a Naboo N1 starfighter, seen in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999). In a sequence that for me dragged on too long, Motto and Din refurbish the fighter inside and out. Looks like we know what Din's ride will be in season 3.

The chapter wraps up with Fennec Shand offering a job to Din that would see him join Boba Fett in the upcoming conflict with the Pyke Syndicate. Din happily accepts, but says he has a small friend to visit first, another unmistakable reference to Grogu.

Howard put together what I feel is the most skillful directing job in any live action Star Wars TV episode to date. Elements from all of Star Wars, from film eras to games to publishing, are effortlessly constructed in a highly anticipated catch-up story focusing on Din Djarin. This episode features quiet character moments as prominently as raw action, sprinkled with just enough humor, lore and emotion to produce the ideal Star Wars recipe.

It is such a treat to me, that Howard has become such a beloved director within the Star Wars franchise, given her father Ron not only directed Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) but also starred in George Lucas's second-ever film, American Graffiti (1973). That family connective tissue means something to me, like a bit of George's legacy remains true in the present day version of the franchise he created. Like Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau before her, I fully trust Star Wars in the hands of Bryce Dallas Howard, taking it in any direction she wishes. Stuff like Return of the Mandalorian is why. 

Brad Monastiere
I live in Michigan and have been an unconditional fan of Star Wars and Indiana Jones for decades. Follow me on twitter @bmonastiere 

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