The Book of Boba Fett uses trauma in the form of flashbacks as a device to reveal Fett’s past and underline his mental state.
Warning: The following contains spoilers for The Book of Boba Fett “Chapter 3: The Streets of Mos Espa,” now streaming on Disney+.
In Disney+’s The Book of Boba Fett series, Boba Fett experiences flashbacks while he recovers in his bacta tank. This plot device is used to reveal Fett’s past to the audience, as well as underline his experiences of recurring trauma. The famous bounty hunter has come a long way since his days on Kamino, but his life experiences have not been met without struggles — both physical and mental.
Episode 1 of the series, “Stranger in a Strange Land,” opens with the extreme hardships that Fett has faced over his lifetime. The sequence starts off by showing the stormy oceans of Kamino before transitioning to Boba discovering the death of his father, Jango Fett. Within this flashback, the audience is then shown his escape from the dreaded Sarlacc, which was previously thought to spell Boba’s demise in Return of the Jedi. Afterward, the aftermath of this arduous escape is illustrated, where Fett is stripped of his armor by jawas and captured and prodded by the Tusken Raiders. Finally, through the editing technique of a grainy, green tint signaling a transition between time, the audience is brought to the present moment within the series. Fett declares to his partner, Fennec Shand, that “the dreams are back,” suggesting that these dreams have been recurring. The juxtaposition between Fett’s numerous trials throughout his life, to the present day as official Daimyo of Tatooine, highlights how the bounty hunter has evolved over time to become a strong and fearsome leader.
It’s difficult to decide out of all the experiences Fett faced which had the biggest impact, but his childhood is suggested to be a contender. Scenes and images of Kamino are revisited so far throughout the series in both Episodes 2 and 3, which features a young Boba running to the window to witness the Slave I, piloted by his dad Jango, departing the planet. The stormy, dark weather also accentuates the emotion of the scene, eliciting Boba’s feelings of loneliness as his father jets off.
Notably, Boba’s psychological experiences become more visualized during his psychedelic experience in Chapter 2, “The Tribes of Tatooine,” when the elder Tusken Raider gifts him a small lizard that crawls into his nose. During Fett’s hallucination, he stumbles across the sand in a world that almost appears to be a mixture between Tatooine and Kamino, featuring stormy weather and later roaring waters. He approaches a tree where he is confined, all the while his reality blurs, recalling the similarity to when he was swallowed by the Sarlacc. The sequence also features the aforementioned scene of Boba on Kamino witnessing his father leaving, as well as him looking into Jango’s helmet after his death in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. Eventually, Boba reaches moments of triumph, recalling his escape from the Sarlacc and emergence from the sands of Tatooine, as well as liberating himself from the grasps of the tree by ceremoniously breaking the branch.
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Fett’s traumatic recollection reaches a crescendo when he discovers the massacre of the Tusken Raiders that he would befriend after proving his strength. Previously, he had assisted in helping to disarm a spice run operation being conducted by the fearsome Pykes, a crime syndicate. It would seem that Fett had officially been inducted into their tribe, which is signified by both his ritualistic victory during his psychedelic occurrence, as well as his participation in a ceremonious dance amongst the Tusken Raiders at the end of Episode 2 of the series. It’s revealed that the people behind the murders of his former allies were the biker gang behind the mysterious symbol seen on Tosche station. Just as it had occurred with the consistent abandonment and subsequent death of his father, Boba was once again left without allies. The deaths of the Tusken Raiders explain why they haven’t appeared in the present timeline that Boba Fett finds himself in, as well.
In the present day during the series, Boba takes on the role of daimyo. Thus far, his leadership has contrasted with Jabba the Hutt’s, as he has had several occurrences of sparing people that could easily be considered his enemies. From the Gamorreans that he had recruited to join his cause to the gang of cybernetic swoop gang members that he had previously been tasked to “take care of” by ruthless water monger Lortha Peel, Fett differentiates himself as a trusting recruiter and leader from traditional bounty hunters that primarily work alone. He even makes the decision to spare Black Krrsantan, Wookie bounty hunter, after a failed assassination attempt, setting him free. All of these acts of mercy and recruitment are informed by his past experiences, highlighting the former bounty hunter’s resilience and his formation of a personal moral code.
To see Boba’s trauma be explored, The Book of Boba Fett is streaming now on Disney+.
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