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‘Book of Boba Fett’ Is Playing Into ‘Star Wars’ Fandom’s Warmer Reappraisal of ‘Phantom Menace’

Lucasfilm is honoring the "Star Wars" prequel at the exact time that fans are starting to embrace it again.

‘Book of Boba Fett’ Is Playing into ‘Star Wars’ Fandom’s Warmer Reappraisal of ‘Phantom Menace’

Din Djarin’s new N-1 Starfighter from “The Phantom Menace” flanked by two X-Wings on “The Book of Boba Fett.”

Editor’s note: The following post contains spoilers for Chapter 5 of “The Book of Boba Fett.”

From the moment Disney acquired Lucasfilm and pledged to start making more “Star Wars” content, fans were clamoring for a Boba Fett continuation story. They got their wish with the release of “The Book of Boba Fett” on Disney+. The show about the iconic bounty hunter has not been without controversy, but hardcore “Star Wars” fans found plenty to love in this week’s episode. But while Boba Fett made his first appearance in “The Empire Strikes Back,” fans have noticed that the latest chapter was influenced by a very different “Star Wars” movie.

“Chapter 5” featured the return of “Mandalorian” bounty hunter Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), who had to replace his recently-destroyed ship. His vehicle of choice was instantly recognizable: an N-1 Naboo Starfighter. The Naboo Starfighter made its debut in “The Phantom Menace,” and was notably flown by Anakin Skywalker when he blew up the Trade Federation Droid Control Ship. It is one of the only “Star Wars” vehicles designed specifically for the prequels to now make an appearance in subsequent Disney projects.

But the episode’s debt to the first prequel film did not stop there. Fans have noted that the ship’s test run was eerily similar to the iconic pod race sequence in “The Phantom Menace.” And some of the same “pit droids” from the prequel film were spotted working on the ship — they had also appeared on “The Mandalorian,” assisting Amy Sedaris’s mechanic character, like they did in this episode. It’s also worth noting how much of the show takes place on Mos Espa. The choice to set the series in a space settlement from the prequel trilogy, rather than in Mos Eisley, which played such a big role in “A New Hope,” reflects the influence that “The Phantom Menace” has on “The Book of Boba Fett.”

In some ways, the show’s “Phantom Menace” influence reflects a larger shift in the way the “Star Wars” community views the film. Some fans have begun to show increased appreciation for the once-derided movie. The rise of the popular “Prequel Memes” subreddit spawned a culture of memes around George Lucas’ prequel trilogy, allowing fans to take the films less seriously and view them in a sillier light. At the same time, Disney’s pipeline of new Star Wars content helps to lower the stakes of each individual movie. There is a lot more pressure for a film to be perfect when it represents 1/6th of an iconic series. But when it’s just one of many movies in an ever-expanding franchise, it can be easier for fans to take a breather and enjoy an imperfect movie for what it is.

“The Book of Boba Fett” is currently streaming on Disney+, with new episodes released each Wednesday.

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