‘Book of Boba Fett’ Stars Address Tusken Raider Controversy: ‘Show Gave Them an Incredible Backstory’

Temuera Morrison also weighed in on those colorful motorcycles, which have inspired some online derision.
Tusken Raider in "The Book of Boba Fett"

The Book of Boba Fett” is only three episodes into its Disney+ run, but the show’s launch has not been nearly as smooth as that of its predecessor, “The Mandalorian.” Reviews have been mixed, with some critics praising the way the series expands the “Star Wars” universe and others accusing it of misunderstanding Boba Fett as a character. Lately, fans have zeroed in on two controversial elements from the show’s debut season: the death of its Tusken Raider characters, and a very neon-colored “biker gang.” In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, stars Temuera Morrison and Ming-Na Wen weighed in on the online discourse.

“The Book of Boba Fett” has attracted positive attention for its portrayal of Tusken Raiders, the Indigenous people of Tattooine. In the original “Star Wars” trilogy, the Tusken Raiders were largely portrayed as unsophisticated side characters. “The Book of Boba Fett” expanded their role, showing them as competent main characters with rich traditions, and fans have praised the new Disney+ show for fleshing them out. So when the characters were unexpectedly killed off in an early episode, fans expressed some frustration. But Morrison defended the decision and the show’s portrayal of the Tusken Raiders as a whole.

“[Their portrayal] was better than it was [in the films],” Morrison said. “Then I read [in the script that] we were throwing dead bodies just on the fire and I was going, ‘Oh, hang on, we got to put a bit of ceremony into this.’ But they are the Indigenous of the sands of Tatooine, and I was creating a little bit more history about their own culture — and I was pulling from my own culture, in a way, in terms of the ceremonies and preparing the warrior and preparing a weapon. And Boba has never experienced a real family before — with the young Tuskens and the old Tuskens — and protecting their land.”

His co-star Wen echoed the sentiment, saying that “we knew so little about the Tuskens, and [the show] really gave them an incredible backstory.” She also defended the decision to have Boba Fett burn their bodies, calling it a tradition that dates back to the first “Star Wars” films. “There is this ceremonious desire on Tatooine to burn the bodies as opposed to letting them lie out in the open in the desert,” she said.

On a lighter note, the recent appearance of a “biker gang” on the show has attracted online ridicule from “Star Wars” fans. The new characters are seen riding some very colorful Vespa-like motorcycles that significantly diverge from the “Star Wars” color palette, and some fans have pointed out their resemblance to cartoon characters. When asked about the controversy, Morrison largely dodged the question, saying “some of these things are out of our control. We can’t say as performers, ‘We don’t want to work with these people, that’s not good enough.’” He added some praise for the characters, though, saying they “brought a lot of color” to the show.

Wen also defended the creative risk, saying that the “Star Wars” franchise has always been something of a pastiche of American culture, albeit seen through the lens of science fiction. “This is a real homage to the things George Lucas always loved — whether it was the Mods in the ’60s, or ‘American Graffiti.’ At the same time, it lends itself to learning more about Tattooine.”

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

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