The following contains spoilers about “The Book of Boba Fett,” Episode 5.
(CNN)“The Book of Boba Fett’s” latest episode seemingly took a page from the Marvel universe, where movies and TV shows bleed into each other. In this case, that meant indulging in an episode-long detour from the title character to bring in some new (or rather, old) “muscle” for the final leg of his trek.
As was teased a bit coyly at the end of Episode 4, the Mandalorian (voiced by Pedro Pascal) did indeed return, collecting a bounty in the opening action scene, getting some new transportation and engaging in a duel to retain possession of the darksaber that he won at the end of the show’s second season.
There was even time for a comedic gag where the heavily-armed warrior had to hand over his weapons — all of them — in order to board a commercial flight.
While Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) was relaunched within “The Mandalorian,” this episode essentially cemented the sense that this is both a dedicated Boba Fett miniseries and in some respects “The Mandalorian” Season 3, laying the groundwork for a team-up in the final two chapters.
Until now, “Book of Boba Fett” has oscillated between past and present, filling in what happened to Boba after he appeared to meet his demise in “Return of the Jedi,” and presenting his struggles to retain the power he has claimed over Jabba the Hutt’s territory.
The creative team behind the two shows certainly isn’t pulling any punches when it comes to fan service, incorporating plenty of familiar “Star Wars” life forms, including ill-tempered Hutts, a Wookiee gladiator and a rancor monster.
Yet beyond just fleshing out Boba’s past, the series has treated the indigenous residents of Tatooine, particularly the Tuskens, with more depth than was possible in the movies, presenting them as simply defending their turf from intruders and threats.
The combination of elements has made the show feel a trifle messy, but with the benefit of hindsight those chapters can be seen as an extended prologue.
Yes, “The Book of Boba Fett” has served a purpose in terms of “Star Wars” nostalgia (and selling toys and action figures), but it remains situated within this newer offshoot of that mythology. And while that might be a modest departure for Lucasfilm, in terms of this new generation of live-action Disney+ shows, apparently this is the way.