Hyperspace Theories

Hyperspace Theories podcast returns to the realm of Star Wars storytelling with this month’s episode, in which Tricia Barr and B.J. Priester discuss The Book of Boba Fett. In addition to its seven chapter, we also consider insights from the Disney Gallery episode exploring the development and production of the Disney+ series.


We begin with the titular character. The first four episodes of The Book of Boba Fett portray two sets of events in his life: his experiences from his escape from the Sarlaac Pit until his appearance in “The Tragedy” chapter of The Mandalorian season two to reclaim his father’s armor, and his return to Tatooine to establish himself as “daimyo” upon the throne previously occupied by Jabba the Hutt and Bib Fortuna. Each of these storylines contains some interesting ideas for Fett’s character development, but both fail to meet the potential of those ideas. In addition, the series at times relies heavily on homages to famous cinema (like Lawrence of Arabia or The Godfather) and references to previous Star Wars material (including comics, books, and videogames) without challenging or subverting some of the damaging tropes frequently found in those sources, particularly in the thin characterization of the female characters and the fate of the indigenous Tusken tribe that welcomed Fett into its community. Although the finale episode delivers exciting Star Wars action sequences, it ends on a meta-referential note: Fett himself wonders aloud whether he should have been pursuing the objective of becoming daimyo in the first place.

Even more jarring, the fifth and sixth chapters of The Book of Boba Fett barely even include him at all. Instead, the focus on events that we would have expected to appear in season three of The Mandalorian, including Din Djarin’s return to the Armorer’s covert, his acquisition of a new starship to replace the RazorCrest, and his paternal caring for Grogu. Another appearance by Ahsoka Tano delivers unexpected emotion for Din in doing what’s right for Grogu, as well as for the audience with dialogue overtly linking her current role in the galaxy to her past with the Skywalker family. A surprisingly lengthy appearance by Luke reveals more about Grogu, while also testing both Luke and Grogu in their commitment to the Jedi path. Directed by Bryce Dallas Howard and Dave Filoni, respectively, these two episodes offer far stronger Star Wars storytelling than the rest of The Book of Boba Fett.


Hyperspace Theories: The Story of The Mandalorians

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Direct download: The_Book_of_Boba_Fett.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:40pm EDT

This month’s episode of Hyperspace Theories rings in the new year with the storytelling of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Tricia Barr and B.J. Priester discuss the six episodes of the Christmas-themed Disney+ series Hawkeye. Though the show may have one character name in its title, like the other MCU series to date it also is very much an ensemble story.

Clint Barton has been the MCU’s Hawkeye through four Avengers films and several others. In Endgame, we learn that Clint responded to the Snap taking away his family by becoming the ruthless and vengeful assassin Ronin, murdering crime lords and other “deserving” foes until Natasha Romanoff managed to restore his hope, changing his heart just as he had once given her the chance to change hers. In Hawkeye, everything spirals outward from these events: Clint’s grief for Natasha, his commitment to honoring the sacrifice she made to give him a life with his family, and his responsibility for his actions as Ronin.

But while Clint creates the circumstances in which Hawkeye‘s story can unfold, the series at its heart is the story of three women: Kate Bishop, Yelena Belova, and Maya Lopez. Each must face difficult truths and choose their own path forward after their interactions with Clint’s past and present. Obsessed with vengeance for Ronin’s murder of her father, Maya discovers that Clint is not the monster she thought, and the real monsters are the ones closest to her. Driven by certainty that Clint does not deserve to live either if Natasha is gone, Yelena is challenged to face her grief, accept Natasha’s sacrifice, and confront whether assassin-for-hire is really the path she wants to walk.

Kate Bishop, meanwhile, evolves from a talented young woman ringing a tower bell with an arrow on a dare to a superhero committed to doing the right thing, even if it means risking her own life in single combat against a ferocious foe to save the life of her mother – who she then promptly has arrested for her crimes on Christmas. Much of Hawkeye plays out through the trope of the reluctant mentor and the overeager pupil, but the contrasts (and comparisons) between Clint and Kate only serve to show the audience why Kate is ready to take on the mantle of Hawkeye. But not simply to replicate how Clint fulfilled that role; rather, Kate will become her own version of Hawkeye, perhaps even as more of a team leader. In Hawkeye, Kate proves her skill and her heart to Clint and to the audience – and to herself.

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Direct download: HT_Hawkeye.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:18pm EDT