The latest episode of The Book of Boba Fett has nothing to do with The Simpsons. There’s no green carbon rods, doughnuts, or Time magazine declarations. The image above, however, will make sense if you keep reading. We just felt we wanted to be as spoiler-free as possible.
Chapter five of The Book of Boba Fett was, yet again, another dip into the Star Wars toy box. Writer Jon Favreau and director Bryce Dallas Howard really pushed the limits of how many Star Wars references they could squeeze in, from The Clone Wars and The Phantom Menace, to Jedi Fallen Order and, of course, The Mandalorian. But one of the less obvious cameos comes from before any of that. And it’s a perfect representation of how hard these new Star Wars shows try to please longtime fans. In “Return of the Mandalorian,” Din Djarin finds himself back on Tatooine with Peli Motto. After losing his Razor Crest, he needs a new ship and Peli has one for him. It’s a Naboo N-1 Starfighter, which was first introduced in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. This is not the “cameo” we’re talking about, however.
As Peli and Mando repair and upgrade the N-1, Mando has a list of parts for the Tatooine Jawas to get him. One of which they find quickly is called a “cryogenic density combustion booster.” Now, the audience probably doesn’t know what a cryogenic density combustion booster does, because it’s fictional starship part for an equally fictional starship, but they’ve surely seen one before. Here’s a screenshot from The Book of Boba Fett:
And here’s the first time you saw one:
Yes, Han, Luke, and Leia used a cryogenic density combustion booster to try and brace the walls of the trash compactor on the Death Star. Here’s a closer look.
Now obviously, when George Lucas filmed that scene, the rod was meant to be nothing more than a piece of trash. A long piece of metal that someone had thrown out and was now readily available to our heroes, one prop among many in the compactor. But in the decades since, that prop, with those distinctive bumpy cylinders surrounding it, has become instantly recognisable. One of those things Star Wars fans might not even know they know, but it’s burned onto their brain. And so, one would assume, when coming up with pieces for the N-1 in The Book of Boba Fett, Favreau, Howard, and probably producer Dave Filoni were probably like “Are there any pieces of Star Wars junk that the fans will recognise? Oh, that thing from the trash compactor!”
Honestly, it’s not even that deep of a cut. It’s from the first and most famous of all the Star Wars movies, front and centre in a particularly famous scene. And yet, the callback is so specific, random, unnecessary, and altogether enjoyable. There was zero need for this piece of metal to have a connection to previous Star Wars movies but, since there was one available, why not? Plus, just to make sure the episode can spend as much time as possible letting you in on the joke, we learn that the Jawas stole this piece from a Pyke spice runner. This allows Peli, for the first time in the entire episode, to talk at length about the plot of The Book of Boba Fett. So as she seeds the upcoming battle between Boba Fett and the Pykes, we get to look at this really funny, clever Star Wars cameo for a few seconds longer.
Then, of course, growing up with The Simpsons, seeing an important, long, skinny piece of metal made us think of the Inanimate Carbon Rod from the 1994 episode “Deep Space Homer.” And that’s just another level of funny.
The Book of Boba Fett is now streaming on Disney+.