Boba Fett (/
Boba Fett is extensively featured in many works of the Legends continuity, in which he is notably revealed to have survived his apparent death in Return of the Jedi, among other adventures. The character's popularity within the Star Wars fanbase has achieved him a cult status.
Boba Fett first appeared at the September 20, 1978, San Anselmo Country Fair parade. The character debuted on television two months later in an animated segment produced by Nelvana for the Star Wars Holiday Special. Fett appears as a mysterious figure who saves Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2 from a giant monster, only to be revealed as a bounty hunter working for Darth Vader. After his image and identity were revealed in the Holiday Special, costumed Fett characters appeared in shopping malls and special events, putting up wanted posters of the character to distinguish him from the franchise's Imperial characters. He also appears in Marvel Comics' Star Wars newspaper strip.
Original trilogy era
Boba's theatrical film debut was in The Empire Strikes Back as the "next major villain" besides Darth Vader. He is one of six bounty hunters hired by Vader, who promises a reward to whoever captures the crew of the Millennium Falcon. Fett tracks the starship to Cloud City, where Vader captures its passengers and tortures its captain, Han Solo. Wanting to collect a bounty on Solo, Fett confronts Vader about whether Solo will survive carbon freeze, which Vader intends to use on his true target, Luke Skywalker. Vader promises that the Empire will compensate Fett if Solo dies, but he is soon determined to be alive and Vader turns him over to Fett.
Return of the Jedi features Boba Fett at Jabba the Hutt's palace where Han Solo's rescuers are captured, and he travels on Jabba's sail barge to the Great Pit of Carkoon, home of the Sarlacc, where the prisoners are to be executed. When the prisoners mount an escape he attempts to intervene, and ends up in a tussle with Luke Skywalker, but Han Solo accidentally ignites Fett's rocket pack, sending the bounty hunter falling into the Sarlacc's mouth. In this film, he does not have any verbal lines.
Fett appears in an episode of the 1985 Droids animated series set before the original trilogy and produced by the same studio as the animated segment of the Holiday Special. In "A Race to the Finish", Fett is hired by the Fromms to help them get revenge on the masters of the droids R2-D2 and C-3PO. He later turns on them after failing their request, and decides to accept Jabba's bounty on the Fromms as compensation.
Prequel trilogy era
The 2002 prequel film Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones revealed that Boba Fett (played by Daniel Logan) is a clone of the bounty hunter Jango Fett, who raises him as his son. Boba helps Jango escape from Obi-Wan Kenobi, but later at the Battle of Geonosis, witnesses Jango's death by Jedi Master Mace Windu.
Logan reprised his role as the voice of Boba in the CGI animated series The Clone Wars. In the second season, Boba is shown working with bounty hunters Aurra Sing, Bossk, and Castas. With their help, Boba attempts to avenge his father's death at the hands of Mace Windu. However, he is unsuccessful, and as a result of his actions, is sentenced to prison along with Bossk. They escape in the fourth season, and Boba forms his own syndicate of bounty hunters, including Bossk and Dengar, who first appeared in The Empire Strikes Back along with Fett. According to Daniel Logan, Boba was to have appeared in more episodes of the series before its cancellation.
Boba Fett appears extensively in the Star Wars Expanded Universe of novels, comic books, and video games. Various material depict his work as a bounty hunter, for which he charges "famously expensive" fees and that he undertakes only when the mission meets "his harsh sense of justice." He is notably featured in the 1996 Shadows of the Empire multimedia project. The Bounty Hunter Wars trilogy (1998–1999) depicts Fett as being more communicative than in the films because its plot requires Fett to show "an ability to convince people as well as kill them." Works such as Dark Horse Comics' Dark Empire series (1991–1992), set six years after Return of the Jedi, describe Fett escaping from the Sarlacc. In a 1995 anthology story, Fett nearly kills the Sarlacc, and a 1996 story narrates how Dengar, one of the bounty hunters from The Empire Strikes Back finds him and restores him back to health. During Fett's recovery, he was impersonated by another bounty hunter named Jodo Kast who imitated Fett by wearing a similar suit of Mandalorian armor in order to benefit from Fett's fearsome reputation. Dengar initially confused Kast for Fett during a bounty and after realizing that it was an imposter, he warned Fett, who set a trap that killed Kast.
Before the release of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, Daniel Keys Moran developed a backstory for Fett in which he was once named Jaster Mereel, a "Journeyman Protector" who was convicted of treason. His backstory was depicted differently in Attack of the Clones, leading to the comic Jango Fett: Open Seasons (2003) retconning Mereel to Jango's mentor. A young adult book series called Boba Fett (2002–2004) recounts the events of Attack of the Clones and depicts Fett taking his father's ship and armor to begin his own bounty-hunting career.
Fett encounters his old nemesis Han Solo in a short story set 15 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, and fights side-by-side with him in The New Jedi Order: The Unifying Force (2003), set a decade later. In the Legacy of the Force series (2006–2008), set some 35 years after Return of the Jedi, Jaina Solo asks Fett to train her to help her defeat her corrupted brother Jacen. The series reveals that Fett became a family man at one point, though he was forcibly separated from his wife after killing his commanding officer for assaulting her. His wife subsequently disappeared and was presumed dead. Their granddaughter later sought Boba out and married a Mandalorian warrior. Boba's wife was discovered to still be alive, having been frozen in carbonite decades earlier.
In April 2014, the licensed Star Wars novels, comics and video games released up to that point were rebranded by Lucasfilm as Legends and declared non-canon to the official film franchise in order to create a blank slate for the sequel trilogy.
In the first issue of Darth Vader (2015), the titular antihero hires Boba Fett's band of bounty hunters, who are in the court of Jabba the Hutt, to capture the pilot who destroyed the Death Star. In the 2015 Star Wars comic, Fett discovers the identity of the pilot and tells Darth Vader, who realizes Luke Skywalker is his son. Fett also appears in Star Wars Battlefront and Star Wars Battlefront II. Mandalorian armor resembling Fett's can be seen in the background of a few scenes in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018).
Fett made a cameo appearance in a live-action mockumentary filmed on the set of Return of the Jedi titled Return of the Ewok (1982). Post-production was never completed, and it has never been officially released.
In early 2013, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced the development of a Star Wars spin-off film written by Simon Kinberg, which Entertainment Weekly reported would focus on Boba Fett during the original trilogy. In mid-2014, Josh Trank was officially announced as the director of an undisclosed spin-off film, but had left the project a year later due to creative differences with Kinberg, causing a teaser for the Fett film to be scrapped from Star Wars Celebration. In May 2018, it was reported that James Mangold had signed on to write and direct a Fett film, with Kinberg attached as producer and co-writer. The author of a Fett-focused Legends story stated that Lucasfilm had considered adapting it into a film. However, by October, the Fett film was reportedly "100% dead," with the studio instead focusing on the upcoming The Mandalorian series, which utilizes a similar character design. The Fett film was afterwards reported to have also featured the other bounty hunters from The Empire Strikes Back.
Concept and development
Boba Fett stems from initial design concepts for Darth Vader, who was originally conceived as a rogue bounty hunter. While Vader became less a mercenary and more of a dark knight, the bounty hunter concept remained, and Fett became "an equally villainous" but "less conspicuous" character. Concept artist Ralph McQuarrie influenced Fett's design, which was finalized by and is credited to Joe Johnston. Norman Reynolds and the film's art department built the costume. Fett's armor was originally designed for "super troopers", and was adapted for Fett as the script developed. Screen-tested in all-white, Fett's armor eventually garnered a subdued color scheme intended to visually place him between white-armored "rank-and-file" Imperial stormtroopers and Vader, who wears black. This color scheme had the added bonus of conveying the "gray morality" of his character. The character's armor was designed to appear to have been scavenged from multiple sources, and it is adorned with trophies. A description of Fett's armor in the mid-1979 Bantha Tracks newsletter catalyzed "rampant speculation" about his origins. By 1979, Fett's backstory included having served in an army of Imperial shock troops which had battled the clone troopers of the Republic during the Clone Wars.
Despite two years of widespread publicity about Fett's appearance in The Empire Strikes Back, script rewrites significantly reduced the character's presence in the film. Fett's musical theme, composed by John Williams, is "not music, exactly" but "more of a gurgly, viola-and-bassoon thing aurally cross-pollinated with some obscure static sounds." Sound editor Ben Burtt added the sound of jangling spurs, created and performed by the foley artist team of Robert Rutledge and Edward Steidele, to Fett's appearance in Cloud City, intending to make the character menacing and the scene reminiscent of similar gunfighter appearances in Western films. At one point in Return of the Jedi's development, Fett was conceived as being a main villain, but he was finally replaced with Emperor Palpatine when Lucas decided to not make a third trilogy of Star Wars. Lucas also considered Fett fighting Lando during the Sarlacc sequence.
Daniel Keys Moran, who wrote a few stories featuring Boba Fett, cited Westerns as an influence on his development of the character. Moran said:
The difficult thing with Fett was finding a worldview for him that permitted him to proclaim a Code — given the stark Evil that permeated the Empire, Fett pretty much had to be either 1) Evil, or 2) an incredibly unforgiving, harsh, "greater good" sort of guy. The second approach worked and has resonated with some readers.
Star Wars creator George Lucas considered adding a shot of Fett escaping the Sarlacc in Return of the Jedi, but decided against it because it would have detracted from the story's focus, instead leaving the task of "reviving" Fett to Expanded Universe canon. Lucas also said that, had he known Fett would be so popular, he would have made the character's death "more exciting." Lucas at one point considered depicting Vader and Fett as brothers in the prequel films, but discounted it as too "hokey." In continuing to develop the character in the prequel films, Lucas closed some avenues for expanding the character's story while opening others. Fett is revealed as having escaped from the Sarlacc in the Legends continuity. In July 2014, Star Wars historian Jonathan W. Winzler revealed that Lucas had told him that Fett escaped from the Sarlacc, but this has yet to be demonstrated in the film canon.
Film casting and production
Boba Fett is primarily played by Jeremy Bulloch in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Bulloch's half-brother alerted him to the role. He was cast as Fett because the costume happened to fit "as if a Savile Row tailor had come out and made it"; he did not have to do a reading or screen test, and Bulloch never worked from a script for either film.
Filming the role for Empire lasted three weeks. The actor was pleased with the costume and used it to convey the character's menace. Bulloch based his performance on Clint Eastwood's portrayal of the Man with No Name in A Fistful of Dollars; similar to the Western character, Bulloch cradled the gun prop, made the character seem ready to shoot, slightly tilted his head, and stood a particular way. Bulloch did not try to construct a backstory for the character, and said later that "the less you do with Boba Fett, the stronger he becomes". Playing Fett in Empire was both the smallest and most physically uncomfortable role Bulloch has played; Bulloch said donning the heavy jetpack was the worst aspect of the role.
Bulloch spent four weeks on Return of the Jedi. He was unaware of Fett's demise before filming began and was "very upset" by the development; he would like to have done more with Fett. Still, Bulloch believed killing Fett made the character stronger, and that his "weak" death makes fans want the character to return. Bulloch thought a scene created for the Special Edition in which Fett flirts with one of Jabba's dancers was not in keeping with the character's nature.
A younger version of the character was played by Daniel Logan in Attack of the Clones. Logan had not seen any of the Star Wars films prior to being cast as Fett, but he watched the original trilogy at Lucas' request. The actor had to rely on his imagination for the bluescreen filming. Both Bulloch and Logan had also expressed interest in reprising their role of Fett in the planned Underworld TV series, but the series remains undeveloped.
According to the official Star Wars website, Fett was voiced by Don Francks in the Holiday Special. Inverse also credited the role to him based on his work in later Nelvana productions.[a] Bulloch wore Fett's costume in Empire and Jedi, but John Morton filled in during one scene for Empire, and Jason Wingreen voiced the character in Empire. His brief appearance in A New Hope was performed by Industrial Light & Magic creature animator Mark Austin. The character's appearance in the Special Edition footage of Jedi was performed by Don Bies and Nelson Hall. For the 2004 rereleases, Temuera Morrison replaced the character's original voice for the continuity purposes.
The character's voice in National Public Radio's Star Wars radio dramas was provided by Alan Rosenberg in The Empire Strikes Back and Ed Begley, Jr. in Return of the Jedi, Tim Glovatsky in the audio adaptation of Dark Forces: Rebel Agent, Joe Hacker in audio adaptation of the Dark Empire comics, Temuera Morrison for Empire at War, Battlefront II and Battlefront: Elite Squadron, Dee Bradley Baker in The Force Unleashed, The Force Unleashed II and Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, Chris Cox in Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike, Tom Kane in Galactic Battlegrounds, Demolition and Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, and Daniel Logan for The Clone Wars and Lego Star Wars: The Video Game.
Boba Fett is a "cult figure" and one of the most popular Star Wars characters. In 2008, Boba Fett was selected by Empire magazine as the 79th greatest movie character of all time, and he is included on Fandomania's list of The 100 Greatest Fictional Characters. IGN ranked Boba Fett as the eighth top Star Wars character, due to his status as a fan-favourite and cult following. He personifies "danger and mystery", and Susan Mayse calls Fett "the unknowable Star Wars character" who "delivers mythic presence." Although Tom Bissell asserts that no one knows why Boba Fett has become so popular, nor cares why, both Lucas and Bulloch cite Fett's mysterious nature as reasons for his popularity. Bulloch, who has never fully understood the character's popularity, attributes it to the costume and the respect Fett garners from Darth Vader and Jabba the Hutt. The initial Boba Fett toy, more than Fett's actual film appearance, might be responsible for the character's popularity; Henry Jenkins suggests children's play helped the character "take on a life of its own". Moran said Vader's admonition specifically to Fett in The Empire Strikes Back — "No disintegrations" — gives Fett credibility; he was interested in Fett because the character is "strong, silent, [and] brutal". Jeter says that even when Fett appears passive, he conveys "capability and ruthlessness". Bissell credits Bulloch for giving Fett "effortless authority" in his first scene in The Empire Strikes Back, using such nuances as "cradling" his blaster and slightly cocking his head. Fett's small role in The Empire Strikes Back may actually have made the character seem more intriguing. Logan, who was a Young Artist Award nominee for his portrayal of Fett, compares Fett to "that boy in school who never talks" and who attracts others' curiosity.
Bissell adds that Boba Fett, along with other minor characters like Darth Maul and Kyle Katarn, appeals to adolescent boys' "images of themselves: essentially bad-ass but ... honorable about it." This tension and the absence of a clear "evil nature" (distinct from evil actions) offer Fett dramatic appeal. Furthermore, Fett "is cool because he was designed to be cool", presenting a "wicked ambiguity" akin to John Milton's portrayal of Satan in Paradise Lost and Iago in William Shakespeare's Othello. Bissell compares Fett to Beowulf, Ahab, and Huckleberry Finn: characters "too big" for their original presentation, and apt for continued development in other stories. Moran finds Fett reminiscent of the Man with No Name.
The San Francisco Chronicle describes Boba Fett fans as "among the most passionate", and the character is important to Star Wars fan culture. Boba Fett's popular following before the character even appeared in The Empire Strikes Back influenced Damon Lindelof's interest in developing Lost across multiple media. Will Brooker calls "superb" a fan's campaign to have Boba Fett unmasked as a woman. Fan parodies include Boba Phat, a cosplay "intergalactic booty hunter" created by David James.
Fett is one of the top five best-selling Star Wars action figures, and Boba Fett-related products are "among the most expensive" Star Wars merchandise. Fett was the first new mail-away action figure created for The Empire Strikes Back; although advertised as having a rocket-firing backpack, safety concerns led Kenner to sell his rocket attached. Gray called the early toy "a rare and precious commodity", and one of the rocket-firing prototypes sold at auction for $16,000 in 2003. In August 2009, Hasbro released a Fett action figure based on McQuarrie's white-armored concept, and Boba Fett as both a child and bounty hunter have been made into Lego minifigures. Wizards of the Coast's Star Wars Trading Card Game includes several Boba Fett cards. Hallmark Cards created a Boba Fett Christmas tree ornament. In January 2015, an unopened Boba Fett figure sold for £18,000 at auction in the UK, the figure was in factory fresh condition and did not have the packaging punched for hanging in a shop.
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