Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Boba Fett (A small character with a big legacy)

         Just about every character from the Original Star Wars trilogy is a house hold name, seriously, who doesn't know about Darth Vader, Yoda, Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, R2-D2 and C-3PO. However, there’s one other character that seems to have just as huge of a fan base as any of the classic characters and he didn’t even do anything. I’m off cores talking about the mysteries masked bounty hunter named Boba Fett. I’ve never been so surprised by a character that had so little to do in a series to become the subject of video games, board games, T-shirts, action figures, comic books, novels, Fan made video’s, costumes, fan websites and all kinds of merchandise.

   IGN even labeled him as the 8th greatest character out of the 100 best to come from the Star Wars universe and others have called him one of the greatest movie bad asses along with “Mad Max” and “Dirty Harry”. But if you thought that was crazy wait till you hear this, in 2008, Boba Fett was selected by Empire magazine as the 79th greatest movie character of all time, that’s insane. Well, I’d be lying if I didn’t think he was awesome too, and one of my favorite characters from the series. But even I can't explain why he’s so awesome. Parodies such as “Fan Boys” and “Star Wars Robot Chicken” have even made some funny jokes on why he's so popular when he had little to no part in the series. So what is it about this character that makes him so fascinating and memorable, well let’s look at the characters legacy through the Star Wars series to try and find out why he’s become such a cult figure. 

                                                       Boba Fett in Star Wars 4 A new Hope

Well, unlike most characters, Boba Fett was not featured in “Star Wars 4 A new Hope”, at least not when the movie was released in 1977. The 1997 special addition added an additional Jabba the Hutt scene ware Boba Fett was briefly seen in the back ground. Not mush else to say, but it's cool that he's now featured in the original classic, if only for a little bit. 

Boba Fett in The Star Wars Holiday Special

         His very first appearance was an animated segment of the 1978 TV special titled “The Star Wars Holiday Special”. This just goes to show how awesome this character really is, he can be introduced in something as un-watchable as this holiday special and he’s still a fan favorite. In this little animated segment, he’s on a mission from Darth Vader to gain Luke Skywalker’s and Han Solo’s trust but Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C-3po discover his true intentions before they take him to their base. His image is a little different than usual, he has orange colors as opposed to green, a silver helmet and a long Taser gun. He’s voiced by Don Francks and in all honesty this is the coolest the character has ever been. His voice is so firkin awesome and he just personifies so much danger and mystery whenever he speaks, especially when he addresses the characters as “Friend”. It’s also a real treat just to see him interacting with the main characters, something that never happens in the trilogy. The animation in this episode looks really stupid and there isn’t much of a plot but this 10 minuet cartoon from the holiday special is worth seeing just because of how awesome Fett is. “The Star Wars Holiday Special” still remains the worst thing to come from the Star Wars universe (and for a good reason) but at least we can thank it for giving us this awesome character.   

                                        Boba Fett in Star Wars 5 The Empire Strikes Back

     Boba Fett made his first official, live action appearance in “Star Wars 5 The Empire Strikes Back”. This time he’s voiced by Jason Wingreen who sounds a little menacing but not as awesome as before. Latter in the 2004 DVD special edition, he’s voiced by Temuera Morrison (who played Jango Fett in “Star Wars 2 Attack of the Clones”), I understand that he’s supposed to have his father’s voice but he just doesn’t sound all that menacing. Neither of these voice actors were credited in the film, instead all credit went to Jeremy Bulloch, who was in the costume. Bulloch based his performance on Clint Eastwood's portrayal of the Man with No Name in “A Fistful of Dollars”, as such he would be seen "cradling" his blaster and slightly cocking his head. So what does the character do in the film, well, once again he’s hired by Darth Vader to hunt down the millennium Falcon and he eventually tracks it to Cloud City. After a trap is sprong on our hero's, Boba Fett takes Han Solo as a prize for Jabba the Hut. Unfortunately, he doesn’t interact with any of the characters, with the exception of briefly interacting with Darth Vader. He doesn’t even fight anyone and that’s not including his full 2 seconds shooting at Luke Skywalker. Admittedly, he does look very cool and mysterious in the back ground, like he has his own story that was meant for another film entirely. This was also the first time seeing his rather cool ship know to fans as “Slave 1”. There’s a funny little “Star Wars Robot Chicken” joke were Boba Fett and Lando Calrissian are on a flight deck and Calrissian comments “That’s a pretty cool ship you got there Boba but I’m not too crazy about that name”. 

                                       Boba Fett featured in Star Wars 6 Return of the Jedi    

    Jeremy Bulloch continued his costumed performance in “Star Wars 6 Return of the Jedi”. His jet pack and wrist cable are finally seen in action but this time the character has even less to do. He’s only briefly seen in Jabba the Hutt’s place and latter during the battle on Jabba’s sale barge. Boba Fett engages Luke Skywalker in a very brief fight, then in an anti-climactic ending, Han Solo accidently hits his jet back casing him to crash into the side of the barge and dropping into a monster pit were he’s eaten by the sarlacc creature and that’s all we get from him. The 1997 special addition had some additional footage of Fett in Jabba’s palace, flirting with some girl, I guise just to give him a little more screen time. George Lucas has stated that had he known that this character would become so popular, he would have given him a better, more exciting death. But I think a lot of his fan base comes from that want and interest to see him do more. Jango Fett had a lot of involvement in Attack of the Clones and had a pretty exciting death but he doesn’t have as big a fan base. So in an interesting case, it’s because he doesn’t do much that he has a fan base. It’s all part of that age old saying that less is more, and the less you show of an interesting looking character, the more interested people get.

                                              Boba Fett featured in Star Wars Droids 

     In 1985 there was an animated TV series called “Star Wars Droids” which fallowed the adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO. Boba Fett is seen as a villain in the opening credit sequence but he only makes one appearance in an episode called “A Race to the Finish”. Don Francks, who did the voice work in The Star Wars Holiday Special returned for this show and he has the same orange look and design from before. Basically a group of villains called the Fromms enlist in Boba Fett’s help to get revenge on a group of racers. In the end they fail and Fett turns the Fromms over to Jabba the Hutt for a reword. It’s not one of his best animated events, especially considering we see so little of him and he never interacts with anyone. But there is one note worthy moment when the Fromm leader is talking to Fett in a door way and he’s completely covered in shadow. The rest of the Fromms don’t know who their leader is talking to, then Fett steps forward into the light and the rest of the Fromm are suddenly terrified. It’s a cool little moment and the episode is worth watching for hard core Fett fans. 

                                    Boba Fett featured in Star Wars 2 Attack of the Clones
     When news that the Star Wars prequel trilogy was on its way, we knew that we’d be seeing the origins of Boba Fett. George Lucas first considered making him related to Darth Vader in some way but then thought that story would be pushing it too much. I’m certainly glad he dropped that idea but what we got instead wasn’t much better. In “Star Wars 2 Attack of the Clones” we see Boba Fett as a child played by Daniel Logan. We learn that he was an unaltered clone from a bounty hunter named Jango Fett, and that he looked upon Boba as his own son. This was a little disappointing to me, to think that behind his helmet, Fett has the exact same face as all the other Storm Troopers and his outfit was just passed down from his father. I always imagined there being more to this character, other than being grown in a factory and taking his fallen fathers armor. Jango Fett was actually a superior character, he had more to do with the story, he interacted with the characters and he engaged them in battle, which was really exciting. There is a little bit of tragedy to Boba’s past, but were not given much of a character, again he’s just there as a bones. There was a book titled “Boba Fett: The Fight to Survive”, which continued his story after his father died but we still don’t get anything that exciting from him.

                                           Boba Fett featured in Star Wars The Clone Wars


     It wasn’t until the final 3 episodes of season 2 in the TV show “Star Wars The Clone Wars” that I got the Boba Fett story that I had been waiting for. These three episodes made for very solid stories full of tragedy, anger, regret and we see a few new sides of Boba that I thought were rather interesting. Daniel Logan returns to the role and the character is now on a personal mission of revenge against Mace Windu for killing his father. In the first episode titled “Death Trap”, Boba disguises his identity amongst a group of young clone cadets that are training on a republic “Jedi” cruiser. After his first attempt to kill Windu fails, he then takes out the entire ship on his own from the inside. The ship crashes on a nearby planet but Mace Windu and most of the passengers escape before it crashes. The story continues in the episodes “R2-D2 Come Home” and “Lethal Takedown”. It’s a very nicely constructed three-parter with good action and some rather surprising emotional levels. Boba is fuelled with vengeance but at the same time he’s feeling nothing but regret for what he’s doing. He really doesn’t want anyone else getting killed because of his own personal vendetta and wants nothing more than to be accepted as a friend amongst his clone brothers. His story just feels more tragic because he seems to have the potential to be a better person but he’s lost and consumed by hatred. 


It’s his internal conflict between anger and honor that makes it so fascinating and the music in this episode dose a damn good job enhancing the mood and the drama that the characters going through. We also get some awesome shots of Slave 1, definitely the coolest the ship has ever been. For those of you who wanted to see a really good Boba Fett story, this is what I’d recommend above anything else. After the season 2 finally of Star Wars The Clone Wars”, Boba Fett would continue to make appearance in the show. He's briefly featured in an episode title "Deception", which is a great bounty hunter episode, which involved Obi-Wan Kenobi going under cover as a mercenary. In another episode titled “Bounty”, we see Boba Fett take command of his own small team of Bounty Hunters, there mission is to protect some valuable cargo from bandits. This is without a doubt, one of the best bounty hunter episodes of the series and features some thrilling action scenes. Boba Fett even gets his own armor and helmet, the colors for this costume are red and grey as opposed to his usual green colors and it makes for a cool first costume for him to wear. All though, the design of his helmet looks a lot more like the "Predator" then anything else, he's still awesome in this episode and he's fantastic in this animated series, easily his best portrayal so far.  

So that’s the complete legacy of Boba Fett and dose he really deserve to be a cult figure? Well, in the beginning, he did seem like an interesting intergalactic man of mystery. The only thing we really knew about him was that he had one of the greatest outfits ever seen in a Sci-Fi movie. The helmet, that tint of green, his gadgets, and the rocket jet pack were all just so cool! But that doesn’t make him a good character, just a nice bit of extra flavor to add to this awesome series and that’s all he’ll ever really be. 
         The End

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