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Boba Fett
FettbobaJB.png

Jeremy Bulloch as Boba Fett
Position Bounty hunter
Species Human
Gender Male
Affiliation Mandalorians, Confederacy of Independent Systems, Galactic Empire
Portrayed by See below

Boba Fett is a character in the Star Wars fictional universe. A bounty hunter hired by Darth Vader to find the Millennium Falcon, he is a major villain in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980). Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) establishes Boba Fett's back story as a clone of Jango Fett, a bounty hunter who raises Boba as a son. The Star Wars Expanded Universe expands on Fett's origins and career as a bounty hunter. Fett's air of danger and mystery have created a cult following for the character, who has been merchandised across multiple media. Fett might be part of the live-action Star Wars series under development.[1]

Contents

Appearances

Promotions and early depictions

Fett first appeared at the September 24, 1978, San Anselmo Country Fair parade.[2] The character appeared on television several weeks later, animated by Nelvana Studios for The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978) as a mysterious figure who betrays Luke Skywalker (voiced by Mark Hamill), Chewbacca, C-3PO (voiced by Anthony Daniels), and R2-D2.[3][2] After his image and identity were revealed in The Star Wars 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.[4] The character also appears in Marvel Comics' Star Wars newspaper strip.[3]

Films

Fett is the "next major villain" after Darth Vader (James Earl Jones/David Prowse) in The Empire Strikes Back.[5] Fett tracks the Millennium Falcon to Cloud City, where Vader captures its passengers and tortures its captain, Han Solo (Harrison Ford). Wanting to collect a bounty on Solo from Jabba the Hutt, Fett confronts Vader about whether Solo will survive. Vader's decision not to elevate the confrontation marks the only time a character other than Emperor Palpatine makes Vader "quail".[6]

Fett is at Jabba's palace in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) when Solo's rescuers are captured, and he travels on Jabba's sail barge to the sarlacc pit where the prisoners are to be executed. He attempts to intervene when the prisoners mount an escape, but Solo accidentally activates Fett's rocket pack, sending the bounty hunter crashing into Jabba's ship and tumbling into the sarlacc's mouth.[3]

Fett appears in a scene added to the Special Edition version of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1997), appearing briefly outside the Millennium Falcon with Jabba the Hutt.[3] Fett was added to several scenes altered for Return of the Jedi Special Edition (1998).

In Attack of the Clones, Boba Fett is a child clone of bounty hunter Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison), who is raising Boba as a son.[3] Boba helps the bounty hunter escape from Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and witnesses Jango's decapitation by Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson).[3]

Expanded Universe

Boba Fett appears extensively in the Star Wars Expanded Universe of novels, comic books, and video games.[3] The young adult Boba Fett book series released after Attack of the Clones depicts Fett taking his father's ship and armor to begin his own bounty-hunting career.[3] Some Expanded Universe stories released before Attack of the Clones depict other accounts of Fett's origins.[3] These stories include him being a stormtrooper who killed his commanding officer; a leader of the fabled Mandalorian warriors; and Jaster Mereel, a "Journeyman Protector" convicted of treason.[3] Karen Traviss' novel Bloodlines (2006), published four years after Attack of the Clones' release, states that Fett seeded some of these "false" backstories himself.[7]

Video games and books depict Fett's 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".[8] K. W. Jeter's Bounty Hunter Wars trilogy (1998–1999) depicts Fett as more communicative than in the films because the books' plots require Fett to show "an ability to convince people as well as kill them".[9] Works such as Dark Horse Comics' Dark Empire series (1991–1992) describe Fett escaping from the sarlacc.[3] In the Legacy of the Force series (2006–2008), Jaina Solo asks Boba Fett to train her to help her defeat her corrupted brother.

Concept and development

Boba Fett stems from initial concepts for Darth Vader, who was originally conceived as a rogue bounty hunter.[3] 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.[5] Concept artist Ralph McQuarrie influenced Fett's design, which was finalized by and is credited to Joe Johnston.[10] Fett's armor was originally designed for "super troopers", and was adapted for Fett as the script developed.[11] 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.[5] The character's armor was designed to appear to have been scavenged from multiple sources, and it is adorned with trophies.[5] A description of the character's armor in the summer 1979 Bantha Tracks newsletter catalyzed "rampant speculation" about the character's mysterious origins.[4]

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.[4] Fett's "distinctive" 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".[6] Sound editor Ben Burtt added the sound of jangling spurs to when Fett reveals himself in Cloud City, intending to make Fett menacing and the scene reminiscent of similar gunfighter appearances in Western films.[12]

Star Wars creator George Lucas considered adding a shot of Fett escaping the sarlaac in Return of the Jedi, but decided against it because it would have detracted from the story's focus.[13] Lucas also said that, had he known Fett would be so popular, he would have made the character's supposed death "more exciting".[13] Lucas at one point considered depicting Vader and Fett as brothers in the prequel films, but discounted it as too "hokey".[14] In continuing to develop the character in the prequel films, Lucas closed some avenues for expanding the character's story while opening others.[15]

Daniel Keys Moran, who wrote several Fett-related stories, cited Westerns as an influence on his development of the character.[16] 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.[16]

Jeremy Bulloch

Fett is primarily played by Jeremy Bulloch in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. John Fass Morton filled in for Bulloch during one scene in The Empire Strikes Back[17] and Jason Wingreen voiced the character in that film. Bulloch was cast as Fett because the costume happened to fit;[18] he did not have to do a reading or a screen test,[19] and Bulloch never worked from a script for either film.[17]

Filming the role for The Empire Strikes Back lasted three weeks.[20] The actor was pleased with the costume and used it to convey the character's menace.[17] Bulloch based his performance on Clint Eastwood's portrayal of the Man with No Name in A Fistful of Dollars;[20] similar to the Western character, Bulloch cradled the gun prop,[19] made the character seem ready to shoot,[19] slightly tilted his head,[21] and stood a particular way.[21] Playing Fett in The Empire Strikes Back was both the smallest[19] and most physically uncomfortable[22] role Bulloch has played; Bulloch said donning the heavy jetpack as the worst aspect of the role.[23]

Bulloch spent four weeks working on Return of the Jedi.[20] He was unaware of Fett's demise before filming began[18] and was "very upset" by the development;[17] he would like to have done more with Fett.[17] Still, Bulloch believed killing Fett made the character stronger,[18] and that his "weak" death makes fans want the character to return.[20] Bulloch thinks a scene created for Return of the Jedi Special Edition in which Fett flirts with a woman is not in keeping with the character's nature.[24]

Other portrayals

George Buza voiced Fett in the Star Wars: Droids episode "Race to the Finish" (1985). His brief appearance in the Special Edition of A New Hope was performed by Industrial Light & Magic creature animator Mark Austin;[17] Fett's appearance in the Special Edition footage of Return of the Jedi was performed by Don Bies and Nelson Hall. Daniel Logan portrayed Fett as a child in Attack of the Clones. For the 2004 DVD release of The Empire Strikes Back, Wingreen's voice was replaced by Temuera Morrison's. Morrison and other actors have also voiced Fett for several Star Wars video games.

Reception

Boba Phat (right) and The Go-Go's' Jane Wiedlin at the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con International. Phat, an "intergalactic booty hunter", is a cosplay character created by Star Wars fan David James.

Fett is a "cult figure"[14] and one of the most popular Star Wars characters.[25] He personifies "danger and mystery",[4] and Susan Mayse calls Fett "the unknowable Star Wars character" who "delivers mythic presence."[26] Although Tom Bissell asserts that no one knows why Boba Fett has become so popular, nor cares why,[6] both Lucas and Bulloch cite Fett's mysterious nature as reasons for his popularity.[14] Bulloch, who has never fully understood the character's popularity, nevertheless also attributes it to the costume and the respect Fett garners from Vader and Jabba the Hutt.[17] The initial Boba Fett toy, more than Fett's actual film appearance, might be responsible for the character's popularity;[27][28] Henry Jenkins suggests children's play helped the character "take on a life of its own".[15] 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".[16] Jeter says that even when Fett appears passive, he conveys "capability and ruthlessness".[9] 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.[6] Fett's small role in The Empire Strikes Back may actually made the character seem more intriguing.[4]

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".[6] This tension and the absence of a clear "evil nature" (distinct from evil actions) offer Fett dramatic appeal.[6] 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.[6] Bissell compares Fett to Beowulf, Ahab, and Huckleberry Finn: characters "too big" for their original presentation, and apt for continued development in other stories.[6] Moran finds Fett reminiscent of the Man with No Name.[16]

The San Francisco Chronicle describes Boba Fett fans as "among the most passionate",[10] and the character is important to Star Wars fan culture.[29] 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.[30] Will Brooker calls "superb" a fan's campaign to have Boba Fett unmasked as a woman.[31] Fan parodies include Boba Phat, a cosplay "intergalactic booty hunter" created by David James.[32]

Merchandising

Fett is one of the top five best-selling Star Wars action figures,[14] and Boba Fett-related products are "among the most expensive" Star Wars merchandise.[10] Fett was the first new mail-away action figure created for The Empire Strikes Back;[3][6] although advertised as having a rocket-firing backpack, safety concerns led Kenner to sell his rocket attached.[3] Gray called the early toy "a rare and precious commodity",[27] and one of the rocket-firing prototypes sold at auction for $16,000 in 2003.[19] In August 2009, Hasbro released a Fett action figure based on McQuarrie's white-armored concept,[33] and Boba Fett as both a child and bounty hunter have been made into Lego minifigures.[34] Wizards of the Coast's Star Wars Trading Card Game includes several Boba Fett cards.[35] Hallmark created a Boba Fett Christmas tree ornament.[14]

See also

References

  1. ^ Keck, William (2005-06-12). "Lucas: Man of the gala". USA Today. Gannett Company. http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2005-06-12-afi-star-wars_x.htm. Retrieved 2010-01-11. 
  2. ^ a b Vilmur, Pete (2006-10-19). "Proto-Fett: The Birth of Boba". Lucasfilm. pp. 1. http://www.starwars.com/episode-v/bts/article/f20061019/index.html. Retrieved 2009-05-04. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Fett, Boba". Databank. Lucasfilm. http://www.starwars.com/databank/character/bobafett/. Retrieved 2010-01-13. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Vilmur, Pete (2006-10-19). "Proto-Fett: The Birth of Boba". Lucasfilm. pp. 3. http://www.starwars.com/episode-v/bts/article/f20061019/index.html?page=3. Retrieved 2009-05-04. 
  5. ^ a b c d Vilmur, Pete (2006-10-19). "Proto-Fett: The Birth of Boba". Lucasfilm. pp. 2. http://www.starwars.com/episode-v/bts/article/f20061019/index.html?page=2. Retrieved 2009-05-04. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Bissell, Tom (2002). Glenn Kenny. ed. Pale Starship, Pale Rider: The Ambiguous Appeal of Boba Fett. A galaxy not so far away: writers and artists on twenty-five years of Star Wars. Macmillan. pp. 10–40. ISBN 9780805070743. http://books.google.com/books?id=grAvkJhyz30C&pg=PA10. 
  7. ^ Traviss, Karen (2006-08-29). Bloodlines. Del Rey Books. ISBN 0-345-47751-0. 
  8. ^ Reynolds, David West; James Luceno (2006-09-25). Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary — The Ultimate Guide to Characters and Creatures from the Entire Star Wars Saga. Ryder Windham. DK Children. ISBN 978-0756622381. 
  9. ^ a b "The Mystery of Boba Fett: An Interview with Author K.W. Jeter". Lucasfilm. 1999-02-19. http://www.starwars.com/vault/books/02111999news.html. Retrieved 2010-01-13. 
  10. ^ a b c Hartlaub, Peter (2005-05-14). "Forget Anakin -- for die-hard 'Star Wars' fans, Boba Fett rules". San Francisco Chronicle. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/05/14/DDG94CO3CN1.DTL&hw=fett&sn=001&sc=1000. Retrieved 2009-05-04. 
  11. ^ Giant Robot: 48. 2004. http://books.google.com/books?id=-ioaAQAAIAAJ&q=%22boba+fett%22&dq=%22boba+fett%22&lr=&ei=eHZPS-PPEKiuyQSVzYiMDA&cd=32. 
  12. ^ The Empire Strikes Back DVD audio commentary
  13. ^ a b Return of the Jedi DVD audio commentary
  14. ^ a b c d e Pollock, Dale (1999). Skywalking: The life and films of George Lucas. Da Capo Press. pp. 287. ISBN 9780306809040. http://books.google.com/books?id=ZC2c40Bw-L4C&pg=PA287. 
  15. ^ a b Jenkins, Henry (2006). Convergence culture: where old and new media collide. NYU Press. pp. 115. ISBN 9780814742815. http://books.google.com/books?id=RlRVNikT06YC&pg=RA1-PA15. 
  16. ^ a b c d "Exclusive Interview with the Author Behind Boba Fett's Honor". 2007-07-10. http://www.bobafettfanclub.com/news/spotlight/daniel-keys-moran_jaster-mereel/. Retrieved 2010-01-11. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f g "Star Wars: Boba Fett". The Washington Post. 2005-05-17. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2005/05/05/DI2005050500653.html. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  18. ^ a b c Bentley, David (2008-11-24). "Boba Fett says Star Wars' appeal is a fairy tale in space". The Geek Files. Coventry Telegraph. http://blogs.coventrytelegraph.net/thegeekfiles/2008/11/boba-fett-actor-star-wars-is-a.html. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  19. ^ a b c d e Lessing, U. J.. "Boba Fett in Kansas City: An Interview with Jeremy Bulloch". efilmcritic.com. http://efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=1480. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  20. ^ a b c d Spice, Chris. ""Straight Shooting" with Jeremy Bulloch". sandtroopers.com. http://www.sandtroopers.com/events/collectors_expo2004/jeremy_bulloch.htm. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  21. ^ a b Rosiak, David (2009-11). "Boba Unfettered: The Galaxy's Most Notorious Bounty Hunter Reveals the Mandalorian Behind the Mask". the 11th hour. pp. 2. http://www.the11thhour.com/archives/111999/features/bobafett2.html. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  22. ^ "The Lightsabre Interview: Jeremy Bulloch". http://www.lightsabre.co.uk/Interviews/jeremybullochinterview.htm. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  23. ^ Rosiak, David (2009-11). "Boba Unfettered: The Galaxy's Most Notorious Bounty Hunter Reveals the Mandalorian Behind the Mask". the 11th hour. pp. 1. http://www.the11thhour.com/archives/111999/features/bobafett1.html. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  24. ^ "Confessions Of A Bounty Hunter: An interview with Jeremy Bulloch". starstore.com. 1998-09-10. pp. 2. http://www.starstore.com/Magazine/Interviews/JeremyBulloch2.htm. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  25. ^ Montandon, Mac (2008). Jetpack Dreams: One Man's Up and Down (But Mostly Down) Search for the Greatest Invention That Never Was. pp. 55. ISBN 9780306815287. http://books.google.com/books?id=cSNgPMJ1p3IC&pg=PA54. 
  26. ^ Mayse, Susan (2000-06-08). "The Tao of Boba Fett". Space.com. http://www.space.com/sciencefiction/movies/boba_fett_tao_000608.html. Retrieved 2009-05-04. 
  27. ^ a b Gray, Jonathan (2010-01-01). Show Sold Separately: Promos, Spoilers, and other Media Paratexts. New York University Press. pp. 183. ISBN 978-0814731956. http://books.google.com/books?id=HSWez23WtdoC&pg=PA183&dq=%22boba+fett%22&lr=&ei=PnpPS-7BBIbazQS_ieGUDA&cd=82#v=onepage&q=%22boba%20fett%22&f=false. 
  28. ^ Jenkins, Henry (2005-09-23). Meenakshi Gigi Durham and Douglas Kellner. ed. Quentin Tarantino's Star Wars? Digital Cinema, Media Convergence, and Participatory Culture. Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks. pp. 568. ISBN 978-1405132589. http://books.google.com/books?id=KfmTkKmEkiIC&pg=PT606&dq=%22boba+fett%22&lr=&ei=2YBPS_TmJZ-CzAT-pZ2zCQ&cd=119#v=onepage&q=%22boba%20fett%22&f=false. Retrieved 2010-01-14. 
  29. ^ Jenkins, Henry (2005-09-23). Meenakshi Gigi Durham and Douglas Kellner. ed. Quentin Tarantino's Star Wars? Digital Cinema, Media Convergence, and Participatory Culture. Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks. pp. 567. ISBN 978-1405132589. http://books.google.com/books?id=KfmTkKmEkiIC&pg=PT606&dq=%22boba+fett%22&lr=&ei=2YBPS_TmJZ-CzAT-pZ2zCQ&cd=119#v=onepage&q=%22boba%20fett%22&f=false. Retrieved 2010-01-14. 
  30. ^ Gray, Jonathan (2010-01-01). Show Sold Separately: Promos, Spoilers, and other Media Paratexts. New York University Press. pp. 187. ISBN 978-0814731956. http://books.google.com/books?id=HSWez23WtdoC&pg=PA187&dq=%22boba+fett%22&lr=&ei=PnpPS-7BBIbazQS_ieGUDA&cd=82#v=onepage&q=%22boba%20fett%22&f=false. 
  31. ^ Brooker, Will (2002). Using the force: creativity, community, and Star Wars fans. Continuum International Publishing Group. pp. 204. ISBN 9780826452870. http://books.google.com/books?id=80kB6JG1PVsC&pg=PA202. 
  32. ^ Zonkel, Phillip (2009-10-02). "Heroes welcome at Long Beach Comic Con". Press-Telegram. Los Angeles Newspaper Group. http://www.presstelegram.com/news/ci_13476056. Retrieved 2010-01-14. 
  33. ^ "Star Wars McQuarrie Concept Action Figures, Just in Time for Christmas". About.com. 2009-08-19. http://actionfigures.about.com/b/2009/08/19/star-wars-mcquarrie-concept-action-figures-just-in-time-for-christmas.htm. Retrieved 2010-01-11. 
  34. ^ Martell, Nevin (2009). Standing Small: A Celebration of 30 Years of the Lego Minifigure. DK. pp. 65, 69. 
  35. ^ "Cargo Bay Collector's Database". Lucasfilm. http://cargobay.starwars.com/webapps/cargobay/browse/900/10-10. Retrieved 2010-01-14. 

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