Now that the Boba Fett film is at the bottom of a Sarlacc pit, Lucasfilm may finally be forging a new direction. And, perhaps, it’s a great time to say the fabled character wasn’t all that great to begin with.
Boba Fett moved a lot of units back in the day. That’s industry speak for: he sold a ton of toys. From the outside looking in, there are some fairly obvious reasons, queue Tobey Maguire Spiderman 3 throwback, “it’s the suit.”
Yes, the suit. No one can deny the visual majesty of it. It wears on the surface like a washed-out crimson-and-moss hallucination on magic mushrooms. Its scrapes and nicks and dents give Fett the allure of used a mercenary with the feel of an old gunslinger from the wild west. He’s got a rocket on his jet pack and a lasso flies out his arm, it’s enough to make Bruce Wayne jealous.
But looking at a list of Fett’s accomplishments is like looking at the nutritional facts at the back of a Poland Spring bottle, they’re nonexistent. His murky legends past was wiped clean by Disney no matter how hard it tries to shoehorn some fantastic badassery into the comics and other media.Boba
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The truth is, onscreen, Fett hasn’t earned much of the reputation everyone wants to give him.
Boba Fett literally has four moments of voice dialogue in the original series and they consist of five sentences – unless, you want to throw in the Wilhelm scream as he clumsily fumbles his way into the Sarlacc as a fifth line. For all the good he does tracking the Millennium Falcon, it’s just as easily wiped away when he allows a blind man to accidentally knock him back into a digestive sand trap.
And we know, we can hear you yelling, “No disintegrations!” at your screen, but that always just seemed like Vader admonishing Fett not to foul things up.
So why has there been a fascination with the character? Well, George Lucas’ original Star Wars trilogy had a blatant tone to them: Good versus evil, light versus dark.
Darth Vader is the man in black, Luke Skywalker emphasizes a white knight wholeness to him before dressing in dark tones by Return of The Jedi to throw the audience a bit. Fett does something in these films that the others don’t, he tows the line between good and evil – even if the pendulum swings dark more often than not. In some ways, the lonesome rogue is a contrarian glimpse at what Han Solo might have been.
But for Lucasfilm, it’s about money. The same reason Lucas himself probably resurrected the character in the first place, you can almost hear Lucas mouthing, “He’s no good to me dead.” Solo: A Star Wars Story looked like easy coin to throw in the Mickey Mouse piggy bank but it’s not even a top ten grossing film worldwide in 2018.
It shows Lucasfilm may be able to retool on the fly. Understanding a film based on Fett would add nothing to the backbone of the overarching Skywalker Saga.
This is where the animated series The Clone Wars and Rebels have picked up the mantle, forging an identity and playing a role within the larger narrative. It may be early, but it isn’t presumptuous to say Resistance and The Mandalorian probably will do the same.
Perhaps Lucasfilm is starting to realize that its cinematic features need to look towards the future or even the deep past (Knights of The old Republic anyone?). Focusing on making Episode IX the best film it could be is a start and realizing that the only thing Boba Fett had inside that suit was nothing at all, well, that’s a good place to end it.
Star Wars Episode IX is scheduled for worldwide release December 20, 2019.