Sunday, May 16, 2010

30 Years of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK - part 16

 The Bounty Hunters - part 5

BOBA FETT:  Despite having a silly name, Boba Fett quickly became one of the most popular Star Wars characters, so much so that George Lucas digitally implanted him into the original film , and gave him an identically armored father who genetically fathered not only Boba, but the entire clone army.

So what is it about this character that made him such a big hit? More than anything it's probably his look. He's got a great looking helmet that lends him a mysterious aura, more so since we never see him without it on (which until the second prequel movie came out lent to a lot of speculation on whether or not he was even human beneath it). Even though we didn't see much of it being deployed in the movies, his armor is loaded with weapons; flamethrowers, rocket dart launchers in the knees, a bolo line, a missile firing jet backpack, etc., making him something of a one man army. Fett also had this great whispery voice (provided by Jason Wingreen), which sadly has been replaced with the voice of Temura Morrison for the sake of continuity since Morrison played Fett's father in the prequels. Finally, I loved the fact that when Boba Fett walked, his footsteps made the sound of spurs.

Before the Clone Wars, Mandalorian bounty hunter, Jango Fett was hired by a man calling himself Tyranus to serve as the genetic template for a clone army. In addition to the substantial monetary compensation, Fett also requested one of the clones who was not set to age at an accelerated rate. This normally aging clone became Jango's son Boba Fett. The other clones, initially trained by Jango Fett as well, became the clone army of the Republic, and later the first Imperial Stormtroopers. Jango would be called at the outset of the Clone Wars, and Boba would grow up in his father's footsteps to become the most renowned bounty hunter in the galaxy.

While Lucas went out of his way in an attempt to please fans by including Boba Fett, and his essentially identical father in the prequel films, he also wasresponsible from taking this really cool, still, mostly silent  character from The Empire Strikes Back and turning him into a buffoon in Return of the Jedi, and more of a Buffoon in the special edition of Return of the Jedi. Reduced to being mere hanger on in Jabba's court, he died screaming like a girl and flailing his arms and legs, unable to control the flight of his ignited jet back until he slammed into the side of Jabba's sail barge and tumbled into the mouth of the Sarlacc. In the special edition, rather than playing it cool, he is given a scene in which he goes and hits on a backup singer.

Of course, Jango would be presented in much the same way, cool and dangerous when we first meet him and when he fights Obi-Wan Kenobi in hand to hand combat and later in a starfighter battle. When we next see Jango, he is buffoonish, diving after a dropped lightsaber, being run over by the rhino-like reek, and finally being done in by Jedi, Mace Windu without putting up much of a fight. I guess Boba really was a clone of his father.

More on Boba Fett tomorrow.


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