Tuesday, May 18, 2010

30 Years of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK - part 18

The Bounty Hunters - part 7

BOBA FETT (continued): The Boba Fett costume went through several prototypes before the final look was achieved.

The initial costume was made simply to show how it would look, and all of the things that it could do. This one was all white and featured a Star Wars beach towel for the serape. Amazingly for a prototype it was packed with working electronics including a speaker that allowed the wearer's voice to sound electronic as if he was speaking through a radio, functioning lights on the wrist gauntlets and a jet pack that could produce a sustained blast of simulated exhaust. Since Boba Fett was going to be used heavily in promotion and branded as the new villain for The Empire Strikes Back, it's possible that all of this was included for use in a touring promotion costume rather than as a movie costume. You can see in the presentation film all of these various functioning parts as Star Wars sound designer, Ben Burtt shows off the costumes elements. He also mentions that the costume will be painted in mute colors.

It's not clear if the white costume was made during the time that the costume was intended to be white, like the stormtroopers, or if it was made with the intention of adding color already a factor. I also can't pinpoint the story behind this light grey helmet photographed alongside the stormtrooper helmet. Showing the two of them together suggests that it might be considered finished minus some weathering.

It could also have very well been molded in this color and meant to be painted, as the dent in the forehead would suggest. But, why add the lenses before painting?

Another prototype costume was made, this time with muted colors such as grey and green with some brownish red and yellow highlights. George Lucas' notion was that Boba Fett should stand somewhere between a stormtrooper and Darth Vader, so the color schene to his costume is visually oriented between white and black. 

This costume is devoid of many of the final details and the helmet incorporates the two eye shapes on the forehead as were seen in the sketches in yesterday's post. These eyes would ultimately be dropped. They would reappear almost thirty years later as adornments on the helmet of the clone trooper Captain Rex in the Clone Wars television series. 

Final details were worked out and added and the color scheme was still being worked out. This third prototype Boba Fett is more brightly colored that he would be when he finally appeared in The Empire Strikes Back. Because so many reference photos were taken of the costume as it was being made, the more colorful Boba Fett ended up being used as a guide for the paint scheme of numerous incarnations of Boba Fett as an action figure. 

These two above action poses show Boba Fett almost in his final screen colors. Note how the colors have a more washed out look and that red has been eliminated altogether. Eventually the wrist weapons would become grey instead of orange and the helmet ornamentation would change a bit as well.

Boba Fett's helmet is said to contain infared/ultraviolet macrobinoculars and a comlink for Slave I (Boba's ship) transmissions, sensors, and broadband antenna. The breathing mask has a two hour oxygen supply. His right wrist is equipped with a flamethrower and whip/capturing wire. His left wrist has a laser and micro-concussion missiles. His jet pack launches a missile-like grappling hook with a 20-meter cable. His knee pads can fire rocket darts. His boots are tipped with toe spikes. In his holster he carries a blasTech EE-3 rifle and a concussion grenade launcher. Who knows what are in all of his pouches and pockets?

Boba Fett will conclude tomorrow.



Shawn Robare said...

FYI, these posts are great John. Finding all sorts of tidbits that I didn't know about...

John Rozum said...

Thanks, Shawn. Greatly appreciated.