This fan spotlight is part of a series focusing on cosplayers who exemplify qualities in creativity, community-building, and craftsmanship.
1. What is your name and who are you cosplaying as?
I’m James Holliday and I typically costume as Boba Fett.
2. What groups/clubs/sites are you a member? What is your handle for those sites?
I am a member and Garrison Commander in the 501st, a member in the Rebel Legion, The Dark Alliance and also Comic Book Characters for Causes. I’m gymbeau2000 on most sites.
3. Why this character and costume? What’s the backstory?
I remember being as young as 4 years old in 1981 and having my vintage Fett figure. He was always my favorite, he just looked so dynamic. I watched ROTJ in theaters and even though Fett died, he still was very interesting. By the time that movie came out, my figure had the paint worn off it.
As for the costuming and costuming in general, I always wanted the Illusive Concept’s Han in Carbonite. When I retired from the US Army, I tried to find one to start my mancave off with. I couldn’t find one, but discovered The Dented Helmet and people making some. I figured I might could pull that off, but then after reading around saw everyone making Fett costumes and just couldn’t pass up the idea of that. I always assumed it was too expensive (it’s fairly expensive) or that it’s too hard to do (it’s not easy) or that you had to know people (well…not really) to build one and get into the costuming clubs, but luckily there’s a lot of myth to that and I didn’t allow myself to get discouraged, so here I am.
4. What’s your favorite part of the costume or what has been one of your most memorable experiences as this character?
I think my most memorable experience was being selected as Fett for the Entertainment Weekly magazine shoot. During Celebration 6, they sent a photographer down to take pics for an article in their “Reunion” themed issue and since Jeremy, Dan and Dickie were there, they wanted some group pictures. It was a great time being in a private room for a couple of hours with the Fetts doing the shoot. I was convinced it was going to only go on EntertainmentWeekly.com and didn’t let any of my friends in on the shoot. Once The Dented Helmet posted the picture and it was in Entertainment Weekly’s print magazine, I figured I could spill the beans.
5. What were some of your challenges to get your costume just right?
I wear an ESB Fett, so the helmet is particularly difficult. I had to teach myself many skills to get this costume right – vacuforming, freehand thermoforming, spray painting, sewing, dying cloth, dremelling, airbrushing, etc. I kept track and it took me a little over 120 working hours just painting the helmet, but it’s very close to being scratch for scratch.
6. What advice do you have for other cosplayers?
My advice for costumers is research, research, research! I thought I was the biggest Fett fan on earth until I started working on this. I was shocked at all the small and not so small details I never even noticed before, like the ESB’s sidearm!
7. Favorite Star Wars moment?
Wow, so many great moments…. I do really love the “Empire” Star Destroyer bridge scene first showing Fett and the hunters, but I think the opening shot of the Star Destroyer in “A New Hope” will always give me chills.
[UPDATE 9/12/2014: You can now use the Walgreens web page for this product to search by zip code to see which stores nearby may or may not have the figure in stock. This is a big improvement from the method we first outlined below. Online sales are not available, so this is for in-store pick up only, and limited to the United States. Helmet nod to The Collectors Cantina and Yakface.com for the tip.]
When the Walgreens exclusive was first announced in July, their online pre-sale sold out faster than you could turn on your jet pack. The lack of international sales, plus some U.S. state exclusions, didn’t go over well with a lot of fans, too.
Buried in the fine print, and unbeknownst to many fans who bought the pending merch from eBay scalpers, the brick-and-mortar Walgreens stores are also carrying the figure — but officially not until November 1. (An earlier update on their website said October.)
Regardless of their release date, in the last week, we’ve seen pictures from fans who have in hand this new figure — a full two months ahead of schedule. (Helmet nod to Jedi Temple Archives for the first sighting that caught our eye.) The figure seems to be alongside Black Series Wave 5 figures like Darth Vader, Chewbacca, and another Sandtrooper.
We consulted some collectible experts, like the fine folks at Yakface.com. To them, this is no anomaly: action figures make it on shelves before official release dates all the time.
Where might you find some of these Walgreens with early shipments, opened ahead of schedule? Here’s our exclusive list with attribution from people who shared where they bought theirs.
If you find one (or more), let us know where in the comments to help out other Fett fans.
To save some time, call ahead or ask a manager to either 1) look up the wave on an “Inventory On Hand” report (which will also show nearby stores) or 2) just check inventory of the exclusive Boba Fett figure using the figure’s “WIC” code, which gets printed on everyone’s receipt for this Boba Fett figure:
If the manager decides to approve an “Inventory on Hand” report, you could see available inventory across multiple, local stores — complete with full addresses to those Walgreens. While other fans may be picking up the figures right then, you at least can have a roadmap to possibly find something.
Curious what the back of the packaging says? We transcribed it:
Before he put on the familiar Mandalorian armor from the Star Wars saga, this notorious bounty hunter was initially envisioned as a “super trooper” in all-white armor. This special figure captures the beginning of a character that has become a legend who is both respected and feared across the galaxy… Boba Fett.
It has been eighteen years since Don Post released a life-size replica of Boba Fett, but now there is a new life-size statue of everyone’s favorite intergalactic bounty hunter in town. This one, available from Sideshow Collectibles, was prototyped by Tom Spina Designs, a company of fans that recently produced alien masks and costumes for three Star Wars “May the Fourth” videos.
We were able to catch up with painter Alex Alva and Tom Spina himself just before the statue was released.
BFFC: Gentlemen! Let’s get to it, shall we? We’re big fans of your work over the years. How did each of you initially get involved with this project with Sideshow Collectibles?
Alex Alva: I got involved through recommendations from The Dented Helmet, where I had been a member for over 12 years, which lead me to Tom and [his company]. The work as project manager for the Jeremy Bulloch armor project on The Dented Helmet helped spur the networking.
Tom Spina: My company had recently prototyped a life-size Figrin D’an bust for Sideshow. They’d seen the Han Solo in carbonite desk we created and that led them to look at our portfolio. I believe the call went like, “Hey, this is Sideshow, we should really be working together!” We heartily agreed! After the bust, I met with their development team to discuss other characters we could help bring to life and Fett was on the top of the list. The folks at Sideshow are amazing. Gifted artists all around and their management are all true fans of the properties they’re working with. They were as excited to be creating Fett as we were!
BFFC: Can you give us an idea of the amount of work that went into planning this?
Spina: Quite a bit!
Alva: My role as the painter was to source, prep, document, and photograph. In addition to painting, I was tasked with developing a “how to” of sorts from start to finish on two prototype 1:1 pieces to be sent off for replication.
Spina: Fett’s costume is as complex as it is iconic. It started with long, geeky discussions with Sideshow about the various costumes and all of the minute details. We set on a direction and then it was up to my company to figure out how to build it. For me, it was important that we didn’t reinvent the wheel. There wasn’t an unlimited budget and building dozens of parts from nothing didn’t make sense when there were all these incredible people who’d spent years studying the costume that we could be working with. I’d recently met Alex and Chris Jones at one of the Star Wars Celebrations and both were keen to be involved from the start. We all put our heads together and that got things rolling. From there, many other talents were brought on board and you’ll find a detailed list of credits on our site.
BFFC: What sort of access did you have to official archives and costume pieces?
Alva: We took a trip to Burbank, California, to visit a private collector with some of the real pre-production Fett movie props, this helped get a sense of size, feel, and color for the best route on replication. On that same trip we also visited the offices of Sideshow Collectibles, were they gave us the grand tour and allowed us to collaborate directly with those involved.
BFFC: For this replica you went with Empire Strikes Back version of the costume. Is ESB your favorite version of Boba Fett’s outfit?
Spina: Absolutely. I always seem to be drawn to the “first appearances” when it comes to costumes in films. Darth Vader from Star Wars, Boba from ESB, the ESB AT-ST. I always feel the the re-interpretations for sequels get a bit watered down. That said, I do really like the Fett “pre-pro 2″ look as well!
Alva: Definitely my favorite. Seeing Boba for the first time in his debut in the all green armor is something I will never forget.
Spina: There was quite a bit of discussion with Sideshow regarding the overall look and feel. They were very on board with the ESB look from the start. I always called it the “quiet badass” version of Fett! We didn’t need a crazy action pose, he wasn’t really like that in the film. Sideshow hit upon a great pose that has this sense that he’s watching… just waiting for his moment to act!
BFFC: What initially drew both of you to the the character?
Alva: Boba Fett was a character that, like most, many knew very little about, and the hype surrounding him after the fact was what drew me to him when I was 8, and how much of a badass he was didn’t hurt. In addition, who doesn’t want a helmet and rocket pack?
Spina: I was 7 or 8 when ESB came out, though I first saw the character in the Holiday Special! Naturally, ESB was where he made the biggest impression, but I have to say the Kenner 12″ figure was probably as big a reason that I’m a Fett fan as any. It was so darn cool! The gadgets on that thing were awesome.
BFFC: Alex, you were heavily involved in the Jeremy Bulloch armor project that we were big fans of. Can you tell us a bit about that experience and how it came together?
Alva: It was actually a conversation between myself and Jason Miller (darthmiller) after a local wrap-up Comic Con party at the Star Wars Museum of Mr. Philip Wise. In attendance was Jeremy Bulloch, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, and Kenny Baker, among other greats from the films, real fan boy stuff. We were in the media theater watching ESB with Jeremy when he made mention that he wished he could’ve kept some of the original parts to his Boba suit. Later that night Jason and I realized this was something that could definitely be accomplished if we got others involved. We knew it had been tried before and it never came to pass for one reason or another. With the help of The Dented Helmet, we already knew a ton of people that made specific parts for the Fett costume and it was a matter of simply reaching out to the best of the best, the “all-Stars” of the Fett [costuming] world, and not surprisingly not one person turned us down.
BFFC: Between this project for Sideshow or building Jeremy Bulloch’s costume with TDH, which would you say was more time consuming and rewarding?
Alva: I would actually say that both were a different type of project. I was extremely proud to be a a part of making Jeremy’s Fett suit. It was a ton of planning on my part and I had a ton of help to complete the project, which stretched over a year. It almost didn’t happen, but when we reached the finish line and Jeremy put the suit on, it was one of the most memorable things I have ever been apart of. Seeing him be Boba was, well, the best. It made the hard work worth it. With the Sideshow project, it’s equally rewarding in the role that I played in the project as painter. You have a great deal of pressure to make all of Tom’s planning and all the other artist’s pieces come to life at assembly and painting. It’s extremely easy to mess it up if we got it wrong in terms of making those things come together, and to say you painted the most accurate 1:1 production Boba Fett ESB piece since the Don Post [RoTJ] statue is a pretty nice thing to have on your resume.
BFFC: Absolutely. What about you, Tom, how did you first get involved in costuming and the prop-making community?
Spina: I’ve been building costumes/props/masks and sculpting since I can remember. It began as a hobby and became a career. I’ve been a part of forums like the RPF where there are these wonderful communities of collectors and artists. I’m still so impressed by what folks there are doing! I consider myself very lucky to go to work everyday, work with incredible artists and do something I love.
BFFC: Do either of you own your own Fett costume?
Spina: I don’t own a Fett costume myself.
Alva: I actually don’t own a Fett costume either, even through a lot people in the prop community would find that hard to believe. I’ve never been terribly satisfied with some of the fan made replica pieces. Even though there are some that are extremely close in size and shape. I’ve never wanted my own Fett to wear, I always wanted one for static purposes, a museum piece of sorts.
BFFC: So this must have been a dream project to get involved with! By far one of our favorite features on the Sideshow statue was from a preview video last year at SDCC when Alex showed that the knees could be detached and flipped upside down.
Spina: That was something we pitched early on and I was so glad they went for it. When the question of the knees came up (whether they should be “right side up” or like he wore them in the carbon freeze chamber), we stopped and said, “why not both?” A few magnets later and boom!
BFFC: Including fan-favorite easter eggs like that adds so much to the final product. What are some other of your favorite experiences while you were working on this project?
Alva: I think the first thing that comes to mind would be the fact that myself and those at The New Wookiee Workshop (where the project was assembled and completed) were some of the first to see the figure come together and see [it] for the first time as a finished product. In addition we really tried to come up with better ways of replicating the exact way in which we completed the project and simplify everything. Tons of techniques were used, but for production it had to be the easiest and most effective way from start to finish, A to Z, on how to build and paint Boba.
Spina: For me, it was the initial excitement and planning, followed only slightly by the debut at Comic Con! Thinking back, the whole team worked very hard for months to make this the best licensed Fett ever. Chris [Jones] produced a great body and armor, my in house crew at our New York [office] worked for weeks refining those parts and putting together the soft goods and then Alex and company beautifully finished all of the pieces with paintwork that I just love. The end result made everyone involved (us, Sideshow, Lucasfilm) very happy with the final product.
BFFC: What level of quality can people expect from the final production version of this Sideshow statue compared to the old Don Post statue?
Spina: I feel really proud of the work our team did and I think Sideshow [has] proven time and time again that they can produce at a very high level. I think it’ll compare very favorably.
Alva: I think as a group of artists on this project we did the best work for the best result. Sideshow is an amazing company and if you’ve seen their work you know they spare no expense to put out the best product. I have faith in them. Hands down this is completely better than the Don Post statue, as there were more hands, talented artists, and resources used on this project.
BFFC: It certainly paid off. The statue is incredibly detailed and the accuracy is amazing. Be honest with us though, did you guys get to keep one?
Spina: Ask me again sometime.
BFFC: Hint taken! Thanks so much for chatting with us gentlemen, it has been a pleasure. We can’t wait to see your work in person!
Spina: Thanks once again for this. Really appreciate you reaching out and sharing this!
Alva: I want to thank the team at The New Wookie Workshop, with Jason Miller, and owned by Philip Wise. Without their help and support I would not have been able to complete my part of the 1:1 project.
The Bounty Hunter Code — first released in 2013 as a box set and now as an individual (and less expensive) book — is the focal point of author Daniel Wallace’s signing event.
The author will be in Eden Prairie, Minnesota this Sunday, August 17 at the Barnes and Noble store at Eden Prairie Center (3000 Eden Prairie Center, Eden Prairie, MN 55344). The event begins at 3pm.
Wallace included the following on his Tumblr:
I’ll be talking and answering questions about Star Wars plus signing copies of the new book. Costumed characters from the 501st Legion will be there too.
Here’s a summary of just the Bounty Hunter Code book:
Legendary bounty hunter Boba Fett bound together two volumes of great personal significance: an edition of The Bounty Hunter’s Guild Handbook, and a recruiting booklet issued by Death Watch, a secretive splinter group of Mandalorians. Together, these volumes make up The Bounty Hunter Code, detailing the skills needed to make a living beyond galactic law as well as the little-known history, philosophy, and gear of Death Watch. With notes from the books’ former owners, this collection serves as a crucial guide to the bounty hunter’s essential tools and techniques.
Sounds like a great event. If you’re able to make it, be sure to tell him the Boba Fett Fan Club sent ‘ya!
We live-blogged SDCC 2014 in real-time throughout each day of the convention. Here is our log of all things for Boba Fett fans.
- Photos of the new Walgreens exclusive (and apparently online only, with pre-sale sold out already) Black Series Boba Fett action figure were posted online
- At booth #1929, Sideshow Collectibles has their new Premium Format 1/4 Scale Boba Fett, which had previously only been seen as an artist illustration (source)
- At booth #3513, Gentle Giant has a life-size replica of the vintage “rocket firing” Boba Fett action figure from 1979 (source); and it has a removable rocket on its back; they also have another big statue, their usual giant Boba Fett bust above their booth
- We’ve seen fans creatively dressed up as Evel Fett (source), Dr. Fett (source), and a superb regular Boba Fett (source)
- LeeAnna Vamp dressed up as Boba Fett (source)
- Daniel Logan showed up and got his picture taken wearing the new UD Replicas motorcycle Boba Fett jacket (source)
- At 11am in Room 7AB, Joe Johnston is scheduled to speak; at 12:30pm at Abrams Booth 1216, he is scheduled to sign copies (only) of his new book, “Star Wars Storyboards: The Original Trilogy” (source)
- One group panel taught everyone how to fold Boba Fett origami (source)
- Snoba Fett (Snow White meets Boba Fett) attended, as well as “Mini” Boba Fett in a special white prototype Boba Fett armor (source)
- One panel apparently introduced McQuarrie concept Boba Fett figures coming to Sideshow Collectibles (source #1, source #2) — we’re looking more into this to elaborate
- Cosplayer “Boba Phat” also made an appearance (source)
- At the Marvel Comics panel, the question was raised, “will we see #BobaFett?” The answer was “you’ll be VERY happy.” (source)
- More cosplayers, such as a Boba Fett with Slave Leia (source) and also a Rocketeer Boba Fett (source)
- Homer Simpson appeared as a 3D hologram and mentioned Boba Fett aloud to the crowd in his “talk” (source)
- Santa Cruz Skateboards featured their Boba Fett skateboard, which had one cosplayer stop by for a great photo op (source)
- In Room 8 from 12:30 – 1:30pm, Disney Publishing has a sneak preview to showcase some new Star Wars books and apps (source)
- At booth 5629 in Hall C from 2pm to 4pm, Acme Archives has Greg Lipton signing his Star Wars artwork, which includes a Boba Fett print (source #1, source #2)
- In Hall H at 3pm, Ashley Eckstein (Her Universe, makers of several Boba Fett dresses) is a guest in the event, “End Bullying! Responding to Cruelty in Our Culture”
- San Diego Pier Cafe featured a Boba Fett burrito for their lunch specials (source)
- One Boba Fett cosplayer settled his beef with Han Solo (source)
Artists in Attendance
- Joe Corroney (example artwork) at Artist’s Alley GG-08
- Carlos D’Anda (example artwork) at Artist’s Alley CC-05
- Dave Dorman (example artwork) at booth #4500
- Otis Frampton (example artwork) at booth #4505
- Alex Garner (example artwork) at Artist’s Alley DD-06
- Tom Hodges (example artwork) at Artist’s Alley GG-01
- Chrisopher Moeller (example artwork) at Artist’s Alley II-22
- Livio Ramondelli (example artwork) at Artist’s Alley CC-16
- John Van Fleet (example artwork) at Artist’s Alley II-23
For the complete list, visit comic-con.org.
- Acme Archives is at booth #5629 (Hall C)
- Anovos (Jango Fett replica costume) is at booth #4536
- Del Rey Books is at booth #2913-D
- Gentle Giant is at booth #3513
- Hasbro is at booth #3213
- Lucasfilm is at booth #2913N
- Sideshow Collectibles is at booth #1929
- Titan (Star Wars Insider) is at booth #5537
- MTV published a photo essay on the 18 cutest couples at SDCC. Here’s the Boba Fett photo with Slave Leia that made the cut.
Moments ago, Jonathan Rinzler, Star Wars scholar and Lucasfilm historian, was asked today on his Reddit AMA if Boba Fett survives the Sarlacc:
“Yes, he does. I have been in meetings with George [Lucas] where he confirms that Fett survived. If it comes from George then it’s true!”
(Helmet nod to Matt at Jedi News? for the head’s up!)
This confirms something we’ve heard — but less in the spotlight. Back in 2012 at Celebration VI, Lucas was recorded without his knowledge at an exhibit of Boba Fett fan-made helmets. In that video and our news report, Lucas says Boba Fett did not die.
Head’s up: Saturday is Star Wars night for the Bradenton Marauders (Pittsburgh Pirates), who will wear this Boba Fett-inspired jersey for their Minor league baseball game at their Florida-based stadium, McKechnie Field. They’re playing the Clearwater Threshers (Philadelphia Phillies).
“The jerseys will be auctioned off in a silent auction held during the game to benefit the Center for Building Hope. Auction winners will be invited onto the field after the game to receive their jersey and have it autographed by the player or coach wearing it.
Beloved characters such as R2D2, Boba Fett, and more will be in attendance. The Marauders also encourage their fans to dress up as their favorite Star Wars characters. A costume contest will be held in the sixth inning to determine the best dressed.”
For more, visit their MILB.com article.
July 4th marked the debut of the new Vinylmation Boba Fetts: one “Empire” and one “Prototype.” They were to be sold online and offline — at Disneyland (Anaheim, California) and Disneyworld (Orlando, Florida).
But, as word got around, this new collectible appeared to be quite a limited edition. The figures sold out in less than half a day online. We also stopped by D-Street in Downtown Disney (just outside Disneyland proper) where the inventory was nearly all gone in the first day as well.
We also touched base with fans via Twitter and heard about the status of D-Street outside Disneyworld (Orlando, Florida). Here are our findings:
So, how did the new Vinylmation Boba Fetts sell out so quickly?
With those points alone, you can see how this was ripe for problems. What are your thoughts?
The Official Star Wars website confirmed today that the rumored Walgreens exclusive “Prototype” Black Series Boba Fett is indeed coming this Fall 2014. The figure will also be a pre-order at this year’s San Diego Comic Con.
As some of our Facebook followers pointed out, this is a re-paint only and not a true sculpt of the “prototype” armor photographed in June 1978, prior to Boba Fett’s role in 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back.
Nevertheless, starwars.com had this to include:
While Boba Fett’s iconic Mandalorian armor has become one of the most famous designs in all of Star Wars, it started out with a very different color scheme. In early concept art by Ralph McQuarrie and Joe Johnston, seen in the gallery below, the bounty hunter was depicted wearing sleek, all-white armor. On June 28, 1978, Star Wars sound designer Ben Burtt and The Empire Strikes Back assistant film editor Duwayne Dunham debuted the costume with a test video, detailing its weaponry and functionality; the colors would later be developed to what has become Fett’s definitive look, but it all began with this early version.
Hasbro’s figure is a tribute to this important piece of Star Wars history and design — look for it exclusively at Walgreens this fall, with pre-orders opening at San Diego Comic-Con later this month!
[Updated 7/9/2014: the cast info has now been wiped from IMDb, which may be either invalidity of those additions or wiping of early, yet-to-be-confirmed information.]
We’re the first website to report seeing Temuera Morrison listed as “Boba Fett” alongside the Gareth Edwards “Star Wars” stand-alone film on IMDb. Check it out.
We also see “announced” on IMDb’s page for Temuera Morrison. But that term is void of any further, literal announcement.
Two other actors, Mike Kasem and Mason Brett, are also listed on the page. One has many credits as a stuntman. Both of them are the same skin tone and also the same cheek/bone structure as the clones from the prequels.
Remember, IMDb (Internet Movie Database) is a mix of creator and user generated content, especially when it comes to future project records. However, unlike other sites, agents and managers can anonymously add to pages, which are then loosely vetted by IMDb’s staff. For example, on Daniel Logan’s IMDb page, his mention on the shelved TV series “Star Wars Underworld” at least gets tagged “rumored.” For the sake of journalistic integrity, well done, IMDb.
We believe this mention on IMDb is newsworthy but not a formal confirmation of either Morrison’s casting nor Edwards’ spin-off film being the still-rumored Boba Fett film.
Database-driven credit listing sites, including MovieWeb (which currently lists Edwards’ film as the Boba Fett story despite no such confirmation of that at all), are in the business of jumping the gun. There is no other announcement being picked up anywhere online — at least to our knowledge upon investigating — that announced Temuera Morrison in a forthcoming Star Wars film, nor that the Gareth Edwards film is the rumored Boba Fett film.
If this information is eventually confirmed by Lucasfilm, this news would be the tip of the iceberg that confirms Boba Fett is in fact the subject of the first stand-alone feature film set for 2016. This would also debunk the Lawrence Kasdan script as being the material, since the first film has an officially confirmed director and screenwriter.
Morrison played Jango Fett in Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones. Jango is Boba Fett’s father.
(Helmet nod to @BitikoferAustin and @TheAutocons for the lead.)
What do you think of this latest rumor?
To see how this news fits into the larger picture, follow the trail at our Fett Fact Check: Spin-Off Film one pager.