Guest author: Eric Cromwell
Originally published: 2004
Boba Fett is a name that will always evoke the sense of mystery and intrigue. He is something that never has been completely tangible despite the recent pioneering of his past by Star Wars helm George Lucas. The new generation of science fiction fans might not completely identify with some of the older fan's outlooks towards the character of Boba Fett due to primarily Attack of the Clones, however, he had a vibrant young life before it was ever presented on the screen.
For some younger fans, I have some trivia: Boba Fett was deemed "not to be used" within Episode I, II, and III. That might be a shock to some readers considering how overly prominent the character was in II. Also for those fans from the "Special Edition" lines of the Star Wars saga Boba Fett was never even originally in Episode IV: A New Hope. So there can be a feeling of some resentment for fans of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi due to the fact Lucas has never even written for or directed the character before in his life (he did not write or direct Empire or Jedi). Although, he is the great creator where does the line get drawn and is there a type of personal responsibility in the life of a fictional character? Has there been a crime commented or has he added much needed life to the lone hunter?
"He's no good to me dead," uttered in a raspy and dark tone by Fett in the tour de force that was The Empire Strikes Back shines something onto present times. Has the character of Boba Fett been killed or in anyway butchered by the series of prequels and LucasFilm at large? As with any opinion in the realm of film it is a constant that will be always thrown up for debate. A large part of the bounty hunter's appeal and growing interest throughout the ages has been the fact his background, looks, and basically most knowledge about the man was entirely unknown or up for speculation. And speculation did occur.
- A trading card stating Boba Fett was 40-or-so years old in Empire.
- A comic series showing Fett in armor with comrades in the Clone Wars.
- Being actually Jaster Mereel of Concord Dawn in Tales of the Bounty Hunters.
- A movie presenting Fett as a young boy during the Clone Wars. (Episode II)
- Comic Open Season attempting to fix all the hugely gaping holes.
What's to be made of this brief and quiet shortened list of Boba Fett's past? We don't know, we can't know. Not even Open Season can clear up all these anomalies. It is utterly impossible to pin down Boba Fett be it in a battle to the death or biography. He doesn't do interviews and won't appear on Dateline this week.
A large part of the cool that was this masked bounty hunter was the fact he was always masked. We did not know what was under there and couldn't even know to what to expect. A lot of fans who have been following this character for years did not think he'd turn out to be Australian actor Daniel Logan. Logan was perhaps the last person they'd ever expect to be presented as Boba Fett. What lines behind that T-shaped visor? Not everyone wanted to know but we were shown. I miss the years where I could think this man, this bounty hunter, was a mystery. He was the everyman and the supernatural combined into one armored figure that not even Darth Vader could remotely match.
"The expanded universe does not count because it's not film as Star Wars is originally meant to be," this is a line I hear often in defense of George Lucas' stance in the current situation. Although, I, the author am a fledging filmmaker I still try to hold all mediums up to the same level of importance be they in the form of comic, novel, or cinema. I think before the people in the Lucas camp authorized everything to be printed out they should have realized there would be contradictions, especially considering how fast their anti-hero was becoming a cult icon. If people who make costumes can study every inch of metal on his body, obviously, there would be some of us who study his past and character just as much if not with even more depth and coverage. The sudden re-interest in the character by LucasFilm could be due to marketing reasons but instead of trying to cater to what the fans are so interested in, Fett, why not leave them hanging?
George, give us cliffhangers that were ever present in the B-movie serials that helped inspire the entire line of films you ended up producing including Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Thrill us, ditch us, make us go "damn, we'll never know how that happened." Fett was an amazing background character (emphasis: background) and a man of mystery. He's now a child with deep and inner psychological issues. Although, I do understand the appeal and love for a cute kid who had his father taken from him, I prefer the cold, hard, and unknown man he became.
Who is Boba Fett? That's up to you, the viewer, the reader, the day-dreamer at heart. I think all points of view should be accepted but not out-right. Conversation should be encouraged, but for me the name Boba Fett will always be synonymous with bad-ass. He might not be Journeyman Proctor Jaster Mereel, he might not have fought personally in the Clone Wars, but to me he'll never be a child. He is an abstraction. He is a dark figure in some uniform: origin unknown. And there's nothing more appealing than a man in uniform. That's about to kill you.