This is Part 2 of our interview with Daniel Keys Moran, author of Tales of the Bounty Hunters and Tales from Jabba’s Palace, where “Jaster Mereel” and Boba Fett’s honor were created. Read Part 1.
What is your outlook on this character now after having contributed to his growing popularity?
Don’t know that I contributed much, to be honest with you. The entire universe of Star Wars literature is a little ancillary to what Lucas has put on screen. I have three sons — 5, 8, 11 — all perfectly clear who Boba Fett is, but I don’t know if any of them know I once wrote stories about Fett.
What was your reaction when you heard Fett would be featured in Attack of the Clones?
“So much for that.”
Do you feel slighted to not have your ideas brought to the screen?
Nope. Lucas has felt perfectly free to ignore his earlier self when it suited him; there are continuity problems in the later material you could sneak a battleship through with room to spare. Kevin Anderson, when he pitched the short stories to us, told us (sincerely, I’m sure, Kevin’s an honest guy) that we were going to be creating canon, i.e., official Star Wars story that would not be contradicted by future material. I’m a cynical guy and I didn’t believe him then — and I wasn’t surprised later.
Leia’s mother was a very sad woman, don’t you know….
What is your take on the fact so many Boba Fett fans still prescribe to the idea that this bounty hunter has his own moral code, as I believe first detailed in your story?
Not a surprise and not really due to me. Bounty Hunters as moral agents is pretty stereotypical stuff. Or “archetypal,” if you like. I’ll take credit for the fierceness with which Boba Fett believes in his Code — men living by a Code has always been of interest to me. (There’s a long post about this at my blog so I won’t spend too much time expounding on it here. And it talks about the Star Wars stories at some length, as well.) This wouldn’t be an archetype if it didn’t resonate with people.
The difficult thing with Fett was finding a worldview for him that permitted him to proclaim a Code — given the stark Evil that permeated the Empire, Fett pretty much had to be either 1) Evil, or 2) an incredibly unforgiving, harsh, “greater good” sort of guy. The second approach worked and has resonated with some readers.
Have you read the Open Season comic series by Haden Blackman, Ramon Bachs, and Raul Fernande that attempted to tie in your history of the character with the current direction of the film franchise?
Nope, but now I want to.
The comic has Jaster Mereel save Jango Fett’s life after his family died and goes as far as to suggest Boba Fett wears Mereel’s armor, adding to the rumor of Jaster Mereel having been Boba Fett.
Works for me.
If you have read it, what do you think of it and if not, what’s your take on the summary above?
I appreciate the respect they showed those stories. It would take some shoehorning to stick my Fett into the second trilogy, and I’m flattered they went to the effort.
Did you see any kind of profit from that off-shoot or is the name of Jaster Mereel now intellectual property of LucasFilm?
They were works for hire — all Star Wars fiction is work for hire, owned by Lucasfilm.
What is your take on these Karen Traviss novels regarding the Mandalorian lore? She’s developing a “Mando’a” language. Personally, if they’re human, I don’t know why they would speak anything other than English such as every other human in the Star Wars universe. Does the image of Boba Fett need to reach to the geekery of Star Trek’s Klingon language-speaking fans?
Haven’t read them. No comment otherwise. The geekery gap between Star Trek and Star Wars doesn’t seem huge to me, for whatever it’s worth. I was a big fan of both as a kid, I fulfilled some core ambitions by working (for pay) in both universes as a young adult, and both universes have faded as something that interests me, as I hit middle age. Geekery is a good part of growing up — you’re a sports geek, or a video game geek, or a Star Wars geek, or whatever — but that expression of a passion is nothing to be embarrassed about. In my life I’ve been a science fiction geek, a Star Trek geek, a Star Wars geek, a computer geek, and a Lakers geek — the only passion that’s lasted has been the Lakers. But my 3 sons are huge Pokemon geeks — if they still are at 30, we’ll have a conversation, but they’re little, and it’s cool.
As to the image of Boba Fett — I don’t feel proprietary about it, no. I had my moment with that character, and it was fun, but it was over a decade ago, now. At one time I had some notes for a Boba Fett novel — “Dark Angel: the Life and Times of Boba Fett” — but I believe I’ve lost those notes (never was much, a few pages.) I’d have spent a little time fleshing out his childhood — that’s been done, now, so no point — and the rest of the novel covering the high points of his life, up to the lengthiest passage, his actual death as a very old man — Luke Skywalker and he were going to end up stranded in the desert together, as I recall. Even as I was writing the notes for “Dark Angel” I knew I was wasting my time — didn’t think that Lucasfilm would be interested, and in fact I never showed those notes to anyone. (If you’ve ever seen “The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean” — a western about “The Law West of the Pecos” — you’ll have the flavor of the structure of “Dark Angel.”)
Well, I think this might’ve gone too nerdy. Do you have any upcoming stories in the works? And is there a website that fans can keep track of you?
I’ve been raising small children and just started writing again after a break of many years. I’ve got a blog at DanielKeysMoran.blogspot.com for those who want to keep track of what I’m up to. As to what’s upcoming, I’m finishing a series I started 20 years ago.