Exclusive Sneak Peek at "Star Wars Insider Presents: The Mandalorian Collection"

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Titan — the publisher behind “Star Wars Insider Presents: The Mandalorian Collection” — has given us an exclusive sneak peek to share before the official release of the souvenir hardcover book on February 20th. It’s a collection of essential yet previously published Star Wars Insider articles in one volume, including this one called “Introducing Boba Fett” from Star Wars Insider #164. They’ve let us publish an excerpt with you, with an approval from Lucasfilm:

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In 1978, Clive Smith was getting worried. Sure, Smith’s animation company, Nelvana Studios, had a nice gig producing stock footage for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, but that wasn’t enough. “There was a point where we were really desperate to get into the entertainment business,” Smith says, “Especially me. I wanted to build the animation studio.”

And then George Lucas called.

Lucas needed someone to produce a ten-minute animated short for Lucasfilm’s upcoming Star Wars Holiday Special, and he thought that Nelvana might be right for the job. The short, titled The Faithful Wookiee, would feature a script co-written by Lucas himself, and would introduce audiences to Boba Fett, the villainous bounty hunter who hunts down Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back. It was the opportunity that Smith had been waiting for, but it came with a catch: Smith only had two weeks to finish all of the storyboards and character designs, and he would have to travel to California to get George Lucas’ approval in person. “It was pretty stressful,” Smith says. Ultimately, the Star Wars Holiday Special would become one of the most mysterious chapters in the franchise’s storied history.

By reuniting the cast of Star Wars in a two-hour variety show, Lucasfilm hoped to tide fans over until The Empire Strikes Back hit screens. It didn’t work out that way. The Star Wars Holiday Special puzzled viewers and critics alike. And yet, the Star Wars Holiday Special’s legacy lives on, thanks in part to Clive Smith, Nelvana, and Boba Fett.

Smith might’ve had the experience, but getting The Faithful Wookiee ready in time wasn’t easy. Even for experienced animators, two weeks isn’t a lot time to put together storyboards and character designs. The technology made it harder too. “Remember, it was pre-digital,” Smith says. “Today, storyboard artists do a panel, and they can do several different poses within that panel, and it takes very little effort to do it. We were using pencils and paper, and sticking things on the wall and moving things around.”

Lucas sent Smith a script, and Smith got to work. Smith and another animator, Frank Nissen, locked themselves in a boardroom and cranked out hundreds of storyboards.

Meanwhile, Nelvana’s designers plugged away, rendering the Star Wars universe into animation for the very first time. Turning characters like Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Princess Leia into cartoons wasn’t too difficult; all the animators had to do was look at the original actors for inspiration.

With Boba Fett, a brand-new character, it was different. “They sent us a black and white film of an actor in a mock-up of Boba Fett’s suit,” Smith remembers, but the design wasn’t final, and the color scheme hadn’t been locked down at that point. As the story goes, Boba Fett’s costume was supposed to sleek and streamlined, like a stormtrooper’s. Smith disagreed. To play up Fett’s warrior past, Nelvana made the bounty hunter’s costume worn and battle-scarred. The rough-hewn nature of the outfit made its way into The Empire Strikes Back’s final Boba Fett costume, and has stuck with the character ever since.

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To learn how Clive Smith and his team brought Boba Fett to the screen for the first time, you can read the full interview in “Star Wars Insider Presents: The Mandalorian Collection” which goes on sale February 20. It also contains select essentials related to “The Mandalorian” Seasons 1 to 3 and “The Book of Boba Fett,” including interviews with Padro Pascal (the Mandalorian), Katee Sackhoff (Bo-Katan Kryze), Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett), and much more!

Images courtesy of the publisher.

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About the Author, Aaron Proctor

Founder and editor of the Boba Fett Fan Club, established in 1996. Aaron curates all of the content for BFFC and also designs/develops the website. He works with a team of volunteers worldwide. When not volunteering here, he's a cinematographer and runs his own production company.

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