Is Disney Officially Replacing "Slave I" with "Boba Fett's Starship" and/or "Boba Fett's Starfighter?"

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It certainly looks and sounds like it. Seemingly out of the blue, Boba Fett’s ship is getting a new name on at least five officially licensed products right now: “Boba Fett’s Starship” on three (and the official Star Wars website, in part) plus “Boba Fett’s Starfighter” on two others. Bring in some quotes from licensees and it looks like a done deal. [Tally updated on July 14.]

Long-time fans have called it — and still will call it — Slave I for over 40 years, but now the newly revealed LEGO product coming in August and a Topps digital trading card is labeled “Boba Fett’s Starship;” and a re-issued MPC model of the ship is calling “Boba Fett’s Starfighter.” Both full names appear to be trademarked. It’s unclear if either “starship” or “starfighter” will be consistent names or renames for Slave I moving forward.

Held from publishing until the LEGO product was officially announced, Jedi News and BrickSet interviewed LEGO from LEGO Fan Media Days last month, where this happened:

  • LEGO Star Wars Lead Designer Michael Lee Stockwell: “We’re not calling it Slave I any more. This is Boba Fett’s Starship.”
  • LEGO Star Wars Design Director Jens Kronvold Frederiksen: “Everybody is [dropping the Slave I name]. It’s probably not something which has been announced publicly but it is just something that Disney doesn’t want to use any more.” (Emphasis added.)
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That’s not all. For more on the second situation so far, in a video shared with us by BFFC fan TheNormtrooper (Twitter), Jamie Hood of Round 2 was at WonderFest USA on June 6 where they had a booth and carry official Star Wars products by MPC. In their video at 14 minutes 20 seconds in, you can clearly hear the lowdown on MPC with the following quote: “We’ve got Boba Fett’s Starfighter. Yes, they have renamed the ship. That was not our choice but that’s what we’re going to call it now.” (Emphasis added.)

One more also came in, which is not toy related: Topps. Their digital trading card now shows Slave I with the caption “Boba Fett’s Starship.” The digital card via Star Wars Card Trader mobile app was released “about a month ago,” notes BFFC fan FenrisUlfrSR (Twitter). Past cards all have the original name. Nothing seems retroactively changed, despite being digital cards in the cloud. The change can be tracked back to April 28, 2021 when it first appeared.

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Our friends at Yakface also noticed GameStop is using “Boba Fett’s Starship” (with the trademark symbol in a different spot) on some signage, adjacent to “Slave I,” already on the box of an existing product.

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That’s not all. The official Star Wars site redirects visitors from https://starwars.com/databank/slave-i (heavily used from 2014 until April 2021) to https://starwars.com/databank/boba-fetts-starship (new as of April 2021 according to archive dot org). Note the URLs: “slave-i” to “boba-fetts-starship.” Nothing else seems to be changed on the page itself and also not a toy. Update: actually, the copywriting changed quite a bit. It used to name check Slave I copiously in the description. Now only the page title remains.

Old:

New:

Another update to this article on July 6: the new “Star Wars Ships and Vehicles” book released in Spain says “Boba Fett’s Starfighter” on the front. This highlights the second variant name they’re using – it’s not just “Starship.” Thanks to bibliotecaJedi (Twitter) for the heads up.

Yet another update to this post on July 14: Hot Toys has revealed a new Boba Fett figure which comes with a Slave I hologram … that is, they’re calling it “Boba Fett’s Star Ship.” You can see for yourself in their post on Facebook in the text.

Past Usage

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While the ship’s name was never spoken aloud in a film, it was spoken twice in “The Clone Wars” animated series on television: “R2 Come Home” (Season 2 Episode 21) and “Lethal Trackdown” (Season 2 Episode 22). It’s also been on toys and in print since 1980. Even the vintage toy said “Slave I, Boba Fett’s Spaceship.”

Marketing Purposes?

One possible explanation for this all could be marketing. With such a huge influx of fans thanks to “The Mandalorian” and teaser for “The Book of Boba Fett,” is it easier to sell toys to people of all ages if “slave” isn’t in the name, including typing into search engines? Sure.

Story Purposes?

Another possibility could be related to Boba’s transformation in “The Mandalorian.” Maybe the new name is like his new coat of paint. The new LEGO set is specifically “The Mandalorian” themed, although it’s unclear if the MPC model is “The Empire Strikes Back” or not. (The ship doesn’t appear much different between the two, if at all.)

Equitable Purposes?

A third possibility seems akin to “Huttslayer,” the relatively new name to describe Leia when she was kept Jabba’s dancer. Up until 2015, her nickname for that section of the story was “Slave Leia.” But going back to the original call sheets in the 80s, according to Fantha Tracks, she was a slave to Jabba. That was part of the story and certainly meaningful when she overcomes Jabba. Here in 2021, many non-Star Wars brands have been turning to be more equitable if there’s anything controversial about it at all.

Related, as pointed out by BFFC fan Han_Spinel, Disney recently created the Stories Matter advisory board and this change could be related.

Fan Reactions

All in all, “Starship” and/or “Starfighter” are completely forgettable and meaningless names. There was little to no public outrage over the “slave” part of the name, although that’s no excuse here in 2021. This is a big missed opportunity to trade in a memorable name — Slave I, sometimes written as Slave One or Slave 1 — and instead go super generic. They could have went with “Boba Fett’s Firespray-31” for example.

When we discussed the news yesterday with BFFC fans on our social channels, scifi_fan_kat (Twitter) had some good input on the history behind the name developed in “legends” lore: “I can understand why they would, but if people knew the lore, they would understand why it was named that. Jango had been enslaved after his clan was massacred at the Battle of Galidraan, and named the ship that after he’d escaped slavery.”

BFFC contributor BestOfFett (Twitter) has more to say about the name: “Also, ‘slave’ is terminology referring to being able to control the ship remotely. Which Fett has done on occasion. Just doesn’t make sense [in my opinion].”

Another BFFC fan, ImDannyG (Twitter), added another sentiment many others feel: “This wasn’t even an issue that people complained about y’know? It really is unnecessary, embarrassing, and honestly it’s pretty disrespectful to the character’s history. Such weird times.”

Well, at least we’re getting “The Book of Boba Fett” and Boba Fett survived the Sarlacc, right?

But what’s your take on the name of his ship? Does the name make a difference to you? Should it be one way or the other? Let us know in the comments.

(This article was updated since the original time of publication to include the two name checks in “The Clone Wars” episodes, the “Stories Matter” advisory board, the Topps digital trading card with date, the starwars.com URL change, the starwars.com copywriting change, and the Spain book.)

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9 Comments

  1. Eric says:

    What kind of bull crap is this?

    It is a marketing thing. This is like the 1000th thing to get an alternate name on toys.

    Google search Slave I. You’ll find out real quick why they don’t want kids searching for it.

    1. Glad to hear you agree with one of the three possibilities. It only took them ~ 25 years of the modern search engined internet to do something then, just for marketing purposes. ;-)

  2. ConvergenceProps says:

    Saddest line in this whole article..
    “ Well, at least we’re getting “The Book of Boba Fett” and Boba Fett survived the Sarlacc, right?..”

    I truly hope you’re right…
    Frankly Boba Fett deserves a director the likes of James Mangold, and needs the Man with No Name treatment. Filoni, for all his wonderful credit, simply does not really understand how to write complex dark themes antihero characters or stories.. or even competent intimidating villains a lot of times. Boba isnt a “good” guy, and my fear is he will be more akin to Han in the end than his ruthless self

  3. Chris Colucci says:

    Wow, Disney sucks sooo hard. Sooo sooo sooo hard. Way to take my favorite character and chop his manhood off. Literally worrying about how 1% of people will react. Go to hell.

    1. Don’t shoot the messenger. Just reporting what’s going on here.

  4. Taffi Louis says:

    Like the origin of R2-D2’s name, “Slave 1” is an analog tape editing term.
    [Reel:2, Dialog:2 comes from a convention for indexing different recorded takes.]
    In dubbing multiple copies for audio and video, source material is loaded into a deck labelled “Master” and outputs are routed to a series of decks recording the same signal. These decks are labelled “SLAVE 1, SLAVE 2, SLAVE 3, etc…”.

    Since resident sound genius (and later, editor of the prequels) Ben Burtt gave such an enthusiastic video demonstration of Fett’s costume prototype for Lucasfilm (seriously, look it up on YouTube if you haven’t seen it), I wouldn’t be surprised if the name was also his idea.

    Retconning and censoring the name is a mistake. Boba Fett wasn’t created to be the protagonist of a TV show, and distorting his character to be more friendly shows Disney didn’t acquire Star Wars with the intention of developing stories or making groundbreaking films at or above the standards set by the first 3 films. Production values have taken a slide with derivative, dull designs that are reflected in the disappointing toys retailers can’t unload and forgettable characters they didn’t bother to develop character arcs for. The franchise is a brand acquisition and not an engaging story to them. After the failure of Solo in response to The Last Jedi, Lucasfilm said they’d slow down film releases they had previously rushed out, but instead, they’re opting for a glut of TV shows in a bid to prop up Disney+ to make up for the Galaxy’s Edge theme park debacle. Patty Jenkins’ “Rogue Squadron” feature announces they have a writer, proving they’re sticking to their formula of greenlighting projects and promoting them without a story (and if you saw Wonder Woman 1984, any anticipation you had for Rogue Squadron is probably best forgotten anyway).
    (Meanwhile, if Disney wants to continue this, they might have bothered to notice that the Narcissus shuttle from Alien has a much more questionable origin behind its name: a Joseph Conrad novel “N——- of the Narcissus”. But if they genuinely cared, they’d stop using sweatshop labour already, too).
    Disney has already retconned Han Solo out of actually being a smuggler in their Marvel Comics filler stories. You know, because what do smugglers do?
    They’ll just continue reconstituting little details of Star Wars in their own image.

    1. Darren says:

      There is a chance that the Marvel Comics aren’t technically canon. Like when the Kanan comics appeared to show Kanan’s backstory before the Empire, but the first episode of The Bad Batch showed something different.

  5. Darren says:

    I personally think it’s just a marketing thing. I really don’t think it’s that big of a deal.

  6. Paul says:

    Great big drama out of nothing. It’s all fiction, sure we all love Star Wars and Boba passionately, but at the end of the day it’s all fiction.

    No point in pretending they’re erasing something major from history.

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