In the first part of this Speculative series we re-visited the origins of Boba Fett and some of the reasons why he became everyone’s favorite bounty hunter, with an eye toward the character’s future. In Part II we’ll take a closer look at who Fett really is, after the break.
PART II: BOBA WHAT?!
Once the Star Wars craze of the 1970/80’s died out it seemed like we wouldn’t see anymore movies. Then in the late ’90’s fans learned that we would be getting “Special Editions” of the OT, leading into the new series of Prequels. One by one, each film of the OT was re-released with “special modifications” some enjoyed and some not so much. (Ahem, Han shot first!)
Han’s infamous scene with crime-lord Jabba the Hutt, for example, was salvaged off the cutting room floor, dusted off, and CGI’d so that slug Jabba appeared instead of the original human actor, Declan Mulholland. As a bonus, Boba Fett was also inserted into the scene, if for no other reason than the dreaded “fan service.” I suppose this is one of those mixed things in that some like it and some don’t. But now Boba Fett, still with almost no lines, is in all three of the OT films, canonically I might add, and still one of the all-time favorite characters. Everything seemed to be smooth sailing for Fettophiles until . . .
The Prequel Trilogy seemed to offend almost every fan in some way, or some form, so it is only fitting that those who really loved Boba Fett the most were especially outraged to learn, in Episode II: Attack of the Clones, that Boba Fett wasn’t unique at all, but actually a clone. This shouldn’t have come as a surprise to any hardcore Star Wars fan as this concept was something George envisioned right from Fett’s start. From Fettpedia:
“I designed the final version of Boba Fett. Ralph and I both worked together on preliminary designs, and we traded ideas back and forth. Originally, Boba Fett was part of a force we called Super Troopers, and they were these really high-tech fighting units, and they all looked alike. That eventually evolved into a single bounty hunter. I painted Boba’s outfit and tried to make it look like it was made of different pieces of armor. It was a symmetrical design, but I painted it in such a way that it looked like he had scavenged parts and had done some personalizing of his costume; he had little trophies hanging from his belt, and he had little braids of hair, almost like a collection of scalps.” — Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays (p. 184-185, 1997)
It sadly turned-out the only unique thing about Boba was that he was an “unaltered clone” per his father, Jango Fett’s, request. Personally, I had zero qualms about seeing the origin of Boba as well as Jango Fett. In my opinion, it added some interesting depth to the character while simultaneously showing how vicious the Super Troopers could be. It was ominous to know that Jango, this very shady character, was supplying the genealogy for the Republic’s grand army. Furthermore, I think it was also pretty cool to see how Boba was affected by the Jedi negatively, planting those seminal seeds of fear and loathing, as young Boba watched his father decapitated at the hands of Mace Windu. Star Wars is nothing if not space opera — space opera served!
That written, I can respect the idea that “less is more.” In this case taking a long-loved, fan-favorite like Boba Fett and turning him into a kid could be viewed as rather unnecessary. Those even more cynical than me, I am a big Han Solo fan after all, might even suggest his inclusion as a “cash grab,” to sell more action figures and merchandise. Ultimately, I don’t see it that way. Ultimately, when we watch Jango Fett in action during AOTC we are really, in the clever way that is George Lucas, able to watch a kick-ass Boba Fett in the Prequels.
While we learned that Boba Fett is a clone of his father Jango, and not ever named “Jaster Mereel,” there was the question of the Mandalorian armor. One question never answered during the PT was where is Jango originally from? It’s never mentioned, nor is it really ever revealed in the films canonically that he wears Mandalorian armor. Enter The Clone Wars animated series.
During the highly acclaimed, award winning series which lasted six seasons, we learned a little more about young Boba Fett. We learned that he attempted to exact revenge on Mace Windu, for the death of his father, by enlisting the help of Aurra Sing and Bosskk. These nefarious outlaws picked-up young Boba’s training where Jango’s left-off. We also learned that Boba Fett actually adhered to a code that the aforementioned bounty hunters did not and that Boba was not a seething hate monster Hell-bent on destroying everything in his path — he had clear intentions.
But while some of Boba’s character came into clearer focus we still never learned an answer to the question of the Mandalorian armor. It was only in the special features “Creating Mandalore” where the answer was finally revealed, from the mouth of Producer/Director Dave Filoni:
“The idea that Jango Fett is not a Mandalorian, that’s something that comes directly from George. I think when we first saw Jango in Attack of the Clones that a lot of us, myself included, we assumed, “Oh, he must be a Mandalorian. There he is in Mandalorian armour.” So there is kind of this early assumption that Jango must be a Mandalorian, and that was interesting to see. But that was never stated in the film. It was never stated that he was Mandalorian. He’s always just referred to as a bounty hunter.”
So there you have it once and for all, Jango, Boba, and by extension the Clone Army, are NOT Mandalorians. The only Mandalorians we’ve seen have been animated during The Clone Wars and soon to premiere Rebels series in the character of Sabine.
We now have a better grasp of who Boba is, but we still haven’t looked into the future to answer the all-important question — What of Fett’s fate? In Part III . . .