Since his return to the Star Wars universe in The Mandalorian Chapter 14 – The Tragedy, Temuera Morrison has been talking about what it was like to return to the Fett family once more.
Morrison had already spoken to NYT about what it was like to return as Boba Fett, but he elaborated on that a little bit in an interview with starwars.com. He mentioned once again what it was like getting the call and waiting to see what the project actually was, but he also opened up on what it was like to put on the armor.
There were moments when I put the armor on and I was looking at [executive producers] Dave [Filoni] and Jon [Favreau], and the expression on their faces just said it all.
It felt good. It felt right. It felt like, ‘Yes, I should be wearing this costume.’ And it gave me this sense of, ‘I’m back.’
One particularly interesting thing to note is that starwars.com says that for a long time, Temuera Morrison was in the same position as the rest of Star Wars fandom; he desperately wanted to return to the Star Wars universe, and knew that he could potentially return as Boba Fett, but no one called him for a long time. He read the same rumors about the Boba Fett spinoff film that we did a few years ago, only for nothing to come of them. Eventually, he says he “kind of lost hope.”
Another interesting revelation is that Morrison was actually involved in the initial discussions around Boba Fett’s return with Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni. They would regularly dive deep into the character’s motivations, with Filoni offering lots of insight after writing several arcs for Boba in The Clone Wars series.
We had many discussions. They had to outline where they were at, really, and what they were thinking.
It’s just a wonderful process and it’s so rewarding. And they include me, as well, if I’ve got ideas and suggestions. I got as much information as I could, especially from Dave Filoni, in terms of Boba’s relationship with other characters and some of the history, which he all has in his mind. He’s like a walking encyclopedia, that guy.
Morrison suggests that he was still trying to figure out what kind of man Fett had become when he sat down in the makeup chair, and that the character’s design helped him a lot.
I did rely a lot on the makeup. I worked with Brian Sipe. When we started to work once things got underway, and we decided I would play Boba Fett and we got over all the excitement, we actually had to sit in the chair and start doing the actual work and the creating, and look at where he’s been and his past. So I spent a lot of the time sitting in the makeup chair, watching what was being applied, and then things just started to happen organically.
He also reveals that he deliberately changed the pitch of his voice to set Boba apart from his father Jango in Attack of the Clones, and to also acknowledge that he was playing an older man than before.
It was a conscious choice. I thought, every now and then he hit some tonal qualities where, hey, he has been scarred. He has been affected internally, as well. So without sounding too false I wanted to bring a little gravel in there to give it a bit of timbre.
Morrison and Rodriguez connected in several ways on set, playing guitar with each other in their spare time, and Robert played a significant part in guiding Temuera’s performances.
Within Boba, if he decided to erupt, he’s like a small volcano. And Robert was drawing a little bit of that out of me, as well. So when we do those fight sequences, there is a bit of rawness there, there is a bit of brutality there.
Morrison also felt that the western vibes of The Mandalorian helped dictate his portrayal of Boba somewhat, something that he recognized after watching plenty of westerns with his father at childhood. He got the feeling that Boba fit that classic gunslinger archetype from the genre.
We were allowed to get up in the middle of the night and share these cowboy movies from Hollywood with him. “With The Mandalorian, I guess I’m getting at the fact that it has this cowboy feel. A Western feel. A gunslinger feel. You’ve got all these great actors from the cowboy days, which I could relate to in a way, from growing up with my dad loving cowboy films. So we’re bringing that Western feel to the character, as well.
The New Zealand actor also touched on how he drew from his Maori background to play the role, but offered even more insight than in his NYT interview. That background helped significantly when it came to fighting with his gaderffii stick:
I come from a warrior background in New Zealand. I’m a Maori and I’ve been trained. It gives me something to draw on. I was trained as a young boy back in New Zealand in the art of our haka [warrior dance]. ‘Ha’ is the breath, and ‘ka’ is the fire. I’m using my warrior background as a source of energy and as a source of confidence.
I was able to bring that into this production. Robert could see that I could use the weapon and swing the stick around. In our own culture, we have a staff that’s called a taiaha. I’d been trained in that as a young boy, as well. I’m trying to push it into a nice place. You don’t want to get this guy upset. He’ll rip you to pieces.
Some Star Wars fans have been surprised at Fett showing off a code of honor that he may not have displayed in his previous appearances in the films and comics, and Morrison admitted that it was a conscious decision to bring out his softer side.
I think that’s where I come into it. In bringing that humanity and keeping it kind of simple. Giving him values.
At the time of the interview, Morrison hadn’t had a chance to watch The Tragedy, but he was relieved to learn that his return to Star Wars was received universally well by fans.
It gives me a lot of encouragement. I count my blessings and I’m very grateful. Grateful to George, in fact, for giving me Jango Fett. And that’s how this whole thing has come about. Just very grateful for being involved in this wonderful production.
It’s an appreciation that certainly extends to all those Star Wars fans who have been waiting to see Boba Fett really kick ass ever since watching him in The Empire Strikes Back, and we can all agree that it was worth the wait.