The secret is now out. Last Friday saw the long-awaited return of Boba Fett to the Star Wars galaxy, after years of teases and a lot of speculation. Even after the season premiere of The Mandalorian season 2, fans were still not 100% sure that the character that appeared at the end, played by Temuera Morrison (who had been reported to join the new season back in May), was in fact Boba Fett. But The Tragedy brought him back for good, and the questions of how that happened in the Star Wars canon remain unanswered. What we do know now is how it happened behind the scenes.
Temuera Morrison has has been interviewed by The New York Times, and he pulled back the curtain on how his return to the Star Wars galaxy happened. He debuted in the franchise back in 2002’s Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, in which he played Jango Fett, Boba’s son. He was brought back in Revenge of the Sith to play several of the members of the clone army, including Commander Cody. His voice was then retroactively incorporated into Boba Fett’s scenes in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
Morrison had been expecting a call from Lucasfilm ever since they decided to move forward with new Star Wars movies, but he always tried to keep his feet on the ground:
“There was a lot of stuff online about a possible “Star Wars” bounty-hunter film, and then I was watching all the new “Star Wars” movies coming out, wondering if they were ever going to do anything with Jango Fett. My agent and I had a number of discussions — when are they going to call me? But then I kept forgetting about it. In this day and age, they have a number of options. They could have called other people to play the part. They can go with a fresh face. They could have called the Rock. I felt so grateful that after all this time, something came to be.”
Finally, Jon Favreau called for The Mandalorian:
“I wasn’t even quite sure what “The Mandalorian” was about, but I kind of knew that Jango and Boba had their own Mandalorian history. At the time, I was in Los Angeles, meeting on another film, so I was pleasantly surprised to get the call. I actually got to the meeting quite early — I was so excited I got there about two hours early — and there were conceptual drawings on the wall. I saw an image that looked like me, and I said, I’m sure that’s me. But even then, I didn’t want to get too excited.”
In that meeting, they talked to him about a kind of different Boba Fett, more seasoned this time:
“When we find Boba, he’s well-worn, and he’s been through a lot. He’s a survivor, and he’s weathered. Now it was time to find out more about what makes Boba tick. Is he more than just a simple man, trying to make his way through the galaxy? Is he tired of all the fighting? Is he tired of all the killing?
The one thing I can relate to is, I’m quite a mature man now and things always change. Sometimes you’re in Hollywood, in all the magazines and newspapers. And sometimes you end up in the fish and chip shop in New Zealand, where all the old magazines and papers go. You’re old news. [Laughs.]”
Several things have changed for Boba since the last time we saw him, and the makeup and costume helped Morrison find that new character:
“I was doing that kind of background work — what’s this guy going to look like? What’s he going to sound like? — and while they’re applying makeup, I’m going, well, here he is. We did quite a number of makeup tests and I worked closely with the makeup artist Brian Sipe. When I saw some of the scars on my face, I thought, well, maybe he does talk a little bit gravelly. Maybe his vocal cords have been affected as well. Then you put the costume on and it gives you a sense of power. The costume makes you feel like Superman. When I put the armor on for the first time, it just felt right.”
He added that his own background was also put into the character he was playing:
“I come from the Maori nation of New Zealand, the Indigenous people — we’re the Down Under Polynesians — and I wanted to bring that kind of spirit and energy, which we call wairua. I’ve been trained in my cultural dance, which we call the haka. I’ve also been trained in some of our weapons, so that’s how I was able to manipulate some of the weapons in my fight scenes and work with the gaffi stick, which my character has.”
The conversation then turned to his role as Jango Fett in the Star Wars prequels. About his casting, Morrison said:
“I give praise to George [Lucas] who made me Jango Fett in the first place. We filmed in Sydney, so he used quite a few actors from New Zealand and Australia. It wasn’t long after “Once Were Warriors” that I met with the casting people of “Star Wars,” and I feel that’s the movie that launched me in Hollywood. It wasn’t a big box-office movie here in America, but people in the industry saw it, and that opened a few more doors for me, that’s for sure.”
He remembers that his role in the film wasn’t done when filming wrapped:
“Even when I finished the filming process, there was still quite a bit of work to do — I would keep getting calls from George: “OK, I just need you in the studio to voice some more stuff.” One moment I’m the voice of this, and then another guy, and then Commander Cody, and then a whole elite strike force. Things just kept going and going and going, but I didn’t mind.”
He then weighed in on his unceremonious death as Jango Fett:
“Yes, well, I know the feeling. I ended up watching “Attack of the Clones” in Dallas, and I was so excited to watch it with this new Dolby sound at the theater. I was just starting to enjoy myself when I got killed. “Wow, this is good. There I am.” [pause] “But anyway.” My journey in “Attack of the Clones” was pretty short-lived. But that was a long time ago. Now I’m back again.”
And then, the most interesting part of the conversation was left for the end. According to the actor, he hasn’t been told how did Boba Fett survive being devoured by the Sarlacc:
“Ah, no, I don’t. There’s quite a bit of loose ends, and I’m not one of those guys that knows too much about the actual history. The fans of “Star Wars,” they have better knowledge of, What’s happened? How can he still be alive? I thought he was stuck in this place? I can find out more on the internet.”
In fact, he is saying he doesn’t know if he’ll come back to the Star Wars galaxy:
“I’m just going to have to wait and see. I think a lot of it depends on how things go with this season, but I don’t really know. I wanted to bring everything I had to that [episode] and give them a glimmer of what I can offer. There’s room for this to go someplace. I hope I’m going to be included.”
In a vacuum, his words would be not that relevant and typical of any actor who’s ever been in a Star Wars project. However, we are not in a vacuum. Last month it was reported that Lucasfilm has been secretly putting together a Boba Fett-centric miniseries that would have begun filming already. Also, we know that season 3 of The Mandalorian is already filming, so if Temuera Morrison were to come back as Boba Fett, he’d now already!
Even if filming for the Fett miniseries was pushed back, if that character was going to receive that treatment, it would just make sense that the actor who just played the role would know about it. And also, if Fett was going to come back for the third season, he’d also know, even if he wasn’t filming his episode for another couple of months. There are only two possibilities, then – either he’s lying, or the miniseries is just a non-true story (hard to believe, given that Deadline is the source, one of the most reputable trades in Hollywood right now), and the character is not coming back for the third season (something I actually wouldn’t be surprised to find out).
Boba Fett is supposedly coming back for the next episode, Chapter 15, after he teamed up with the title character at the end of The Tragedy to take Grogu out of Moff Gideon’s hands. We’ll have to wait to find out how the future of the character evolves in the live-action medium.