Disney Plus Day kicked off today with the company debuting a new special on Boba Fett, titled Under the Helmet: The Legacy of Boba Fett. The project was announced a couple of months ago, but its content was really a mystery until today. Last night, once the special started to be available in different countries around the world, we found out it was 21 minutes long. Let’s discuss it here — there will be no spoilers until said otherwise.
This short documentary is Lucasfilm’s response to one question: what is so special about Boba Fett, a secondary character, since we are still actively talking about him more than 40 years later? If you are expecting a 5-minute recap of what happened to Boba Fett in the Star Wars franchise up until now, and 15 minutes of footage from The Book of Boba Fett, you are in the wrong place. In fact, the series is barely mentioned at all, since the documentary is more focused on the history and legacy of the character.
It catches everyone up to speed on how and when the character was created, giving more context than a random post you’ll find on the Internet, and features multiple interviews with people that have worked on the character over the years, from sound designer Ben Burtt to Dave Filoni, and including some special names I personally wasn’t expecting, so I won’t ruin the surprise (more on this in the spoiler section).
One of the ways the character has been able to survive, and even the way he got his popularity back in the day, is through toys. Steve Sansweet, the proud owner and founder of Rancho Obi-Wan, makes an appearance in Under the Helmet to show off the largest collection of Star Wars memorabilia, which includes a few Boba Fett figures. His is our point of view of the collectors — as many of our readers may know, the Boba Fett figure was released a few months before The Empire Strikes Back came out, and it captured everyone’s imagination at the time.
Hoewever, there are still a few nuggets in the documentary for fans like me, who are fascinated by the history of the franchise and the point of view of the different creative minds that worked on it over the years. For example, did you know that the Holiday Special was actually not the first time people outside of Lucasfilm were able to see Boba Fett?
Of course, a central figure to the character of Boba Fett is Jeremy Bulloch, the actor who wore the costume both in Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Bulloch sadly passed away last year, but his memory lives on. His wife makes an appearance in the documentary, and walks us through Jeremy’s mind throughout the years. He, of course, was a fan favorite at conventions, as die-hard fans all around the world knew his face, even though it was never shown in the movies (at least not when he was playing Boba Fett, since the actor had two other roles in the Star Wars franchise).
Under the Helmet: The Legacy of Boba Fett isn’t a must-watch for today, but if you’re having lunch on your own in the next few days, it will give you great company. Most guests on the documentary can’t help but smile when they think about Boba Fett, and seeing everyone’s joy when they talk about Star Wars is always contagious.
Spoilers for Under the Helmet: The Book of Boba Fett ahead.
Of course, this is a documentary, so talking about spoilers isn’t generally a thing. But there were a few things about this I didn’t know going in, so I wanted to keep them out of the general discussion. For instance, while this isn’t really new, in the documentary we don’t see a single shot from The Book of Boba Fett we haven’t seen. I actually thought we could get a few seconds from the show that weren’t in the trailer — in fact, the documentary basically ended with a fast-played version of the teaser that was released last week.
The biggest surprise for me, without a doubt, was George Lucas’ appearance. While the creator has been seen around the set of The Mandalorian a couple of times (in fact, he was there when they were filming the Ahsoka Tano episode last year for Season 2), ever since the Disney acquisition in 2012, he’s been mostly out of the picture. Of course, he was there for a couple of generic quotes, but it was still something to watch, and I do have to wonder what it must be like to be sitting here, over 40 years after he created this character that ended up playing an entirely different role, answering questions for a documentary crew. But pretty much all of Lucas’ creations evolved over time into different things, so this is surely nothing new. The entire Star Wars franchise is a different thing today than it was when it was first created.
Another surprise appearance in Under the Helmet for me was Kathleen Kennedy, who has been staying out of the picture for the past couple of years. She had a large role in the Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian Season 1, but sat out Season 2 (though she was back for the Luke Skywalker special). She hosted the Lucasfilm panel during last year’s Disney’s Investor Day and had a line during the High Republic launch event on January 4th. I’m not sure for how long she will hold her current role at Lucasfilm, but I hope she makes more public appearances in the near future. Lucasfilm needs a face, and Dave Filoni is not that person. He is a great creator, but he is not a studio executive.
It also caught me off guard that they didn’t even mention the fact that Boba Fett basically launched an entire culture, the Mandalorian culture, which was prominently featured in The Clone Wars but, above all, inspired Jon Favreau to create The Mandalorian, the first Star Wars live-action show (let’s all remember that Favreau initially wanted to make a Boba Fett show). I can understand that they wanted this to act as a preamble to The Book of Boba Fett, trying not to focus on the other show, but it is impossible to separate the two series, since the new one is a spin-off from the other (which sounds weird to say after the character of Fett has been around for much longer).
Daniel Logan, who played Boba Fett in Attack of the Clones and voiced the character in the Clone Wars animated series, is also in Under the Helmet, and I have to say it is always great to see these actors come back. Of course, he was never bullied to the point that Jake Lloyd was, who I’d love to see back this many years later, to have a similar redemption arc with the fans like Hayden Christensen’s. On a similar note, The New York Times produced a short documentary earlier this year about Devon Michael, one of the three kids that made it into the final casting stages for Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace, but eventually didn’t get the part. It’s an interesting introspective into what fame looks like for kids around that age, and how much someone’s life changes overnight.
Under the Helmet: The Legacy of Boba Fett is currently available to stream on Disney Plus. In addition to this, Lucasfilm is expected to make several announcements and release new looks at their upcoming roster of shows for Disney Plus. Stay tuned for all of our coverage.