Why Boba Fett is the best Star Wars character

With The Book Of Boba Fett hitting Disney+, here are 10 absolutely indisputable reasons why he’s a total dude…

Why Boba Fett is the best Star Wars character
Mike Rampton

The Book Of Boba Fett arrives on Disney+ on December 29, finally giving a starring role to Star Wars’ best character. It’s been a long time coming, with loads of solo projects planned for the big fella over the years only to come to nought. But now, the dude with the name best-suited to knuckle tattoos (you could do Darth Vader across your toes, though) has his own series – and it looks awesome.

But just why is Boba Fett so ace? He might have only made it to number 10 in our list of most metal characters from the franchise (Boba Fett potentially has ‘“A bit of a Buckethead thing going on” – Kerrang!’ on his CV), but he’s manifestly the best in terms of outright, er, bestness. So, let’s examine why…

1He survived the most ignominious of introductions

The first the world ever saw of Boba Fett was during a segment of the notoriously ropey Star Wars Holiday Special, a one-off variety show detailing Chewbacca’s home life and featuring a performance by Jefferson Airplane. He appeared in animated form, rescuing Luke, Chewbacca and the droids from a monster before revealing himself to be a bounty hunter. The animated version was based on a suit that had been built for the then-yet-to-film Empire Strikes Back, but the animators decided to “scuff it up a bit” to befit the character of a bounty hunter, something that was then reflected in the live-action version. It kind of goes without saying, but the other characters introduced in the special – namely Chewbacca’s wife Mallatobuck, son Lumpawarrump and father Attichitcuk – are not held in quiiiite as high regard as Boba.

2He did a lot with a little

Boba Fett’s screen time in the original trilogy was incredibly limited. He only spoke four lines (“What if he doesn’t survive? He’s worth a lot to me;” "Put Captain Solo in the cargo hold;” “He’s no good to me dead;” "As you wish”) across two films. Twenty-seven words isn’t a lot to build an enormous cult following on, but Boba did it. There was basically a global consensus that this mysterious helmeted character flippin’ ruled. This was helped by the fact that Lucasfilm had spent two years bigging him up, selling posters and action figures and pushing the idea that he was going to be a huge villain. The scant details known about him – pretty much nothing beyond his status as a bounty hunter – just added to his mystique, leading to years of rampant speculation. The Boba Fett Fan Club has had a presence on the internet since 1996, before special editions, prequels or sequels of any kind, and is still going strong – they post a ‘Daily Fett’ on their Instagram account @bobafettfanclub.

3His non-death was simultaneously great, rubbish and poignant

Boba Fett’s death is… sort of crap! After a bunch of jetpacking, space-lasso hijinks, he’s knocked into the pit of the many-toothed Sarlacc kind of by accident; a temporarily blind Han Solo turning round holding a stick and inadvertently walloping him in a bit of old-school plank comedy. After he crashes and plummets into the Sarlacc’s mouth, the payoff is a rubbish burp. On the DVD commentary of Return Of The Jedi, George Lucas admits that if he had realised how much people were going to take to Boba, “I would have made his death more exciting.” But despite its silliness, the almost random, accidental nature of the death is an oddly realistic touch in a decidedly unrealistic franchise, a reminder that life is fleeting and things don’t always work out how you want them to. He was eventually revealed to have survived, of course, but still…

4He’s paid a lot of mortgages

Other than Anakin / Darth Vader, no other Star Wars character has been portrayed by as many people as Boba Fett. He was voiced by Don Francks in his initial animated appearance. Jeremy Bulloch was the man in the suit in the two original trilogy appearances, with John Morton (who also played rebel pilot Dak Ralter) occasionally doubling for him, but Boba’s four lines were spoken by Jason Wingreen. Ed Begley Jr and Alan Rosenberg played him in a radio adaptation. In the prequel trilogy and The Clone Wars, a young Boba was portrayed by Daniel Logan, and Temuera Morrison voiced him in a remastered Empire before bringing him to live-action with The Mandalorian and the new show. When he was retroactively placed in the Special Edition of A New Hope, animator Mark Austin wore the suit, while when the same was done for Return Of The Jedi, the job fell to special effects artists Don Bies and modelmaker Nelson Hall. And that’s not even counting the stunt performers.

5He’s a one-man cinematic education

There was more to Jeremy Bulloch’s portrayal of Boba Fett than just the costume – as Jeremy’s obituary in The Guardian points out, his precise body language is a huge part of the character. Jeremy consciously paid homage to Clint Eastwood’s portrayal of The Man With No Name in Sergio Leone’s ‘Dollars Trilogy’ of spaghetti westerns. Given that Star Wars as a whole was enormously inspired by the works of Akira Kurosawa, plough through the original trilogy and you basically have a film degree.

6There’s both a lot and next-to-nothing going on with him

Boba Fett’s an interesting dude. In some ways he’s incredibly complex – he is a clone, raised like a son by Jango Fett (the man he’s a clone of), until Jango was beheaded in front of him by Mace Windu. This trauma presumably had a lot to do with the paths he chose. But, at the same time, he’s basically just a cool costume. Until the story was filled out, it pretty much didn’t matter where he’d come from – he was just a space badass in a jetpack.

7His big reveal made him all the more interesting

A lot of the time, revealing the answer to something that has been a mystery for ages can be a bit anticlimactic. However, when Attack Of The Clones explained who Boba Fett was and revealed what he, by deduction, looked like under that helmet, it wasn’t. This is because of Lucasfilm’s excellent decision to cast Temuera Morrison, first as Jango then as Boba himself. Temuera was an inspired choice – both a badass presence and a great actor. His performance in the 1994 New Zealand film Once Were Warriors is absolutely terrifying: it’s an incredible film but utterly devastating.

8He even took George Lucas by surprise

George Lucas didn’t have enormous plans for Boba Fett – he was barely described in the script, and the brief for designers included a bunch of recycled ideas from early drafts of what Darth Vader would look like. George briefly considered making him Darth Vader’s brother before deciding that idea was “hokey”. Mark Hamill once suggested to George that the only way to top the revelation about Darth Vader being – spoiler – Luke’s dad was to reveal Boba Fett was… Luke’s mum. “He didn’t like my idea,” he revealed.

9It’s all in the armour

Boba Fett’s inscrutability, caused by wearing a helmet all the time, is a huge part of his badassedness. His armour was designed by concept artist Ralph McQuarrie and production designer Joe Johnson (who went on to become a director himself, with films including The Rocketeer and Captain America: The First Avenger). While other armoured characters were largely one colour, Boba Fett has that bit more going on, thanks to Joe. He later wrote: “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 personalising of his costume; he had little trophies hanging from his belt, and he had little braids of hair, almost like a collection of scalps.”

10He just… is?

You can’t overthink these things too much. Look at him. He clearly, clearly rules. He’s got a helmet and a jetpack and a microphone thing, and a big dent where he got shot in the head and survived. He’s badass as shit.

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