The Universe’s Greatest Bounty Hunter

Brendan Winkel, Staff Writer

You might recognize the name Boba Fett; he’s a pretty big face in Star Wars, and the media in general. Just saying “Boba” or “Fett” can trigger the memory of the blue-clad bounty hunter. But did you know that one of the most famous faces in the Star Wars fandom, that being Boba of course, was originally intended to die in Return of the Jedi and never return or be mentioned ever again? That obviously got flipped on its head. In fact, with the release of Disney+’s new 20 minute long documentary of his entire history, getting the scoop on things is incredibly easy. From his first cameo to now, Boba’s come a long way.

After the massive success of Star Wars: A New Hope, George Lucas and the rest of Lucasfilm were preparing to make a sequel to the movie, continuing the fandom. But, unlike most sequels, George wanted the sequel to make the same impact that the first movie made. To do this, he likely wanted to raise the stakes of the movie. Seeing how there was more action in the final product than the first Star Wars, this seems evident. So, how do you exactly raise the stakes? Make super-soldiers, obviously! After making a bunch of ideas for a Super Stormtrooper, they finalized on an outfit that looked awfully similar to Boba Fett. Except, it was all white and missed the cape and rust. However, during the start of movie production, Lucasfilm realized that they did not have the money to mass-produce this Super Stormtrooper suit, even after A New Hope’s success. So, beaten, George retired the suit and continued making ideas and filming scenes. Eventually, he came back to the suit. 

Requesting assistance from his art director, Joe Johnston, George wanted to make this lone suit look even cooler than it already did. The bounty hunter idea was already present in the movie, and seeing how it looked like it would work splendidly in that situation, Lucas wanted it to see a new paint covering and grim look. They then added the cape and some fake paint scratches, and the armor became what we all know in cinemas. Of course, the story of Boba’s beginning isn’t over just yet. What’s the point of a suit with no one inside? However, the suit was just a prototype when it was made and wasn’t tested for any of the staff or actors to fit inside.

Yet, remarkably, the costume fit nearly perfectly onto one of the Assistant Film Directors of Empire Strikes Back, Duwayne Dunham. He was then asked if he would like to be someone in the movie inside the suit.

Of course, Duwayne agreed. It was incredible for Lucasfilm; their suit that had quite a bit of attention and care put into it, was now viable again. Excited with the success, Boba Fett became less of just a bounty hunter and became the main bounty hunter, the one that stood by Darth Vader’s side.

However, unbeknownst to most fans, Boba Fett didn’t actually first appear in Empire Strikes Back. His very first cameo was in the Star Wars Holiday Special. The people that were unfortunate enough to view this when it came out got to see the new character for the first time and to say that caused a stir would be an overstatement; his appearance there didn’t cause much commotion. In fact, people thought he was just another original character made in the holiday special.

What did get fans really riled up though is when Lucasfilm decided to join in the local parade in San Anselmo. They had two people walk alongside the rest of the parade, Darth Vader and this strange new guy, who looked like a cerulean medieval knight with a jetpack. Empire Strikes Back hadn’t been announced yet, so people weren’t fully aware a sequel was coming. Boba certainly wasn’t in A New Hope, so why was he in the parade?

This greatly increased hype for Empire Strikes Back when it was announced a new Star Wars movie was hitting theaters. 

Hallelujah, that was a very long and grueling history recap. So, Boba was originally a Super Stormtrooper, but funds weren’t available, so Lucasfilm decided to make him his own character in the movie, painted him to look cool, and found someone to fit inside the suit. To be fair, that doesn’t seem like the character that people would talk about 40 years after the movies he appeared in came out. But, in Lucas’s eyes, it makes total sense.

According to Joe Johnston: “Like Darth Vader, the Helmet was his face. I liked that we didn’t give him any backstory. He was just one of the bounty hunters. Less is more with Fett. He’s enigmatic. We don’t know what to expect from him.”

That and all the hype behind him, it does seem reasonable how such a small character became such a big sensation. I mean, people liked him so much they refused to believe he was killed by the Sarlacc in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Turns out, he didn’t. And now we have even more outlets with him in it, ranging from Mandalorian, to toy stores, to his own Disney+ Show, and Cosplayers. 

He’s definitely been one of the biggest impacting single characters in movie history, and for good reason. He really does look cool.