Why a Boba Fett spinoff movie is a bad idea for Star Wars

He's one of the most popular supporting characters in all of Star Wars, but I think giving Boba Fett his own film just might ruin him.

Fett had some brief pre-Empire appearances in Star Wars media, but I'm betting most of you, like me, first saw him in The Empire Strikes Back, standing on the bridge of that Star Destroyer, listening to Darth Vader. Fett wasn't the only bounty hunter in that scene with a compelling look (remember IG-88? How could you not be scared of that thing?), but something about him instantly stood out from the pack. He had a cool look, sure, but there was also some subtle body language there, something in the way he carried himself. Even though you couldn't see his face, you knew he was the cockiest guy in the room, and you thought, "This is the guy. This is the guy Han Solo has to be afraid of." And it turned out that was true. By the end of Empire, Fett flew out of Cloud City with Solo in his cargo hold, and into legend.

Fett popped up again in Return of the Jedi, flirting with girls in Jabba's palace and dueling briefly with Luke Skywalker before suffering the least badass death in bounty-hunter history (well, except for maybe Greedo's), but even if he hadn't been there, lounging around on Tatooine until an unforseen escape plan (apparently) cost him his life, Fett would have remained one of the most fascinating characters in the saga. It's a development that George Lucas himself has admitted he didn't see coming, but something about that faceless bounty hunter with his jetpack and his blasters and his strange little starship caught on with us all. Even after he fell into that Sarlacc pit, Fett lived on like some kind of folk hero, echoing through pop culture even without the signal boost provided by his appearances in the Star Wars Expanded Universe.

So why, with all the other fascinating and more fully formed characters in the Star Wars saga, does Boba Fett endure as this symbol of ultimate intergalactic awesome? You could make the case that it's because he seems to be the only dude struttin' around the galaxy with a jetpack, and I wouldn't argue with you, but let's go a little deeper, shall we? We can all agree a guy with a jetpack, a rocket on his back and a spaceship that looks like no other is interesting enough for the duration of a movie, but I remember, as a kid, thinking about Boba Fett long after the movie was over, wondering what was under that helmet, who he really was, how he became so awesome, and who'd he'd go after next. And somehow, the best part about those questions was that I had no clear answers

So this image of Boba Fett as a ghost, an enigmatic warrior who never wanted you to see his true face, grew in my mind, and it seems that same image grew in our collective minds. For years, I thought of him as a faceless force of nature who wouldn't stop until he got his man, who couldn't be reasoned with, who would stop at nothing to collect his bounty, and that was thrilling, because in a universe like that of the original Star Wars trilogy -- filled with family ties and Jedi mind tricks and emotional pleas for aid -- it made him stand out as a man whose only code was the one he crafted himself. Even in the Expanded Universe, it's been implied that all the stories told about Fett are merely lies, backstories he crafted himself to keep people guessing. Even as more light was shed on him, Fett stayed in the shadows.

Then George Lucas dropped him into Attack of the Clones and made him little more than an heir to the toys and fighting skills of his "father," who he'd been cloned from. Suddenly, Boba Fett was a guy whose hidden face wasn't special, because it turned out to be the face hundreds of thousands of other clones also had. Suddenly all of his gadgets and even his starship were just heirlooms. Suddenly Boba Fett was a little less mysterious.

So, what do you think would happen if the good people at Disney decided to take those now-canonical elements of Fett's origin story and build them into a feature-length film starring everyone's favorite bounty hunter? For a long time it sounded like a good idea to me, if only because it meant I'd see more Fett, but the more I think about it, the more I realize it'd be another, larger exercise in stripping away at the Boba Fett enigma that I've loved for years. A film starring the character would almost certainly involve even more backstory, emotional motivations and relationships, and that would almost certainly mean shrinking the shadows that surround him.

That said, I do think Boba Fett should return in these films, but as a mysterious and undaunted adversary, not as the star of the show. I'd love to see him battle Han Solo again, or appear in the Coruscant underworld, but I think putting him front and center will ruin him. 

Remember back when the Force was this mystical, almost-lost thing that Luke Skywalker had to master the intricacies of? Yeah, that was cool. Then rememember how it just turned out to be a microbial presence in your blood? Well ... I don't want to see Boba Fett's microbes.

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