This is the 39th post in a daily series. Read about it here and see the list of previous posts here. A new post about “Star Wars” will be posted every day for 40 days leading up to the franchise’s 40th birthday on May 25th.
One of the common complaints I’ve heard about Darth Maul’s screen time in “The Phantom Menace” has been that he was an underused character: he was hyped up, but never used to his full potential. His appearance was unique, but beyond that, he was never fleshed out to be missed.
That’s a complaint I share about Maul as well, but I’ll go further. Maul was not the only could-have-been-cool character that George Lucas wasted, nor was he the first.
Boba Fett was.
Hear me out.
Fett has been revered among “Star Wars” fans as a badass. And to sure, the guy looks like a badass. His mask and costume stands out, and that’s saying something for a universe that includes the distinct looks of Darth Vader, R2-D2, Jabba the Hutt, and Yoda.
But underneath the mask and the jetpack, there’s not much to Boba Fett. Or, to be more precise, the movies haven’t given us reason to think there’s more to Boba Fett. He is beloved and hyped, but not used nearly to the fullness of his potential.
Though Fett first appeared in “The Star Wars Holiday Special”…
…his first live-action appearance was in “The Empire Strikes Back” when Vader was jonesing to find Luke. Fett himself was desperate to find Solo. Fett ended up on Cloud City, but once he got there, Vader did all the work. But Fett got to take Han Solo to Jabba Hutt and take credit anyway.
In “Return of the Jedi,” Fett didn’t end up looking any better. He was basically with Jabba’s entourage, but he didn’t do or contribute jack shit.
Remember how Mariah Carey got caught off guard when she was performing on New Year’s Eve, and instead of singing her song, she just walked around throwing shade?
That was what Boba Fett did on the sand barge. And unlike Mariah, he didn’t even attempt to sing. And then he flew off like The Rocketeer into the Great Pit of Carkoon to be eaten by the sarlacc. In the Expanded Universe, he survived that and escaped, but that is no longer canon. For the sake of Fett and his fans, Disney and its team of writers should find a way to reintroduce that postscript into canon the way it reintroduced Thrawn. Otherwise, Fett is just an underused asset.
Not just underused, but misused.
For as menacing as Fett as meant to be in the original trilogy, we were given no reason to think of him as dangerous. He killed no one. At least Darth Maul got to turn Qui-Gon Jinn into a shish kabob before Obi-Wan sent him to the half-off sale.
And this is just based on the Boba Fett of the original trilogy. The Boba Fett of the prequels was even less intimidating. “Attack of the Clones” introduced us to Jango Fett, who was cloned to make the original stormtroopers. Boba, we learned, was one of Jango’s clones. As a little boy, he saw Mace Windu decapitate Jango, and he never got over it.
I mean, ferfucksake.
Boba Fett’s badassery was on the bubble before the prequels trilogy, but that might have just pushed him over the line to being definitively not badass. The only characters from the original trilogy who were tarnished more by the prequels were Anakin and Yoda.
But before Lucas tainted the legacy of the most famous bounty hunter in the galaxy, Boba Fett was the topic of a song by nerdcore originator MC Chris. On his 2001 album “Life’s A Bitch And I’m Her Pimp,” Chris included “Fett’s Vette,” a first-person rap told from Fett’s point of view.
It’s this song — more than anything we’ve seen in a “Star Wars” movie — that comes closest to conveying Fett as cool.