20th Century Fox Film
Ever since Disney acquired the rights to Star Wars, the series has been in full franchise mode. But the sequel trilogy — headed by J.J. Abrams and beginning with 2015’s Star Wars: Episode VII that endeavors to show how the heroes of the original tree films have been spending their time since saving the galaxy far far away — isn’t the only thing planned for Star Wars. Disney is also working on producing spin-off films in conjunction with the main film series, and one of these films might center around our favorite bounty hunter Boba Fett. Jon Schnepp, director of Cartoon Network’s Metalocalypse series has told AMC Movie News that Disney is planning a Boba Fett spin-off, and that original trilogy scribe, Lawrence Kasdan will be writing the project. Now, we sure do love Boba Fett (and who doesn’t?), but we’re not sure a character like him be at the center of his own stand-alone film.
In the original trilogy, Boba Fett was a nearly wordless bounty hunter hired by Jabba the Hutt to capture Han Solo. Even though he only speaks four lines in the Empire Strikes Back and just two words in Return of the Jedi before being launched into the maw of the Sarlaac pit, he’s become a beloved figure in the Star Wars universe. But Boba’s popularity isn’t due to some detailed backstory or character depth. The less we knew about him the more badass he became. He was an enigma, a no-nonsense space desperado who let his actions do the talking for him. Simple storytelling let our imaginations run wild and craft him into the most dangerous man in the galaxy the way Darth Vader’s exposition never could. We were told that he was the best at his job, and the scars on his armor were the best résumé. The simplicity of the character covers so much ground in characterizing him, and no matter how well they strip his armor and examine into the man inside, he will inevitably lose some of the spark and mystery that makes the character so special to begin with.
Mysteries are vital to stories. They help to make the universe intriguing and help to add texture to a fictional world, and stories are better served if they leave some things up to the audience, because if you explain away everything, then there’s no room for speculation. We don’t need to shine a light on every aspect of every character because some things are better left in the dark, hinted at but never confirmed. With Boba Fett, his enigmatic nature is part of his charm and is one of the best aspects of the character. Plus, anytime the Star Wars universe tries to demystify anything, it canonical answers up being way worse than the explanations already working their way around our imaginations.
For example, the Force used to be a mystical phenomenon that tied the Star Wars universe together. It was a sprawling faith-fueled energy that was one part religion, one part mythology, and one part magic. A big part of using the Force was having faith in its power without proof of its actual existence, and that faith is a big theme that informs much of the original trilogy. Much of Luke Skywalker’s journey from gangly farm boy to revered Jedi involves him putting his full belief and faith into this intangible energy. In the prequels, however, the boundless energy that “surrounds us and penetrates us,” this thing that “binds the galaxy together” is revealed to be just micro-organisms swimming around in everyone’s blood. And, just like that, it’s not special anymore. The grand ideas about faith and belief and myth are gone and are replaced with science and genetic dumb luck. Instead of telling him to believe in the force, Ben Kenobi might as well have pulled out an electron microscope and showed Luke a smear on a petri dish.
With all of this said, it’s certainly possible to create a good or even a great movie with Boba Fett as the protagonist. If anyone could pull it off, it’s certainly Lawrence Kasdan. But there are other characters who would be better suited for a stand-alone movie, ones who don’t have as much to lose by having their backstory expanded. As I’m sure Boba Fett would agree: some things are better left unsaid.