The Star Wars spin-off films hit a roadblock early this year in the form of Solo: A Star Wars Story. It turns out that having Star Wars in the title doesn’t translate to automatic success anymore. Solo underperformed at the box office, and it was rumored that Lucasfilm was seriously reconsidering how it handles its spin-off films from now on. To that end, it was recently confirmed that the Boba Fett movie is no longer happening and while this upset some fans, this was absolutely the right decision because the character’s too thin for a feature.
Earlier this week, journalist Erick Weber tweeted that Star Wars boss Kathleen Kennedy had confirmed to him that the Boba Fett spin-off movie was “100% dead.” Doesn’t leave much wiggle room, does it?
The news came as a surprise to some. A movie about Boba Fett was one of the most popular choices for a spin-off. The ruthless bounty hunter has been a fan-favorite ever since his first theatrical appearance in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, and people have been asking to see more of him for YEARS. The spin-offs gave the best opportunity to do that, but now Lucasfilm appears to have pulled the plug on the project.
Fans shouldn’t despair though. This is a pretty good sign for Lucasfilm’s new attitude toward its Star Wars projects, and it could be a signal that more original and exciting films are on the way.
Some readers may be wondering what all the hubbub is with Boba Fett. That guy died, right? Yes, if you don’t know anything about Star Wars Legends, the now non-canon series of books chronicling the adventures of Luke, Han, and Leia post-Original Trilogy. In one of these books, Boba Fett crawls out of the sarlacc pit that swallowed him whole in Return of the Jedi, and then went on to have more adventures and once again butt heads with Han Solo. People had hoped this content would be the focus of a spin-off film or a prequel about the bounty hunter’s younger days.
The problem with that though is that it’s too predictable of an approach. Lucasfilm picked the most obvious characters to center a Star Wars movie around. They weren’t stretching their imaginations much when they picked favorite characters like Han Solo, Obi-Wan, and Boba Fett for spin-offs. While ultimately it comes down to the people making the movie and the content put up on screen, a Boba Fett movie was already off to a rough start because this character is paper thin when compared to Han Solo or Obi-Wan.
Boba Fett is surface level cool. He’s got a really badass and brilliant design with cool weapons that have kept this character alive with fans. However, in the context of the movies, he does next to nothing. He barely has any dialogue! The most action he gets to do is fly to his death after he was shot down by a blind guy. His death was comic relief, but the adoration for the character never died with him.
That’s not to say that a movie can’t give him some dimension. A blank canvas means that you can draw anything, but if you go too crazy, then you run the risk of creating an uncharacteristic version of an already beloved character. Looking cool might not be enough of a building block to make Boba Fett compelling enough for a two-hour runtime, and this particular character might be better served by sticking to the supporting cast.
I don’t think it’s too much of a coincidence that of the two spin-offs released so far, the most successful one by far is Rogue One, a movie that stars entirely original Star Wars characters. The film itself was flawed, but it was exciting to see a Star Wars adventure with fresh characters. It made the movie a bit more exciting in the lead up to its release date, but with a Boba Fett movie, it’s hard to see how it could build that same amount of anticipation.
If fans are genuinely disappointed that Boba isn’t back on the big screen, he looks to be a significant influence for The Mandalorian, the TV show being developed by Jon Favreau. The show follows an unnamed Mandalorian gunfighter with a clear Boba Fett influence. For Lucasfilm, it was either this or Boba Fett, and it says a lot that they thought this assumably original story was a higher priority than making Boba Fett. If some fans are hungry from bounty hunter action (as I think a lot of us are), this show will likely scratch that itch.
There’s also the fact that what Lucasfilm needs to do is drum up excitement for new Star Wars movies and Boba Fett isn’t the best choice to do that. He appeals to a very select crowd, and general audience members likely don’t have much memory of him. Boba doesn’t have the same broad appeal as Han Solo does, so he isn’t the best choice when it comes to getting butts in seats. Then again, Solo wasn’t really able to do that either.
It’s not like there aren’t other options for Star Wars fans to get a dose of Boba Fett shot into their systems. The character exists in tons of different comics and books that people can read. Boba Fett also appears in a few episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, an excellent animated TV show set during the prequel trilogy. Fett is still a kid in those episodes, and isn’t quite flying around with a jetpack, but he had a solid episode or two.
Maybe with the right actor, writer, and director, a Boba Fett movie could have worked. James Mangold was circling the project, and after Logan, that could have been exciting. However, Lucasfilm decided not to take the risk and to focus their energies on other projects.
Does this mean that a Boba Fett movie will never happen? It’s tough to say, but it’s highly unlikely that we’ll see the last of the Mandalorian bounty hunter. He’ll show up in Star Wars media until our sun finally blows up. If Solo 2 ever happens, I would bet that there’s a spot on the cast for old Boba, because every movie needs a guy with a dope look.