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How the failure of Lucasfilm's Boba Fett movie paved the way for the Disney+ Star Wars spinoff
Over the years, filmmakers like Josh Trank and James Mangold were hired to bring the fan favorite bounty hunter back to the big screen in his own movie.
Almost 40 years after he was swallowed alive by the Sarlacc in Return of the Jedi, Boba Fett will take center stage in his very own Disney+ series. Spinning out of The Mandalorian Season 2, The Book of Boba Fett finds the fan favorite bounty hunter (played by Temuera Morrison) taking over the Tatooine-based criminal empire once run by Jabba the Hutt.
As longtime Star Wars fans know, however, Fett was, at one time, supposed to return on the big screen. Over the years, filmmakers like Josh Trank (Chronicle) and James Mangold (the Logan director still ended up at Lucasfilm for Indiana Jones 5) were said to be attached to the cinematic project that never took shape. What you might not know is that the Boba Fett movie was never actually that far along in development to begin with.
"There really was virtually no previous actual development," Lucasfilm head honcho Kathleen Kennedy told Empire for the magazine's end-of-year issue. "We never got very far with Josh, quite frankly, because we never developed anything specific with him. And Jim Mangold never worked on a Boba Fett story."
That really paved the way for Morrison — who played Jango Fett and all of the Clone Troopers in the prequel movies — to step into the spurred boots briefly teased in Episode 5 of The Mandalorian's debut season. Even then, Fett was not part of showrunner Jon Favreau's master plan, which originally had Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) dying amongst the lonely sand dunes on Tatooine. "We realized, 'Oh, she could be rescued," Favreau told Empire. "And if she were, who would it be by?'"
Much like Han Solo and Chewbacca, Shand now owes Fett a life debt and is currently paying it off by serving as his right-hand gunslinger. "Temuera and Ming-Na are an amazing combination in the show," Kennedy added. "For everybody who loves Boba Fett and the world of Star Wars, this is the perfect show to reintroduce him. Let's put it that way."
"It was a wonderful opportunity that Jon and Dave [Filoni] put into my hands," Morrison said. "So I wanted to make the most of it, grab it, and give it a little bit of what we call in our [Maori] culture ihi ... It's got no meaning. But when the hairs on the back of your neck stand up? That's what it means."
Just don't ask if the show will depict Boba's escape from the slow-digesting Sarlaac. "I can't tell you that!" Kennedy exclaimed. "Jon will kill me!"
All Favreau is willing to divulge at this point is the fact that the bounty hunter has lived a pretty "traumatic" existence. "Every one feels the pressure of being the child of their parents' generation," he explained. "When you're an actual clone, it must be exponentially more difficult to contend with."
"A lot of characters — even Darth Vader — have a swing from who they could be, and who they wind up being," Filoni continued. "We're all making choices every day. Sometimes, how you start the day and end the day are very different, and that journey is something we like watching other characters do."
The Book of Boba Fett jetpacks onto Disney+ Wednesday, Nov. 29.