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The Cult of Boba Fett

By Brendon McCullin, Hollywood Staff

There was a lot of hand-wringing by Star Wars fans when George Lucas sold his company to Disney. The entertainment conglomerate has long been seen as being more interested in profits than integrity. Those fears haven't entirely subsided, but all it took was two little words to engage a significant chunk of that fan base in a discussion that drew attention away from whatever else Disney might do: Boba Fett.

While the casual fans have followed the various reports of who might be part of J.J. Abrams' Episode VII and whether that film will focus on the children of Luke Skywalker and/or Princess Leia and Han Solo, the hardcore fans lit up at the suggestion of a standalone film for the mysterious bounty hunter who first appeared in The Empire Strikes Back.

Why so much excitement over a secondary character in the Star Wars universe? The truth is that there has always been a clamoring for information about Boba Fett, starting right from the beginning. After the original Star Wars was released and before Empire came out, the first new character that most fans learned about was Fett. He was the first to have a toy action figure, even before the release of the movie, and the fact that he was a bounty hunter going after Han Solo was a well-known plot point of the sequel before it even began filming. With little else to work from, Fett gave fans in the late '70s a focus to imagine what was coming next. And, with that, the cult of Boba Fett was born.

There are books and websites devoted to the exploits of the bounty hunter - he even has his own fan club - yet he was on screen in the films for less time than Jar Jar Binks and a number of Ewoks. There's been more time devoted to figuring out his backstory than almost any character, save Darth Vader. Hardcore fans know that at one point it was rumored that Vader and Fett were brothers, before the prequels revealed a different origin story for both. (Boba Fett is the cloned son of bounty hunter Jango Fett, as revealed in Attack of the Clones.)

Fans have long complained about his seeming demise in Return of the Jedi, leading Lucas to admit that he might have done it differently if he had realized the character was that popular. Now attention has turned to what will happen if his standalone adventure makes it to the big screen.

Rumors are flying that screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, the scribe behind Empire and Jedi, will handle the script but with a focus on reworking the character to distance him from the origin given in the prequels. Equally rumored is that Joe Johnston, who directed Captain America: The First Avenger and helped design Fett as a Lucas employee, has told people that he would like to direct.

Of course, in keeping with the mysterious nature of the character, no one is certain about anything, including whether a movie will actually be made. What is a sure bet, however, is Boba Fett's legion of admirers will keep watching, waiting and debating for longer than it would've taken the bounty hunter to be digested by his sarlacc nemesis from Jedi (that's 1,000 years to the uninitiated).

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