Sad news for fans of one of the baddest-assest Star Wars characters: the big bosses at Lucasfilm have officially pulled the plug on the planned Boba Fett installment of the “A Star Wars Story” spinoff films.
It would have been the third in the series, following Rogue One and Solo, that take place outside of the main chaptered saga, allowing them to focus on non-Skywalker characters and show events in times and places outside of those covered by that story.
Logan director James Mangold was announced to be in the director’s chair in May of this year, and seemed a perfect fit. Plans had been in the works for some time now, with Fantastic Four director Josh Trank initially attached back in 2013, before Rogue One (before Fantastic Four, in fact). Trank was removed from the project following erratic behaviour on the FF set, but the film was set to go ahead, filming in London. There were rumours that Michael B. Jordan would star (despite continuity and sensitivity issues with Boba being a clone of his father Jango, who was portrayed in earlier films by the Māori/Scottish/Irish actor Temuera Morrison). However, Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm head honcho, confirmed last last week that the project was “100% dead”.
Boba Fett has always been a fan-favourite character, despite his inauspicious beginnings: the first time the world was introduced to him was in the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special, the much-maligned 1978 festive one-off that also introduced audiences to Chewbacca’s son Lumpy and guest-starred Jefferson Starship.
He then returned in the much less dodgy The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi, an awesome-helmeted bounty hunter, an amoral shitbag only after cash, who ended up being flung into a Sarlacc’s mouth.
Actor Jeremy Bulloch, who portrayed Fett, attributes the character’s popularity almost solely to his cool costume, while other critics cite the mystery and ambiguity surrounding him, combined with the hella rad action figure, as what compelled fans to fill in the gaps themselves and end up feeling connected to him despite relatively little screen time.
An announcement in June of this year said that Lucasfilm were rethinking the anthology films and considering concentrating their efforts elsewhere. How much the relatively disappointing box-office performance of Solo: A Star Wars Story featured in the decision is unclear, but it seems like it must have factored in, at least a bit.
As well as a Boba Fett film, there was going to be an Obi-Wan Kenobi standalone film (possibly starring the now-middle-aged Ewan McGregor), and occasional rumours of others - maybe it was wishful thinking, but it felt like eventually we’d get a Chewbacca film with an all-Wookiee cast where at no point were any words of English spoken.
Despite that announcement, it was thought that the Boba Fett film was far enough along that it would still go ahead, but apparently Lucasfilm are concentrating onStar Wars: Episode IX (released on December 20th 2019) and the upcoming TV series The Mandalorian. The Mandalorian is set in the world of bounty hunters and should scratch the same itch that a Boba Fett film would have, plus has some amazing talent on board including Jon Favreau, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rick Famuyiwa, Deborah Chow and Taika Waititi. It will debut on Disney’s as-yet-unnamed streaming service next year.