Under the Helmet Explains Why Boba Fett Is a Total Badass

There are an awful lot of cool characters in the Star Wars films: Darth Vader and his cybernetics and Darth Maul, with his tattoos and double-bladed lightsaber, are two fan-favorites. However, Boba Fett -- the green-armored, helmet-wearing bounty hunter -- is definitely at the top of some fans’ list of favorite characters. After his brief introduction in The Empire Strikes Back, Boba took the world by storm. Now, over forty years later, he’s even getting his own Disney+ series.

Star Wars: The Book of Boba Fett premieres next month, so Lucasfilm took the opportunity to give the character some love on Disney+ Day by releasing a documentary-style short film called Under the Helmet: The Legacy of Boba Fett. The feature details the bounty hunter’s origins and ensuing stardom. The biggest takeaway is that Boba Fett really defied the odds in becoming one of the most popular characters in the franchise.

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Originally, Boba Fett wasn’t even supposed to be a bounty hunter. Early in the feature, Art Director Joe Johnston explains that Boba Fett’s suit was designed to be an advanced version of a Stormtrooper called a “Super Trooper” or a “Super Commando.” He says that he, concept artist Ralph McQuarrie and Lucas all worked together to design and build an all-white version of prototype armor that had an intimidating, medieval aesthetic.

Unfortunately, budget concerns got in the way and making the planned hundred additional suits was impossible. Something needed to be done with the prototype suit, however. So, Lucas designed the bounty hunter persona; Johnston painted the suit green, and thus, Boba Fett was born.

George Lucas remembered liking the character, but the truth was that no one really expected Boba Fett to be all the popular. He was a background character with no importance to the story, and that’s why Lucas only planned to give him four lines and just over six minutes of total screen time. Nevertheless, Boba Fett was destined for greatness, and there were some early hints to that effect.

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Before The Empire Strikes Back was released, fans got a taste of Boba Fett during a 1978 holiday special, and fans responded well to the character. A month before that, George Lucas put Darth Vader and Boba Fett into a local parade in his city of San Anselmo, California. Darth Vader was a known commodity at that point, and the fans loved him. But Boba Fett was a mystery, and the local fans gravitated to the masked persona walking alongside Vader. That was the first hint that Boba could be bigger than previously imagined.

Then came The Empire Strikes Back in 1980. Short screentime and limited dialogue didn’t matter. Boba Fett’s imposing demeanor and his masked, mysterious person were enough to draw people's interest -- and the rest was history. It would have been irrational to think that such little role would have grown into the immense popularity that Boba Fett has enjoyed over the years. Nevertheless, the fans want what the fans want, and the upcoming release of The Book of Boba Fett is proof of that.

KEEP READING: Every Star Wars Alien in The Book of Boba Fett Trailer

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About The Author
Blake Hawkins (384 Articles Published)

Blake Hawkins has written TV and movie features and recaps for CBR since March of 2021. He writes about everything from NCIS to Stranger Things to The Walking Dead and everything in between. Mostly, though, he most enjoys writing about Star Wars. In fact, as recent graduate of Greensboro College's honors program, Blake wrote his thesis on Star Wars and its religious connections. He now lives with his family in Lynchburg VA and is an avid outdoorsman. Feel free to contact him by email at [email protected], or find him on Facebook.

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