The Dangers of Disney Making Young Han Solo and Boba Fett Films
by Ethan Anderton
February 7, 2013
After the disasters that are now known as the Star Wars prequels sullied many a childhood memory of the classic sci-fi trilogy from George Lucas, it's truly amazing to see the rabid fanbase generally be so thrilled and excited with the prospect of a new trilogy with director J.J. Abrams kicking things off in Episode VII from screenwriter Michael Arndt. And it's even more interesting that in the face of what is essentially pure commercialism and money milking, that many fans are behind the idea of spin-off films featuring characters like Han Solo and Boba Fett (maybe even Yoda). While the prospect of films featuring some of our favorite characters in their own movies seems promising, we must not forget the shortcomings of the past.
Don't get me wrong, I'm just as thrilled as mostly any other fan to be getting more stories from the Star Wars universe. And while going straight for established characters seems just like recycling old ideas and pandering to the fanbase, the return of Han Solo and Boba Fett is very exciting. But what has me cautiously optimistic is the prequel approach to these characters and getting rid of almost any mystery they their past might hold. This was a problem in the prequels that directly affected the history of one these characters in a way that essentially can't be undone.
That character in question is Boba Fett. In all his infinite wisdom, George Lucas decided to try and please fans by showing the origins of some of the saga's most loved characters. Who wouldn't want to see how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader, built C-3PO, was trained by Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi and turned to the Dark Side. It sounded like a great idea. But then Phantom Menace ruined the party.
So George Lucas figured he would try to make a bigger and better party by bringing another beloved but sparsely seen character into the mix. Boba Fett was then introduced in Attack of the Clones in 2002 as the non-genetically modified version of Jango Fett, who served as the foundation for the Clone Army secretly being manufactured by the Republic. But again seeing the childish origins of this character did nothing more than weaken what was one of the most revered supporting elements of the entire trilogy. And again, as Mace Windu says in Attack of the Clones, "This party's over."
Sadly, no matter how exciting it is to have Boba Fett back in the mix for a new film, his story will have to be a slave to the origins Lucas set up in Attack of the Clones. It's not a crippling issue to get around, but it does make for some difficult decision to make. For example, will the filmmakers of this new Boba Fett film have to adhere to casting someone who resembles a young Temuera Morrison? The actor played Jango Fett as well as provided the voice for the entire Clone Army and also Boba Fett in the modified version of the original trilogy on Blu-Ray and DVD. Considering Boba Fett's history, it would be weird if he looked completely different than what the established mythology would otherwise indicate. It's pretty nerdy stuff to think about, but it's a valid question.
Either way, we're talking about defining the origin and basis for a character who was better served living in the shadows and having adventures play out in the novels and comic books taking place between episodes of the original trilogy. And herein lies the problem with the Han Solo movie as well. For a character who is already so well-established, liked and essentially perfect, why must audiences know where he came from after all this time? You might be thinking that this is no different than Batman Begins, but no one really knows much about Han Solo's past as they do with Bruce Wayne and Batman, and it just might be better to keep it that way. Comedian Patton Oswalt might have said it best when talking about Star Wars origins:
Funnily enough, audiences were actually spared from a shitty, contrived origin of sorts that would have thrown a young Han Solo into Revenge of the Sith. SlashFilm recently called attention to a small tidbit in The Art of the Revenge of the Sith book that reveals the Han Solo cameo. While on Kashyyyk, Yoda would have encountered the young Solo, apparently being raised by Chewbacca (which seems weird considering their later relationship). Solo was about 10-years old, and quickly helped Yoda figure out how to find the location of General Grievous by way of a transmitter droid (see some concept art right here). Does every kid in the Star Wars universe have to be precocious and good with gadgets?
Thankfully, the scene was cut out of the script, and Han Solo was left untouched. But now we're confronted with another Han origin story, and while this time it won't have Lucas trying to force Solo's involvement in the later saga just for a little wink to the audience, it does make us a little worried. Anytime the origin of Lucas' characters has been explored, it's resulted in disappointment. From "The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones" to the Star Wars prequels themselves, it's done nothing but taint some stories that were just fine. Why not just go back a few years and have an isolated adventure where Solo and/or Fett already have established reputations? It'd be like another Indiana Jones adventure but in the Star Wars universe.
When it really comes down to it, as giddy as we are to see these new Star Wars movies, clinging to these established characters just feels all about money and safety. However, we're hoping that Disney and Lucasfilm will create some worthwhile stories while still trying to rake in money at the box office. Hopefully Han Solo and Boba Fett are given their due diligence and aren't sullied by weak writing and greed.
Ideally, Han Solo should be on a standalone adventure and somehow he has his first encounter with Boba Fett. Then Solo escapes, and Fett is left with the bounty that got away. Then the Boba Fett film could start with him preparing to chase Han Solo again, but he gets sidetracked by other pressing bounty hunger business. Otherwise, "I've got a bad feeling about this," but am trying to be optimistic. Thoughts?