Like Father, Unlike Son

Boba Fett and Jango Fett

Boba Fett works for all the reasons that Jango Fett – and by proxy, the prequel story arc – fails. He’s not trying to be cool, but he just is. He’s not the focus of Episode V, but he steals every scene he’s in. The fact that he’s a bounty hunter makes complete sense, given the culture of the Empire and the underworld it has spawned. He’s given special instructions by Vader, so you know he’s a loose cannon, even by bounty hunter standards. He also negotiates with Vader, which lets you know he’s respected. When you look at that tattered armor, you know he’s seen some serious action. But other than that, he’s a complete mystery, so your mind fills in all kinds of gaps. And aside from his stupid swan dive into the Sarlacc in Episode VI, Lucas doesn’t manage to screw him up too much.

On the other hand, Jango Fett (and the plot of the prequels, of which he is a big part) is unnecessarily overproduced. First of all, they call him Jango a lot, which just sounds stupid. Not quite as stupid as calling a grown-ass man “Annie,” but a close second. Other than the scene in Jedi where Han says, “Boba Fett, where?!” (and then proceeds to kill him…by accident), he’s never referred to by name, and certainly never by his first name. He’s just “bounty hunter,” which is completely bad ass.

Jango’s armor is shiny, which speaks volumes about him; this guy’s a poser. Furthermore, Jango has a lot of unnecessary dialog, generally quirky motives, and seems in every possible way to be a square peg shoehorned into a round hole (or no hole, depending on how you want to look at it). I mean, why does he have to be a bounty hunter in the first place? In a relatively peaceful galaxy where the Jedi keep order, is there a huge market for bounty hunters? It just seems like every other person we meet is one, like they’re plumbers or something. Yet if you’re gonna call him a bounty hunter, then make him one. Throughout Episode II, Jango functions more like a mercenary or assassin (that’s not the same thing, BTW).

They go to great lengths to explain how he’s involved with the creation of the clone army, was given his own personal clone to raise as a son, and is important enough to keep on Kamino. Yet they let him go on dangerous missions to assassinate politicians, which he apparently sub-contracts to lesser bounty hunters, then gets all coy when talking with Jedi who can presumably read his mind. Whenever he’s cornered, he tries to run instead of fight, in the process teaching his son some terrible moral lessons, and manages to get hoodwinked by what one would assume is probably the oldest trick in the space combat book. He rounds out his appearance by serving as the personal muscle of a Sith lord (Darth Vader never needed a bodyguard) and then gets summarily beheaded by a Jedi the instant shit gets real on Geonosis. Jango Fett is basically the intersection on the Venn diagram of eye candy and lip service.

And absolutely none of it was necessary. He could have just been some legendary warrior who never appeared on screen, and he instantly would have been 100 times better. He’s the explanation to a question that didn’t need to be asked. And perhaps that’s the general problem with the prequels.

Whoever takes the helm of the Boba Fett spin-off film is going to have to walk a razor-thin tightrope to avoid irreparably damaging this iconic character. He’s worth a lot to me.

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