Now that Solo: A Star Wars Story has arrived, Star Wars fans are turning their attention to what this space opera franchise has in store for the big screen, and I don't just mean next year's Episode IX. Another standalone Star Wars movie will be released in 2020, and while that probably won't be the last of these particular tales that Disney and Lucasfilm churns out, but the question remains: which character(s) will it spotlight? Until recently, it seemed like Obi-Wan Kenobi was a good bet, but last week it was reported that Logan director James Mangold had been tapped to write the Boba Fett movie, a project that's been talked about for years and was originally supposed to be made by Fantastic Four's Josh Trank. Understandably, specific Boba Fett movie details are being kept under wraps right now, but should it officially move forward, be it as a 2020 release or a few years afterwards, this should be a story that's set after Return of the Jedi. Yes, you heard me correctly, after Boba's been swallowed by the Sarlacc.
First off, let's acknowledge that there's precedence for Boba Fett breaking free from the Sarlacc shortly after Luke Skywalker and the gang put the kibosh on Jabba the Hutt's desert festivities. In the non-canon Expanded Universe, a.k.a. Legends, he managed to break out of the creature's stomach (there are differing accounts of how this happened), and he went on to be an important player in the Legacy of the Force and Fate of the Jedi book series. The Boba Fett movie could follow suit, but this wouldn't just be for shock value. Looking past Boba Fett wiggling his way out of a disgusting desert monster's innards, setting this movie after Return of the Jedi would ultimately provide a more fascinating story than one set either in the period between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope or sometime during the Original Trilogy.
There's no denying that Boba Fett is one of the most popular characters in the Star Wars mythos, but if we look solely at his canonical movie appearances, all the character has going for him is his cool-looking armor, the fact that he's a clone of Jango Fett and his notorious reputation as a bounty hunter. But he never actually takes any particular action in the Original Trilogy that proves why he's the baddest of bad-asses. And remember how he was defeated in Return of the Jedi: a blind Han Solo accidentally sabotaged the bounty hunter's jetpack, which knocked him into the Sarlacc Pit. Now of you might be saying that's exactly why the Boba Fett movie needs to be set before Return of the Jedi. We could watch one, if not a few, jobs the character takes on that give us a better understanding of why he's so feared throughout the galaxy far, far away. And normally, I would agree with you, but now that James Mangold is involved, that provides a better opportunity: following an older Boba who's walked away from bounty hunting.
Let's look to last year's Logan, which marked Hugh Jackman's last appearance as Wolverine. In the movie, Wolverine was aged and weakened from adamantium poisoning, now spending his days making money as a limo driver and taking care of Charles Xavier. In the end, he died a hero protecting his daughter, Laura, and the other young Transigen mutants, but when the story began, he'd long since turned his back on his life as an X-Man. The Boba Fett movie could take a similar approach with its eponymous protagonist. Upon escaping from the Sarlacc, maybe Boba Fett continued collecting bounties for a little bit, but eventually he hit a point where he'd had enough and decided to start fresh.
One or several decades later, Boba has built a new life for himself under a new identity, but something happens that thrusts him back into action, like someone seeking revenge on behalf of a loved one that Boba hunted down and/or killed. Or maybe someone has taken over as the new Boba Fett Dread Pirate Roberts-style, but is tarnishing the name. Whatever the reason, it forces Boba not only to dust off his armor and blaster, but also confront the inner demons he locked away long ago and potentially even make up for past crimes. For all we know, undertaking such a journey also means he has to leave a family behind.
By taking the post-Return of the Jedi approach, the Boba Fett movie stands a better chance of delivering a story with more emotional depth and complexity than if it followed along with Boba while he was making a name for himself during the Empire's reign. There is still plenty to be explored in the 30-year gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, and with the first two Star Wars spinoffs having been set, post-Revenge of the Sith, pre-A New Hope, it'd be a nice chance of pace to visit a different time period. And hey, who's to say we can't have the best of both worlds? Since The Last Jedi included a few flashbacks, the Boba Fett movie could do the same to shed light on Boba's pre-A New Hope past. Maybe this is how we could finally learn how he crossed paths with Han Solo, allowing for Alden Ehrenreich to reprise the cocky smuggler.
Boba Fett has built a solid fanbase since he debuted in The Empire Strikes Back (yes, I'm purposefully ignoring the Star Wars Holiday Special), but even if you take into account his appearances in The Clone Wars TV series, we barely know anything about him. He's a lot of flash, but little substance. Unless Lucasfilm decides to include him in the upcoming live action Star Wars series on the Disney streaming service, this Boba Fett movie could be the last chance this character can made an impact on screen, so they need to pull out all the stops and think outside the box. I'd be lying if I said it wouldn't be interesting to watch Boba's "origin story" unfold, but by shining a light on the character after his near-death experience in Return of the Jedi, it allows him not just to be the badass he's been advertised to be all these years, but also a more engaging protagonist.
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