The original Boba Fett, Jeremy Bulloch, has a few wild ideas on what really happened to Fett after his dance with the mighty sarlacc. Just because everyone says he's dead, that doesn't mean Boba is gone for good. Did you see him die? Exactly.
We talk bounty hunter retirement plans and find out what the Fett looked like under his helmet in this exclusive interview with Bulloch.
How does that make you feel, now that they are re-releasing Star Wars all on Blu-rays? Have you sat down and watched them all together again?
Well, I think it's very exciting that we're getting into Blu-ray. I'm just wondering what Boba Fett will look like in blue. [Laughter] It's quite new, all the technology, I think, that's gone so quickly, so I'm really looking forward to seeing it. The more the merrier. Whether I will sit down and see all three, I don't think I will. I just pause between each one.
Did you have any idea that over these many years that Boba Fett would be the most pimped-out character in the Star Wars universe?
No, you can never know. There's an awful lot of luck involved. You have to be in the film, the costume looked really good, the character came across well, so really there's an awful lot of luck. The more you go round, people say "oh you're my favorite character." Well people say that to everyone, but with Boba Fett it seems to have grown more in the last ten years. Everybody has sort of switched because of this bounty hunter, who does his own thing and he keeps answering Darth Vader back, and gets away with his life, so he must be quite important.
What did you feel like when you saw the back-story of Boba Fett from the prequels? How did you feel when you saw them? Did you ever sit down with George Lucas and talk about what had actually happened to him [while filming the original trilogy], or was it all a new experience for you the first time you saw it on screen?
Well it's nice that he now has a backstory, but I didn't know what was going to happen with the prequels. But now he's a clone, a super-clone, and of course all the years before, I was saying: Boba Fett is a human being, six foot tall, athletic, and it's just what he's like, but suddenly we know he's a clone, so, in a way, he's now become more important because of young Boba Fett coming through to avenge his [father's] death. Mace Windu he gets after. Now, we have the Clone wars on television, which sadly I haven't seen yet because I don't have satellite television, but it is incredible how it's just grown the character from wandering around for a few minutes, trying to look cool as I was then, has grown in stature.
Did you ever make up your own back-story before it was revealed many, many years later? Was there any other ideas that you had for the history of Boba Fett?
No. That's a good question. I think as an actor you try everything you possibly can without overdoing it. Now actually, the less you do with Boba Fett, the stronger he becomes. Just standing still is more important, but I always thought he was a loner. He's on his own and he captures who he gets and gives them to Jabba the Hutt [or] Darth Vader, but he's just a loner, but very cool with it, and I think that was the great thing about Boba Fett.
George Lucas has actually admitted that he probably would've given your character a more glorious death had he known the popularity that was going to build around him. Do you feel a little slighted with the way that your character died?
Yeah, a little slighted — but it's only a film and I think when he goes into the sarlacc pit and that's the end of Boba Fett, in some ways it's quite a good thing because it increases the popularity of the character. He's gone in and people say "No! Not yet! Come on, he's got more!" And then people start talking about Boba Fett: "Why did he go? He shouldn't have done." There are forums. I've been at conventions where someone said: "Oh Mr. Bulloch, you shouldn't have gone into the sarlacc pit." I said: "Well it wasn't my fault. It wasn't my fault, please believe me." And in a way, yea it's a shame. It's a bit too quick, I think, the way he just went away into the sarlacc pit, but the popularity is there because everyone wants Boba Fett to survive. In some wacky interview with some foreign newspaper, I think it was Lucas or someone in the Lucas family mentioned that: "Hey, you know what, he could always come back. We never saw him die physically."
Is there a chance for the return of Fett?
Well it's maybe the right time for a change, but certainly, if they did any live action [movies], it would be lovely to come back as an aging bounty hunter, who sits there spouting wisdom to everybody. And saying, "If only I didn't go into the sarlacc pit, maybe I would still be fighting today." There's always a place for Boba Fett and the bounty hunters.
Ha! I love it, like he's sitting on the space porch with a missing leg or something?
Well yes, I think there's somewhere. I still don't think, although we know him as a little boy, I don't think you should see his face. Now, later on, as he gets older, he must remain a mystery. Something's happened between him being a child and now to the grownup Boba Fett, and I think that must remain a secret.
Do you have any idea, in your own head, personally, what you think happened the last time we saw his face and ROTJ?
I think he probably got hold of Mace Windu and destroyed him. He's gone around. He can get into lots of trouble because he might make mistakes, because he's so upset about his father's demise. And I think he just goes for the kill, goes for the money, and wants to rule everywhere. But he has to be very careful because of the many people after him. There's a bounty on his head, I'm sure.
One of the exciting things about the Blu-rays are all the deleted scenes that a lot of people still haven't seen. Your character has some of the best lines – "he's no good to me dead" – stuff like that. Was there ever a line that your character said that was never captured on camera that you thought was really brilliant?
Well no, I had very few lines in the films. It still makes me laugh because in the evening, I was in the theater, so I was speaking for two and a half hours and then dashing back for the following morning to film. Actually, one of the funniest things that ever happened, when I'm taking Han Solo into Slave 1, I have to turn to the Imperial Officers and say, "Put Captain Solo in the cargo hold." But on the day, I turned to the Imperial Officers and said: "Put Captain Cargo in the Solo hold." Well I suddenly thought I made a terrible mistake, but no one can hear what you're saying because you're mumbling and then the voice is dubbed on after, so that was one of the worst moments because I thought they'll think, "what on earth are you doing? He's got five lines and he's completely mucked one of them up." But I got away with that.
What was the auditioning process like? What was it about you that sold Lucas on the fact that you could play a masked bounty hunter?
My half-brother, Robert Watts, was Associate Producer on the film, the first film and the second one, and he mentioned to me that if you get your agent involved [you could apply for this.] It's not a very big part, it's a couple of lines, and a couple of days work maybe, but it might be quite fun for my boys, who were very tiny then. They would think it's quite funny that you're playing. But the amazing thing is — and this is quite extraordinary — the costume fitted me as if a Savile Row tailor had come out and made it. It fitted perfectly. Size 10 shoes, I have size 10. The helmet they didn't have to do much, just a bit of sponge inside. Apart from that, it fitted. I think it was meant to be.
Was there an appeal to this character for you? Would you have rather played Greedo in the start?
No, I think it's something because you look around at all the extraordinary costumes and faces, especially in Jabba the Hutt scenes. You look there and you think, "I wonder if I'd like to play…no I don't." And then you'd look around under the mask while the scene is going on and you're thinking, "no he's not cool over there. No he's too slow. No, I'm deadly. I'm like a snake, a cobra waiting to pounce. No, I'm the coolest." And you'd be talking to yourself while they were setting up the shot and it was quite fun. It also kept you cool because it was extremely hot.
Yes, I've read that it was very, very hot on that set.
The Jabba the Hutt set and also the carbon freezing chamber when Han Solo goes into the carbon freezer, there was steam coming through the floor, so it was sort-of burning a heat burn at the backs of your legs, but I thought: "No, I'm Boba Fett. I can stand and get on with this. This is no problem." But it was getting hotter and hotter. I thought, I don't want to be the first one to sort-of say, "hello, can we have a little break?" Can you imagine Boba Fett being rather sad and saying, "Help! Get me out of here!"? So I stood my ground.
When did you realize that this character was going to be bigger than what he was intended to be in the film?
I think when I knew it was going to suddenly become popular was the re-release of the films in '97. When he appeared, there seemed to be a new list of people coming through: parents, young boys, teenagers. They locked onto this young Boba Fett. They all thought he was about twenty, twenty-one, and it was then, not when the original film came out. I remember going to see it and people going, "wow, this is fantastic! This is brilliant! Wow!" But Boba Fett, it's sort of, "hey I like that Boba Fett character." But it was a throwaway line by someone, "Oh Boba Fett, he's cool." But suddenly, with the re-release, he became more and more popular, and maybe it's because they make more toys, I don't know, but he's deadly and he can stand up to all. He captured Han Solo briefly, but he gains respect for that. So all-in-all, he became quite the character lots of young lads wanted to be.
Star Wars The Complete Saga will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 16th.
Top image via Darth Garuda