I’ve touched before on my opinion of perennial fan-favorite Star Wars character Boba Fett. Namely: The polar opposite of the most vocal of fandom.
Now before I continue, I must stress that this is mostly my opinion here. Different people will connect to different characters for different reasons, and they all serve their purpose in the story. And while it can certainly be debated whether one has interpreted the character correctly or incorrectly (and whether that’s the fault of the viewer or the filmmakers), there is never anything wrong with liking or disliking any of the characters, especially in Star Wars.
Just don’t try to model your life after Palpatine.
With that out of the way…
I’ve mentioned more than once that Boba Fett, contrary to the near divinity assigned to him by a number of fans, left so little impression on me that it took me several viewings to even register that he was part of the cast. Why might that be? Well, that’s tough to answer, since my first viewings were so long ago and the fandom has been drilling his presence into my head ever since. If I had to guess, it would probably be ironically the same thing that made others notice him immediately: his aesthetics.
When most people talk about Boba being their favorite, the thing most often brought up first is that he just looks cool. He’s got the armor, the weapons, the jetpack, you name it. But let’s look at this for a second. I've always found the Stormtroopers to be very dull, and Boba’s armor is interestingly similar enough that at first it didn’t really stand out for me, especially next to Vader whom I have a hard time taking my eyes off of. On top of that, the Jetpack and the Arsenal don’t get any use whatsoever until shortly before his demise in Jedi, and even that’s too little too late.
By contrast I was paying far more attention to characters like C-3PO and Yoda, and later Jar Jar and Watto. Characters with designs completely unlike what we’ve seen around, plus with numerous great bits of dialogue in memorable voices (Fett has about three or four lines, all of them in Empire, and done in a tough but generic gravel). Even after I finally noticed him and really understood his role, I still didn’t see what anybody else went so crazy about. Therefore, when I heard that one of the big selling points for Episode II was going to be the origins of Boba Fett, I’ll admit my first instinct was that it was merely fanservice in order to “make up” for some of the things certain people felt dissatisfied with in Phantom Menace.
In a sense, that’s exactly what it was. However, I should have given George Lucas more credit, since he’s the king of turning “Sure, Why Not?” into “Perfectly Planned All Along.”
Just as Boba’s original debut in the films was Lucas taking the only popular thing from the disastrous Holiday Special and sticking him where he needed a generic bounty hunter, so too did Lucas gravitate towards the most logical choice when he needed someone reasonably believable to be the template for the new Clone Army. When I finally saw Attack of the Clones, it was hard not to notice the big daddy of them all: Jango Fett. While Boba was there too (as a frankly disturbing little boy), his role this film didn’t really change my opinion of him. But Jango, well I was very intrigued by Jango from the get-go.
Because his armor is blue (I kid, I kid….kind of).
Not only does he have a more complex and relatable personality than just standing around, growling, and looking vaguely menacing, but Jango puts his money where his mouth is. He actually does get some fair use out of his wonderful toys and manages to hold his own against one of the most powerful Jedi in history – not bad for a mere mortal. And yet, again, because this cold-hearted mercenary cares deeply about his “son,” there are times when you’re almost rooting for him.
Also, while Boba’s main weapon is a rifle, Jango is a fan of Guns Akimbo. Despite duel-wielding being shown repeatedly to be impractical in the Star Wars universe as in real life, it’s still pretty awesome.
More than that, though; by being the genetic template for both Boba Fett and the Republic Troopers, he gives Boba’s reputation validation and gives us new reason to fear the somewhat less-than-useful Stormtroopers. Furthermore, it immediately shows us that this fresh batch of Clone Troopers are not ones to be messed with.
Even Jango’s death carries more weight, though it’s nearly as anticlimactic as his “son’s”. Rather than having a comic jetpack misfire caused by a blind man, Jango’s pack is damaged by a charging animal thus he is unable to use his advantage when one of the Jedi Order’s master swordsman comes gunning for him. Before that, he was once again holding his own in the fight.
Because of Jango Fett, I have a deeper understanding and respect of both Boba Fett and the various Troopers as they evolve over the course of the Saga. And while Boba will probably never approach my top 25 favorite characters in the Saga, Jango just might.