REVIEW: STAR WARS THE CLONE WARS BOBA FETT
Sometimes, a fictional character comes along, in a well-populated concept, that the creators have no real idea will ascend to the levels of popularity that said character ultimately does. Surely, within the Star Wars universe, this has to be the case with BOBA FETT. On the surface, he's the most prominent of a group of Bounty Hunters hired by Darth Vader in "The Empire Strikes Back" to track down the Rebels. That's about all he was supposed to amount to. I mean, after all, the six movies comprise the story of the Skywalkers, Anakin and Luke (and Leia). Boba Fett wasn't even that prominent a supporting character.
And yet, somehow, this malevolent Bounty Hunter took on a life of his own that, according to some accounts, even baffled George Lucas. Boba Fett first appeared in the infamous "Star Wars Holiday Special", in an animated short that was the only decently tolerable sequence in that entire train wreck. Not long after, he became a mail-order action figure in the Star Wars action figure line -- which might help to explain some of his popularity. There was a certain mystery and fascination to the character -- that went well beyond the deactivated spring-loaded jet pack.
Not even George Lucas could kill him off, and it wasn't for a lack of trying. In "Return of the Jedi", in the battle over the Sarlaac Pit in Tatooine, a blinded Han Solo accidentally activates Boba Fett's jet pack, which sends the Bounty Hunter rather ingloriously careening into the side of Jabba the Hutt's ship, screaming like a maniac the whole way, and rebounding right into the mouth of the Sarlaac. Boba Fett's career and apparently his life ended with a belch. So much for Boba, right?
Yeah, and if you believe that, I have a slightly used Death Star to sell you. Low mileage, nice fixer-upper, just used a few times, try to ignore all the X-Wing blaster scars on the paint job...
Boba Fett remained so popular that they ended up working him into the Special Edition of the first Star Wars movie, expanded his presence in the third, and then even gave his father -- admittedly a somewhat loosely defined term as we'll come to see -- an extensive role in the second of the prequel movies, "Attack of the Clones", which also featured Boba as a boy! And now, the kid's turned up in the Clone Wars series, and has been made as an action figure, the focal point of this review.
You just can't keep a good Bounty Hunter down -- even if as currently portrayed, he's still in training and is still waiting for his voice to change.
Young Boba Fett obviously doesn't have as much history in the Star Wars Universe -- yet, anyway -- as his older self. Following his debut in "Attack of the Clones", there was a series of "Young Reader" novels, which took young Boba directly from the events of the movie, and set him on the path to become a Bounty Hunter, and more or less caught up to Episode III along the way. The novels were intended, according to one description, to present Boba Fett as a sort of cross between Tom Sawyer and Batman, although admittedly he is not as heroic as either of those iconic characters. I personally consider it unlikely that the content of these novels is being significantly worked into the character's presence in the Clone Wars series, enjoyable as they might have been at the time, but they certainly show the character's popularity at any age.
According to the package back, "Haunted by the death of his father, Boba Fett continues his training as a bounty hunter. He learns the skills of this dangerous trade from the Trandoshan hunter Bossk and the ruthless Aurra Sing. Jango's son is determined to follow in his father's footsteps as a powerful bounty hunter, and is eager to fight the Jedi who defeated his father."
It's worth noting that Aurra Sing was a major character in the Young Reader books. This character turned up for about two seconds in Star Wars Episode I, watching the Pod Race on Tattooine, and has since become enormously popular, and has turned up in comics and in the Clone Wars series.
I called up some information on the character of Boba Fett, courtesy of the Web Site known as "Wookieepedia". It's a superb site to get information on many aspects of the Star Wars universe -- characters, ships, weaponry, planets, you name it. The information on Boba Fett was less a Web Site entry and more of a college thesis. Fortunately, a lot of it deals with Boba Fett's adult career, including his -- post-Sarlaac adventures. If you're interested in some extensive reading and have a free afternoon, you might want to sit down and have a read. For the purposes of this review, I'll be sticking to the details of Boba as a boy.
According to Wookieepedia, Boba Fett is a Mandalorian Warrior and a bounty hunter. He is a clone of the famed Jango Fett, created in 32 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin, a time point marked by Star Wars fans) as the first of many Fett replicas designed to become part of the Grand Army of the Republic, and was raised as Jango's son. Jango taught Boba much, training him to become a skilled bounty hunter. However, in 22 BBY, Jango was killed at the Battle of Geonosis by Mace Windu.
It is at this point that the Wookieepedia gets a little confusing. Boba Fett has been featured in so many adventures outside of the movies and PRIOR to his appearance as a boy in Star Wars Episode II, that his personal history has had to be rewritten several times over. I am going to try at this point to stick to the details as they pertain to Boba as he appeared in Star Wars Episode II and subsequently in the Clone Wars.
Boba was created as an unaltered clone, at the request of his "father", Jango Fett, and was intended to be Jango's heir. As a young boy, Fett grew up on the planet Kamino. Jango raised and cared for him with the assistance of the Kaminoan, Taun We, who ultimately took on the role of being a foster mother to him. Fett was aware of the fact that he was a clone of his father.
As a child Boba never attended a formal school. Rather, he gained much knowledge from his travels with his father, and the books he borrowed from the local library in Tipoca City. He was especially fond of books about starfighters. Boba would often accompany his father to the training sessions with the other clones, where he taught them basic combat skills.
Boba was roughly ten years old when Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi came to Kamino to investigate the mysterious creation of a Clone Army for the Republic. Jango realized that he and his son would have to leave Kamino before the Jedi unraveled the mystery behind the recent attacks on Senator Padme Amidala. After a battle, Jango and Boba escaped in their ship, the Slave I.
En route to Geonosis, they realized that Kenobi had tracked them. Later, as the Battle of Geonosis started, Boba stood with his father on the platform in the Petranaki Arena with several Separatist leaders, including Count Dooku, Viceroy Nute Gunray, and Archduke Poggle the Lesser. When Jedi Master Mace Windu arrived, Jango kept Boba from harm as the Jedi task force attempted to rescue the captive Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Padme Amidala. During the battle, Boba watched his father get trampled by one of the arena creatures, and eventually beheaded by Mace Windu. While the Grand Army of the Republic and the Separatist Droid Army clashed in the arena, Boba emerged from his hiding place to pick up his father's helmet. He swore revenge against Mace Windu at that moment.
After Geonosis, Boba buried his father and tried to escape. All that he had left of his father was his armor and a "book", a device that Jango left to help instruct him in the event of his death. Fett attempted to return to Kamino, but was instead caught by bounty hunter Aurra Sing, who gave Fett to Count Dooku, who provided her with Slave I as payment (Boba eventually recovered the ship). The Sith Lord attempted to detail his young charge, but a Republic attack on the planet Raxus Prime where they met allowed Boba to escape.
Boba was next taken by Clone Troopers and sent to an orphanage on Bespin. He managed to escape with Sing, who had come searching for the boy in order to gain access to Jango's rather large bank account on Aargau. This attempt failed, and Boba escaped after a run-in with the Separatist Commander Durge.
The death of his father took a heavy toll on Boba, who blamed all of his troubles on the Jedi Order, and specifically Jedi Master Mace Windu. His obsession over avenging his father led him to recruit three bounty hunters - Bossk, Aurra Sing, and Castas, who agreed to help Boba kill Windu. To this end, Boba disguised himself as a member of the Clone Youth Brigade -- which can't have been too hard for him -- calling himself "Lucky". The group went to visit the Star Destroyer Endurance, where Windu was stationed.
Boba managed to sneak away from the group at one point and planted a tripwire-triggered bomb in Windu's private quarters. His attempt was nearly successful, as Windu was saved only by chance by a clone trooper who inadvertently tripped the bomb instead. Aurra Sing urged Fett to bring down the entire cruiser by destroying the main reactor. Thought it was against his own wishes, as Boba only wanted to kill Windu, he was forced to go through with the idea, and infiltrated the reactor chamber and destroyed it.
Upon discovering that Windu was still alive, Fett and his allies traveled to the crash site, rigging another explosive trap to kill Windu, whom they believed would return to search for survivors. Aurra Sing took the time to execute any survivors of the crash, except for Admiral Kilian and Commander Ponds, whom she took hostage. Fett objected to this action, as well as her subsequent treatment of the prisoners, to whom he showed some measure of compassion. The second attempt on Windu's life also failed.
Sing's increasing emotionless brutality, including the subsequent murder of Castas, had a deep effect on Boba, who started to see the horrors he was creating. This murder allowed the Jedi Order to trace Boba and the other to Florrum. Ultimately, Boba was captured and taken to a Republic prison on Coruscant, where Fett had the chance to talk to Windu directly. While Fett declared that he regretted his actions, he also stated that he would never forgive Windu or the Jedi Order for the death of his father.
Later, Fett would escape, and remain on the run for some time, before finding himself in the custody of Jabba the Hutt, who accepted Boba to repay the favor Jango did for him a decade earlier by killing Gardulla the Hutt. Befriending one of Jabba's cooks Gab'borah, and his daughter, Ygabba, whom he had rescued earlier, after first arriving on Tatooine, the two had Jango Fett's body armor resized to fit young Boba's frame. Boba Fett's path to becoming one of the most dangerous bounty hunters in the galaxy was back on track.
So, how's the figure? Really very nicely done, but I have to admit one thing. There's something just a bit -- disquieting -- about seeing a kid in such a dangerous and malevolent role, and there are aspects of the figure that certainly reflect this.
In Star Wars Episode II, young Boba Fett was portrayed by actor Daniel Logan -- who's probably somewhere on either side of twenty by now. Daniel Logan was abundantly capable of putting on a sour expression when Obi-Wan Kenobi came calling, and was subsequently very concerned for his father when the two met in battle on the rain-soaked landing platform on Kamino. Young Boba even took a few potshots at Kenobi with the weapons from the Slave I. Later, the boy seemed elated when following a space battle it appeared that Kenobi had been blasted into space debris. He may not have looked all that dangerous, but this was not a nice kid.
There was a figure of young Boba made available at the time of Star Wars Episode II. Described as "Escape from Kamino", the figure had rain-matted hair, rather than the wavy-curly hair that Boba had when he wasn't getting drenched, and also gave the figure the rain poncho that Boba wore while making his way across the flight platform to the Slave I -- a poncho which as much as anything looked like a Hefty trash bag. One would hope the filming budget for the movie wasn't quite THAT tight...
The original figure of Boba Fett from the movie stood just the tiniest fraction under 3 inches in height. The new figure from Clone Wars stands about 3-3/8" in height. But, hey, some time has passed, and clone or not, bounty hunter in training or not, he's still a growing boy. Also, the Clone Wars figures, following the style of the animated series, tend to be somewhat leaner, and occasionally slightly taller, than their movie-based counterparts.
The face sculpt is excellent. Now, the Clone Wars series has its own style, and it's admittedly not entirely realistic with its human-types (with the aliens -- who can tell!?). They tend to have unusually large eyes and rather sharper features. This creates an interesting effect with young Boba Fett, since many children do tend to have somewhat larger-looking eyes than adults, and you can't really do sharply-defined, heavily angled features on a kid's face and still have it look like a kid. So young Boba Fett has to be a little more realistic-looking than a lot of his older counterparts.
The Wookieepedia entry for Boba Fett has an excellent close-up of Daniel Logan, and as I sit here looking at it and the figure, the resemblance is considerable. Logan has a scowl and a frown on his face. It's from the scene when he first meets Obi-Wan Kenobi. It was dislike at first sight. And it's pretty much the same expression worn by the action figure of the animated version, and here we see what the animators were able to exaggerate, if slightly -- mostly it's Boba Fett's eyebrows. The eyes have been enlarged somewhat, in keeping with the style of the series overall and painted with orange irises for a rather creepy effect, but the eyebrows have been arched significantly more than I think Daniel Logan or any other human child would be capable of. It gives the kid a seriously angry expression, almost scary.
The rest of the headsculpt is surprisingly realistic coming from the animated series. Everything else -- the nose, the relatively small, frowning mouth, and the wavy and slightly curly hairstyle, "simplified" somewhat for animation, but still done superbly well and looking just as it should -- it really is superb work in and of itself -- is all entirely in keeping with Daniel Logan's portrayal of the character and how he looked in the movie.
In the film. Boba Fett wore a light blue tunic with dark blue sleeves, light blue trousers, and high black boots that looked just a bit oversized. Made one thing that the Kaminoans may have been great cloners, but they could use a few good cobblers. Boba Fett has since traded this in for a rather drab outfit, consisting of a gray jumpsuit and shoes. Likely this is what allowed him to infiltrate the Clone Youth Brigade, though. No one's going to worry overmuch about a clone being fashionable.
However, Boba has done no small amount of accessorizing. The figure has silver knee pads, as well as a large brown belt with two holsters on the sides. The belt, and especially the holsters, look preposterously large on the young Boba, but that's probably the point. The belt, as far as I can determine, is not removable, which I honestly consider a little surprising. But, sometimes they are, sometimes they're not, and that's something you can say about several Hasbro lines that use additional accessories like this -- G.I. Joe, Marvel Universe, whatever.
Boba is also wearing a protective vest, which is removable, which is designed to look significantly like Mandalorian chest armor, and it's colored in dark green with a red center, pretty much the colors Boba would wear in later years as a fully-armored Mandalorian bounty hunter. So it's not a bad way to showcase his start down that particular road.
Of some particular note, in my opinion, are the figure's hands. They seem to have been given particular attention by the sculptors. The fingers are very distinct, right down to each knuckle joint, and are posed very well. It's one of the better pairs of hands I've seen on any action figure lately, from any line from any company. You want to know what a good pair of action figure hands can and should look like? Here they are.
Boba Fett does not have a lot of painted details. Most of the paint work is on the head, and it has been very neatly done. The only real paint on the rest of the figure is the silver knee pads. Everything else is molded in whatever color it needed to be in the first place. The head and hands are molded in flesh tone, the uniform in dark grey. There's a silver buckle on the belt, and some silver and red detailing on the vest, but with the exception of the head, this had to be an easy figure for the paint department at the manufacturing facility.
Articulation is excellent, if a little quirky in one respect. Boba Fett is fully poseable at the head, arms, elbows (including a swivel), wrists, waist, legs, knees (including a swivel), and ankles. However, the leg movement is a little strange. It reminds me a bit of the Iron man 2 figures, but lacking a certain component. The legs have an articulation point that allows them to swivel outward, but this point is attached to the lower torso at a rather bizarre angle, that doesn't really allow for appropriate forward and backward movement. Now, in that respect, it's somewhat similar to Iron Man 2 figures. But those figures have an additional upper leg rotation just below this swivel that acts as a sort of compensator. It's something of an over-engineered design, but in Boba Fett's case, he lacks this upper leg rotation. I suspect trying to get Boba Fett into a fully seated position and look good doing so would be exceptionally difficult.
Fortunately, the figure stands well, and can assume a wide variety of action positions, and the rest of Boba Fett's articulation is excellent, and designed well into the figure, and would definitely rate distinctly above average, so I can't really complain too much, but it is a bit peculiar.
As for accessories, Boba Fett comes with two fancy blaster pistols, which if memory serves look something like his father's. The figure is actually holding these in the package, and I'm surprised somebody hasn't raised a stink about an action figure of an armed kid being in the stores. Boba Fett also comes with a jet pack, identical to the one he uses in adulthood, that clips to the back of his vest. Of course, as with all current Star Wars figures, Boba Fett comes with a display base, Battle Game Card, and plastic die to be used in the Galactic Battle Game presently being promoted in the toys. I haven't played the game and don't really know how it works, but you'd think the kid would need a higher "Luck" rating than "7"...
So, what's my final word here? I suspect it's no great surprise that Boba Fett has returned to the Star Wars universe, even in kid form. He's one of the most popular characters in Star Wars. You're not going to keep him away for long. His history may need to be revised here and there, but such is sometimes the nature of popular fiction. The figure is excellent, and the overall design is certainly a superb representation of the character as he appeared at this age. There's been no shortage of Boba Fett figures over the years -- there's at least one other one out right now -- but most of them are of the adult Boba. Here's another one of young Boba, and it's a good one. If you're a fan of Boba Fett, you will surely want to add this figure to your Star Wars collection.
The STAR WARS CLONE WARS figure of BOBA FETT definitely has my most enthusiastic recommendation!