Jeremy Bulloch: remembering the Star Wars actor with Boba Fett's best moments

"You a fan of the Fett?" Bruce Willis's John McClane is asked in Die Hard 4. "No. I was always more of a Star Wars guy" is his typically sardonic answer.

It's an amusing exchange, and one that reinforces the popularity of helmeted bounty hunter Boba Fett within the Star Wars saga. Such realisations are now tempered with sadness, as original actor Jeremy Bulloch has passed away at the age of 75.

Interest in the character has spiked again with the smash-hit Disney+ series The Mandalorian. The show expands on the collective of armoured bounty hunters to which Fett belonged, although the story takes place long after his death. (There are, however, arguments as to whether that is canon.) 

Pedro Pascal plays the title character, who carves out an existence between the events of Return of the Jedi (1983) and The Force Awakens (2015). Excitingly, it seems like we'll be getting a Boba Fett TV series at some point in the future.

Bulloch never showed his face in the original Star Wars trilogy, but he certainly made a strong impression with relatively little screentime. Here's our rundown of Fett's best moments in the Star Wars franchise.

1. "As you wish" – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

With those three words, Bulloch established his place in the Star Wars canon. However, in The Empire Strikes Back (and Return of the Jedi) it's not his voice we hear, but that of actor Jason Wingreen. Later on, the ever-meddling George Lucas went back and replaced Wingreen's voice with that of Temeura Morrison, who portrayed clone Jango Fett in the Star Wars prequels. (More on whom momentarily.)

We love the way that Darth Vader specifically points at Fett during this scene as he says "no disintegrations". Clearly, the latter's reputation precedes him. Fortunately, Fett's quarry, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) ends up not disintegrated but encased in carbonite.


2. Fett claims his reward – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Who says Darth Vader (the late David Prowse) doesn't have a sense of humour? Having captured Han Solo, Boba Fett and Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) are forced to listen to his anguished torture. Clearly nervy about the injuries being inflicted on his quarry, Fett reiterates the need to keep Solo alive. "He will not be permanently damaged," is Vader's response. Of course, we don't get to see Fett's reaction beneath that deeply cool armour. 



3. Fett's death – Return of the Jedi (1983)

We barely get to see Fett in action before he snuffs it in the original trilogy closer. Or does he? Resplendent with his armour, jetpack and, erm, arm-firing, body-binding thingy, Fett is every bit the badass. But then he's blasted into the Sarlaac pit where he's left to be digested. Even George Lucas later admitted regret at killing the character off so early.

However, in the Star Wars Legends books (no longer regarded as part of the official canon), it's said that Boba outsmarts the Sarlacc and triggers an explosion using his jetpack, allowing him to escape, though seriously injured. Given the events of The Mandalorian, this theory appears to hold water. What do you believe?


4. Boba assists his father Jango – Attack of the Clones (2002)

The chronologically earlier Attack of the Clones introduces us to a much younger Boba. In fact, he's the clone of Jango Fett (the aforementioned Temeura Morrison) and is being raised as his son. A revered and feared Mandalorian hunter, Jango was, in the words of Wookiepedia, the "clone template of the Grand Army of the Republic".

In Attack of the Clones, they work together to fend off Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) during the scene on Kamino. Sadly, it doesn't work out as Jango ends up being decapitated during the climactic battle on Geonosis, leaving Boba to cradle his head and think about taking up his mantle.


5. Boba's first screen appearance – The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)

AKA the Star Wars TV spinoff that's so notoriously bad, even George Lucas wants it buried. You'll wonder what chemicals you've ingested or smoked as Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo and Leia (Carrie Fisher) serenade with wookies, while the production budget looks like it barely stretched to 50p. Still, it's significant for acting as Boba's screen debut (in cartoon form, no less). But it wasn't the very, very first time we'd seen the character...

6. Boba's costume test (June 1978)

The Star Wars Holiday Special went out in November 1978. But Boba first appeared just before that, in costume tests for The Empire Strikes Back. These were filmed on 28th June 1978 at George Lucas's home, introduced by sound effects designer Ben Burtt. Check out that all-white armour (worn not by Jeremy Bulloch but the movie's assistant film editor Duwayne Dunham).


What's your favourite Boba Fett moment in the Star Wars saga? Let us know @Cineworld.