Indignity Vol. 2, No. 15: Maybe call a bounty hunter?


Indignity Vol. 2, No. 15: Maybe call a bounty hunter?

Recently Missing in America

A 25-foot boat (from its mooring at a marina in Gig Harbor, Washington)

Three water backflow prevention valves (one after another, from the Hesperia Business Center in Hesperia, California)

A Honda automobile (from the Los Angeles driveway of right-wing newsletter power couple Nellie Bowles and Bari Weiss, where they'd left it with the keys in the cupholder)

Oregon's smallest glacier (from the slopes of Mt. Thielsen in the Cascade Range)

Meat and seafood valued at $15,000 (from a freezer outside a restaurant in Roswell, Georgia)

A 1,200-pound mobile meat smoker (from behind a restaurant in Marietta, Georgia)

Recently Found in America

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (on Long Island, in a "'small, non-commercial backyard flock' of eight non-poultry birds")

A missing ice fisherman (near Whitefish Bay, Michigan, "stuck in heavy slush" on frozen Lake Superior)

Surreptitious photos of a legislative aide (in Nebraska, on a state senator's laptop, with "sexually suggestive captions")

"More than 1,000 dead rodents and birds" (in West Memphis, Arkansas, at a Family Dollar distribution warehouse)

A strong odor (in Warren, Pennsylvania, due to leaking petroleum vapor from the United Refining Company)

A seven-foot pickle costume (in Portland, Oregon, in a black duffel bag on a bus, after reportedly being misplaced by Delta Airlines, delivered to the wrong address, and stolen)


Boba Fett's Face Turn

Boba Fett and a young fan high-five part of the "Star Wars Night" promotion before the game between the Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 9, 2016 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Matt Brown/Angels Baseball LP/Getty Images)

ONCE I NOTICED the problem with Boba Fett's helmet, I couldn't stop noticing it. We've gotten around to watching the first few episodes of The Book of Boba Fett, which is the latest Disney Star Wars spinoff of The Mandalorian, which was a Disney Star Wars spinoff of Star Wars. Begun, the Clone War has.

Not every spinoff from this ever-expanding spinoff factory is a bad idea. The Mandalorian itself, through its first two seasons, has been an well-conceived TV serial and it ranks, by my estimation, as something between the fifth- and third-best entry in the entire Star Wars oeuvre, depending on how I feel about the Ewoks on a given day.

But the intellectual-property factory is not built to process the anxiety of influence. Star Wars was always a pastiche of things ripped off from other sources, and as the galaxy has expanded or grown more dense through the decades, it has also unavoidably become a pastiche of things ripped off from Star Wars.

And this is where Boba Fett gets stuck. The original Boba Fett didn't do much in the original Star Wars movies. He barely spoke, and off the top of my head, I can remember him accomplishing exactly one cool thing and one hilariously uncool thing: he anticipated and tracked Han Solo's evasive maneuver of hiding the Millennium Falcon in the garbage trail of an Imperial Star Destroyer, like the ruthless bounty hunter he was, and then he got himself unceremoniously dumped into the mouth of the deadly Sarlacc by having his jetpack misfire in mid-combat.

Mostly, Boba Fett made his reputation in his minimal screentime by standing around in his completely badass space armor, exuding menace through the impenetrably dark T slit of his helmet. He was a popular and hard-to-get action figure before he ever appeared in a movie, a mysterious and compelling addition to the existing cast of characters.

It would be unfair to Star Wars' cornball adventure-serial roots to complain about the decision to resurrect the character from the guts of the deadly Sarlacc and set him off on new adventures. Yet the show-wranglers made a retrospectively obvious miscalculation as they did it: they had already made The Mandalorian.

That is, they went ahead and made a TV show about a ruthless bounty hunter in badass space armor. There are multiple Star Wars cycles' worth of lore that explain to the fans why the Mandalorian is not the same person Boba Fett: He is an actual member of the armor-worshipping warrior civilization of Mandalore, while Boba Fett is a non-Mandalorian who inherited a suit of Mandalorian armor from his father, Jango Fett, of whom Boba is technically a clone, created in return for Jango agreeing to be the prototype for the clone troopers of the blah blah blah.

None of that can change the fact that by now the Mandalorian has spent two seasons wearing the armor and the helmet, with Pedro Pascal doing a frankly uncanny job of emoting while almost never showing his face and honoring the hyper-laconic conventions of the roving gunslinger/samurai role. With a little shifting or angling of the gear, the Mandalorian has wordlessly conveyed bafflement, irritation, boredom, resignation—and, certainly, menace—through the impenetrably dark T slit of his helmet.

So now, whenever Boba Fett turns his own T slit to stare someone down, he's just doing the Mandalorian. There's nowhere else to go with it. And so, after a second, when he needs to show he's really serious, he yanks off the helmet. Temuera Morrison, who played Jango in the prequels, has to do the glaring with his own unprotected eyes. Sometimes they can't even figure out how to get the helmet back on his head before a fight breaks out. They brought back Boba Fett, but it was too late to bring back Boba Fett.