NOV / DEC 2016: BY CAITLIN HORTON
Once upon a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, there was a five year old little girl planted in front of a television set watching Star Wars. She was in awe of it all, from the storyline about a farmboy from a sandy, hot planet (she lived on a rainy, cold coast) to the droids (some small just like her!) to a fascinating energy called The Force. Now, a five year olds brain works in mysterious ways, because while the Star Wars marathon was airing, she became absolutely fixed on two specific characters as her favorites: Lando Calrissian and Boba Fett. Fast forward twenty-two years and nothing has changed. Oh, well, certainly the franchise has changed. There were those other three movies that generally are never named amongst her friends and family, they are the Star Wars outcasts because it seems no-one really likes them. Then there was the newest, where the Force is awakening in someone new, but in a likable, organic way. But what has never changed is that love for two secondary characters from a franchise that began thirty-nine years ago.
Why Lando? Well, there was always something missing from the rest of the group of Luke, Han, and Leia: flair and style mixed with the brains. You have to admit, none of the others really got perks for their attire, but Lando… there was a man who KNEW how to dress for an occasion. He was an absolutely scoundrel, a man who would probably barter his best friend in a card game if he thought he could win. It even appears that he did, ‘cause the Millennium Falcon found a new home with Han Solo when Lando lost it to him. But his style was not his only admirable quality: he may not have always been honest, but he was caring and noble. One distinct reason for his arrangement with the Empire was to save the people of Cloud City, he also did not know that Lord Vader was going to give Han Solo to Jabba the Hutt or take Princess Leia away. He only knew it was a trap set for a man he had never heard of before. He made his choices based on the most minimal data given to him. But he also had a contingency plan for his people, if things went south with the Empire he would order a complete evacuation. Which is what he did, and it was these types of actions and inner decency that led him to join the Rebellion. But only after rescuing Luke at Leia’s request and developing a plan to get Han away from Jabba. He may be a scoundrel, but he is also a hero in his own right. So while a five year old may have first noticed his cloak (helloooo! Wasn’t that cool?), over the years of watching that little girl turned woman did see his “finer qualities).
So where does a Bounty Hunter fit in? What are his “finer qualities”? Well, first, to this Star Wars fan there is little point in dragging up the highly contrived story of Jango Fett and his clone son, Boba, because what I liked about Boba Fett begin with was his mystique. Here was this masked being who was a bounty hunter by choice, he would clearly take any type of well-paying job, be it from a crime-lord on Tatooine or the Empire. He had no scruples, no mercy, no-one to get in his way; he lived by his own cleverness and skill. I think what first fascinated me about him was his beat up Mandalorian armor and ship and his voice. A hardened, crusty voice that growled out “He’s no good to me dead.” to Darth Vader (and no, I don’t mean the redub on the DVD’s. I mean the original voice from the 1980s). It is such a favorite line of mine that I actually have a t-shirt with him on it in profile with that quote. And I remember a poignant event, that moment when Lando is hearing Han Solo being tortured behind a door and Boba Fett stands in front of him, arms folded, his mask impenetrable and cold as an ancient abandoned fortress, daring him to make a move. Boba was truly a man of mystery for me. Long before George Lucas spun his overly complicated prequel web, I pondered over this bounty hunter and what I knew. I didn’t know if he was human, true, but I did know that he flirted with some of Jabba’s singers so he must form attachment. I didn’t know how he got into his trade, but I know he respected others for their ruthlessness when he nodded at a bounty hunter who was willing to use a thermal detonator to get what he wanted (who happened to be Leia in armor, unbeknownst to him). I also know that he chose to work for Jabba, he was not imprisoned and forced to hunt down wayward smugglers. So perhaps Boba does not possess “finer qualities,” but he certainly has plenty of character… for a character who has few lines and no face! And I am of the camp of fans who believes that he is “indigestible” and will escape the Sarlaac to fight another day; after all, he still had his rocket and blasters. Anything is possible.
And I remember watching the end of Return of the Jedi at five and realizing that was it. All there was. Finito. Hahaha, the joke was on me, as more films would spawn over the next two decades and a whole LOT more would be written about before and after. But somehow those entirely new plotlines haven’t changed the timeless quality of my two favorite characters, and I know that now, it never will. The scoundrel and the bounty hunter will live on in infamy, at least for this five year old heart of mine!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Caitlin Horton is a 20-something reader, seamstress, and history buff. She lives a life blessed in the knowledge that she is God’s child, and her life has a purpose in the scope of His plan. She encourages her readers to remember, every day can be like Bilbo’s “adventure” if you’re willing to take the “ordinary” and add some “extra” in front of it!