‘Star Wars’: Why George Lucas Decided Not to Make Boba Fett a Woman
Part of what makes the Star Wars saga so interesting are the characters in the margins. One of the series’ most prominent minor characters is Boba Fett. The stoic bounty hunter was introduced on the small screen in 1978’s The Star Wars Holiday Special.
In 1980, Boba made his first silver screen appearance in The Empire Strikes Back. That film made him a fan favorite. In fact, some Star Wars fans liked the idea of the character being revealed to have been female the whole time. Here’s how that twist could have worked out.
Why a fan thought Boba Fett was a woman
In The Empire Strikes Back, Boba wears his helmet the whole time. His face is never so much as glimpsed. Boba’s mysterious nature is part of his appeal. Some fans filled in the blanks by coming up with their own backstories for Boba. For example, when The Empire Strikes Back was new, Fantastic Films published a number of fan theories about the character.
One was that Boba was secretly a lady. Why did someone think that? Well, a fan reasoned that the name “Boba” could be a nickname for “Roberta.” Sounds legit to me! This fan’s assumption wasn’t too different from an idea proposed by Mark Hamill.
Mark Hamill asks George Lucas to make Boba Fett female
Hamill wanted to “top” The Empire Strikes Back’s big reveal that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father. How? By making Boba Luke’s mother of course! After all, no one knew what was behind that mask, so Boba could have been a woman the whole time.
Hamill recalled he didn’t just want to reveal that Boba was a woman. He also wanted to reveal that, the whole time, the amoral bounty hunter was actually good. He explained, “I envisioned her as a double-agent working clandestinely for the Rebels.” Although the idea certainly would have been interesting, George Lucas didn’t like it.
Hamill later said it was a bad idea. “I have always been more than willing to generously share my many, many terrible ideas in the off-chance we might stumble across one that could actually be useful.” Hamill also noted when he pitched the twist, he was unaware Princess Leia was going to be revealed as Luke’s sister. Just imagine Luke, Leia, Vader, and Boba all in one big dysfunctional family!
Fans take matters into their own hands
In 1999, on the cusp of The Phantom Menace’s release, some fans took the idea of a female Boba into their own hands. Tory Hoke, a comic book artist, started an online campaign for a female Boba. The idea was that Boba would remove his mask and reveal he was really a woman. This moment would parallel the scene in Return of the Jedi where the apparently male bounty hunter Boushh reveals himself as Leia in disguise.
Boba ultimately didn’t appear in The Phantom Menace. Boba has a minor role in the following film in the series, Attack of the Clones. The film depicts Boba as a young boy. The pleas of Hoke and others went unnoticed. Regardless of Boba’s gender, the Star Wars franchise has introduced many more female characters in the past few years.