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Boba Fett - Animated Debut

Star Wars Holiday Special
by yo go re

In a universe filled with such portentious titles as "The Empire Strikes Back," "Dark Force Rising" and "The Attack of the Clones," it's hard to believe that one of the most infamous installments of Star Wars history is "The Story of the Faithful Wookiee."

The first apearance of Boba Fett was in an animation short in the Star Wars Holiday Special, whose first and only televised airing was on November 17, 1978. In the cartoon, Fett's clothing and armor are brighter, more colorful, and much less battle-worn than how they will appear in The Empire Strikes Back. While he still wears his jet backpack, he carries a twin-pronged weapon instead of his now-trademark blaster.

Just want to interject here, to point out that's not technically true: the first appearance of Boba Fett was on September 24, 1978, marching in the San Anselmo County Fair parade, and on the front page of the next day's Independent Journal. So up yours, Star Wars Holiday Special! Yeah, how about that? Had to suck wearing that armor in the hot sun, don't you think? According to the article (which never actually mentions Boba Fett, since no one knew or cared who he was yet), the guy playing Vader had to be rehydrated after the march. Anyway, this was just an interruption: the back of the card has more text:

Friend or foe? Boba Fett helps Chewie find a cure for the sleeping sickness that has infected Han and Luke, but he also tells Darth Vader of the Rebels' location. The droids intercept his message and tell the Rebels, but Fett escapes, promising that they will meet again.

This Boba Fett shares his mold with the Vintage Original Trilogy Collection Boba Fett from a few years ago; you know, one of the $12 ones in retro packaging. Funny how this one costs half as much, despite coming out in the midst of inflation and rising oil prices. Way to price-gouge, Hasbro!

Surprisingly, this is the first time Hasbro has reused the VOTC mold - for some unfathomable reason, they've been trotting out the tired old Pit of Carkoon mold over and over, ignoring the superior sculpt and articulation of this body. Why bring it back now, for this oddball repaint? Who cares - at least we get it.

Honestly, part of me wishes they hadn't used the VOTC sculpt for the Animated Debut Boba: after all, the figure is just packed with tons of detail, which doesn't really jibe with the, shall we say, "stripped down" animation style he's supposedly based on. Nelvana didn't draw every wrinkle, or every ding and scratch on the armor, but they're definitely here on this toy. His wookie-scalp braids are part of the armor glued onto his shoulders, and his cape is real cloth. He gets a new belt with a holster on the side.

The paint is what identifies this as the debut Boba Fett. Rather than his usual red, green and dark yellow, he's wearing pale yellow armor on his torso and knees, has grey shoulder pads and has a metallic blue helmet and gauntlets, all worn over a white jumpsuit, rather than grey. Even his jetpack is yellow, instead of its familiar blue and orange. The center of his mask is still black, providing at least some direct connection between the cartoon Fett and the real thing.

Articulation is quite good. He has balljoints at the ankles, knees, elbows, shoulders and head, and swivels for the hips, wrists and waist. There's an extra swivel in his right bicep, to accommodate the tubes that run down to his gauntlet: probably a fuel line for his flamethrower. Anyway, the tubes go over the elbow joint, so if the upper arm were solid, they'd restrict the range of the balljoint too much. By attaching them to a separate ring rather than the actual arm, the upper part can rotate with the lower. The antenna on his helmet can be rotated down in front of the eye, as well.

In addition to the rocketpack, Boba's got two weapons: a black pistol and a two-pronged staff. The gun, which fits nicely in the holster on the figure's hip, is apparently a Sacros K-11 "Disintegrator," while the "staff" (shown in the cartoon as a gun) is an Amban phase-pulse blaster. These names were never mentioned in the animated segment, and were only revealed on the "Holiday Special Boba Fett Character Key" from Acme Archives, released in late 2007. Quelle officielle!

Besides the Holiday Special, Boba Fett also "debuted" on June 19, 1980, in "The Frozen World of Ota," a story in the syndicated newspaper strip that was eventually reprinted in Classic Star Wars: The Early Adventures #9. Oddly enough, both the cartoon and the comic strip feature Luke Skywalker meeting Boba Fett for the "first" time, and both times Luke ends up befriending the bounty hunter. Luke's kind of an idiot. Of course, in that story Boba's armor started out dark blue with yellow highlights (and seemed to change colors every Sunday), so maybe we'll see a figure done up like that, as well.


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