Friday, December 10, 2010

Caped Crusader

"The heart, Ramon! Aim for the heart, or you'll never stop me."

That's right, cats and kittens. Maybe you thought I was going to be reasonable. Maybe you thought this website would be reflective, measured, or relevent. Think again. Because today I'm talking about a scrap of clothing that is barely visible in any of the Star Wars movies.

Boba Fett has long been compared to Clint Eastwood's Joe/Manco/Blondie character from Sergio Leone's first three Spaghetti Westerns - better know as the Dollars Trilogy. I personally find Fett's sensibilities and motivations more in line with Charles Bronson's 'Harmonica' from Leone's Once Upon A Time In The West, but the connection between Fett and The Man With No Name is made clear by a shared element of both their wardrobes: the serape.

Leone originally wanted the American bodybuilder Steve Reeves for his protagonist in Fistful of Dollars - when Eastwood got the part instead, Leone had him wear the serape to disguise his more mundane proportions. Eastwood bought the costume piece himself and, according to legend, never washed it all the way through the filming of the trilogy. Years later, Leone's body of work was a significant influence on the young filmmaker George Lucas: the initial designs for Boba Fett were inarguably an homage to the Italian filmmaker.

Ralph McQuarrie concept art for The Empire Strikes Back consistently depicts Boba Fett as wearing a striped poncho, very much in line with Clint Eastwood's morally ambiguous appearance in the Dollars westerns.
The makers of Empire eventually abandoned the concept of the full-body serape, instead opting to have the cape draped over one shoulder, displaying the armour underneath.
The prototype cape was actually a Star Wars beach towel, but the Fett-Man can can make anything look classy. 

The Super Trooper prototype had the cape falling down behind Fett's left arm, very similar to how it appears in the final film. This particular positioning is best visible in the first moments of the carbon freezing scene.
Pre-Production 1's military canvas cape. This olive green design will later be utilized in Return of the Jedi, though not in the same position.
The final cape made for the film is the closest to Ralph McQuarrie's original concepts - brown with a horizontal stripe of orange. Like other parts of the costume (those damn kneepads), the placement of the cape changes from scene to scene.

Special thanks to The Dented Helmet for the wonderful pictures, and whoever got through this article for indulging my eccentric fashion interests.

'Occasionally, I would make a movement, but a little one, because the less you do, the stronger the character is. So I would just stand with my hip one way, and I'd cradle the gun a certain way. He's aware that something could happen any time, so he's quick with the gun. It's ready cocked. He knows exactly what's going on behind him. He may be moving slowly, but he's deadly when it comes to that sudden movement...I thought of Boba Fett as Clint Eastwood in a suit of armor.'
Jeremy Bulloch, Star Wars Insider #49 (May/June 2000)


  1. Brilliant. Never made the connection between the two characters myself. Always saw Fett as more insidious than rogue, but I can see the attractive outlaw in him now :P

  2. Did you ever make a cleaned-up version of the theme music? Would you be willing to share?