Time was when talk of a new Star Wars movie would have space opera fans from Tewkesbury to Tatooine glued to their computer screens in anticipation. These days mention of George Lucas’s long-running series is just as likely met with dark mutterings about Jar Jar Binks and horribly incongruous CGI as it is with awe, and while the first three films are generally remembered with fondess, matters went swiftly downhill after 1983′s Return of the Jedi. The most recent Star Wars effort, animated feature The Clone Wars, limped on to the screen three years ago without much fanfare and to largely negative reviews. Even so, the franchise has made an enormous amount of money over the years, so it’s no surprise to hear that a new film might be on the way.
The man behind the rumoured project is Joe Johnston, director of the forthcoming Captain America film and a designer and visual effects art director on the first three Star Wars films. He told screenrant.com he was “trying to get George to make a feature film based on Boba Fett” and would like to direct.
For the uninitiated, Fett is a bounty hunter who first appears in the original Star Wars trilogy and has become something of an iconic character despite not being given much in the way of dialogue. Johnston was reportedly responsible for designing his armoured outfit, so (perhaps reasonably) feels some sense of ownership over the character’s success.
Any spin-off featuring the bounty hunter would presumably indicate a darker turn for the franchise: a move away from epic storytelling towards something more linear and amoral. Fett, who was played by Jeremy Bulloch in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, is generally a fairly unsympathetic character, though he has been portrayed more positively in some Star Wars spin-off novels and comics.
Johnston is capable of making good movies (see 1999′s October Sky), and yet he has made many more poor ones (Jurassic Park III, Hidalgo, last year’s The Wolfman). Lucas has opted for leftfield choices before – he wanted David Lynch to direct Return of the Jedi – and at the very least the appointment of Johnston would mean that Lucas himself was stepping aside after taking the reins on the most recent live action films. Some Star Wars fans have been calling for that for a very long time. But is Johnston the guy for the job?
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