The movie industry has undergone a bit of a change when it comes to sci-fi, fantasy, and superhero stories, placing more faith in audiences who want R-rated content. After all, we got Deadpool in 2016, Logan in 2017, and most recently, Deadpool 2 (which we reviewed) just a few weeks ago. The astounding success of all three of those movies, which even culminated in an Oscar nomination for Logan, begs the question: how can we get more of this?
One such franchise that would benefit from a tonal shift would definitely be Star Wars. After all, the saga has a rich lore that spans thousands of in-universe years – not counting the movies, there are several television shows, many video games, and hundreds of comic books and novels, and they just keep coming.
With the standalone entries proving to be incredibly popular (Rogue One was released in 2016, and Solo is in theatres now), Disney is already looking ahead past 2019, when the current trilogy of movies wraps up. Who is worthy of such an individual adventure? Rumours have long surrounded Obi-Wan Kenobi and the period he spends on Tatooine looking over an infant Luke Skywalker, but that doesn’t necessarily seem fertile ground for an R-rated adventure.
It was recently suggested that director James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma, the aforementioned Logan) was in talks to helm a movie about Boba Fett, one of the franchise’s most enduringly popular characters. The mysterious figure was introduced briefly to audiences in The Empire Strikes Back, before unceremoniously “dying” in Return of the Jedi, and yet has managed to resonate with audiences so well, his childhood was briefly explored in the prequels.
If there was ever a Star Wars property that deserved the R-rated treatment, it’s this one. That’s not to say it necessarily needs all the elements that rating brings; cursing and nudity, for example, seem somewhat hard to nail down, given most characters inhabit a galaxy with thousands of different races, complete with their own languages and body types (humanoid and otherwise).
The violence, however, that’s something else entirely. Boba Fett is the galaxy’s most feared bounty hunter – he commands everyone’s respect, not only from his fellow bounty hunters (such as Bossk, IG-88, Dengar, 4-LOM, and Zuckuss) but also from Darth Vader himself, who gives Fett the stern warning of “no disintegrations”.
An R-rated Boba Fett outing would really give the franchise the chance to showcase a side of the Star Wars universe that is only ever hinted at. This is a universe where gangsters have sent hitmen after smugglers for missed payments, where Stormtroopers have murdered innocent farmers for harbouring fugitives, and where gambling, drug use, and prostitution is relatively common – yet a lot of it is shown in a comical way or off-screen entirely.
Of all the directors to potentially tackle this, James Mangold is particularly well-suited. Logan was a critical and commercial success, yes, but he’s also had experience with the fantastic remake of 3:10 to Yuma. Starring Christian Bale and Russell Crowe, the film goes in-depth into the lives of two men, one desperately trying to find his place in the world, and the other a remorseless killer. Mangold’s obvious love for Westerns is pretty apparent, and that potential frame for an R-rated Boba Fett movie is tremendously exciting.
Perhaps we could see Fett go to the moon Nar Shaddaa, a hotbed for criminal activity; maybe we could see him head to the seedy underbelly of Coruscant, the capital of the Galactic Empire. Whether he’s hunting down a wayward Imperial officer or some Rebel scum for Darth Vader, he’s one of the few characters that could probably get away with some real fisticuffs, and make it look good.
With Star Wars movies coming out almost every year for the foreseeable future, Lucasfilm and Disney need to shake it up a bit. An R-rated outing would just do that, and Boba Fett is the man for the job – disintegrations and all.
You can find Shoaib Alli on Twitter at @SNSAlli for all kinda of interesting takes on movies, films, motion pictures, flicks, features, and other film-related synonyms.