Toy Review: Concept Boba Fett (The McQuarrie Series)
Last week, one of the artists who was most responsible for getting one of the world’s most influential films off the ground passed away. That man, was Ralph McQuarrie. When George Lucas was attempting to drum up enthusiasm about just what The Star Wars were, he turned to McQuarrie for concept art.
The plan worked: the art helped, Lucas got his film made, and over the course of the next 8 years, McQuarrie would continue to work in the Lucasfilm art department, coming up with costume, set, and character concepts. For the Empire Strikes Back, McQuarrie worked with Lucasfilm artist Joe Johnston, and through both of them, was born the evolution of a character whose scant dialogue and armor would keep people talking for over 30+ years: Boba Fett.
In 2007, in honor of the 30th Anniversary of Star Wars‘ inception, Hasbro released a special 14-figure series that brought Ralph McQuarrie’s conceptual art to life in the 3 3 /4″ action figure line. Release-wise, Fett was the first new McQuarrie sculpt for the line, and proved quite popular.
Originally intended as an offshoot of Stormtrooper Armor, Boba’s orginal color was white. Also, his jetpack does not appear to actually be a jetpack yet, with its appearance resembling something similar to what would eventually be put on the backs of the Snowtroopers in Empire Strikes Back (an air-flow/oxygen pack?).
Along with his more familiar helmet with its T-shaped viewing port, this figure also comes with an alternate helmet design. This helmet contains some contours that seem a bit like Darth Vader’s in the nose/cheeks/mouth area, with a slight influence by the Stormtrooper design. The wide visor concept would be dropped, but would be seen almost 25 years later in Revenge of the Sith. If you look at the visor design of Clonetrooper Commander Cody, one can see the influence. The commlinks where his mouth would be with this alternate head, almost make Fett look more ‘machine than man.’
To add to that thought, in his abdomen, Fett comes equipped with a flip-out weapon. I wasn’t able to find much regarding this concept, but it definitely adds to the mystique of Fett: was he also meant to be a man/machine hybrid similar to Darth Vader?
One of Boba Fett’s memorable symbols from the final armor, is a symbol of the Mandalorian tribe of warriors that he was once a part of. When it originally came to the concept images, this symbol was non-existent. Almost as a fan-made ‘cheat’ to the concept art, the guys at Hasbro decided to include a more streamlined Mandalorian symbol on the rear of Fett’s right shoulder. What makes this okay, is that in the original concept art by McQuarrie, you never saw what was back there. So, it’s ‘possible’ this symbol could have been there.
Of course, a Bounty Hunter needs a gun, and Fett has one, though not the big one we saw him lugging around in the films. This one fits in a holster almost like a side-arm that a gunslinger would have. The downside is that the holster is pretty big, in order to allow the gun to fit properly. It doesn’t really hinder the figure, but it’s 25% bigger than what is in the original concept art.
One concept that we saw Jango Fett unleash in Attack of the Clones that Boba never did, was an arm-mounted flame-thrower. A feature similar to this was used with one of Jango’s action figures, but Hasbro did the concept one better with this figure. The flame-jet is a removable plastic piece that can be fitted into a hole on the left-arm. Along with the yellow-to orange plastic, some dark paint helps add the illusion of a blooming fireball about to engulf some unlucky victim. Speaking of which, here’s one now:
Overall, the Boba Fett concept figure was definitely one of the best figures released in 2007. I will admit I never did become a huge fan of The Fett, but I still recall that even when Kenner released their Power of the Force 2 line in 1995, what was the very first of the newly-sculpted figures I bought? That’s right: Boba Fett. That figure heralded the rebirth of my figure collecting as I entered my mid-teens in the 1990’s.
In regards to the McQuarrie Series of figures, there were 13 figures released in 2007. In actuality, there is an unofficial McQuarrie release. You see, sometimes some of the crew at Lucasfilm would be included on film, and in Echo Base on the planet Hoth, there existed General McQuarrie (who appeared briefly in a cameo walking past camera).
Even though he didn’t come on a Concept Series cardback, I couldn’t bring myself to not have General McQuarrie included with my collection (or shown above, in the action-figure equivalent of carbon-freeze). However, even 6 years later, I find it hard to open the General, and the other figures in the Concept Series. Then again, we did free Boba from his prison.