Boba Fett made his Star Wars debut in The Empire Strikes Back, and here’s how Clint Eastwood’s turn as the Man with No Name inspired the character.
Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name was a major influence on Star Wars’ bounty hunter Boba Fett. Clint Eastwood first made a name for himself on the classic series Rawhide as Rowdy Yates, but it was a low-budget Italian western that saw him become a movie star. 1964’s A Fistful Of Dollars was a riff on Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo – to the point that Toho sued the makers of A Fistful Of Dollars – the movie cast Eastwood as the Man with No Name, who wanders into the middle of a feud between two gangs and plays both sides.
A Fistful Of Dollars – which almost cast other actors – is considered to be the film that kicked off the Spaghetti Western subgenre, which often had a darker, more cynical look at the west than most American productions. Eastwood’s iconic look and performance also set his scene persona in stone, and it felt like the less the character did, the more compelling he became. Eastwood reteamed with director Sergio Leone for two sequels: For A Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad And The Ugly, with the latter being considered a masterpiece of the genre. While that was Eastwood’s last performance as the Man with No Name, his characters in High Plains Drifter or Pale Rider feel like offshoots of the same role.
In creating Star Wars, George Lucas pulled a lot from classic myth and westerns; Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress was also a noted Star Wars influence. The ch aracter of Boba Fett began as an early iteration of Darth Vader, with Lucas envisioning a version of the Dark Lord as a bounty hunter. Fett was created as a new villain for The Empire Strikes Back, and made his debut in the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special. Despite a dearth of screentime or dialogue in either Empire or Return Of The Jedi, Jeremy Bulloch’s Boba Fett became a true fan favorite. In conceiving the character, Lucas stated in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary Special (CBR) that “The Boba Fett character is really an early version of Darth Vader. He is also very much like the man-with-no name from the Sergio Leone Westerns.”
That concept is very much seen in The Empire Strikes Back, from Boba Fett’s body language to his sparse dialogue. The influence of Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name on Boba Fett – currently played by Temuera Morrison – almost went a step further, with early costume tests depicting the bounty hunter with a poncho of sorts on his armor. Boba Fett performer Bulloch commonly cited Eastwood’s Man with No Name as an influence on the character too, feeling that the less Fett did, the more compelling he became.
This enigmatic approach to Boba Fett – who isn’t even named onscreen in The Empire Strikes Back – no doubt helped draw viewers to him. After decades of hoping to see the character again, Boba Fett finally returned for Star Wars series The Mandalorian season 2 and received his own spinoff with The Book Of Boba Fett, which finally explained how he escaped from the dreaded Sarlacc pit. The show also has overt western vibes, which harken back to the influence westerns and Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name had on Boba Fett.