All Star Wars fans know that Boba Fett really, really likes his ship. Its unique design famously appeared in The Empire Strikes Back and has been indelibly linked with the bounty hunter ever since.
Yet its name has been very controversial. The ship was originally named Slave 1, although the racist connotations of that term didn’t sit well with the likes of Billy Dee Williams, who parodied it in a 2008 episode of Robot Chicken. The controversy died down for a while until the character of Fett was brought back into the picture in The Mandalorian.
When a new Lego set debuted last year under the title Boba Fett’s Starship, fans were perplexed. Some suggested it was due to Disney now owning the rights to Star Wars, with Slave not exactly suiting their clean-cut brand.
Mark Anthony Austin, the actor who donned Fett’s armour for the Star Wars special edition re-releases in the 90s, spoke out against the renaming on social media. “When applying for personalized plates for my car the DMV would not allow “Slave1 “. Okay I understand. Had to try. But I get it,” he wrote on Twitter. “This #disney idiocy however. Not buying it. Not conforming to the Mouse, no siree. Not gonna happen. When I was growing up I loved #disney. No more.”
When applying for personalized plates for my car the DMV would not allow “Slave1“. Okay I understand. Had to try. But I get it.
This #disney idiocy however. Not buying it. Not conforming to the Mouse, no siree. Not gonna happen.
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— Mark Anthony Austin (@BobaFettANHSE) June 28, 2021
The Mandalorian managed to avoid any controversy by avoiding mentioning the name, but The Book of Boba Fett hasn’t been so lucky. Episode four, ‘The Gathering Storm’, premiered on Wednesday, January 19th, and it had Fett referring to his ship as his Firespray Gunship. That doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, does it?
The character continually called it that throughout the episode, which is a bit like someone referring to their car as a Ford Focus 2016. The ship was given a huge welcome in a spectacular action sequence but it feels like the series has screwed the pooch with the name.
Last week, the actor who plays Fett, New Zealand legend Temuera Morrison, spoke about the issue with The Wrap. “I think we call it the Firespray,” he said. “I think I’ve mentioned it in a couple of episodes. I think Firespray. I think it is a gunship now. That’s what we’re calling it. We’re calling it Firespray gunship.” He didn’t delve any deeper than that.
This is all not to say Slave 1 should have been retained but a cooler name than Firespray Gunship could have been chosen. Just writing that term is tiresome. It feels like they’ve skirted the issue without considering what fans wanted.
Perhaps nothing sums the sorry situation up better than this: the official Star Wars databank still refers to the ship as Slave I, but the URL uses Boba Fett’s Starship.
What do you think about the name change? Is it the correct decision?
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