Who were they? ... One thing is clear: They were the most mysterious and lethal scum in the Star Wars galaxy!
The brilliance of constructing an imaginary world for the original Star Wars trilogy is the equilibrium between letting audiences know everything they need to know about the characters, their environments, and the stories that surround them without actually exposing so much that there’s no room for audiences to want to know more about everything. And thus, every set piece engages audiences with a sense of wonder that is remarkably difficult to beat from a composing stance. No scene in the trilogy illustrated this more clearly than the introduction of the bounty hunters in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Ever since their first official appearance there, the bounty hunters became a trademark of the infectious, brutal, spaghetti-western undertone that rushes through the legendary generic code of Star Wars.
It always amazes me just how short the bounty hunter scene is, just 45 seconds of it, in contrast to the lasting inheritance it gave to the film, but most importantly to pop culture itself. It created in those short 45 seconds a model within the Star Wars universe that moves the plot forward, and officially brings on to the big screen one of the all time greatest icons of the Saga, Boba Fett. It's a scene that traps all that's made that galaxy far way so attractive to audiences of all ages for the last 40 years. It is effectiveness at its best that transports information coupled with instant attraction to the mysterious characters. Those few seconds of screen time told us all we needed to know, while leaving us wanting for more, thanks to the intensity of character designs and the editing of a mere amount of quick shots.
The Empire was exceptional at working around laws, inventing new ones not grounded in the facts, in order to better serve their evil purposes. Hiring bounty hunters as official Imperial keepers of the peace to carry out morally degraded tasks truly defined their tyranny and dirty methods, The Bounty Hunters predisposition to follow through the brutal desires of those that employed them, made them perfectly suited pawns for the Empire. The Bounty Hunter profession was home to some of the most striking characters in the Star Wars universe, a mixture of ruthless and fearsome characters willing to collect the highest bounty in the most criminal ways. And as we all saw in ESB Vader, discouraged by his incompetent crew of Imperials to capture Han Solo and the gang of rebels in the Millennium Falcon on their flight from Hoth, summons six Bounty Hunters aboard the Executor to bring him the evasive vehicle.
"You are free to use any methods necessary, but I want them alive. No disintegration!" - Vader tells directly to Boba Fett, as he gives orders to the roster of scum on display. The mystery lives on in that particular scene. The audience has no idea how the Bounty Hunters were contacted nor how they got there. But the writing made it fair to assume Vader had employed the services of Fett before having been so firm with him when he told him: "no disintegrations". Thus the audience is subtly let in on what Fett is capable of doing. It is in fact Boba Fett who is the only one from the group that's able to track the MF to Bespin in his now iconic Slave 1, the modified Firespray -31-class patrol and attack craft. But in all, it hasn't been just the lawless ways in which the Bounty Hunters behave what has made them attractive to audiences; it has to do in great part with their visual appearance, and their unique and compelling designs that instill a sense of history you want to find out about more and more, even today.
- 4-LOM MINI BUST: 801/2000 -
By Gentle Giant Studios