The face of Jango, Boba Fett, and Star Wars’ clone army was staying in Santa Monica when he got the message.
As long as The Mandalorian creators Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni wanted the original bounty hunter back, it was always going to be Temuera Morrison. His face was iconic. And as the actor related at Goldnova this year, he was only going to say yes to another Star Wars role.
“I got a message to go meet Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, and then I kind of got excited, because I knew they were doing The Mandalorian,” Temuera said from the seat of his April 9 panel. “I got to the meeting four hours early… I was living over the other side of town, so I didn’t want to deal with traffic and everything. I didn’t want to blow it. I didn’t want to be late.”
Dishing on the birth of his Disney+ series, The Book of Boba Fett, Temuera continued, “While I was in the room, I could look around the walls, and I could see the conceptual drawings for The Book of Boba. And there was a bald-headed guy…
“I didn’t want to say anything, just, you know, be nice. And then when Jon and them come in, they outlined it all. ‘Yes. We’d like you to come back and play Boba.’”
Starring in the now-concluded limited series, Temuera’s Boba Fett is less nervous-enthusiastic and more stoic, thoughtful, grave. But Boba’s real-life counterpart didn’t leave his easily excitable personality at the door; at Supanova, he found himself still marvelling at the technology included on set.
Temuera compared The Book of Boba Fett’s set to that of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, saying in the ‘90s and early 2000s “they put a bit of tape on a stand and they say, ‘Oh, that’s where so-and-so is’… It requires a little bit of imagination.”
He described a modern set: “It’s all quite dark and there’s all the computer guys on the right, but then you walk in and it’s like the arena. Now they’ve got things projected on the wall that sort of give the studio depth, you know.
“You’re working in this wonderful environment and it’s all there. You feel quite organic because it’s not a green or blue-screen anymore, but it still requires that kind of performance. But now you can see, you feel, as opposed to just imagining it.”
The sands of Tatooine, however, were filmed outside the studio. Temuera imparted this fact like industry gossip. “It was quite unusual for us to go and film that on an actual location. Because they generally like the studio, where we’re in control,” he explained. He called location filming “quite a challenging experience,” describing the process as “Walk up this hill. Find the rocks. Go to that rock.” Repeat.
Fighting on location proved gruelling. To keep his stamina, Temuera practised the Haka – what he called “cultural dancing” that sometimes uses “weapons like the staff.” Some fight scenes with Boba Fett’s now-signature staff, Temuera said, invoked the Haka.
As to how the Haka affected his acting: “It’s an internal energy and confidence. This gives it a little bit of a twinge and a little bit more of a bite,” he said. “I have taken from the Haka and I kind of used it a little bit when it’s late in the afternoon. The sun’s going down, we’re still fighting on the sands of Tatooine, and you just think, ‘Right. Going home for a beer.’ But we’re here until 7 o’clock.”
He continued, “It does come in handy when you’re acting… trying to make things, you know, look real, natural, without all the acting going on. So it kind of helps me that way.”
Temuera admitted to his Goldnova audience that he sometimes “got a bit carried away from some of the fight scenes” while practising the Haka on set. “The director would go, ‘That’s great, Temuera. That’s great. Can you try another one?… Pull it back a bit” when Temuera finished a particularly intense take.
Other than bringing his “internal energy”, though, the actor lamented that “there’s not much room for playing around, or ad-libbing, or doing something that you want to do, because a lot of special effects and a lot of stuff goes on after.
“They’re not wasting their time trying to put the special effects on some stuff that they might cut out later,” he explained. “We’ll do sound work – sometimes you go back in there, just do all the sound again – and so it is a bit of a process afterwards… With the COVID restrictions, too, it was quite difficult.”
But the final product? So worth it. Temuera remembered his first time watching himself enter in The Mandalorian, special effects fully realised. “I’m pretty cool, all right,” he acknowledged, embarrassed. “But, you know, you don’t say that. You sort of just think, ‘Yeah, this could work. This could work.’ And it was quite a nice sequence to come in… a big buzz actually to watch it.”
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LEAD IMAGE: Temuera Morrison on stage at Supanova 2022 – Gold Coast. Photo by James Presneill (Fotomerchant).