Jeremy Bulloch, the first actor to portray Star Wars’ taciturn, sinister bounty hunter Boba Fett, has died. He was 75. His death was announced on Thursday by Daniel Logan, who played the child version of the Fett character in 2002’s Attack of the Clones.
An actor in television and advertising since age 12, Bulloch also had roles in British films in the 1960s, and in two Doctor Who episodes, before being handed what seemed like a bit part: Boba Fett, the muscle hired by the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt to menace Han Solo and his friends in 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back.
Though Fett had few speaking lines (and the original ones weren’t even spoken by Bulloch), the character was immediately a fan favorite. Clad in dented and battle-scarred armor, with a fearsome, distinctive helmet, a jet pack, and weapons galore, the mysterious Fett took on new life between Empire and Return of the Jedi in comic books, novelizations, and toys.
Bulloch reprised the Fett role in 1983’s Return of the Jedi, in which the character met a slapstick death: Whacked on the jetpack by a blind Solo, he flew into the maw of the Sarlacc, where he was, ostensibly, slowly digested over a thousand years.
But that was hardly the last appearance of Fett. The character returned in Attack of the Clones as the cloned son of Django Fett (Temuera Morrison), who used his own genetic template to create the Clone Army of the Galactic Republic. Daniel Logan played the younger Boba, who is motivated for his life of violence and revenge after seeing his father killed by the Jedi Master Mace Windu.
Boba Fett’s original voice actor, the American actor Jason Wingreen, died in 2015. As a result of the continuity later developed for the character, Morrison’s voice became the voice of Fett (and the clone troopers), and was redubbed over later versions of the original films.
Bulloch, according to StarWars.com, got the role of Fett thanks to his half-brother, Robert Watts, an associate producer on The Empire Strikes Back. Watts had been assigned to find someone to play Fett, with the main qualification being fitting into the costume and its helmet. Although it took about 20 minutes to get into, it “fit like a glove,” and Bulloch was given the role. He also appears in The Empire Strikes Back in an uncredited role as the Imperial officer who muscles Leia into a Cloud City corridor as she warns Luke Skywalker of Darth Vader’s trap.
Bulloch later published a memoir, titled Flying Solo, which was a humorous reflection on his personal and professional lives, dotted with anecdotes from life as a fan convention headliner.
Bulloch’s passing is the year’s second noteworthy death from the Star Wars Original Trilogy family. Peter Mayhew, who portrayed the mighty Chewbacca in five feature films, died in May. And at the end of 2016, Carrie Fisher died of a heart attack shortly after finishing filming for The Last Jedi, which premiered in 2017.