Slavery may be a sad fact in the Star Wars universe, but having a ship’s name that refers to it is apparently a no-no for Disney. ‘Slave I’ has been quietly recast as ‘Boba Fett’s Starship’ by LEGO, and some fans are outraged.
The ship piloted by the iconic Mandalorian bounty hunter may not be as famous as Han Solo’s ‘Millennium Falcon’, but remains a cherished part of the Star Wars canon. Apparently Disney, the owner of the franchise, doesn’t like to remind people about the vessel’s actual name.
The apparent policy was highlighted last week by the website Jedi News, which asked people at LEGO why, unlike earlier products, their latest incarnation of ‘Slave I’ was named simply ‘Boba Fett’s Starship’ and the answer was that “everybody” does it these days.
“It’s probably not something which has been announced publicly but it is just something that Disney doesn’t want to use any more,” LEGO Star Wars Design Director Jens Kronvold Frederiksen explained.
Since acquiring Star Wars’ intellectual property almost a decade ago, Disney has taken the galaxy far, far away in a new creative direction, ostensibly making it in line with the values of modern audiences. Some hardcore fans see this as ruining their beloved fictional universe by, for example, turning Luke Skywalker into a reclusive drunkard in ‘The Last Jedi’. So even the smallest hint of catering to the woke may unleash a tornado of fan anger.
Leading the charge against the stealth renaming was none other than Boba Fett himself. Mark Anthony Austin is a visual effects artist by profession and helped animate creatures in the 1997 special edition of ‘A New Hope’. He is also an enthusiastic admirer of the silent mercenary and portrayed him at various conventions before getting an uncredited cameo as Fett in the same instalment.
Austin launched a barrage of tweets protesting that, for him, the ship will always remain ‘Slave I’. He said while he understands why the DMV wouldn’t allow him to put the name on his licence plates, it was not up to Disney to enforce this “idiocy.” He said: “Not buying it. Not conforming to the Mouse, no siree. Not gonna happen.”
I felt a great disturbance in the force… As if a million voices suddenly cried out in terror at a heinous renaming… 😳— Mark Anthony Austin (@BobaFettANHSE) June 28, 2021
He also jokingly suggested some other names that sensibility-trained Disney managers may want to alter in Star Wars as well, including calling the franchise “Star Disputes.”
WARS. Sounds harsh says #disney. Let’s change the franchise name to:STAR DISPUTES😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂— Mark Anthony Austin (@BobaFettANHSE) June 27, 2021
One of the jokes was about Princess Leia’s famous metal bikini and chained collar outfit – a look which was traditionally called “Slave Leia” but should be called “Temporarily Without Freedom Leia,” according to Austin. Disney actually dropped this type of merchandise a few years ago.
The outcry from Austin was apparently supported by fellow Boba Fett actor Daniel Logan, who played him in ‘Attack of the Clones’. He joked that the upcoming collectible of HMS ‘Bounty’, a starship from the Star Trek franchise, should be likewise renamed “Commander Kruge’s Starship.”
Star Trek is owned by Disney rival ViacomCBS, but it too has undergone some transformations that many older fans don’t appreciate. Logan tagged Christopher Lloyd, who portrayed the Klingon officer in ‘Star Trek III: The Search for Spock’.
While plenty of people joined Austin’s passionate rebuke of the “renaming,” many others saw it as a ‘nontrovercy’. The ship’s name was not actually retroactively changed, judging by its entry on starwars.com. And if it were, what’s the big deal? people wondered.
"Slave 1" was always a terrible name for the ship of Boba Fett - a bounty hunter who lives by his own code and answers to nobody. If Disney dropping this weird and outdated name makes you angry, you don't have enough in your life to actually be angry about. pic.twitter.com/4vBtVUrTb6— Mike Rothschild (@rothschildmd) June 28, 2021
Slavery itself has been routinely portrayed in Star Wars as an institution in some parts of the galaxy. Anakin Skywalker, the future Darth Vader, was a child slave on Tatooine before being recruited by the Jedi order.
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