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Joe Johnston

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Artist - Boba Fett's Designer

Birthdate: May 13, 1950

Credited as art director of visual effects on The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Johnston designed Boba Fett. Since then, Johnston has become a major motion picture director.



"Father" of Boba Fett

According to his online venture, Joe Johnston Sketchbook, here's a quote on how he describes his role with Boba Fett:

"Johnston is Boba Fett's original conceptual designer. He has also been referred to as the 'Father' of Boba Fett. Joe designed the colors and helmet for Boba. John Mollo had designed the original suit as the super trooper army of millions, but the production couldn't afford it for 'Empire Strikes Back.' Therefore, Joe made Boba a singular character with the paint job he did on him, including the damaged suit and helmet."

Super Troopers

"I designed the final version of Boba Fett. Ralph and I both worked together on preliminary designs, and we traded ideas back and forth. Originally, Boba Fett was part of a force we called Super Troopers, and they were these really high-tech fighting units, and they all looked alike. That eventually evolved into a single bounty hunter. I painted Boba's outfit and tried to make it look like it was made of different pieces of armor. It was a symmetrical design, but I painted it in such a way that it looked like he had scavenged parts and had done some personalizing of his costume; he had little trophies hanging from his belt, and he had little braids of hair, almost like a collection of scalps." -- Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays (p. 184-185, 1997)

White Armor

In 1978, Joe Johnston designed the white Boba Fett armor. (It's unclear if Ralph McQuarrie's white Boba Fett concepts came beforehand or not. The actual chronology may prove Johnston's work came first.)

Favorite Spaceships

When asked about his favorite spaceships, one answer of several was as follows: "I like Slave I. This was primarily Nilo's design. Again, it was like nothing else that we had seen in the films and it was somehow very fitting for Boba Fett to be flying this thing. So different, it looked like he found it somewhere, patched it up, and made it his own." -- Joe Johnston Q&A Episode 3 (3 min. 18 sec.)

Recent Happenings

As recently as 2014, Joe Johnston sketches Boba Fett from time to time.


  • Director
    • Not Safe for Work (2014)
    • Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
    • The Wolfman (2010)
    • Hidalgo (2004)
    • Jurassic Park III (2001)
    • October Sky (1999)
    • Jumanji (1995)
    • The Rocketeer (1991)
    • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)
  • Visual Effects
    • Return of the Jedi (1983) art director: visual effects, ILM
    • The Empire Strikes Back (1980) art director visual effects: miniature and optical effects unit
    • Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) effects illustrator and designer: miniature and optical effects unit


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  • This page was last modified on 25 February 2015, at 21:41.
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