Jason Wingreen, the actor who gave classic Star Wars villain Boba Fett a voice, has passed away, Rolling Stone reports. He was 95.
Wingreen only recorded four minutes of dialogue for The Empire Strikes Back, and originally auditioned for the role of Yoda. Although, he was a man of few words, Boba Fett became a favorite among Star Wars fans. As Rolling Stone Magazine reports, most of George Lucas’ prequels were centered around the villain’s backstory.
— IGN (@IGN) January 2, 2016
“I think the actual work, aside from the hellos and goodbyes and all that, could have been no more than 10 minutes,” Wingreen once said about his time as Boba Fett.
According to Rolling Stone, Wingreen was not credited for the role on-screen. His public acknowledgement for the role only started coming around the year 2000 when his name started to be connected to the beloved Star Wars character. The Hollywood Reporter reports that he never even received residuals for his work on Star Wars, despite the fact that the early Boba Fett figures used Wingreen’s voice. A classic and rare Boba Fett action figure recently sold for $7,000 at auction at the Sotheby’s auction house.
— ScreenCrush (@screencrushnews) January 2, 2016
When the Star Wars films were re-released, John Wingreen’s voice was replaced by Temuera Morrison’s who played Boba Fett’s “father” in the prequels.
Wingreen’s career didn’t end with his short stint in the Star Wars franchise. In addition to his vocal work in Star Wars, he also worked as a guest star, playing Harry Snowden on All in the Family. He also appeared in one-off roles on shows like Seinfeld, Star Trek, and The Twilight Zone.
Jason Wingreen’s death comes as Star Wars: The Force Awakens is breaking huge records at the box office. According to USA Today, ticket sales for the newest Star Wars film have surged past James Cameron’s Titanic. Walt Disney Studios reports that The Force Awakens has raked in $686.4 million as of Friday, January 1, 2016, in the United States. Titanic made $658.7 million. But Star Wars is still well behind the highest-grossing film of all time, Avatar. Avatar made $760.5 million in domestic sales according to USA Today. The new Star Wars film is also on track to beat Jurassic World as the biggest movie of 2015 at the box office.
According to Disney, the global box office total for The Force Awakens is currently an estimated $679.2 million. It’s global numbers make it the fourth biggest movie at the box office and the eighth biggest movie of all time. What’s more, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, also amassed $600 million quicker than any other movie ever.
Given the success of The Force Awakens, many are eager for any new information about Star Wars: Episode VIII. The sequel to Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be released on May 26, 2017. The film, helmed by director Rian Johnson, will see Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley reprise their roles. A film synopsis has not been made public yet, but The Independent reports that famed Star Wars screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan said that Johnson “is going to make some weird thing.”
“These movies will all be so different,” Kasdan said to the L.A. Times earlier this month, “Rian Johnson is a friend of mine — he’s going to make some weird thing.”
The last movie in the trilogy, Episode IX, will be released in 2019.
A new Star Wars film is actually slated to be released every year for the next five years as there are a number of spin-off films in the works, including one that focuses on Han Solo. The first spin-off film, Star Wars: Rogue One, will be released in winter of 2016. Rumor has it that Boba Fett will be making an appearance in his own film in 2020, and Screen Rant reports that Michael B. Jordan is the current leading contender for the role.
So, after a long movie drought — the first prequel movie was released in 1999 — Star Wars fans are going to be happy campers for quite some time.
[Photo by Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images]