Unmasking Boba Fett

Guest Post by Dante Basco

Hey, folks! I'm on vacation, taking a much-needed blog break. Some batteries need recharging. But don't worry -- I've enlisted the generous help of some great guest bloggers to keep things fresh around here while I'm gone. Here's actor Dante Basco, aka Rufio, on carving out our little corner in popular culture.

I'm here today at Comic Con, checking out the madness, rolling around and just enjoying the sights -- the crazy cosplay costumes, the amazing exhibits and the advertising displays. All of this has got me thinking about this blog post.

First off, I'm Dante Basco. I'm an actor, writer, poet and producer, but I'm known and remembered through the fandom worlds for two characters I played... Rufio, the leader of the Lost Boys in Steven Spielberg's Hook and Prince Zuko in Nickelodeon's Avatar: The Last Airbender. So here I am at the biggest fandom event in the world... just geekin' out with all the geeks.

Now, if you've followed me over the last few years, you'll see that I've become a big advocate for Asian American filmmaking. Many people wonder why I've really focused on this lately. I helped create a film company in Hawaii called Kinetic Films. Our films all star Asian American leads.

While pitching around some of our first films to some friends of mine in Hollywood, I got many responses: "I can raise more money by having a caucasian lead," or "Why am I wasting my time trying to get these films produced? There's not a lot of money to be made in making those kinds of films."

Yes, yes, yes... They probably are all right, but all those reasons weren't the point. I guess, if you're not Asian, you may not really understand my motivations in helping to create and being apart of this genre. See, right now, it's less about making tons of money and more about making an impact, an impact on the Hollywood system and ultimately pop culture.

You may wonder what I mean by impact. Well, there are many ways creating an Asian American/Pacific Islander film genre will impact pop culture. Here's just one.

It all goes back to New Zealand, where they made movies like Once Were Warriors and Whale Rider -- amazing films with Maori leads in the 1990s and early 2000s. Films that were able to impact Hollywood and the world! How, you wonder... Well, cut to probably the most famous movie franchise in history, Star Wars and to arguably one of the most popular characters in the series, Boba Fett.

After decades of being one of the coolest-looking bounty hunters ever, in Attack of the Clones, kid Boba's father Jango Fett takes of his helmet... and he's Maori?!?!? He's a Pacific Islander?!?!? He's brown?

That was mind blowing. Not only that, we are now finding out that all the storm troopers we grew up with... are clones,? These masked clones are actually all Maori, Pacific islander, Brown faces. That is crazy. We are apart of this intergalactic world.

It's something that may seem small in scope, and often overlooked, yet is enormous in my mind. It's a giant step, even if only subliminally, to the arrival of us being a part of modern pop culture.

We have a long way to go to really establish ourselves and our voice today all the modern media: film, music, television, but sitting here in a line waiting to buy some exclusive toys at the premiere modern art convention in the world, Comic Con, I'm comforted by seeing the amazing influence Asians and Pacific Islanders have had throughout all the fandom of animation, comics and toys in the world.

Dante Basco is the one time leader of the Lost Boys and prince of the Fire Nation.

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