Temuera Morrison says he felt 'a sense of responsibility' to bring his Māori heritage to 'The Book of Boba Fett'

Han Solo may have (accidentally) taken down Boba Fett the last time the smuggler and the bounty hunter crossed paths in 1983's Return of the Jedi. But if Solo pulls a Luke Skywalker and makes an appearance on the new Disney+ series The Book of Boba Fett, he'd better be prepared for his own close encounter with the Sarlacc courtesy of his helmeted nemesis.

"It won't be a pretty sight for him," Boba's alter ego, actor Temuera Morrison, vows to Yahoo Entertainment about the possibility of a rematch with Harrison Ford's iconic Star Wars character. "Since he was responsible for my Sarlacc experience, I owe him big time. He's going to be going in that Sarlacc and then some!" (Watch our video interview above.)

Created by Jon Favreau, The Book of Boba Fett picks up after the character's grand reintroduction in the streaming sensation The Mandalorian and reveals just how Boba made it out of the stomach of the creature that inhabits Tatooine's famed Great Pit of Carkoon. (As the internet has noted, comedian Patton Oswalt accurately forecasted Fett's escape on a 2013 episode of Parks and Recreation.) And Morrison relished the chance to find out what the character's life is like post-Sarlacc.

"It's a wonderful opportunity to get this character out of the pit where he's been lost since the 1980s," says the New Zealand-born actor, who first entered the Star Wars franchise in the 2002 prequel, Attack of the Clones, playing the cloned Boba's "father," Jango Fett. "We're stripping away all those outer layers of Boba ... and what the series is about is finding that core of what makes him tick."

Temuera Morrison and Ming-Na Wen star in the new Disney+
Temuera Morrison and Ming-Na Wen star in the new Disney+ Star Wars series, The Book of Boba Fett. (Photo: Disney+)

Fortunately, Boba doesn't have to walk this road towards self-discovery entirely alone: he's squaded up with fellow bounty hunter, Fennec Shand, played by Ming-Na Wen. Working together, the duo are trying to fill the considerable void left by Tatooine's dethroned kingpin, Jabba the Hutt. And while Fennec has enforced Boba's orders during the first two episodes of The Book of Boba Fett, Wen has thought about what might happen if and when the two allies come to blows.

Asked who she thinks would emerge victorious from that battle, the Mulan star bets on ... herself. "I'm going to say Fennec — don't hate me!" she says, laughing. Morrison concedes his inevitable defeat gracefully. "I'll just take the punishment: she wins."

Besides continuing the story of Boba Fett himself, The Book of Boba Fett also build on a plot thread introduced in The Mandalorian by reframing our collective understanding of Tatooine's nomadic sand people, the Tusken Raiders. Originally introduced in George Lucas's original 1977 blockbuster as dangerous villains (also known as "Sand People"), both series instead position them as the planet's indigenous population who are watching their native home and its resources be appropriated by would-be colonizers.

Boba Fett takes over the throne previously occupied by Jabba the Hutt in The Book of Boba Fett (Photo: Disney+)
Boba Fett takes over the throne previously occupied by Jabba the Hutt in The Book of Boba Fett (Photo: Disney+)

Boba experiences this shift in perspective firsthand when he's captured by a Tusken tribe after escaping the Great Pit of Carkoon. The just-aired second episode depicts his evolution from prisoner to ally, as he helps the nomads hijack a spice-transporting train that passes through their territory. The sequence ends with Boba successfully ensuring that his tribe receives reparations for this use of their land in the form of a toll.

That storyline resonates with Morrison, who traces his ancestry back to New Zealand's own indigenous tribe, the Māori. "We know all about that word 'colonized,'" he says. "It's a great opportunity for me as a Māori from New Zealand to put us on the world stage again. I feel a sense of responsibility."

And Morrison took that responsibility seriously by bringing his heritage to set — literally. "I put the name of one of my ancestors on my chair, my changing room and on my parking space," he remembers. "So when I pulled in, there was my ancestor's name: Tama-te-kapua, one of the captains that traversed the Pacific and arrived in [New Zealand]. It gave me a sense of pride ... and a sense of responsibility for the people back home who will get to watch some of this stuff."

Morrison says he felt a sense of responsibility to bring his Maori heritage to The Book of Boba Fett. (Photo: Disney+)
Morrison says he felt a "sense of responsibility" to bring his Māori heritage to the set of The Book of Boba Fett. (Photo: Disney+)

For her part, Wen relished the opportunity to learn more about her co-star's culture, and she has a special request when the show gets an inevitable pick-up Season 2. "I want to learn the haka," the actress tells Morrison, referring to the traditional Māori ceremonial dance. (The second episode ends with Boba joining his Tusken tribe in a dance that's similar to the haka.) "And I be you would be an amazing teacher for it!" We'd love to see that chapter in The Book of Boba Fett.

— Video produced by Anne Lilburn and edited by Steve Michel

The Book of Boba Fett is currently streaming on Disney+.