He is one of the most iconic characters in the Star Wars universe. Created as a minor villain and foil to the smuggler Han Solo, the masked bounty hunter Boba Fett, clad in the traditional Mandalorian battle armor, quickly became a fan favorite since his appearance in The Empire Strikes Back in 1980.
Boba Fett’s story has been expanded upon since his first appearance in the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special, and his minor role in The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi, where he was played by the late actor Jeremy Bulloch. In George Lucas’ 2002 prequel, Attack of the Clones, we met a 10-year-old Boba Fett (played by Daniel Logan). Here we learned more about his unusual past and mentorship with the Mandalorian Jango Fett (played by Temuera Morrison).
Boba Fett is a prime example that not all stories set in the Star Wars universe need to be about good vs. evil. The shadier sides of the Galaxy can be just as exciting and often way cooler! And with the new Disney+ series The Book of Boba Fett, a spinoff series of The Mandalorian, it is time to look at Boba Fett’s unusual past and life in the Star Wars universe.
So let’s take a look at Boba Fett’s journey, from his creation in the clone labs of Kamino to his escape from the belly of the Sarlaac and his work with the Mandalorian Din Djarin. This article will mostly focus on Boba Fett’s story as seen in the films and the series, including The Clone Wars animated show and up to the start of The Book of Boba Fett.
This article will contain spoilers from the entire Star Wars saga, especially Attack of the Clones, The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi, but also The Mandalorian, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the Aftermath trilogy by Chuck Wendig. All of the Star Wars films and series are available on Disney+, and I highly recommend you check out Chuck Wendig’s novel trilogy.
The Clone Labs of Kamino
Boba Fett’s life started in the clone tanks of the mysterious ocean planet Kamino. The Galaxy was on the brink of war, with thousands of star systems breaking off from the Galactic Republic to become the Separatists.
Foreseeing the coming conflict, the Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas had secretly contacted the clone technicians on Kamino to create a Clone Army to stand against the Separatists’ droid armies. The genetic template for the new Clone Troopers was a Mandalorian bounty hunter named Jango Fett, who would also train the new troops to fight for the Galactic Republic. These clones would also be genetically programmed to follow orders without question and age twice as fast as a regular human to be ready for the coming conflict.
Jango Fett demanded a substantial fee for his work, but most puzzling to the cold and unempathetic Kaminoans was his demand for a genetically unaltered, independent clone. He named him Boba.
The Battle of Geonosis
As the Separatist Crisis pushed the Galaxy towards open warfare, shadowy factions were pulling the strings, playing both sides against each other. To further ensure the start of the war, Jango Fett was sent to assassinate the anti-war Senator Amidala, using a proxy assassin, the changeling Zam Wesell. After she fails, Jango Fett kills her to cover up any traces, but Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi picks up the trail that leads him to the droid factories on the desert planet of Geonosis.
During his investigations into the assassination attempt, Obi-Wan Kenobi is captured along with Anakin Skywalker and Senator Amidala. They are sentenced to death in the massive Petranaki arena on Geonosis. But before the executions can commence, a task force of Jedi and the first wave of Kamino-bred Clone Troopers swoop in to attack and rescue the captives. The Battle of Geonosis, and the Clone Wars, had begun.
In the battle that followed, Jango Fett is killed by the Jedi Master Mace Windu. Boba Fett escapes, and the young clone, now independent, swears revenge against the Jedi and the Galactic Republic. He soon finds himself drawn to a life of crime. Here, in the criminal underworld, young Boba Fett’s ruthlessness and combat training come in handy in gaining respect and creating alliances with some of the worst scum and villainy in the Galaxy.
After doing all he can to sabotage the Galactic Republic’s war efforts, Boba Fett, now a teenager, soon finds himself leading his own criminal organization called “The Krayt’s Claw.” Operating out of the desert planet of Tatooine, the small group consists of bounty hunters like the Trandoshan Bossk, the droid C-21 Highsinger and the alien Latts Razzi. The membership of this group, which worked for the highest bidder, would change during the Clone Wars. The group sometimes employed notorious bounty hunters and assassins like Dengar, Embo and Oked, and even the former Sith apprentice Asajj Ventress.
The Hunt for Han Solo
After years of mercenary work, crime and bounty hunting, Boba Fett, now working alone, finds himself employed by the former Galactic Republic, now the evil Galactic Empire, to track down Rebel agents for Sith Lord Darth Vader. This suits him well, as he knows that the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt also has a bounty placed on one of the Rebels, the smuggler Han Solo. He plans to capture the Rebels for the Empire, let them do their interrogations, and then bring Han Solo to Tatooine to face the wrath of Jabba the Hutt.
Boba Fett tracks his quarry to the Cloud City of Bespin. There he conspires with the Empire and the city’s administrator, Lando Calrissian, to lead Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia Organa, the Wookie Chewbacca and the two droids C3P0 and R2-D2 into a trap. While the other Rebels manage to escape with the help of Lando, Han Solo is captured, frozen in carbonite and taken back to Tatooine onboard Boba Fett’s starship.
Rebels at the Palace
Boba Fett travels to Tatooine to present the still frozen smuggler Han Solo to Jabba the Hutt and collect his bounty. But Solo’s friends are not far behind and are formulating a plan to rescue the smuggler from the clutches of the slimy Hutt gangster.
The band of Rebel heroes starts infiltrating the palace through various tricks and disguises. As the plan is set into motion, the two bickering droids, R2-D2 and C3PO arrive, presenting themselves as a gift to Jabba the Hutt (much to C3PO’s surprise and dismay) to soften the gangster up to the possibility of bargaining for Solo’s life. Unsurprisingly, Jabba refuses, and the droids are set to work for the Hutt, allowing them to infiltrate the palace further and placing them in a position to help the Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker’s rescue plan.
Next to arrive at the palace is Princess Leia Organa, disguised as the Ubese bounty hunter Boushh, with Chewbacca playing the role of her captive, a bargaining chip to gain entrance and another Rebel agent placed to enact Luke Skywalker’s rescue plan. After a bit of intense negotiation involving price haggling, threats and high explosives, Leia gains access to the palace, allowing her to later sneak into the throne room to unfreeze Han Solo. But they are discovered.
The Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker is the last to arrive, using the Force to make his way past Jabba’s Gamorrean guards and his majordomo Bib Fortuna. The tense negotiation that follows ends in violence and the death of Jabba’s prized pet, the Rancor. As a punishment, the enraged gangster demands that the prisoners shall all be taken out into the Tatooine desert to be thrown into the Pit of Carkoon, where the monstrous Sarlacc is nesting.
The Great Pit of Carkoon
The Rebels, now in chains, are taken out into the Tatooine desert to become the next meal for the massive creature waiting there. However, Jabba the Hutt doesn’t notice the little droid R2D2 moving into position to trigger the final stage of Luke Skywalker’s plan. As the executions are about to begin, a lightsaber is launched from the droid’s hidden socket to Luke’s outstretched hand, who then proceeds to fight off Jabba’s guards, throwing several of them into the pit.
Having watched the events from the sideline, Boba Fett now springs into action. Using his jetpack, the bounty hunter launches himself from the deck of Jabba’s sail barge and onto the sand skiff where the Rebel agents are fighting the gangster’s guards.
As Boba Fett fights the Rebels above the Sarlacc pit, the smuggler Han Solo, still blind due to the effects of being frozen, accidentally hits the bounty hunter’s jetpack, sending him crashing onto the side of Jabba’s sail barge and careening into the pit, spelling an inglorious and admittedly embarrassing end to the bounty hunter’s life.
In the Belly of the Beast
The gangster Jabba the Hutt often boasted that anyone thrown into the gaping mouth of the Sarlaac would find a new definition of pain and suffering as they were being digested for a thousand years. It was surely a fate worse than death! It was also one of the vile gangster’s methods of punishment and execution (and entertainment!) But this trip to the Great Pit of Carkoon would instead end in the gangster’s death and the destruction of his sail barge.
Anyone stumbling on the aftermath of the vile gangster’s attempt to execute Luke Skywalker and his friends would see a wide swath of the desert covered in smoking debris. The Sarlacc itself was well fed by several of Jabba’s henchmen stumbling into the pit, but the beast was also wounded by burning debris from the battle. The Rebels had escaped!
The destruction of the sail barge would have attracted the Jawas, nomadic scrap dealers and salvagers of the Tatooine desert. The debris of Jabba the Hutt’s sail barge would have been a gold mine for the diminutive traders. The wounded Sarlacc could not move, allowing the Jawas to scavenge debris from the area. And one of the treasures they found, even though the Jawas themselves didn’t realize its real value, was Boba Fett’s Mandalorian armor.
Somehow, Boba Fett survived what no one else could. He had escaped from the belly of the beast!
Just how and when the bounty hunter escaped, only Boba Fett knows. Five years later, he was wandering the Tatooine desert, battered and broken, trying to put his life back together. In the desert, he finds the mortally wounded bounty hunter Fennec Shand, who he teams up with after saving her life. At some point, rumors reach him about a local marshall in the small Tatooine town Mos Pelgo having given a green, acid-scored Mandalorian armor to someone for helping to kill a giant Krayt Dragon. The hunt is on!
Tracking the armor to the ancient Jedi homeworld Tython, Boba Fett and Fennec Shand discover that the Mandalorian Din Djarin now is now in possession of it. Tense negotiations result in a peaceful resolution, and Boba Fett receives his armor after showing the Mandalorian proof of ownership and heritage. In return, he helps Din Djarin fight off Imperial Stormtroopers coming for Din Djarin’s Force-sensitive ward, leading to a rescue mission to an Imperial cruiser.
The Throne of Tatooine
Now whole again, Boba Fett sets off to take his destiny into his own hands. With Fennec Shand at his side, he starts by taking over the throne of Jabba the Hutt, gunning down the late gangster’s majordomo Bib Fortuna. From there, fortune, glory and power await.
“Jabba ruled with fear. I intend to rule with respect.”
-Boba Fett, The Book of Boba Fett
How this goes, we will find out in the new series The Book of Boba Fett, streaming on Disney+ from the 29th of December.
Thanks to Andreas Nor for the cover illustration. If you want to see some of his other artwork, including from Star Wars and other popular culture, check out his website here!