Most moviegoers know Boba Fett as "that guy with the cool armor," but the reported Boba Fett movie could finally change that, giving the infamous bounty hunter a proper canon backstory.
Afer Solo: A Star Wars Story, Star Wars: Episode IX is the only other movie Lucasfilm has given a release date. However, there are a number of other projects in the works, including a Boba Fett movie, which is expected to be written and directed by James Mangold. Mangold is best known for his work in the Western genre, having made his mark with both modern and period takes on the genre like Cop Land, Logan, and the 2007 remake of 3:10 to Yuma.
Presumably, Boba Fett will aim to strike a similar Western tone. Boba Fett is a bounty hunter: a man of few words who wears an intimidating outfit and lets his gun do the talking. Although he starred in the animated segment of the often-derided Star Wars Holiday Special, he made his proper live-action debut in The Empire Strikes Back (he was later retroactively inserted into the Special Edition of A New Hope). Fett is hired by Darth Vader to track down Han Solo and Princess Leia in an effort to lure Luke Skywalker into a trap, using his friends as bait. He ultimately follows them to Cloud City, where the Empire captures the Rebels. Boba Fett finally meets his end in the first act of Return of the Jedi, in which he is unceremoniously – and accidentally – dispatched by a blind Han Solo, who inadvertently strikes his jetpack and sends him plummeting into the hungry mouth of the Sarlacc.
For such a seemingly minor character, Boba Fett developed a massive fandom, which will reach its culmination in the upcoming James Mangold film. Throughout the Expanded Universe, the prequel trilogy, and the animated television shows, and one tragically-canceled video game, much effort has been made to elaborate upon Boba Fett's backstory.
- This Page: Boba Fett in the Expanded Universe
- Page 2: The Canon History of Boba Fett
- Page 3: What Will James Mangold's Boba Fett Movie Be About?
Boba Fett in the Expanded Universe
In the years before the Star Wars prequels shed a light on Boba Fett's true backstory, the Expanded Universe's novels, comics, and other side-stories offered its own origin story for the bounty hunter, including one which suggested he was a disgraced Stormtrooper who went rogue. In a clever retcon, Boba would later suggest that he created a series of false backstories for himself as a way to cover up his tracks.
More important than his past, however, was Boba Fett's survival of the events of Return of the Jedi. Although the film shows him being devoured by the Sarlacc, the legend goes that George Lucas considered adding a shot of Fett surviving and climbing out of the Pit of Carkoon in a DVD or Blu-ray release. Ultimately, he decided against it, fearing that the seemingly minor addition would undermine the story at hand and give false hope that Fett would reappear later on in the film.
After recovering from his ordeal with the sarlacc, Boba Fett returns to bounty hunting and made numerous appearances in the EU, including the Young Jedi Knights series, a cameo in the controversial (and massive) New Jedi Order saga, and, in Legacy of the Force, Boba trained Jedi Knight Jaina Solo when she prepared to take down her brother, Jacen, who had turned to the Dark Side of the Force.
Of course, this was all retconned out of existence in 2014, when Lucasfilm decided to reboot the Expanded Universe so that the new movies would not be constrained by the events of the EU. Jacen and Jaina Solo don't exist anymore... But Boba Fett's survival of the Sarlacc has also been undone. For now.
Page 2 of 3: The Canon History of Boba Fett
The Canon History of Boba Fett
In chronological terms, Boba Fett's first appearance was in Episode II: Attack of the Clones. He is the perfect, unaltered clone of Jango Fett, one of the most feared bounty hunters in the galaxy, and the template upon whom the entire Clone Army is grown. After the death of his father at the hands of Mace Windu during the Battle of Geonosis, Boba inherits his father's legacy and sets out to become a bounty hunter.
During the animated series, The Clone Wars, Boba Fett appears as a young, aspiring bounty hunter. After a number of attempts to get revenge on Mace Windu for his father's death, he ends up in prison where he begins to meet some of the shady characters that would be associated with his career as a bounty hunter. He ends up working and studying his trade under franchise legends Dengar, Bossk, and Aurra Sing (who we now know was killed by Solo's Tobias Beckett), as well as Cad Bane, a character introduced in the series
Had The Clone Wars not been canceled and replaced with Star Wars Rebels, an additional arc would have seen young Boba Fett finally don his father's armor and perfect his craft under the tutelage of Cad Bane. Curiously, Boba Fett himself never appeared in Star Wars Rebels, so the story of the character in between Episode III and his non-speaking appearance in Episode IV remains a total mystery.
His story during the start of the original trilogy has been fleshed out more, though, thanks to the Star Wars comics by Jason Aaron, which reveals it was Fett that learned the name of the boy that destroyed the Death Star, informing Darth Vader that the boy he's tracking down is named "Skywalker."
Did Fett Survive?
In current Star Wars canon, Boba Fett has not yet been confirmed to survive the Sarlacc. However, the Aftermath trilogy of novels hint at the possibility of Boba Fett's survival. The former slave Cobb Vanth comes across a full set of Mandalorian armor being held for a crime lord, but takes it himself. It's never outright stated, but it's heavily implied that it's Boba Fett's armor. It has acid burns on it, and the Sarlacc is found dead as if something exploded inside of it. No mention is made of the man himself, but Vanth takes the armor and uses it in his day job as Mayor and law-keeper of Freetown, a tiny oasis of community and acceptance in the vast desert hellscape of Tattooine.
Until Boba's fate is confirmed, it's a sort of Schrödinger's Fett situation. He could be alive, he could be dead. But if he's alive, where did he go? One theory is that he chose to abandon his instantly-recognizable attire in an effort to lay low while he recovered from grievous, Sarlacc-related, injuries. There's still story to be told there, but with so much of his timeline left unexplored, it's possible the best Fett story will be found in his past, not the future.
Page 3 of 3: What Will James Mangold's Boba Fett Movie Be About?
What Will James Mangold's Boba Fett Movie Be About?
A Boba Fett movie was initially being developed years ago as a vehicle for director Josh Trank, but it's likely that James Mangold, in collaboration with Simon Kinberg, will want to start from scratch to see his vision of the movie through. This is not comparable to the director change which occurred with Solo, where Ron Howard was working off the same script as the original directors.
Plot details for Boba Fett (or even an official title) are being kept tightly under wraps. Since the Mangold deal has only just been reported, and technically isn't even official yet, it's entirely possible that "plot details" for Boba Fett don't even exist yet. That being said, there are three likely possibilities for the story, which would be set in "missing chapters" of Fett's life.
The first direction is to make a prequel along the lines of Solo, showing Boba as a young adult Bounty Hunter making a name for himself in the criminal underworld. The film could include characters from Solo like Lando, Beckett, and even Han himself. Second, the film could be a prequel about a thirty-something Boba in the prime of his bounty hunting life, in the time period immediately leading up to A New Hope. This is where the film could function as something of a secret sequel to Solo, making use of The Crimson Dawn crime syndicate and its mysterious leader, who appeared in a brief cameo in Solo.
The third possibility seems the boldest, but it could also be the most likely. While a number of reasons have been put forward as to why Solo failed to break out at the box office, one suggestion is that audiences are tired of, and uninterested in, origin stories. With that in mind, Lucasfilm might be interested in exploring a period of time as yet unseen on the big screen, and one with endless storytelling potential: the years following Return of the Jedi.
If a Boba Fett movie wants to tell a brand new story starring familiar characters, honoring the past without being beholden to nostalgia, there is no better course of action than to set the movie in the wake of Return of the Jedi. The first act could feature Boba, following months or years of healing, journeying to Freetown and retrieving his lost armor, or even building a brand new set for himself, before returning to his trade and entangling himself in the brewing conflict between The First Order and The Resistance.
Boba Fett has long been one of the most beloved figures in the Star Wars mythos, which is surprising due to his tiny role in Empire Strikes Back and his anti-climactic death in Return of the Jedi (complete with a burping Sarlacc). With the new canon potentially building towards the reveal of Fett's survival, James Mangold and Lucasfilm need to decide if they want to tell a story set in the distant past of Solo and A New Hope, or in the unexplored era between Episode VI and Episode VII. Either way, the prospect of learning more about Boba Fett and following him on a galaxy-wide journey is more than enough to make any self-respecting Star Wars fanatic very excited.