The Book of Boba Fett premieres TOMORROW!
As we anticipate the release of the series, here are five things to know about the iconic Star Wars character! Whether this serves as an introduction or a reminder, I hope this refreshes you on who the character is before he takes center stage in the Star Wars universe over the coming weeks.
1. He was originally created for The Empire Strikes Back and became an instant fan favorite
The creation of Boba Fett was kinda an accident, as George Lucas wanted a new elite Imperial trooper to appear in what would become The Empire Strikes Back, so the team designed and built a prototype of the trooper. But they then realized that it would be far too expensive to produce a ton of these, as would be needed to fit the original vision of it being a new Imperial trooper, so instead the armor was given a paint job and turned into a brand new bounty hunter named Boba Fett. Even before his appearance in Empire, however, Fett appeared in an animated segment of the Star Wars Holiday Special, marking his first on-screen appearance. So even before the release of the highly-anticipated sequel to Star Wars, this mysterious bounty hunter was garnering the attention of fans, but it was Empire that fanned the flames. Part of the intrigue of Fett was the mystery, and the fact that he looked so cool.
In fact, there was even apparently plans to have Fett be the main antagonist of the sequel to Empire at one point, as George Lucas toyed with the idea of devoting future films to the Luke Skywalker versus Darth Vader storyline. That was obviously quickly cut and consolidated into one film, Return of the Jedi, which saw Fett supposedly killed off… but not all is as it seems.
2. His backstory was later filled in during the prequel era in Attack of the Clones and The Clone Wars
Many years later, George Lucas returned to the character in an unlikely place: Attack of the Clones, the middle chapter of his prequel trilogy. In this film, Lucas introduced fans to a brand new bounty hunter named Jango Fett, who was the father of Boba. It was revealed that Boba was actually an unaltered clone of Jango, who would serve as the template for the Republic’s entire clone army. While this reveal would prove to be a bit controversial amongst Star Wars fans (though what isn’t?), it paved the way for further exploration of the character in the animated series The Clone Wars. Though Lucas apparently first insisted Fett was off limits, he changed his mind on it and he and Dave Filoni told some stories about Fett trying to find his way as a bounty hunter and seeking revenge on the man who killed his father, Jedi Master Mace Windu. There were additional plans for an arc of the series, which was never finished, that would see the notorious bounty hunter Cad Bane train Boba, only to wind up being presumably killed by him in a duel. It appears that the duel is still considered to have happened in canon, though Bane survived it.
3. He survived the sarlacc (and this isn’t the first time)
With such a popular character receiving such an unceremonious end in Return of the Jedi, it should be no surprise that Boba Fett didn’t stay dead (and who does in Star Wars anyway?). In Legends storytelling, Fett actually survived the sarlacc pit multiple times and would go on to have a number of adventures, and there were hints dropped along the way in the new canon that it was the case as well. Though we don’t know exactly how he survived it, we do know that the sarlacc was badly injured in the explosion of Jabba’s Sail Barge, which left it exposed and split open – allowing Jawas to pillage it. Presumably, this is also how Fett esacped (or was rescued, either way). But the reveal of Boba Fett actually surviving this wasn’t exactly surprising when Star Wars fans learned it was officially canon in The Mandalorian, since Star Wars storytelling has assumed it for so long.
4. He isn’t a Mandalorian, though it’s a bit more complicated than that
Boba Fett isn’t a Mandalorian but wears Mandalorian armor, and to a casual fan any Mandalorian armor instantly reminds of Fett without realizing that he’s actually an imposter. Got it? Yeah, it’s a bit complex. But the idea of Boba Fett not being a Mandalorian was one held by George Lucas, and the ensuing Star Wars stories in the prequels and The Clone Wars expanded on that lore. Lucas pictured neither Boba Fett nor his father Jango as being true Mandalorians, but as is often the case, the truth can be a bit murkier. As confirmed by The Mandalorian, Jango Fett was actually a Mandalorian foundling, meaning that he was a child brought in and raised by Mandalorians. Boba insists that he is not a Mandalorian but that Jango technically was, and this is what convinces Din Djarin (the main character in The Mandalorian) to allow Boba to keep the armor.
I’ve typed the word “Mandalorian” a lot here. It’s all a bit confusing. But the gist of it is that Boba Fett isn’t a Mandalorian even though he’s the most instantly recognizable one wearing their armor in the entire saga.
5. A Boba Fett spinoff project has been rumored for years
The Book of Boba Fett is premiering in the final days of 2021, but a project like this has been rumored for a long time. Shortly after Disney purchased Lucasfilm they began developing spin-off projects, such as those later developed like Rogue One and Solo. In June 2014, The Hollywood Reporter dropped the news that Josh Trank had been hired to direct a Star Wars spin-off film, and it later was reported that it was one about Boba Fett. But by 2015, Trank was mysteriously absent from Star Wars Celebration and, sure enough, it was soon after reported that he had been fired from the project after his work on Fantastic Four raised serious concerns at Lucasfilm. In fact, reports later said that a teaser had been prepared and the project would actually have been announced at Celebration, but it was pulled. But still, in May 2015 Vanity Fair reported that the film was going to be a Boba Fett origin story that would release in 2018, but that just needed to find a new director. As of August 2017, the project was still being considered at Lucasfilm. Then in May 2018 reports emerged that Josh Mangold was set to direct the film, but by October of that same year the project was no longer in active development. Lucasfilm President Kathy Kennedy said this fall that they never got far enough for Trank to actually begin developing the project, and said that Mangold never worked on one in the first place (Mangold was later hired by Kennedy to direct Indiana Jones 5).
But when the time came for The Mandalorian, Kennedy and the team (led by Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni) saw the opportunity and brought Boba Fett back. That led to The Book of Boba Fett spinoff series, marking the culmination of a long process to get something made about the franchise’s most famous bounty hunter.