Read up on the iconic Star Wars bounty hunter before watching the series finale on Disney+
by Matthew Masino
When he first appeared on the silver screen in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, Boba Fett clocked in with just six minutes and thirty-two seconds of screen time, speaking a total of four lines. A man of few words, Boba Fett has become one of the best-known and most loved Star Wars characters of all time. But how exactly did Boba Fett come to be? To figure that out, we’ll need to travel back to the 1980s and the development process for Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.
After the box office success of Star Wars in 1977, George Lucas and artists of Lucasfilm knew they had a big project on their hand figuring out a sequel. As the story became more complicated and new worlds were introduced, one idea was particularly exciting. George Lucas conceived of a new type of “super trooper” that would serve as an upgraded Empire stormtrooper. The all-white suit design had never been seen before in the Star Wars universe, thanks in particular to the T-shaped visor. The suit was designed by the film’s art director Joe Johnston and concept artist Ralph McQuarrie.
Unfortunately, Lucas would never see his army of “super troopers” come to life. Budgetary issues allowed them to create only one Boba Fett suit rather than the 100 originally planned. Faced with this issue, the filmmakers decided to reconceptualize the character as a lone bounty hunter. The all-white suit was painted silver and designed to appear like the pieces were scavenged from many sources. The artists took inspiration from Clint Eastwood’s character in Sergio Leone’s Man with No Name.
Interestingly, Boba Fett’s first public appearance was not in a movie or TV show but a parade. On September 24, 1978, Boba Fett appeared alongside Darth Vader in the San Anselmo County Fair parade. He was immediately a smash hit. The crowd was mystified by this dark and brooding character they’d never seen before.
Fett would make his onscreen debut in an animated sequence of the Star Wars Holiday Special. He was voiced by Don Francks.
Boba Fett’s first appearance in the live-action Star Wars universe might be considered underwhelming. He appears as one of six unnamed bounty hunters assembled by Darth Vader to capture the crew of the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. He was set up to take the role of the “next major villain” in the Star Wars universe. Fett tracks the Falcon to Cloud City, where Vader captures its passengers and tortures its captain, Han Solo. Fett then captures Solo, seizing the carbon freeze, and delivers him to Jabba the Hutt.
In Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, Fett returns briefly when he is knocked into the open mouth of a Sarlacc in the Great Pit of Carkoon. He is assumed dead.
Boba Fett’s official backstory is revealed in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. In this film, we meet a preteen Boba Fett (portrayed by Daniel Logan) and his father, Jango Fett (portrayed by Temuera Morrison). In a deal with the Republic, Jango had his DNA cloned to create Boba Fett as his adopted son. Unlike the other clones created by the Republic, Boba’s DNA was a perfect match for his father’s. Later, Boba Fett would watch his father be killed by Jedi Master Mace Windu (portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson).
While fans of Boba Fett mourned his death in Episode VI, they wouldn’t have to mourn forever. His triumphant return was first hinted at in The Mandalorian episode “Chapter Five: The Gunslinger.” His first whole appearance in the show was in “Chapter 14: The Tragedy,” where he worked with assassin Fennec Shand (portrayed by Ming-Na Wen) and Din Djarin a.k.a. The Mandalorian (voiced by Pedro Pascal).
In the final episode of season two of The Mandalorian, Fett kills Bib Fortuna, who had taken Jabba the Hutt’s position since his death, and takes his place on the throne. A spin-off series, The Book of Boba Fett, was announced in the episode and premiered on December 29, 2021. The series finale of The Book of Boba Fett is set to premiere on February 9, 2022.
Do you remember the first time you saw the legendary bounty hunter? Will you be watching The Book of Boba Fett‘s finale episode? Let us know in the comments below!
Matthew Masino is a content creator, writer, and theatre director based in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated with a B.F.A. in Theatre Directing from Columbia College Chicago in 2019. Matthew began writing for the AWM blog in April 2020, just after the museum’s closure and has since written more than two dozen articles for the blog. He is also responsible for creating the AWM Destinations blog series. As a theatre artist, Matthew has worked with the International Voices Project, the Chicago Fringe Festival, and BYOT Productions. You can learn more by visiting his website www.matthewmasino.com.