By G.P. Avants
When I say the name Boba Fett what images come to mind? Fearless warrior? Bounty Hunter? A simple man trying to make his way through the galaxy? If you are a Star Wars fan you know that this character first introduced in Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back was only meant to be a henchman of the Empire who claimed Han Solo as his bounty. However, his fame grew and an infamous Mandolorian bounty hunter who had a back story worth exploring. So, Lucas Film expanded his character and we learned who Boba Fett was and wasn’t
The Attack of the Clones
In the second Star Wars prequel film, The Attack of the Clones we learned that Boba Fett was son of Jango Fett. In actuality he was a clone of this man with the Mandalorian armor that was the template for every clone solider developed. At the time of the movie, Boba was a a young boy at least ten years old. He idolized his father and when Jango died at the hands of Jedi knight Mace Windu, Boba began his own journey into the world. What we learned from this film is that Boba had an unorthodox upbringing as a solitary individual.
In the Disney animated series, The Clone Wars, we meet up with Boba at about age thirteen. He can easily blend into the younger clone troopers, yet at the same time possess some advanced skills that many don’t have. He stands out so much that his nickname becomes, Lucky among fellow trainees. On a note, the clones were “bread” to be less aggressive and an independent than the host subject. The clones also had accelerated growth to prepare them for war. Boba was untampered and in many ways a direct descendant of Jango. In this series we see how much Boba cares for his fellow clones and his biggest fault is his compassion and kindness to others in need. As he is being groomed by fellow bounty hunters like Aura Sing, he battles with the morality issues of right and wrong, while trying to be his own unique person.
As sort of side note, we also learned about the proud Mandolarian culture and who this race of warriors were like. It was also stated by the leader of the Mandos that Jango Fett was not one of them. He had merely stolen the armor (made of precious bescar) and had no claim at all to their admirable culture. So, as far as we know, Jango was just another opportunist who got his hands on Mando gear and went out on a one man crusade across the galaxy far far away.
Empire Strikes Back
This is where most of us, heck all of us, really first met the fully-realized Boba Fett. (Oh okay, I already hear the feedback from Star Wars purists. In the expanded edition of Star Wars A New Hope, there is a scene with Han Solo talking to Jabba the Hutt. Boba Fett is part of the entourage sent to look for Solo at Mos Eisley.) Anyway…we didn’t really see him in action in this movie. What we did see is how he works behind th scenes, got to see that his inherited his father’s ship, Slave 1, and his now painted Mandolorian armor. After his time in the Clone Wars, a stint in prison, and a few decades perfecting the reputation as a bounty hunter, we have a legend in our midst.
Return of the Jedi
I mention this movie, not as a moment to highlight Boba Fett as much as his fate that he faced. After capturing Han Solo and collecting his reward, Boba Fett is just hanging with the Hutts at Jabba’s palace. As far as he knows, Boba ia earned his reputation as a bad ass and can rest on his laurels. I mean Han Solo must have been hard to catch and after that everything must have been a piece of cake, However, throw a Jedi, like Luck Skywalker in the mix and watch your status quo get up and go. During what should have been a routine execution with death by Sarlacc (which when eaten by it is a new definition of pain and suffering as one is digested slowly over a thousand year period) Boba Fett’s jet pack is accidentally hit and he crash lands into the Sarlacc pit. With a large burb from the creature this was a rather inglorious ending to such a formidable solider.
Wait, what? I thought this was the end of Boba Fett’s story? But like a good mystery the hints are there that maybe his story is not quite finished yet. With the advent of The Mandalorian TV series, we are reintroduced to another Mandolorian whom some thought might be Boba back from the dead. For it was told in the Expanded Universe that he had in fact fought his way out of the Sarlacc pit and had a life beyond his early demise. But our new found Mando, Din Jarrin does come across Boba Fett’s armor, or at least someone who now claims it, as he makes his way to solve a mystery of his own. Funny, thing is, on Tatooine Fett’s armor is found by Jawas who then trade it to a man called the Marshall. In the same episode they hunt the elusive and monstrous Krate Dragon that lives in and abandoned Sarlacc Pit. “Who kills a Sarlac?” Din comments. Hmmm, I wonder if that is the same one that tried to eat Bob Fett.
Because of Mandalorian code, the armor needs to return to the Mandos. So, Din tries to get it back to his people. However, he is hunted down my a familiar ship, Slave 1. And who do we discover but a bald and beat up Boba Fett. He claims that the armor is his and he want it back. Now what we know of Mandalorians is that bescar is for Mandos only. Everyone wants it because it is pretty much indestructible. (We saw how it stood up in a battle against Light sabers in hand-to-hand combat. Whoa, baby). We also know or at least heard the rumor that Jango Fett had no legitimate claim to that armor. So, it looks like a thief like Boba just wants back what he rightly stole back.
But then the story turns.
Din and the Grogu are under attack by the Boba and his assistant Fennec Shand until the Empire gets in on the action. After Boba and Din come to truce, Boba makes a promise to help protect the child in exchange for his armor. Boba manages to get his armor back and in a short montage of time, we see really how bad ass he is. Boba Fett fights with his mind and his body, along with missiles coming out from his…kneecap?
Once in control of his armor a lot of things come into focus. Boba shows Din the armor’s registry and that his father, Jango did not pilfer the armor. He was a foundling and fought in the Mandalorian War. He had earned that armor and it was now passed on to his son. He was not the son of a thief after all. But that’s not all. Once the child is taken by the Empire, Boba tries to rescue him. We see through his eyes his true thoughts about the Empire. He has no attachment to it and hates the fact that they are back. As Din picks through the wreckage of his beloved ship, the Razorcrest, he is lost and has no way to save his captured friend, Boba offers his service.
“I made a promise to help you until the child was safe.” He offered his ship, his companion, and his service until this mission was fulfilled.
He was a man…Mando of character. His legacy was honorable and maybe we too easily slipped the title of notorious on him. Boba Fett is a character that is more layered and complicated than his simple visage suggests. Sometimes when we dig a little bit deeper or can peer into the person behind their mask (obvious nor hidden) we discover someone we never knew existed.
I think we have all heard the saying, never judge a book by its cover, so many times. Because of this blog I have researched and studied the character of fandom characters from so many shows, movies, and books. This truth is so fitting because people truly should not be taken at face value because appearances can be deceiving. It truly is the hidden character comes out and in fact can’t be hidden when faced with outward forces coming from every angle.
Have you every faced a situation where you had to look past the armor of someone or something with a different set of eyes? What happened to your perspective?