April 27, 2015 – For three decades, we assumed that Boba Fett had perished when we last saw him fly inadvertently into the side of Jabba’s Sail Barge – and then fall ingloriously into the Sarlacc Pit. This scene from Return of the Jedi (1983) strongly implied that our favorite bounty hunter was certainly dead.
But as early as 1992, the Expanded Universe of fan-fiction, comic books and other media attempted to revive him. While not yet G-canon (i.e., officially sanctioned by George Lucas as part of the approved Star Wars timeline), Boba Fett’s miraculous survival from the Sarlacc pit – even if just in some alternate timeline – met with great fan approval.
The Mandalorian’s first reincarnation occurred in August, 1992, when he appeared in the comicbook Dark Empire issue 5:
How he escaped the Great Pit of Carkoon (a/k/a the Sarlacc pit) was left vague and unexplained, to be fleshed out by a future writer. The details of the escape were first provided by author J.D. Montgomery in January, 1996, in A Barve Like That: The Tale of Boba Fett (published by Bantam Spectra).
According to a summary by StarWars.Wikia.com, “[F]or some time Fett is immobilized and his armor heavily damaged by the creature’s digestive system, but … Fett makes the Sarlacc contract around his jetpack, causing it to explode, and freeing the bounty hunter from the Sarlacc’s grasp. He then fires concussion grenades into the wall of the beast, blowing a hole in its interior, creating a means of escape.”
A second short story, “Payback: The Tale of Dengar”, by Dave Wolverton appeared in “Tales of the Bounty Hunters” (Bantam Spectra, December 1996). The story describes how another bounty hunter, Dengar, discovers the burnt, naked body of a man amid the wreckage of Jabba’s sail barge and the now-dead Sarlacc. Despite Dengar’s anger at Boba Fett’s earlier betrayal of him, Dengar nurses Fett back to health and makes peace with him. Few details are provided, however, on the actual escape.
In June, 1998, a third publication appeared, “Book I: The Mandalorian Armor” (Bantam Spectra), authored by K.W. Jeter. The book is the first novel of The Bounty Hunter Wars trilogy.
The trilogy describes Boba Fett’s and Dengar’s struggle for survival shortly after the destruction of Jabba’s sail barge and the death of the Sarlacc caused by Boba Fett’s explosive escape. Other bounty hunters from The Empire Strikes Back, including Zuckuss, 4-LOM, and Bossk, all members of the Bounty Hunters Guild, make appearances in the trilogy.
Fast Forward to 2015 and the Sequels
So what is Boba Fett’s status in the Star Wars sequels and the (stand alone) anthology movies? Didn’t Disney/Lucasfilm announce that the Expanded Universe (including the history described above) was not to be considered canon and was now to be considered part of a separate “legends” timeline?
Going forward, all approved novels, comic books, animated features, electronic games and other media are to feed into a unified timeline, as coordinated by the Lucasfilm Story Group established in 2013. In April, 2014, Disney/Lucasfilm and the Story Group announced that all previous Expanded Universe material would be relabeled as Star Wars Legends – in effect, an alternate timeline, but not part of the Star Wars canon. The goal is to ensure continuity in the storylines and to preclude contradictions.
Therefore, Boba Fett’s escape story, as described in the EU novels and comic books above, is no longer canon and to be treated as legend. But is he alive?
Probably and hopefully “YES”!
The trailer for the video game, Star Wars Battlefront 3, released just last week by Electronic Arts, appears to show Boba Fett back in action, his jetpack firing and his blaster firing away (cue to 1:45):
Notice that in the upper-right corner of this screenshot, an Imperial Star Destroyer appears to be crashing into the ground – the same shot-down Star Destroyer we glimpsed at the opening of the second trailer for The Force Awakens.
Battlefront 3 will be released in November, 2015, just before the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Battlefront’s storyline will contribute important background information to the Episode VII movie and is considered canon.
The Battlefront preview trailer shows that after 32 years’ absence, Boba Fett is back. How he officially escaped the Sarlacc Pit will be left for another group of writers and, perhaps, a future anthology movie.