Understanding Boba Fett In the ‘Star Wars’ Universe

in Star Wars

boba fett with blaster

Credit: Lucasfilm

Who is Boba Fett?

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Credit: Lucasfilm

Boba Fett is unique in the Star Wars Universe. Fans regard him as one of the most popular characters in Star Wars canon, while he’s also one of the most mysterious. As a bounty hunter, he was feared and respected across the galaxy throughout much of the Skywalker Saga timeline, where he worked under the direction of many notorious crime bosses like Jabba the Hutt. He also famously captured Han Solo (Harrison Ford) in the original trilogy, delivering him to Sith Lord Darth Vader, who had Solo encased in carbonite.

Boba Fett has most recently moved the pop culture needle with his seismic, fan-favorite arc on The Mandalorian Season 2. He appeared in five episodes alongside Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), Grogu (AKA Baby Yoda), and bounty hunter ally Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen). The legendary bounty hunter thrilled Disney+ audiences with a surprise post credits scene following the The Mandalorian Season 2 finale episode, announcing a new spinoff series, The Book of Boba Fett.

Fett’s biography is complicated, and his “book” still has a lot of blank pages left to be filled. Let’s dig into Boba Fett’s history to get an understanding of his place in the Star Wars Universe.

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Credit: Lucasfilm

Boba Fett’s History Explained

Boba Fett is a human – an unaltered genetic clone of legendary Mandalorian bounty hunter Jango Fett. Jango Fett was so highly regarded as a bounty hunter of unequaled skill and proficiency that his genetic makeup was used as the template for the clone troopers of the Grand Army of the Republic. The genetic structure of the clone troopers was altered to make the clones less independent and more compliant to orders.

As part of his agreement to act as the clone genetic template, it was arranged that Jango Fett would receive an unaltered clone of himself to raise as his son. Boba Fett was created on planet Kamino in 32 BBY, along the rest of the clone army. Unlike the other clones, Boba Fett was not modified in any way, making him Jango Fett’s identical clone.

This agreement was made between Sith Lord, Darth Tyranus, better known in the Star Wars universe as Count Dooku. Dooku secretly plotted to create the clone troopers while serving his master Darth Sidious / Emperor Palpatine. This storyline was introduced in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, coming to a head in Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002.)

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Credit: Lucasfilm

Attack of the Clones featured the Battle of Geonosis, a conflict that marked the beginning of the Clone Wars. Early in the storied battle on Geonosis, Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison) was killed after a confrontation with Jedi Knight, Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) while young Boba Fett (Daniel Logan) watched from across the battlefield.

Boba Fett was trained in combat from the time he was a child, and followed in his father’s footsteps. He became one of the most famous — and feared — bounty hunters in the galaxy, as his legendary decades-long career took him from the dismantling of the Galactic Republic to the ascension of the Galactic Empire.

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Credit: Lucasfilm

Boba Fett struck a chord with audiences during his very first Star Wars cinematic appearance in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. Known for his distinctive green Mandalorian armor, helmet, and array of gadgets and weaponry, Boba Fett was a character that immediately connected with Star Wars fans.

When Boba Fett’s story crossed over with The Mandalorian Season 2, fans were beyond excited. As he assisted Din Djarin in rescuing the foundling Grogu, formerly known as Baby Yoda, the Star Wars fandom learned that Jango Fett, Boba’s father, was a foundling – just like both Djarin and Grogu had been.

With all of the DNA The Book of Boba Fett will share with The Mandalorian – including shared characters and storylines – it’s likely we’ll continue to see the two Disney+ series crossover, although Lucasfilm executives have not officially confirmed that any specific characters will appear in both The Book of Boba Fett and The Mandalorian Season 3 at this time.

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Credit: Lucasfilm

Differences Between Boba Fett and the Mandalorian

In Return of the Jedi, Han Solo damages Fett’s jetpack, causing him to fall into the jaws of the savage Sarlacc in the Pit of Carkoon. For years, Boba Fett was assumed dead, and his armor was recovered by scavenging Jawas. In The Mandalorian Season 2, Din Djarin comes into possession of Boba Fett’s armor, which opens the door for Boba Fett’s return to the screen.

The similarities between Din Djarin, or “Mando”, and Boba Fett are self-evident. The main parallel is their distinctive Mandalorian armor. The iconic Mandalorian helmet with a T-shaped visor is meant to conceal their faces. They also both wear jetpacks, and equip themselves with wrist gauntlets loaded with a flamethrower and other highly lethal technology. Boba Fett’s armor was armed with vibroblades, a whipcord launcher, and a wrist laser as well.

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Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney

So, where do Boba Fett and Djarin differ? That question can’t be answered without first answering another.

What is a Mandalorian?

The answer to this question is somewhat complicated, and Boba Fett’s status as a true Mandalorian has been the subject of Star Wars fan debate over the years. In the Star Wars universe, being a Mandalorian doesn’t simply mean you were born on Mandalore – the Mandalorian homeworld – or other planets in the Mandalore sector of the galaxy’s Outer Rim Territories. It’s also a culture and worldview that can be taught and adopted. The Mandalorians as a cultural group lived by a common code and creed, and their clans were known as legendary warriors and bounty hunters throughout the galaxy.

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Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney

In The Mandalorian Season 2, Boba Fett proves that his father, Jango Fett was a Mandalorian foundling. He does so by revealing the telltale chain code embedded in his father’s beskar alloy bounty hunter armor that he inherited from him. This means that Jango Fett is a Mandalorian in the same way that Din Djarin is — not born as a Mandalorian, but adopted and raised in the culture.

This reveal had major implications for the overall story of the Clone Wars era. In Season 2 of animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, it is implied that Jango was not a true Mandalorian, and that he had come across his armor in a disreputable way. We learn the truth in The Mandalorian – that Jango was a foundling – like Djarin – likely raised in the creed and culture of the Mandalore.

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Credit: Lucasfilm

These ingrained sensibilities were likely passed on to Boba Fett as well – making him more than just a bounty hunter. He is seemingly a bounty hunter with a code of ethics. Boba Fett demonstrates this code when he agrees to continue his mission to rescue Grogu, despite already getting what he wanted – his Mandalorian armor back from Djarin.

Audiences have wondered why characters with Mandalorian roots, like Jango and Boba Fett,and Bo-Katan Kryze have no problem taking their helmets off whenever they please, while Din Djarin views it as an irredeemable sin. It turns out there are different types of Mandalorians.

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Credit: Lucasfilm

Din Djarin was raised as a “Child of the Watch.” Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff), upon meeting Mando for the first time, calls the Children of the Watch religious zealots who separated from the Mandalore to restore “the ancient way,” a way of life that had become all but obsolete to mainstream Mandalorian culture. Djarin’s upbringing was so insular, he didn’t even realize his experience was different from other Mandalorians until Bo-Katan shared this with him.

This can explain the difference between Boba Fett’s and Djarin’s attitudes. Mando follows the code and creed dutifully and faithfully as prescribed by the old way, and Boba Fett is a bit less strict with the code of honor, adapting it to his bounty hunter morality in a way that was perhaps more in line with modern thinking during the lawless era of the Galactic Empire, and the chaotic era that follows.

How Boba Fett became a Star Wars icon

Boba Fett made his unofficial debut in the Star Wars Universe in the notoriously campy The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978) in an animated segment as Darth Vader’s henchman. This inauspicious debut actually wound up peaking fan interest in the character right away. Boba Fett made his official theatrical debut in the second entry of the original trilogy, Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) portrayed by English actor Jeremy Bulloch.

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Credit: Lucasfilm

Although Boba Fett had only four lines, and a total of six minutes of screen time in Empire Strikes Back, fans were immediately struck by the bounty hunter in the unmistakably cool armor with a mission that was just as cool — a team-up with Darth Vader to capture Han Solo. Boba Fett also appeared in Return of the Jedi (1983) at Jabba the Hutt’s palace, appearing to be sort of a bounty hunter on retainer for the corpulent crime boss.

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Credit: Lucasfilm

Disappointing many fans, Boba Fett seemed to exit the original trilogy quite unceremoniously, with Han Solo more or less accidentally disabling his jetpack sending him into the depths of the Sarlaac pit. The character lived on across all forms of media, from Marvel comics to Star Wars Legends novels. Boba Fett also had a fan-favorite run on the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars as a young bounty hunter seeking revenge on Jedi Master Mace Windu for killing his father, Jango Fett.

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Credit: Lucasfilm

Boba Fett fan theories

One of the most popular fan theories that persisted for years was that Boba Fett indeed survived the Sarlacc pit in Return of the Jedi. This one was, of course, proven to be correct in Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni’s The Mandalorian.  Favreau has previously been vocal about the fact that he believes Star Wars creatives should listen to fans, so there’s a chance the bounty hunter’s survival was willed into canon by Star Wars fans. The anticipation of the new Disney+ series, The Book of Boba Fett, has given rise to several other popular Boba Fett fan theories.

favreau and pedro pascal
Credit: Pedro Pascal Instagram @PascalIsPunk

For example, is The Book a reference to the Bounty Hunters Guild Code or the Mandalorian creed and code? If either or both is true, it could mean that the series will focus a lot on filling in the blank pages in Boba Fett’s mysterious history. It’s also likely that The Book of Boba Fett title could be referencing a ledger of sorts — making the series a revenge mission with Boba settling scores across the galaxy. In The Mandalorian Season 2 finale stinger, it certainly appeared that Boba was on a revenge tour, as he and Fenecc Shand blasted their way into Jabba’s palace, removing Bib Fortuna and his gang, and making themselves comfortable.

With a storyline that has spanned generations, from the original trilogy, to the prequel trilogy, and now to the Disney+ spinoff series, Boba Fett has secured his place as an icon within the Star Wars universe.

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Credit: Lucasfilm

Actors who have played Boba Fett

Temuera Morrison has played Boba Fett in The Mandalorian and will continue to play the iconic bounty hunter in The Book of Boba Fett when it premieres on Disney+ in December 2021. The New Zealand-born Morrison played Jango Fett in the prequel trilogy’s Attack of The Clones (2002), as Boba Fett’s identical clone and father. Daniel Logan, also born in New Zealand, played young Boba Fett in Attack of the Clones, a role he reprised as a voice actor on Star Wars: The Clone Wars from 2010-2012.

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Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney

In the original trilogy, actor Jeremy Bulloch is credited with the physical portrayal of Boba Fett in The Empire Strikes Back. The character was voiced by Jason Wingreen in the 1980 film, but was replaced for DVD release in 2004 with Temuera Morrison, in keeping with the continuity presented in Attack of the Clones. It remains to be seen what lies beyond The Book of Boba Fett for the iconic bounty hunter. But, with a host of series on the docket at Disney+, new movies, and perhaps even a new trilogy, you can count on Boba Fett being a mainstay in pop culture for a long time to come.

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