The Book Of Boba Fett: How, Exactly, Did Boba Fett Escape The Sarlacc?
Well folks, after nearly four decades, a slapstick fake-out death that would put any Looney-Tunes character to shame, and an unexpected re-emergence on the hit series The Mandalorian, the event Boba Fett fanatics have been patiently waiting for is almost here. In a few short hours, The Book Of Boba Fett will premiere on Disney+, giving us unprecedented insight into the fan-favorite character as he works alongside mercenary Fennec Shand to take over Jabba The Hutt's palace just five short years after the events of Return of the Jedi.
But as we begrudgingly set our alarms to 3 a.m. to catch the first episode before spoilers inevitably permeate the internet, one question remains – where the Hell has Boba Fett been between supposedly being slowly digested by a giant monster and landing his own Disney+ show? You've got burning Boba Fett inquiries, and lucky for you, we have all the answers.
Who is Boba Fett?
Now, for those of you who have been living under a rock for the past 40-odd years, firstly, congratulations on never having to know the meaning of the phrase “party rockers in the house tonight." Secondly, Boba Fett is Star War's legendary, badass bounty hunter and crime boss. An unaltered clone of his Mandalorian father, Jango Fett, Boba Fett followed in his old man's footsteps to become one of the galaxy's most feared bounty hunters. Throughout his long career, Boba Fett has completed contracts for several sketchy figures, including Darth Vader and Jabba the Hutt.
Boba Fett only appeared in a few scenes in 1980's The Empire Strikes Back, though his first introduction to the Star Wars world was in the franchise's absolute trash fire of a holiday special. Primarily serving as a device to lure Luke Skywalker into yet another dramatic showdown with his dad, Darth Vader, Boba Fett's brash-ness and cool aloof attitude made a splash among viewers, skyrocketing him to popularity as one of the franchises most badass villains – well, at least more badass than Adam Driver's Kylo Ren ever was.
How did Boba Fett “die?"
In 1983's Return of the Jedi, Boba Fett met a demise so slapstick, it could bring a tear to Charlie Chaplain's eye – the galactic equivalent to Wile. E. Coyote slipping on a rogue banana peel, sliding arms akimbo off of a conveniently placed cliff and plummeting to his doom, a slide whistle and a tasteful “BOINGGGGGGG-GGGGG-GGGGGGGG” scoring the entire affair.
In the film, Boba Fett and several guards working for Jabba the Hutt find themselves embroiled in an epic showdown against Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca, who are all moments away from serving as dinner for a Sarlacc, a cavernous monster that eats anyone who is unlucky enough to fall into its fang-y clutches. As they duke it out in a battle filled with lightsabers, lasers, and jetpacks – a.k.a. all the staples of early '80s special effects – Boba Fett nearly catches Han Solo off-guard, a fact Chewbacca alerts his pal to amid the chaos.
In questioning where Boba Fett is, Han Solo haphazardly whips around, inadvertently launching the bounty hunter's jet pack with his vibro-ax. But just as the Mandalorian can say “What the …” he finds himself soaring through the desert sky, slamming into the side of Jabba The Hutt's sail barge. He then tumbles down a sand dune and into the belly of a conveniently-placed Sarlacc, his fall punctuated with a slapstick, sound-effect machine burp.
It may be unclear why, exactly, Boba Fett doesn't momentarily bounce back up from the belly of the beast bearing a sign reading “That's All, Folks!” before tumbling down once more, but the consequences of this slapstick demise were pretty cut and dry. Jabba the Hutt's death sentence mechanism of choice, the Sarlacc pit was known throughout the galaxy for introducing anyone unlucky enough to fall into its digestive tract to “a new definition of pain and suffering,” as they are "are slowly digested over a thousand years," as C-3PO once put it. Hot.
It seems nobody in the galaxy had ever escaped the monster's toothy grasp – or, well, so we all thought.
Wait … Are you implying that Boba Fett's managed to magically survive a death sentence no one else has ever survived in the entire SWECU (Star Wars Extended Canonical Universe)?
Yep. Despite every piece of canonical precedence implying that Boba Fett was fated to spend a millennium being gargled by the stomach juices of a Tattooine-ian monster, the bounty hunter somehow lived. How convenient. But to comprehend how Boba Fett survived and what the hell he got up to while everyone thought he was dead, you, my sweet summer reader, first have to understand the absolute cluster f--k that is Star Wars canon VS. Star Wars Legend.
The year was 2012. Planking was still somewhat cool. Those of us who were not living under a rock were spending every day shuffling, thanks to the ubiquitous masterpiece that was LMFAO's “Party Rock Anthem.” The definition of “political controversy” was Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney uttering the phrase “binders full of women." And of course, The Walt Disney Company, in all of its IP-snapping glory, had picked up Lucasfilm for a cool $4.05 billion, an acquisition that would forever alter what, exactly, was considered canon in our favorite galaxy far, far away.
Although the first six movies could stay (gotta get those sweet, sweet royalties), basically everything else in the Star Wars extended universe (dubbed Star Wars Legends as of 2014) was scrapped – apparently Disney's team of creatives needed all the help they could get in scrounging a somewhat cohesive plot for their upcoming trilogy of films. As such, fans were basically Jedi-mind tricked into accepting that most everything that went down in various Star Wars comics, video games, novels, and, well, basically anything other than Episodes I-VI never actually happened – though the Disney overlords could potentially use this as reference material, cherry-picking pieces of cannon to revive if they so felt like it. This included the fate of Boba Fett.
What Happened to Boba Fett … according to Star Wars Legends?
Well, my curious reader, J.D. Montgomery's 1996 novel A Barve Like That: The Tale of Boba Fett tells us exactly how he managed to escape what was theoretically supposed to be his doom.
Shortly after his fall, Boba Fett awakens inside the monster, his armor, which is supposed to be near indestructible, has proven to be anything but. His suit is damaged, rendering him unable to move. Despite being trapped in a probably very slimy situation, the bounty hunter decides to make the best of enduring 1,000 years of excruciating digestion, telepathically communicating with Susejo, one of the Sarlacc's first victims whose conscious has merged with the monster.
After several flashbacks detailing Susejo's story as well as other victims of the sand monster, Boba Fett learns his new buddy can somewhat control the Sarlacc. Instead of asking nicely for Susejo to help him escape the monster slowly eating away at him, Boba Fett being the little s--t that he is, deciding to annoy the crap out of his semi-conscious pal. In the direct inverse of Return of the Jedi's Han Solo incident, Boba Fett decided to annoy his poor, half-digested friend so much that he clamps the Sarlacc around his jetpack, prompting an explosion that frees him from his grasp enough to throw a few grenades, creating an opening. He and the Sarlacc both emerge injured but separated.
A year later, Boba Fett returns to telepathically communicate with Susejo, but he opts not to destroy the monster. He does, however, promise to check it off his to-do list eventually. Considering Susejo never makes another appearance throughout any franchise, it seems Boba Fett most definitely did not keep his word – probably because he was busy inexplicably losing and then finding his armor.
What Happened to Boba Fett … according to Star Wars Canon?
In a true twist of irony, the canonical explanation for what happened to Boba Fett is a lot messier than its legendary counterpart, consisting of various fragments versus an explosive-fueled cohesive narrative. One thing we do know, however, is that at some point during or after the struggle to escape the Sarlacc, Boba Fett was separated from his armor.
In the 2015 Aftermath book trilogy by Chuck Wendig, it is strongly implied that Cobb Vanth, a Tattooine sheriff is wearing Boba Fett's armor which he may or may not have purchased from a Jawa. While nothing is formally confirmed –very convenient – the story hints that as the Sarlacc was deeply injured upon Boba Fett's escape, Jawas were able to loot the monster, finding, and ultimately selling, what is heavily alluded to be Boba Fett's armor. Considering it makes little sense the Sarlacc would have taken a pistachio approach to eating Boba Fett, snacking on his corpse and spitting out his hard shell, the fact there is no body inside the armor hints that the suit was his.
The Mandalorian's second season partially focuses on how the bounty hunter, who now sports a cloak and several weapons attached to his back, has lost his original armor. In the show, Vanth gives the suit – which now has a new, notable dent in the head -- to a bounty hunter named Din Djarin. However, the suit isn't the thing that's banged up. News scars on Boba Fett's face that were not present during his childhood hint at some sort of struggle – though we don't know whether this was Sarlacc escape-related or just par for the course in basically being a galactic mob boss.
So, folks, here's to hoping we finally get a cohesive answer to how Boba Fett managed to escape. These plot holes – much like its Sarlacc counterpart -- are killing me.
Top Image: Disney/Lucasfilm