BOBA’S BACK: What’s Next For the Mythic Bounty Hunter?
Just like a year ago, the new The Mandalorian season premiere left us with a very cool cliffhanger. Last time we were all left wondering who that little Yoda-looking creature was and how it could impact not only the show’s storyline but the entire ongoing Star Wars narrative. This year it’s all about reconnecting with Boba Fett making his way back to Star Wars live-action. Chronologically, the last time we saw him was in Return of The Jedi’s opening act, falling into a Sarlacc Pit as Luke rescued Han Solo. But similarly to what happened with Darth Maul, the character connected with audiences in a way that was bound to lead to its return, even though we were supposed to have watched both of them die on screen.
Back in 2015, the Star Wars: Aftermath novel gave us a few hints on what could have happened with Boba Fett’s iconic armor following the events of Return of the Jedi, but nothing was said of the man himself. But now, we’ve got official confirmation that Fett lives and five years after his supposed demise is still living on Tatooine. So what has he been up to? Where does he go from here?
Be it because the explosion of Jabba’s Sail Barge killed or injured the Sarlacc that was supposed to have eaten him, or his beskar armor managed to protect him long enough to escape the monster’s grasp, the fact is Boba escaped. Either way, it’s hard to believe he would then leave his armor behind for no apparent reason. With the fall of the Empire, it’s perhaps reasonable to think that he would decide to stay hidden (a planet like Tatooine would certainly allow for that), and with everyone thinking he had died he shouldn’t expect too much trouble keeping it that way. And so, stranded in the desert, somewhat like Cobb Vanth a few years later, it would be in his interest to shed his bounty hunter garments and trade them with the Jawas for Tusken Raiders’ clothes so that he wouldn’t stand out from the usual Tatooine desert crowd. The fact that the Jawas had is armor in their possession and that, on that last shot when we see Boba for the first time, he’s got a gaderffii stick and a cycler rifle on his back (both usually used by Tusken Raiders) help support this idea.
This also makes it less weird that, five years later, he wouldn’t have already found Cobb Vanth and his old armor. One would expect that if someone off-world like Gor Koresh knew a Mandalorian was seen in Mos Pelgo, Boba would too. And if he did know, and did nothing about it, there would be a reason for it. Cobb would then serve as bait for Boba to know who might come looking for him, keeping himself at a safe distance through it all.
But now, after the events of “Chapter 9: The Marshal”, it becomes obvious that Boba is ready to take a step forward and reveal himself a bit more to the outside world. And there are two events that seem to be the catalysts to that decision. One being Din Djarin’s exploits on this last episode, the other the death of Fennec Shand in “Chapter 5: The Gunslinger.” The final shot of that episode was someone approaching Fennec Shand’s dead body in Tatooine’s desert, wearing similar clothing to Fett’s. Shand was an elite assassin making it easy to understand how she could have been Boba’s associate, perhaps serving as the only connection he had to the outside world all through his exile. Intrigued by how such a highly-skilled fighter could have been killed, and witnessing what Din Djarin did to the Krayt dragon, should make Boba assume that Din was the one who killed Shand, and that might mean he could be coming for him in the future. Him wearing Mandalorian armor would certainly add to his interest in Mando’s figure.
In the, now non-canon material, Boba Fett evolved to become a sort of anti-hero in the Star Wars universe, even fighting alongside Han Solo. With news of a possible live-action Boba-centered spin-off being developed by LucasFilm in the near future, it’s only natural that that could be the direction he’ll be headed from now on as well. That would mean that any sort of confrontation between himself and Din Djarin would be decided without any of them having to die, perhaps even leaving each other on good terms. His spin-off show would also indicate that his presence in The Mandalorian won’t be an extended one, being used mainly to reframe his character in a way that when the new show starts, there are just enough familiar elements to it that the story flows naturally.