Our favorite Star Wars characters

11 of 13

Appearances: The Star Wars Holiday Special; The Empire Strikes Back; Return of the Jedi

Defining Moment: Capturing Han Solo


I’ve heard the testimonies of the critics, the detractors, the haters:

— “Fett never does anything.”

— “He just gets taken out by a blind Han Solo with a stick.”

— “He’s a glorified delivery man.”

— Or the very creative and well thought out “Fett sucks!”

Well, ok then.  As it appears his end must overshadow anything he did while he was alive, there’s just never going to be any debating with those fans, but for those who claim he “never did anything,” here’s a few reminders of how the saga is very different without the Fettman.

In Episode II, Attack of the Clones, we get our earliest glimpse of Boba, learning his future trade from his father, Jango Fett. Jango is regarded as the premiere bounty hunter in the galaxy, the apex of his trade, the best of the best. Something in there tells me that maybe, just maybe, his unaltered clone might bear a few of those traits that would someday see him rise to (and even exceed) that same level.

We get an idea of Boba’s potential when he gets the drop of Obi-Wan — a senior Jedi Knight and soon-to-be Master — with Slave One no less!  Granted, Kenobi is also facing off against Jango at the time, but the prequels demonstrated numerous times that the Jedi shined when the odds were against them, especially a Jedi the caliber of Obi-Wan Kenobi. So it strikes me as somewhat significant that a 10-year-old boy with no Force training was able to get the drop on him. Kenobi had just seen Boba entering the ship only a few minutes earlier, so it’s not like Fett Jr. was an unknown entity in the combat.

Without Boba Fett, Obi Wan has Jango beaten, captured, and transported to Coruscant for interrogation by the Jedi Council. He probably also completely gets the jump on Jango, as it is Boba who spots the Jedi approaching them. There is no battle of Geonosis, Anakin keeps his arm, Palpatine is not awarded emergency powers, and in fact never becomes Emperor. The Clone Wars never occur, at least not in the same fashion.

Not significant enough? Not a powerful enough example of Boba’s impact on the saga?

Ok let’s skip ahead to the Clone Wars. While Cad Bane gets the amazing opportunities to shine against the Jedi in this series, it is a juvenile Fett who has the capability and presence to command his own crew of bounty hunters. And while the instances where we witness Fett are stymied by Mace Windu, perhaps Windu is just kryptonite to the Fett bloodline, the guy who always has their number.

But Boba was never gonna get revenge against Mace, not directly anyways, and certainly not at such a young and inexperienced age. The focus here is more on his presence and reputation, something obviously established in the Clone Wars. Bounty hunters don’t generally work together in Star Wars. The fact that Fett was able to get a group to coexist is noteworthy.

Not the pinnacle of Fett’s prowess, but remember, Star Wars is the Skywalker saga. It’s not supposed to be about the Fett family, so we only get the occasional glimpse into the Fett story, from which we must then piece together our own perspectives.

Fast forward to A New Hope. We see Boba for all of one minute in the movie, but it’s a significant scene. Jabba and his crew of “twerps” (as Han Solo refers to them) have cornered the smuggler in docking bay ninety-four as a show of intimidation to get Solo to pay Jabba what’s owed.

No disrespect to Jabba or the other hunters in the docking bay, but Jabba couldn’t hold his own against Princess Leia with his own chain — didn’t even put up a fight — and the other bounty hunters might as well be wearing stormtrooper armor. It’s Fett’s presence alone that forces Han to give Jabba a counteroffer for more time. Han and Chewie could’ve wiped the floor with that crew, if not for Fett.

Photo credit: LucasFilm

Again, probably not the most convincing example of Fett’s abilities, but that’s the idea at this point in the saga. His presence and reputation alone are sufficient to put most people in line. He’s already done the things that he’s known for, and the movies are focusing on a much different story. But everyone has a part to play…

My final example comes from the movie where Fett’s impact is most felt, The Empire Strikes Back.  Without Boba, the path of this movie is much different, and probably the title of the movie, too.

Consider that it is Boba Fett who anticipates Han’s plan to hide his damaged Millennium Falcon in the Imperial refuge, and trace that action throughout the rest of the movie.

If Fett doesn’t track the Falcon, then Han, Leia, and Chewie escape to arrive on Bespin unmolested. Lando has no reason to betray his friend to the Empire. Luke has no vision of his friends in torment and thus does not abandon his Jedi training with Yoda. There’s no duel between Luke and Vader. The movie’s most iconic moment, “No, I am your father” does not occur. Oh, and not to mention Han Solo remains carbonite-free, which changes the very essence of the conclusion of this movie, and it even impacts the beginning of Return of the Jedi. Without Fett, the Empire “striking back” is more of a “hey the Imps found our hidden base!  Time to relocate!”

If you define Fett only by his end in Return of the Jedi, consider also placing the same frame of thought on the other characters in the saga. Define them only by their worst moments or by their failures.

Define Luke by his whining in Episode IV. Define Anakin by his feelings about how sand gets everywhere, and apply that to Vader years later complaining about sand in his circuits. Define Yoda by his failure to prevent the Jedi Purge. Define Obi Wan as the guy who couldn’t run fast enough to save Qui-Gon Jinn. Define Chewie as the guy who got his friends captured in an obvious Ewok trap.  And while you’re at it, define Han by his failed bluff on the Death Star. These are, after all, the only moments of relevance yeah?

Maybe getting hit by Han’s panic attack in the middle of a battle suddenly doesn’t seem like such a character flaw now, all things considered.

–Kallis Prayer