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I Love Ya But You’re Strange – Boba Fett’s Sad Day Out of the Sarlacc Pit

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Every installment of I Love Ya But You’re Strange I spotlight strange but ultimately endearing comic stories. Here is the archive of all the installments of this feature. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have a suggestion for a future installment!

Today we look at how Marvel actually brought Boba Fett OUT of the Sarlacc pit for an odd issue of their Star Wars title…

As you all know, Boba Fett was embarrassingly killed off in Return of the Jedi by a blind Han Solo (as seen here in the Marvel Comics adaptation by Archie Goodwin, Al Williamson and Carlos Garzon)…

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However, right after the Return of the Jedi adaptation, Marvel actually brought Boba Fett RIGHT BACK! But in an odd little issue. In Star Wars #81 by Jo Duffy, Ron Frenz and Toms Palmer and Mandrake, Boba Fett is apparently spit up by the Sarlacc Pit and discovered by Jawas, who presume that he is a droid that is available for them to salvage…

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Meanwhile, Han Solo is on Tatooine, as well, trying to get his bank account re-opened after it was closed on account of him being presumed dead because he was frozen in Carbonite. He intends to use R2-D2 to communicate with the banks, but Artoo is kidnapped by the Jawas and held with Boba Fett. Artoo recognizes Boba Fett.

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When the Jawas shock Artoo and Boba Fett, they accidentally reawaken a dazed Fett. Han and Leia, meanwhile, are trying to stop the Jawas from selling Artoo, so Han ends up boarding their giant vehicle, leading to an extraordinarily odd ending, which you can see on the next page…

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43 Comments

From my article “How to Do Star Wars the Marvel Way,” for BACK ISSUE Magazine #9:

“We were getting away with murder even attempting that story,” Duffy reveals. “There was a very strict hands-off edict issued on Boba Fett. I really wanted to use him, so I argued passionately to [editor] Louise [Simonson] that if we took him out, played with him a bit, and put him back where we got him, we’d have satisfied our own and the audience’s ongoing jones for some Fett action, without having breached any of Lucasfilm’s rules. Louise agreed to let us try, and no one at Lucasfilm fired any shots when we ran the plot up the flagpole.”

Unfortunately, in terms of what couldn’t be done in the comic book, things got worse. Much worse.

“After Jedi, the restrictions got a lot tighter,” Duffy explains. Presumably, George Lucas wasn’t sure at that time what he would do next with the film series— sequels, prequels, or put it on hiatus (which is what he ultimately did). Therefore, he couldn’t let Marvel move the characters forward.

Ha! Thanks, Glenn. That is so weird that they still just used him for the heck of it!

What makes it funnier is I just read Dark Empire, and it seemed like after all that effort to bring him back a few years earlier, they seemed to indicate he’d been killed off again.

Those Goodwin-Williamson books (EMPIRE and JEDI) are things of beauty!

It’s funny to me that the only time Fett ever came close to being badass onscreen was in the animated segment of the STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL. :)

Sooo…basically, Boba Fett does and says nothing, stands around looking cool, and is unceremoniously killed in a lame manner at the end of the issue. Eh, seems consistent with his portrayal in the OT, if nothing else.

I always find it funny how tight Lucas was with others using his characters continuity, when he had no problem contradicting it later, or frankly, little problem contradicting his own continuity. Much like as long as they reset it to the lead in to Jedi between that and Empire, who cares what they did before his not existent for 16 years next work?

Fett continued to run around for years after this. Funny enough, when the EU was axed, Fett was an old man dying of some disease or somesuch, but they never quite got to his death. Mandalore was infected with some kind of virus that would have killed Fett and his granddaughter (yes, Fett had a kid) if they ever set foot on it again. Their final fates were never gotten to before the axe fell.

“Tales from Jabba’s Palace” is a short story compilation that gives a different escape for Boba Fett, and the one I always assumed was canon while the EU was still a thing.

Daniel Keys Moran

December 29, 2015 at 6:00 pm

“A Barve Like That,” is the story you’re referring to. I wrote it as J.D. Montgomery back in the mid 90s. I’ve been annoyed twenty years that Lucasfilm backed out of the first proposed version of that story — because it was contradicted by a game manual, I’ve long thought. But it looks like this may have been the culprit.

In the first version of the story, Fett was going to spend years down in the Sarlacc — Sarlacc, digested, thousand years, etc. That outline was approved, and then abruptly unapproved, and Fett could only be down in the Sarlacc a day or so. I wrote it that way and put a pseudonym on it — then it got cut up a bit further by someone else, and published.

Thanks for filling in this bit for me.

Surely the sandcrawler is much bigger than the mouth of the Sarlacc?!

It’s a small Sand Crawler, you can see a Jawa driving it, maybe the size of a tall 18-wheeler.

Anyway, since we never see Boba without his helmet wasn’t here a story that basically said Boba Fett is a name and a suit of armor and it gets used by different people in different times?

Maybe it was Fanon to reconcile different versions.

“Meanwhile, Han Solo is on Tatooine, as well, trying to get his bank account re-opened after it was closed on account of him being presumed dead because he was frozen in Carbonite. He intends to use R2-D2 to communicate with the banks, but Artoo is kidnapped by the Jawas and held with Boba Fett”

Exciting plot point there!

I know I bought that issue because Boba Fett was on the cover, I wonder if there was a sales spike for that issue?

I think “Mandalore” was established to be a suit of armor and a title, possibly in some of the older KOTOR comics.

Marvel did establish the backstory that Boba was a fighter named Jaster Mareel from the planet Concord Dawn who fought in the Clone Wars. THAT story had to be dumped when AOTC revealed Boba to be the cloned son of Jango. However, Dark Horse did some creative sleight-of-hand and revealed that Jango had been adopted by a Mandalorian…named Jaster Mareel…from you guessed it, Concord Dawn. So you can credit Boba’s shifting origins as being confused legends in-universe.

“Marvel did establish the backstory that Boba was a fighter named Jaster Mareel from the planet Concord Dawn who fought in the Clone Wars.”

Nope, not Marvel. I don’t know who established all that, particularly the Jaster Mareel and Concord Dawn stuff, but it wasn’t Marvel.

nice for boba is too good a character to just be left to be worm food though find it crazy that twice he got eaten by the sarlac and twice the sarlac spit him out when it should have learned the first time that boba is not eatible.

I don’t believe for a second that Han Solo would try to save Boba Fett, no matter what state he’s in.

There was so much publicity before ESB about how Boba would be the New Darth Vader. I was quite astonished (being much younger then) how underwhelming he was in practice.

I loved “A Barve Like That” in Tales From Jabba’s Palace and was happy to see that escape carried over into the Bounty Hunter Wars, even though that trilogy was a little underwhelming. It was nice to see Fett actually earn his reputation, though, in those stories.

@Ken Raining: Han wants to save Fett just to shoot him first.

Oh, ok. I’m confusing Boba’s backstory in Star Wars #68 with a 1996 short story.

@Fraser
Around and after Jedi, I remember repeatedly hearing the story that George Lucas was upset over how popular Boba Fett had become, and that was why he was given such an embarrassing death scene in Jedi.

It was already known that Lucas was rather “revisionist” about his own history of Star Wars, made major decisions pretty much off-the-cuff, and seeing him “punish” a villain for being more popular than intended was quite believable even then. (The evidence of that kind of personality only mounted in the years and decades after Jedi.)

@Billy

Lucas never understood how popular Boba had become.
He thought Boba was just a henchmen, not a major character. There wasn’t anything cool about him, story wise.

Really He had only five lines.
“As You Wish”
“What if he doesn’t survive? He’s worth a lot to me.”
“He’s no good to me dead.”
“Put Captain Solo in the cargo hold.”
“AAAAAAARGH”

Why was this character blown up to such great proportion.

I have never understood why Boba Fett was so popular. Maybe it was because I was only four years old when I saw The Empire Strikes Back, so I never was exposed to any of the pre-movie publicity such as the animated segment from the Holiday Special . I didn’t have any expectations about the character, so based only on what occurred in ESB he seemed really unimpressive. Yes, Fett is the one who is smart enough to figure out where the Millenium Falcon is hiding and to track it to Cloud City. But, really, that’s pretty much all he does. Other than taking a few shots at Luke to keep him away, Fett spend the entire remained of the movie just standing around. It baffled me when three years later other fans were complaining that Fett received an undeserving and lame death in Return of the Jedi. I mean, it’s really not like he was established on-screen as any sort of unstoppable badass before he ended up in the Sarlac pit.

I think that a large part of Boba Fett’s popularity was due to the fact that a lot of kids at the time had never heard of a bounty hunter, and the idea seemed cool, somehow.

Boba Fett to me stood out for many reasons.

He looked interesting.

He was promoted outside of the movies. He was in the Star Wars Holiday Special, before Empire Strikes Back. I’ve read that his costume was used in a parade before even that. Whether intentionally or not, he was built up before his big screen debut. This is different from a case like Captain Phasma. While both exploded into larger-than-intended fan-favorite characters, Boba Fett had “official” build up while Disney treated Phasma like any other random new character only for the world to latch onto her as something amazing.

And equally important… Boba Fett was actually portrayed as smart and capable in ESB. When Han and company outsmarted the Empire in their escape from the Star Destroyer, Boba Fett had already prepared for that plan and was waiting to follow. The villains were never that capable before.

I think some of it is as simple as Boba Fett being one of the only places you can go if you want to give Han Solo a recurring enemy in the EU or your fanfic or whatever. Greedo dies pretty quickly because Han is faster to shoot, and the Sith are reserved for the Jedi to fight.

Yes, you’ve got Jabba, but he’s not a terribly *physical* foe and can’t go chasing around after Han or turn up all over the place. So Boba Fett, with his record of competence and distinctive appearance, is one of the very few places where there’s room to expand.

The gist that I gathered from all the Boba-fawning that used to happen in Wizard and its related magazines is that Boba made an impression on fans as the only non-hero who stood up to Vader. The Imperial forces all crapped their pants when he was around and even the heroes some awe into their bravado, but in his few lines Boba treated Vader as an equal–maybe even with a little contempt. What’s more, Vader responds in a similar fashion. Since Vader is the ultimate badass of the Star Wars universe, then Boba must also be pretty badass too.

In other words it’s a weird “awesome by association” thing that a lot of fans glommed onto rather than anything Boba really did.

I think it probably is hard for younger fans to understand why Boba Fett really captured the imagination of Star Wars fans back in the day. When you watch the trilogy in an evening, it’s just not the same experience as having to wait years in between movies. When you younger ones binge watched the trilogy, you saw him in Empire, you might have thought he looked cool, but then your parents popped in the next DVD, and boom, he’s dead, and you’re on to the next scene.

You have to understand, back then, we saw him at the end of Empire, and he’s so bad ass looking, we just knew he was going to be a major character in the next one, no way they would introduce a character that cool, and he’s not going to be a big part of the story. We had to wait three years for the next one, most of us spent those three years imagining what might happen in the last one. Was Vader really Luke’s father, will we ever see Han Solo again, and what kind of unholy hell is this bad ass bounty hunter going to unleash in the next movie? It felt like he was being set up for great things, it was three long years of fantasizing about what this awesome looking character is going to do. So when three years later, he’s in the movie a few minutes, then gets eaten by a giant sand vagina, it was a huge let down from what we had all built up in our minds.

Being able to watch Empire and Return back to back, I can see why you would shrug and say what’s the big deal. Waiting years in between those films is what made Boba Fett so popular, it had little or nothing to do with anything that happened on screen, but what happened in our imaginations.

Luke — for the first time I can start to understand the Boba love. Not agree with it, mind (he still doesn’t DO anything), but understand it.

LouReedRichards

January 1, 2016 at 3:20 pm

I’ll add to Luke and Rodney (who both made great points) said.

I think the whole mail-order figure aspect played into his appeal for us older fans.

Star Wars was the first line of toys I had as a child and the fact that there was a figure that was so special you couldn’t buy him in stores made him seem very exotic. The spring loaded rocket thing really made him special too. In fact nobody had a rocket firing Boba Fett, but they showed it on the teaser art and it looked sooo cool and you always heard playground stories about a friend of a friends cousin having one that fired.

Add to that how cool he was in ESB and it seems natural that fans of a certain age would latch onto him.

Bossk is a favorite of mine because of the mail order aspect too. I loved that peanut butter colored, reptile bounty hunter!

Cobra Commander too…

I’ve always found it strange that Boba Fett was never even named in any of the dialogue in ESB. Everyone just kept referring to him as “bounty hunter.” The only time we ever hear Fett’s name on-screen is immediately before Han knocks him into the Sarlac in ROTJ.

I just have to say that Wizard made reference to this story, referring to how the Sarlacc Pit belched. I never knew it was an actual story!

@Ben Herman

As a kid, I remember being confused about why there was a Boba Fett action figure in with the original Kenner line-up. I must have scoured the first movie looking for him in some kind of background-in-the-cantina type cameo and being disappointed I could never find him. I forget why he was included in with the figure line at that early stage, but obviously somebody at either Kenner or Lucasfilms loved the design and thought there were bigger plans for him than there turned out to be…

I think the ‘cool looking design’ and ‘toys plus imagination’ not only explain how and why Boba Fett became so popular, they also, especially ‘toy plus imagination’ explain in part why some people really dislike the prequels when compared to the original three movies.

That is to say I think some peoples nostalgia and the fun they had as kids playing Star Wars have contributed to them seeing the first three movies as better than they actually were.

@ LouReedRichards
Was Bossk available through the mail? I recall the mail order premiums as being the accessory pack, 4-LOM (misnamed Zuckuss), display stands, Admiral Ackbar, Nein Numb, and the Emperor.

“As a kid, I remember being confused about why there was a Boba Fett action figure in with the original Kenner line-up.”

Well, he was in the holiday special, so that probably explains it. I don’t know about anyone else, but I was really disappointed with the Star Wars action figures. Before that, the super hero dolls were much bigger, they wore actual clothes, I even had a Batman doll with a removable cowl. I was one of those kids that got an empty box for Christmas, with an IOU for the action figures because they didn’t anticipate the demand. I spent months waiting for those toys, I couldn’t wait to have them interact with all my Superhero characters. Then they came, and they were tiny, I pretended to be excited so my mom wouldn’t think I was an ingrate, but boy was I bummed.

@kdu, I don’t know, I think most of us wanted to love the prequels, I was there opening day for Phantom, and it was just a bad movie. I liked the other two ok, but I think Lucas really benefited with the originals by having limitations, and people that would tell him when his ideas were bad. He just jams so much crap into the frame just because he can, it’s really distracting from the film. The video of him and his employees screening Phantom for the first time, and everyone looks like they just left a funeral is telling. I think if Phantom had been good, the prequels would be at least a little better remembered than they are now, that first one really left a bad taste in people’s mouth.

I know what you’re saying though, I’m not claiming that the OT is on the level of The Godfather or anything, a lot of it was being a kid, and blown away by the sheer spectacle of it all. Star Wars was nominated for Best Picture though, and was mostly well reviewed, so there were adults that liked it at the time as well.

Nah, the original Star Wars trilogy totally deserves its place in the canon of classic American films. I think that some people still claim that they don’t is only a remnant of that old prejudice against science fiction and/or light adventure films.

I’ve had the experience of introducing Star Wars to people who had never watched it and so had no nostalgia for it, and the original movies still made a BIG impression. I am myself a bit of an example. Even though I watched the movies when I was very young, I was not really a big fan (something about the fairy tale aspects made me prefer “manlier” movies like Indiana Jones or more contemporary fantasy, like Back to the Future). But returning to them as an adult, I think the original trilogy really tapped into something very special.

The Original Trilogy is every bit as good as the Godfather, but they’re good in a completely different way.

@rodney

“Well, he was in the holiday special, so that probably explains it.”

Ah, yes it does. I hadn’t realized he appeared there. I know it’s up on YouTube but I’ve always avoided the Xmas special beyond the brief clip of Bea Arthur singing that told me all I needed to know about it…

“Star Wars was nominated for Best Picture though”

Not only that, it was the favorite to win that year. It lost to Woody Allen’s Annie Hall, which was a huge upset at the time. With a few exceptions (most notable LOTR: Return Of The King), the Oscars have always gone more for actor-oriented pictures over sci-fi and other “spectacle” pictures. Annie Hall is a fine film too, but I think Star Wars fell victim to the prejudice against sci-fi, which is a shame because I think it’s the better of the two films.

LouReedRichards

January 3, 2016 at 8:42 am

@ Kdu2814

Yes he was the original mail order figure for the ESB figure line release.

I also sent in for the accessories pack, but it never showed up for some reason.

Here you go:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yU_6kuDFEEM

I got the accessory pack. :-)

But it’s a cool outfit, plus the strong silent type motif. And Lucas even singles him out by having Vader point out “no disintegrations” to him in particular. All the bounty hunters in that scene were wildly popular for the screen time they got. A look at the underbelly rather than the gloss of the Empire.

But looking and acting cool can go a long way. Darth Maul bounces around a lot and looks cool, but really doesn’t do anything. Then gets cut in half by a padawan. But people love him.

‘bovine’? What’s cow-like about the banthas?

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