||Boba Fett from "Return of the Jedi" featured on cover, plus an article by Andy Mangles:
Criminals fear one name in the galaxy more than any other. If there's a bounty on your head and Boba Fett takes the job, you'd stand a better chance against a planetful of hungry Wampas...
Real Name: Once known as Jaster Mereel, now called Boba Fett
Occupation: Intergalactic Bounty Hunter
Height: 5' 11", in armor
Hair Color: Unknown
First Appearance: Star Wars Holiday Special, aired November 17, 1978 on CBS
Major Enemies: Han Solo, Chewbacca, the Sarlacc
Vehicles: Slave I (Star Wars Trilogy), Slave II (Dark Empire I & II), Slave IV (Young Jedi Knights series)
Long before the time of "Star Wars," the man who would become Boba Fett was a law enforcement officer - a "Journeyman Protector" - named Jaster Mereel. After killing one of his fellow officers, who was a corrupt Protector, Mereel was exiled from the world of Concord Down for the crime. Stripped of his rank and privileges as a Protector, Mereel disappeared.
After some point thereafter, Mereel entered the Imperial Academy, and served for an unspecified time as a Stormtrooper. His reasons for leaving the service of the Empire was unclear, but at some point after his departure he adopted the name and armor of Boba Fett, becoming an intergalactic bounty hunter. The armor itself was a modified version from the Mandalorian Supercommandos, a group of evil warriors defeated by the Jedi Knights during the Clone Wars. Their armor soon became rare and highly prized. It is currently unknown whether Mereel actually joined the ranks of the Mandalorians and changed his name, or whether he took the name and armor from one of the Supercommandos.
Slowly, Fett began to build a reputation as one of the better bounty hunters in the business. But that wasn't good enough for him; he was intent on being the best. No job was too dangerous, as long as the quarry was a criminal. Apparently, Fett didn't take assassination jobs on innocent sentients. He also didn't take jobs for the Rebel Alliance, foes of the Galactic Empire. Thanks to whatever code of honor he carried from his days as a Journeyman Protector, Fett still had some ethics, twisted as they may have become.
Over the years, Fett became a favored hunter of various Hutt crime families, with Jabba the Hutt utilizing Fett's talents more than any other.
What's Been Happening
Eventually, smuggler Han Solo became a problem for Jabba the Hutt, costing the corrupt crimelord heavy sums of money. But Jabba caught a lucky break when Lord Darth Vader put out a call for bounty hunters to find Solo and his Rebel friends...a call that Fett eagerly answered. Having tangled with the Rebel heroes a few times before, Fett had an edge over the other bounty hunters, and was able to track Solo's ship, the Millennium Falcon, to the floating Cloud City of Bespin. There, acting on information from Fett, Vader laid a trap for the Rebel heroes. Fett was rewarded not only with his bounty fee, but with the carbon-frozen form of Han Solo to take back to Jabba's palace on the desert world of Tatooine.
The transportation of Solo was easier planned than done, however, as Fett found himself dodging not only the rebels who were looking for their friend, but also several rival bounty hunters - Bossk, IG-88, Zuckuss and 4-LOM, to name a few - determined to wrest Solo from Fett's grip. Despite overwhelming odds, Fett was able to deliver the frozen Solo to Jabba.
With the carbonite block as a wall sculpture in his palace, Jabba kept Boba Fett on retainer. In fact, the bounty hunter was working at Jabba's palace during Luke Skywalker's rescue mission to free Han Solo before the Rebel was fed to the monstrous Sarlacc. In the ensuing fight, however, Fett's backpack was accidentally discharged by Solo, and the bounty hunter careened into the mouth of the Sarlacc.
While history records no other evidence that anyone has successfully escaped from the belly of a Sarlacc, Fett did eventually claw his way to freedom, though at great personal cost. Found scarred and desiccated in the scorched Tatooine deserts by Dengar, a fellow bounty hunter, Fett was nursed back to health. In the ensuing years, Fett and Dengar have worked together, though both generally prefer to work separately.
In Comics: Dark Horse Comics has a third Boba Fett Special on the way from writer James Wagner and artist Cam Kennedy. Murder Most Foul will complete the trilogy of specials (preceded by Bounty on Bar-Kooda and When the Fat Lady Swings), Wagner and Kennedy are also planning stages of a four-issue Boba Fett mini-series for late '98.
In Novels: Fett is currently appearing in Berkley Boulevard's series of "Young Jedi Knights" novels. Written by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta, the novels began featuring Fett in the seventh book Shards of Alderaan and continued in Diversity Alliance. The five-part story will be concluded in Delusions of Grandeur (July), Jedi Bounty (October) and ultimately The Emperor's Plague (January 1998). The series tells the adventures of Jacen and Jaina Solo, the teenage offspring of Han Solo and Leia Organa Solo, as they train to be Jedi Knights at Luke Skywalker's Jedi academy.
In Movies: Will Fett be involved in the "Star Wars" Prequels? While a very popular rumor states that he'll be seen flying the Millennium Falcon, Lucasfilm hasn't released any story information. Fan demand did warrant his inclusion in "Star Wars: The Special Edition," so anything is possible.
Intrigued by the mystery man aspect of Boba Fett? Sci-Fi Invasion! suggests you check out these titles starring the galaxy's greatest bounty hunter:
Tales of the Bounty Hunters (Bantam, 1996) - Edited by Kevin J. Anderson, this novel sports a long Fett story which reveals clues to his origin, and details his various meetings with Han Solo.
Shadows of the Empire, book written by Steve Perry (Bantam, 1996), comic written by John Wagner (Dark Horse Comics, 1996) - The intertwined book, comic and Nintendo 64 game tell the tale of what happened between "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi." While they all feature Fett, the comic book spotlights him most dramatically.
Boba Fett: Twin Engines of Destruction (Dark Horse Comics, January 1997) - Written by Andy Mangles, this stand-alone Boba Fett comic not only shows Fett out of his armor for the first time anywhere, but also features a brutal battle between Fett and Jodo Kast, a rival bounty hunter who wears Mandalorian armor and goes around impersonating Boba Fett!
-- Andy Mangles is the writer of Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Characters (Del Rey), as well as numerous articles, comics and card sets. He's not the co-writer for Marvel's Star Trek: Deep Space Nine comic, and has a weekly sci-fi news column at http://www.smash.mgz.com.