[Editorial] Jaster vs. Boba

Published Updated • Written by • Filed under Community

Guest author: Miss Chrys

Originally published: 2005

Plaintiff No. 1: Boba Fett, aka Jaster Mereel, age 40-something. Says Plaintiff No. 2 stole his identity and slandered it.

Plaintiff No. 2: Boba Fett, aka Orphan Ttef, age 33. Says Plaintiff No. 1, accused to be his grandpa, should stop pretending to be so young and stay in the grave where he belongs.

There has been a long-standing argument in the Sarlacc Bar of late as to whose fan club this is exactly. With the release of Attack of the Clones in 2002, there are now two “official” histories of Boba Fett. (There are actually many more, but no one seems to care about the others for some reason.) One, he is a Journeyman Protector from Concord Dawn who was exiled for killing a corrupt associate. Two, he is the son and clone of the infamous bounty hunter Jango Fett, orphaned in the Battle of Geonosis. There are loyal defenders on both sides, and few fans that remain undecided. This is perfectly understandable. Thanks to George Lucas’s monumental blunder, refraining to choose a side borders on Orwellian “double-think.”

The staple argument among proponents of the Attack of the Clones theory is that the movies outweigh all other media?be it books, comics, video games, et cetera. If the latter don’t have any serious discrepancies with the movies, then of course, they can be considered cannon. If they do cause serious plot discontinuities, the offending segments should simply be disregarded and the rest of the story kept.

Fans of the “Last One Standing” theory, however, point out that the original history is considered cannon because of Bantam Books’ licensing agreement, making it just as official as any of the movies. Without George Lucas’s blessing, they argue, the books would have been in violation of copyright laws and wouldn’t have been published to begin with. In addition, the Flanneled One had the right to veto the books at any time, but he allowed Tales of the Bounty Hunters to go unedited. By publishing “The Last One Standing,” Lucas approved the information within it. Taking back his approval six years later is like changing history, which in any other medium would be totally unacceptable.

Our Great Flanneled Leader isn’t the only one who instructs us to ignore the original Jaster Mereel story. Rick McCallum, Steve Sansweet, and, alas, Jeremy Bulloch agree. Even Daniel Keys Moran, author of “The Last One Standing,” reportedly admits that his story is flawed. “Without George Lucas,” one fan has pointed out, “there would be no Star Wars at all.” So is there anything wrong with being good and believing what we’re told to?

Jaster fans say YES! To them, the new Clones history was merely a selfish attempt to milk the Fett cash cow as much as possible. Greed, plain and simple, was all that motivated El Flannel Grande to insult and betray all the novelists who came before Clones. Or was it? Another suggestion has been that he is jealous of the Fettster for being so darn cooler than he is. In his envy, the Flanneled One has set out to destroy everything we love about our favorite bounty hunter. If he gets his way, we might all become mindless Luke Skywalker devotees! And then he’ll force us to like Jar-Jar! Of course, this could be just a wild conspiracy theory. . . . It could be that our dear George has finally succumbed to senility and dementia.

What, you wonder, is at the center of this furious debate? What could cause so many loyal Fetties to argue for months and months in the Sarlacc Bar? What evil force could possible make the Boba Fett Fan Club splinter like the Mandalore warriors of old?

Meet Boba, age 10. He stands 5 feet 1 inch tall, has pale brown skin, chocolate eyes, and an unruly halo of curly black hair. He is fond of reading, and he loves telling jokes. He also has a certain little laugh, an evil laugh, called cute by some and irritating by others.

Yes, my friends, what you see before you is a creature with enough power to potentially destroy entire fan communities. Whence does he get this unholy power, you ask? Why, from his very innocence, from his naïve and vulnerable nature.

The problem, of course, is that the Boba Fett we saw in the Original Trilogy did not, by any stretch of the imagination, have a naïve and vulnerable nature. Some fear that the creation of Kid Boba was an effort to shift the market toward much younger audiences, leaving us “old” folks to fend for ourselves. The fact that most Fett literature of late has been part of a children’s series is ample evidence for this.

What Jaster fans find most irritating is the new Fett’s change in values. Where the old Fett was a heartless businessman out for money, the new Fett can be described as an unstable delinquent with a lust for revenge. The opposition, on the other hand, say that Kid Boba is proof that Fett has, or at least had, a human core. They believe that Kid Boba has more depth than Jaster Boba, as well as a better source of motivation. To them, the Mereel story fails to explain why Jaster became a bounty hunter in the first place. Did he have nothing better to do with his time in exile?

Kid Boba is a neurotic schmuck with out-of-control emotions! Jaster fans proclaim. The real Boba has no emotions to be damaged!

Kid Boba is just as cold and ruthless as in the OT! shout the competition. Haven’t you read the kids’ books? Indeed, one has to admit, after reading them, that there are many startling similarities between Original Trilogy and Kid Boba. “Money!” Kid Boba realizes in the new books. “Money is power!” And after a little more contemplation, “More is better!”

Is it really that impossible, I ask you, for a mere child to single-handedly outwit Aurra Sing? To defeat Durge and become Jabba’s official bounty hunter? Even if the child is a larval version of the all-powerful Boba Fett? The combination of vulnerability and deadliness is, understandably, what draws Kid Boba fans to the character.

“Mereel,” a Jaster fan notes morosely, “was once a child too. But now we’ll never get to read about that.”

With Fett as a clone, does the greatest bounty hunter of all time lose his individuality?

There are, as with many things, plenty of conspiracy theories and loopholes to muse over. One is that George Lucas never actually came out and said in the movies that Kid Boba and Trilogy Boba are one in the same. With that in mind, it’s possible that Jaster Mereel somehow stole Kid Boba’s name and with it Jango Fett’s infamy. On the other hand, “The Last One Standing” never actually says that Jaster Mereel is Boba Fett.

“You can’t love life too much, Pleader.” The ugly young man [Jaster Mereel] smiled, an empty, meaningless movement of the lips, and the Pleader Iving Creel found himself remembering that smile, at odd moments, for the rest of his life. “Everyone dies.”

Years passed.

The target was young?younger than the man who had taken the name of Fett had been led to believe. . . .

Source: Tales of the Bounty Hunters, “The Last One Standing”

Could the previous scene have been a flashback about someone other than the main character of the story? After all, Open Seasons states that Boba Fett is Jaster’s legacy. And by “taking the name of Fett,” could the author have meant that Boba had gone through a period in which he didn’t feel like he deserved his donor-father’s name?

Of course Moran didn’t mean that; we all know it. But we all also know that the Flanneled One didn’t intend for us to think Jaster Mereel stole Kid Boba’s identity after Clones. Now that we have a new history to deal with, we’re free to go back and make new interpretations of previously published material. Take the scene from Twin Engines of Destruction, for example, when Fett rockets away from a settlement on N’ildwab, thinking to himself, “I’d consider giving some of these creds back to their orphanage, but I’m going to need to spend them on my next job.” Would a cold, heartless killer even consider donating to orphans? I’m not sure, but I do know that clone Fett, remembering his own days as an orphan, would do so without a second thought. This is just one example where the old material, though it wasn’t intended to, supports the new.

The fact of the matter is, we’re talking about fiction, so no version of events is more credible than another. Believe what you like?you won’t be telling the truth anyway. So if you like the heartless killer with a thirst for money, choose Jaster Boba. If you’d prefer a more human Fett with a thirst for money and a little bit of revenge as well, choose Clone Boba. No matter which one you choose, Original Trilogy Fett is the one whom we all know and love.

Does it really matter, when you get down to it, what his origins are? Boba Fett is a man of mystery and always has been?and he should remain that way. Maybe all the theories that are running around?orphaned clone, exiled policeman, enslaved mercenary of the Clone Wars?are there for a reason. Maybe we’re not supposed to know which is truth and which is myth.

After all, do you really think Boba Fett wants us to know who he is?

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