How did Jabba the Hutt die and when did it happen?
The ultimate crime boss of the desert planet of Tatooine, Jabba the Hutt finally got what he deserved and met his end while trying to have the heroes of Star Wars killed.
Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca, who all saved the galaxy from Death Star doom, helped save themselves from Jabba’s doom, but there was one Star Wars hero the Hutt could not save himself from.
The Hutts and this slug thug named Jabba
Hutts are creatures best described as very oversized slugs that can talk. That alone is pretty scary, but a Hutt can also live for over 1,000 years, though they generally only live for several hundred (so young!).
Despite only initially appearing in one of the original trilogy of Star Wars films (he was later added to the re-release of the original movie), Jabba Desilijic Tiure, aka Jabba the Hutt, impacted the storyline of the first three films and still impacts Star Wars today. His palace is now occupied by Boba Fett as of the new Disney Plus series The Book of Boba Fett.
When you’re a crime lord of a desert, it doesn’t sound too intimidating, but those sands nearly cover the whole planet, and Jabba wasn’t shy about extending his power beyond Tatooine.
Han Solo costs Jabba big money
Jabba’s death takes place during the first half of Return of the Jedi, but it was technically triggered by a series of events dating back years earlier when Han Solo intentionally dropped his shipment of illegal spices that he was smuggling for Jabba. Attempting to avoid capture by Imperials, Solo thought it best to abandon the spice, saving his own tail while costing Jabba a mini-fortune.
As a result, Jabba placed a bounty on Han Solo, and our first glimpse into this storyline (if we watch only the films) was when a bounty hunter named Greedo attempted to collect on that bounty by greeting Solo at the Mos Eisley Cantina in Tatooine early in the original Star Wars film (also known as Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope). This comes moments after we first initially meet Han Solo.
Greedo has a brief and unnecessary discussion with him, as if Solo will be happy to come along with Greedo to Jabba’s Palace, which actually wasn’t too far away. Instead of immediately apprehending Solo, Greedo engages him in conversation and pays the ultimate price for his error when Solo blasts him dead with one shot. This later became a point of controversy when the re-release 20th anniversary Special Edition of the film added Greedo shooting first and completely missing a point blank shot from across the table.
Solo is then greeted by Jabba the Hutt himself just moments later. Despite greeting Solo with six armed men, including Boba Fett, Jabba simply lets him go as he takes Han for his word that he will pay him back, plus interest of course.
Han and Luke later rescue Princess Leia and, as a result, Solo is rewarded quite well for it with money. It would be smart to pay Jabba back with that money, as Han himself says in the next film, The Empire Strikes Back. “If I don’t pay off Jabba the Hutt, I’m a dead man.” This suggests that he’s been a little too busy with this whole Rebellion thing to pay Jabba, but it also shows that he intends to do so.
Solo also briefly mentions escaping a bounty hunter on Ord Mantell. Why Solo didn’t CashApp Jabba by this time is unknown, but it’s possible that he wanted to pay him cash in person to avoid galactic taxes.
Enter Boba Fett
Boba Fett, considered by many to be the elite bounty hunter in the galaxy, answers the call of Darth Vader, who says he will give a “substantial reward” for anyone who can find the Millennium Falcon, Solo’s ship. Boba can thus get paid quite handsomely for earning both a bounty from the Empire and a bounty from Jabba the Hutt.
Boba Fett soon outsmarts Solo and successfully sets a trap for him in the cloud city of Bespin, complete with a dinner with Darth Vader (aka not our kind of night out). Solo gets a frozen treat for dessert, as he is put into carbon freeze. Vader is really after Luke Skywalker and uses Luke’s friends as bait to reel him in. As Vader hangs out with Luke, Boba Fett leaves to deliver a literally frozen-in-carbonite Solo to Jabba’s Palace on Tatooine, making what is likely one of his best paydays ever.
Friends of Han Solo try to save him
After Luke barely escapes Vader’s grasp, he and Han’s other friends, including Lando Calrissian, Princess Leia, and Chewbacca, try to save him from Jabba’s Palace through sneaky ways early in Return of the Jedi. Although they do manage to unfreeze Solo (and don’t even offer him a jacket afterwards), Jabba benefits greatly when he then easily captures all of them.
Jabba demands that Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Chewbacca die at the hands (or the mouth) of the Sarlacc, which can be described as a large mouth in the middle of the desert that has tentacles sticking out of it and is pretty hungry all the time. C-3PO then explains to Luke, Han, and Chewie that what will happen while they are in the belly of the Sarlacc: “You will find a new definition of pain and suffering as you are slowly digested over a thousand years.” Personally, we think they would likely die of hunger before they’d suffer pain for a thousand years, but that’s just our humble assessment.
The end for Jabba
Luke Skywalker has other plans, and just as he’s falling from the sail barge and into the Sarlacc, he catapults himself back up (talk about last second!) and fights to save himself and his friends. During the chaos, Princess Leia notices that Jabba’s best men are jumping from his barge onto the one where Luke is fighting. Leia, who is now chained in Jabba’s barge, takes advantage of the situation.
Having been made to be Jabba’s dance slave after being captured, Leia takes the chained leash that’s attached to her neck collar and wraps it around Jabba’s neck. With no guards there to help him, and with Jabba being fairly immobile, Leia strengthens the chain with all her might until it takes the last breath of the notorious gangster.
Jabba thus did not quite make it to old age for a Hutt, as he was only a little over 600 years old at the time of his death. His right hand man, Bib Fortuna, then takes over the Palace and becomes the new crime boss of Tatooine until he is easily killed by Boba Fett, as initially seen in the post-credits scene of episode 16 of The Mandalorian.
The irony of Jabba’s death is that he is a crime lord, double-crossing people and having many killed. Yet, none of his victims or family of his victims or friends of his victims or affiliated gangs of his victims manage to kill him. No bounty hunters or hired assassins manage to kill him. Nope. None of them.
However, a princess does.