What was Boba Fett’s first ‘Star Wars’ appearance?

book of boba fett
Image via Lucasfilm/Disney

Forty years after a few brief appearances in the original Star Wars trilogy established a huge following, fan-favorite Boba Fett has finally landed his own Disney Plus series. The Book of Boba Fett started streaming weekly on December 29, 2021, a culmination of four decades of novels, comics, and expanded universe stories that have kept him at the front of the franchise.

Much of that was removed from canon when Disney cleaned up Lucasfilm continuity in 2014. In the current streamlined Star Wars canon, that leaves the chance to officially rewrite Boba Fett’s past and every possibility of a bright future for one of the most feared bounty hunters in a galaxy far, far away. Not bad going for a character who only had four lines (and a scream) in the original trilogy.

But where did Boba Fett come from, and what was his first appearance in Star Wars?

When did Boba Fett first appear?

Boba_Fett_Holiday_Special

Boba Fett deserves all the praise he gets considering he was one of the few characters to emerge with any credit from 1978’s Star Wars Holiday Special. That feature-length special might be the most notorious misstep in popular sci-fi. It took the phenomenon that Star Wars had unleashed a year before and wrapped it around a goofball comedy about Chewbacca’s family. It risked undermining the burgeoning franchise so much it was never broadcast again. The only slice of it acknowledged as canon, earning it a spot on Disney Plus, is a short cartoon segment called The Story of the Faithful Wookiee.

And that’s where fans first met Boba Fett. Despite making it out of the Holiday Special, it wasn’t a promising start. Even though the bounty hunter has changed slightly over the years, his introduction established the bad luck that would dog him throughout the saga. 

The Faithful Wookiee and beyond

Boba Fett

In his animated debut, Boba Fett met the crew of the Millennium Falcon while secretly working for the Empire and in direct communication with Darth Vader. But his complicated attempts to betray Luke Skywalker after befriending him were defeated by R2D2 and Chewbacca. 

By the time of his following and first live-action appearance in The Empire Strikes Back, the bounty hunter had bounced back from his earlier disappointment. However, his new plans to betray the rebels to the Empire and deliver Han Solo to Jabba the Hutt were almost ruined when Darth Vader insisted on testing carbonite freezing on the rebel captain. Fett may have considered it a job well done when Solo was trapped in Jabba’s Palace until Luke Skywalker – it would be him again – arrived on a rescue mission. Return of the Jedi left Jabba’s crime syndicate in tatters and consigned the bounty hunter of few words to an undignified death in the Sarlacc Pit. Or that’s how it looked.

Boba Fett didn’t have much to say in the original trilogy, and that wasn’t the only change to the character between his cartoon debut and 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back. The animated bounty hunter had been based on concepts of a Mandalorian race devised for the next feature but never used. By the time he made it to the screen, Fett’s armor was duller, and he was far less eager to chat. One thing that didn’t change was the helmet fastened to his head at all times. 

Boba Fett’s Return

the book of boba fett
Photo via Disney

The next time (in film release order) we saw Boba Fett was as a boy in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. We found out what he looked like under his helmet, his bounty hunting legacy, and a surprising link to the Clone Wars. It’s quite a revelation to find that young Boba is a clone, taken unaltered from one of the many batches of the Grand Army of the Republic’s army as payment for Jango Fett, who provided the genetic template. During the battle of Geonosis later in the film, young Boba sees his ‘father’ beheaded by Mace Windo, setting his destiny and run of luck in motion.

Boba Fett remained a fan favorite despite arguably suffering some of the worst luck in Star Wars. After soaring back to the franchise in The Mandalorian, the bounty hunter is poised to take over Jabba’s empire, having somehow survived a hideous death in the Sarlacc Pit. 

Something tells us Boba Fett’s going to have a rough ride of it as a crime lord, but there’s still plenty more to learn about this enigmatic bounty hunter. 

The Book of Boba Fett is streaming now on Disney Plus.