canon fodder

Ohhhh, So That’s How Boba Fett Escaped the Sarlacc

Photo: Francois Duhamel/Lucasfilm Ltd

The first episode of Disney+’s The Book of Boba Fett fills in some very important missing chapters from the history of its title character, and in doing so, it incorporates some lore from outside the current canon of Star Wars films and television series. For a generation or two, it was presumed that Boba Fett died in the Sarlacc pit into which he fell in the opening act of 1983’s Return of the Jedi, never to be seen again. When he resurfaced at the end of the second-season premiere of The Mandalorian, many fans discovered for the first time that he had in fact escaped that sand-covered demise. Now The Book of Boba Fett has gone in depth, revealing through flashback precisely how he climbed his way to safety, further captivity, and eventual leadership.

For decades, fans were left to imagine the horrors that awaited those sacrificed to the Sarlacc after hearing the words of Jabba the Hutt: “In his belly, you will find a new definition of pain and suffering as you are slowly digested over a thousand years.” So those who aren’t well versed in non-movie-canon may be surprised to discover that the inside of a Sarlacc pit seems relatively benign in the premiere of The Book of Boba Fett. Sure, it looks a little cramped and like someplace no one would want to hang out for centuries, but there’s little in the way of active, painful digestion happening. The explanation for why that is comes from Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy of novels, which revealed that the Sarlacc was fatally wounded after Jabba’s sail barge crashed into it. So the creature from which Boba Fett escapes in the Disney+ show is a dead one, which is kind of clear by its inactivity but not emphasized by the episode itself.

We see Boba Fett wake up in the belly of the beast and spot a dead stormtrooper. Running low on oxygen, Boba Fett uses the dead soldier’s oxygen supply to replenish his own and fires his flamethrower to burst through the side of the Sarlacc like a creature coming out of John Hurt’s stomach in Alien. He pushes his way through the desert sand and emerges on the surface of Tatooine. And just like that, you have a resurrected bounty hunter ready to lead his own series!

There are minor differences here between the Wendig book Aftermath: Life Debt and what we see in “Chapter One: Stranger in a Strange Land,” written by Jon Favreau and directed by Robert Rodriguez. In the book, the barge crash basically damages the Sarlacc in a way that allows Boba Fett to escape. In this show, it’s not referenced in the dialogue-free first act, leading to the sense that he simply used his firepower and strength to climb out of the creature.

There’s another connection here between The Mandalorian and Aftermath concerning the fate of Boba Fett’s armor after surviving the Sarlacc. As viewers learned in The Mandalorian, he lost his precious uniform along the way, and the premiere of The Book of Boba Fett again turns to Aftermath for the details, presenting Jawas finding Boba Fett’s body, presuming him dead, and taking it off his body. We don’t get as far as seeing them sell it to Timothy Olyphant, but we know that’s what eventually happens.

It’s worth noting that the Wendig-Favreau version of Boba Fett’s escape diverges slightly from other attempts this universe has made to resurrect one of its most beloved characters. In an early comic book, Boba Fett merely flew out of the Sarlacc before plummeting back into it at the end. In another, he formed a psychic bond with the Sarlacc and used that to basically trick his captor into enabling his escape. When Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012, these stories became something called “Legends,” relegating them to non-canon status and leaving The Book of Boba Fett to pen the final word.

Ohhhh, So That’s How Boba Fett Escaped the Sarlacc