Boba Fett is a legendary character in Star Wars, but he’s equally famous for how he died by accidentally getting knocked into the Sarlaac Pit by Han Solo in Return of the Jedi. Or at least, that was how he died, up until it was retconned in Tales from Jabba’s Palace, an anthology of short stories centered around the characters appearing in the gangster’s sky barge. Tales was released in 1995, twelve years after Return of the Jedi, and one of its featured stories was A Barve Like That: The Tale of Boba Fett, written by Daniel Keys Moran.
A Barve Like That featured Fett’s escape from the Great Pit of Carkoon and was the foundation for his appearance in other Extended Universe works. Since all Extended Universe works were declared as noncanonical by Disney in 2015 (in order to clear the slate for Episodes 7, 8 and 9), Fett is currently considered to still have died in that pit.
But Star Wars‘ favorite bounty hunter is set to return to the land of the living again soon. It was recently reported that Fett is set to appear in the second season of The Mandalorian, which means the show will need a way to explain how he escaped so many years ago. So let’s look back at the 1995 short story, and breakdown how exactly the bounty hunter cheated death the first time.
A Barve Like That opens with Fett buried inside the digestive system of the Sarlaac and speaking to a mysterious voice, which causes him to experience flashbacks to events in his past. These interstitial flashbacks cover Fett’s journey from Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back to Jabba’s palace in Return of the Jedi, and also give some insight into the bounty hunter’s personality and motivations. In between these retellings, Fett manages to discover that the voice belongs to Susejo, a telepathic being ingested by the Sarlaac many years ago. Susejo has bonded with the Sarlaac and has a symbiotic relationship with it.
Conversing with Susejo, Fett asks why the Sarlaac hasn’t killed him yet. The telepath responds by recounting a story it heard from a Jedi the Sarlaac consumed many years ago. A traveler visits a farm and sees a five-legged barve, a domesticated species with six legs raised for their meat. The traveler asks the farmer why the barve has a leg amputated, and the farmer responds that the creature is able to talk, fly a speeder and even watch the farmer’s kids. The traveler then repeats his question and the farmer replies with the punchline to the story — “you don’t eat a barve like that all at once!” This quote makes up the title to the story and also explains why the Sarlaac ingests its prey so slowly. It savors its food, extracting stories and experiences from their mind as it devours their physical body.
While Fett comes to the horrific realization of the exact situation he’s in, he manages to get the upper hand, tossing insult after insult at the Susejo, and angering him greatly. Doing this causes the Sarlaac to fluctuate wildly since the two are bonded. The bounty hunter manages to get a foot free, and he pushes his back into the wall, triggering the same switch that Han did when pushing Fett in. The jetpack firing constantly in such a small space causes it to explode, freeing the rest of his body. Before long, the bounty hunter is able to blast his way out of the pit with his grenade launcher. The story ends with Fett nearly dead, crawling out of the pit and walking off into the desert.
While A Barve Like That is a fantastically written story that most Star Wars fans have never even heard of, it made it clear that how Fett escaped really didn’t matter. The story manages to give depth to a character who has virtually no characterization in the Original Trilogy, despite being beloved by its fanbase. Those fans can only hope that The Mandalorian will manage the same feat when it features the galaxy’s most feared bounty hunter in Season 2.
Created by Jon Favreau, The Mandalorian stars Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, Carl Weathers and Giancarlo Esposito. Season 1 is available now on Disney+, with Season 2 premiering in October.
With Boba Fett is returning in The Mandalorian Season 2, let's look at how he originally escaped the Sarlacc Pit after Return of the Jedi.