Ever since his embarrassing defeat in Return of the Jedi, Star Wars fans have wished to see Boba Fett escape from the sarlacc. The Legends continuity famously has the fan-favorite Mandalorian bounty hunter return in Dark Empire, but the bounty hunter actually escaped the sarlacc in a 1984 issue of Marvel’s Star Wars comics, preceding Dark Empire by nearly a decade. Both stories are part of the Star Wars Legends continuity, and both served as inspiration for Boba Fett’s fate in the current Star Wars canon, as shown in The Book of Boba Fett.
The Star Wars Expanded Universe, which is now the alternate continuity called Legends, has existed as long as the Star Wars films themselves (and technically precede them, since A New Hope’s novelization was released in 1976). Capitalizing on the pop culture-defining Star Wars films, Marvel Comics published canonical stories set before, between, and after the events of the original trilogy, supplementing the characters and lore of the films and allowing Star Wars fans to explore a galaxy far, far away outside of the movies. The writers and artists of Marvel’s Star Wars stories took continuity seriously and ensured that character trajectories and storylines coincided with the films, having story ideas vetoed, altered, or suggested by Lucasfilm for continuity’s sake.
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Boba Fett’s first Legends-era escape from the sarlacc is revealed in issue 81 of Marvel’s Star Wars, by Mary Jo Duffy and Ron Frenz. Having used his jetpack to propel himself out of the creature, Fett crawls through the Dune Sea with severe amnesia. Fett is captured by Jawas (who mistake him for a droid) and by the end of the issue, he encounters Han Solo and Leia Organa again inside the Jawas’ Sandcrawler as it heads for the Great Pit of Carkoon. Solo attempts to save the amnesiac Fett, but the bounty hunter regains his memories and attacks Solo, preventing his own rescue and ending up back in the sarlacc. Fett would escape the sarlacc for good less than a year later, with both stories later inspiring his survival in the canon continuity.
Why Boba Fett Ended Up Back In The Sarlacc Pit
Boba Fett’s first Legends-era escape from the sarlacc in Marvel’s Star Wars #81.
Despite his relatively little screen time and dialogue in the original trilogy, Boba Fett is extremely popular among Star Wars viewers, and considering his underwhelming defeat in Return of the Jedi, his return was inevitable. The seemingly odd choice to have him fall into the sarlacc by the end of the issue, however, might have been motivated by the Marvel creatives’ hesitancy to potentially alter the films’ narrative so drastically. Lucasfilm forbade the Marvel creatives from creating another Death Star before the events of Return of the Jedi and they insisted that Darth Vader’s interactions with the movie heroes be limited, especially in regards to lightsaber duels. Boba Fett got to appear after Return of the Jedi, but the Legends continuity would not have him back for good until the fourth issue of Dark Empire in 1992.
Boba Fett falls back into the sarlacc in Marvel’s Star Wars #81.
Boba Fett’s potential escape from the sarlacc would once again be uncertain when the Legends continuity became an alternate timeline in 2014. Fett’s survival would be confirmed in the new canon by The Mandalorian’s second season and shown in the pilot episode of The Book of Boba Fett. While Boba Fett’s canon escape from the sarlacc involves him being found by Jawas like the first Star Wars Legends story, he lacks amnesia and never falls back into the Pit of Carkoon like the second instance.