Star Wars had already given Boba Fett a history, and even a real name, but George Lucas changed it for the Prequel Trilogy. Most modern viewers were introduced to Boba Fett in The Empire Strikes Back, where he's the most dangerous of Darth Vader's bounty hunters, but in truth Lucas had already primed audiences to believe he was big news.
The 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special featured a brief glimpse of Boba Fett, and in 1979 Kenner Toys released an action figure of the bounty hunter. They teased that he would have an important role in the upcoming Star Wars sequel, and carefully avoided giving away any details, which made the toy something of a hot item. This pre-viral marketing approach paid off, and as a result Boba Fett's role in The Empire Strikes Back served only to whet audience's appetites. Unfortunately, Lucas changed plans; he'd originally intended Boba to be a major villain in Return of the Jedi, but decided to wrap the whole trilogy up instead. Boba Fett was relegated to a brief return, and a death that can only be described as a pratfall.
Naturally, this was an entirely unsatisfactory state of affairs, and as a result the Star Wars Expanded Universe chose to flesh Boba Fett out in the 1990s. Kevin J. Anderson recruited Daniel Keys Moran to write a Boba Fett novella for an anthology focused on Star Wars' bounty hunters, and Moran penned a short story called "Last Man Standing." This explored Boba Fett's history and revealed his real name; Jaster Mereel.
"Last Man Standing" used a series of flashbacks to establish Boba Fett's character and backstory in Star Wars. It revealed that Jaster Mereel had been a lawman on his homeworld, but his unusually strong moral code got him in trouble when he killed a corrupt superior office. Expelled for his crime, he took to becoming a bounty hunter in order to take down the galaxy's criminals, and he chose the name "Boba Fett" in order to get a fresh start. Han Solo was something of a nemesis, a lowlife Boba hated, meaning his mission for Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back was deeply personal. The Star Wars anthologies were hugely successfully, and Moran frequently described "Last Man Standing" as the story he was most proud of. It came to define Boba Fett for an entire generation of Star Wars fans.
And then George Lucas returned to Star Wars for the Prequel Trilogy. There was no way the imaginative Lucas was going to be bound by the Expanded Universe, and he seems to have wanted to write his own version of Boba Fett's backstory from the start. In fact, according to some reports, he considered making Boba Fett the younger brother of Anakin Skywalker, and Luke and Leia's uncle. That idea was shelved, and instead he wove them into the Clone Wars. As revealed in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Boba Fett was a young clone of his "father," Jango Fett, who had been created by the Kaminoans. And Boba Fett, far from being an alias, was indeed the name Jango had given him.
The Star Wars Expanded Universe implemented a confused retcon that Jaster Mereel was actually a completely different person, a real Mandalorian from the planet of Concord Dawn, and his story continued in Karen Traviss' novels. Ironically, in the end even those books became problematic when George Lucas decided to revisit the Mandalorians too, as part of the Clone Wars animated series. When Disney took over Lucasfilm, they decided to erase all the old Expanded Universe continuity, and Jaster Mereel was forgotten - probably forever. Boba Fett himself doesn't have a Star Wars future right now, with a spinoff film shelved and confirmation that Boba Fett doesn't even appear in The Mandalorian.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019