Bounty hunters. In Star Wars, the Empire may want to pretend that they’re upstanding, or powerful enough to accomplish it's mission without them. But the Empire’s reach has limits. That’s why even Dark Lords of the Sith like Darth Vader hire bounty hunters to scour the darker, seedier corners of the galaxy.
Bounty hunting seems at times glamorous and other times treacherous. Plenty of beings try to take up the work but few of them ever rise to intergalactic prominence. Bossk was one such hunter who did achieve considerable success. He was one of only six bounty hunters in the entire galaxy that Darth Vader thought was capable of helping him track down and capture the Millennium Falcon, along with the likes of Boba Fett.
We only saw Bossk for a few brief moments during The Empire Strikes Back, but there are plenty other adventures this break out character embarked on in the Expanded Universe. Here are 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Bossk.
15 HIS EARLY LIFE AS A TRANDOSHAN
The Trandoshans are one of the nastiest species in Star Wars, at least compared to any normal sense of human decency or morality. They’re sentient reptilians with infrared sight and the ability to regenerate severed limbs. Such features applied to sentient beings influenced their cultural focus on strength and hardiness. The Hunt was their entire tradition and most of the named Trandoshan characters throughout Star Wars media are mercenaries, slavers and bounty hunters.
Bossk was born the son of Cradossk, who was the leader of the Bounty Hunter’s Guild. He was the first in his clutch to hatch from an egg and immediately after hatching, he devoured each of his unhatched siblings. This made Cradossk a proud father. Perhaps that was why Cradossk gave Bossk that name, since it means “devourers his prey” in the Trandoshan language, Dosh. Bossk began training to be a bounty hunter immediately. As had been Trandoshan custom for centuries, he began his career by hunting Wookiees. The long enmity between the two species would lead Bossk to indulge a long standing grudge against Chewbacca.
14 HE CARRIES QUITE THE ARSENAL
Trandoshans may have evolved to be natural hunters but that doesn’t mean they shy away from modern conventional weaponry. Bossk has a diverse arsenal he uses in his pursuit of his bounties. His favored weapon was his Relby-v10 micro grenade launcher. Based on a BlasTech Industries design, this weapon could carry up to 55 micro grenades, each with a blast radius of up to three meters. Since it also included a scope, Bossk could easily soften up targets with controlled explosive projectiles before capturing them.
Bossk also carried standard blasters as well as heaver weapons like thermal detonators and flame throwers. As Trandoshans were bulkier and stronger than most species on average, Bossk took full advantage of his physical power in confrontations as well. He is known to bodily hurl other sentient beings as weapons or distractions. He once lifted and threw another bounty hunter called Zuckuss at Boba Fett in order to waylay the latter.
13 HE PILOTS A SHIP CALLED THE HOUND’S TOOTH
Bossk, like a lot of the most badass characters in Star Wars, had his own cool ship. The ‘Hound’s Tooth’ was a modified Corellian Engineering Corporation YV-666 light freighter that Bossk acquired to serve as his mobile base of operations and living space. Bossk fitted it with a few extra weapons fit for a bounty hunting ship, including missile launchers and ion cannons. Several characters in Star Wars have described the interior of the ship. Apparently Bossk doesn’t mind leaving the mutilated corpses or pelts of his bounties laying around out in the open.
Bossk acquired his so called Hound’s Tooth after his previous freighter was destroyed by Han Solo. After a failed raid on the Wookiee colony of Gandolo IV by Bossk, Solo landed the Millennium Falcon on top of Bossk’s freighter and crushed it. Leave it to Han Solo to hinder and humiliate his adversaries so spectacularly. The Hound’s Tooth proved to be a much hardier, longer-serving ship.
12 HE IS THE MONARCH OF THE QOTILE SYSTEM
Bounty Hunting can grant the most successful hunters quite a lot of status in the Star Wars galaxy. The rewards for successful bounties don’t just come in the form of credits either. Aside from the notoriety that many famous bounty hunters accrued over their careers, some of them managed to win actual titles and positions of power.
The outer rim is full of unstable worlds where bounty hunters can operate with fewer effective laws, and fewer security forces, to impede their work. Qotile was one such system. In 44BBY, Qotile had been the site of the last battle of the Stark Hyperspace War and the surrounding system played host to most of the preceding conflict. We learn second hand in Marvel Comic’s Star Wars 67: The Darker that during the Galactic Civil War, Bossk had become the monarch of the Qotile system. He was granted the title after he captured the previous monarch for a bounty. We don’t get many details about what kind of ruler he was.
11 HE ONCE CAPTURED LUKE SKYWALKER
In the Star Wars Legends Novel Rebel Force: Renegade, Jabba puts a bounty on Luke Skywalker that Bossk takes up. Mostly he accepted it because he heard that Luke was a friend of Han Solo and Chewbacca and would take any excuse to act on his hatred of Wookiees.
Skywalker, Leia, C-3PO and R2D2 were all travelling to Tatooine to attend the funeral of Biggs Darklighter who had been killed by Darth Vader in the Battle of Yavin. After the funeral, Luke went to take part in a swoop race with his friend Jaxson, but Bossk sabotaged their speeders to make them explode. He bound Luke and Jaxson together and carried them off into the Jundland wastes. They awoke while gagged and Bossk gloated over them for a moment before Luke used his lightsaber to escape and cut off Bossk’s arm and leg.
Bossk’s limbs regrew, to Luke’s surprise, and the hunter confronted the young Jedi again in the Mos Eisley cantina. Luke ultimately bested Bossk again and escaped.
10 HE UNWITTINGLY HELPED FREE WOOKIEES
When Darth Vader included Bossk in his hand-picked bounty hunters to find the Millenium Falcon, Bossk took several leads to find the elusive ship and its wanted crew. He was approached, rather unexpectedly, by a Wookiee bounty hunter, Chenlambec and his human apprentice Tinian I’att. Despite the fact that Chen was a Wookiee bounty hunter, they managed to convince Bossk that they could lead him to the Millenium Falcon, and make himself a ‘killing’ off hunting Wookiees on Lomabu III.
The truth was that Chen and Tinian wanted to hoodwink Bossk and get him entrapped by the Empire for illegal Wookiiee pelting. They trapped Bossk in a meatlocker, attacked an Imperial Wookiee prison and used Bossk’s own ship to extract hundreds of Wookiees and deliver them to the Rebellion. One of the Imperials who acquired Bossk wanted to make a coat out of the trandoshan’s hide for his wife, but Bossk escaped that humiliating fate.
9 BOSSK AND BOBA FETT HAVE A LONG RIVALRY
Bounty hunters are naturally competitive. They’re always angling for the highest profile bounties and sometimes they come into conflict, even attempting to kill each other to secure the rewards for themselves. Bossk and Boba Fett have had one of the tensest rivalries of this kind. Fett’s status as the greatest Bounty Hunter of his day was long contested by several other hunters, including Bossk. But often times, the great hunters had to team up to take on the toughest bounties.
On one such occasion, Bossk teamed up with Fett to track down a rogue Stormtrooper Trhin Voss’on’t, albeit with reservations. Bossk decided to capture Fett on his own ship the Slave 1, but Fett was prepared for this. He had roped in another bounty hunter, Zuckuss, to side with him against Bossk. Then Fett double crossed Zuckuss and ditched both him and Bossk in an escape pod, keeping the bounty all to himself.
8 HE ONCE BESTED BOBA FETT
Bossk found himself forced out of his own ship again by Boba Fett when he discovered a time delayed bomb on the Hound’s Tooth. Then he found another similar bomb in his escape pod. He frantically tried to disarm it until it went off, without exploding. He realized that Fett had tricked Bossk into vacating his ship and stolen it.
Bossk crash landed on Tatooine and went about tracking Fett, who had somehow survived falling into the sarlacc pit. He luckily still had important evidence stolen from Slave 1 and used it to lure Boba Fett into a confrontation in the Mos Eisley Cantina. Bossk held his own against Fett this time. He refused to give up the evidence even with Fett’s blaster pointed at his head. Fett finally conceded, and transferred a large sum of credits to Bossk’s account in exchange for the evidence returned. Bossk was able to leverage the notoriety of beating Boba Fett to quickly regain his prestige in the Bounty Hunting circles.
7 IN THE NEW CONTINUITY, HE MENTORED BOBA FETT
In the Star Wars The Clone Wars TV show Bossk was already a fearsome bounty hunter during the time of the clone wars. At one point he teamed up with fellow famous hunters Aura Sing and Castas to aid the young Boba Fett on his vengeful vendetta against Jedi master Mace Windu. Boba sabotaged the engines on the Republic Attack Cruiser Endurance and made it crash on the planet Vanqor, and the trio of more experienced hunters swooped in to take valuable hostages.
Boba still had his father’s Slave 1 ship, which Bossk was left in charge of while he watched over the hostage republic officers. The Padawan Ahsoka Tano foiled their plans, resulting in both Boba and Bossk’s capture by the Republic. Bossk looked after Boba until they had the chance to escape. Later on Boss would in turn join Fett’s own syndicate of Bounty Hunters and carry out missions alongside Asajj Ventress.
6 HE WAS REVEALED BEFORE THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK PREMIERE
The totally unexpected, unprecedented success of Star Wars encouraged Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox to ramp up their modest merchandising campaign before the release of Episode 5. This included promotional mail in fliers for certain new characters.
Kenner Toys was one of the only toy companies that agreed to produce Star Wars action figures and other toys prior to A New Hope’s release. After A New Hope, they made a killing with their exclusive rights to a suddenly hot property. One of their promotions included collecting the proofs of purchase from current Star Wars action figures and mailing them in. If fans could collect and mail in four proofs of purchase with their name and address, they could get a “Secret Star Wars Action Figure” from the upcoming Star Wars Episode 5 mailed back. One of those characters included Bossk, complete with moveable arms, legs and head! The mail away promotion also included a flier card describing Bossk’s role in Empire Strikes Back.
5 HE WAS PORTRAYED BY ALAN HARRIS IN EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
Alan Harris is a British Actor who portrayed several minor characters throughout the Original Star Wars Trilogy. In A New Hope, he played one of Princess Leia’s rebel escorts and later a rebel mechanic during the war room scene on Yavin IV. In addition to the fearsome Bossk, Harris also played Merril in Empire Strikes Back, one of the guards on Cloud City. In all three movies in the original trilogy, Harris also played one of the anonymous Stormtroopers as well.
His contributions to Star Wars didn’t stop there. For Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi he served as a double for C-3PO. He also was the design model for the Boba Fett costume and the body model for the carbonite block of Han Solo that was carted around and taken into Fett’s custody. Years later he even worked as a stand in for Terence Stamp, who played Supreme Chancellor Valorum in Phantom Menace.
4 THERE IS A BOSSK EASTER EGG IN STAR WARS THE OLD REPUBLIC
In the MMO Star Wars The Old Republic, both the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire factions have fleets that serve as bases of operations to the factioned players. Each Fleet has a Flagship and the Empire’s Flagship is called Ziost’s Shadow.
What does this have to do with Bossk? We all remember the scene where Bossk was introduced to the big screen in Empire Strikes Back. He was one of the bounty hunters skilled enough to be summoned by Darth Vader for the task of capturing the Millenium Falcon. The scene took place aboard a Star Destroyer. In SWTOR, on the Ziost Shadow, Players can find a similar scene set up to that one from Empire. There’s a Sith Lord in full armor, including a breather mask, standing before a group of six apparent bounty hunters. Each of them seem to be a counterpart to the six Vader called on in Empire, including the Trandoshan, who even has a similar costume and skin tone to Bossk.
3 HE WAS VOICED BY DEE BRADLEY BAKER IN STAR WARS THE CLONE WARS
Dee Bradley Baker is one of the many voice actors that fans don’t know they know by the sound of his voice. He was a crucial member of the voice cast for Star Wars The Clone Wars. Arguably his biggest voice acting contribution to the show was serving as the voice for all the clone troopers in the series, since they were all clones after all. In addition he voiced numerous other minor or one shot characters throughout the Clone Wars and Rebels, including Bossk in the former.
Dee Bradley Baker was also the voice of Bossk when he was released as an Imperial Hero in the Star Wars Battlefront DLC. He also voiced one of the alien villagers who was executed by the First Order in the opening sequence of The Force Awakens.
Besides voice acting in Star Wars, Baker has done voice work for other TV shows, like Phineas and Ferb, Avatar: The Last Airbender and Spongebob Squarepants. He’s also done more video game voice acting for Halo 2, Halo 3 and Portal 2.
2 HE APPEARED IN THE STAR WARS REBELS NOVEL, EZRA’S GAMBLE
The Legends continuity made Bossk out to be typically amoral and ruthless for a Trandoshan bounty hunter. His characterization got some significant changes in the new continuity when Bossk featured as a main character in the 2014 YA novel Ezra’s Gamble, by Ryder Winham.
Bossk is tracking a bounty on a Dug criminal named Gronson “Shifty” Takkaro on the Planet Lothal, where the orphaned street urchin Ezra Bridger makes his way as a con. He passes himself off as a local guide to Bossk. The two of them get entangled in several sticky situations across the planets, involving the local gangs, Stormtroopers and plenty of corrupt officials and Imperials. Ezra offers his assistance to Bossk in serval ingenious ways, including patching up blaster wounds, hiding him in his makeshift home, and pretending to be his guide while Bossk feigned being a blind invalid.
Bossk ultimately stiffed Ezra his fair reward, but otherwise, he didn’t mistreat or abuse the local street urchin.
1 HIS COSTUME WAS INSPIRED BY RAF PILOTS
There’s quite a lot in George Lucas’s Star Wars inspired by real world aerial combat. Lucas famously used WWII reels as rough animatics for the dog fights between the X-wings and TIE fighters in A New Hope.
But some of the costumes were inspired by real life flight suits as well. The suit that Bossk wears in Empire Strikes Back is in fact an unmodified 'High-Altitude Windak Pressure Suit' developed in 1962 by Baxter, Woodhouse and Taylor Ltd. for the British Royal Air Force. The cartridges strapped around Bossk’s legs are flare gun cartridges similar to those worn by German Luftwaffe pilots in WWII. The piloting suits that we see Rebel pilots wear throughout the original trilogy were also based on similar designs with similar accessories.
The exact same costume was also warn by a totally different character in A New Hope. In the Mos Eisley Cantina scene, you can clearly see him introducing Obi-Wan Kenobi to Chewbacca.
Are there any other tidbits you've dug up on Bossk? Let us know in the comments!