Star Wars fans tend to know their trivia about a galaxy far, far, away, but Boba Fett‘s first appearance in the franchise might shock even the nerdiest among us.
Was it Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, one of the best Star Wars movies yet? Nope. His 1978 animated appearance on The Star Wars Holiday Special, then? Even earlier than that. Hold on to your jetpacks; the bounty hunter first showed up at a parade on September 24, 1978.
We know the Empire’s goons like to strut their stuff in crisp white spaceship halls, but Boba’s catwalk was the streets of San Francisco. He participated in the San Anselmo Country Fair parade, at a point when marathoning the Star Wars movies in order was just a twinkle in George Lucas’s eye.
He was marching next to the best Star Wars villain, Darth Vader, as he would be in new movies that followed. Unlike in those, though, the man in the suit was (at the time) assistant film editor Duwayne Dunham.
He told starwars.com, “The only reason I ever put that uniform on is because I was the right size. When the guys brought it over from England, George [Lucas] said, ‘Put it on.’ Then it got aged up to George’s liking… I don’t even know how it came about, but someone thought with the movie coming up that the parade would be a good idea.”
Turns out, it’s less of a good idea when you’re the one actually in the cool armor, “it was incredibly hot. I’m not just talking about the suit, I’m saying that day in San Anselmo was really hot. It could have been 100 degrees.”
“I think we were at the head of the parade. And Vader, he stands out. I don’t know what people thought of me. Nobody knew about Boba Fett at that point,” he continued. “The two of us were about to die at that point. Sweat was just pouring [Laughs]. I remember telling [producer] Gary Kurtz: ‘Gary, I gotta get out of this suit or I’m going to pass out!’ We were drenched.”
Despite the heat, Dunham, who would go on to direct two episodes of The Clone Wars animated series, looks back fondly at Boba’s evolution. “Everybody had high, high hopes because Boba was such a cool-looking costume. Outside of Vader, it was the best.”
Dunham hoped Boba would live on with the most popular Star Wars characters, “I was looking for another character kind of on the level of Han Solo. But for some reason, it just didn’t pan out as George had imagined, and then came Jedi, it was ‘throw him in the Sarlaac pit!'”
“We kinda mounted a protest saying ‘You can’t do that to Boba Fett! He’s deserving of more!’ But they threw him in… and as you know, fans have never let him die.” We haven’t, and for good reason.
Even though his solo venture was the worst of the Star Wars series so far, it’s safe to say Boba has earned his legacy: decades later, people are wondering if The Book of Boba Fett season 2 is going to happen. From parades to movies, comic books, and his spot in Dave Filoni’s takeover, you can’t keep this bounty hunter down.