How did Boba Fett manage to get Han Solo's Carbonite frozen body all the way from Cloud City to Jabba the Hutt's palace on Tatooine between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi? There's a story there, and after 41 years it's finally being told.(opens in new tab)
That journey is being told across a new comic book event taking place this summer from Marvel Comics called Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters. The "war" is over the prized frozen body of Han Solo, which would get a wealthy bounty for whomever ends up being the one to deliver it to Jabba the Hutt. And just like in some of the arcs of Disney Plus's The Mandalorian, a delivery is never simple.
Spoilers ahead for Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters Alpha.
Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters Alpha (opens in new tab) opens just after the closing moments of Empire Strikes Back, with Boba Fett updating Jabba the Hutt's right-hand man Bib Fortuna that the "package" has been retrieved and is on its way. During the call, however, an alarm on the Carbonite chamber goes off
"What's that sound? An alarm?" Fortuna asks.
"I'll call you back," Fett answers.
"You'll ... what?" Jabba's minion asks, incredulously.(opens in new tab)
Boba Fett inspects the Carbonite chamber more closely, and sees that Solo appears to be not thawing out, but melting. That's not good, for Han or Boba.
"Nothing's ever simple," Fett quips.
Jumping forward a bit, Boba has taken Han Solo's Carbonite chamber to a Besalisk guy he knows on Nar Shaddaa (The Smuggler's Moon) called Doc Ragon. Ragon figures out the problem - the "Carbonite matrix" is unstable - probably due to it freezing live cargo, which was warned against even in Empire Strikes Back.
Doc Ragon can fix it, but he needs the money upfront. Boba, displaying a bit of Han Solo's own negotiating skills from the original Star Wars, says he doesn't have the money but can get it from Jabba once the delivery has been made. Doc Ragon won't accept that but offers an alternative in lieu of payment: killing an arena fighter named Wyrmen Lictor that cost him dearly on a bet gone wrong.(opens in new tab)
Problem is, Wyrmen Lictor works for the Hutts that control the Outer Rim planet of Nar Kanji, where the arena is based. Wyrmen Lictor's also a vicious fighter, from a spider-like race seemingly similar to the Harch.
Stuck between a rock and a hard place, Boba Fett agrees to kill Wyrmen Lictor - and to enter the arena games in order to get to her. Since Boba Fett is a known commodity within the Star Wars universe (and he's already known to be transporting Han Solo), he decides to go in disguise with a little bit of black paint and the fake name of Jango Fett - his father.
While it might seem at first to be a little bit unusual, this is no coincidence: Boba Fett is entering into an arena battle. Jango Fett died in an arena by coming out on the losing side of a battle with Mace Windu in Attack of the Clones - and a then-young Boba witnessed it all, even to the point of cradling his father's helmet after he was beheaded.(opens in new tab)
Back to Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters Alpha, Boba (as Jango) enters the Nar Kanji arena games, and after four successful rounds against some unique-looking foes with names like Johnny the Sting, Skullicon, and Bigbot, he's won a shot against Wyrmen Lictor.
The battle begins with Wyrmen Lictor already having the upper hand: the arena changes with each battle 'at random,' but for this battle, it is designed similar to the "homeweb" Wyrmen Lictor is used to. To use a sports analogy, she's got the literal home-field advantage.
Without going into too much detail, Boba Fett wins with that trusty flamethrower - but not before being impaled by one of Wyrmen Lictor's pointy spider-legs.(opens in new tab)
After winning the battle, the Kanji Hutts hold back his winnings in an attempt to get him to replace her and become their new arena fighter. Fett demurs, as he was only there to kill Wyrmen Lictor, and walks off. But I doubt it's the last we'll see of them.
Meanwhile back at Doc Ragnon's place, Han Solo's Carbonite chamber has been stolen by a shadowy figure and a couple of henchmen. Doc Ragon tries to prevent them from doing so, but ends up killed by blaster.(opens in new tab) (opens in new tab)
By the time Boba Fett gets there, Han Solo and the shadowy villains are gone. It's just at this moment that Bib Fortuna calls for an update - with Jabba the Hutt listening in, menacingly.
"I'm not going to disappoint him. I'm on the way but... tell Jabba... it's gonna be a minute."
The story continues next week in Star Wars #13 (opens in new tab), where Luke and Chewbacca catch wind of Boba (and Han) being on Nar Shaddaa. The story continues weekly through various Marvel/Star Wars comic books until the end of October.
Keep track of this event and ALL the new Star Wars comics, graphic novels, and collections coming in 2021 and beyond.