WARNING: The following contains spoilers for The Book of Boba Fett, "Chapter 3: The Streets of Mos Espa," now streaming on Disney+.
Prior to his triumphant return in Season 2 of The Mandalorian, Boba Fett was a controversial figure in the Star Wars franchise. Seen as a character with more style than substance, it took a lot of legwork from both the Prequel Trilogy and The Clone Wars to humanize Boba after his lackluster stint in the Original Trilogy. However, with The Book of Boba Fett, a whole new side of the character is being unearthed, and in the process, the show is working to redeem another controversial piece of the franchise: the Star Wars Holiday Special.
Set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, the Star Wars Holiday Special is arguably the most controversial piece of Star Wars media, with even George Lucas himself wishing it didn't exist. However, while it is no longer considered canon, the special still had some lasting effects. Starring the series' main cast but mainly focusing on Han Solo and Chewbacca traveling to Kashyyyk to celebrate Life Day, the Star Wars Holiday Special features a segment that sees the crew searching for a talisman when they run into Boba Fett, who made his debut in the special. Boba is riding a massive creature known as the Paar's ichthyodont, and this is where The Book of Boba Fett comes in.
In "The Streets of Mos Espa," Boba receives a visit from the Twin Hutts, who want to apologize for sending their assassin Black Krrsantan to kill Tatooine's new daimyo. And as a token of their remorse, they give Boba a young rancor, seeing as Jabba's Palace was without one since Pateesa's death in Return of the Jedi. Boba accepts the gift but has different plans for the creature than his predecessor.
While speaking with the rancor's handler, played by Danny Trejo, Boba learns that the Witches of Dathomir would ride the creatures instead of using them for battle. This revelation piques Boba's interest, and he decides that, rather than use the rancor to instill fear, he will learn to ride it while forming a bond. The handler admires the daimyo's passion but informs him that the process will be difficult, which leads Boba to prove his worthiness. He explains that he has ridden creatures "ten times" the size of a rancor, seemingly confirming that, in the past, he came across the Paar's ichthyodont.
Of course, it's unclear if the events of the Holiday Special played out in the same way, as Boba has never openly discussed his run-in with the Rebels on Panna Prime. Regardless, The Book of Boba Fett referencing the Paar's ichthyodont proves the franchise's willingness to learn from its past. Other aspects of the Holiday Special, such as Boba's tuning-fork weapon, already returned to canon via ancillary materials and projects like The Mandalorian, so it may just be a matter of time until the rest of the special receives recognition.
To see Boba callback to the Star Wars Holiday Special, The Book of Boba Fett is streaming now on Disney+.
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