To this day, Star Wars fans mourn that Boba Fett exited the saga with so little fanfare. But that was not originally the case.
After making his debut in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, it seemed as if the masked and mysterious bounty hunter was set to play a much larger role in the follow-up, Return of the Jedi. But shockingly, Fett was out of the picture within the first half hour, consigned to being slowly digested for 1,000 years in the belly of the Sarlacc during the rescue of Han Solo from the clutches of Jabba the Hut.
If it seemed as if that was an anticlimactic death for a character with so much potential, that's because it apparently was. One-time Lucasfilm employee Craig Miller, who was the company's first fan relations officer, revealed in a new interview with Inverse that, had George Lucas stuck to his plan of making nine films (down from his initial idea of 12), Return of the Jedi would have been a much different film:
“Originally Boba Fett was set up in Empire as a character, and the third movie’s plot was going to be more about Boba Fett rescuing Han Solo and all of that. Boba was gonna be the main villain… That was set up, why he was taking Han Solo away, why there was a thing with him in the Christmas special.
“When George decided not to make a third trilogy, he completely jettisoned that story line, which is why in the first ten minutes, Boba Fett gets bumped into and falls into the mouth of a giant monster. So he took what was planned for the third trilogy, which was the confrontation between Luke and Darth Vader, and the battle with the Emperor, and that got squished down from three movies to one movie. And that became the plot of Jedi."
So, the search for Solo would have been the focus of Episode VI, with Boba Fett as the big bad, while the final battle between Luke, his father and Emperor Palpatine would have been the main focus of Episodes VII, VIII and IX -- movies that Lucas ended up never making.
We'll never know how those films might have turned out, but one thing's for sure: Boba Fett has remained popular despite his quick and unspectacular demise. He's been resurrected in books, his "father" played a role in the prequels, and there's a chance we might see an entire Star Wars anthology film devoted to him -- George Lucas might have intended to just kill him off, but for the fans, the bounty hunter lives on.