Investigative journalist solves decades-old Star Wars mystery

Contributed by
Feb 12, 2016, 6:52 PM EST (Updated)

He had a tiny role in the original Star Wars, but like just about every character who exists in George Lucas’ sandbox, the mysterious BoShek has inspired everything from memes to his own action figure. But who was the mysterious Corellian smuggler?

If you’re unfamiliar, BoShek is the first smuggler Ben Kenobi speaks with at the Mos Eisley cantina, and he introduces Ben and Luke to Chewbacca and Han Solo. It’s a bit part, but the character still plays an important role in the story. Heck, if he’d have cut a deal with Ben to give them a lift, he might’ve been the swashbuckling hero of Star Wars.

But who actually played BoShek? Good question, and the answer was something not even Lucasfilm was aware of, apparently. Of course, back when Star Wars was filmed, it was a crazy movie thrown together as a risky sci-fi adventure. Keeping up with who played all the random extras in the background? Not the biggest priority at the time.

So, investigative journalist Billy Jensen took it upon himself to solve the decades-old mystery of who played BoShek. Read Jensen’s full account of the investigation if you’re so inclined, but the query took him down the rabbit hole of fandom, talking to everyone from other extras to the recordkeepers at Lucasfilm. Finally, an appeal to the hive mind paid off, and he was contacted by the grandson of departed actor Frances Alfred Basil Tomlin — the long-lost BoShek.

As proof, the family sent along a photo of Tomlin, rocking his trademark sideburns that made the character so intriguing on the big screen. Mystery solved!

The family is hoping to get Tomlin recognized in a future release in the credits, which would be a nice happy ending if they can actually make it happen.


(Via Billy Jensen)

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