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For us Earth audiences, Bossk made his debut in cameo roles in the Star Wars canon films, Star Wars: Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back, and Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi. His real screen presence, however, was realized in the TV expression of Star Wars canon, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. He has had supporting roles in many Star Wars canon novels and a starring role in the Star Wars canon short story “Tooth and Claw” by Michael Kogge, which appeared in the anthology From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back.
On the surface, Bossk is literally a cartoon villain. He is not even the “Big Bad” but simply a foil for Boba Fett. As his character arc develops. However, we discover that Bossk is a reptiloid Odysseus guiding a Mandalorian Hamlet.
Key Details Up Front
Bossk, short for Bossk-wassak’Craddossk, was a licensed bounty hunter throughout several pivotal periods of the galaxy’s history: The Republic, the Clone Wars, and the Rebellion. Mentor and later competitor to the famous bounty hunter Boba Fett, the Trandoshan was a nemesis to many famous heroes of that era: Han Solo and Chewbacca, Princess Leia Organa and Lando Calrissian, Mace Windu, and Annakin Skywalker, to name a few.
Bossk was hatched as a Trandoshan, a race of reptile humanoids. As was typical of Trandoshans, he ate the rest of the hatchlings in his batch, or so he thought.
Despite following in his father’s footsteps to become a bounty hunter, the two Trandoshans did not have a good relationship. As was typical of his race, Bossk had an intense hatred of Wookies and would eventually hunt them. Also typical of his reptilian race is the worship of a goddess known as The Scorekeeper.
The Clone Wars
Mace Windu and The Endurance
At the beginning of the Clone Wars, the Madalorian mercenary Jango Fett had been killed by Jedi Master Mace Windu at the First Battle of Geonosis. A young Boba Fett was left orphaned and wound up in the care of Bossk and Aurra Sing, from whom he would eventually learn the tools of the trade for his future profession, bounty hunting.
Eventually, Boba had the opportunity to avenge his father with the help of Bossk, Aurra, and an additional bounty hunter, Castas, from Klatoon. Windu was being transported by the Endurance, a destroyer class ship of the Republic. It was understood that the Confederacy of Independent Systems would pay a handsome price for Windu’s death since they were the antagonist against the Republic during the Clone Wars.
Boba Fett used his father’s DNA to infiltrate the Endurance and successfully destroy the ship by blowing the ship’s reactor core. The ship’s survivors, mostly clones, had used escape pods to escape. The other bounty hunters rescued Boba, took three hostages, and cold-bloodedly dispatched the remaining clones.
Then they waited on planet Vangor, where the Endurance had crashed, knowing that Windu and Annakin Skywalker would escape the explosion and search for survivors. They booby-trapped the interior of the Endurance, the bridge, with explosives for Windu and Skywalker. The hunters watched Windu and Skywalker enter the bridge of the Endurance before it exploded.
Despite believing the two Jedi to be dead, the hunters decided to investigate and find the bodies so they could get their reward. When the hunters noticed a nearby starfighter, they concluded that the Jedi were not actually dead. The starfighter took off, and Bossk pursued them off the planet and into a chase through space before Bossk’s quarry escaped through a hyperlink.
The hunters recorded their execution of one of the hostages. They sent it to the Jedi to draw them into another trap on another planet, Florum. Unbeknownst to the hunters, however, the pilot that had escaped through the hyperlink was not the Jedi but the droid R2D2. Windu and Skywalker had still been trapped on Vangor at the time.
Jedi did show up at Florum to rescue the surviving hostages. Still, they were other Jedi, Master Plo Koon, and his Padawan (protégé) Ashoka Tano. The Jedi defeated the hunters, and Bossk was personally defeated by Master Koon but by the Padawan Tano.
Bossk and Boba Fett were arrested for their crimes and sent to a prison on the planet Coruscant. There they met famed bounty hunter Cad Bane and started a prison riot with the help of an undercover Obi-Wan Kenobi. They unsuccessfully attempted to escape, despite Bossk having managed to beat up several of the guards.
Krayt’s Claw and Assaj Ventress
After Bossk and Boba Fett found themselves out of prison about a year later, they returned to the bounty hunting business with their own team, Krayt’s Claw. (One could hope that they had escaped prison on Coruscant and somehow managed to keep their true identities secret from the Outer Rim authorities. If they had been eligible for parole after serving less than a year for the crimes of assassination, kidnapping, execution of hostages, endangering dozens of minors, starting a prison riot, and blowing up a whole star destroyer, then the Republic deserved to fall!) In addition to the two hunters, the team included the following: Latts Razzi, C-21 Highsinger, Oked, and Dengar (who would, like Bossk, would also make a brief appearance in Star Wars: Episode VI The Empire Strikes Back).
While in a cantina at the spaceport Mos Eisley (the creature cantina on the planet Tatooine from Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope), Oked harassed female force-sensitive Asajj Ventress and was killed by her via a lightsaber through the guts. Knowing that they needed six bounty hunters for the next job, Bossk replaced their lost man by coercing Asajj into joining them, with the promise of her getting a cut of the proceeds.
Now back at a strength of six hunters, Bossk took the Krayt’s Claw crew aboard his own ship, the Hound’s Tooth, and departed for the planet Quarzite and their next job. Docking at Quarzite’s space station. Their mission was to escort an important cargo that was to be transported by an underground tram below the planet’s inhospitable surface. Their boss for this job was Major Rigosso, so their team was now seven.
Once on the tram, the team was divided into three groups. Next to the cargo would be Major Rigosso, Razzi, and Highsinger. In the back would be Dengar and Ventress. In the engine room were Boba Fett and Bossk.
En route to their destination, Dengar discovered trouble and warned the team. A band of Kage Warriors, basically crystal cavern ninjas, were about to commit a train robbery. Bossk and Boba had to fight off six Kage Warriors in the engine room alone. Although successful in the engine room, Bossk had to move to another part of the tram and was eventually impaired by special dust used by the Kage Warriors and pushed off the tram with most of the bounty hunter team. However, Boba and Asajj Ventress remained on the tram and successfully defeated the Kage Warriors. The payment was collected, albeit with some deception on the part of Asajj against the team and their employer.
Despite her deception, Asajj was later able to recruit Bossk, Boba, and other members of Krayt’s Claw, including the Kyuzo, hat-shield-wielding bounty hunter Embo, on a rescue mission. They had to break into the palace of Jedi-turned-Sith Lord Count Dooku to rescue Quinlan Vos, a Jedi master trained in both the light and dark sides of the force. They were successful and had even managed to temporarily incapacitate Count Dooku but had to make a hasty retreat when Quinlan Vos turned to the dark side of the force and became Count Dooku’s apprentice.
The Empire and the Rebellion
After the end of the Clone Wars and the fall of the Republic, it was business as usual for Bossk. He still retained his old job as a bounty hunter but operated under the Galactic Empire’s new authority, as ruled by the emperor Darth Sidious and Darth Vader.
In fact, there was a personal bonus for Bossk when working for his new employer. The Wookies had been considered rebels by the Empire. Thus they provided a solid source of income as bounties for Bossk to apprehend. Since the Wookies were the traditional enemies of Bossk’s people, the Trandoshans, hunting them was a personal pleasure for him. He developed a special enmity for two very elusive quarries, Chewbacca, Wookie companion to the smuggler and rebel leader Han Solo, and the mysterious Wookie liberator known as the Chainbreaker. His failure to capture them had damaged his standing both with the bounty hunting community and with his father.
His bounty hunter career took him all over the galaxy, from its core to Outer Rim. During his travels, he crossed paths with various bounty hunters not yet mentioned: Beilert Valance, Nakano Lash, T’ongor, T’onga, IG-90, Black Krrsantan the Wookie, and Beebox. The criminal organizations Bossk came into contact with included Crimson Dawn, the Mourner’s Wail, the Unbroken Clan, the Commissioner, and Exum Jermit, and, of course, the organization Jabba the Hutt.
Bossk even took on another protegee, the force-sensitive human orphan Ezra Bridger, after stopping working with Boba. During that partnership, Bossk had managed to kill three assassins, fight through a squad of stormtroopers, and defeat two gladiators before bringing down the Commissioner’s corrupt official.
Of all his hunts, the hunt that reveals the most about his character is that of Chainbreaker, the Liberator of Wookies. Donning a protective space-suit, Bossk left his ship, the Hound’s Tooth, to wade through an asteroid field and surprise Chainbreaker’s wooden spaceship, the Liswarr. After fighting his way past several tough Wookies, Bossk stood face-to-face with Chainbreaker.
To his astonishment, Bossk realized that Chainbreaker was not a Wookie but one of his own species, a Trandoshan, albeit a crippled one. Bossk also realized that he had not ambushed the Wookie; they had been waiting for him. Why did they spare him?
Chainbreaker revealed that she was his sister, Doshanalawook, the only hatchling in his clutch to survive the devouring by Bossk. She also revealed her missing limbs and her one remaining appendage, a deformed arm.
When Bossk asked Chainbreaker why she would betray her race and serve the Wookies, she said that the Wookies had saved her and raised her. She said that Wookies and Trandoshans did not have to be enemies and that all their war and hatred had been based on lies. Before giving him access to a transmission she had jammed and letting him go, she made him promise to stop hunting Wookies.
When he wanted to know why she trusted him, she said it was because he was her brother. Even though he would soon break his promise and hunt Chewbacca, the experience had challenged his way of thinking. Ironically, after this cathartic experience, Bossk would experience the moment he had prepared his whole life for and come face-to-face with Darth Vader himself.
The transmission that Chainbreaker had unjammed was for Bossk’s most famous hunt of all, the hunt for the Millennium Falcon and its captain and first mate, Han Solo and Chewbacca. At that time, he was one of the six most renowned bounty hunters in the galaxy. Along with Boba and his old colleague Dengar, these six included IG-88, 4-LOM, and Zuckuss. Bossk and Dengar had proposed a partnership, but Boba had tricked them out of their quarry and would eventually claim the bounty on Han Solo and have the rebel freebooter frozen in carbonite.
Although Bossk and his hunters would eventually capture Han Solo’s partner Chewbacca, the Wookie would eventually be freed by the cunning of Princess Leia Organa and Lando Calrissian. Even Boba would eventually become Bossk’s quarry, but Bossk was defeated when Boba blew his legs off. Boba spared his old mentor’s life, knowing that Trandoshan’s legs would grow back.
Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
- Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back – On the starship destroyer Executioner, Bossk comes face-to-face with Darth Vader himself, at the Sith Lord’s request, to apprehend the Millennium Falcon, Han Solo, and Chewbacca. Some of the most famous bounty hunters in the galaxy; Boba Fett, Dengar, IG-88, 4-Lom, and Zuckuss. This is truly the pinnacle of the Trandoshan’s career, and he will most likely never have a moment quite like it.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
- Deception (S4E15) – To incite a prison riot, Bossk stages a brawl with an undercover Obi-Wan Kenobi and tosses him across a dining room table, manhandling one of the most powerful Jedi masters of his era.
- Bounty (S4E20) – Bossk successfully blackmails the powerful force-sensitive and Nightsister Asajj Ventress into joining Krayt’s Claw. He stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Boba Fett against multiple Kage Warriors while on a speeding subterranean tram.
Dark Disciple (a Star Wars canon novel)
- Bossk and other hunters from Krayt’s Claw join Asajj Ventress to rescue Jedi Quinlan Vos from Sith Lord Count Dooku. The fact that Bossk and his companions are able to even temporarily incapacitate a powerful Sith Lord says volumes about what a posse of tough bounty hunters could potentially do.
Ezra’s Gamble (s Star Wars canon novel)
- Boskk’s individual fighting prowess is clearly displayed in this novel as he kills multiple assassins and batters, stormtroopers, and gladiators.
The Great Hunt of Malastare (short story from Bounty Hunters, a Star Wars canon comic book series)
- More of Bossk the badass can be seen when he chooses to be prey for the Hunt of Malastare before killing several would-be hunters and only to win a hand-to-hand duel with the Dowutin mercenary Grummgar and slaying Grummgar’s boss, Exum Jermit.
Tooth and Claw (a Star Wars canon short story)
- Boskk’s big reveal. In Trandoshan culture, your one-limbed sister coming back from the dead and telling you that she is the Chainbreaker and liberator of thousands of Wookies is the equivalent of Darth Vader saying, “Luke, I am your father.”
Bossk’s Key Quotes
Bossk speaking his native Dosh to Admiral Piett aboard the starship destroyer Executioner after being called scum in Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back–
“Res Luk Ra’auf.”
Bossk blackmails Asajj Ventress into joining Krayt’s Claw in Star Wars: The Clone Wars–
“We have a job to do and you owe us a man. Join our merry band of bounty hunters, or we turn you over to the authorities.“
“What do I have to do?“
Bossk to a disguised Obi-Wan Kenobi before starting a prison riot in Star Wars: The Clone Wars–
“You got a problem with Boba, you got a problem with me.“
Bossk, after fighting Boba Fett and getting his legs blown off in the Bounty Hunters canon comic book series-
“What now, Boba Fett? We’ve known each other a long time–since you was young, just a little clutchling trying to avenge your pop. You gonna kill me?“
“No. I’m going to use you to send a message. To anyone who wants to come after me to get Jabba’s bounty. This is the message. Don’t.“
Bossk to Beilert Valance during one of their brawls in Bounty Hunters –
“We live and die as the Scorekeeper wills–and I am favored over my enemies by the great goddess.“
Chainbreaker and Bossk in “Tooth and Claw”-
“The galaxy is replete with bounties for criminals, swindlers, and murderers. Why not choose to hunt them instead of Wookiees?“
“Trandoshans hunt Wookiees. Even you know that. It’s the way things are.“
Grummgar and Bossk from “The Great Hunt of Malastare” –
“Come back here and fight with honor!“
“Honor? I prefer to fight with a big rock.“
Beebox and Bossk from the Darth Vader canon comic book series-
“He [Black Krrsantan] said he’s not concerned about other Wookiees–he just wants to know that Bossk won’t try to double-cross him.“
“I would not. Unlike sssssome people at thissss table, I believe in upholding the Code at any cost.“
Question: Is Bossk Dead?
Answer: Probably not. If you are asking about the crash of the Khetanna, Jabba the Hutt’s sail barge during Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, Boskk was probably able to survive due to his regenerative abilities. If the cover pictured here is accurate, Bossk is scheduled to appear in the Star Wars canon comic book Halcyon Legacy 5 this summer, August 2022. This is significant regarding Bossk’s mortality because the timeline for the Halcyon Legacy series is after the Battle of Endor and the Empire’s destruction.
Question: How did Bossk Get his Flight Suit?
Answer : Bosk’s yellow flight suit is based on a suit used by the British Royal Air Force in the 1960s, a High-Altitude Windak Pressure Suit.
Question: Is Bossk a Stepping Stone?
Answer: Absolutely! Bossk has had his ass kicked by basically everyone who is anyone in the galaxy: Boba Fett, Beilert Valance, the Wookie who ripped off his arm on Ord Mantell, a Kage Warrior with blinding dust, Ashoka Tano, and freed hostage Admiral Kilian. That is only on the physical plane, Bossk’s strong suit! If you add losing in a battle of wits, the list grows: Han Solo, Chewbacca, Princess Leia Organa, Lando Calrissian, R2D2, Mace Windu, Anakin Skywalker, Asajj Ventress, and Chelli Aphra. Know wonder his father sees him as a disappointment!
Bossk gets no respect! Or does he? The warrior hierarchy is pretty high in the Star Wars universe, especially if you are not a Jedi, Sith Lord, or force sensitive. Valance is a cyborg with superhuman strength, and Fett is one of the most famous bounty hunters in the galaxy.
Ashoka Tano may be a Padawan, but what does that really mean in terms of combat? In the Star Wars universe, not all Jedi Masters are equal, and neither are the Padawans and force sensitives. Anakin Skywalker and Ashoka Tano do not count as normal Padawans.
So why has kicking Bossk’s ass or making him look stupid to become a right of passage for budding Star Wars heroes? Bossk is as old school as they get, from his 1960’s British flight suit to his 1980’s prosthetic limbs and face. He is a charming relic of the canon films that created a Star Wars saga spanning 25,000 years+. He is scary, comic, and sacred all at the same time.
Just like there are many stepping stones in the boxing world that know they will never become champions. Hence, it is that Bossk knows he will never become a Boba Fett, let alone a Sith Lord. And yet, like in boxing, those stepping stones serve a very important function as gatekeepers to the championship title. Bossk is also a gatekeeper to the bounty hunter world. This is why if you have a bounty hunting story in the Star Wars universe, his name should at the very least come up.
Question: What Weapons Does he Use?
Answer: Bossk’s primary weapon is a Relby-10 micro grenade launcher. He has also been known to use the first generation X-45 blaster rifle, dioxis grenades, proximity mines, and a small saber.
Question: What Spaceship Does he Own?
Answer: The spaceship that Bossk usually operates is a YV-666 light freighter named the Hound’s Tooth. Aboard the Hound’s Tooth, Bossk stored a starfighter, a Z-95-AF4 Headhunter called Nashtah Pup.
He had briefly owned another starship called the Bitemark before being destroyed in a battle with Han Solo and Chewbacca.
What makes Bossk and Boba Fett appealing characters is their line of action. Every choice they make makes perfect sense in their world. In their minds, and probably the minds of their peers, they are the good guys, and the Jedi are the bad guys.
Boba Fett is simply trying to avenge his father and is willing to take on multiple Jedi Masters and an army of clones when he is still too young to qualify as a teenager. That makes Boba Fett the Mandalorian bounty hunter Hamlet. Standing right by his side through war, prison, Jedi Masters, and Sith Lords is Bossk. He can say that it is only about the money, but we know different, even if he does not.
If Boba Fett is the Mandalorian Hamlet, then Bossk is Odysseus’s reptiloid. He travels and hunts and fights all the way to the Outer Rim of the galaxy to find his home. Unlike Odysseus, however, Bossk will never find his home because he never had one. Unlike Boba, Bossk does not need to avenge his father because he does not care about him. Instead, Bossk would choose to create the father he never had by being a surrogate father to Boba and Ezra. His conscious mind cannot accept his Darwinian Trandoshan value system. His denial is to say that it is all about the money, but we know different.
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