After Boba Fett escaped the Sarlacc Pit, he became part of a tribe of Tusken Raiders. But how long was Fett out there in the desert before he found Fennec Shand? The short answer is five years. But in Chapter 4 of The Book of Boba Fett, Boba’s flashbacks get very confusing. Here’s how the Boba Fett timeline shakes out, including how it intersects with both seasons of The Mandalorian.
Boba Fett Episode 4 flashbacks, explained
By the end of the fourth episode of The Book of Boba Fett, the flashbacks that have taken up at least half the series so far have been reconciled with the events of “the present.” Here’s how they shake out in the timeline as we currently understand it:
- Boba Fett finds Fennec Shand wounded in the desert: This happens during Mando Season 1, so 9 ABY, five years after Return of the Jedi.
- Boba Fett and Fennec Shand go looking for Boba Fett’s armor: This has to occur right before the events of The Mandalorian, during which Fennec and Boba meet Mando, and Boba gets his armor back. So again, roughly 9 ABY.
- Boba Fett and Fennec take over Bib Fortuna’s crime empire: This was the post-credits scene of Mandalorian Season 2, so this all happens alongside the Mando timeline.
Everything in “the present” of The Book of Boba Fett — i.e. Boba navigating his new crime empire — happens 9 ABY and onward. So the present of Boba Fett is a sequel to The Mandalorian, while some of the flashback material with Fennec Shand is a sideways midquel occurring during the events of Mando Season 1 and 2. You got all that?
Boba Fett’s missing five years
Although The Book of Boba Fett catches us up on what Shand and Fett were doing during the events of Mando, the amount of time that passes between the first Boba Fett flashback and the “present” feels rushed. Although it’s not stated on screen, the audience has to assume one of three things for all of this to make sense.
- Boba Fett spent nearly five years with the Tusken tribe before they were slaughtered.
- Boba Fett spent a few months with the Tusken tribe and then several years alone in the desert.
- Boba split the difference, spending a few years with the Tuskens and then a few years alone before he met Fennec Shand and got his ship back.
In all cases, from the moment he emerges from the Sarlacc Pit to the “present,” five years must pass. The Mandalorian takes place five years after Return of the Jedi, while the first Book of Boba Fett flashback happens, in theory, right after Return of the Jedi.
At no point does Boba Fett mention to Fennec exactly how many years it's been since he was in the Sarlacc Pit. He only says “That’s where I was trapped all those years ago.” Presumably he means five. Unless...
The Sarlacc digestion wrinkle
In Return of the Jedi, C-3PO mentions that it takes the Sarlacc Pit a long time to digest people, sometimes up to 1,000 years. So it’s possible that Boba Fett was in the Sarlacc Pit for longer than we thought. But how long? Several years?
That seems unlikely. First of all, how would he have survived? And second, having Fett in the Pit for several years doesn’t make sense given what we know about Cobb Vanth getting Fett’s armor from Jawas.
In The Mandalorian episode “The Marshall” it’s made clear that Cobb Vanth got Fett’s armor shortly after the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi. In order to do so, Fett had to have escaped from the Sarlacc Pit and had his armor stripped by Jawas. So unless Cobb Vanth was in that Sandcrawler for several years himself, then all the previous assumptions we have about the timeline have to stand. So although the Tusken Raider flashbacks seemed to take up the span of a few months, and Fett’s desert exile a few weeks after that, we have to somehow accept that these combined events all add up to roughly five years.
It seems telling that Fett never mentions the exact number of years to Shand. It’s a lot easier for the show to just gloss over this chronological mess.
The question of Boba Fett’s ship
Finally, even if this timeline were explained in the future, there’s still one major question left. Why did Bib Fortuna keep Boba Fett’s ship locked up in Jabba’s palace for five years? He wasn’t using it. Why not sell it? The fact that Boba Fett knew his ship was still at Jabba’s Palace after five years is amazing. Any reasonable person would have assumed a crime lord would have sold it or moved it. Fett’s intuition that the ship was still there was very helpful for moving the script along. Unless, of course, this guy has been Force Sensitive all along...
The Book of Boba Fett has three episodes left, which air on Disney+ over the next three Wednesdays.