No one's ever really gone

One Star Wars book explains how Boba Fett is alive in The Mandalorian

Apparently a Sarlacc is no match for a clone bounty hunter.

Boba's back! The Mandalorian Season 2 premiere was full of callbacks to Star Wars past, but the most shocking revelation came in the last few seconds when an onlooker to the action on Tatooine was revealed to be Boba Fett. At least, that's the explanation that makes the most sense after the clone was left for dead on Tatooine during the events of Return of the Jedi.

But how did Fett survive his fateful encounter with the Sarlacc? The internet has plenty of theories, but the answer likely lies in a canonical Star Wars novel that was referenced heavily in The Mandalorian Season 2 Episode 1.

Outside of canon, Boba Fett surviving his unceremonious demise was confirmed in the Dark Empire comic series when Boba and fellow bounty hunter Dothgar confront Han Solo. In explanation, Boba Fett only says the Sarlacc found him "somewhat indigestible." However, that comic was reduced to non-canonical Legends after Disney took over the franchise. So how to explain the bounty hunter's return?

The evidence inside Disney-sanctioned canon is a bit more cryptic. Many fans guessed the mysterious figure who loomed over Fennec Shand at the end of the Season 1 episode "The Gunslinger" could have been Fett, but considering how his armor is now with Cobb Vanth, this doesn't provide much weight to his return.

Boba Fett's dramatic appearance at the end of the 'Mandalorian' Season 2 premiere.Lucasfilm

In order to find The Mandalorian's inspiration for how the show could bring back Boba, the best place to look is the same place that inspired the return of his armor—the Aftermath trilogy of novels by Chuck Wendig. These books introduced Star Wars fans to Cobb Vanth, who was implied to have bought Boba Fett's armor from the Jawas. However, the books also explained how the Jawas found his armor.

In Aftermath: Life Debt, it's revealed the Sarlacc was injured by a sail barge and left with its stomach exposed, which the Jawas quickly harvested for anything that could be valuable. It's also noted they found many skeletons, but there's nothing saying these skeletons belonged to Boba. Although his armor was there, he could have fought his way out somehow.

The fearsome maw of the Sarlacc.Lucasfilm

Boba has a massive sentimental attachment to that armor. Aside from the fact it's incredibly useful and made of Beskar, it belonged to his father Jango. The only ways he would be separated from his armor would be if he died in it or if he was in a life-and-death situation and needed to abandon it. Considering how the cameo at the end of the Season 2 premiere seemingly disqualified the first option, Boba must have found a way to escape the Sarlacc alive, but paid the price by leaving his armor behind.

Maybe he escaped when that sand barge killed the Sarclacc. Or maybe there was no sand barge, and Boba Fett just fought his way out of the beast. Either way, The Mandalorian has a chance to solve a mystery that Aftermath only hinted at.

It seems Boba Fett is alive, but how he survived may be a question The Mandalorian wrestles with for the entirety of Season 2. Hopefully, he'll find Mando soon, be reunited with his armor, and bond with the fellow bounty hunter over the shared experience of escaping the belly of a sand worm-like creature on Tatooine.

The Mandalorian Season 2 is streaming now on Disney+.