If you're thinking that Boba Fett's first public appearance was in the animated sequence in The Star Wars Holiday Special, you'd be wrong.
The dreadful Star Wars Holiday Special aired once on November 17, 1978. On September 24, 1978, nearly two months earlier, visiters to the San Anselmo County Fair parade in Marin County were treated to not only an appearance by Darth Vader, but also a mysterious character marching at his side. What must the crowds have made of this character? Did they wonder who he was, or why he was marching next to Darth Vader, or did he simply vanish in Vader's superstar shadow? Boba Fett did make it onto the front page of San Rafael's Independant Journal the next day, but wasn't even mentioned in the article.
Boba Fett's appearance in The Star Wars Holiday Special no doubt fired the imaginations of young star wars fans across the U.S.. So imagine how excited we are when we saw this on the back of the cards for Star Wars action figures:
A FREE Boba Fett action figure AND with a rocket firing backpack to boot. I sent out for three of them, myself. Now imagine how disappointed we were when our white rectangular boxes came in the mail with this notice:
So what happened? A three-year old boy launched the firing missile from a Battlestar Galactica Colonial Viper toy into his his mouth and choked to death. You can read the details here.
Before that, Kenner produced a variety of prototype Boba Fett action figures, which all look pretty cool, if you ask me.
The final figure can be seen #### with its missile glued firmly in place. A few prototypes of the final sculpt with the working missile launcher in place were made with either a "j hook" or "l hook" on the back for the launcher button. Seen below, these are considered the holy grail for vintage Star Wars toy collectors and are valued at a fortune. Of course you have to wonder how much a complete rocket firing Boba Fett would set you back even if they had been mass produced. Chances are most of those missiles would be lost and firing mechanisms broken.
For the rest of us, Hasbro has made the dreams come true for many people, who were bitterly disappointed when they received that notice to consumers with their non-rocket firing Boba Fett's, with the announcement made at this year's Toy Fair that we'd finally have our rocket firing Boba Fetts.
Again, it will be available as a mail-in offer (though not free. In addition to required proof of purchase seals, the postage will be roughly the cost of an action figure purchased at a retail chain) and replicates the sculpt of the original vintage action figure rather than use a new more realistic sculpt. Keep your eyes out for this special offer in a toy aisle near you at towards the end of the summer.