Titular bounty hunter Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) and Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) try to make a name for themselves by taking over Jabba the Hutt’s palace in The Book of Boba Fett, the first of several Mandalorian spinoffs. It’s a fitting partnership for the characters, considering both characters have long outlived the deaths their creators originally intended for them. Boba was originally meant to perish in a Sarlacc pit in 1983’s Return of the Jedi, while Fennec appeared to have been mortally wounded in the same Mandalorian Season 1 episode that introduced her.
Fennec and Boba’s relationship forms the basis of the show, and while it may not be as warm and familial as Din Djarin and Grogu’s, it’s still one built on mutual respect. “I feel like [Fennec and Boba] are bonded because both of them had near-death experiences,” Wen told Entertainment Weekly in early December. “They’re both bounty hunters, and they do adhere to a certain level of respect and honor. He saved her, and there’s a debt to be paid, and bounty hunters honor that debt.”
The Mandalorian showrunner Dave Filoni brought Fennec back in Season 2, where it is revealed that after Fennec was shot, Boba came across her and nursed her back to health. Indebted to Boba, she ends up helping him protect Grogu as Boba seeks to get his father’s armor back as thanks. It’s likely that we’ll see a flashback to the moment when Boba first saved Fennec, as well as how they eventually learned to trust each other and travel together.
The reunion took some work to make happen. While Disney began planning to revive Boba, a fan favorite character, as early as 2012 — which is when the company purchased Lucasfilm — Wen campaigned for her own character to be brought back. After learning that she went to the same Pittsburgh high school as Filoni, she began to talk to him about Fennec’s future. “I kept joking, ‘You can’t kill an alum, dude!’” she told Entertainment Weekly. “‘C’mon, we’ve got to figure out something here. We’re both Yinzers!’”
“[To Wen,] I was like, ‘Man, I have to figure out a way to save you. I can’t take out a [fellow] alumnus,’” Feloni similarly explained to Trib Total Media. “So that’s kind of a joke she and I have about it. … Thank goodness we found a way to [keep Fennec around] because she’s proven to be an important piece of the story.”
Notably, The Book of Boba Fett is the first show in the Star Wars franchise to center on a 60-year old Maori actor and a 58-year-old Asian actor. “You never feel like they’re an older cast; they’re so youthful and energized,” showrunner Robert Rodriguez told The Hollywood Reporter. “Tem and I work out together — he really is Boba Fett. And for Wen, I would design whole sequences just to end on her and the look she would give Boba because she’s so badass. Tem knows this is his moment and she knows this is her moment, and when you get actors like that, they go for it and it’s palpable.”
Filoni added that while both Boba and Fennec are naturally very serious characters, you can expect to see different sides to them in this show. “Tem brings the intensity and sense of weathered experience that a well-traveled bounty hunter needs while maintaining a sense of fun and adventure,” he said. “He had more dialogue than Fett has ever had to deliver.”