Ranking the Bounty Hunters Who Chased Han Solo

When I saw The Empire Strikes Back (1980) as a kid, one scene in particular stuck with me well after I’d seen it. In the middle of the film, Darth Vader has amassed a murderer’s row of… well, murderers, bounty hunters if you will. He’s going to pay the first one who successfully tracks down the universe’s most famous scruffy-looking nerf herder, Han Solo. There was just the right amount of wonder, curiosity, and fear that built up inside me, at age five, looking up at Vader’s band of miscreants. Ever since then, I’ve chewed on that scene, constantly contemplating the various angles to determine which of these bounty hunters is the coolest. Additionally, there was at least one other bounty hunter that hunted Han Solo–Greedo. Here’s how I rank them from worst to best:

Dengar and IG-88, kind of the Laurel and Hardy of the Star Wars universe

7. Dengar
Dengar was a fat guy with a head wound who wore a metal breast plate. He also had a metal cod piece, which apparently protected his junk from blaster shrapnel. Not only is he the worst of the bounty hunters who chased Han Solo. He’s a contender for one of the lamest characters in the entire Star Wars universe.

6. IG-88
I’m not sure what tactical advantage IG-88 had. He was like the bastard child of Manute Bol and a soda can, complete with a head full of Christmas tree lights. Do you know what’s more intimidating than a Manute Bol-soda can combination? Pretty much everything except for a fat guy with a head wound wearing a metal cod piece.

5. Zuckuss
Now we’re getting somewhere. Zuckuss carried a weapon that resembled the intergalactic equivalent of a gangster’s tommy gun. Anyone who looks like a gangster automatically possesses a certain amount of cool. Then there was his biology. He looked sort of like an insect. The only thing keeping him from moving up on this list is the gas mask over his face. It makes him look like he has an anus for a nose, and that’s not good.

4. 4-Lom
No, I don’t have a stuttering problem and that’s not a typo. The character’s name is 4-Lom and he comes in at number four. 4-Lom rocked the same insect appearance as Zuckuss, and even sort of has an anus on his face, but his fly-like eyes are more pronounced. Also, he’s a robot. But he’s not a thin, stretched out soda can that could be knocked over by a stiff wind like IG-88. He basically had C3PO’s body, but it was black and had flies eyes in the head. He was the bizarro C3PO.

3. Greedo
What Greedo has that most of these other bounty hunters don’t have is that he actually managed to track down Solo. And he possesses dead black shark eyes, a trait known only to belong to cold-blooded killers. Think Anton Chigurh. Unfortunately, he can’t go any higher on the list because he came so close and yet still failed, dying at the hands of Solo. And for all of his efforts, no- he did not get to fire a shot before or after Solo gunned him down.

2. Bossk
Bossk lands at number two purely due to the intimidation factor. He cut an imposing figure. And his species would seem to be 1/3 pit bull, 1/3 komodo dragon, 1/3 human. His attire even suggests that he was at one point a pilot in the Rebel Alliance, implying a military background (technically, I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the case). He never caught Solo, but he was the second worthiest to the task.

1. Boba Fett
You expected the Easter Bunny? Even if Boba Fett hadn’t been the bounty hunter who caught Solo and delivered him to Vader’s clutches, he’d still be in the #1 slot. He had deadly aim with his blaster, flew around with a jet pack, and his military DNA was so strong that his were the same genes used to create an entire Imperial army. To seal the deal, he looked cool as hell.


21 Comments

Filed under Humor, Movies

21 responses to “Ranking the Bounty Hunters Who Chased Han Solo

  1. Boba is probably the coolest character EVER!! In any franchise!! ANYWHERE!!

  2. Yesss, a Star Wars post about bounty hunters!

  3. I never actually knew the Other Guys’ names. Very cool. (And there was an infamous event in my life when I told my class on career day that I wanted to be Boba Fett when I grew up.)

  4. Phil

    I think you have put more thought into bounty hunters than George Lucas. I never understood wht Boba Fett and the Stormtroopers had to wear their helmets all the time.

  5. Wow! It’s been ages since I’ve seen this film! It reminded me that I’ll need to re-watch those! And yes Boba Fett is the ultimate bounty hunter!

  6. I’m sure Dengar did something right at least once, otherwise he wouldn’t have gotten the invitation in the mail from Vader. Actually, Vader probably had to invite Dengar since he was sharing an apartment with IG-88 at the time and Vader didn’t want to deal with the hurt feelings and bitching about his notorious lack of sensitivity. I can see the Dark Lord of the Sith putting the list together and saying “The Manute Bol Soda Can has something going for him, but I hate that annoying Dengar he always brings along. Can’t we just have a bounty party without that guy for once. He always brings the same bag of chips.” Also, I think the toy salesman had asthma as a kid, why else would every other character have some sort of breathing apparatus?

  7. Jesus

    “After hatching, Bossk devoured each of his unhatched siblings, which made his father proud.” -Wookiepedia

    He sure was evil! Great post by the way, happy to see another fan that doesn’t accept everything right away but puts some thought into things. I totally agree with the anus thing.

  8. Pingback: » POSiT OF THE WEEK – Chasing Han Solo » indie posit

  9. This is such an entertaining list to read and I burst out laughing more than a few times. I especially liked your jabs at IG-88. Bravo!

    And thank your for following Anti-Film School!

    -Steve

  10. I always thought this scene was like the cantina scene in ANH, i.e. Lucas came to the props people and said “I need a dozen or two screwed-up looking aliens thrown together with whatever you’ve got in the shop, and I need it by next Tuesday”, and then when Kenner started their fourth wave of figures and realized they could all buy vacation houses in the Caribbean if they cranked out enough different SKU numbers, they scrambled to come up with names and back stories and cool guns to give each character.

    I also like that if you go to wookiepedia and look up either the bounty hunters or the cantina aliens, half of them have uniforms made from RAF crap they found at army surplus stores. Like IG-88’s head is made out of a Rolls-Royce jet engine burner.

    • Ha! This is the part that rings true for me. I remember going on some driving trip when I was a kid and being thrilled when we got back cause we got sent a bunch of action figures. I think we sent in UPC codes or something. As it turned out, we got like 7 or 14 Bossks, which is 6 or 13 more Bossks than anyone could ever need. He was pretty badass-looking, though. And I definitely always wondered WTF was up with Dengar…what a shlubby loser.

      “Manute Bol crossed with a soda can” = gold.

      Great list.

      • “6 or 13 more Bossks than anyone needs”… hilarious. I had so many of those toys when I was a kid. We had an inordinate amount of storm troopers- some from Endor and Hoth, several of the garden variety… I’m pretty sure a few of those toys lost limbs because we used firecrackers to make it more realistic. Possibly. I could be blurring childhood memories.

  11. Darah

    Well, since you reference the whole Fett was the clone Army template thing, I feel its only right to point out it was Bobas dad, Jango who was the DNA donor. Poor old Boba. Sees his dad lose his head, then gets the credit for catching Solo, when it was the Empire that clearly did the catching. Oh and then he falls into the Sarlacs belly after being clumsily whacked by a blind man, and gets to digest for a 1000 years. Boba Fett – Bounty hunter fail.

  12. Great list. This is definitively one of the most haunting scenes from the entire movie and a pure proof of how good the film was that some of the coolest characters didn’t really get to act out in the film even. I think the combination of the different characters help to mystify the scene and the Kharma surrounding them.

    I remember being so curious about them and their backstorys and you know what? Ten years ago I found a novel called Tales of the Bounty Hunters that actually tells the immediate backstory on each of these characters (not Greedo) up to the moment they are lined up on the Super Star Destroyer.

    Of the ones above I know most people like Boba Fett the best but I got to say I’ve always liked Bossk and as I recall his backstory his race and the Wookies are arch enemies which is a cool tidbit.

    My favorite Bountyhunter in the Star Wars universe though is Jodo Kast and I wrote about him here: http://www.joelburman.com/2010/09/who-is-jodokast/

    • It was sort of the Cantina scene, but with more evil characters. But the cantina filled me with the same wonder- the band, hammerhead, Pondo Baba, etc…

      I stumbled upon a little bit of the backstory on some of the characters when writing this. It looks pretty interesting.

  13. Chris K

    Hey John, ghost here.

    Not sure if you saw the Robot Chicken Star Wars episodes. Their take on this scene is hilarious, particularly Bossk. There’s a great bit about why he’s not wearing shoes.

    My wife unboxed a small armload of ESB toys she had as a kid for our son to play with last week, and who rolls out but IG-88. I don’t know if it ever crystallized for me before how lame he was, and the toy is even worse because his arms and legs aren’t even bent. They didn’t even bother to imply action with him because it was so pointless.

    Whoever mentioned them struggling to name characters, there’s a three-eyed character in RotJ named Ree Yees. I’ve never been able to verify it, but I feel sure that his name came from dropping and scrambling letters from “Three eyes,” which perhaps tells you what it had come to by that point.

    • I’ve seen some of the Robot Chicken stuff, but I don’t think I’ve seen the one you’re referencing. I’m going to have to check that out.

      I had to look up Ree Yees, but seeing which character it is, I know exactly which one you’re referencing. And it’d make perfect sense if that’s where the name came from. It seems like a lot of those names are somewhat normal names with specific letters duplicated. The extra s in Bossk, the extra s in Zuckuss, etc…

  14. Drekun

    well…… there is so much wrong with what you have said….
    1. IG-88 should be in 3rd place. He is an experimental war droid who has almost as many kills as Boba and he even butchered his inventors. There have been 8 IG-80 class assassin droids like him, he is the last of them… not to mention that IG-88 can control his ship without being in it
    2. Dengar should not be last, he actually has a grudge against Han, he and Han were in a swoopbike race and Han caused Dengar to crash, mutilating his body which is why he is all wrapped up. plus Dengar was an experimental special ops soldier trained for the empire before he failed a mission and left in shame
    3. Zuckuss’s species literally cannot live off their planet with out breaking filters
    4. Greedo isn’t really actually a bounty hunter, just a violent smuggler, plus his species aren’t usually murderous killers so the eye thing doesn’t make sense
    5. the imperial army is not made up of clones, only the republic, the cloning facilities on Kamino were actually taken over by the empire so that they wouldn’t have to pay for clones, but the empire’s scientists suck and failed at the cloning and therefore spent a few decades trying to figure out how to correctly clone people
    6. Han isn’t a nerf herder, he is a smuggler
    7. also to the guy who had the IG-88 figure who said his legs didn’t bend, IG-88’s legs didn’t bend, so why should the figure’s bend? the IG droids went haywire and butchered their killers before they were finished, so their legs where never finished
    8. Bossk should be there for more than just looks, almost as many kills as fett, but many less live captures. in his ship he literally has a section designated for skinning wookies…..

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