(Welcome to The Galaxy-Wide Star Wars Character Guide, where we give proper due to the smaller figures in Star Wars history.)
Things move fast these days, and the season finale of The Mandalorian already feels like old news, despite only arriving a few weeks ago. Nevertheless, not everything that happened has been talked to death yet. Luke Skywalker? Yes. The Book of Boba Fett speculation? Yes. The death of Bib Fortuna? Not as much. Time to fix that!
Which Character is This Again?
We all know who Bib Fortuna is thanks to his memorable appearance in Return of the Jedi. Like pretty much everything in the original trilogy, Bib Fortuna’s design and performance left an unforgettable impression on viewers despite not having all that much screen time. It’s a Star Wars speciality.
Per Return of the Jedi, there isn’t much depth to Bib Fortuna. He appears to be some kind of right-hand man to Jabba the Hutt. Luke Skywalker’s ability to manipulate his mind indicates a weak brain. And, famously, he has a skin horn that wraps around his neck which you desperately wanted to grab through your television but, alas, cannot (yet… someday they may figure it out).
Of course, such sparse details would not satiate Star Wars fans. We learned slightly more about Bib Fortuna when he appeared alongside Jabba in The Phantom Menace. He looked different, not just because he was decades younger but also because a different actor (Matthew Wood) played him. Regardless, it appeared Bib and Jabba’s history together when back quite a while.
With that, a whole backstory was invented for Bib. Essentially, he was born into a life of crime and competed by a figure named Bidlo Kwerve to be Jabba’s number one servant (known officially as a majordomo). Bib offered the rancor, Pateesa, and got the job. Pateesa is the rancor we see in Jedi and Bidlo is the skull Luke throws at the door control that kills this rancor. So that’s how all that turned out. It seems a bit sweaty to make every single thing we saw at Jabba’s Palace obey one unified origin, but maybe it was Friday at the Star Wars Backstory office and people wanted to get out early.
I always assumed Bib died along with everyone else on Jabba’s barge, but we recently learned that was not the case when he instead died at the hands of a returned Boba Fett. Played once again by Matthew Wood, but made-up as too obese to recognize from two seconds of Phantom Menace screen time, Bib Fortuna had somehow taken over Jabba’s organization in the gangster’s mortal absence. It is this empire we will watch Boba Fett control in his upcoming show.
We don’t know how well Bib did as a mob boss. He survived it for five years, so perhaps he wasn’t that bad. But the guy isn’t all that smart. That’s canon. And even if Luke didn’t manipulate his mind with the Force, Bib’s sycophantic servitude to Jabba did not make him a strong candidate for criminal leadership. It just goes to show you cannot judge a book by its cover. There was more to Bib Fortuna than any of us ever realized. And now he’s dead. RIP to a real one.
Does This Character Warrant a Toy?
Yes, Bib Fortuna is extremely toy-worthy. Of course, there are already a thousand toys of him out there, but that’s true of all these Star Wars characters. The point is to discuss their design and Bib Fortuna’s is amazing. It’s not enough that he sports that amazing skin horn. The magic is in his annoying eyes, pointy teeth, and multiple chins. There is a detailed grossness to Big Fortuna that helps him leap off the screen and into our collective memories, despite not knowing much about him.
Which is all to say, you gotta have a Bib Fortuna toy, especially one that can accurately capture his face, because it is just so obnoxious. Furthermore, you could also imagine some seriously high-end Bib Fortuna busts that finally let you touch his skin horn. You know you want to.
How Important is This Character?
Right now, not very. It remains to be seen how much we will learn about Bib Fortuna’s criminal empire for the five years it existed. Perhaps he spearheaded several schemes that will have long-reaching effects on Tatooine or beyond. Maybe some true badasses we have not yet met were in his employ. Season 1 of The Book of Boba will probably fill us in. If I had to guess, however, I would not bet on a deeply impressive run. He just does not give off strong leadership vibes despite surviving for so long.
Is This a Secretly Great Star Wars Character?
Bib Fortuna is a memorable figure but, no, he is not secretly great. He just is, which is plenty. He has developed a strange Forest Gump-like familiarity throughout all these various Star Wars eras. It’s comforting to think of him kicking it with Jabba from the prequels all the way to Jedi and then existing up to the Mandalorian days. It’s almost like Star Wars without him just isn’t the same, man. If you thought something was missing from the latest trilogy, perhaps that was it. We could feel the absence of this one special soul in the galaxy.
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