Beloved Characters: Bossk

240px-Bossk.jpgThere are characters that appear for mere moments in a film and yet they garner a cult following, and public interest. Bossk has always been one of these characters for me. In the Empire Strikes Back you see him for but a moment on deck with a Motley Crew of bounty hunters. He kind of hisses at one of the military siffs and I remember thinking as a kid “what is that guys deal?”

It is a great thing when we know little about a character sometimes. It allows the imagination to wander. I often would look at the costume of Bossk and wonder if it was designed to work best with his Reptilian form. He is a shifty 3 fingered bad ass that I knew nothing about, so I filled in the blanks with my young mind. All I knew was that lizard dudes were creepy, and I wish I had one in my tree house to keep watch while I read contraband.

Through books, encyclopedias and role playing supplements the story of Bossk has filled out some. To my delight, the scribes have made good use of the character, and yet he still retains a small element of mystery. My favorite story about Bossk is where he kills and eats his own Father later in life; this mirrors his earliest memory where he ate his unborn brothers and sisters when they were still in eggs. This guy is a serious bounty hunter, If you kill family – you will kill anybody!

In recent history a monster that left me thinking “what is that/what is his deal” was the weirdo guy from Pan’s Labyrinth that had his eyes in his hands. I loved that we knew next to nothing about this ghastly creature. He walked so slow and yet scarred the hell out of me simply because I did not know anything about him, or what he was capable of. That was the magic of Hitchcock, he used our imagination to fill in the blanks, which is genius because he knew what we are capable of thinking.

15 thoughts on “Beloved Characters: Bossk

  1. That reminds me of a recent character in Transformers: a hippy Decepticon that had a total of about 5-10 lines in the entire series, in about 3 episodes, but he just had those strange little quirks, and nearly everything about him is a mystery aside from his personality, his looks, and what you see in the series.

    It’s those little characters that end up just being so much better than the main ones for the fact your imagination CAN run around in little circles over ’em.

    As for the Pale Man in Pan’s Labyrinth, yeah, one of the creepiest creatures I’d ever seen. Pan (the Faun) is also so strange for the fact he too is a mystery: is he good or bad? That was a question that was in my mind throughout the entire film.

  2. On the Pan’s Labyrinth DVD extras (backstory spoiler for those who like the unknown!) it says the Pale Man was banned to that hall by the King and that the knife’s presence kept him alive, meaning that when Ofelia took the knife, his precense vanished.

    But I totally agree with the post. I know way too many Star Wars characters, partly from a 3 year period of collecting Star Wars cards (the Decipher ones…I HATE those Wizards ones).
    My parents got really annoyed because if they where watching one of the movies my brother It’s special.

  3. I would love Del Toro to direct THE HOBBIT, his storytelling and creature design was sheer and utter class in Pans Labyrinth 10/10!!

  4. Doug,

    This post is most excellent. When I was young, Bossk was one of the handful of Star Wars villains I had, so he played the part in many adventures. I think he fought Lando Calrissian in Skiff guard disguise about 400 times before I finally allowed the nephews to take him home with them. Great, now I’m gonna be on Ebay for the next hour looking for a replacement to rekindle the fabled days of my youth.

    Please continue these posts. They remind me of a happy time before my siblings convinced me I was an accident.

    @ Lee,

    The Leia in Boushh disguise was the only Leia I had until the new figures came out in 1995. I loved her as well. Good shout out.

  5. Yea, Bossk is awesome. Even though he had 3 seconds of screen time and no lines, Bossk is still my favourite character in the Star Wars universe. I remember having the Bossk action figure as a kid and thinking, “this is the most bad ass guy ever”

  6. i love the stories that came out from star war…..if only they could make a good mmo of the star wars universe =) i would be stoked!

  7. Would you believe I still have an extra Bossk Kenner plastic Doll w/shotgun in the original packaging/cardboard back? You better. It was an extra one, giving to me by Xmas back in 81. “We didn’t know you had that character, young Darren. We have the sales reciept. We’ll take it back…” To which I said “Get your greasy mitts off, gramma! It stays in the package!”

    And where it remains, in a storage box, to this day. Unopened. Tape still holding up the gun.


    Pan’s Lab: Actually, I didn’t think there was confusion. Guests eat the fruit, monster knows they are there and catches up to guest; eats guest (s). Or so painting implies.

  8. Little Known Fact: Bossk was a race known as Trandoshan (or T’doshok)

    Other Little Known Fact: Doug once played a Trandoshan in a repeated social gathering we once had playing the Star Wars Roleplaying Game.

    Old school!!

    Doug, all you ever wanted to know about Trandoshans can be found at the Star Wars Wiki (

  9. I love that scene in Empire where Darth Vader is talking to the bounty hunters. I loved looking t all of the bounty hunters because they just looked so creative, so out of this world!

    Bossk was one of the coolest!!

  10. Oh my goodness Bossk is one of my favorite characters both in Star Wars and in film history. SW has a lot of those characters that have gained cult status and I think Bossk, for people like me, is number one. He is also the most kick-ass character in Lego Star Wars II.

    I think Star Trek also has characters like that. Characters like “Q” and Reggie Barclay are what I would consider beloved by fans.

  11. Seth Green was on Conan the other night talking about how Bossk will have a role in the upcoming Robot Chicken Star Wars special.

  12. great post. keep em coming

    Im a big fan of Boushh, Leia’s disguise at Jabba’s Palace. I loved the voice/language and costume when I was a kid.

    I like the whole Ubese bounty hunter/blacksun backstory.

    from star wars wikia

    “Known for his melee skills and penchant for thermal detonators, Boushh was considered a cool-headed bounty hunter in a profession often filled with trigger happy mercenaries. A Ubese, Boushh was also extremely distrustful of his compatriots and employers and made it his business to acquire information on them for use as blackmail insurance. He became most notable after his death, when Leia Organa used his identity as a disguise in several missions, most importantly in the rescue of Han Solo from Jabba’s Palace.”

  13. I agree that is an awesome part of any kind of story telling, what you dont see or know is way scarier than what you do see and know.

    I think that is lost on most filmmakers today. With all the CGI advancments, everybody is more concerned with seeing what they can do with it rather than relying on wit and true talent.

    This is where the prequels went wrong IMO. The best parts of the original Star Wars were parts that Lucas had to be creative with because they didnt have the “magic CGI button”. You dont get that anymore, at least not with the sci-fi and fantasy films because they automatically have CGI in the budget as a required crutch.

    Im anticipating a minimalist backlash to this trend with low budget Independant sci fi and action films leading the way.

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