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August 21, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT

No Star Wars discussion would be complete without a mention of … Boba Fett. That’s right, Boba Fett, the armor-clad bounty hunter hired by Jabba the Hutt in The Empire Strikes Back. (He also appears briefly in Return of the Jedi.) Despite his scant screen time, Fett has amassed an inexplicably fervent fan following (just do a Web search for ”boba fett” and you’ll see what we mean). According to toy maker Kenner, Fett is even one of its top five best-selling Star Wars action figures. What makes him so Boba-licious? ”He’s a villain, a mysterious character,” says Dark Horse Comics writer John Wagner, who’s working on his fifth Boba-based issue, Enemy of the Empire, due in January. ”Fett is an amoral mercenary, and people love a bad guy.” Sadly, Fett freaks will have to wait until 2002 to see their obscure idol back on the big screen: Boba’s not in next year’s first prequel, but he will have a beefy role in Episode II. Meanwhile, fans can satisfy their Fettishes with a new Christmas ornament. Unveiled by Hallmark last month, the plastic Boba is already X-winging itself off store shelves. In fact, a Hallmark spokeswoman says that of roughly 137 ornaments that premiered last month, Fett’s the ninth-best seller. Better get cracking on those Boba chocolates. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner.

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