Star Wars Big Five: Boba Fett

By Sigurd Arild, Eva Gregersen, and Ryan Smith

***Watch this article as a video here.***

This series of articles analyzes the characters from ‘Star Wars’ (original trilogy only) on the basis of the Big Five system of personality which is the most widely used personality test in social science and which has sometimes been referred to as “the only truly scientific personality test.” Compared to Jungian typology, the Big Five is more empirical and ‘external,’ positing a straightforward relationship between personality and observed behavior, which makes it easier to achieve consensus.

Below Average Openness

“He’s no good to me dead.” Whereas open individuals often get lost in impractical ideas and whims of the imagination, everything about Fett’s operation was stripped to the point of expediency. Not one to be lost in reveries, Fett had no trouble tracking the Millennium Falcon to Cloud City or anticipating the moves of his opponents. Furthermore, while open individuals may often call attention to themselves by way of ostentatious aesthetics or dress, Fett preferred to carry himself as a semi-anonymous, low-key presence who could easily blend into the background and avoid calling attention to himself (even preferring to fly an outdated spaceship, the Slave I, in order not to attract attention). Finally, whereas open individuals tend to get “lost in big ideas” at the expense of what is going on right in front of them, Fett did not appear to get caught up in the conflict of political visions that engendered the conflict between Rebellion and Empire, preferring to live by a simple code of harsh justice and pecuniary gains.

Below Average Conscientiousness

Whereas conscientious individuals prefer predictability and routine, people who are low on Conscientiousness prefer to improvise and to be free to shift gears whenever they please. Fett’s low Conscientiousness can be seen in his professional record as a bounty hunter, as his wanderlust and sense of adventure prompts him to shift employers often instead of remaining with a single organization in the long run, in order to accumulate standing and rise through the ranks. Another facet of Conscientiousness is a person’s stance towards risk, with high-Conscientiousness individuals typically being afraid to take risks while people who are lower in Conscientiousness tend to thrive on it. Apart from his more conventional blaster, Fett’s unconventional choice of secondary weaponry (which includes a jetpack, a grappling hook, and a body-mounted rocket launcher) attests to an audacious individual who is no sucker for predictability and who is not afraid to take risks.

Below Average Extroversion

Whereas other bounty hunters in the galaxy worked in teams, gangs, or groups, Fett preferred to operate alone and saw little need for frivolous words or drawn-out conversations. He was not enthusiastic about spending time with others, nor did he appear to get a kick out of the social stimulus of interacting with others. In fact, Fett consistently displayed the social reserve and interpersonally detached demeanor of an introvert, thus attesting to his lower-than-average levels of Extroversion. On the other hand, another facet of Extroversion is Excitement-Seeking, which is to be understood as a person’s fondness for fast-paced action, thinking on one’s feet, and seizing opportunities as they arise – predilections without which any bounty hunter would be lost. Hence, though Fett was predominantly an introvert, he was not completely without extroverted traits once this facet is factored in.

Low Agreeableness

“What if he doesn’t survive? He’s worth a lot to me.” While Agreeable individuals tend to have high levels of emotional empathy and to take an active interest in the welfare of others, individuals who are lower in Agreeableness typically care more about their own interests and tend to be less concerned about whether they are likely to hurt others when setting out to achieve their own aims. In Empire, Fett cares little about the prospect of Solo’s death, thinking primarily about whether his bounty is at risk. By its very definition, the nature of Fett’s job as a bounty hunter requires him to hunt down people with whom he has no personal beef, indeed, to do so simply because someone else had put a price on their head. Fett’s status as one of the most feared bounty hunters in the galaxy and Vader’s need to remind him (specifically, out of all the bounty hunters in his employ) that the captives are wanted alive both testify to Fett’s low level of Agreeableness (“No disintegrations!”).

Below Average Neuroticism

Neurotic individuals tend to worry a lot and they easily succumb to mental distress and the normal demands of everyday life. By contrast, individuals who are lower in Neuroticism tend to be remarkably stable and robust. They evince a strong “fighting spirit” and are often good at shrugging off setbacks and frustrations that would leave others at pains to catch up. In the Battle at Sarlacc’s Pit in Jedi, Fett experiences numerous blows and setbacks without letting his fighting spirit give way to anguish. He remains cool under fire, and indeed is not afraid to charge Luke Skywalker head on. Instead of succumbing to stress, Fett kept improvising and battling on, unruffled, until the very end.

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The idea of intermixing Star Wars and the Big Five was first conceived by the website Outofservice.com, to which this series of articles pays homage.

4 Comments

  1. How can Boba Fett, one of the best bounty hunters in the galaxy, be “below average” on conscientiousness? In Celebrity Types own words, low conscientiousness is: “disorganized, spur-of-the-moment, impulsive, procrastinating, finds rules constraining.” How can Mr. Fett be one of the best bounty hunters in the galaxy if he is inclined to procrastinate and is disorganized?

  2. As you no doubt know, you don’t need to have all the facets of a trait to have a certain trait. Thus, you don’t have to be disorganized, but can still have below average C.
    In general, it is also hard to apply these things meaningfully to fictional characters, since fictional personalities can sometimes achieve measures of success that would not have been attainable to similar personalities in the real world. I.e. you often see fictional heroes being extremely haphazard on a habitual basis and still winning out. In the real world, not so much. :)

  3. That make sense. I guess it is unrealistic to assume that people must have all the facets of a certain trait. This complexity is what makes studying Type/Big 5 even more satisfying and rewarding.

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