Boba Fett and Darth Vader have more in common than you think.
For a ruthless bounty hunter, Boba Fett sure spends a lot of time soaking in goop in his underpants. Throughout The Book of Boba Fett, the show’s title character makes regular trips to a Bacta Tank, which allows him to heal his various wounds while his mind drifts off to helpful flashbacks.
But what exactly is a Bacta Tank and why does Boba Fett spend so much time sleeping in one? Here’s the Star Wars bacta deep dive you didn’t know you needed.
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Bacta Tanks are person-sized pods filled with a gelatinous liquid called “bacta” that possesses incredible rapid healing abilities. Bacta is capable of regenerating the human body by healing injuries and replacing scar tissue. It also provides pain relief.
Bacta was created by the Vratix, a species of sentient insectoids. In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke uses a tank to heal himself on Hoth after suffering frostbite.
If you’re thinking that this probably wasn’t cheap, you’re right. A Bacta Tank costs roughly 100,000 credits (the value of a Star Wars “credit” is generally considered to be equal to a U.S. dollar). Still, it was clearly worth it considering everything the Bacta Tank is capable of.
Boba Fett has suffered some serious injuries. For one thing, he fell into the Sarlacc, where he was partially digested by whatever acid is in that giant creature’s stomach. Then, after he escaped and his armor was stolen by Jawas, he was left for dead in the harsh Tatooine desert for an unspecified amount of time, during which sandstorms and the sun did even more damage to his skin.
In other words: Boba Fett’s entire body is basically scar tissue. So it makes sense he’d spend a lot of time in the Bacta Tank.
But beyond simply healing his body, it’s possible Fett is also using his bathtime to heal his mind too. And if that’s the case, he’s not the first person to use the technology for this purpose.
Perhaps the most famous Star Wars use of the Bacta Tank comes from Darth Vader, who relied heavily on the healing technology to treat the brutal wounds he received on Mustafar. Vader used bacta to continuously heal his destroyed body and maintain organ function. He apparently needed to use the Bacta Tank after every lightsaber duel, and some fans think the reason he moved so slowly during his fight with Obi-Wan Kenobi in A New Hope is because he’d spent too long away from his tank.
Darth Vader’s story also reveals the limits of this fictional technology. Despite using a Bacta Tank for over 20 years, his body never fully healed. As revealed at the end of Return of the Jedi, his skin remained gray and deformed.
However, Vader wasn’t just using the Bacta Tank to heal his body. Submerging himself in the substance reduced the pain he otherwise felt constantly to the point where he could meditate and study the Dark side of the Force.
So perhaps Boba Fett is using the Bacta Tank for more than physical healing as well. It’s fair to assume that the injuries he’s sustained mean Boba is in some degree of pain almost all of the time. But when he’s submerged in this medicinal goop, he’s finally able to focus his mind and figure out how to maintain control of his new criminal empire.
The Book of Boba Fett is streaming now on Disney+.