When it comes to Star Wars, there are mysterious plot holes - Darth Vader didn't notice there was a kid called Skywalker on his home planet? Really? - and then there are giant, gaping, gloriously-geeky mysteries that only the most seriously devoted Star Wars fans would ever care about.
Luckily, that's pretty much everyone reading this - so let's get down to solving one of them, shall we? More specifically, the mystery of:
Who Killed Luke's Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru?
Remember these guys?
Luke's sort-of uncle and aunt, Owen and Beru, who raised him from baby-hood on Tatooine, and made him the wet-behind-the-ears moisture-farmer we know and love?
Well then, you probably also remember that whole horrifyingly traumatic part of A New Hope where he finds them murdered, on account of having harbored classic comic-relief Droid duo R2-D2 and C-3PO.
Y'know, the part followed by Obi Wan sagely pronouncing that it couldn't have been the work of Tusken Raiders, because “These blast points [are] too accurate for Sandpeople. Only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise.”
Which, at the time, is all you need to know to follow the narrative thrust of the movie. Stormtroopers + Empire = Bad. Obi Wan + Han Solo = Good.
When you really get down to thinking about it, though, it doesn't actually make all that much sense...
Why It Couldn't Have Been Stormtroopers
There are three key reasons that Stormtroopers don't make sense as the culprits
1) The assault on the Lars' homestead was completely out of character for a Stormtrooper attack - seeing as the rest of their approach seemed to rely largely on checkpoints, informers and interrogations - even if they were pretty terrible at all three.
2) Darth Vader, who ordered the search for the droids, wasn't in the habit of allowing prisoners to be executed. Instead, every action he takes throughout the movies suggests he's a big fan of actually interrogating prisoners before deciding on what to do with them.
3) An intense micro-manager like Vader would surely have been aware that his step-relations, the Lars,' lived in the area that was being investigated - would he really have allowed them to be killed, having left them to live in peace on Tatooine for so many years? Or, for that matter, for lowly Stormtroopers to accidentally learn of their relationship to him?
If the attack doesn't exactly seem like the work of those Stormtroopers, though, who else could be responsible?
A Regular Intergalactic Whodunit
Well, that's where things get interesting.
If the droids weren't just being looked for by Stormtroopers, that suggests the Empire - and, specifically, Vader - had decided to put their Droid-finding eggs in more than one basket.
Y'know, just like they do in The Empire Strikes Back:
Which suggests a bounty hunter could well be the culprit.
Now, if that's the case - and assuming Obi Wan is on the right track with his whole (slightly tenuous) "only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise" theory - then there's only one bounty hunter who could realistically be responsible.
The distinctly Stormtrooper DNA-filled Boba Fett.
Wait? Boba Fett?
After all, Boba Fett is the unaltered clone of Jango Fett, the original Clonetrooper himself - and seeing as the non-clone Stormtroopers in Star Wars have notoriously terrible aim, Obi Wan can surely only have been referencing the original, high quality Clonetroopers with his 'precision' theory.
Which means of all the bounty hunters we know of in the Star Wars universe, only Fett could have been realistically been mistaken for a Stormtrooper by Obi Wan.
But wait, there's more:
Boba Fett Had Motive
Namely the presumably huge bounty that would have been placed on such valuable Droids. Plus, it explains why he would kill the Lars' and frame Tusken Raiders seeing as he'd want to put any other bounty hunters off the scent
Boba Fett Was Near the Scene of the Crime
As shown in the now-canon 1997 Star Wars Special Edition, Fett was in the nearby Mos Eisley just after the Lars' murder - and it's not too hard to believe he'd be willing to double up on bounty's in search of a profit.
And, most compellingly:
Darth Vader Totally References the Fact That He Did It
Remember the best line of that aforementioned bounty hunter scene in The Empire Strikes Back?
The one where Vader's walking around, lecturing the bounty hunters, giving them the old...
“you are free to use any methods necessary, but I want them alive…"
...speech, before stopping by Boba Fett, looking him straight in the eye, and very pointedly saying:
Which is odd, really, because who are the only people who get disintegrated in the whole original Star Wars trilogy? The Jawas that Luke and Obi Wan find before Luke speeds off to make sure his aunt and uncle are all right.
Oh, and Owen and Beru, of course.
Which means that when Vader is telling Fett not to disintegrate anyone, he's not just randomly picking on him because he has a competitively cool helmet - he's pointing out that the last time Fett was sent out to find someone at the Empire's behest, the bounty hunter disintegrated Vader's step-brother.
And, y'know what? He'd rather that not happen again this time, thank you very much.
All of which very much suggests that when Han Solo accidentally knocked Fett into that Sarlacc pit in Return of the Jedi, some sort of Force Ghost should really have appeared to sarcastically congratulate Luke on letting a blind smuggler get revenge for the deaths of his aunt and uncle on his behalf.
Or, at least, to mention in advance that the princess he keeps making out with is his sister.
I mean, a little heads up would kill you, super powerful Jedi ghost guys?
And now, just to wait for [Star Wars: Episode VII](movie:711158), which will presumably open with an ageing Boba Fett just straight up murdering everyone.
What do you guys think? Did Boba Fett kill Owen and Beru?