Star Wars: the Force Awakens has broken the box office, to no one’s surprise. But what might come as a surprise to some is the fact that the depiction of bounty hunter’s in Star Wars is far from accurate. Here are three things Star Wars gets wrong about real bounty hunting.
- Bounty hunters are not assassins
In Star Wars, governments and private parties seeking to capture or kill a desired target can employ bounty hunters. Jango Fett is paid by the Confederacy in Episode II to assassinate Padmé, Boba Fett and numerous others are contracted by Jabba the Hutt, a gangster, to capture Han Solo for debt collection in the original trilogy.
Bounty hunters are never contracted to kill people. For legal, moral, and financial reasons, it is never in the bounty hunter’s best interest to kill unless defending from an attacking fugitive. In the worst case, when a bounty hunter has to kill a skip attempting to harm them, the bounty hunter does not receive any compensation.
- Bounty hunters do not work for private interests
Mentioned above, bounty hunters in the Star Wars series can be contracted by governments, businesses, private persons, or even gangs.
In reality, bounty hunters work for the government, and only look for fugitives who have skipped bail. Rather than a gun-for-hire, or a morally grey assassin, bounty hunters today work to ensure justice is carried out, even when the accused attempt to flee their punishment.
- Bounty hunting is not illegal
In Star Wars, bounty hunters work from planet-to-planet, and therefore subvert the laws of each system. Bounty hunters don’t treat this as a moral issue; it is simply part of the job.
Bounty hunters in the real world work within the legal system, not against it. When an accused person signs the bail document, they sign most of their constitutional rights away. When they flee the court, bounty hunters therefore are legally exempt from many of the traditional requirements police have to follow in apprehending suspects. A bounty hunter in America can enter a residence or building without announcing themselves, they can even enter under false pretenses or break in. Not only this, but bounty hunters can also make arrests without reading Miranda rights and legally cross state lines. The only real lines that can’t be crossed by bail collection officers are international ones; bounty hunters can be arrested or shot for pursuing accused persons outside of the United States, since their legal protections only go as far as American jurisdiction.
Star Wars, ultimately, is a good story, and so can be forgiven for its inaccurate portrayal of bounty hunting. But the reality, as shown above, can sometimes be just as exciting as fiction.