I’m trying to figure out what is the thing that really draws people in about Boba Fett.
I think part of it is his ability. He’s hired by the Empire because they can’t find the heroes, because the heroes are just that damn good. Then he finds the heroes, and captures them, proving that he’s just that damn better. Part of it is the fact that he exists beyond the normal drives of the mere mortal. But mostly it’s the mystery. He’s a tough nut to crack, a bona fide bad ass, totally high and tight and above the base moral drives, and behind the mask, with a sketchy past and unknown future, he can be any man. He is your shadow, and you can wear it without fear. He’s an excellent cipher.
As he’s developed, he’s become a good example of Dark Hero, but that took so much time to create: a word of mouth legend is not born overnight.
It’s not good enough to tell someone, ‘yeah, he’s one dark somnabitch, so don’t git in his way’. Boba Fett didn’t talk much, he was all action, and even that action was economical.
Think of the scene in Empire where the Millennium Falcon eludes the Empire, floating away as they jettison their trash from the Star Destroyer without so much as a ‘by your leave’. Wow, that’s clever. Then picture what follows: a brief flare of engines, a distinct, compact, (and you know without being told) very lethal ship detatches from the hiding place on the hull of the destroyer, and sets a course to follow the Falcon: swift, silent death, rolling through the blackness of space. That scene spoke volumes about the sentient creature at it’s helm, the mysterious bounty hunter warned by the Sith lord “No disintegrations”, the same bounty hunter who replied only grudgingly (and without fear of Vader) “As you wish”.
Such brilliance, whether planned or unconsciously imprinted, is the reason he survived in fan’s memories. Whether or not Lucas intended, he cast the Shadow Self in stark clarity, and fans were drawn like moths to the flame. Lucas could not slay the shadow, no matter how many Sarlaacs he fed him to: the shadow is eternal. I think he's come to accept that, based on the use of the character in EU material, and the development of the race of shadow selves: the Mandalorians.
Is it possible to achieve the same effect as in that above scene, in the written medium of novels? A picture speaks a thousand words. It reaches us on a symbolic, visceral level. I presume you’d need a thousand very precise, sharp tipped, visually loaded words placed with extreme consciousness of the economics of less is more that is pacing’s mantra, to create the same effect in a novel. To create this character in the same way, you’d need to see him in action, without explanation, many times over, before you’d be ready to tell his story in detail.