In Episode 5 Boba's EE-3 was almost entirely different to the one in Episode 6. Is there any canon explanation for this?
6the old one was made by samsung... It exploded– Matrim CauthonJan 28, 2017 at 19:02
4The simplest explanation could be he has more than one blaster. Just like how many people own more than one car, or more than one pair of shoes, or more than one necktie.– RichSJan 28, 2017 at 19:07
2For me, a more interesting question is how his rifle changed during the Empire Strikes Back from one with a short stock to one with a longer stock.– ValorumJan 28, 2017 at 19:11
4Guns enthusiasts have guns. Guitar enthusiasts have guitars. Camera enthusiasts... Is a bounty hunter carrying a different weapon really so perplexing?– Kyle JonesJan 28, 2017 at 20:21
Boba Fett owns at least two of the EE-3 blasters. Wookieepedia says
The rifle consisted of a small handle attached to a long circular barrel. An alternate version of this model features a modified scope mounting and hand grips that run along the length of the barrel.
These are the descriptions of both of the weapons we see in the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, meaning there is more than one EE-3 model and Fett owns both. Since he is a bounty hunter, and prone to losing weapons, this makes a lot of sense. The canon has no more on it that I could find.
One site I found said that George Lucas wanted the bounty hunter to appear more threatening in Return of the Jedi, and gave him a more imposing weapon to match, but this site also misspelled "shark". twice. That is all I could find on it, although it is possible that a fanpage as in depth as this could come in handy if you have time enough to search it.
The (or at least one) out-of-universe reason for the change was that the original prop from The Empire Strikes Back could not have been used in this scene.
During the sarlacc battle in Return of the Jedi, Luke chops the gun in half to prevent Boba Fett from simply blasting all the rebels. Something like this was probably necessary, from a dramatic standpoint; for while it may have seemed reasonable for the kind of guards employed by Jabba the Hutt to be sufficiently poor shots that Luke could take them all out with no casualties, it would have been harder to believe that Boba Fett—a character whose appearance in Episode V had already transformed him into a mimetic badass—would keep missing the good guys.
The original prop had a barrel of thick metal, as can be see here in this still. So the barrel of the prop needed to be redesigned to accommodate it being cut apart.
As part of the redesign and modification, the barrel was made longer and thicker, producing the overall effect of a more powerful weapon.