- "It's a vicious, monstrous beast with huge fangs and large claws."
- ―Mat Rags
The krayt dragon was a large carnivorous reptile native to Tatooine.
Characteristics and species
- "What made the Sand People leave?"
"I imitated the hunting cry of a krayt dragon. Their imaginations did the rest and they took to their heels."
- ―Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi
Krayt dragons grew continuously throughout their lives to an average length of almost forty five meters and weight of two thousand kilograms. They could live for a hundred years and did not weaken appreciably with age. They could be found in the mountain regions of Tatooine. An ancient krayt dragon was the oldest and biggest of all krayt dragons.
A fierce hunter, the krayt dragon became an important part of indigenous cultures on Tatooine. The krayt dragon was thought by some xenobiologists to have descended from the Duinuogwuin (also known as Star Dragons). Although no substantial evidence was offered in support of a connection to the Duinuogwuin, the krayt dragon was a proven relative of the smaller kell dragon. In honor of the beast's sheer power and ferocity, the Jedi Order named the Shien and Djem So form of lightsaber combat "The Way of the Krayt Dragon."
When summer mating season began, the howls of krayt dragons filled the canyons of Tatooine. The collection of frenzied, mating beasts scared even the mightiest Sand People away. Obi-Wan Kenobi mimicked a krayt dragon hunting cry when he scared the raiders away from Luke Skywalker in 0 BBY. Skywalker himself later used the same tactic in an attempt to scare a vornskr.
Sand People would hunt krayt dragons in an initiation rite to prove themselves as warriors. It was considered the most prestigious test for a Tusken warrior.
The krayt dragon had a set of sharp teeth used for capturing prey, but relied on ingesting stones to grind the food through a series of gizzards into a digestible state. Food would be crushed by the stones tumbled in the gizzards by stomach muscles, grinding food into pulp and turning boulders into smooth stones. The resulting stones, known as dragon pearls, were a valuable commodity among jewelers. The pearls could also be shaped and tuned by Jedi to be used as focusing crystals in their lightsabers. Krayt dragons instinctively went to the Krayt Graveyard when they were about to die.
In spite of their awesome power, krayt dragons did have weak and exploitable biological characteristics. Firstly, krayt dragons had trouble resisting the allure of the prey of the Dune Sea, specifically the bantha. Secondly, they had difficulty discerning two-dimensional images, often attacking shadows. Thirdly, a well-placed blaster shot could bore right through the weak sinus cavity of a krayt dragon, hitting its brain and killing it instantly.
The krayt could also secrete a lethal venom, either through its teeth or its spines. Although its nature is unclear, numerous underworld characters such as Bib Fortuna have admitted to using the substance to kill enemies.
At least two species and several subspecies of krayt dragons existed.
Canyon krayt dragon
The canyon krayt was a common species of krayt dragon that lived in the rocky caves and canyons of Tatooine's desert ranges. More often than not, the term "krayt dragon" referred to this lifeform. Patterns of horns and spikes appears to have varied from individual to individual. At least one canyon krayt was noted to have a two-pronged tail.
Greater krayt dragon
The greater krayt was a rarer, larger species of krayt dragon, known for its tremendous size and continual growth over time. Creatures of near legendary status, greater krayt dragons had ten legs, measured at least 100 meters from snout to tail tip and had the ability to move through or on Tatooine's desert sand. Greater krayt dragons attacked with their massive jaws or whip-like spike-tail, using their claws only to move through the sand.
Krayts in Tatooine culture
- "From the womb of the krayt, be blessed with rebirth. You are her killer and her child—a greater dragon than she! Pull from her belly your prize… and her apology."
- ―An ancient Tusken invocation.
The Sand People of Tatooine revered the krayt dragon as a powerful hunter and centered their primary maturity ritual on it. Adolescent males were abandoned in the Tatooine dune and only accepted back into their tribes as adults when they had slain a krayt dragon. Both the Sand People and Jawas placed the krayt dragon in the position of a powerful spirit, and believed that their bones possessed magic. Jawas brave enough to risk the acquisition of krayt dragon bones were held in high regard among their people.
Revan, who was an amnesiac and searching for the Star Forge to stop Darth Malak, killed a krayt dragon with the help of Komad Fortuna in order to find an ancient Star Map. He collected the krayt dragon's pearl, but what he did with it is unknown. He either gave it to the Sand People so he could be permitted to learn their history, or he may have kept it to make his lightsaber stronger.
The Sand People often made fearsome-looking backpacks from the skulls of krayt dragons.
According to Han Solo and Gavin Darklighter, Krayt Dragons were an integral part of a traditional Tatooine pre-wedding party for the groom-to-be, which is why it was perhaps fortunate that Luke Skywalker's was held on Coruscant, in the Corellian tradition instead.
Behind the scenes
The artificial skeleton used for A New Hope was left in the Tunisian desert after filming and still lies there. During filming of Attack of the Clones, the site was visited by the crew and the skeleton was still found there. A backpack made from a krayt dragon skull was one of the many items available to players in Star Wars Galaxies.
Krayt dragons were intended to appear first in Star Wars: Dark Forces but they were renamed kell dragons and became a different (but related) species altogether. Krayt dragons were mentioned in the article Supernatural Encounters: The Trial and Transformation of Arhul Hextrophon, however the article was never officially published. The related information that was to be published in the article is outlined below.
In the primordial galaxy, the Krayt Dragons first emerged as offspring of the mating of the Firstborn Duinuogwuin species and the bioengineered Basiliskans created by the being Cold Danda Sine. Monstrous and temperamental, the krayt dragons were considered abominations by their Duinuogwuin progenitors.
- Jedi Academy: Return of the Padawan (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Imitated call)
- LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles video game (Skeleton only)
- "Sandstorm"—Star Wars Tales 15
- LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (Imitated call)
- Choose Your Own Star Wars Adventure: A New Hope (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader (Skeleton of greater krayt)
- Star Wars: Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike (Skeleton of greater krayt)
Notes and references
- The New Essential Guide to Alien Species
- Star Wars (radio)
- Heir to the Empire
- Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide, "A Jedi in Exile," page 79.
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
- Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor
- Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided—Data Storage Unit: "ESSENTIAL COOKING SKILLS"
- Star Wars: Bounty Hunter
- Star Wars: Union
- Supernatural Encounters: The Trial and Transformation of Arhul Hextrophon