- "Rancor are emotionally complex creatures."
- ―Boba Fett's rancor keeper
Rancors were large semi-sentient reptilian carnivores native to the planet Dathomir (although also present on Felucia). Rancors were often seen as mindless, violent creatures due to their extensive use as fighters across the galaxy.
Biology and appearance
Standing around five meters tall, with their long arms, immense jaws, and armored hides that could withstand blaster fire, they were formidable predators. A subspecies known as the jungle rancor populated the planet Felucia. Rage rancors were taller and had an even nastier temperament than an average rancor. Shadow rancors were notorious for their penchant for destruction, gaining their name from their black skin. The proper term for a group of rancors in Galactic Basic Standard was a crash of rancors.
- "A rampaging adolescent rancor is not the distraction I was anticipating."
Rancors responded to a social hierarchy where an alpha was dominant over other rancors unless defeated. Despite their extremely intimidating appearance, the creatures were inherently benign and were even domesticated by the Witches of Dathomir, but could be provoked over time into a violent nature. The dirty teeth of the rancor were cleaned by birds. Rancors would eat anything that they were capable of getting their hands on.
Rancors were often bred for fighting. However, when domesticated, they could be very loving to their owners.
When the Fromprath came to Dathomir, they exploited the natural resources of the planet, which caused the Nightsisters to form a symbiotic alliance with rancors in order to drive out the colonizers.
Clone Wars Era
The jungle rancor subspecies lived on the world of Felucia; after the destruction of Felucia Medical Station HCTFF2, Jedi General Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jedi General Anakin Skywalker, and Jedi Commander Ahsoka Tano saw a group of such rancors on planet. While they were careful to not scare the creatures, the jungle rancors lived a relatively peaceful co-existence with the native Felucian farmers.
After the rise of the Galactic Empire, Clone Force 99 was hired by Cid to rescue Muchi, an adolescent rancor on Ord Mantell, though they were not informed she was a rancor. Muchi was released by Omega in order to help the squad and some slaves escape from a group of Zygerrian slavers, and Echo expressed surprise upon discovering that Muchi was the rancor, not one of the slaves.
A rancor named Pateesa was kept as a pet by Jabba the Hutt in a pit below his palace court, to which he fed any who displeased him. The beast was killed by Luke Skywalker, after which its human handler, Malakili, mourned its death.
In approximately 9 ABY, the Hutts known as The Twins presented a rancor to Daimyo Boba Fett on Tatooine as tribute and an apology for sending the Wookiee gladiator Krrsantan to assassinate Fett. The rancor was equipped with blinders, which its keeper explained was because a rancor would "imprint" on the first human it saw. Boba removed the rancor's blinders and began to bond with his new creature, asking the rancor keeper to teach him to ride the rancor as the Witches of Dathomir had. When the Pyke Syndicate began using Tatooine as part of their spice trade, Fett met with Mos Espa's criminal leaders at his palace to try to convince them to join him against the Pykes. During the meeting, Fett's guests were surprised at the rancor that was just below them.
During the battle that took place in Mos Espa, Fett and his allies were being outnumbered by the Pykes, which was made worse when the Pykes brought in scorpenek droids equipped with deflector shields, against which their weapons were nearly useless. To balance the fight, Fett withdrew from the battle and returned riding his rancor, which changed the course of the battle. When bounty hunter Cad Bane, Fett's former mentor and rival who was working for the Pykes, arrived, rancor was scared away by Bane's flamethrower, what made Fett fall and the animal run away. Without Fett to keep the beast under control, the rancor began to destroy the city. Mandalorian bounty hunter Din Djarin, who had been recruited by Fett, faced the rancor and was nearly killed, but before the rancor could kill him, Grogu, a Force-sensitive child of Yoda's race who was in Djarin's care, placed himself between the two and used the Force to calm the beast and put it to sleep, which Grogu also did alongside the rancor due to the tiredness caused by the act.
Behind the scenes
The concept for the rancor in Return of the Jedi was described by its creators as "a cross between a bear and a potato." It was first to be played by an actor in a suit, but no one was satisfied with the results. The rancor was then made as a rod-operated puppet, filmed with a high-speed camera to slow its movements down to give the illusion of a much larger creature.
While the original puppet was optically matted over the live action footage, sometimes with heavy matte lines, the footage was recomposited digitally for the 2004 DVD release of the original trilogy.[source?]
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