- "What's a rathtar?"
"You want the scientific description? They're big and dangerous and ugly."
- ―Rey and Han Solo
Rathtars were large, carnivorous cephalopods that were native to the planet Twon Ketee. Regarded as one of the most dangerous beasts in the galaxy, rathtars were known for hunting in packs, and their subspecies, the dwarf rathtar, were involved in an incident known as the Trillia Massacre. They shared common ancestry with the sarlacc, blixus, and vixus.
Biology and appearance
- "Rathtars are among the most dangerous creatures in the galaxy. Hungry. Vicious. Relentless."
- ―Darth Maul's thoughts while battling a rathtar
Although the study of rathtars was rare due to the danger posed by the beasts, it was believed that they shared common ancestry with other tentacled species such as the sarlaccs, the blixii, and the vixus of Umbara. Rathtars reproduced by fission, leading to rapidly increasing numbers if the species' population was not controlled. The literary collective term for rathtars was a remorse of rathtars.
Originating from Twon Ketee, rathtars appeared physiologically primitive, endowed with only rudimentary senses and possessing small brains. Despite the appearance of a mindless eating machine, rathtars proved effective at working together, and displayed affinity for pack hunting. Individual rathtars appeared to become smarter when in proximity to others of its species, and rathtar packs utilized howls, at a frequency beyond humanoid hearing, to communicate among one another. They also vocalized deafening roars when attacking and devouring prey, and let out horrifying shrieks of fury when in pain. If in danger from a rathtar, one's best hope was to hide, as the creatures were largely blind.
Lacking a true skeleton, a rathtar had an enormous, round, slug-like body covered in light-reactive sensing orbs. They possessed multiple long, tentacle-like appendages; their principal feeding tentacles whipped out to capture and devour prey, which typically consisted of anything they perceived as non-rathtar. The creatures were ravenous and persistent eaters, capable of consuming virtually anything that they could fit into their robust, radial mouths, which were funnel-shaped and lined with rows of razor-sharp teeth. Their throat distended outward into a hollow tongue, useful for swallowing struggling prey. The bilious creatures typically tore their meals apart piece by piece.
Capable of locomotion, rathtars curled their ambulatory tentacles inward to form a ball and roll themselves forward in a whirl of whipping tentacles. They moved deceptively fast for their size, and had adhesive pads on their pointed tentacle tips—known as a club—which helped them attach to surfaces. Their tentacles had enormous strength, and were of a muscular hydrostat form. Their fleshy bodies were covered in a hard, rubbery exterior, giving the rathtars a heavy resistance to blaster bolts, small-arms fire, and even biting attacks.
Rathtars in the galaxy
- "You're not hauling rathtars on this freighter, are you?"
"I'm hauling rathtars."
- ―Finn and Han Solo
The biological study of rathtars was extremely rare due to the beasts' dangerous nature. Although capturing even one rathtar was considered a near impossibility, the creatures were targeted by hunters and collectors. More often than not, however, those who hunted rathtars typically ended up being the hunted. They were notably prized by those who amassed live biological specimens, such as King Prana and his rival, Regent Solculvis of the Mol'leaj system.
During the Nihil's attack on the Starlight Beacon, the Nihil saboteurs were able to enter onboard the space station under the guise of cargo ships transporting rathtars. In reality, only one of the ships contained rathtars, while the others contained the Nihil marauder's equipment and several nameless creatures. Later, as the Starlight Beacon fell into the atmosphere of Eiram, the rathtars were released by the Jedi Padawans Burryaga Agaburry and Bell Zettifar onto the collapsing station. Though the Jedi were able to fight back and kill several of the creatures, the three remaining rathrars escaped. Later, Agaburry appeared to sacrifice himself to the two remaining rathtars in order to save Elzar Mann and the civilians in the principal cargo bay.
At one point on Twon Ketee, they were hunted by a team employed by a big-game hunter during the last decades of the Galactic Republic. The group, led by an alien hunter, encountered a rathtar in the swamps, which used its tentacles to slam the hunters into hard surfaces before devouring them. The massacre was observed by the Sith Lord Darth Maul, who attacked the rathtar with an ax. He defeated the beast, only to recall the creatures were pack hunters, and faced off against two more of the monsters. Maul sated his bloodlust by killing both, dropping a tree on the last, and departed the planet to report back to his Sith Master, Darth Sidious.
Prior to his involvement with the Dragon Void Run, Han Solo attempted to steal a newly hatched rathtar belonging to the alien Dorae, who intended to use the creature to pay off important individuals. The beast attempted to eat Solo, causing his Wookiee First Mate Chewbacca to kill it. Dorae, unable to pay her debts, lost her protection and suffered greatly. She tracked down Solo and Chewbacca during the Galactic Civil War, hoping to exact revenge for her woes.
At some point before the Cold War, rathtars were involved in an unspeakably vile and depraved incident that came to be known as the Trillia Massacre, in which many beings were killed and eaten by the creatures. Thirty years after the Battle of Endor, Han Solo transported three rathtars aboard his Baleen-class heavy freighter, the Eravana, though getting the creatures aboard cost Solo most of his crew. Solo was transporting the creatures to a collector, King Prana, who he said was in competition with the regent of the Mol'leaj system. When Han, Chewbacca, and BB-8 were confronted by Kanjiklub and the Guavian Death Gang, Rey and Finn were below the deck, listening. When it seemed like Han was in trouble, Rey proposed they close the blast doors on either side of Han and Chewie by resetting the fuses. Rey unfortunately tinkered with the wrong set of fuses, unleashing the rathtars, whose horrible cries echoed throughout the freighter. Just as the combined gangsters of Kanjiklub and the Guavian Death Gang were about to kill Han and Chewie, both groups were suddenly attacked from behind by two of the rathtars, while the third chased Finn and Rey throughout the ship. Finn was grabbed by a rathtar and almost killed, but Rey saved him by closing a door on the tentacle holding Finn.
When Rey, Finn, and Solo boarded the Millennium Falcon to escape, a rathtar attached itself to the cockpit window, trying to bite through it. The Falcon entered hyperspace while the rathtar was still clinging to the ship, and was ripped apart by the extreme acceleration, leaving smears on the window. A number of rathtars survived aboard the Eravana, and King Prana ultimately learned of the incident, unhappy at being denied his prizes.
Behind the scenes
Rathtars first appeared in the 2015 film Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, the first installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy. According to director J.J. Abrams, they were designed not to be scary, but "family-scary" in order to create a fun alien horror scene.
- LEGO Star Wars: The Resistance Rises – "The Trouble with Rathtars"
- LEGO Star Wars: The Resistance Rises – "Hunting for Han" (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Notes and references
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens novelization
- "The Saga of Rey" – Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: Scum and Villainy: Case Files on the Galaxy's Most Notorious
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Head-to-Head
- Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens
- Darth Maul (2017) 1
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary
- The High Republic: The Fallen Star
- Star Wars: How Not to Get Eaten by Ewoks and Other Galactic Survival Skills
- Han Solo 4
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens: A Junior Novel
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Incredible Cross-Sections
- Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens Director J.J. Abrams commentary