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Rancors are carnivorous reptomammals native to the planet of Dathomir. These semi-sentient beings are born brown; other species such as the Bull rancor, Jungle rancor, and variants of mutant rancors can possess a variety of colors.
Though found elsewhere in the galaxy such as Lehon, Ottethan, Carida, Corulag, and Felucia, it is said those from Dathomir are more intelligent and formidable. Rancors served a variety of purposes from sources of food, to entertainment, and mounts for battle. In the rarest of instances, some rancors are sentient enough to be able to read and write.
Return of the Jedi
Perhaps the most famous rancor was the one owned by Jabba Desilijic Tiure, who kept it in a pit beneath his palace courts, dropping in victims who displeased him in order to feed it. His rancor was cared for by Malakili, a famous beast tamer who formed an unlikely bond with the animal; this is evident as he wept when the beast was killed by Luke Skywalker. The bond between Malakili and the Rancor was strong enough that in connected stories, it is revealed that the rancor once protected him from Tusken Raiders. Oola, a Twi'lek dancer, is dropped in and eaten for resisting Jabba. Later, Jabba uses it against Luke Skywalker, accidentally dropping a Gamorrean guard named Jubnuk in as well. The rancor eats Jubnuk, but Luke proves to be more difficult; the young Jedi Knight, when it first attempts to eat him, places a large bone between its jaws, forcing the rancor to let him go before snapping it in two. It tried to devour him again, but Luke smashed its hand in self-defense with a rock. Luke, out of options due to the rancor's handlers preventing him from escaping, lured it under a heavy portcullis, then smashed the control panel with a skull, causing the gate to pierce and crush the beast's skull, killing it. Ironically, the skull Luke threw had belonged to its first victim. As it was dying, the rancor moaned weakly, with Malakili rushing to the rancor's aid and then breaking down in tears when he discovered it was too late.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (film)
In the extended cut of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars movie, a jungle rancor appears on Teth and attacks the dueling Asajj Ventress and Anakin Skywalker, who proceed to duel across the monster's back as it tries to eat them. Anakin defeats the beast by stabbing it in the snout, causing it to fall on Ventress, giving him and Ahsoka Tano time to escape. Ventress later escapes from the disoriented and confused creature by stabbing it in the rump.
Rancors briefly appear in several episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, appearing on worlds like Teth and Felucia.
- The concept idea (picture from below) 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. A combination of matte painting, cartoon rotoscoping, and CG elements were added around the creation to make it look bigger and more menacing. Some of these changes were later omitted or replaced with CG effects in the 2004 DVD release of the original trilogy.
- The way Ratigan feeds Felicia is very similar to how Jabba feeds the Rancor.