Star Wars Lore – Rancors
As towering hulks of muscle and reptilian flesh, rancors walked on two stubby legs and caught prey with their disproportionately long arms. Their flat faces were dominated by sharp teeth, and they could swallow humans whole! In addition, their armoured skin was so tough that blaster bolts were merely an inconvenience. However, despite being walking apocalypses, rancors were not inherently vicious, and were able to co-exist relatively peacefully with Felucian farmers. But, with that being said, they were still prized as trophies by crimelords and wealthy individuals. Jabba the Hutt was once such criminal, keeping a rancor underneath his Tatooine throne room, to which he fed those who displeased him…
Rancors were attracted to one another by smell, or a pheromone. But unlike fellow reptomammals, such as wampas, their young were hatched from eggs like those of a reptile, and were not suckled. Usually born two at a time, the three-meter-tall hatchlings rode their mother, one dorsal and one ventral, until maturity. However, it was not uncommon for female rancors to eat their young. The colossal beasts had a symbiotic relationship with gibbit birds, an avian species that would clean their teeth as a means of collecting food. Despite being classed as unintelligent beasts, rancors were sentient enough to read and write, as proven with Tosh, who tried to teach her skills to fellow intelligent rancors in her herd. The reptomammals were also caring creatures who mourned the loss of family members, going as far as teaching future generations of previous herds.
Rancors lived very primitive lives; using their size and strength to hunt live prey across their native planet, Dathomir. However, during the final centuries of the Galactic Republic, the beasts became domesticated by the Witches of Dathomir. The mutually beneficial co-existence apparently began when a warrior-woman healed an injured female Rancor, before mounting the creature’s back. The woman’s eyesight enabled the rancor to hunt better during the day, allowing it to grow in size and status to become a mighty herd-mother. As the New Republic rose to power, most of Dathomir’s rancor population were living in harmony with the planet’s witch clans. Used as mounts and aids for weapon and armour making, clans claimed ownership of the beasts by marking them. The aforementioned Tosh was the herd leader of the Singing Mountain Clan.
Although rancors were native to Dathomir, they spread across various planets before the rise of the Old Republic due to early spacefaring civilisations. Such planets were Dantooine, Trinta, Carida, Ohma-D’un, Regosh and Corulag. Furthermore, a young rancor herd – which descended from those brought by the Infinite Empire - roamed wild on Lehon, while warrior clans rode the creatures on Ottethan. The One domesticated rancors as beasts of war, which he used to attack Revan for breaking a promise. Later, when reformed, Revan encountered a guarding rancor on Taris. In order to infiltrate the Black Vulkar Base, he placed a grenade next to a synthetic odour in a pile of corpses. When attracted to the smell, the rancor ingested what it believed was food, only to be blown apart by the grenade. The inhabitants of Felucia managed to tame the local rancors in a similar manner to the Dathomiri Witches. They used the beasts as mounts, decorated them with fluorescent paints to enhance their intimidation, and crafted the bones of deceased rancors into weapons. Many of those creatures were later used Jedi Shaak Ti and Marris Brood. In 2 BBY, Galen Marek faced and defeated several of the same rancors. The Zann Consortium used both rancors and Nightsisters in their campaign to corrupt the galaxy. One of the Nightsisters, Silri, named her pet Cuddles, a slightly misleading title.
Fun fact: The Jedi Order named the Niman lightsaber combat form after rancors. The style was known for being well rounded, with no certain offensive or defensive attributes.
Despite their colourful past, rancors were most closely associated with the criminal underworld, where they were kept as pets, guards and status-symbols. Occasionally, they were used for gambling matches, either pitted against another beast or upon slaves to see who could survive the longest. Rancors were used by such criminals as Nirama, Borvo the Hutt, Hlisk Squin and infamous slaver Phylus Mon, who used two crossed rancor claws as his organisation’s symbol. But perhaps the most notorious crimelord owner of a rancor was Jabba the Hutt, who held the pet in a pit underneath his palace courts. He fed the creature anyone who displeased him, and the rancor was cared for by Malakili, a famous beast tamer who had travelled with the Circus Horrificus. Malakili formed a very close bond with the beast, even going as far to sneak the rancor out of the palace for runs in the desert. When Luke Skywalker slayed the creature, Malakili wept. The Galactic Empire attempted to exploit the danger of rancors in their military, only to find that fully grown Dathomiri rancors were very eager to single-handedly destroy entire AT-ST units…
To learn all about the subspecies of rancor, click the link on-screen or the one in the description. Now it’s time for this week’s question: what fellow creature do you think is capable of defeating a rancor in a one on one fight? Let me know in the comments below, do include odds if you so wish :P