There seems to be no shortage of innocent and furry animals for Star Wars to kill off in their films. Before Chewy cooked his Porg and before Ewok teddy bears were struck down with blasters, Tauntauns were being eaten by snow monsters and being cut open for use as warmth. Disturbed yet?
At the start of Episode V, Luke, Leia, and Han are on the ice planet Hoth to assist the Rebel Alliance at their new base of operations. Luke, riding his trusty Tauntaun steed, is attacked by a massive snow monster resembling a Yeti. When Luke awakes, not only is he trapped, hanging upside down on the icy ceiling of the Yeti’s cave, but his cute Tauntaun friend is being gorged on, the Yeti’s mouth caked in blood from his feasting.
As if one Tauntaun death wasn’t tragic enough, when Han eventually finds Luke, who has escaped from the cave, Han has to cut open his own Tauntaun and put a frozen Luke inside to save his life and body heat. We get that this was kind of necessary for Luke’s survival, but these poor Tauntauns could not have met a more gruesome and heartbreaking end.