This week’s episode of The Book of Boba Fett offered Star Wars fans a good deal of surprises. Among them, the epic return of the classic practical effects creature, the rancor.
The show has been leaning heavily on events surrounding Return of the Jedi, more so this episode than ever before. The crime underworld of Tatooine is now rich with familiar faces both old and new. We’ve seen more than one Episode VI cast member make an on-screen appearance as well as several more recent editions to the galaxy who have poked their heads out of the sand.
One such character that strikes a familiar tone is that of the, as of yet, unnamed rancor keeper who accompanied Lord Fett’s new house pet. A fitting replacement for the beast that Luke Skywalker slew in his escape attempt at Jabba’s Palace.
While the beast master is an original, never before seen character, his presence was familiar for a number of reasons. For starters let’s take a look at the choice of casting. Viewers may be familiar with the keeper’s actor, that of Danny Trejo who is a frequent collaborator of the episodes director Robert Rodriguez whom Trejo is also cousins with.
Rodriguez himself has recently portrayed a character in the series as well. That of the Ithorian mayor of Mos Espa, Mok Shaiz.
The rancor keepers’ origins go a little deeper than just this. Long time fans may remember another such exotic beast tamer who also appeared in Return of the Jedi, that of Malakili who wept at the passing of the original rancor. The beast’s name we learn from a canon novel is in fact Pateesa. Malakili was played by renowned, now retired, British actor Paul Brooke.
While Trejo’s rancor keeper is yet to have a name, his association with Fett may yield more screen time to the character as he trains the Daimyo to mount the deadly yet misunderstood creature. This should, of course, be no great challenge for the former bounty hunter who has ridden beasts ten times its size.
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