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There was more to the Rancor Keeper crying than we’d originally thought. In a famous moment from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Malakili turns and cries after Luke Skywalker kills Jabba’s beloved rancor, Pateesa. It’s a comical moment — everyone is loved by someone — but thanks to Chapter 3 of The Book of Boba Fett, the feelings likely ran much deeper, and were felt on both sides.
Danny Trejo dropped by the latest episode of the live-action Star Wars series, currently streaming on Disney+, and he taught Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) all about it. Boba’s team keeps getting larger, which is good. His enemies seem to be multiplying all the time.
***WARNING: From this point on, there will be spoilers for Chapter 3 of The Book of Boba Fett. If you are not caught up, then jetpack right out of here.***
Who is the syndicate pulling all of the strings in Mos Espa? The Pykes are heavily involved, but even they are saying that they’re working for someone else. Mayor Mok Shaiz is with them, but two characters who aren’t are the Hutt Twins. They pull some kriff this week, but they aren’t the big bads.
They send the beloved comic character Black Krrsantan to kill Boba. A fight breaks out after Black K rips Boba out of his bacta tank (and right out of a flashback) and Boba tries to take him on in his underwear in a scene that made us think of Eastern Promises. It takes Boba's whole gang to keep him at bay, and Black K is only subdued thanks to some quick thinking from Fennec (Ming-Na Wen).
The Hutt Twins arrive on their giant litter to apologize to Boba for sending Black K. They say this territory has already been claimed by another syndicate, so they are buggering off. They don’t want a war. “Bad for business,” they say.
They let Boba keep Black K as a tribute (he doesn’t stay, he runs off after them when they leave), they also give him a gift in the form of a rancor. Danny Trejo, a veteran of countless films (including many from episode director/series co-creator Robert Rodriguez), pulls up as the new Rancor Keeper.
They put it in the empty rancor pit, and Trejo (who goes unnamed in the episode aside from “Rancor Keeper” so we’ll be referring to him as Danny Trejo) explains that Rancors are “emotionally complex creatures.” This one is just lying on it’s sled because it is depressed. It also has blinders on its eyes because… rancors imprint on the first person they see.
“They are powerful fighters, so that is what most know,” Trejo says to Boba. “But they form strong bonds with their owners. It is said that the Witches of Dathomir even rode them through the forests and fens.”
Boba may feel an instant kinship with this creature based on that line; Trejo just as well may have been talking about clones. He then says that he wants to learn to ride this rancor, and Trejo tells him that it will take time. Boba isn’t a Jedi after all; we know from a recent Star Wars: The High Republic comic that Jedi Avar Kriss had no problem riding one.
The blinders are taken off and the rancor looks at Boba. Boba pets the rancor and gives it some serious love before he is interrupted with crime lord business.
Malakili obviously loved Patessa, but based on this, we imagine that Pateesa loved him right back. We initially thought that this new rancor could be Muchi from Star Wars: The Bad Batch, but Trejo says that this rancor was bred for fighting and that he saved it for himself to train. Muchi already got a look at many humans on The Bad Batch and never had blinders on, so we are probably looking for a connection that isn’t there.
Welcome to Team Boba, yet-to-be-named Rancor! And welcome Danny Trejo. Here’s hoping you are in every episode for the rest of the series. Boba obviously made an impression on this rancor, because Trejo has to calm it when Boba leaves. “He’ll be back,” he says.
-Trejo wasn’t the only surprise guest star. The great Stephen Root appeared as Lortha Peel, a jerk who sells water to people at outrageous prices. He’s not happy with Boba.
-His water is being stolen by a cybernetically enhanced speeder gang, and not only does Boba let them off the hook, he recruits them. They are the main squad that helps Boba chase after the Mayor’s majordomo, who makes a run for it at the end of the episode.
-The flashback section of the episode was short this week, but it featured Boba going to Mos Eisley, where Stormtrooper helmets are just now being put on spikes. Peli Motto and her pit droids from The Mandalorian can be seen walking behind them, so we are guessing that this flashback moment happens before Chapter 5 of that series.
-The Pyke that Boba visits (in the flashback) says that they can only pay off one party, and that they are already paying the “Kintan Striders.” At the end of the episode (in the present) the Pykes are arriving at Mos Espa in force, but are they really the phantom menace here? The mayor is working with them, but there could be another syndicate involved. We have a guess as to which syndicate it might be.
-The flashback also contains the destruction of the entire Tusken tribe that Boba has come to know. When he returns to their camp, it is burned. The chief is certainly dead… the Tusken Warrior who trained Boba could still be alive.
-Fennec Shand line of the episode: “If you wish to continue breathing, I advise you to weigh your next words carefully.”
-References galore in this episode, including (but not limited to) a droid rickshaw (seen in Attack of the Clones), multiple pit droids, a Dathomir reference, rontos, Oba Diah, more Kamino, the Worrt, and the return of the small white critter that one of the Hutt Twins wipes himself down with. They don’t say it, but we’re going to proceed as if this is a Hoojib, a creature that became canon thanks to a Star Wars Adventures comic from IDW in 2021. Before that comic, the Hoojib appeared in the original 1977 comics, as well as the read-along record “Planet of the Hoojibs.”
-The B'omarr Monk that we saw in trailers showed up too, walking around Boba's Palace. One of them briefly appeared in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, and expanded lore let us know that it was there because the palace is a B'omarr Monestary that Jabba took for his own. The B'omarr Order, furthermore, were monks who removed their brains and put them in bowls that were carried around by droid walkers. This was so they could think deep thoughts without the issues of having a physical body. If that's what you want to do, okay then.
-Boba Fett gives advice to Black Krrsantan at one point, and it’s our favorite Fett line of the episode: “Take it from an ex-bounty hunter. Don’t work for scugholes.”
The Book of Boba Fett streams on Disney+ every Wednesday.