The Book of Boba Fett Makes (Un)Likely Use of the Rancor Pit in “The Streets of Mos Espa”

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We’re back with cyborg street kids, territory spats, and a disarming amount of politeness!

Recap

8D8 attempts to explain to Boba and Fennec how Jabba’s territory was divided and controlled once Bib Fortuna took over, and what they’re currently up against in the fight to take over the territory. As they make plans, a water vendor (Stephen Root) comes to tell them that they are not respected by the people, and that the streets are running rampant with crime. Specifically, water was stolen from him by a gang of enhanced cyborg youths. Fett says he’ll take care of it, but on meeting said gang in the street of Mos Espa, he determines that they’re just (extremely stylish) kids who need work, and employs them as enforcers. The water vendor is unhappy with this turns of events, but Fett pays him off for his trouble—and advises him to lower his water prices.

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

Back at the palace, Boba dreams in the bacta tank again, and remembers going to the Pykes to receive their toll for crossing the Dune Sea. The Pyke leader insists that they are already paying the toll to the Nikto gang, and refuse to pay twice. Fett tells the leader that the Tuskens will take care of the Niktos and receive the toll in the future. When he arrives back, he finds that the gang has murdered the entire Tusken tribe. He holds a funeral for the dead.

Fett is woken from his sleep by Krrsantan (Carey Jones)—the Wookiee who works for the Hutt Twins—who is there to kill him. After a gruesome fight—involving a slippery and mostly naked Boba, the Cyborg Power Rangers, less slippery and mostly naked Gamoreans, and some fast thinking by Fennec—Krrsantan is dropped into the rancor pit to cool down. The Hutt Twins arrive promptly the next day to explain that they meant no offense, and sending Krrsantan to do a murder was a mistake: Someone else has laid claim to Jabba’s territory, so they no longer have interest. That someone is Mayor Moz Shaiz. To make amends, the Twins have brought the gift of a rancor with its trainer (who is obviously Danny-flipping-Trejo, no one else is qualified for this job). They refuse to take Krrsantan back, so Fett releases the Wookiee and advises him, as a former bounty hunter who knows the drill, to work for less shitty people in the future.

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

Boba talks to the rancor trainer, who explains that this rancor is very young, and will imprint on the first human it sees. He tells Boba that rancors are sensitive and sentient creatures, and that they can be used for more than just fighting—the witches of Dathomir were rumored to ride them. This appeals to Fett, who decides that he also wants to learn to ride a rancor. The trainer takes off the blinders so that Boba is the first person this rancor sees, and they bond over scritches. Boba and Fennec head back into Mos Espa to speak to the mayor, but his majordomo escapes by speeder. Fett sends the Technicolor Dream Bike Gang after him, and they acquit themselves well. The majordomo admits that the mayor is now in league with the Pykes. One of the cyborg kids checks out the latest starliner arrival and confirms that many Pykes have just arrived on Tatooine.

Commentary

Okay, this is more like it.

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

First off, limited flashback! Which leaves us with far more to do in the present, and thus more time to actually develop Fett’s character in present day so that we can get a better idea of what he wants and why! And what he wants, apparently, is to adopt tons of queer cyborg kids off the streets and make friends with handsome Wookiees.

How Mandalorian of him.

The attack from Krrsantan was there for a very clear purpose from a fandom perspective—you know how lots of fans (myself included) like to talk about the secret dangerousness of Ewoks? How they eat stormtroopers? Well, Wookiees are kind of similar on this count, in that we constantly hear that they are absolutely brutal in combat, but we never really see it. When Han Solo says that Wookiees are known to pull people’s arms out of their sockets when they lose games, he’s not actually talking about Chewie, who is a great big teddy bear as far as his people are concerned. He’s talking about guys like this. Krrsantan will break your spine with the galaxy’s worst hug, and he’ll do it while you’re in your underpants and dripping with bacta.

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

I genuinely do love the rainbow cyborg gang, even if I’m deeply confused as to how one gets the level of swagger and speeder modifications this crew has got when they’re notably broke and thirsty (in the literal sense, though I’m sure the figurative could also apply here). My whole heart to these kids, who know that personal expression through appearance is an art form, and so made sure to have matching color-coded bikes in their punk-anarchist body-enhancement friend group. Their new boss-dad clearly loves them a whole lot, but their boss-auntie is on the fence because she’s on the fence about everyone. This is a good found family dynamic, complete with two bears for uncles (who are actually pigs), and one positively exhausted droid cousin who used to torture his friends.

So aside from the old Expanded Universe story about the trainer of Jabba’s rancor, we’ve been getting other little asides in the current canon about them lately. The Bad Batch featured an entire episode about getting said baby rancor to Jabba (and she was like, a baby baby, not a teen, like this current fellow is). The point is, Star Wars is now determined to make us feel things about that poor creature Luke killed just so we can enjoy the awesomeness of Boba Fett eventually riding one. That is, if you didn’t already feel things about the rancor. Which most of us probably did.

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

But perhaps my favorite thing about this episode is watching bits and pieces of Jango Fett’s dad energy shine through in Boba. We already had the impression that Jango, whatever faults he may have had, was a genuinely good father, and know that Boba loved him dearly. Jango also had an exacting code of conduct for himself, and a sense of honor that matched up with the Mandalorian people who adopted him. We keep getting little moments where we see this passed down in Boba Fett’s manner toward others: the way he advises Krrsantan about bad employers; his instant affinity for the cyborg kids and willingness to believe them; his assumption that 8D8 is being polite and lack of fuss when it turns out he isn’t; his sweetness to the rancor the instant he learns it’s sentient. My favorite of these is when he tells one of the cyborg gang to “keep an eye out” with the Pykes and immediately qualifies that as an expression because the kid only has one eye and oh gosh what if that was really insensitive??

Because he may be one of the baddest fuckers in the galaxy, but he doesn’t have to be nasty about it. (I love it so much, I cannot even begin to tell you.)

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

That said, Fett knows the Pyke Syndicate well enough that he should have seen this coming. Working as a bounty hunter means there’s absolutely no way he hasn’t crossed their paths before, and they are known for how cold and ruthless they are about their business interests. So this… is gonna be a whole thing. And how does the Nikto gang fit into this? Guess we’ll find out.

 

Bits and Beskar:

We see both a B’omarr monk (spider robot dude) and Bubo the frog-dog in this episode, though there’s still no indication of whether their characters have been changed in the current canon. I’m just happy Bubo is still alive, honestly.
Stephen Root is a character actor who has been in basically everything, and so has Danny Trejo, but he tends to work with Robert Rodriguez even more, hence his appearance here.

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

Okay, so apparently the harassed locals from the previous episode are supposed to be Fixer and Camie, who are actually old pals from Luke’s childhood. If you know about the deleted scene from A New Hope (which can be found in the novelization), you’ll remember that they dated as teens, and seem to still be together years later—not too surprising, it’s not like Tatooine has a ton of options on the dating scene.
Yes, the Nikto gang is named for the infamous “Klaatu Barada Nikto” from The Day the Earth Stood Still, yes, it’s goofy af but George Lucas literally named the Gungans after a nonsense word his son used for tractors, so this is relatively tame by comparison.
The comment from Danny Trejo: Rancor Trainer that the witches of Dathomir used to ride rancors is taken directly from the Legends canon. In The Courtship of Princess Leia, it was suggested that the rancor were possibly native to Dathomir, and they were used as steeds by the Force-wielding witches there.

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

The mayor’s majordomo crashes into a pile of meiloorun at the end of that chase scene, which is notable for being the Hera Syndulla’s favorite treat in the whole galaxy. To the point where her crew was often sent to fetch it on supply runs, and Garazeb Orrelios once used “Commander Meiloorun” as a (very poor) cover name.

Next week more of this, I hope!

Emmet Asher-Perrin can’t wait for Krrsantan to come back and hang out as the group’s very weird neighbor who shares too much. You can bug them on Twitter, and read more of their work here and elsewhere.

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