Star Wars Creatures: Native Tatooine Species in Boba Fett and Beyond
In Star Wars™ lore, the desert planet Tatooine™ is undeniably important. It is on Tatooine that we start and end the Skywalker Saga™, from Anakin’s Skywalker’s™ departure to Rey’s™ fateful arrival. And no matter where our favorite characters travel, it seems many of their narratives are inextricably linked to a place Luke once called the planet furthest from any bright center to the universe.
Besides being the hub of cantinas and a vast criminal underworld, Tatooine is also known for its scorching twin suns and the defiant lifeforms that call the sand dunes home. Most of these desert dwellers have helped or hindered heroes from across the galaxy. Join us on an intergalactic zoological quest as we explore the appearances and behaviors of native Tatooine species.
Banthas are large, horned, hairy herd animals. These peaceful herbivores have black and brown fur covering their entire bodies, and a pair of spiraling horns on their heads. On Tatooine, these mammals are domesticated and ridden upon by the Tusken Raiders™. These tribes value banthas for their companionship and travel capabilities. They are never harmed or eaten. Like the Tusken people, the banthas live and work in social groups.
The bond between Tuskens and banthas is considered somewhat mystical. Every child is paired with a bantha calf that they tame and cherish as they grow, and when Tuskens marry, their banthas also mate. Banthas are treated with the utmost respect in life and death; should one die, its remains are placed in a graveyard that will never be desecrated even by warring tribes.
In The Book of Boba Fett™, Boba Fett™ is at first taken prisoner and dragged behind a bantha. Once he is inducted into the tribe, Boba is allowed to ride one. It is unclear whether or not the bantha he rides in “The Streets of Mos Espa™” is his own or borrowed, but it is a clear indication of the level of trust he gains with the Tuskens when he is trusted with the animal.
The green-skinned, scaly reptiles ridden by specialized stormtroopers™ — called sandtroopers — are dewbacks. Because of their thick hides, dewbacks are able to withstand high temperatures as well as high winds. Dewbacks are strong and durable creatures. This makes them ideal for long, treacherous journeys over the dunes.
However, they are not very fast. While dewbacks can sprint for short distances, their regular pace is a sustained plodding. They also become lethargic in the evening when it’s colder, and thus have to be ridden by specially trained troopers in order to not overexert the animal.
The greater krayt dragon is the apex predator of Tatooine. Ferocious and carnivorous, with 16 limbs, these reptiles will feast on sentient and non-sentient beings alike. Krayt dragons also produce an acidic venom that is mainly used for digestion, though if the dragon spits, their venom dissolves any organic tissue with which it comes into contact. Despite this danger, many beings hunt krayt dragons for the pearls growing inside them.
In The Mandalorian™ season 2, Din Djarin™ and Cobb Vanth™ help the residents of Mos Pelgo™ defeat a krayt dragon. The predator has burrowed in an abandoned sarlacc pit™ and requires regular livestock sacrifices to keep it sated, or it will attack the Tuskens and Jawas™. When it is not sleeping after a meal, the krayt dragon moves underneath the sand and causes earthquakes.
To defeat the beast, Din Djarin and an explosive-ridden bantha are swallowed by the krayt dragon. Din detonates everything from inside it, killing both of the creatures but not himself. Once he escapes, the Tuskens take the carcass. In exchange for defeating the dragon, Din Djarin also receives Cobb Vanth’s Mandalorian armor.
Although they often act like scary, scaly puppies in Star Wars, massiffs are definitely not the four-legged friends we keep at home. A reptilian predator species, massiffs are wild desert-dwellers native to planets like Tatooine and Geonosis™. Massiffs are most often domesticated by Tatooine Tuskens for protection. They make great guard animals since they have armored hides and a ridge of large, defensive spikes on their spines. Additionally, they have wide jaws with strong, sharp teeth and excellent night vision.
Tuskens are not the only beings capable of taming massiffs. In The Mandalorian, Din Djarin’s gentle demeanor helps him calm a small pack. In The Book of Boba Fett, Boba and his sentry are generally at odds, but Boba speaks to it with respect and in turn, once Boba is free, they are easy friends. Clone troopers™, Weequay™ pirates, and even some Imperials also managed to train massiffs as guard beasts and trackers.
Down inside the Pit of Carkoon™, far off into the Dune Sea™, rests another one of Jabba the Hutt’s™ favorite pets, the entertaining — and therefore deadly — sarlacc. A carnivorous creature, it consumes its prey whole and alive and digests the meat slowly over a thousand years due to having weak stomach acid. In Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi™, the droid C-3PO™ describes the experience as “a new definition of pain and suffering.”
Sarlaccs have thousands of razor-sharp teeth, a beaked tongue, multiple stomachs, and numerous tentacles. They live deep beneath the surface. While Jabba uses his as a means of execution, the predators also rely on the nutrients brought to them by any being unfortunate enough to fall into their mouths. Victims of the sarlacc are injected with immobilizing neurotoxins when swallowed, allowing the creature to feed undisturbed.
However, in The Book of Boba Fett it’s revealed that Boba Fett fights against this paralytic agent. His strong will to survive as well as his physical stamina allow him to escape the sarlacc’s stomach. In the process, he blasts a hole in it big enough to kill it.
Although womp rats are mentioned throughout Star Wars movies and television series, we had to wait until The Book of Boba Fett Chapter 5, “Return of the Mandalorian™” to view these vermin onscreen. Local Tatooine moisture farmers like Luke Skywalker™ and his friend Biggs Darklighter™ hunt them for sport and use them for target practice. They are hairy, oversized rodents capable of withstanding harsh desert climates. Omnivorous pack hunters, they kill with their long fangs or forage in refuse containers.
Womp rats make their home in Beggar’s Canyon™. It is said that the smell of dead womp rats attracts krayt dragons. Dewbacks also eat these rodents, which means womp rats are a vital part of the Tatooine ecosystem. There are definitely enough of them to spare for Luke’s pilot training, though.
What is your favorite Tatooine creature in Star Wars? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!