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Toys No Child Could Love #3: Rancor Keeper
It is official - every character to ever appear in a Star Wars movie got a toy, no matter
how insignificant he may have been. And even among the Max Rebo and Hammerhead duds the Star Wars toy
line saw, the Rancor Keeper takes the cake. This pudgy loser didn't even have the distinction of being
named, unlike every other background alien who doesn't even get a chance to speak and looks like just
a molded head on top of a robe. He's just "Rancor Keeper" on the old Return of the Jedi toy box;
that's not a name, it's a job description. It'd be like calling your best friend "Hey, sandwich artist"
(assuming your friend works at Subway). Plus, judging from the scene in Jedi, that rancor's pretty
wild and untrainable - it seems to me the keeper wouldn't have much to do but throw meat down in a pit
(occasionally, since I suspect normally he'd be eating people who welched on Jabba's bets, and other
than that they'd keep him hungry so that he's extra mean). I mean, he's not going down there and brushing
the rancor's luxurious hair or making sure he flosses after he takes a chunk out of Chewbacca. He's just
opening a grate and tossing wampa carcasses down there from a safe distance. I also have to note that I
had this action figure (probably still do in a box somewhere in my parents' house) but didn't have the
rancor, so to be fair I never really got to imagine any scenarios where he's thoughtfully caring for his
beloved rancor, tending to his wounds after Luke Skywalker sliced him up like a Christmas ham. He did
wear furry pants like He-Man, which I never appreciated, but that was kind of made up for by his awesome,
WWF champion-looking belt he wore to hold them up (again, much like He-Man - did Kenner steal a mold or
It looks like he had a weapon in the movie, and for some reason
he doesn't get one in the toy version. The designer was clearly
going for number one least favorite.
But, apparently, the rancor keeper must have...kept the rancor, because when Luke kills the beast in
Return of the Jedi, the big fat baby actually cries. Crying into the arms of your mint
chocolate chip-colored pig-man lover - is this what we want to teach our children with their "dolls but
we want to sound masculine so we call them action figures?" Kids want to seem cool and tough, not blubbery
messes who just go to pieces anytime the souffle is a little bit overcooked. That headdress he's got on
is not helping in the not looking totally effeminate competition all boys' toys are competing in.
Not to mention that fact that he's crying for a creature that would have gladly eaten him. This is not
Bippy the Wonder Pup, who used to follow him all the way to school, dying here; this is a bloodthirsty
beast who was raised to be an ice-cold Jedi slayer, who, in my opinion, got what was coming to him (you
probably shouldn't try and make enemies with dudes who can move faster than the speed of light in
order to block laser blasts). But Rancor Keeper's gotta make a big show of it and start bawling
over his precious. I mean, how can this dude work for Jabba after this embarassment? Isn't the Hutt
supposed to be some literally slimey intergalactic mafioso, feared by all, even the Empire itself? And
he's hiring crybabies and bedwetters? Who is gonna take his threats seriously when he can't even keep
his own employees from breaking out the waterworks everytime their dad misses a Little League game? I bet
if things hadn't gone so badly for Jabba right after this rancor-killing incident, that dude would've been
fired and never even made an appearance in this toy line.
It looks like Dom is inviting us to dance at his Grand Doughnut Ball. I'm in.
Rancor Keeper should have been replaced with...Dom DeLuise, the voice of Munchie.