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Toys No Child Could Love #3: Rancor Keeper

Rich Cerow

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.
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 something?).

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
It looks like Dom is inviting us to dance at his Grand Doughnut Ball. I'm in.
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.

Rancor Keeper should have been replaced with...Dom DeLuise, the voice of Munchie.


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