The rancor seen in ‘Return of the Jedi’ was given to the Hutt kajidii Jabba Desilijic Tiure as a birthday present from his henchmen. Kept beneath a trapdoor in his chamber at his palace, Jabba was fond of dropping people into the rancor’s pit and watching them be eaten.
Rancors were large carnivorous reptomammals native to the planet of Dathomir. Walking on two relatively stubby legs, with longer forelimbs utilized for catching prey, though they also walked on all fours at times and had a short tail. A rancor’s flat face was dominated by a large mouth full of razor-sharp teeth.
A little-known secret to creating the rancor was revealed by its creator VFX pioneer Phil Tippett, in 2016. Tippett revealed in an interview with the Independent that he dropped acid in during the production of Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi:
“I took LSD when I was working on Return of the Jedi. I could communicate with my cat Brian, and Brian took me on a journey.
“I crawled into this cupboard with Brian the cat and we went to the center of the Earth for like three billion years and I was just in this world of molecules. It was fine, it was very calming.
“I decided to go back to work and I was at ILM (Industrial Light & Magic) and I walked into the blue screen stage and it’s huge – everything’s just super illuminated bright blue – and it was just like ‘Aaaah, I took like way too much.’’
Phil Tippett is a winner of two Academy Awards for The Return of the Jedi and Jurassic Park. Over his career, he has given life to unforgettable creatures, from Jabba the Hutt to the giant bugs of Starship Troopers.