Star Wars: The Bad Batch episode 5, “Rampage”, saw Clone Force 99 hired for an unusual job: retrieving a young rancor that had been taken from its owner by some slavers. (SPOILERS) The person who hired the Bad Batch to wrangle the beast was the intel broker Cid, who didn’t happen to mention that the rancor, Muchi, was actually the pet of the infamous crime lord Jabba the Hutt. The episode ended with Clone Force 99 successfully returning the rancor to Jabba’s right-hand man Bib Fortuna, which sparked an immediate fan reaction that we’d seen some kind of origin story for Jabba’s famous rancor from Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi.
However, that fan theory is very wrong: The Bad Batch’s rancor is NOT the same rancor that battled Luke Skywalker in Return of the Jedi.
First things first, some cursory research quickly reveals that the two rancors are not one and the same. The Bad Batch clearly names its rancor “Muchi” and repeats that name enough times for it to really sink into viewers’ ears. It may not be mainstream knowledge, but Return of the Jedi‘s rancor from Jabba’s Rancor Pit has the established name of “Pateesa.” Muchi is also a female rancor, while Pateesa was a male.
While a knee-jerk reaction to Star Wars: The Bad Batch‘s rancor being the same as Return of the Jedi’s may make sense, there’s an obvious reason that Star Wars’ creators and executives would want to make a clear separation between the two. Luke’s fight with the rancor in Return of the Jedi ended with Pateesa suffering a pretty brutal death, as Luke impaled the rancor through the head using the spiked door to its cave/pit. It would be pretty messed up and dark if Star Wars: The Bad Batch got fans invested in a cute young rancor that they deep-down know will die horribly years later. How many Muchi dolls could you sell in that kind of framework?
At the same time, some fans have pointed out that The Bad Batch doesn’t manage to fully side-step this continuity landmine. After all, Pateesa being Jabba’s favorite pet in Return of the Jedi means that Muchi isn’t around anymore. It’s hard to believe that Muchi simply lived out a comfortable and happy life in Jabba’s Palace, being fed unwitting victims until she died comfortably of old age. Star Wars may never explain it, but it definitely seems more likely that Jabba isn’t the best pet owner and has a small graveyard of rancors, other exotic beasts, and victims, out in the sands of Tatooine, somewhere.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch is streaming on Disney+.