Our last article looked at the best Star Wars aliens, focusing on the intelligent races we see throughout the franchise. But one of Star Wars’ biggest appeals is the vast galaxy we get to witness as fans - and the strange creatures which inhabit it.
Some are enormous and malevolent - seeking only to kill and consume. Others are cute and cuddly - with everything else represented across the main movies and expanded universe.
With so many to choose from, we’re picking our most memorable: so here are some of our favourites Star Wars creatures.
The Sarlacc is a monster everyone who ever watched the original trilogy as a kid remembers well. An enormous mouth and tentacles buried in the sand, the Sarlacc naturally inspires questions like: “what the hell does it look like?” “what does it eat?” etc. etc.
The second question is partially answered when we see Jabba the Hutt trying to feed his prisoners to the beast - but ultimately, it’s Boba Fett who falls into the creature’s waiting mouth.
Most frightening of all is how its victims die: experiencing a slow and inevitable death as they are digested over a thousand years.
One thing to note is that the Sarlacc isn’t the hole it lives in. Instead, the insectoid like creatures choose a burrow once they reach 30,000 years old. The pit of Carkoon on Tatooine is where the movie Sarlacc resides - but there are many more places in the galaxy where you may, unfortunately, encounter one of these enormous, terrifying creatures.
Another favourite toy of Jabba the Hutt, the Rancor is revealed when Luke Skywalker is thrown down into a pit and forced to battle it. Rancor are reptilian and carnivorous - but it’s their sheer size that makes them so terrifying. Towering over Luke and with a hulking body packed with muscle that weighs over 1,650kg, the Rancor is a true monster.
Or is it?
The one in Jabba’s palace is called Pateesa and is a pet kept for Jabba’s entertainment. When Luke kills the creature, we see its handler mourning its death. Maybe the Rancor isn’t the monster we thought it was and is instead a poor plaything of a cruel overlord?
Not that we’d want to be locked down there with it, either way.
Take an ice world, a barren place where conditions are inhospitable to human life. Now, add a giant yeti creature that stalks the white snowdrifts waiting for an exhausted Jedi to take prisoner. That’s right, you’ve got yourself a Wampa - and one hell of a problem. Just as Luke Skywalker finds out, the Wampa is a creature of stealth. Like Polar Bears in our world, the Wampa is an ambush predator that relies on its white coat to hide in the snow.
However, the Wampa lacks any significant powers in terms of defence - especially when confronted by a high energy duelling lightsaber.
If you haven’t slept in a Tauntaun to survive a cold night, have you even lived?
Tauntauns are the secret saviours of the entire Star Wars franchise. Without Han Solo sacrificing a Tauntaun to keep Luke warm overnight, the Empire may still be reigning supreme over the galaxy.
We covered the Tusken Raiders in our best Star Wars aliens article, but how could we forget about their main transport method? The sight of the sand people lumbering through the desert on their favoured mounts is familiar to all Star Wars fans.
Banthas are enormous hairy mammoths with buffalo style horns. They weigh around 4000kg and have a distinctive lip design. Bantha produce the infamous blue milk and can regulate their internal temperatures - making them ideal companion animals for the desert-residing Tusken Raiders.
Okay, we know that the Porgs were shamelessly designed to be a cute addition to Luke’s hermit island. But let’s face it, they are extremely cute. Such tiny little creatures have huge personalities and their interactions with Chewbacca are hard to forget.
But the real treason they’re in this list is the ingenuity of their creation. When filming on the Irish island of Skellig-Michael, director Rian Johnson had to accommodate the native puffin population which is a protected species. When you can’t move a species and they’re in every shot, what else can you do but invent an entire species?
While a living Krayt Dragon is never seen in the original films, their reputation casts a shadow over every other Star Wars creature on Tatooine. Enormous carnivorous reptiles which were hunted by the Tusken Raiders for their precious pearls, the Krayt Dragon is nonetheless an apex predator amidst the sandy dunes. Feared by the Jawa, the creature produces venom that can dissolve tissue-like paper.
In The Mandalorian, fans finally got to see a Krayt dragon in action. And what a scene that was!
Fans of Sci-fi will know the sandworms of Dune by Frank Herbert. Perhaps it was those very creatures, large beyond belief and capable of ambushing people from below, that inspired George Lucas to include the hideous Space Slugs in The Empire Strikes Back. The Exogorth, or Space Slug, is a creature so massive it can swallow the entirety of the Millenium Falcon.
The prequel trilogies are a bit of a marmite issue - with some loving them and others hating them. Most of us, however, can agree that The Clone Wars has a few great scenes in it: one of which is when the Jedi are pitted against the arena monsters. The spider-like Acklay, with scything forelimbs and terrifying teeth, is a genuinely scary threat.
The Force Awakens features quite a few new creatures never seen before in the Star Wars universe. Few of them are as memorable as the Rathtar - a strange alien that is essentially just a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth and savage tentacles,
Unfortunately for Han Solo, smuggling Rathtars doesn’t work out in his favour as they get loose and rampage around his ship. Resembling a smaller Sarlacc, the speed and ferocity of Rathtars is hard to rival.
What do you think of our list? Have we missed at Star Wars creatures that you’d have included? Or do you think we’ve really nailed what makes the best Star Wars creatures in the entirety of the franchise? Let us know!