In the latest episode of The Bad Batch (spoilers ahead!), the squad is tasked by an informant named Cid with retrieving a kid from Zygerrian slavers.
Simple enough, right?
Well, as we should expect, things are never as simple as they appear, and that’s what the Bad Batch comes to learn. And, they also learn that the kid they’ve been tasked with retrieving, named Muchi, is actually a baby Rancor! And as if that weren’t enough, the person who wants the Rancor is Bib Fortuna, Jabba the Hutt’s right-hand man, who shows up at the end of the episode accompanied by a couple of Gamorrean Guards.
So obviously, with Bib Fortuna showing up to take a Rancor back to Jabba the Hutt, fans have wondered: is this the same Rancor seen in Return of the Jedi? The answer, at least based on everything we know so far, is no.
The Rancor in this episode is a young girl named Muchi. But the Rancor seen facing off against Luke Skywalker in ROTJ was identified in the novel Aftermath: Life Debt as being a male named Pateesa.
So no, this doesn’t appear to be the same Rancor. And if Jabba the Hutt owned one Rancor, there’s nothing to say that he didn’t own more! We don’t know how many pets Jabba had in his Palace, or even if his Palace was the only place he kept them. I find it totally plausible that Jabba had a Rancor named Pateesa and a Rancor named Muchi!
But the reason that I am saying that it “doesn’t appear” to be the same Rancor rather than just directly stating that it’s not the same Rancor is because it’s possible that the intent was to make this the same creature. That seems to, perhaps, have been the case with the writer of this episode, Tamara Becher-Wilkinson, based on a few of her tweets yesterday. And honestly, I wouldn’t mind it. There’s plenty of ways they could explain that, whether it’s that Jabba changed the Rancor’s name, or whatever. I think that most fans will probably already assume that it’s the same Rancor, and there’s absolutely zero harm in that. It’s a very cool connection, and I think that many will think it is the same one. I don’t think one line in a novel needs to be definitive proof otherwise, and I don’t think it matters a whole lot whether Muchi is or isn’t the same Rancor.
One other thought is that, as some will point out, it has previously been stated that Bib Fortuna gave Pateesa as a gift to Jabba, and that was many years before The Bad Batch takes place. So that would seem to be further confirmation that this is a different Rancor, and again, I think that is indeed the case. However, there was nothing in this episode that suggested that this was the very first time Muchi ever belonged to Jabba, and in fact Bib’s familiarity with the creature suggests that they already know one another. So it totally fits, as I think Muchi already was Jabba’s Rancor and was retrieved here by Clone Force 99.
So, to answer the question, is Muchi the Rancor from Return of the Jedi? Based on what we know so far in canon, the answer would appear to be no… But should it later be revealed to actually be the same one, I wouldn’t mind it and don’t think it changes much. If anything, it makes it cooler now that we would have seen this prior story on-screen.