There has been a very strange mystery that’s lurked in the background of some Star Wars discussion the last few years surrounding the identity of Rothgar Deng – and whether he’s actually Dengar. And it seems like we just keep getting more and more hints that they’re actually the same person.
Let me unpack the situation for you.
Rothgar Deng first appeared as a background cameo in The Rise of Skywalker, as he was one of many people at the Spice Runners hideout on Kijimi. He makes a very brief appearance, and no one would think anything of it – except for in the Visual Dictionary that accompanied the film, written by Pablo Hidalgo, there’s a little snippet about Deng that began catching some attention. He was identified as an old Corellian bounty hunter who, out of a desire to live forever, subjected himself to massive cybernetic implants that went awry and left him disfigured. Oh, and it also mentions that he was likely operating under an alias.
All of the sudden, people began connecting some dots and wondering if this was actually Dengar, one of the bounty hunters seen in The Empire Strikes Back. He has since appeared in The Clone Wars series, as well as many comics and books (including the Aftermath books, confirming that he survived the events of the original trilogy). The name (Rothgar Deng vs. Dengar) was a pretty key clue, but so too does the backstory fit: both are old and experienced bounty hunters from Corellia. And with Deng operating under an alias, could it actually be the same person? At the time, most of us assumed that it was a fun little connection that was probably true but that may not get answered.
We still don’t have an official answer, but it’s looking more and more likely that this is the same person.
A year following the release of his Visual Dictionary (2019), Hidalgo wrote another reference book, this time The Star Wars Book (2020), in which he reveals that Dengar underwent surgeries sometime after the original trilogy that left him barely recognizable, all for the sake of wanting to continue at a high level. Interesting, right? Then a year after that, apparently a reference booklet called “Din Djarin and Other Bounty Hunters and Criminals” was published (2021) that stated that there was an in-universe rumor going around that the two are actually the same person, thus making this question canon as well.
And then the latest clue came just recently, in an issue of the Star Wars Adventures comic. In a story from issue #14 (2022) written by George Mann, which is set in-between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, Rey encounters the bounty hunter Kief Varris, who has captured Moebin Faltus. Rey talks up Varris, saying that Faltus has faced “most of the greats. Rothgar Deng. Boba Fett. Krrsantan. Emim’ai…” She is distracting him while BB-8 works to free Faltus, and Varris begins repeating some of that back to her, saying, “Dengar. Boba Fett. Krrs– hold on! What’s that?” He then catches on to the plan, but note that when he hears Rey say Rothgar Deng, he uses the name Dengar interchangeably with it.
It seems that we keep getting subtle clues as we go on that Rothgar Deng and Dengar are actually the same person, and I think we’ve gotten enough clues to assume that this is actually true. Their names are suspiciously similar. Their backstories are far too alike to be coincidental. And their identities seem to be interchangeable in-universe, suggesting that others think they’re the same person too. I think we can go ahead and basically assume that they are indeed the same person, even if we don’t have official confirmation. It’s a lot like the whole idea of Ilum and Starkiller Base being the same planet – we kept getting more and more hints that it was the same, such that we basically came to the point of assuming that it was the same, and then finally got official confirmation of it. I’m guessing that’s how this will go too.
So, in other words, I think we can confidently say that Dengar was in The Rise of Skywalker, operating a different alias after his attempts to prolong his life and work went horribly awry.