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Paying Tribute to the Biggest, Scariest, and Most Important Kaiju in All of Star Wars

The galaxy is a lot bigger than you think.

Summa-verminoth from Solo: A Star Wars Story

Krayt Dragons, Space Slugs, Zillo Beasts, Mythosaurs, oh my! There is certainly a lot of kaiju in the Star Wars universe. But there is even more to these creatures than first meets the eye.

As a note, “kaiju” is a pretty broad term referring to gigantic monsters. I use kaiju to refer to Star Wars creatures that are larger than the average Earth megafauna. Banthas, Lothwolves, and Reeks may be large creatures, but they aren’t considered Kaiju for the purposes of this list. Kaiju here are land creatures larger than an elephant, water creatures larger than the average whale, and space creatures larger than the average starfighter.

Here are some of the most fascinating and important kaiju in the Star Wars galaxy.

Krayt Dragons

The first giant kaiju introduced in Star Wars, the Krayt Dragon first appeared as a skeleton C3PO stumbles across on Tattoine. The creature would be greater explored in The Old Republic video game, where players can harvest a “pearl” from a krayt dragon’s carcass. The pearl is actually a condensed ball of kyber crystal, aka the same thing that powers and focuses the blade of a lightsaber.

Space Slugs

The Exogorth or Space Slugs are species of slugs that primarily reside in asteroids. They are so large that whole ships can fly into their stomachs and escape.

Even better, the species is “sentient” or capable of higher thought. The Empire Strikes Back companion book “From a Certain Point of View” states that they have their own culture and they consider the species they develop inside their bodies to be a status symbol.


Rancors, while first appearing under Jabba’s palace on Tattooine, are native to Dathomir, homeworld of Darth Maul and the Nightsisters. They imprint on their owners at first look, and while they are capable of great destruction, they are also very loyal when well-treated.

While we don’t know for sure if they have the Force, the Nightsisters of Dathomir used to ride the beasts and Grogu used the Force to soothe Bob Fett’s rancor in Mos Eisley.

(Honestly, the Sarlacc would probably be a better contender for best Kaiju on size alone, but I like the variability of rancors as either loyal steeds or wild monsters.)

Opee Sea Killer/Colo Claw Fish/Sando Aqua Monster

Naboo’s planet core is host to all kinds of massive creatures. Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Jar-Jar Binks are almost eaten by three different creatures, which makes you wonder what else is down there.

Zillo Beast

The Zillo Beast is Star Wars’ version of both Godzilla and King Kong, making it the most traditional Kaiju. The creature is awoken after an experimental Republic EMP bomb opens a sinkhole on Malastare. While the native Dug population wants to poison the creature, seeing it as a threat to their home, Mace Windu and Anakin Skywalker are able to subdue the beast. Of course, Chancellor Palpatine sees the opportunity presented by the creature’s scales that deflect blaster bolts and lightsabers and has the creature brought to Coruscant to be “studied,” aka killed and dissected.

This results in the creature escaping and wreaking havoc on Coruscant in an attempt to kill Palpatine. It may appear to only be after vengeance, however, showrunner Dave Filoni clarified that the Zillo Beast is actually force-sensitive and actually sensed Palpatine was the hidden Sith Lord. Unfortunately, the Jedi don’t understand the creature and are forced to poison it.

The creature is eventually cloned by the Empire.

Neebray Mantas

Also known as ‘gas gulpers,’ these creatures’ nesting grounds were used as a secret path by smugglers. Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, and their squadron pass through their territory to sneak up on the Separatist warship The Malevolence. Though the creatures are peaceful, their massive size makes it difficult to maneuver around them, resulting in several ships being lost in the path.


Purrgils are perhaps the most important kaiju of Star Wars. These space-catfish-whale hybrids are the originators of hyperspace travel and were instrumental in the defeat of Grand Admiral Thrawn in Star Wars Rebels (no, I’m not kidding, Thrawn and Jedi Padawan Ezra Bridger were kidnapped by the whales, which probably saved the galaxy by keeping Thrawn out of the war).

The Bendu

The Bendu is the self-proclaimed “one in the middle.” He is a force user unlike most others, being truly massive in size to the point that he is first mistaken for a hill. He is also one of the few creatures capable of speaking basic, the default language of the galaxy. While he is willing to teach Kanan Jarrus to use the Force to guide him after he is blinded, he also prefers not to get involved with the galactic struggle as a whole. Kanan has to provoke his anger against both sides to get him involved.


This creature could be found in the Akkadese Maelstrom near Kessel. It attempted to eat the Millennium Falcon during its Kessel Run, but Han Solo diverted its attention with the escape pod, resulting in it being torn apart by the Maw gravity well.

Honestly, this creature is the closest thing to an Eldritch Abomination in Star Wars.

The Mythosaur

The Mythosaur is a semi-aquatic creature that was allegedly tamed by Mandalore the Great. The creature supposedly went extinct, but was still the sigil of the Mandalorian people and its return would supposedly harken a new age for Mandalore. Bo-Katan seeing on in the Mines of Mandalore was ultimately what renewed her drive to rebuild her homeworld, resulting in the people’s return to the planet and the downfall of Moff Gideon.

Even more interesting is the fact that it’s not the only kaiju on the planet; the Trinitaur is a giant creature that resembles an ankylosaurus and is apparently alive and thriving on the crystalized surface of Mandalore.

What’s your favorite Star Wars Kaiju? Which creature would you like to see explored more?

(featured image: Lucasfilm)

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Kimberly Terasaki is a contributing writer for The Mary Sue. Dhe has been writing articles for them since 2018, going on 5 years of working with this amazing team. Her interests include Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Horror, intersectional feminism, and fanfiction; some are interests she has held for decades, while others are more recent hobbies. She liked Ahsoka Tano before it was cool, will fight you about Rey being a “Mary Sue,” and is a Kamala Khan stan.