Still from Return of the Jedi; a skull in motion, being thrown against a control panel on the wall of a cave.

A Skull From ‘Return of the Jedi’ Has an Entire Backstory With Several Novels and Comics

So I was today years old when I learned that the skull Luke throws at the control panel during the rancor pit scene in Return of the Jedi isn’t just any old skull. No, that skull belongs to a named character, with several books and comics dedicated to telling the story of his life before he became a rancor’s dinner. No, really.

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All of that was decided after the original Star Wars films came out of course, when the Expanded Universe material was basically developed by giving a really dedicated nerd a small piece of background material from the films and letting them go wild with it. Twitter user Ben Panko, who clued me in to this wonderful piece of knowledge, attributes it to the “drought” of new material before the prequels came out. I like to think of it as similar to the D&D players who get wholly carried away filling in every tiny detail of their character’s backstory, and then that backstory’s backstory—a position I feel is supported by just how much several of the books (said with love!) very much have the vibe of several authors’ OC tabletop campaigns written up in novel form. It’s probably both, really, but you’ve got to love nerds working with what they have to feed their—and our—hyperfixations.

The name of the character that skull once belonged to—and possibly still does depending on how you think about death, metaphysics, and property ownership in the Star Wars universe—is Bidlo Kwerve, and he was in fact a Bad ManTM. A Corellian working for Jabba, but not in a fun, lovably roguish way like Han Solo, Bidlo was a greedy bastard with a foul temper and a fragile ego that he was quick to defend with violence—basically a toxic masculine mess. Fairly high up in Jabba’s organization, Bidlo still ended up stuck doing menial tasks for the crime lord on a regular basis, partly because he was an asshole and nobody liked him, and partly, presumably, because Jabba found that kind of thing funny. He hated Han, he hated his primary rival for power in the gang (Bib Fortuna, so yeah, we know who won that battle), and he was hated by everyone under him right back. Oh, and even though he wanted to be Jabba’s second in command he never bothered to learn Huttese. It’s the complacent entitlement for me, you know?

Bidlo sulked his way through Jabba’s organization, alienating people and generally failing to make friends. Jabba then made it clear to everyone (except possibly the man himself) that he would be replacing his Majordomo with whoever impressed him enough/murdered the other candidates first, and it was Bidlo’s ambition here that led to his becoming rancor bait. After spending some time feuding with and trying to outdo Bib Fortuna, Bidlo heard about a crashed ship in the Tatooine dessert with a “creature” inside. On heading out there to check, followed by Bib Fortuna, Bidlo discovered a rancor there and resolved to bring it back to impress Jabba, hoping this would be enough to tip the scales in his favor. Unfortunately for him, Bidlo ended up having to work with his chief rival to actually get the beast back to Jabba’s lair, where the crime lord gave the two of them a choice: one would get to be Majordomo, and the other would receive “a far greater honor.”

Now Bib Fortuna, being a more cautious and sensible man, could tell that whatever the far greater honor happened to be, it was definitely something sinister. So Bib informed his boss that he’d be very happy as Majordomo, while Bidlo, having absolutely no thoughts in his head, immediately grasped for the “greater honor.” At which point Jabba opened the trap door and Bidlo became the rancor’s first meal in his new home. You love to see it.

Honestly, there’s a lot of very weird treasure out there in the old Expanded Universe, and if you don’t actually want to read through the source material (it’s not all gold), you can always check out Wookieepedia for what is usually a pretty good summary. Here are some tweets about stuff that’s actually in the old canon to get you started:

His species had a male shortage, it was in fact his planetary duty to fuck
I also only learned about these today and I do not care for them
To be fair, his sweat literally burned her skin. All in all it was a bad hookup.

Enjoy goofing off at work with a Star Wars-specific wiki spiral! You’re welcome!

(featured image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

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Siobhan Ball
Siobhan Ball (she/her) is a contributing writer covering news, queer stuff, politics and Star Wars. A former historian and archivist, she made her first forays into journalism by writing a number of queer history articles c. 2016 and things spiralled from there. When she's not working she's still writing, with several novels and a book on Irish myth on the go, as well as developing her skills as a jeweller.