Pirate by Eacone01
Death may be becomin’ o some gents, but I plan t’ avoid it!
Here’s something that I always loved about Return of the Jedi that seems to be overlooked in movies these days.
The Rancor Trainer.
Luke Skywalker is thrown into this pit as he has angered Jabba the Hutt, and the Rancor is a big hulking monster that tries to eat him. Heck, you even see the monster eat a pig guard who fell in with Luke. But Luke was able to kill the monster when he he got the door it came through to land on its neck.
Which cues this character, who doesn’t even have 10 seconds of screen time. Essentially, he pushes Luke aside, sees the dead Rancor, and starts to cry about it, with another alien trying to comfort him.
What I like about this so much is that it brings an incredible amount of world building without even saying anything or being any relevance to the plot. They don’t tell you this guy is the Rancor trainer, but you see it just through the act of him running out and being devastated. You even feel sorry for him. Does he show up again in the movie? Nope. But he has left an impression. I even seen him used in some parodies.
But this is something writers should pick up on. Too many times, it seems like all characters in stories solely interact for the protagonist. Think of how many movies where someone is a character just happens to say something that helps the main characters out, or how others are just there for a gag or joke.
What I like so much about the Rancor Trainer is that you can clearly see that he was affected by the actions of the protagonist and yet it doesn’t contribute to the story, but instead contributes to the World which the characters live in. His scene could have easily been cut entirely and it wouldn’t have affected anything. But it was left in, to show that there are more people in this universe than just the ones who interact with the main characters.
When so many movies these days have characters be the straight man for the main character’s antics, or throw away comic relief, or be in awe when the latest hero comes around and solely exist to encourage the main hero, I get disappointed. That’s not world building, that’s just using other characters for props that the universe revolves around what the main characters are doing.
What makes the Rancor Trainer so different from the above is that you can tell his story, you can get the idea what he does with his life, and you can feel sorry for him without this character even saying a single word. You get the idea that the world is so much larger than our heroes, not existing solely for our heroes.
One of my favorite touches in the films too! Still makes me sob a bit…