Star Wars’ Jabba The Hutt Hides A Bizarre Secret In Plain Sight

By Zack Zagranis | Published

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Watching a film on Blu-ray or 4K that you grew up watching on VHS is like watching a whole new movie. Nowhere is this more evident than with the original Star Wars trilogy, especially when it comes to the first act of Return of the Jedi, set in Jabba’s palace. So many details not visible on VHS become clear for the first time, such as the stuffed tauntaun head Jabba the Hutt keeps on his wall.

Wait, why does Jabba the Hutt have a stuffed tauntaun head on his wall? I believe it’s because someone fooled Jabba into believing this was actually a ferocious wampa.

A Stuffed Tauntaun Head Is An Odd Choice

If you don’t remember, tauntauns are the creatures Han and Luke rode around on at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back. You might recall the scene where Han Solo cuts one open and shoves Luke inside its belly to keep him from freezing to death. Tauntauns are basically the Star Wars equivalent of a donkey or a mule, which again begs the question: Why does Jabba have one on his wall?

It would be like Al Capone having a horse or cow head on his wall. Stuffed head mounts are usually reserved for more dangerous prey or something that’s hard to shoot, like a deer. A rancor head we could understand, or even a Wookie head since Jabba is a bad guy after all. But a tauntaun head?

Tauntaums Live On A Largely Unknown Planet

Star Wars will come up with an explanation for every little thing seen on screen, even if it’s only for a second, but no reason has ever been given for Jabba’s unlikely decoration. It’s not like tauntauns can be found all across the galaxy. They’re native to the ice planet of Hoth, you know the planet the Rebels chose to hide on because nobody ever went there?

Jabba shouldn’t even know what a tauntaun is, let alone have one on his wall. How did it even get there? Did Jabba kill it himself? It seems pretty unlikely; the guy doesn’t really get around all that easily.

It might have been a gift like Jabba’s pet rancor. But why would he want such a pathetic, non-threatening beast on his wall? Maybe he doesn’t know it’s a tauntaun. Hear me out!

The Wampa/Tauntaum Theory

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Some smuggler on the run from the Empire stumbles across Hoth and hides out there for a bit. While there, they come across a wampa—the big beast that kills Luke’s tauntaun and then drags Luke back to its lair in The Empire Strikes Back—and make a note of the savage creature. That smuggler eventually ends up at Jabba’s and tells the big slug about the horrific snow monster.

Jabba decides he wants the head of one of these ferocious wampas as an exotic trophy to display on his wall. He sends some of his lackeys to Hoth, and upon witnessing a wampa savagely going after its prey, they decide they don’t want to mess with it. They spy a pack of docile tauntauns and decide to behead one of the weaker animals instead.

Jabba Was Fooled

Star Wars is a big galaxy, so it’s likely Jabba has never seen a wampa or a tauntaun, and so he just accepts that what his people brought him was a wampa head. Hoth is so remote that most of the visitors Jabba gets have also never seen a wampa and just go along with what he tells them. Even if one of the criminals hanging out at Jabba’s place does recognize the creature, who’s going to tell the notoriously hot-headed Jabba that he’s got the head of a snow burro on his wall?

That’s a surefire way to end up as rancor food.

The Most Logical Reason

We’ve seen the explanations Star Wars comes up with to flesh out some of the background stuff hidden in Jabba the Hutt’s palace, and we have to say, our story is as good as anything Lucasfilm would officially come up with.

If there are any other headcanons floating around about why Jabba has a tauntaun head on his wall, I’d love to hear them. Until then, I’m going with this story until Disney officially contradicts it.

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