Speaking of Star Wars creatures, the Bantha was my all time favorite one from A New Hope. Maybe because I had (and still have) an affinity to prehistoric animals and that the Bantha reminded me of mammoths, I was drawn to it. Nevermind that it made no sense that an animal from a planet with binary suns was covered in fur, it was still cool looking. The long curling horns real added to the alien look to this big lumbering monster. Like the Dewback, it was a creature without explanation. Though unlike the Dewback, it had a name which both Luke and Ben used in the film. But you just accepted that they were beasts of burden to the Tusken Raiders.
I really, really, really wanted a toy version as a kid. They made a Dewback, so why not a Bantha? The real kicker is that in the Star Wars Holiday Special, Chewbacca’s son Lumpy had the coolest stuffed Bantha toy. It really pissed me off when that Imperial Officer ripped its head off. Poor Lumpy!
I think Kenner had a missed opportunity in not creating stuffed Bantha toys in time for the holidays! I would have to wait 19 years to finally get a proper toy version. It came in the form of the Galoob Micro-Machines Action Fleet Battle Pack #3 Aliens & Creatures – Bantha Set. Granted this majestic beast had been reduced to a 4-inch figurine but it was a Bantha none the less. I was ecstatic! I think I purchased 2 or 3.
But just 2 years later Hasbro would do what Kenner failed to do! They created a Bantha to scale with its 3-inch figure line! Mind Blown! I bought 2! Since then Hasbro has reused the sculpt multiple times but tweaked the details making it more screen accurate each time! It was a Bantha renaissance!
Even George Lucas got caught up in this Bantha craze by adding an enormous herd of them to the Return of the Jedi Special Edition! Like everything in Star Wars, it’s these enduring characters and creatures that make you embrace this world wholeheartedly. It’s comforting to know that there is a world where Banthas exist. A world that feels like home… even 40 years later.
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Holiday Bantha image via Wookieepedia