Terror Down Below: Top 10 Lurking Creatures of Star Wars

Richard Estep
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“I’d stay off the ice, if I were you.”

Sound advice from the skimmer pilot in The Mandalorian’s (watch now on Disney+), who proves his own point just seconds later when a hippopotamus-esque creature bursts from beneath the surface of the ice and devours the vehicle whole. Bounty hunter and prey barely escape with their lives.

Our favorite galaxy far, far away is populated with countless creatures in all shapes and sizes; yet some of them lurk… lurk in the shadows, or beneath the ice; lurk deep beneath the waves, or in the farthest recesses of tunnels. Some even lurk inside the bodies of their prey. Join us for a look at the Top 10 Lurkers of the Star Wars universe.

10) Exogorth

Most spacers refer to these creatures by their nickname: Space Slugs. Ranging in size from just a few feet to hundreds of meters, the Exogorth is a burrower by nature, worming their way beneath the surface of asteroids and other stellar debris. More than one ship’s captain has mistaken an Exogorth burrow for a simple tunnel; the more unfortunate ones paid for it with their lives. See the Exogorth now in The Empire Strikes Back on Disney+.

9) Dianoga

Known to most of us for years as “the thing in the Death Star’s trash/garbage compactor,” the Dianoga from A New Hope (watch now on Disney+) was an aquatic creature that lurked just beneath the surface, feeding on whatever refuse was dumped into the garbage chute. Far from being a dumb beast, the creature was fully sentient, had a name — Omi — and even a form of religion; unsurprisingly, they worshipped water.

8) Sando aqua monster

“There’s always a bigger fish,” said Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, shortly after encountering one of the planet Naboo’s deadliest oceanic predators in The Phantom Menace (watch now on Disney+). Immensely powerful and always hungry, the Sando aqua monsters are a submariner’s worst nightmare, especially for those foolhardy enough to venture into the deepest parts of the ocean.

7) Rathtars

Picture a land-based squid with jaws like a steel trap, one capable of propelling itself at breakneck speeds, and you have a rathtar. Extremely dangerous, these creatures must be handled with the greatest of care. Featured in The Force Awakens (watch now on Disney+), Rathtars are in great demand on the black market. It’s possible for smugglers to make a small fortune by transporting them… or lose their heads instead.

6) Wampa

It takes a hardy creature to survive on an ice world as hostile as Hoth; sub-zero temperatures, howling winds, and a lack of readily available food means that only the toughest have a chance. Wampas from The Empire Strikes Back (watch now on Disney+) are about as tough as they come. Hiding in caves and snow banks, these white-haired beasts are difficult to spot against the snowy backdrop until it is too late, closing in for the kill and rending it with razor-sharp claws and jaws. Few victims of a wampa encounter live to tell the tale.

5) Brain Worms

The galaxy is a dangerous place, full of hidden threats and terrors. Few are as insidious as the Geonosian brain worm from The Clone Wars series (watch now on Disney+). Small in size and highly infectious, these parasites enter the body of a living host and assume complete control, bending it to their will. They are even capable of resurrecting the dead. Fortunately, brain worms have an Achilles Heel: cold.

4) Rancor

Essentially a living battle tank on legs, rancors are nonetheless relatively docile by nature. With a little time and training, it is possible to make even the most placid rancor turn highly aggressive. In Return of the Jedi (watch now on Disney+), the Huttese gangster Jabba kept one such creature in a secret cavern beneath his throne room, using it as an entertaining and convenient way to rid himself of those who displeased him. The rancor bit off more than it could chew with Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker, who killed the beast after being dropped into its lair.

3) Purrgil

Traveling through hyperspace would be dangerous enough without the risk of running into a Purrgil, introduced in Rebels (watch now on Disney+). These enormous beasts, a cross between a whale and a squid, swim in enormous swarms, completely oblivious to anything that might get in their way. Countless space cruisers have been destroyed in accidental collisions with these wanderers of the interstellar deeps.

2) Summa-verminoth

Little is known about the summa-verminoth, but one thing is clear: It’s wise to steer clear of them if you possibly can. A ferocious bundle of eyes, teeth, and tentacles, these creatures are more than capable of ripping a starship apart piece by piece. Only his superb piloting skills and the maneuverability of the Millennium Falcon allowed the Corellian smugger Han Solo to narrowly escape with his life when he encountered one while making the Kessel Run in Solo: A Star Wars Story.

1) Sarlacc

Out in the remote deserts of Tatooine, buried in the Great Pit of Carkoon, nests the voracious and insatiable Sarlacc. Snaring its prey with tentacles, the Sarlacc then pulls it into its beaked maw, as seen in Return of the Jedi (watch now on Disney+). There is nothing that the creature will not eat; being extremely long-lived, the Sarlacc can take up to a thousand years to digest even the toughest meal — including bounty hunters.

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Richard Estep
I’m the author of numerous books in the field of paranormal non-fiction, and write a regular column for Haunted Magazine. I appear on the TV shows ‘Haunted Case Files,’ ‘Haunted Hospitals,’ ‘Paranormal 911’ and ‘Paranormal Night Shift.’ I live in Colorado with my family.