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The Old-School Rise Of Skywalker Cameo Everyone Missed

It's been months since its release, but Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker still has a surprise or two for us.

A description for the character of "Rothgar Deng" featured in the accompanying book Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker Visual Dictionary implies heavily that the mysterious character is actually an evolution, if you will, of a character from deep in Star Wars canon: the bounty hunter Dengar, who first appeared in The Empire Strikes Back.

Dengar's rather bizarre appearance led to the character becoming a cult favorite of sorts among fans. In Empire, he sported what appeared to be repurposed Stormtrooper armor, and his head was wrapped up in some kind of makeshift turban. His face looked quite a bit like that of your local bartender (he was portrayed by a British boxer by the name of Morris Bush), and his overall aesthetic wouldn't have been terribly intimidating if not for his absurdly huge gun.

Since his debut as little more than a background character in Empire, the character has popped up in various related media, including comic books, video games, and the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series. These appearances revealed that Dengar is Corellian, and that in combat, he prefers blunt force tactics to the sneakier strategies employed by contemporaries like Boba Fett and Bossk — which, as it turns out, is a significant detail.

Is Rothgar Deng really Dengar?

Now we arrive at the character of Rothgar Deng, and we know what you're thinking: that doesn't look a heck of a lot like Dengar. He appears much taller, much more cyborg-y, and while Dengar wasn't exactly a pretty boy, this dude looks like he fell face first into a giant pile of ugly. There's a reason for this, though, as explained by Deng's entry in the Visual Dictionary.

"Rothgar is an old and experienced Corellian bounty hunter, who is likely operating under an alias," it reads (via SlashFilm). "He has been subjecting himself to cybernetic replacements in a poorly planned bid to live and work forever. As age began slowing his reflexes and dulling his senses, Rothgar turned to black-market surgical clinics to replace damaged or wizened body parts with ones that will give him an advantage in his dangerous trade. Poor decision making has led to a ghastly appearance."

Wow. So, first: "likely operating under an alias" in this context means "definitely operating under an alias." Second: Deng is an "old and experienced Corellian bounty hunter" who has literally replaced pretty much every body part with cybernetic or biological... er, after-market parts. He sports pretty much the same type of armor that Dengar always did, and knowing that Dengar wasn't the craftiest guy in the galaxy, "Rothgar Deng" sounds exactly like the kind of shoddy alias that he could have come up with.

Will it ever be explained how Dengar transformed into Rothgar Deng?

Of course, the theatrical Skywalker Saga is now over, but there's one important piece of Star Wars media that is ongoing, takes place smack in the middle of the events of said saga, and concerns itself early and often with bounty hunters. We're speaking, of course, of The Mandalorian, the hit Disney+ series that blew fans away with its first season and has us all anxiously awaiting the second, which is due to arrive in October of this year.

Now, there's not necessarily any reason to think that the creative minds behind Rise of Skywalker would want or expect The Mandalorian's team to pick up their tiny little narrative thread and offer us a detailed explanation of what happened to Dengar. Now that the character's bizarre transformation is canon, though, it would be pretty darned cool for the Disney+ series to give a little nod in that direction. Perhaps Mando could have a run-in with the Corellian sometime before that transformation is complete — say, after his arms were replaced with robotic ones, but before his head was soaked for seven days in pharmaceutical-grade nasty.

We suppose that's probably asking too much, but we submit that one way or another, there has got to be more story to tell here. Heck, we'll even settle for a fan film explaining why Dengar decided to quit the bounty hunting life for good in order to go to work for Pinhead as the newest Cenobite.