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What Is The Dog-Like Alien In The Book Of Boba Fett Episode 1

The first chapter of "The Book of Boba Fett" just dropped on Disney+, and as the fan-favorite bounty hunter returns to our screens, so too does a cast of strange-but-familiar alien species that you may recognize from its origin series, "The Mandalorian." The slow-paced episode, titled "Stranger in a Strange Land," re-acclimates fans to the harsh conditions of desert world Tatooine as the backstory of our death-defying hero (played by Temuera Morrison) unfurls. 

We last saw Boba in Season 2 of "The Mandalorian," conscripting his buddy Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) into a mission to reclaim his stolen armor from the Mandalorian, Din Djarin or "Mando" (Pedro Pascal). "Stranger in a Strange Land" begins with a flashback, neatly resolving the hanging plot thread of Boba Fett's mysterious escape from the Sarlacc pit on Tatooine. No sooner does Boba tunnel his way out of the Sarlacc's belly than his armor is ransacked by a band of Jawas, a hooded group of scavengers that trawls Tatooine for salable scraps. Boba's streak of bad luck continues as he's taken captive by the Tusken Raiders, a nomadic tribe native to Tatooine, and tussles with a certain beady-eyed alien creature that snarls like a dog, but looks like a Komodo dragon. 

The dog-like alien is a massiff

That animal is the massiff, the Tusken Raiders' official "guard dogs." Described by the official Star Wars website as one of the franchise's "galactically good doggos," the massiffs were first introduced to the canon in 2002's "Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones" (via Fandom). They have since appeared in the animated "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" series, "The Mandalorian," and now "The Book of Boba Fett." 

Though massiffs do have some distinctly dog-like properties, including a toothsome grin and a proclivity for back scratches, their spiny, lizard-tongued appearance skews more reptilian than canine. According to Fandom, while formerly a feral hunting species native to harsh desert planets, the massiffs were eventually domesticated and deployed as trackers for clone troopers during the Clone Wars before serving as sentries for the fiercely protective Tusken Raiders. 

In "The Mandalorian," Mando brokers a cooperative meeting with the Tusken Raiders by first ingratiating himself with the massiffs, whose ferocious roars dissolve into contented grumbles when he gives one of them an affectionate hide-scratch. Boba, true to form, has a much more brutish strategy for contending with the vicious-but-cuddly species in Chapter One of "The Book of Boba Fett." After being taken captive, he coaxes out a massiff on guard duty and strangles it, ingeniously using its own teeth to break his bonds. Aggressive — but effective!