|Chronological and political information|
- "For every bounty hunter that can do the job, there are a thousand more who think they can."
- ―Crime lord saying
Rango Tel was a particularly dim-witted Human male who hailed from the Outer Rim planet Sernpidal. Growing up as a street ruffian, an instance of pure and utter luck led him to believe that it was his life's calling to become a bounty hunter. Defeating a drunkard in an unruly bar brawl, Tel ended up collecting a bounty he never pursued and winning the allegiance of the Pa'lowick smuggler Aneesa Dym. With Dym at his side, Tel set out into the galaxy in the starship Dusty Duck and was quickly swindled into wearing an inappropriate vac-exposure suit that he believed was Mandalorian armor, consequently earning the derisive nickname "Tank Head." He soon after sought to find and kill the Fluggrian Kam Nale for a local crime lord, a pursuit that took him to the desert world of Tatooine. Tel's career, however, ended before it began, with Nale killing the hapless Tel in a back alley in the world's city of Mos Espa.
Born and raised on the Outer Rim world of Sernpidal, the Human male Rango Tel lived his young life as a disenfranchised street ruffian. After several years, as a young man, he was drawn into a cantina brawl where he inadvertently incapacitated a patron with a bounty on their head. Though Tel had initially been unaware of the bounty, he claimed it and began to believe that it was his destiny to enter the bounty hunter profession. The client had been the Pa'lowick smuggler Aneesa Dym, and the mark had been her father's murderer. Dym, grateful, became smitten with Tel, and offered herself as a pilot in his new undertaking. Leaving Sernpidal in Dym's heavily modified freighter, the Dusty Duck, Tel sought his first bounty and his break in the bounty hunting industry.
In his journeys, Tel came across a junk dealer of ill-repute and sought to purchase equipment for his new endeavor. Going on stories he had heard as a child, Tel asked for some Mandalorian armor, which led the junk dealer to doubt Tel's intelligence. Passing off a vac-exposure suit as the genuine article, the dealer gleaned a handsome sum from Tel, and Tel, due to his ungainly appearance, earned the nickname "Tank Head." He did not realize that the nickname was meant to be insulting.
Tel contacted a crime lord, seeking work. Although the mob boss had already had his hit on fellow crime lord Borzu Nale successfully completed, he offered Tel a bounty on Nale's son, Kam, in order to ensure that the Fluggrian didn't take up his father's work. Tel was eager to impress and get his start in the business, so he accepted the job with a minimum of fuss.
The hunt for Kam NaleEdit
With Aneesa Dym in tow, Tel began tracking Nale. As Nale had no desire to follow in his father's footsteps and enter into illegality, he used a series of aliases to elude capture and death, evading Tel for months. Although Tel eventually learned that Nale had no ill intent toward his employer, he persisted, locating Nale—or "Elan Mak"—on the Outer Rim world of Tatooine in 32 BBY. "Mak" was to participate in the Boonta Eve Classic podrace, and it was there that Tel hoped to corner and kill Nale.
Leaving Dym behind to oversee repairs to the Dusty Duck, Tel set off into the city of Mos Espa in search of his mark. After hunting for several days, Tel was able to corner Nale in a back alley, hoping to kill the elusive Fluggrian and claim his second bounty. However, Nale was too fast, his heavy blaster pistol making short work of Tel and his substandard equipment. Tel was killed before his career had even begun, and Nale walked away unscathed, continuing to podrace under the "Elan Mak" alias. Dym never learned of Tel's fate, as she was murdered shortly after by the Sith Lord Darth Maul in an unrelated incident.
Personality and traitsEdit
Rango Tel stood 1.7 meters tall and had fair skin. He grew up in a harsh environment, living as a street ruffian on Sernpidal who was prone to violence. Tel originally had no desire to become a bounty hunter, and it was sheer happenstance that caused him to decide upon his career. He also lacked prior knowledge going into the bounty hunter trade, and was of the belief that Mandalorian armor was easy to come by. Tel's ignorance led him to pay a copious amount of credits for a suit that was clearly not of Mandalorian make. Not only clueless, he was additionally overconfident, in that he thought himself capable of murdering Kam Nale. That overconfidence, however, proved to be his fatal weakness. Particularly dim-witted, Tel did not realize that the nickname "Tank Head" was an insulting one.
Relationship with Aneesa DymEdit
During his brief bounty hunting career, Tel worked alongside the pilot Aneesa Dym. When her father was fatally stabbed by a dissatisfied customer, Aneesa Dym relentlessly hunted the murderer, although she also placed a bounty on his head. The bounty was claimed by Tel, and as a result, Dym fell in love with the Sernpidal citizen. Together they pursued Tel's one and only bounty, Kam Nale, in the Dusty Duck, with Dym providing her services as a pilot of her late father's ship. Their relationship persisted until 32 BBY, when both perished on the same day in unrelated killings.
Behind the scenesEdit
- "Other than that, my submission is almost entirely intact. My only regret is that I told so much of Tel's story; there's not much chance of him cropping up somewhere in the EU. But at the same time, his story couldn't really be told if he had survived it; part of his character was that he had to die on this first bounty hunting mission. So I guess I'll just keep looking for a crime lord to mumble something about a thousand people who think they can do a bounty hunter's job."
- ―Aaron Sinner
Rango Tel first appeared in George Lucas's 1999 film Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace as an unnamed background extra seen briefly during the film's introduction to the city of Mos Espa. He was played by an uncredited actor. Tel was later one of the first characters to have his backstory elaborated on through the Star Wars Hyperspace "What's The Story?" feature on the website StarWars.com. An entry on Tel in the site's official Databank was written by Aaron Sinner, who originally named the character "Ip Numeth." The organizers of the competition instead chose "Rango Tel," a name contributed by the contestant "Captain Daultay Dofine," and additionally created the nickname "Tank Head."
Sinner chose Sernpidal as Tel's homeworld due to having located it on a map of the Star Wars galaxy and found it "sufficiently backwater." After watching Tel's lone scene in The Phantom Menace, Sinner was reminded of Mandalorian armor, and he used the armor as the basis of the entire article. He felt that the story which he crafted necessitated the dim-witted character's death. Star Wars author Abel G. Peña has named Tel's Databank entry as the most hilarious and endearing of any "What's The Story?" character.
In a later "What's The Story?" round, Tel's biography was tied into Aneesa Dym's with Greg Mitchell's Dusty Duck entry in the Databank. Tel has since been given an entry in 2008's The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia and mentioned in the 2009 publication Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 26.
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 26
- (First identified as Rango "Tank Head" Tel)