The guys over at comicbookmovie.com sent in this interview with ILM effects Supervisor Dennis Murren speaking out about the interesting process that the rancor went through before he became what we know him as today in Return of the Jedi. Aparently around the time Return of the Jedi was in production Dennis Murren, along with ILM, were finishing up on Dragonslayer which used new “Go-Motion” technology and proved to be very costly. Lucasfilm had to resort to inexpensive routes to come up with the Racor so George Lucas proposed the idea of using a costumed version of the rancor and have one person inside with two people manipulating the arms on either side.
As it sounds, it did not work.
“You can’t fool people with that stuff,” Muren says. From there they tried using an 18-inch tall rod puppet with four to five pupeteers manipulating the face, arms, and body. They basically had a goal to “get it away from a Muppet look.” Of course this is the Rancor we know. enjoy the full interview in the video below: