I'm Confused About Bantha Poodoo and So Is Everyone Else

Jabba the Hutt, the originator of the term.
Jabba the Hutt, the originator of the term.
Image: Lucasfilm

Bantha poodoo is the most notorious insult in Star Wars—well, maybe tied for nerfherder. And I have to admit some confusion.


Okay, so, to get us all up to speed: the term “Bantha poodoo” or “poodoo” is used in three mainline Star Wars movies as an insult or curse, first seen in Return of the Jedi, as said by Jabba the Hutt. According to subtitles, it means “Bantha fodder,” and our trusty old friend Wookieepedia identifies it as food that Bantha eat, which is apparently just, like, really gross, leading it to be a common insult.

I have known this since I was a child, because I was a very nerdy child. But I also, if I didn’t pause to think about it, also assumed what anyone would assume based on the sound of the term: that it means poop. Like, why doesn’t it mean poop? Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense if it just meant poop?

This confusion came to a head for me yesterday, when I watched the latest video from the always interesting Star Wars Explained YouTube channel, where he speculates that the captioning for “Bantha fodder” is something of a meta joke—that of course it sounds like poop, and you’re meant to imagine it’s a rough equivalent to the term “bullshit,” but that they obviously couldn’t make it actually mean that. And now, thanks to the calcification of Star Wars lore, there is now a deep backstory for that silly, silly joke.

With such an expert now casting the true definition of the term “Bantha poodoo” into doubt, I’m just left turning this argument over in my head again and again. Yes, this is stupid. I get that. But I can’t keep wondering: what is Bantha poodoo? And it’s not just me: the source of this conversation is a Twitter observation that also confounded our News Editor and Baby Yoda enthusiast, James Whitbrook.

So I ask you, dear readers: is Bantha poodoo shit? It’s gotta be shit, right?


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io9 Weekend Editor. Videogame writer at other places. Queer nerd girl.


Arcanum Five

Maybe banthas have ineffective digestive systems. On first pass, they don’t digest all the nutrients available in their food. Coprophagia and rumination are real things in real-world animals, and it’s possible banthas need to do it too, but never evolved the rumen and supporting systems.

Bantha wranglers figured out that they could mix bantha waste with new material and get a second pass with some of the same food. In areas where vegetation is scarce (like Tatooine), maybe they even do multiple passes to maximize the food use. By the fourth or fifth run, the “poodoo” is a foul mixture of new and used fodder, a substance worthy of being used as an insult. It’s not just bantha shit — it’s bantha shit several times over!