Jabba was extremely arrogant, greedy, and, above all, disgusting. He had a cocky attitude and would never accept defeat. Like most Hutts, he was a megalomaniac who lived to control others. He was also somewhat perverted, as he possessed a strong lust for female humanoids, even if they had previously caused him setbacks. Despite him being arrogant and somewhat evil, he still cares greatly for his son Rotta, calling him pet names such as Punky Muffin.
Jabba was a large green slug-like alien called a Hutt with some beige coloring on his pimpled face, bloated belly, and grimy underside. He also had a large mouth without teeth, a slobbery tongue, and a tattoo of his clan insignia on his right arm.
The Phantom Menace
Jabba is only seen briefly in this episode. He presides over the Boonta Eve Podrace, and spits a gorg (alien frog) at a gong in order to begin the race. While the races excite the audience, he himself is not interested and eventually falls asleep, but is awakened by his majordomo, Bib Fortuna.
A New Hope
In the Special Edition of Episode IV, Jabba is seen with several of his men and bounty hunters, including Boba Fett, at Docking Bay 94, where the Millennium Falcon is docked, looking for Han. When Han does show up, Jabba wonders why he hasn't paid him back yet, and fried Greedo when he showed up at the Mos Eisley Cantina to confront Han about the payment. Han argues that Jabba should confront him in person about it instead of sending one of his lackeys to do it, but Jabba can't make exceptions, arguing that it's not good business if every smuggler who worked for him dropped their cargo at the first sign of an Imperial starship under fear of being searched and the Imperials discovering the illegal contraband. However, Han assures Jabba he has a good offer now, so he'll be able to pay Jabba back in full, plus a little extra, if Jabba allows him the extra time. Jabba allows it, and after agreeing to an extra 15%, he then warns Han that if he screws up and avoids paying him off any further, Jabba will put a price on his head so big that Han won't be able to go near a civilized system. With things with Han settled, Jabba tells his men to depart and return to his palace.
Return of the Jedi
Luke springs a rescue mission for Han Solo, who has been delivered to Jabba after being carbon-frozen on Bespin and brought to Jabba back on Tatooine by Boba Fett. Luke's first attempt is via having R2-D2 and C-3PO go to the palace with a holographic message from him offering to bargain with Jabba, but on the suggestion of Fortuna, Jabba refuses to part with his favorite palace decoration, and instead has R2 assigned to work on his sail barge, Khetanna, while 3PO is to be Jabba's personal interpreter droid.
When Jabba refuses to turn over Han, he throws a party. During the party, his dancing girl, Oola (who was shown to have become fed up with Jabba and his advances), tries to rebel and escape; she forces him to drop her into the Rancor pit to be devoured by said beast.
Later, he imprisons Chewbacca and later Han, who has just been freed by Leia (who had come to the palace to collect the bounty on Chewbacca’s head disguised as the bounty hunter Boushh), using a thermal detonator grenade to negotiate with Jabba. However, Jabba takes notice of Leia that night when he catches her after she frees Han, and makes her his new personal slave girl to replace Oola.
When Luke intervenes by showing up the following morning, again offering Jabba the choice of either by profiting off letting his friends go or be destroyed, he throws Luke into the Rancor pit. However, this fails because of Luke killing the Rancor, much to Jabba’s fury. He has the Rebels taken to the Great Pit of Carkoon to be fed to the Sarlacc. He intends to keep Leia alive to be his slave girl permanently; however, as Luke and the others fight off Jabba's guards outside, he is eventually and ironically strangled by Leia with the very chain that he used to enslave her. His corpse is obliterated in the explosion of his sail barge.
The original script to A New Hope describes Jabba as a "fat, slug-like creature with eyes on extended feelers and a huge ugly mouth", but Lucas stated in an interview that the initial character he had in mind was much furrier and resembled a Wookiee. When filming the scene between Han Solo and Jabba in 1976, Lucas employed Northern Irish actor Declan Mulholland to stand-in as Jabba the Hutt, wearing a shaggy brown costume. Lucas planned to replace Mulholland in post-production with a stop-motion creature. The scene was meant to connect Star Wars to Return of the Jedi and explain why Han Solo was imprisoned at the end of The Empire Strikes Back. Nevertheless, Lucas decided to leave the scene out of the final film on account of budget and time constraints and because he felt that it did not enhance the film's plot. The scene remained in the novelization, comic book, and radio adaptations of the film.
Lucas revisited the scene in the 1997 Special Edition release of A New Hope, restoring the sequence and replacing Mulholland with a CGI version of Jabba the Hutt and the English dialogue with Huttese, a fictional language created by sound designer Ben Burtt. Joseph Letteri, the visual effects supervisor for the Special Edition, explained that the ultimate goal of the revised scene was to make it look as if Jabba the Hutt was actually on the set talking to and acting with Harrison Ford and that the crew had merely photographed it. Letteri stated that the new scene consisted of five shots that took over a year to complete. The scene was polished further for the 2004 release on DVD, improving Jabba's appearance with advancements in CGI techniques, although neither release looks exactly like the original Jabba the Hutt puppet.
At one point of the original scene, Ford walks behind Mulholland. This became a problem when adding the CGI Jabba, since he had a tail that happened to be in the way. Eventually, this problem was solved by having Han stepping on Jabba's tail, causing the Hutt to yelp in pain. In the 2004 DVD release, when Han steps on Jabba's tail, Jabba reacts more strongly, winding up as if to punch him. Also, in order to make Jabba look more convincing, shadows of Han can be seen on his body.
Lucas confesses that people were disappointingly upset about the CGI Jabba's appearance, complaining that the character "looked fake". Lucas dismisses this, stating that whether a character is ultimately portrayed as a puppet or as CGI, it will always be "fake" since the character is ultimately not real. He says he sees no difference between a puppet made of latex and one generated by a computer.
- The early designs for Jabba were reused for the design of Azmorigan in Star Wars Rebels.
- Two different versions of CGI Jabba were made in the Special Edition releases.
- In the (now non-canon) Star Wars Expanded Universe/Legends, Jabba had a father named Zorba.
- He is alluded to in Solo when Tobias Beckett mentions this big shot gangster on Tatooine looking to put together a crew.