The post-apocalyptic game Fallout contains a large lizard like (mutated Jackson's Chameleon) creature called the Deathclaw


Is there any evidence that the designers of the Fallout Series of games used the Rancor from the Star Wars universe as inspiration for the Deathclaw?


Both are lizard like in appearance, have oversized hands, walk on their hind legs, have forward facing eyes (even though in the case of the Deathclaw, a mutated chameleon should maybe have them facing to the side), and have a well earned reputation for savagery and destruction.

In the latest game, Fallout 4, there is a quest that takes you into a building, and upon investigating you end up in an area built around a pit. When you fall into the pit a Deathclaw appears through a hole in the wall. This certainly put me in mind of the Rancors entrance in Return of the Jedi

DeathclawEntrance RancorEntrance

Upon dispatching the Deathclaw you notice that there are a lot of remains in the pit and it is pretty obvious that the raiders in the building had been throwing prisoners to the Deathclaw below.

This definitely to me had a strong hint of a homage to it.

Am I just looking too deep into this or are there documented links between the two?

  • 1
    They're all just velociraptor/T-Rex spoofs. Note that Godzilla predates Star Wars by 23 years. The raptor-like monster's just a really popular, recurring theme.
    – Nat
    Feb 23, 2017 at 17:43
  • if I recall, deathclaws are mutated chickens, not chameleons (not that they have much in common with either) Feb 24, 2017 at 3:52
  • @Sahuagin - anything i have ever seen says they are mutated chameleons. In Fallout New Vegas Rose calls one she keeps in a cage a chicken when you get the Omelette recipe. everything i've seen says Jacksons Chameleon Feb 24, 2017 at 8:44
  • 2
    The 'chicken' reference shows up in Fallout 2 as well, but that's just because people don't want to admit they're selling Deathclaw eggs... not because Deathclaws are actually derived from chickens. Feb 25, 2017 at 3:35

2 Answers 2


According to the Fallout Bible, after a Dungeons & Dragons computer game made by Interplay was canceled, Deathclaws were modelled (visually) on the Tarrasques of the D&D canon, as a Tarrasque clay model was already made.


Here is a Tarrasque from a D&D Bestiary


However, according to Chris Taylor, while they do look Tarrasque-like, it was not intentional and the clay model was supposed to be a Deathclaw from the start.

While Fallout 4 may be a homage to the Rancor pit, when you get down to it a giant scary monster is almost always going to look like some other giant scary monster

  • 2
    Fun anecdote, in Fallout lore Deathclaws are actually mutated geckos that escaped from pet stores after the bombs fell. Feb 23, 2017 at 15:22
  • 4
    Not geckos, Jackson Chameleons. Feb 23, 2017 at 15:46
  • They were making a D&D game with the tarrasque? I almost wish they'd completed it, but that clay model isn't a very appealing tarrasque.
    – JAB
    Feb 23, 2017 at 18:32
  • @JAB but if the D&D game hadnt been cancelled we may not have gotten the fallout series
    – revenant
    Feb 24, 2017 at 11:00

Chris Avellone in Fallout Bible 7 cites Wasteland, the game around which Fallout is modeled:

First off, deathclaws pay homage to the "shadowclaws" in Wasteland. They lurk in the mines near the Ranger Base. They are very tough and scary and can make you wet your pants.


This Bible edition further cites AD&D's 2nd edition Monstrous Manual, which like the other answer available here, it's likely Avellone is referring to the Tarrasque.

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