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In The Last Jedi, we encounters the Fathiers at Canto Bight.

Drawing of a Fathier and it's Rider

Are they Sapient beings?

The arguments I see are:

  • They appear to understand language and complex commands. For example, Rose says, "we need cover" and the beast may appear to understand this.

  • They appear to be enslaved the same as the humans

  • There are other clearly sapient beings who do not speak what is recognizable language to us (Wookiees) so we can't tell whether fathiers grunting has similar standing.

So exactly how intelligent are they? Do they rise to level of sapience? Is it possible they are effectively an enslaved people?

4

According to the Canto Bight short stories, fathiers are definitely not sentient (intelligent / language using) creatures. They're considered (by most) to be not especially smart.

After that, her dream, the thing she wanted more than anything in the galaxy, was to ride in the fathier races. She yearned to be a jockey, to feel the wind in her hair, to hear the screams of the crowd, as she urged her mount toward the finish line. She felt connected to the fathiers. She insisted to Lexo all the time that they were more intelligent than people gave them credit for, that she understood them better than anyone. And she knew, she just knew, that if she got her chance to ride she’d be the greatest jockey Canto Bight had ever known.

and

“Not a clue. She’s one of those peculiar kids who actually likes the fathiers. Don’t ask me why; they’re stupid, filthy, reeking creatures.”

  • 2
    Star Wars uses the term "sentience" differently, so you may want to clarify. – Rogue Jedi Dec 19 '17 at 23:27

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