Rotta the Huttlet Keychains from Australia
I was more than a little skeptical when I first heard about the character of Rotta in the Clone Wars movie, but he’s grown on me a bit. In the prequels, Jabba the Hutt is a rather different character than the one from Return of the Jedi. He’s a bit nicer and less repulsive (and of course he looks rather different, too). I’m not sure I can accept the idea of the ROTJ Jabba being a protective father figure, but it sort of works with the Clone Wars version somehow.
I first heard about these keychains from my friend Dale in Australia about 3 years ago. He sent me a picture of a package of Clone Wars keychains with what appeared to be a golden Rotta in it. I was intrigued, but didn’t think it was worth buying a package of 10 or so keychains and having it sent to the US just to get the Rotta. It’s possible they were sold in the US as well, but I never saw them (and these appear to have “tpf.com.au” stamped on the bottom, giving further credence to the idea that they were originally intended for Australia). Luckily, these recently cropped up for sale loose on eBay by a seller in China who appears to be selling a bunch of surplus ones from the factory. I got both versions of Rotta, plus keychains of a bunch of other Clone Wars characters for $7.99 including shipping from China (!).
My hunch is that the gold version was used as a sort of “chase” keychain with an alternate design. I think these kinds of keychains are really intended as action figures, but have a keychain added to make it so they don’t infringe on the company with the license for unarticulated figures like these. The larger figures in particular are very impractical as keychains, but make reasonably good action figures or models.