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Villain Overview
You're not even a real rhino! You're just a lot of smoke and noise! I'm not afraid of you!
~ James to the Rhino.

The Rhino is a minor antagonist from the 1961 children's novel James and the Giant Peach by the late Roald Dahl, and the secondary antagonist in the 1996 Disney film of the same name (despite having little screen time).

Its vocal effects were provided by Frank Welker.

Personality

The book showed the Rhino as a savage animal that ate people like a carnivore. However, the Rhino is still a herbivore.

In the movie, the Rhino appeared to be sadistic and intimidating when it haunted James' dreams.

Appearance

In the book, the creature is an actual rhinoceros with a carnivorous appetite that escaped from the zoo and killed James' parents.

In the film, the Rhino is a giant black cloud that is shaped like a rhinoceros with glowing yellow eyes.

Roles

In the book

The rhino is a normal rhinoceros that escaped from the London Zoo that kills James' parents when they attend.

In the film

The Rhino is a demonic force of nature that came out of nowhere and gobbled up James' parents, forcing James to live with his two evil aunts, Spiker and Sponge.

Spiker and Sponge used the Rhino to scare James. It is unknown whether it was once a real rhinoceros when it killed James' parents or if it is just a spirit haunting James (the second possibility is much more likely since rhinoceroses are herbivores and do not eat meat).

That night, James had a nightmare about his aunts who came to attack him with their pesticide weapon to summon their rhino. He ran away from them, rushes into a tunnel-like can of turnip soup and hides inside a rock, then their rhino kills him.

Mr. Grasshopper: Could it be!
Mr. Centipede: No, it can't be!
James: It's the Rhino!
~ James, Mr. Grasshopper, and Mr. Centipede's exchange after seeing that the Rhino has appeared once again.

When James and his insect friends finally reach New York, the destructive Rhino appears and tries to slow down their progress. Slowly, it approaches the giant peach, using the power of fear. When James manages to muster up the courage to say that he is not afraid of the Rhino, it ultimately dissolved, but not before shooting a final bolt of lightning at the giant peach.

It is later revealed that James' insect friends are still alive and have survived the Rhino's thunderous lightning bolt thanks to the remaining seagulls after the giant peach finally landed in New York, and they proceed to get rid of Spiker and Sponge and rescue James.

Powers and Abilities

  • Intangibility: The Rhino's body is made of clouds, so it probably can't be physically harmed.
  • Atmokinesis: The Rhino seems to have the ability to control the weather, because when it is seen, a strong wind comes and a destructive storm cloud appears, and when it arrives, lightning appears afterwards followed by thunder.
  • Fear Embodiment: The Rhino also uses fear as a weapon; the more a person fears it, the stronger it gets. In fact, it represents James' fear.

Trivia

  • Although it is the secondary antagonist, the Rhino turned out to be more dangerous than Spiker and Sponge.
  • The Rhino has a very similar personality to the Nothing, the main antagonist of the 1984 film The Neverending Story.

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