Every day is a Star Wars holiday if you plan your schedule correctly. Today just happens to be an official one. As we #GoRogue on a variety of fronts we’d like to shine a spotlight into the nooks and crannies of the galaxy. One of the most rewarding aspects of the Star Wars universe dating all the way back to 1977 is the inclusion of great and bizarre characters in the margins. This extends to all forms of Star Wars media both canon and ushered into Legend.
Anyone can celebrate the boring ol’ famous folks. Here at Fandom our love goes deep. Real deep.
Max Rebo, by Drew Dietsch
Everyone always remembers the Bith band from the Mos Eisley cantina. But you know who was also a talented musician? Max Rebo. This bundle of blue silliness jammed out on Jabba’s sail barge before it was blown to smithereens. He supposedly survived – that’s what I choose to believe! – and went on to found a chain of successful restaurants. Good for him!
Music plays such an important part in the legacy of Star Wars, and Max Rebo’s just as important. His wacky design and wonderful personality in Return of the Jedi make him one of the most memorable creatures from that film.
And I can’t help but giggle at his appearance in Robot Chicken, even if they spelled his name wrong.
Shaak Ti, by James Akinaka
She never received any dialogue in the films, but Shaak Ti was a force to be reckoned with. She was a cunning and lethal warrior. And as the Jedi Master in charge of clone trooper training, she proved to be a demanding yet fair instructor. She became a fan favorite and starred in a slew of Expanded Universe material, even a novel that didn’t get published.
When Revenge of the Sith rolled out, George Lucas decided to kill off Shaak Ti. He filmed two different death scenes: one at the hands of General Grievous, and another during Darth Vader‘s attack on the Jedi Temple. However, neither scene made it to the final cut of the film. Nevertheless, apparently Ti’s death at the Jedi Temple was canon, so Vader was responsible for killing her. Rest in peace, Master Ti.
Wat Tambor, by Nick Nunziata
If Star Wars does indeed take place a long, long time ago that Wat Tambor may be the true inventor of autotune. Though his official title may be foreman of the Techno Union there is no way he didn’t moonlight as a DJ with that amazing voice distortion knob on his chest. What is remarkable about Mr. Tambor is that he’s a product of my least favorite Star Wars movie, Attack of the Clones, and he still is a delightful margin character. His design is fantastic and in his first scene we get to see his wacky voice-changer in action. When Anakin Skywalker kills Wat Tambor is the true moment he becomes Darth Vader because only true evil would halt such beauty.
Wat Tambor is a miracle and I’ll hear nothing that contradicts that.
HK-47, by Bob Aquavia
Query: what better sidekick can you have on a galactic adventure than a wise-cracking assassin droid?
Answer: not many, especially one with such a “unique” personality as HK-47.
The robot with a penchant for shooting first was one of the standout characters in Star Wars’ Knights of the Old Republic video game series, despite his murderous nature.
You first encounter HK on Tatooine, where he’s posing as a protocol and translation droid. You definitely sense things are amiss when all of his suggestions for conflict resolution involve murder and explosions. It’s only after you finish your quest on the planet that you find out the truth. Thankfully, the droid admires your power and won’t kill you, but will insist on calling you and all organic beings “meatbags” for the rest of the game.
The droid and his “descendants” have appeared in numerous games and books, all with similar personality traits. That sarcastic wit combined with its ruthless nature still makes me laugh, but also glad that he’s on our side…for the time being.
Nien Nunb, by Brandon Marcus
We don’t know much about Nien Numb and that’s what I love about him. We know he’s a fighter pilot, we know he’s friends with Lando, we know he’s happy to be there. What else do you need? A happy warrior fighting for the event, Nunn is one of those terrific Star Wars characters who colors the world and makes you think “what’s that guy’s story?”
Of course, he DOES have a story. Like all in the SW canon, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes we don’t know. He used to be an arms dealer and took up with the Rebel Alliance to defeat the empire. That’s admirable. He also spoke an actual African dialect, making him an important part of Star Wars lore for international fans. He is courageous, he is loyal, he laughs in the face of danger. What a hero.
The beautiful thing about Star Wars is that even minor characters have a life and personality and story. Nien Nunb is a prime example of that.
Malakili, by R.W.V. Mitchell
What is Jabba’s Palace without the Rancor, and what is the Rancor without Malakili? The burly, leather-clad beastmaster was an unexpected bright spot in Return of the Jedi. You’re watching Luke fight this vicious manpig-eating beast and rooting for the young Jedi all the way. He desperately flings that stone at the control panel for the door, crushing the monster, and you cheer for joy. Enter Malakili, and that exuberance quickly turns to ash in your mouth. As he shoves past the guards coming to claim Luke, his pained expression, and his helpless sobs turn this monster’s death into a tragedy.
In the new canon, Malakili even has a happy end to his story. After the death of his “Pateesa,” a distraught and suicidal Malakili flees the chaos of the Jabba-less palace. He stumbles into Cobb Vanth in the Tatooine desert, and the gruff lawman offers him a job training rontos. Malakili happily accepts. Even the most unlovable beasts of the Star Wars universe need care, and Malakili is there to give it to them.
Boss Nass, by Mike Delaney
Of all the characters to come out of the prequels, one of my favorites is a Gungan. No, not that Gungan. Boss Rugor Nass, leader of all Gungans on the planet Naboo. Ruling over the city of Otoh Gunga, he did the one thing most fans wished they could do while watching The Phantom Menace. Banish Jar Jar Binks.
Boss Nass is the epitome of a leader. Tough and stern, but able to comprise when he needs to. He was capable of putting aside personal enmities to work with the Naboo to defeat the Trade Federation despite years of hostility and mistrust.
Boss Nass is awesome for one another reason. He’s voiced by the great thespian and possible voice of God, BRIAN BLESSED! It was entirely possible for a CGI creation like Boss Nass to come off as ridiculous and over the top, but Blessed bought both authority and gravitas to the role.
Oola, by Danielle Ryan
Oola was the first woman shown as Jabba’s slave in The Return of the Jedi. Unlike the feisty Princess Leia, Oola’s struggles against the Hutt ended with her becoming Rancor chow. Oola was a beautiful, graceful Twi’lek dancer. How she came to be Jabba’s pretty pet is a mystery in the film, though she did get a short story in the (now defunct) expanded universe books.
Oola’s dancing skills combined with her willingness to resist Jabba’s advances enchanted me as a kid. There aren’t very many women in the original trilogy, so any females were automatically going to get my attention. Oola’s brief screen time was tragic, but it made Luke’s killing the rancor that much sweeter.
Willrow Hood, by Brian Linder
Willrow Hood may not be officially canonized in present Star Wars lore, but that doesn’t mean he’s not still a total galactic badass. Glimpsed only briefly in The Empire Strikes Back, the orange jumpsuited Tibanna gas miner springs into action upon Lando Calrissian’s announcement that the Empire has taken over Cloud City. Racing down the hallway carrying a computer memory core — one that looks suspiciously like an ’80s-era homemade ice cream maker — Hood’s quick action saved encrypted data on Rebel contacts from falling into Imperial hands.
Hood’s unsung heroism was chronicled in the Star Wars Customizable Card Game, and we’re ever hopeful for his reintroduction into the official Star Wars canon. His bravery (and swagger) inspired a Willrow Hood costuming group that performs the “Running of the Hoods,” a can’t-miss moment at every Star Wars Celebration.
The beautiful thing about Star Wars is that there’s always another oddity on the way.