This post was ridiculously hard to accomplish; I’ve been agonizing about this for days, which was weird because I was positive with all the scifi and stuff that I’m in to, the nonhuman character question would be the easiest. Then I realized every nonhuman I like is male. Pickings were slim and I nearly gave up altogether, and then I realized that Aayla Secura didn’t need more than her few seconds of screen time in two movies to count — I’ve been crazy about her for years!
Here’s the thing. I love Twi’leks. Twi’leks — their name comes from their twin lekku, or head-tails — are beautiful and fascinating and pretty. They hale from the planet Ryloth, and are memorable to most people because of Jabba’s dancers in Return of the Jedi. Now, if you haven’t heard me describe Star Wars as a “coloring book” before, you haven’t heard me discuss why Star Wars is like a coloring book. Lucas made six movies that give you the outlines of a battle against good and evil, the rise and fall and redemption of a slave boy, the end and beginning of a noble bunch of peacekeepers with light swords. He’s not much a one for character development, backstory, timelining, or any of those tedious little details that could really give the saga depth and meaning, and that’s where the very unique aspect of Star Wars comes to light — it’s boldly left up to each fan to fill in the lines using whatever he deems best. Maybe you want to use crayons, maybe she wants to use oil colors, maybe he wants to use wads of used gum. The great thing is that this is all okay because Lucas never put in enough of his own information to prevent fans from making it any color they want. So, like with all things Star Wars, I have elaborately fleshed out Ryloth and the Twi’leks according to my own imagination and logic, and done, I think, a considerably better job than the published EU writers, who are typically focused on one thing: “Heh, heh . . . boobs.”
So here’s the low-down on Aayla Secura, my favorite non-human character. She is also a type of character, which is why I paused to emphasize my love of Twi’leks. There’s very little to be known about Aayla Secura, but a lot to be inferred: she appears on screen in two scenes in Attack of the Clones — she is in the background as Obi-Wan goes to ask Yoda about the missing planet in the Jedi Archives, and again during the battle on Geonosis — and her death is seen in Revenge of the Sith on the planet Feluca. So she is a Jedi, one of the ones brought by Yoda to rescue Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Senator Amidala on Geonosis; she later fights in the Clone Wars and is stationed on the planet Feluca, where her clone troops turn on her and kill her. Really, not much more to know than that. Her death scene is a little weird, but then, all of them are . . . for example, how can Yoda on Kashyyk sense what’s happening to Jedi all over the galaxy, when the Jedi can’t sense the intent of their clone troops who are literally about to pull the trigger on them? Makes me think the Grand Egotist (Yoda) was doing a little long-distance brain-fuzzing.
Anyhow, while it’s not unusual for me to pick random background characters and obsess over them, how did an obscure blue Twi’lek with only a few seconds on screen manage to get a name, an action figure, and such a following? You might as well know there are lots of comic books about her. I don’t comic book. (I also don’t idiotic-cartoons-based-on-cinema-classics.) But she did come from the comic books. In fact, Jon Foster’s cover art painting of her was what caught George Lucas’ attention, so that he asked for her to be included in two of the films.
Actually I don’t see anything appealing about that picture at all and her head-tails make no sense. (I’m sure it annoys people how I take over at Star Wars and act like nobody else has any good thoughts about it except for myself, but the fact of the matter is, no one else will approach it with a modicum of logic!! They are thicker and more muscled than her arms! How does that make sense? And the shape has nothing to do with the established shape of lekku! Also, her left arm is gross.)
But I’ve had a background fixation on Aayla Secura since just before E2 came out, and I was one of the ones eagerly awaiting the release of the action figure. While it’s disappointing she still has to prance around in various stages of undress — what, is it illegal for female Twi’leks to wear clothes — it is nice to see a capable warrior female Jedi who is also a Twi’lek. (Soap box time! It’s not that the Empire was ever anti-nonhuman — another thing that makes absolutely no sense in an ancient universe where humans are freely mingled with nonhumans on every planet — but it’s that the 80s and 90s Star Wars authors themselves couldn’t cope with the not-human, and their own specisism colored what they wrote and created layers upon layers of nonsensical behavior that I have to compensate for! What am I, the only person who can think? Bah!)
So that’s why I like her and stuff. Twi’leks are cool.