A Visual Guide to Sentients
Please check out the revised/expanded edition of this post, located >here<! (03/01/2017)
What I need is a very simple visual guide to the humaniod species/races in SW — Michelle
One of the things about Star Wars is the variety of creatures. It goes without saying that “aliens” have been popular throughout science fiction, but Star Wars was somewhat groundbreaking by having relatively unique creatures — Star Trek tends to throw some Silly Putty and a weird jumpsuit on a guy and call him an “alien,” but they work harder in the Star Wars universe.
My list is not intended to be comprehensive, containing about 65 sentient species I consider significant. This does not include extinct races — more than one member must be living at the time of the Original Trilogy (so Yoda is not on this list).
While “significance” is a fluid thing, I am (obviously) focused on the realcanon timeline, and have narrowed it down to beings appearing in one or more sequences or whose appearance was particularly important. Planetary origin is immaterial: Alderaanians, Bakurans, Corellains, Hapans, Kuatans, Mandalorians, and Ubese are all Humans, for example. I include neither planetary distinctions nor droids nor non-sentient creatures.
Here is a quick index to the species. After the jump, I have them in alphabetical order with pictures (all culled from Wookieepedia with a certain amount of assumed common use), an inventory of where they appear, and any other relevant information.
Barabel — Besalisk — Bith — Bothan
Chadra-Fan — Chiss
Devaronian — Drall — Dug — Duros
Elom — Elomin — Er’kit — Ewok
Gammorean — Gand — Geonosian — Gotal — Gran — Gungan
Human — Hutt
Iktotchi — Ishi Tib — Ithorian
Kallidahins — Kaminoan — Kel Dor — Kissai — Kitonak — Klatoonian
Mirialan — Massassi — Mon Calamari
Neimodians — Noghri
Pau’an — Polis Massans
Quarren — Quermian
Sand People — Selonian — Sith — Ssi-Ruuk — Sullustan
Thisspiasian — t’landa Til — Togorian — Toydarian — Trandoshan — Twi’lek
Ugnaught — Utai
Weequay — Whiphid — Wookiee
Where you’ve seen them — the cantina in A New Hope.
Where you’ve seen them — In EU books. They’re very popular for a cantina brawl or anytime your heroes need to go up against an impossible opponent. Enormously tall, reptilian, and almost indestructible, they have fierce tempers and mercenary dispositions.
Where you’ve seen them — Attack of the Clones. They have multiple sets of arms and a crustacean kind of physiology.
Where you’ve seen them — A New Hope in the cantina.
Where you’ve seen them — in books, and a mention in Return of the Jedi. Ever since Mon Mothma said that many Bothans died to bring information of the second Death Star, people have been interested in them.
Where you’ve seen them, A New Hope in the cantina, and also K. W. Jeter’s Mandalorian Armor. They’re batlike, diminutive, communicate in squeaks.
Where you’ve seen them — Expanded universe, Timothy Zahn books.
Where you’ve seen them — the cantina in A New Hope.
Where you’ve seen them: expanded universe books set on Corellia. The Corellian system has three primary types of sentients; the Drall come from Drall. They’re small, scholarly, soft-spoken, and furry.
Where you’ve seen them — The Phantom Menace.
Where you’ve seen them — A New Hope in the cantina. Possibly intended to be a send-up of the “Greys” popular in US alien lore. The Wookieepedia suggests that they are related to the Neimoidian race.
Elom and Elomin
Where you’ve seen them — Elom appear in the Jabba’s palace and the cantina. While Elomin don’t appear in the films, they share a common planet and thus I group them together.
Where you’ve seen them — Phantom Menace, in the podrace. (I admit, this does not qualify as a major species. Half of Ody Mandrell’s scenes were cut. But I frankly seriously like him.)
Where you’ve seen them — Return of the Jedi. (Probably Lucas’ most controversial species ever, the brunt of all fanboy disgruntling since ANH even came out. Barney Stinson insists that “The Ewok Line” is a foolproof way to know anyone’s age, because anyone born before May 25, 1973 hates Ewoks. Frankly I’ve never seen the dislike. While I think they’re kind of hideous and not cute at all, I have no hatred for them.)
Where you’ve seen them — Expanded universe, anything where Prince Xizor shows up. He runs Black Sun, and it’s such an integral part of various novels, I consider them important.
Where you’ve seen them — Return of the Jedi, in Jabba’s palace, and also some expanded universe. They’re brutish, semi-intelligent creatures with a matriarchal society.
Where you’ve seen them: Empire Strikes Back and expanded universe. Gands come from an ammonia-atmosphere planet, thus the breathing apparatus. Mistwalkers are attuned to the Force and can “find” things for people.
Where you’ve seen them — Attack of the Clones. Not very good warriors, their hive instincts and great numbers give them little advantage. They fought with droids against the clones. They do have sentience and culture, though. And I love their language. Brrttzzzzchk!
Where you’ve seen them — A New Hope and Return of the Jedi, cantina and Jabba’s palace, and some expanded universe.
Gran (aka Malastarian)
Where you’ve seen them — Pretty much in all the films and video games and some books. Often called Malastarians because they come from Malastare and who names an alien “Gran”? They’re popular for thugs and the like, but make very shrewd politicians, able to see both sides of the issue plus a third comfy spot for themselves to benefit.
Where you’ve seen them — The Phantom Menace and every hate forum ever. Amphibious, like a basset hound crossed with Kermit the Frog, Gungans get hated on for no real reason other than the fact that fanboys can’t be pleased. They hail from Naboo and have a proud warrior culture.
Where you’ve seen them — every single movie and book.
I’m going to get a soap box out briefly and accuse early 90s era writers for doing a huge amount of damage to the Star Wars movies by asserting that humans have prejudice against “aliens” and vice versa. It doesn’t even make a good plot point. They need to just stop. There is no internal evidence for the attitude. See: Racism in Star Wars.
Where you’ve seen them — A New Hope re-release, Return of the Jedi, books and prequels. Hutts have been a titular villain since Lucas introduced Jabba the Hutt, though surely they can’t all be that way.
Where you’ve seen them — The Phantom Menace and Revenge of the Sith. (Saesee Tiin was a Jed master on the Jedi Council.)
Where you’ve seen them — The Phantom Menace, onTatooine, one of those miscellaneous species.
Where you’ve seen them — The Phantom Menace, A New Hope in the cantina, and expanded universe. (Demonstrating the 70s human suspicion of nonhumans, they were just called “hammerheads” for a long time.)
Where you’ve seen them — Everywhere. All the movies, most of the books. Jawas don’t tend to be off Tatooine, though it’s occasionally happened. They are small, rodent like scavengers with a complex language and social order.
Where you’ve seen them — Attack of the Clones. The actress who did the voice of Taun We described her as a creature of love and light. Their planet flooded and became a rainy ocean world as they developed their science to become the best cloners in the galaxy. They see in the ultraviolet spectrum and are graceful and attractive. They ride ray creatures that can fly under water and above it.
Where you’ve seen them — the prequel trilogy. Another of the “ugly aliens” they like to throw in Star Wars. Ammonia breathers, accounting for the eye shields and breathing apparatus — they are an intelligent and kind people.
Where you’ve seen them — Jabba’s palace in Return of the Jedi.
Where you’ve seen them — In the background of Tatooine sequences in the prequels.
Where you’ve seen them — in Episode I. Even Piel is another wise but diminutive Jedi Master who appears on the Council and, I believe, the occasional EU source.
Where you’ve seen them — In the prequels, specifically Episode II and III, and a few books such as Reeves’ Jedi Healer.
Where you’ve seen them — First appearance in ROTJ; many EU and prequel appearances since. Mon Calamarians and their ship building technology, especially their regenerating shields, made them extremely valuable to the Rebel Alliance.
Where you’ve seen them — The prequels. Neimodians are the backbone of the Trade Federation, and as suspicious, greedy, and spineless delegates made perfect patsies for Darth Sidious’ plan.
Where you’ve seen them — Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy. This was the first canonical set of books to be released continuing the saga, and while they don’t appear elsewhere, I think that alone bodes for their significance. Skilled assassins in thrall to Darth Vader — and his kin — they are first brought by Imperial agents to end Luke and Leia but eventually discover their connection with them.
Where you’ve seen them — Return of the Jedi. Love them or hate them, Max Reebo’s Band is a major part of the atmosphere at Jabba’s Palace. A peculiar species, Ortolans absorb food through their fingertips. Max Reebo is such a dedicated musician that he contracted his band to Jabba in exchange . . . for food.
Where you’ve seen them — Episode III. Native to the planet Utapau, along with Utai, Pau’ans are a dignified and stately people who live underground.
Polis Massans (aka Kallidahins)
Where you’ve seen them — At the end of Episode III, Obi-Wan takes Padmé to a Jedi outpost on Polis Massa where the local miners administer their best medicine to the dying senator.
Where you’ve seen them — Background in the Original Trilogy, particularly in Jabba’s Palace. They have occasionally appeared in EU materials. Semiaquatic, like the Mon Calamari with whom they share a planet, Quarren live under water and presumably suffer on a planet like Tatooine.
Where you’ve seen them — Throughout the films and in expanded universe books and games. Usually in games, they’re employed as generic villains.
Sand People (aka Tusken Raider)
Where you’ve seen them — The movies and occasional expanded universe. (Han and Luke go undercover with a band in Darksaber.) “Sand People” is probably much closer to what they call themselves; Tatooine colonists call them “Tusken raiders” in memory of a massacre at Fort Tusken. More.
Where you’ve seen them: expanded universe books set on Corellia. The Corellian system has three primary types of sentients; Selonians come from Selonia. They’re quite large, proud warrior-types with a strongly matriarchal society.
Sith (aka Red Sith)
Where you’ve seen them — expanded universe, comics, mainly; however, they are mentioned throughout the prequels and expanded universe novels, making them significant. They were “long vanished” some 4,000 years before A New Hope; the race includes the Massassi who built the temples on Yavin IV, and the Kissai, who were dark side priests that used alchemy to distort the dark side into even weirder abominations.
Where you’ve seen them — The Truce at Bakura by Kathy Tyres and the occasional EU mention since. These reptilian creatures were the cause of the first Alliance/Imperial cooperative in the days just after the success at Endor.
Where you’ve seen them — Return of the Jedi and the expanded universe. Nien Nunb was Lando Calrissian’s copilot at the Battle of Endor.
Where you’ve seen them — On the Jedi Council in Episode I. I think he’s terrifying, but if I include one random race on the Jedi Council in E1, I have to include them all.
Where you’ve seen them — The expanded universe, specifically A.C. Crispin’s Han Solo trilogy. These cousins to Hutts are strange and greedy creatures.
Where you’ve seen them — Expanded universe. One of Han’s early copilots was a Togorian. They have a semi-symbiotic relationship with the flighted but not-sentient mosgoths of Togor.
Where you’ve seen them — Prequels and some expanded universe. Toydarians are a flighted race with brain patterns that tend to fall outside of the usual, making it extremely difficult to use the Force on them.
Where you’ve seen them — The Empire Strikes Back and expanded universe. This reptilian species has long been in charge of the renowned Bounty Hunters Guild.
Where you’ve seen them — Everywhere? The movies and expanded universe. Sensual Twi’leks are extremely popular with the fans and in the films. They come from the desert planet Ryloth.
Where you’ve seen them — Empire Strikes Back and some expanded universe. Inclined toward the mechanical, Ughnaughts are natural engineers, mechanics, and grunt laborers.
Where you’ve seen them — The more diminutive of the two races that share Utapau, the Utai take a less dominant role and have a sharper interest in technology than the tall Pau’ans.
Where you’ve seen them — The films and some expanded universe. One of those very collective common species.
Where you’ve seen them — Return of the Jedi. Actually very obscure — Jabba’s palace guard don’t know whether Weequay is the name or the species of the two brothers. However, . . . I love Robot Chicken.
Where you’ve seen them — The original trilogy, particularly Jabba’s palace and the cantina.
Where you’ve seen them — The films and expanded universe. While the filmmakers didn’t have a lot of respect for Chewie — based on George Lucas’ dog and considered a shaggy animal — he has been beloved by fans and Wookiees have been prized throughout the literature.
Xexto (and Quermian)
Where you’ve seen them — Episode I. This podracer is a Xextoan, and even I didn’t realize until I started this project that he is not the same species as Yareal Poof on the Jedi Council; Poof is a Quermerian almost twice as tall. Xexto are in fact a genetically engineered subspecies.
Where you’ve seen them — Episode I. Darth Maul and Eeth Koth are both Zabraks, hinting at a strong connection with the Force in the species as a whole.