Archive for creatures

Favorite Female Character

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , , , , , , on 17 January 2013 by Megan

Ugh, I hate this question. I just have no answer to it. I never like women. It is so incredibly difficult for me to think of favorite women . . . I just don’t know. There are some women I do like, but none of them seem legit for overarching favorite female character for the franchise.

Dracmus, Qi Xux  Aunt Beru, Taun We, Lyn Me

Dracmus, Qi Xux
Aunt Beru, Taun We, Lyn Me

For example, as I was “growing up” in my love for Star Wars, and reading the books and all, I freaking adored Dracmus (Assault on Selonia) and Qwi Xux (Dark Apprentice — she bags Wedge Antilles. Respect!), but it’s not like they’re even recurring characters. My favorite woman in the films was undoubtedly Lyn Me — I adore Twi’leks of all kinds, but this classically-trained dancer in Jabba’s palace actually has an awesome back story about her hunting down her sister and stuff. As I was contemplating answers for this challenge, I thought about how much I love Taun We, the Kaminoan who shows Obi-Wan around; the actress who did her voice described her as a creature of love and light, which just about sums it up; I love her galaxy-eyes. Aunt Beru, though she doesn’t seem to have enough personality to wring a whole post out of, nevertheless seems like a sweet lady, and one wonders just how she did at mothering Luke.

Still, none of these seemed to inspire enough affection from me to get a real post out of. Finally, I was authorized by a friend that the character didn’t have to be sentient. In that case, I said, well, in that case, I have an easy choice to make:


Boga, the noble varactyl

In Episode III, Obi-Wan chooses a varactyl to get around quickly and unnoticed on Utapau. Although the film cuts it, the novelization mentions that he spends quite some time among the varactyl stables trying to identify one with the right sort of spirit. He immediately forms a bond with Boga; he senses a kindred spirit with her, and that she is noble, intelligent, and loving.

Just pretend there's a feathered lizard standing there.

Just pretend there’s a feathered lizard standing there.

Just watching Boga move in Episode III gives me a thrill. She reminds me of a big dog — well, specifically, of the Newfoundland we used to have — the way she goes loping down the ramps and corridors, barking and yipping. Birdlike, lizardlike, dinosaurish, you can tell just by looking at her that there’s something clever to her, but not a destructive kind of cleverness like a raptor.


Boga would take the raptors OUT.

I also find it amazing that Obi-Wan can just immediately handle one of these things. How many years does it take to become a horse master? And Boga’s big old head is kind of in the way for visibility while riding. Nevertheless, they make a convincing team. I was afraid she would try to sneeze and give away his location, but it’s in fact Obi-Wan who gives away the location by casually leaping into a hoard of enemies.


So many pretty colors, too. I want a baby varactyl.

Boga is quite ready to jump into any battle or fray at the need of the person she’s accompanying. Although she never met Obi-Wan before, she feels the connection he does, and droids and clones are no nevermind to her. She gladly jumps into the fight and carries Obi-Wan in pursuit of Grevious in some truly head-spinning dives.


I have the Boga figurine and it is so awesome.

Although she got her name from a Tunisian soft drink, this lizard-creature is legit. It’s not clear whether she dies or not; sources are contradictory. In the film, when Obi-Wan’s clone troops turn on him, Boga does her best to protect his frame from the bolts, and she almost certainly saves his life. Obi-Wan eulogizes her bravery, loyalty, and fierceness, and it seems to me if he thought she died, that she probably did. Still: a glorious career for a great and noble creature.


Rest with the lizard angels, Boga, dear.

Sand People

Posted in Questions with tags , , , , , , on 26 March 2012 by Megan

The SW movies really portray the Sand People as a savage, dangerous, and fierce people. I was wondering if there was additional information on this people group? There are tantalizing glimpses in some of the encyclopedia and on the wookipedia but they are only glimpses. I’d really like to know more about their culture, and family life. Thanks for digging about for me! — Michelle

Tusken Raider costumes

A family of Sand People

We are first introduced to the Sand People in A New Hope with Luke’s exclamation, “Sand people, or worse!” Tusken Raider is actually a pejorative, a name given to these mysterious nomads after a series of attacks on Fort Tusken. They attack Luke for no apparent reason in A New Hope, and we learn a few things from Obi-Wan Kenobi about them — that they are easily startled but not easily driven off (returning swiftly with reinforcements), that they travel single file to hide their numbers, that they are not extremely accurate with blasters. Luke simply describes them as dangerous. In Attack of the Clones, Cliegg Lars brusquely defines them as animals, as does Anakin after destroying an entire village. In Phantom Menace, we only see them camped out on the Podrace track to take potshots at the racers.

Packers! Wooo! Wait, what?

Packers! Wooo! Wait, what?

So really very little is expressed in the films about their culture. We find them to be responsible for the death of Luke’s grandmother (though what kind of mentally deficient person goes out before dawn to pick mushrooms alone, in an area known for the presence of Sand People and during a period of excessive hunting by them — smacks of collusion to me), and nearly for the death of Luke himself. But why did they kidnap Shmi and torture her to death, if you believe that happened?

A typical family; children dress in a unisex fashion

A typical family; children dress in a unisex fashion

Lucas’ inspiration for the Sand People is clearly seen in the American Indian tribes as well as the nomadic Bedouin of the Middle East. They live in small tribes and war with both each other and the “invaders” of Tatooine, the moisture farmers and other settlers that imposed themselves on the arid planet. Unlike the Jawas, which quickly adapted to colonists and their technology, the Sand People resisted all attempts at infiltration, peace, and even extermination. Completely suited to the desert and untraceable, they are actually only vulnerable to the meddling settlers when they attack — which they do regularly in an attempt to protect and keep separate their sacred places, particularly hidden springs, which are of great interest to the settlers for obvious reasons.

There are two banthas down there, but I don't see . . . wait a minute--

There are two banthas down there, but I don’t see . . . wait a minute–

The men are warriors, and each one is specially bonded with his bantha — great shaggy creatures that roam the Dune Sea and form a close and intimate relationship with their riders. When a warrior is killed, the bantha is driven into the desert, never to be ridden again. When a bantha dies, the warrior goes out alone into the desert where he will face death, or, if the spirit of his bantha wishes him to continue on, he will find a new bantha and return home with it.

Mrs. Raider to you

Mrs. Raider to you

Children are not differentiated male from female until they come of a certain age, and the women, as in a typical tribal system, care for the homes, meals, and families. Wood, such as the ancient poles they use for their tent supports, is jealously guarded and protected. The Sand People consider it greatly humiliating for anyone apart from their spouse to see any part of their skin, but their elaborate and heavy coverings serve many practical purposes as well; the eye guards filter out sand and harsh desert light, and the mouth protectors contain tubes to a water supply and prevent dehydration. Their skin is protected from the elements, and they are not much bothered by the harshness of their environment, although as a result, no one actually knows what a Sand Person looks like beneath.

Sand Children are called "Uli"

Sand Children are called “Uli”

Marriages are always arranged. Because they always hide their features from even their own family members, it is important that meticulous records be kept and managed so that no one will accidentally marry a close family member. In this capacity, the Storyteller — who is also the tribal historian — is really the most important person in the entire village.

Ralph McQuarrie's beautiful concept art of a Sand People village

Ralph McQuarrie’s beautiful concept art of a Sand People village

The Sand People are as harsh as the environment in which they live, and there are really no such things as mistakes or small slips; this is very evident in the explanation of the apprentice storyteller, who must memorize the exact wording to each story, each exact syllable. If he so much as forgets or changes a word, the master storyteller is waiting to kill him. No room for mistakes or alterations.

A warrior with a gaffi stick

A warrior with a gaffi stick

Their primary weapon is the gaffi stick, which has a sharpened point and four sharp blades, as well as a fearsome pointed knob on the other end. They are very deft with these and can cut a man to pieces readily. Their “bandage” footwear enables them to move easily in the sand without leaving any trace and without stepping on anything dangerous.





Posted in Questions with tags , , , , on 20 April 2011 by Megan

What is the average weight of a tauntaun and in which season do they prefer to mate? — Jesse

Taun tauns in the wild

Tauntauns from the Field Guide

Tauntauns, a semi-reptilian mammal,  are one of the few lifeforms living on the frozen planet of Hoth. While there are several different species of tauntaun, the one seen in the film  is a giant common tauntaun. These are typically 8’2″ tall and about fifteen feet long. Their internal organs are protected by a thick layer of blubber and thick white or gray fur. While none of the sources I have on hand speculate on weight, it seems safe to assume they are well over 3,000 lbs.

Hoth does not actually have seasons, per se, but tauntauns can have up to two young at a time twice in the Hoth year. Their young are born live, and while the female tauntauns do not have mammary glands, they can provide a milky sustenance from their crops for the newborns.

You can read more about tauntauns in The Wildlife of Star Wars: A Field Guide (ISBN 9780811828697), pp. 46-9. It is possible that more of the specific information you’re looking for could be mentioned here — though I would not guarantee it.