TRANSMISSIONS FROM A GALAXY FAR, FAR, AWAY:

EPISODE XX

This is the 20th column in a weekly series from The Rock Father James Zahn. Check back Fridays for the latest in what’s happening in the galaxy far, far away, or read them all here.

With four theatrical films already behind us since the relaunch of the Star Wars saga with The Force Awakens in 2015, one thing we learned is that audiences have become a fickle bunch when it comes to the handling of the beloved franchise. No matter if you think we received too much, too fast or if you just can’t get enough, it seems that pretty much everyone agrees on one key detail that’s been essentially hidden in the background: Many inhabitants of a galaxy far, far away have been conspicuously absent.

We’re talking species and races here.

From the moment that A New Hope first captivated theater-goers back in 1977, the aliens of Star Wars were nearly just as important as the humans and droids, adding depth to the visual world on-screen, while providing endless possibilities for stories to be told in other mediums—such as books, comics, and games. Although both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi gave us some cool characters to look at, the absence of the familiar species was felt—especially when we get dropped into a locale such as Canto Bight, where dozens of new creatures emerge. It all feels, well, a bit alien.

Canto Bight concept art by Mauro Borrelli and Aaron McBride. From The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi by Phil Szostak

But it seems that wasn’t always the intent.

Concept artwork from the film has since surfaced in books and on Topps trading cards, giving us a look at what might have been, a world populated by the familiar and the new. Why couldn’t we have had a Rodian and a couple of Twi’Leks in there?

Since they both take place in a time period long before the soon-to-conclude Episodic Saga, Rogue One and Solo did a better job of populating the background, but surprisingly, it’s the new Disney Channel series Star Wars Resistance that’s getting it right.

Set sometime close to the events of The Force Awakens, there’s a mix of new and familiar around every turn, but it’s really fascinating to see just how deep the makers of the latest animated Star Wars will go. There’s Trandoshans (Bossk), Sullustans (Nien Nunb), Snivvians (Snaggletooth), Bith (Cantina Band members), Kowakian Monkey Lizards (Salacious Crumb), and more. They’ve even got Gorgs—the tiny frog-like creatures that are seen as a delicacy in both The Phantom Menace and Return of the Jedi (Jabba finds them delicious). Even on the Droid front, Resistance ties the entire Saga together with Pit Droids (last seen in the Pod Races) showing up to work on the ships.

As Star Wars Resistance continues its first season, I look forward to more surprises and hope that J.J. Abrams is taking a little inspiration from what Dave Filoni and the crew have done when it comes to them intergalactic residents of his forthcoming Episode IX.


Further Transmissions

  • Hasbro rolled into New York Comic-Con last week with a shocking amount of new reveals. If you collect Star Wars action figures, especially The Black Series or The Vintage Collection, expect your wallet to take a beating next year. Personally? I love the new Star Wars Resistance line. 5POA, yes, but my kids enjoy them just the same. See all of the new toys here.
  • The latest episode of The Star Wars Show once again features the folks at the ILMxLAB. Their latest project? Augmented reality Porgs.
  • A second episode of Our Star Wars Stories hit the scene, showcasing the true tale of a doctor who was inspired by Luke losing a hand in The Empire Strikes Back.

FAN THEORIES AND RUMORS

  • Is Jon Favreau’s The Mandalorian actually a guy named Cobb Vanth? Social media is swirling that this “lone gunslinger” may already be a part of Star Wars lore. Check out his Wookieepedia entry.
  • Speaking of The Mandalorian, one danger of shooting in the wild is the emergence of spy photos. While we won’t post them here, Making Star Wars has you covered. Stormtroopers? Aliens?
  • And the big rumor of the week is that Emperor Palpatine might return for Episode IX. After all, he did manage to re-emerge in some old “Legacy” tales over the years, but if he does somehow appear in the final chapter of the Saga, there are many ways they could pull it off, but a Holocron is perhaps the most likely.