One of the many reasons Star Wars captured the minds of cinemagoers back in 1977 was the way it gave the impression of an enormous galaxy to be explored. There were so many different aliens in the cantina, there were hints at a long history involving the Clone Wars and the Jedi Order, and there was the promise of battles against the Empire yet to be fought.
It’s no surprise, then, that the worlds of Star Wars have since been explored in immense detail, by spin-off novels and comics, by fan speculation, and by George Lucas and his colleagues giving away snippets of their vision of life in the galaxy far, far away.
And as these details have been fleshed out, it’s fair to say that some of them are more than a little weird. Some supporting characters have been given strikingly odd backstories, some spin-off material has told the stories you least expected, and speculation into how it all fits together has thrown up some surprising theories. Even when Disney purchased the franchise and reset the continuity, this only gave creators license to come up with brand new absurdities!
So here’s our list of fifteen of the more ‘WTF’-inducing details we’ve learned about the Star Wars galaxy over the past forty years…
15. The Music Played By The Cantina Band Is Called ‘Jizz’
The music is an integral part of what made Star Wars such an enjoyable movie, and the tune played by the bulbous-headed cantina band is one of the most iconic pieces, really conjuring up that sense of a multicultural alien world.
A similar style of music is played by the Max Rebo band when Episode VI takes us to Jabba’s palace. So when it came to James Kahn, writer of the Return of the Jedi novelization, to give a name to the genre of music played by these bands, he had an important job on his hands. He was to name an important part of the Star Wars universe. But hey, how badly could he screw this up?
Starting with the real world genre which the music most closely resembles – jazz – and then giving it a twist isn’t a bad idea. Juzz, maybe? Jezz? Just as long as he doesn’t go for the one which also means something you really don’t want a gang of aliens with inflated scrotums for heads to be discharging into your ear.
14. E.T.’s Race Is In The Galactic Senate – And He Was Sent To Earth By Them
The prequel movies showed us how the Galactic Republic functioned before the Clone Wars, with alien delegates from every planet showing their faces in the enormous senate chamber. And one delegation in particular featured an alien race we’d seen before – but not in Star Wars.
George Lucas had been a friend and colleague of Steven Spielberg for a long time, and Spielberg had paid homage to Star Wars by having a kid in a Yoda Halloween costume show up in E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. So Lucas repayed the favor by giving E.T.’s race a seat in the senate.
The expanded universe, of course, had a lot of fun expanding on this joke. James Luceno’s novel Cloak of Deception gave the senator the name ‘Grebleips’ (we’ll let you work out the reference there, shouldn’t take you long) and the homeworld of Brodo Asagi, taken from an E.T. spin-off novel. And then, the in-universe website HoloNet News went further by publishing a story about Grebleips funding an expedition outside the galaxy… starting to see how this all fits together?
13. The Ice Cream Maker Guy And His Backstory
Speaking of characters who appear for the briefest of moments but have backstories which have spun way out of control… it’s Ice Cream Maker Guy! But this Cloud City resident is just your average vendor of dairy products desperate to protect his gear from Imperial occupation, right? Wrong!
As first expanded upon in the Customizable Card Game, before being further detailed in the official website’s What’s The Story? feature, this man is Willrow Hood, an employee of a mining company sympathetic to the Rebel Alliance, and the item he carries is a computer core carrying secret data on Rebel contacts. Which explains his need to get it away from the Empire.
After dumping the cleverly disguised core, Hood would later go on to resist Imperial interrogation and even play a vital role in the liberation of Cloud City. You can even get his action figure. It just goes to show that heroes don’t all carry lightsabers. And that Star Wars fans have put way too much thought into everything.
12. I Wanna Take You To The Gay Planet, Gay Planet…
For a world so full of varying alien life, the Star Wars galaxy has always played it rather, well, straight when it comes to sexual diversity. Maybe a Star Wars MMORPG produced by BioWare, who made a point of having LGBTQ characters in their Dragon Age and Mass Effect series, would change things up.
Not quite: The Old Republic continued to give us a heteros-only galaxy. But after taking some criticism for this, BioWare decided to make a change. They added in a new planet, Makeb, in which non-player characters would engage in same-sex flirtation with you.
Which means that there’s one planet in the Star Wars galaxy where characters are gay. And, given you have to already be a high level to travel there, it’s not even easy to access. Rather than a step forward for diverse representation, it all feels a bit… segregation-y.
Still, maybe The Last Jedi will follow up on those homoerotic Poe/Finn memes, eh?
11. The Remarkably Lazy Supporting Character Names
Okay, so Star Wars character names have never been accused of subtlety. His name’s Han Solo, and he’s a loner! Solo, geddit? And this guy’s called Porkins, because he’s overweight!
But the more you know about the Star Wars galaxy, the more stupid the names get. One of the musicians in the Jabba’s palace band, for example, is called Droopy McCool. Which is one hell of a stage name, even when the music you play isn’t jizz. Then there’s Clone Wars villain Savage Opress, who might as well be called Evil McBadguy, and the George Lucas cameo character called Notluwiski Papanoida, which is a cringe-inducing pun on ‘not Lucas’.
But the winner of stupidest Star Wars name has to be the guy who tries to sell Obi-Wan death sticks in Attack of the Clones. Bit of a sleazebag, isn’t he? Must be nominative determinism in action, because his name is actually Elan Sleazebaggano. You’ve got to admire the remarkable absence of effort that went into coming up with that.
10. Luke And Leia Are Not The Same Age
We saw the birth of Luke and Leia, so it’s pretty clear that the Skywalker siblings are twins. But, a few movies later, they’re not the same age – thanks to the physics of relativity.
When travelling close to the speed of light, time dilation occurs, and so those flying through hyperspace would experience time differently. A group of students from the University of Leicester calculated how this would affect Star Wars characters, using Luke and Leia’s travel to Cloud City as an example.
Luke flies there from Dagobah, while Leia travels from the Anoat system, 25 times closer, so she’d experience 62.6 days of time dilation, while Luke would experience 700.8 days – making him 1.75 years younger than her by the time they both reach Bespin… and that’s just one of many journeys made throughout the movies.
Of course, science in Star Wars world doesn’t necessarily work the same way as in real life. They probably have some high tech way of countering time dilation – let’s hope so, at least, otherwise, remembering birthdays would get difficult.
9. Yoda Grows A Toe Between Episodes
There are a lot of things we don’t know about Yoda. His species and home planet were always meant to be a mystery, as is how he came to be the foremost master of the Force. But one particular quirk in his biology only adds to the diminutive Jedi’s mystery…
The puppets used in both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi have four toes on each of Yoda’s feet, as does the digital model used in Revenge of the Sith. The one in The Phantom Menace, however, only has three. Just another thing The Phantom Menace messed up, then. And if you’re wondering, there aren’t any clear enough shots in Attack of the Clones.
As a result of this grave inconsistency, action figures of Yoda will either have three, four or five toes per foot. Pick the one that you like the best. Or chalk it up to another mystical force power, albeit not one of the more useful ones.
8. Chewbacca’s Dad Has A Porn Habit
The Star Wars Holiday Special, a TV movie broadcast in 1978, is something that most people involved would like to forget about, for a number of reasons. There’s comedian Harvey Korman presenting a cooking show as a four-armed female alien. There’s Princess Leia singing the ‘theme song’ to the tune of the Star Wars theme. And then there’s the Wookiee porn…
Chewie’s father, Itchy (another one for the lazy names list) is given a ‘mind evaporator’ for Wookiee Christmas. It’s a sort of VR device, and when he puts it on, he’s greeted by Dynasty star Diahann Carroll as Mermeia, a performer in a rather alluring dress. She sings him a song called ‘This Minute’, featuring lyrics such as “I am your fantasy, I am your experience, so experience me, I am your pleasure”.
Even elderly furballs have to get their kicks somehow, but did we really need to see it? We’d say it feels highly out of place in Star Wars, if not for the fact that everything else in the Holiday Special is also very much out of place.
7. The Ewoks Should Be Wiped Out By Death Star Explosion
Everyone loves the Ewoks, right? Not only did they play an integral role in defeating the Empire at the Battle of Endor, but they’re adorable to boot. What’s that? You actually find them horribly annoying and a step towards the level of dumbness we’d eventually get with Jar Jar Binks? Well, firstly, we probably can’t be friends, but secondly, you might like this fact.
You see, the Ewoks, and everyone else on Endor, should die when the second Death Star explodes. Astrophysicist Curtis Saxton has put together a convincing argument that, due to the enormous amount of debris the poor little forest moon would have been showered with, Endor would suffer meteoric explosions, a nuclear winter, and serious chemical changes in the air and soil. For the Ewoks, it would be equivalent to the meteor strike which wiped out Earth’s dinosaurs.
6. The Rebel Alliance Has No Female Pilots
In the Original Trilogy, at least. It may have been standard casting practice in 1977, but when General Dodonna gathers his pilots for the briefing in A New Hope, it does feel odd today that every pilot in the room is not only human, but a white male human.
The Alliance was starting to diversify by the Battle of Endor, as four female actresses were cast as pilots in Return of the Jedi. However, three of them had their shots cut out, and the one who remained in the movie had her line overdubbed by a male actor.
More recently, The Force Awakens and Rogue One have gone some way to redress the balance, but being as nerdy as we are, we do have to wonder what happened in-universe to turn the Alliance into such a sausage fest. Did some quirk of midichlorians prevent any women from being born one year? Did they all leave to settle on a Woman Planet, similar to the Gay Planet? Or is General Dodonna just a massive sexist?
5. The Max Rebo Band Singer Had An Affair With A Truman Capote-Esque Hutt
The Clone Wars TV series did much more than tell the adventures of Obi-Wan and Anakin, as it branched out into some unexpected corners of the Star Wars galaxy…
One recurring villain was Ziro the Hutt – imagine Jabba, but purple, and with the voice of Truman Capote. This frankly very odd decision came from the mind of George Lucas himself (of course it did) who asked that the show’s producers change the character from the original plan for him to speak Huttese in a voice similar to Jabba’s. When he first appeared, one reviewer criticized Ziro as “a gay stereotype that makes what Jar Jar Binks represented to the island of Jamaica look subtle by comparison.”
But not to worry! On later appearances, The Clone Wars would address this by making it very clear Ziro’s not meant to be gay – he’s in fact the lover of Sy Snootles, the singing ball of scales with the lipstick on the end of the long nose thing from Return of the Jedi. Now, we’re not here to criticize anyone’s sexual preferences, but there’s a pretty big difference between them in terms of size and biological shape and… no, let’s stop thinking about that and move on.
4. The Ridiculous Stats About The Death Star’s Power
Another nerdy science one to take our minds off the Hutt hanky-panky. Physicists at the University of Leicester have calculated how much energy the Death Star would need to destroy Alderaan. The answer: a hell of a lot.
The more specific answer: 2.25 x 1022 joules. Which is in fact the amount of energy our sun outputs in a week. A whole week’s worth of the sun, concentrated in a single beam. Which opens up all sorts of questions about how the energy is stored, how safe the whole thing is, and whether it really is the most resource and cost-efficient way to destroy a planet.
Speaking of costs, another research paper, this time from economists at Washington University, worked out that the destruction of both Death Stars would have led to serious galaxy-wide economic depression, with a total loss of around $515 quintillion. The effect that would have on the galactic economy would be equivalent to 2.57 million 9/11 attacks. Imagine how many planets the Empire would have to plunder to make up for it.
3. Endor Has A Talking Mountain
We’ve looked at one of the weirder storylines from The Clone Wars, but the cartoons we got in the ‘80s were much more innocent. Star Wars: Ewoks ran from 1985 to 1987 and expanded on the world of Endor, pitting Wicket and his furry little friends against an evil witch, a rival species known as the Duloks, and even a carnivorous tree monster.
But the Endorian ecosystem got even weirder in the spin-off comic (which spun off from the spin-off cartoon) published by Marvel. The most outrageously WTF this got was with Mount Sorrow, a sentient mountain with a very literal rock face. In a constant state of depression (well, it did have to share a planet with the Ewoks), Mount Sorrow was able to blow people off its summit, and also could cry magical healing tears.
2. The Technology Gets Worse
The delivery of the Death Star plans is key to the tension of A New Hope, in which the heroes urgently need to get the droid containing the plans to the Rebel base.
And yet… as we’ve seen in the prequels, set 20 to 30 years earlier, people in the Star Wars galaxy have the ability to transmit holographic images – a form of computer data – across space. Why do the Rebels now have to rely on the space equivalent of FedEx-ing a floppy disk when they could just email?
There are similar technological quirks throughout the saga. Computer interfaces get clunkier from the prequels to the originals, for example, and why do the Empire rely on a human military when they could easily make more clones or requisition a load of killer robots?
Sure, the times these films were made had an effect on how tech could be depicted. But it’s fun to speculate what happened in-universe – perhaps Palpatine deliberately stepped technology backwards so it couldn’t be used against him, or because he was an old grouch who liked things the old-fashioned way?
1. The Emperor’s Three-Eyed Son
Between 1992 and 1993, Paul and Hollace Davids wrote six Star Wars novels collectively called the Jedi Prince series. As you’d expect from a series that whacks out six installments in two years, they’re not great. What you might not expect is just how insane they are.
For starters, the main character is called Ken. Yes, Ken. This trainee Jedi joins the Rebel Alliance to fight off the remnants of the Empire, but a successor to the Emperor has arisen – the three-eyed Trioculus, who claims to be Palpatine’s mutant son and is determined to find Darth Vader’s lost glove in order to harness the Force.
Wait, there’s more! It turns out that Trioculus is an imposter, but Palpatine did indeed have a three-eyed son with the even less subtle name of Triclops. Fearing his son would rise against him, Palpatine sent Triclops into exile. Oh, and Ken is Triclops’s son and thus Palpatine’s grandson. It all works out fine, though, as (SPOILERS, in case anyone cares) Trioculus is killed by a droid replica of Princess Leia.
And they all live happily ever after. Except for everyone who wasted time reading this garbage.
What other weird little details lie hidden away within the galaxy far, far away? Let us know in the comments.