Lucasfilm executive Matt Martin suggests that Bothans may not be aliens. Bothans played a significant role in Legends stories after getting name-dropped by Mon Mothma in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi before the Battle of Endor. “Many Bothans died to bring us this information,” the rebel leader said, pertaining to the intel that helped them defeat the Emperor Palpatine and the Empire. In the existing canon, however, not much is known about the creatures. They're occasionally referenced, like in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, when their home planet, Bothawui was mentioned. However, fans never really saw any of them on the animated show.
Their impressive spy abilities were very helpful in securing vital information regarding Death Star II. Unlike Jyn Erso's team in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the Bothans, apparently, never had to steal the physical plans for the second weaponized space station. Given this, they seem to be an interesting group that could be further explored in an effort to expand the Star Wars lore - especially since, as it turns out, there may be more to them than meets the eye.
A member of Ziro.hu's editorial team (aka. the Star Wars MythBusters) asked Martin on Twitter why the Bothans were not included in Star Wars Alien Archive after the creatures were notably absent in the guidebook. The Lucasfilm employee obliged and noted that Bothans "have yet to show up in canon". However, things got more interesting when he then postulated "Maybe Bothans aren’t even a species?!?" Check out the back-and-forth below:
Bothans have yet to show up in canon. Maybe Bothans aren’t even a species?!?— Matt Martin (@missingwords) October 26, 2018
What gives this comment more weight is the fact that Martin is a prominent member of the Lucasfilm Story Group - a group of individuals who are basically keepers of the Star Wars canon. Established in 2013, the team is made up of 11 individuals (including Pablo Hidalgo) whose main function is to ensure narrative continuity in the expansive franchise. Considering that Martin's job description includes knowing almost everything and anything about Star Wars, his latest comments about Bothans are understandably piquing the interest of loyal fans of the space opera.
That said, it's important to note that his statement shouldn't be treated as concrete evidence regarding the Bothans possibly not being aliens, as widely believed. While the creatures have yet to appear in any show or TV series, there have been countless descriptions of them in Legends books. In Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire, they were described as cream-colored, fur-covered creatures. They got their first visual interpretation in the Heir to the Empire Sourcebook a year later. However, over the years, their physical appearance has continued to evolve in graphic novels and even video games. Of course, these interpretations are no longer canon, which gives Lucasfilm the creative leeway to formally introduce the Bothans (including, their official look and heritage) in the future.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019