Who knew that collecting all those Kenner figures as a child would be great preparation for the journalistic research I’d be doing as an adult? In the Star Wars universe, there were no insignificant extras, because the toy companies finally figured out that if you made their plastic likenesses small enough, kids would collect every single alien that ever appeared in frame. As such, they all had to have names; years later, some of the kids who imagined backstories for the obscurities would get to make them canon, give them new species names and so on and so forth.
And now some of the biggest fanboys have grown into positions of power from which they will actually make spin-off movies featuring existing characters. Needless to say, I have some suggestions. And in some cases, they’re really counter-intuitive.
Let’s start with the ones I’d actually like to see get their own features.
5. Jar Jar Binks.
Hear me out. HEAR ME OUT! I said hear me out, dammit. I haven’t pitched you my Jar Jar movie yet.
There used to be – and still is – an Italian comedian not unlike Jar Jar Binks, by the name of Roberto Benigni. He made an annoying Pink Panther sequel. And then he did something that actually won him an Oscar – he took his klutzy, broad, goofy persona and placed it into a Nazi concentration camp setting, playing a father who has to pretend to his son that it’s all a game in Life is Beautiful.
Want to give Jar Jar real pathos? Pair him with an Ewok and sentence them to hard time in the spice mines of Kessel. Make it clear that Jar Jar’s goofball shtick is the desperate manifestation of a sad soul to keep some kind of hope alive. With George Lucas not directing, somebody might be able to pull this off.
Or you could go with my original idea and let Tommy Wiseau direct. As long as he also plays Jar Jar himself.
4. Wuher the Bartender.
Okay, so Wuher himself isn’t necessarily the most interesting fellow – basically he’s fat, unshaven and hates droids. But a bar where all the major space pilots pass through, usually to and from shady deals with the Hutts? That’s a potential location for an entire TV series, or perhaps a Road House-style sci-fi flick about Tatooine’s toughest bouncer (probably a Nikto). Just don’t get Major Bren Derlin started, spouting his little-known facts. Except maybe one – we would like to know how exactly Dr. Evazan got all twelve of those death sentences.
3. The Rebo Band.
Sy Snootles’ issues with weight fluctuation and plastic surgery, her rivalry with new lead singer Joh Yowza who’s hired to make up for her unreliability, the power struggles between Sy and Max Rebo, the revolving door of back-up dancers…it’s the stuff of great melodrama, even if it does involve space elephants. Come for the musical numbers, stay for the Rystall-Boba Fett sex scenes. His rocket pack finally fires, if you know what I mean.
2. Young(er) Han Solo (than Harrison Ford today).
Look, let’s just get this one of the way. You want either Nathan Fillion or Josh Holloway, right? Fine. And Joss Whedon directing, whatever. I was always more of a Lando guy myself, but this will make all of you happy, and thus, make me happy. Especially when it inevitably fails to live up to unreasonably high expectations and all of a sudden everyone involved retroactively turns out to have done something nasty to your childhood.
1. Aurra Sing.
Boba Fett is both played out and dead in the storyline at this point (burping Sarlacc = digestion, sorry), so why not focus on a character who’s sort of like what we used to imagine Boba might be, only with boobs? Aurra Sing was basically thrown into Episode I as an instant easter egg, and while everything else about her may not be official canon, the general idea is that she’s a disillusioned Padawan who hunts Jedi. Best of all, her final fate is entirely unresolved – maybe she can be redeemed? Maybe not? At least we never saw her as a whiny little kid.
Hit the next page for the five who don’t need new tailor-made tales…
5. Any Other Queen of Naboo.
It’s the universe’s dumbest system of government, wherein the people elect twelve year-old girls to be their monarchs and active heads of state, gave us three different rulers throughout the prequel trilogy. I honestly don’t want to know why Padme felt the need to do a fake English accent every time she was in whiteface, because I’m dead fucking certain the reason is stupid, if it exists. Or even why she had that whole elaborate decoy plan in action, when the Trade Federation threat was a surprise, and the only other foes on her planet were idiot underwater bunny-people. As for her successors, Queen Jamillia and whatever Keisha Castle-Hughes was supposed to be named, they seemingly kept the whiteface, ditched the accent, and fell out of power quite quickly.
It’s no wonder Palpatine rose to prominence in Naboo. His ability to construct logical thoughts gave him a severe advantage.
3 and 4. (tie) Darth Maul/Boba Fett.
They were cool characters because they had sweet outfits and not a lot of screen time to ruin the mystique. When you really break it down, though, they weren’t that awesome – Maul was the world’s fanciest piece of cannon fodder, and Boba Fett got beaten by a flailing blind man. Backstories that make them the baddest men in the galaxy but don’t explain their ignominious demises may be the retcons you think you want, but they aren’t the ones you’re looking for. Move along.
2. Ziro the Hutt.
At least Jar Jar’s clumsiness had a purpose – make him an accidental hero, undeservedly promoted to power who ultimately makes a stupid decision to grant martial law to the Emperor because he doesn’t know better nor deserve to be there. Ziro the Hutt’s English-speaking Truman Capote voice, apparently mandated by Lucas himself, was a goofy disgrace to that alien race and their baritone Huttese. The neon tattoos didn’t exactly scream gangster cool either, but the entire effect did come together to suggest an unpleasant gay stereotype, despite what Sy Snootles may believe.
Perhaps he was suitably named, however, because there’s “Ziro” reason to like him or wish for his continued existence.
1. Fode and Beed.
Greg Proops is a funny guy. His podcasts are cool, and his improv games with Drew Carey have always been entertaining. Only George Lucas could make him into an instantly detestable alien, with a single line of dialogue: “I don’t care what universe you’re from – that’s gotta hurt!” Was there a reason we even needed any commentary on the podrace sequence at all? A desperate bid for hipness, perhaps?
It might be darkly amusing to follow the annoying two-headed alien through intergalactic comedy clubs, bombing set after set and doing death sticks with Elan Sleazebaggano (who would be played by Andy Dick in this version). But really, no it wouldn’t. If Bobcat Goldthwait wants to direct, and trash the entire Star Wars universe in the process, I’ll be glad to watch the meltdown just for kicks. But let’s preserve all our sanities and imagine the bi-craniumed bore blasted to death immediately post Skywalker win.