Star Wars – Aliens
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Star Wars – Aliens
Mon Calamari commander of the Rebel Fleet
As commander of the Rebel Fleet, Ackbar has one of the most important and demanding jobs in the Alliance. The fleet is the Rebellion’s most valuable asset and its most important tool to challenge the overwhelming might of the Empire. Admiral Ackbar was the natural choice for fleet commander.
Beyond the qualifications of his great skills and sterling character, Ackbar is a symbol to the rest of the galaxy: a symbol that the Alliance is fighting for everyone, no matter what their background or origin. The Empire, in contrast, has made discrimination against non-humans a longstanding policy.
Ackbar proved his competence while commanding the Shantipole project, which added the valuable B-wing fighter to the Alliance’s arsenal. He was also extremely influential on his home planet and was largely responsible for that planet’s decision to supply their precious Mon Calamari Cruisers, the cornerstones and largest vessels of the Rebel Fleet.
Although widely recognized as a fine tactician, it is his organizational and administrative abilities that make Ackbar an outstanding leader. He is known for being rather conservative in battle strategy, but this aspect of his personality is counterbalanced within the fleet’s command structure by the innovative impetuosity of his young officers and the aggressive nature of General Madine.
A case in point is the Battle of Endor. When the Death Star surprisingly went operational and began systematically destroying the Rebel Fleet’s most powerful vessels, Ackbar’s first instinct was to call off the attack. But Lando Calrissian pleaded with him to continue by engaging the Imperial Star Destroyers, in the hope that the Death Star wouldn’t be able to open up on them without hitting Imperial ships.
For all of his conservatism, Ackbar saw the logic in Calrissian’ radical plan and acted accordingly. The gamble paid off.
The battle over Endor proved to everyone that Mon Mothma’s choice for command of the fleet was perfect. It was the Alliance’s shining moment, and Ackbar deserves much of the credit.
Han Solo’s 200-year-old Wookiee copilot
Strong, fearless, and an able pilot and mechanic, Chewbacca the Wookiee makes a capable ally to his friends and to the Rebel Alliance. A loyal friend to Corellian smuggler Han Solo, Chewbacca is his co-pilot when Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and two droids come aboard the Millennium Falcon for a fateful trip to Alderaan.
Chewbacca is a key part of the rescue plan for Princess Leia, acting as an ‘alien prisoner,’ allowing Han and Luke to infiltrate Detention Block AA-23 of the Death Star. It is also Chewie who persuades Han to go back to help Luke during his critical attack run on the Death Star’s fatal exhaust port.
It is later, during the events on Bespin that perhaps the greatest change takes place in Chewbacca. Roaring in rage as the Imperials began to lower Han into the carbon-freeze chamber, the Wookiee lashes out at the stormtroopers. It is Han himself who calms his friend and ends the berserker rage.
“Save your strength,” Solo calls out. “There’ll be another time. The Princess. You have to take care of her.”
It is then that Chewbacca realizes there is more to his honor family than just Han Solo. With Lando Calrissian in tow, Chewbacca and the Millennium Falcon return to Tatooine to await Luke Skywalker, firmly believing that together they can save Han from Jabba the Hutt.
His faith and belief in his friends continues throughout the war. Whether he is cramped inside a ship designed for beings much smaller than Wookiees, tied to a stake and at the mercy of the Ewoks, or battling a legion of the Empire’s best troops, Chewbacca remains confident that he and his comrades will eventually triumph.
Small tribal inhabitants of the forest moon of Endor
Only about one meter tall, the straightforward, even simple two-legged beings known as Ewoks are the antithesis of a high-technology culture. They are tribal and still use bows and arrows, slingshots and catapults as primary weapons. But through intense teamwork, and with a keen understanding of their environment and how to work with it to their best advantage, Ewoks have acumen and skills that cannot be replaced by high technology.
Ewok language is liquid and expressive, and not that difficult to speak for other species. Most tribe members are hunters and gatherers who live in clustered villages built high in hardy and long-living conifer trees, or life-trees. Ewok religion is centered around these giant trees, which legends refer to as guardian spirits. Each village plants a new seedling for each Ewok baby born, then nurtures it as it grows. Throughout their lives, each Ewok is linked to his or her “totem tree,” and when they die, Ewoks believe that their spirits go to live in their totem trees. Ewoks believe that their village shamans can communicate with the oldest and wisest trees in time of crisis.
From a life-tree’s bark, Ewoks distill a natural insect repellent. From fallen trees they make weapons, clothing, furniture and cooking implements. During the day, Ewoks descend from their high huts to hunt and forage on the forest floor. At night, they leave the forest to huge carnivores. Ewoks are curious and frequently get into trouble by being too nosy. They also love to hear and tell stories and are very musical, especially enjoying communal singing and dancing. And they are inventive, using natural materials to build everything from water-wheels to flying wings.
Hooded scavengers of the Tatooine deserts
Intelligent but smelly scavengers of the desert, these rodent-like creatures are natives of Tatooine. About a meter tall and constantly jabbering in their own language, Jawas live in clans.
To protect themselves from the fierce double suns of their planet, they wear coarse, homespun cloaks with hoods; only their glowing eyes are visible.
Jawas travel and live in bands, using giant, treaded sandcrawlers for mobility and shelter. The crawlers can hold many dozens of Jawas as well as the droids and other machinery that they scavenge, repair and resell to Tatooine moisture farmers and others. Once each year before the storm season, Jawas make a trek to the great basin of the Dune Sea for a huge, secret rendezvous that becomes a great swap meet where they exchange news and salvaged items.
Jabba the Hutt
Grotesque and powerful criminal underlord
One of the galaxy’s top criminal underlords, Jabba the Hutt has been in charge of a major criminal empire since he was about 600 years old. He moved to Tatooine and established himself at a palace built around the ancient monastery of B’ommar monks. Its centerpiece is a huge throne room where Jabba constantly entertains and holds court from his high dais at one end of the room.
Jabba’s criminal empire knows no bounds. It includes smuggling, glitterstim spice dealing, slave trading, assassination, loan sharking, protection and piracy. One smuggler on his payroll is the Corellian Han Solo and his Wookiee first mate Chewbacca. But after Solo has to jettison a spice load to avoid Imperial entanglements, Jabba orders him brought in. It takes a few years, but bounty hunter Boba Fett eventually delivers Solo entombed in carbonite. Solo’s friends come to rescue him, and Luke Skywalker directly confronts the Hutt, who drops him into a pit to be eaten by Jabba’s pet rancor.
When Skywalker instead kills the rancor, an enraged Jabba orders all the Rebels to be taken to the desert and fed to the Sarlacc monster. But Jabba pays the supreme price for underestimating Skywalker, Princess Leia Organa and their friends.
Savage nomads of the Tatooine wastes
A nomadic and often violent species, the Sand People of the planet Tatooine are as fierce and savage as their harsh desert environment. Also known as Tusken Raiders, even their appearance – born of necessity – lends them an air of menace. Wrapped in gauzy robes and strips of cloth from head to foot, their faces are concealed with breathing masks and goggles to protect their eyes. The frightening visage of a bandit Tusken Raider can terrorize as easily as their weapons.
The Sand People are easily intoxicated by sugar water and are most dangerous during their adolescent years, when they must survive rigorous rites of passage–such as hunting krayt dragons–to become adults. Since there is no written Tusken language, the storyteller-historian is the most respected member of Tusken communities. Many Tusken Raider clans of 20 to 30 individuals return annually to their traditional encampments in the Needles, a section of the Jundland Wastes, to wait out the dangerous sandstorm season.
The Sand People have an almost symbiotic relationship with their bantha mounts. A member who has lost his bantha is considered incomplete, and an outcast among his people. Likewise, when a Raider dies, his mount engages in a usually suicidal frenzy and is turned loose in the desert to survive or die on its own.
Tuskens live in an uneasy, and frequently shattered, peace with Tatooine moisture farmers. They attack settlements from time to time, using their traditional weapon, the gaderffii (or “gaffi”) stick, a kind of double-edged ax, or older projectile rifles. Targets of opportunity also include individuals or small parties roaming the desert, such as Jawa scavenging parties.
A curious and resourceful young Ewok
This young Ewok helps the Rebel forces during the monumental Battle of Endor. Wicket W. Warrick is the youngest son of Ewoks Shodu and Deej. Wicket has always shown a greater-than-usual curiosity to explore the unknown.
When Imperials first come to Endor, the Ewoks are alarmed. Many want to declare war on them, but the Ewok leader, Chief Chirpa, reminds them that their spears couldn’t hurt the Imperial fortresses, and that the invaders have machines that can fly through the air or burn the forests. But one night, as the villagers gather around the fires, young Wicket recounts how he had witnessed an AT-ST “walker” stumble on the rocks, fall, and explode. So the Ewoks do have a way to fight back, and they start preparing for battle.
While on a foraging expedition, Wicket comes across an unconscious Princess Leia Organa, who has been thrown off a speeder bike during a chase with Biker Scouts. Although she initially spooks him, Wicket senses her innate goodness. He returns with her to the village, only to find that Leia’s companions have been captured in an Ewok hunting net.
Even though Wicket pleads their case to Chief Chirpa, it takes some Jedi tricks from Luke Skywalker to free the rebels. Wicket then is a major factor in convincing the tribe to help the Rebels try to blow up the shield generator protecting the second Death Star.
Wise master of the Force and teacher of Jedi
A long-lived Jedi Master, Yoda is the conduit for the rebirth of the nearly-vanished Jedi Knights. For more than 800 years, the diminutive green being has trained Jedi Knights in the ways of the Force, but rarely has he faced such a challenge as the impetuous young Luke Skywalker.
By the time Luke encounters him in the bogs of Dagobah, Yoda is nearly 900 years old and walks stooped over with the help of a gimer stick. He subsists on things that nature offer him, eating plants and fruits and fungi, and building his home of mud, sticks and stones.
Yoda’s path to Jedi wisdom seems simple, yet profound. He makes his students unlearn what they had been taught, helping them to tune in to the subtle world around them to learn its truths. “A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge. Never for attack,” he tells them.
When Emperor Palpatine ordered his purge of the Jedi, Yoda went into hiding on Dagobah. He uses the Force and the planet’s own natural defenses to discourage visitors. But he has kept watch on Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa. After escaping almost certain death from a wampa ice creature on Hoth, Luke sees Ben Kenobi in a vision, telling him to go to the Dagobah system to continue his Jedi training with Yoda.
Yoda lectures young Skywalker about the Force while Luke performs rigorous physical and mental exercises. Yoda especially cautions him against the easy path of anger and the lure of the dark side of the Force.
When ordered to undertake a particularly daunting task, Luke says he’ll try. “No! Try not,” Yoda says. “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Despite Yoda’s plea, Luke leaves before his training is complete when he senses that his friends are in danger. By the time Luke returns, Yoda is close to becoming one with the Force.
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