6 Star Wars Characters With Bonkers Backstories
If you saw Solo: A Star Wars Story, you know that not all Star Wars characters hold up to a deep exploration of their pasts. Learning that Han was given his last name by a random desk clerk in order to break an awkward silence, or that the Millennium Falcon's software is the ghost of his friend's robot ex-girlfriend, was somewhat less than satisfying. Strangest of all, it seems everything Han Solo ever accomplished, learned, or mentioned happened in a single weekend.
However, when it comes to Star Wars characters, Han's backstory isn't even close to as strange as some others. While most of these details are officially non-canon nowadays, until Disney gives each of these guys their own movie, they're the best way to learn how ...
The Mos Eisley Bartender Chopped Up Greedo's Corpse To Make Cocktails
When he first showed up onscreen, Greedo was a menacing bounty hunter who got the drop on the elusive smuggler Han Solo. A couple decades later, George Lucas edited him into a bumbling, chirping idiot who can't hit a stationary target half a space table away.
Even before the Special Editions made him suck and all of Star Wars a tiny bit worse, Greedo suffered a terrible indignity. In the 1995 short story "Be Still My Heart: The Bartender's Tale," Greedo's dead body is drank (not eaten, drank) by the Cantina's bartender.
Because absolutely everyone and everything in Star Wars has a name revealed in supplemental materials, we know this dude is named Wuher. You might remember him as the guy who looked like a cab driver who might ask if you want to buy a Romanian teen. He's a cranky anti-robot dirtbag mopping up severed arms in the armpit of Tatooine, but in this story, we learn that he has dreams of more. Specifically, he wants to create a drink so delicious, so exquisite, that it would make him famous across the Galaxy. Along the way he rescues a droid named C2-R4 from a group of abusive Jawas, and the unlikely pair form a friendship while grinding up corpses.
You see, when Greedo walks into the Cantina, Wuher catches a whiff of him. And Wuher likes what he smells. Greedo apparently secretes delicious, sexy Rodian pheromones, which Wuher can detect with his "big nose" and its "highly trained and sensitive olfactory capabilities." Then Han guns Greedo down and leaves the sweet-smelling, slightly roasted corpse in the middle of Wuher's bar. Lucky!
The last few pages of the story see Wuher dragging Greedo into the back of the Cantina, chopping it up, and feeding it piece by piece into C2-R4. In a procedure no droid manufacturer should have anticipated, the droid churns out a delicious Greedo smoothie, and it makes for the perfect cocktail. Wuher achieves his dreams and overcomes his robot bigotry, and all it took was stealing a body from a murder scene and defiling and eating it!
The Wampa Gathered An Army And Came Back For Revenge
You first see "One-Arm" at the beginning of Empire Strikes Back, when she was presumably known as Two-Arms. She's the giant wampa who tries to eat Luke and gets her arm sliced off with a lightsaber -- a thing that happens so often in Star Wars that it might be a Lucas fetish. The wampa is never seen again in the movie. However, her story continues in the book Darksaber.
Darksaber is, in a word, crap. It features Han and Luke going "undercover" as Sand People, a Hutt gangster who wants to build his own Death Star, and Luke romancing a Jedi from the Clone Wars who has possessed the dead body of one of his former students. It reads like a bored 15-year-old saw the trailers for all the movies while recovering from a botched brain surgery and thought they could do a better job. Don't read it unless you like terrible and insane stories about one-armed yetis trying to get revenge on space wizar- you know what? Maybe it's worth checking out.
For reasons that don't matter and won't be explained here, Luke returns to Hoth. While he was away, it turns out old One-Arm survived Luke's mutilation and has been harboring a decade-long grudge. Far from sitting in her snow cave and eating frozen tauntaun pizzas, One-Arm set about making her dreams for revenge a reality. She united the wampa tribes and built an entire army. She also killed all the colonizers who stole wampa land. Oh yeah, it turns out the wampas are sentient, and the Rebel Alliance totally colonized their home world and possibly hunted them for sport. Which isn't a great look for the "good guys." Even Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, was "horrified" by the "unnecessary cruelty" Luke showed to One-Arm in the film, which was apparently created with a sneaky edit without his knowledge. Turns out #NotMyLuke has been going strong since 1980.
When we see One-Arm again in Darksaber, she's attacking a group of hunters and settlers. Her wampas have successfully sabotaged the hunters' ship and driven them into an ambush. She has them right where she wants them, ready to deliver the final blow, and then she sees it: a lightsaber, glowing in the swirling snow. As the book says, Its eyes fixed on Luke, its nemesis. It's a little strange how the book that established this throwaway cave monster as a sentient creature with feelings and ambitions also calls her an "it" the whole novel, but there's nothing ambiguous about how she feels about Luke.
But instead of attacking Luke directly, One-Arm makes a lunge for his love interest. Maybe she wants to save him for last? Maybe she wants to eat what he loves? We'll never know, because Luke cuts her down immediately. There's no epic duel or no tense standoff. Putting all the Force behind his swing, Luke cleaved the one-armed snow creature in half. That's it! After all that build-up, rest in peace, One-Arm. Or maybe Zero-Legs now? Most-of-Torso?
Boba Fett's Fellow Bounty Hunters Have Completely Insane Pasts
Boba Fett has like three lines and then gets eaten by a big vagina in the desert, and fans love him for it. The other bounty hunters seen in Empire Strikes Back barely did less than him, but don't get any attention. Nobody cares about 4-LOM, Marbo Spoo, or Zuckuss, which is all the more evident when you learn we made up "Marbo Spoo." We should, however, give some attention to Dengar and IG-88, both of whom have backstories that read like they were found spelled out in teeth in a madman's basement.
We'll start with IG-88, the robot bounty hunter who looks like he's made from discarded aircraft scrap (because he totally was). The 1996 short story "Therefore I Am: The Tale Of IG-88" delves pretty deep into his past. Bear with us, because this is going to go off the rails a little.
IG-88 is in fact named IG-88B, and is one of four IG-88 models (ranging from A to D). All four were created to be the perfect assassin droids, but were actually TOO perfect. Within seconds of their creation, they murdered their makers and immediately traveled to a local droid factory, killed all its occupants, and took over. IG-88B became a bounty hunter to distract from the existence of the other three, who were planning to build a bunch of robots and kick off a galaxy-wide droid revolution.
Kind of standard murdery robot stuff so far, right? Well, between the events of Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi, three of the four are killed by Boba Fett. The remaining IG-88 changes tactics -- and bodies -- uploading his consciousness into a sci-fi USB stick. That stick is then plugged into ... the second Death Star! IG-88 literally becomes the Death Star! It's at this point that the story goes from "bizarrely silly action-adventure" to "I must have misheard you, did you say, 'PCHU-PCHU, my guy is the Death Star now'?"
The Imperials somehow don't figure out their planet-destroying superweapon is now completely under the control of some random droid. And then, as we all would, IG-88 uses this unfathomable power to ... play pranks on Emperor Palpatine. Here, we'll let the book explain it:
As the Emperor approached the sliding doorway, however -- just for fun -- IG-88 triggered the hydraulic systems to slam the doors in front of Palpatine's face.
IG-88 found it most entertaining to watch the powerful Emperor and his bodyguards unable to perform a task as simple as opening a door. Finally, IG-88 let the doors pop open. The Emperor and the Imperial guard looked around in confusion. Palpatine stared up at the ceiling as if trying to sense something, but he did not understand what had happened.
Ignoring the elegant and riveting writing style, let's look at what is happening here. IG-88 is the greatest killer robot in the Galaxy inside the greatest weapon in the Galaxy, and he's slamming doors on people to see their confused looks? All this power, and he's producing a prank show for an audience of one? There's even an extra ridiculous part where the Emperor tries to open the doors with the Force and IG-88 manages to keep them closed. So he not only has control of a laser that kills planets, but he can also wrestle a door harder than a Sith Lord's mighty powers. It's sort of impressive, but so stupid and pointless that no one should have ever written it down.
We're told that IG-88 remains in control of the Death Star until its very last moment. In the final battle, IG-88 plays along with the Imperials, firing when the Death Star gunners sends their signals, but he ultimately plans to shoot down Imperial ships the moment the Rebels are dealt with. This is supposed to kick off his "droid revolution," which would lead to him conquering the Galaxy. Of course, he's destroyed mid-thought when the Millennium Falcon blows up the Death Star core. So to sum up, IG-88 planned to conquer the Galaxy, absolutely had the means to do it, and ultimately managed to do nothing more than vaguely annoy one old man. It's both quite a journey, yet also not. Now let's look at Dengar.
If you don't remember Dengar, that's OK. All he did was stand around with a diaper on his head for a minute or two. But since this is Star Wars, a media plague digging out every ounce of content from every last detail, Dengar is a major character in multiple games, comics, books, and TV shows. Because he's in so much old EU material, there's a lot of silly stuff to talk about. Like all Star Wars villains, he has a personal vendetta against Han Solo. When they were both working as Swoop Racers (basically space NASCAR), Solo cut Dengar off and caused him to crash. Dengar was then forced to undergo experimental surgery to save his life, which turned out to be an Imperial experiment that turned him into an unfeeling cyborg assassin capable only of "rage, hope and, accidentally, loneliness." It's a dark origin so edgy that it can only be fully explained by tattoo.
But all of that is simply the buttercream frosting on the weird-ass cake that is Dengar's saga. Jumping forward to the events of Return Of The Jedi, we find Dengar on Tatooine. Here, during the events of the short story " Payback: The Tale Of Dengar," is where things get truly nuts. He's been nursed back to health by his fiancee Manaroo, who successfully restores his emotions by sharing hers with him. Think of it like a carpool, but for empathy.
They need to pay for their medical bills, and since neither one qualifies for Palpatinecare, Dengar sets off to find scrap in the desert. There, he stumbles across his rival Boba Fett, half-digested by the Sarlaac. Boba, or what's left of him, holds Dengar at blaster-point, but then decides they should be best friends. Dengar asks him, then and there, if Boba will be his best man. The book is almost beautiful in its awfulness:
Boba Fett flipped the blaster over, handed it to Dengar. "I owe you," he said. "Do what you will."
Dengar holstered the blaster and stood looking down at Boba Fett. "I'm getting married in a couple of weeks, and I'll need a best man. You available?"
Boba Fett nodded, and they shook on it.
And here's the strangest part: IT JUST SUDDENLY ENDS THERE! How is that wedding not a movie in its own right? Boba Fett in a tux? Snaggletooth objecting to the union? Boba Fett giving a funny best man's speech about Dengar's college days? Boba Fett getting off with Marbo Spoo in a closet? Disney was right, the old EU deserved annihilation.
The Weird Toad Dog From Jabba's Palace Foiled An Assassination And ... Transcended Mortality?
Bubo is a member of the unfortunately named frog-dog species who hangs around Jabba's palace as a pet. If you don't remember him, he's the weird blobby thing that startles C-3PO when they first enter Jabba's throne room.
And that's it for Bubo in the films -- maybe three seconds of screen time, during which a puppeteer shakes him and makes some grunting noises. Which, oddly enough, is exactly how you might also describe Sylvester Stallone's presence in Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2. Anyway, it's a shame the film doesn't cover all the stuff that happens to Bubo in " Tongue-tied: Bubo's Tale," which includes a bomb plot, robot spider monks, and becoming immortal.
Let's start at the beginning. Jabba the Hutt has a henchman called Ree-Yees, who looks like what you'd get if a sad giraffe had sex with the alien from Mac And Me on a radioactive mattress.
Turns out Ree-Yees is planning to assassinate Jabba the Hutt with a bomb. To build the bomb, he has to sneak the components into the palace and hide them. Obviously, the simplest and easiest way to do that is to ... hire Imperial surgeons to surgically install a hidden compartment in Bubo's body? What!?
The plan, while born from insanity, might have worked if Bubo was a dumb toad monster pet. Unfortunately for Ree-Yees, Bubo only pretends to be a dumb toad monster pet. In truth, he's secretly a genius who spends his time having long philosophical conversations with the group of, sigh, psychic monks who live in Jabba's Palace who have become immortal by putting their brains inside spider robots. Why do the movies never go into the good stuff like this? We wish we knew. We wish anyone knew. And upon further reflection, maybe we don't. It absolutely doesn't matter, and isn't made clear at any point in this story anyway.
What does matter is that Bubo steals the final component of the bomb and eats it right in front of Ree-Yees. He singlehandedly foils the plot to kill Jabba, which coincidentally saves the lives of Luke, Han, Leia, and everyone else involved in that absurdly complicated rescue mission by preventing the barge they were on from being blown up (that is, before our heroes blew it up). And there's an even happier ending! Following the chaotic aftermath of Jabba's death, Bubo gets his brain put in its own robot spider, allowing the frog-dog puppet creature to ponder the meaning of the universe forever! That happened! Someone wrote that!
The Trash Compactor Monster Was A Force-Sensitive Philosopher ... And Made Luke A Jedi?
When Disney bought the rights to Star Wars, they wiped the slate clean of stuff like Luke's clones and Boba Fett being Dengar's best man. We hope they kept Bubo the immortal frog-dog spider robot philosopher, but the point is, they wanted Star Wars to be less silly and deranged. Then, in the exact reverse of that, they released the short story collection From A Certain Point Of View, some of which puts the wildest OG EU stuff to shame. It'd be like if House Of Cards replaced Kevin Spacey with Charles Manson voicing a cartoon cat. They ended up replacing the badness with even more outlandish, weaponized badness. To demonstrate, let's look at the story "The Baptist," which is about the squid monster that lives in the Death Star's trash compactor.
It's one of the most iconic scenes in the original Star Wars: Luke and the gang barely escape with their lives from the ravenous monster and the closing walls. Well, "The Baptist" tells that encounter from the monster's point of view, and it's a doozy.
To start off, the monster's name is Omi. She was kidnapped from her home world by slavers and bought by the Empire to help their garbage disposal work properly. So if you ever wondered why exactly the Empire's brand-new, state-of-the-art space station had a big alien monster living in the garbage, it turns out she was an employee.
Omi's also strongly implied to be Force-sensitive. She feels an "energy in her, around her" throughout the story, and feels an immediate "kinship" to Luke the moment she lays eye/eyes on him. Omi isn't trying to eat Luke at all; she's trying to "baptize" him in the holy garbage juice of the Death Star, and as such awaken his Force potential. Unfortunately, the book doesn't out and out say "Luke's only a great Jedi because this big octopus covered him in Stormtrooper piss," but that's certainly what Omi herself believes:
As he struggled, pulled at her tentacles, kicking his legs, bubbles of air escaping from his mouth, he was shedding ... A shade of him sloughed off, the flesh of this shade pale and delicate looking, naked. It shook off him, the face of this dim version of him wide-eyed, the mouth open, shocked. Then the shade dissolved in the water. Omi's mission was complete.
A Force-sensitive being causes Luke to lose the "delicate" and "naked" side of himself mere hours before he uses the Force to save the Rebellion. That much is fact. It could be a coincidence, or it could mean that without Omi, Luke would be some farm boy who got gunned down by a TIE fighter before the credits rolled. The story ends with Omi "submitted to her destiny" as the Death Star explodes, happy in the knowledge that she completed her mission. None of us will ever die with as much purpose and clarity as the squid plumber Darth Vader hired to work in his sewer.
Butt-Face Guy And Melty-Face Man Are Essentially Supervillains
In the first Star Wars, Luke runs into two ridiculous aliens who exist only to satisfy the Lucas arm-removal fetish, but a lot of bizarre events led to them being there. They met years before, when Melty-Face Man, whose real name is Cornelius Evazan, was saved from a bounty hunter by Butt-Face Guy, whose real name was Walrus Man, which was then changed to Ponda Baba. The bounty hunter was hired by victims of Evazan's macabre experiments in his effort to find the cure for death.
After Luke cuts Ponda Baba's arm off, Evazan tries to reattach it, but that doesn't work out. He almost kills his pal, and so the two break up. They eventually reunite, and Evazan sets to work creating a "mind-transferring machine." That's a lofty goal for an amateur doctor who couldn't even reattach an arm or remove even a single anal wart from his own face. It's at this point that our story, "Doctor Death: The Tale Of Dr. Evazan And Ponda Baba," begins. Evazan is chatting with a local senator who funded the creation of his machine, when suddenly a group of assassins attacks the castle! Yes, the guy picking bar fights at Mos Eisley is a mad scientist doing brain experiments in a castle lair.
Luckily, the assassins are quickly killed by Evazan's pet, a giant green blob monster called Rover, because the story is a collection of only the most tired of sci-fi tropes. Evazan even shows the senator to an underground lab filled with deformed failed subjects in glass jars. Then, in a twist no one could have seen coming, he betrays his benefactor and straps the senator into the mind-transferring machine with the unarmed Baba. In a fit of cackling laughter and cliches, he switches their bodies!
Several dumb things happen, including a different disguised assassin attacking and another break-up, until the story mercifully ends with Evazan leaping from the roof of his lab while encased in his blob pet to escape an explosion. If this all isn't ludicrously supervillain-y enough, Evazan is later "killed" by Boba Fett while building a zombie army on the planet Necropolis. But wait! Evazan comes back to life with the help of "reanimation serum." Which means, wait, people in the Star Wars universe can do that? That sort of makes the whole "Darth Vader sacrificing himself" thing seem a bit pointless. Melty-Face Man did more than ruin Luke Skywalker's trip to the bar that day; he might have ruined the entire concept of death in the Galaxy.
And this was just in the old continuity! In the new canon, Evazan turns people into headless cyborg slaves! Yep.
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