Return of the Jedi Creature History with Pablo Hidalgo

 

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Saturday was certainly the busiest day at Celebration Europe if you were intending to visit different panels. I’ve known Gerald Home (Tessek, a Mon Calamari Officer) for many years and he said that Return of the Jedi Creature History was going to be a panel that I would enjoy — knowing I’m a fan of trivia and uncovering the smallest details from the movies. I had been able to speak to Leland Chee and Pablo Hidalgo after the Holocron panel, and Pablo also said I was really going to enjoy it. So I couldn’t wait.

And it DID deliver! Host Pablo Hidalgo was joined on stage by Simon Williamson (Max Rebo, Mon Calamari, and a Gamorrean Guard), Tim Rose (Admiral Ackbar, Salacious Crumb, and Sy Snootles), Gerald Home (Tessek, Mon Calamari Officer) and Michael Carter (Bib Fortuna) to talk about the secrets of the creatures and aliens from Return of the Jedi. It was a well select group of guests, because all four had been originally been contracted to perform different jobs on the movie. For instance, Simon Williamson was contracted as a puppeteer, while Gerald Home was contracted as a mime artist — but they ended up doing much more.

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A list of all the different aliens in Return of the Jedi formed the backbone of the panel. Thorough research enabled Pablo to add really interesting behind-the-scenes information about the origin of the aliens’ (nick)names and about their appearance(s) in the movie. Pablo had already explained some secrets from Jabba’s Palace in the past on the Star Wars Blog (about Max Rebo’s original physiology, for example) and the panel continued to unravel some of these mysteries.

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Simon, Tim, Gerald, and Michael added stories about their time on set and whatever they could remember about being there. Michael Carter told a great story about having a dustbin bag over his head when he had to walk across the street for the first time to the Elstree Studios; Lucasfilm obviously wanted to hide the character of Bib Fortuna from the lurking paparazzi of the tabloids. Evidence was also shown of a deleted scene where Salacious Crumb (who originally was intended to be the pet of Ephant Mon) threw up in Bib’s beverage. A rather suggestive scene between Bib and the female dancer Jess was cut from the movie, because George Lucas thought it was unsuitable for kids. The exotic Jess was actually played by an English dancer/actress called Amanda Noar.

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Tim Rose remembered that Ree-Yees was originally meant to be the Admiral of the Rebel Fleet, but that George Lucas himself appointed Ackbar. Also revealed was the fact that the white flight suit of Ten Numb is an unpainted red flight suit — the white one was never used during actual production, not even for deleted scenes. The panel also showed quite a nice collection of unseen pictures, including a photo that showed Sy Snootles kissing Nizuc Bek aboard the Khetanna, a picture of Loje Nella’s tail and a photo of Hermi Odle that also included the elusive Rock Wart.

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Not only did the panel talk about the main characters, luckily there was enough time to discuss the lesser known aliens, such as Loje Nella (“Toadstool Terror”), Attark (“Hoover”), Cane Adiss (“Cane Heads”), Ghoel (Wol Cabasshite), Sic-Six, Yuzzum (named Wam Lufba by myself in “What’s the Story”) and the elusive Wiebba Wiebba, which Pablo will explore in more detail in an upcoming blog post.

But what about poor Attark, the Hoover? The prop was discovered in the Lucasfilm Archives, sporting a really weird blond wig. It just seems impossible to pinpoint Attark’s location on set in Jabba’s Palace. Even the guests with their extraordinary memories couldn’t recall seeing him on set.

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Let’s hope Pablo Hidalgo continues his research about Jabba’s Palace — who knows what other secrets will soon be revealed? I’d certainly love to see a blog about all the humans in Jabba’s palace…

The list that was shown during the panel (original production spelling!):

1 – Ree Yees
2 – Mon Calamari and Ackbar
3 – Tooth Face
4 – “The Mole” / Elom
6 – Squid Head
7 – Ishi Tib
9 – Nien Nunb
10 – Wol Cabasshite
14 – Gamorrean Guard
17 – Bubo
21 – Max Rebo
24 – Sic Six
28 – Sy Snootles
29 – Bib Fortuna
30 – Weequay
31 – Yak Face
34 – Droopy
35 – Prune Face
36 – Amanaman
37 – Ephant Mon
37a – Salacious
38 – Cane Adiss
39 – Rock Wart
40 – Hoover
41 – Toadstool Terror
42 – Yuzzum
43 – Oola
45 – Barada
46 – Nikto
48 – Pote Snitkin
49 – Wooof
55 – Wiebba Wiebba

Tim Veekhoven (Sompeetalay) is president, editor-in-chief and co-founder of TeeKay-421, the Belgian Star Wars Fanclub. He’s an administrator for Yodapedia and has written four (former) Databank entries on the Official Star Wars website, thanks to “What’s the Story”.

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