It's Halloween -- get to know mynocks and other creepy crawlies and creatures from a galaxy far, far away...
When you’re all alone in the dark, any unknown sound might just give you shivers. The galaxy far, far away is full of space -- and space can be really, really dark and really, really lonely. Whether you’re aboard a ship, or hiding away in your snug little home on a desert or swamp, or living in a big city, there are plenty of things that can give you a scare. From ordinary but frightening creatures to nightmares of the dark side, there’s a whole range of things you really hope aren’t with you in the dark. Pull up the covers and get out your glowrod because this Halloween, we’re checking out eight things that go bump in the night! Not afraid? As Yoda says, “You will be. You will be.”
1. The pitter patter of little feet.
Did you hear that? Maybe nothing? Maybe the sound of very tiny clattering feet on the floor, now on the wall, now on your blanket, and now you feel something skittering onto your arm. Among the scariest creepy-crawlies of the galaxy are kouhuns. Not only are these many-legged arthropods scary for being up to a foot long and can live on most worlds and climb on nearly any surface, they are extremely venomous. Think you’re safe with a droid watching over you while you sleep? Not with kouhuns! Two of them deftly avoided Artoo’s sensors on their mission to assassinate Padmé. Luckily, Anakin sensed the peril these little bugs presented and saved the senator. But do you have the Force to save you?
2. Knock-knock in space.
Ever just relax in the cockpit of your ship, knowing that the nearest source of trouble is parsecs away? And then there’s a clunk or two -- from the outside of your ship. And your lights start to dim as the power begins to fail, and then life support. And as you frantically try to flip switches to get things fixed, a screeching warble is heard as a mouth and eyes pop against your canopy. Mynocks! These vampires for electrical power can withstand the vacuum of space as they cling to ships. And chances are, if you hear one out there, many more are with it, just waiting for you to open a hatch so they can fly inside with their leathery wings and scary faces. Mynocks gave Leia and Threepio a good scare, but luckily, seasoned smugglers like Han and Chewie knew how to get rid of these bat-like parasites. You can’t just hide from mynocks. They are one danger that can kill you without even getting inside your ship and close to you.
3. It’s just your imagination, kid.
Did something just bump into you and move past your leg? Sure, the muck-filled water in the trash compactor is only ankle deep, but the Wookiee’s already panicking as you realize you’re not alone in this indoor swamp. Was that an eye looking at you like a little slimy periscope from the deep? Faster than you can cry for help, a tentacle has wrapped around your leg and pulled you under. Dianoga attack! While dianogas are great at breaking down garbage, they’re also eager to make a meal out of anyone in their space. Whether you’re in a marsh or deep inside a space station, one nudge from a dianoga is enough to make sure you never go into the water again.
4. He’s the brains, sweetheart!
Think you’re safer being surrounded by your friends? They all seem normal until one of them shows up in your quarters late at night and tries to stick a giant worm up your nose. It’s two nightmares in one! The brain worms are nasty Geonosian parasites that are looking for a host, and they’ll slither right up your nostril and bore up to your brain to infect you. Closing your own nostrils isn’t enough, because anyone around you might just be under their control. Anyone, even your most loyal allies, even a Jedi like Barriss Offee. Did I mention the brain worms go up your nose? Do you feel a sniffle coming? Maybe just a little off, like you’re not fully in control -- maybe it’s a cold. Maybe it’s a brain worm. Best way to deal with these parasites? A full brain freeze -- the cold with drive them out, where you can squash them.
5. Who watches the watchers?
You’re alone in the sand dunes, not a droid or soul to be seen for miles. And yet, you have the sneaking suspicion something is following you, but every time you look back in the dusky twilight, you see nothing but shifting sand. Then it attacks -- from beneath you, it devours. The nightwatcher worm of Jakku is a menace to living creatures and droids alike. Its tiny eyestalk belies a gargantuan body with a gaping maw hiding under the surface of the sands. Capable of burrowing through sand as fast as people can run, the nightwatcher worm can hunt you down and leave no trace of itself -- or you. Hungry even for metal, this borer might be persuaded to leave you alone if you can offer it some scrap for a meal, as BB-8 learned when Rey rescued him from a ravenous nightwatcher. When you’re on the sand, there’s no place safe from it, and it could be anywhere.
6. Not so itsy-bitsy.
If staying on hard, dry ground sounds safe to you, think again! That hard surface is just the thing for the skittering of large legs sneaking up behind you. You turn and stare up at a giant spider-like thing lunging at you with its fangs while others surround you. As you lash out with anger and fear, these spindly-legged bugs seem to become even more belligerent! You fire your blasters at their gray, bulbous bodies, but to no effect -- you’re now a meal for the krykna! Atollon seemed like a fine place for the Rebel Alliance to build a base, but the native wildlife had a different idea. As the late Lt. Dicer learned, the krykna scuttle out from their tunnels to attack and pull their prey back into their subterranean labyrinths. Not only are these creatures mostly blaster-proof, you’re going to need a keen sense of navigation to escape from their underground nest -- if you’re not eaten alive first!
7. Facing the wrath.
Maybe it’s safest back on a big ship, with no swamps, sand dunes, or underground tunnels to hide monsters. But in space, there’s no escape if there’s something aboard the ship with you. And a large thump and squish on the other side of that bulkhead means you’re definitely not alone! Can’t sleep, rathtars will get you! Their flailing tentacles can drag even the strongest Kanjiklub enforcers right into their mammoth maws filled with rings of sharp teeth, and their speed as they roll down the corridors means you might not outrun them. You don’t have to be the fastest passenger, but you’d better not be the slowest! Think you’ve gotten away from one? Watch out, these cephalopods are pack hunters! Han and Chewie managed to get three rathtars aboard their giant freighter, though it cost them several crew members. Who let the rathtars out?
8. The dead rise.
So far, we’ve covered the galaxy’s scariest lifeforms, but it’s not just the living that goes bump in the night. It’s close to midnight and something evil’s lurkin’ in the dark. Under the moonlight you see a sight that almost stops your heart. Ahead of you, clambering out of the dark are trudging Geonosian corpses, with ichor dripping from their mangled carcasses. Resurrected by brain worms, they amble toward you and you turn to flee into the woods. But something else blocks your path -- could it be the desiccated forms of warriors long dead emerging from cocoons on trees? With ghastly glowing eyes, these mummified Nightsisters claw and bite as they shamble toward you. The foulest stench is in the air, the funk of 40,000 light-years. And grisly ghouls from every tomb are closing in to seal your doom. And though you fight to stay alive, you can only talk in whispers, for no mere mortal can resist the evil dead Nightsisters!
What's your favorite scary Star Wars creature or entity? Let us know in the comments below! And Happy Halloween!
James Floyd is a writer, photographer, and organizer of puzzle adventures. He’s a bit tall for a Jawa. His current project is Wear Star Wars Every Day, a fundraising effort for a refugee aid organization. You can follow him on Twitter at @jamesjawa or check out his articles on Club Jade and Big Shiny Robot.