Most planets from Star Wars possess familiar characteristics. After all, humankind is familiar with deserts, forests, snow, and even volcanoes. But the strange eeriness of the Felucian landscape with its bizarre overgrown translucent wilderness seems more otherworldly — and its beauty is juxtaposed with war and the tragedy of Order 66.
For Revenge of the Sith, George Lucas wanted seven planets to open the movie while showing short Clone Wars action sequences. These scenes were eventually used to depict the death of several Jedi during Order 66. Many worlds were developed for these sequences and elements from planets were combined or given to other worlds. Ryan Church created concept art for Felucia with the jungles of Vietnam in mind, but instead of using trees he used giant mushrooms. In 2006, Church told the official Star Wars website that he was also inspired by the line “Cellophane flowers of yellow and green, towering over your head” from The Beatles’ song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” Originally known as the “Kelp planet,” several designs were approved in the Autumn of 2002 for Felucia, but the big kelps would appear on Saleucami in the finished movie. At the end, the sequences on Felucia were shortened to show only Aayla Secura’s final moments. Since the planet appeared so briefly in Episode III, Star Wars: The Clone Wars provided Lucas with an excellent opportunity to show more of it. Felucia also appeared in several Legends games, such as The Force Unleashed and Star Wars: Battlefront II.
Now let us travel to the translucent jungles and meet several of the bizarre life-forms.
Situated in the Trans-Hydian Region (also known as the Borderlands), close to the Perlemian Trade Route, lay Felucia, a hot and humid jungle planet filled with forests of strange fungi and colorful ferns. Felucia’s native life had adapted to the ultraviolet radiation from its sun. Many life-forms were translucent and by thus they allowed as much radiation as possible to pass through them.
The forests of Felucia have often been given hallucinogenic qualities. The translucent flora grew to gigantic proportions and had every color of the visible spectrum. The dark clouds, rich soils, and many tunnels allowed fungi to flourish on the planet. Felucia was rich in ferns, mushroom forests, and in carnivorous blossoms that thrived because of a lack of nutrients. Other plants included phosphorescent lichens, explosive spore shooters and toxic puffballs. When walking on Felucia’s soil, imagine yourself in a greenhouse with the smell of nectar and rot.
One of the most remarkable and valuable herbs growing on Felucia was nysillin. Nysillin was a healing herb harvested for its powerful spice in the village of Akira.
Though the planet was colonized by the Gossam, there was at least one intelligent indigenous species on Felucia: the “Jungle Felucians.” These primitive amphibian beings were constantly trying to be in tune to the ever changing presence of the Force on Felucia. When the Gossam arrived, they drove the Jungle Felucians deeper into the dense jungles of the planet. The Jungle Felucians almost made an appearance in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. In the episode “The Lost One” they are mentioned when Anakin and Obi-Wan search for clues regarding the mysterious death of Master Sifo-Dyas. The episode would have stated that the Jungle Felucians live in different tribes and it would have shown some of their savage tribal conflicts.
During the Clone Wars there was another species, also known as Felucians, that inhabited Felucia. These Felucians were a small reptilian species that shared some characteristics with tortoises, such as an elongated neck and thick limbs. One particular group lived in the village of Akira and was attacked by Hondo Ohnaka‘s pirates, who wanted to steal their valuable nysillin crops. The village, led by Casiss, received reinforcements when they hired four bounty hunters to protect them. Sugi, Embo, Seripas and Rumi Paramita joined forces with Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Ahsoka Tano who had crashed on Felucia after investigating the disappearance of a medical station. The Jedi, bounty hunters, and the Felucians defeated the pirates in “Bounty Hunters,” an episode from Star Wars: The Clone Wars dedicated in honor of Akira Kurosawa. It is not known if the Felucians were an indigenous species of Felucia, though most likely they were colonists from another unnamed world.
Most of Felucia’s native creatures could be considered quite odd. Their body consisted of a see-through mass that made them look a bit like gelatin. Tube worms crawled in the hot lagoons and strange avian creatures looked constantly for airborne seeds. ILM recycled a Peko Peko from Episode I when George Lucas requested the presence of a birdlike creature on Felucia.
One particular creature was the gelagrub. Also known as the Felucian Ground Beetles, these four meter long larvae featured at least five pair of short legs. The gelagrub lived in the mushroom forests and it had to eat constantly to maintain its natural sunscreen. Their semi-transparent skin could metabolize UV-filtering chemicals from Felucia’s plants. Gelagrubs were favorite mounds of clone troopers during the Clone Wars because of their ability to protect their riders. When the rider spent enough time on a gelagrub, the creature considered the rider to be an extension of its own body. When the creature pupated, it reappeared as a giant, hard shelled beetle.
Jungle rancors must have been brought to Felucia. The jungle rancor had a blueish to a grayish hide and was recognizable by many small spikes and webbed fingers. The brighter their skin, the more interesting Jungle Rancors were for crime lords and other “investors” looking for profits. Unfortunate creatures ended up participating in big game hunts. The jungle rancors were different from the rancors encountered on Felucia in The Force Unleashed.
The tee-muss was a four legged odd-toed ungulate with a small proboscis and two tusks. The Felucian nysillin farmers used the tee-muss as pack-animals. Most likely, colonists brought the tee-muss with them to Felucia since the animal was encountered on many planets including Onderon and Balnab. The call of a tee-muss was an excellent transmitter for warnings.
In the Legends game The Force Unleashed, Darth Vader’s apprentice Starkiller traveled to Felucia where he had several dangerous encounters with the wildlife. Starkiller confronted the Jungle Felucians who managed to tame some of Felucia’s rancors. Starkiller even had to defeat a rare bull rancor which was the pet of the rogue Padawan Maris Brood. The game also acquainted us with a sacred sarlacc pit known as the Ancient Abyss. This was the resting place of a gargantuan sarlacc that was so large it could easily drag rancors with its tentacles into its mouth. Other Felucian life-forms seen in The Force Unleashed include the Felucian Ripper, a large predator that hunted in the jungle canopy, and the Yerdua Poison-Spitter, a semi-sentient plant that spat poison.
Tim Veekhoven (Sompeetalay) from Belgium is president and co founder of TeeKay-421, the Belgian Star Wars Fanclub. He has contributed to Star Wars Insider (Rogues Gallery), is an administrator for Yodapedia and has written character back stories in ‘What’s the Story?’.
Building Felucia (StarWars.com)
Galaxy at War (2009)
Monsters of the Clone Wars Season 2 (Bray, 2014)
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Filoni, 2008 – 2014)
The Complete Visual Dictionary (Windham, 2008)
The Essential Atlas (Wallace and Fry, 2009)
The Force Unleashed (LucasArts, 2008)
The Force Unleashed Campaign Guide (2008)
The Official Star Wars Fact Files (Lowson, 2013)