Don’t trouble yourself with clunky battle droids, grumpy sando aqua monsters or that pesky tattooed Sith Lord! Naboo has food, culture and lots of fun…if you use your imagination!
Autumn is of course a season of change. Within the Star Wars galaxy, no time or place has birthed more change — on a galactic scale — than the planet of Naboo under the Old Republic. It is, after all, the homeworld of both Darth Sidious and Padmé, the mother of Luke and Leia.
Naboo’s landscapes are not unlike parts of Earth; rolling grassy plains, temperate forests, and swamps rich with diversity. So perhaps it’s reasonable to presume Naboo might experience an autumn much like our own, at least in temperate parts of our own world…and imagining what Naboo might be like can be a fun exercise on the cold, rainy days, as we draw closer to winter…
Breakfast in Theed
Your autumn morning might begin at dawn, drawing the curtains in your top-floor hotel room and gazing out across the waking city. Golden light streams through the breaking clouds, illumination the copper green domes and marble columns across Theed City.
You would wander out the hotel lobby and onto the cobblestone streets; the chilly drawing mist into the streets from the Solleu River. Scattered puddles linger in the gutters, from showers the night before.
You might decide to have breakfast at a street cafe on the edge of the Palace Plaza, decorated with fountains, where Naboo’s mythical creatures spout water from unusual places. The waiter brings you a pot of steaming falumpaset milk tea, and pastries topped with swamp berry jam. A warm mound of mashed, boiled Pelikki eggs — salted and smothered in butter — melts in your mouth.
You watch from your cast-iron chair, wrapped in a cloak, as Gungan street sweepers scoop up yesterday’s dung from the animal carriages and the queen’s herd of guarlaras. A group of giggling, uniformed children pass behind you on their way to school. Across from you a wealthy old Naboo lady pampers her silky pet voorpak, feeding it morsels from her plate.
Your Gungan guide-for-the-day, Charon, arrives late, but you probably don’t mind. You’ve always heard Gungans are obnoxious anyway, and you were enjoying your breakfast! After long and flamboyant apologies, she escorts you down the street to Theed’s renowned Parnelli Museum of Art.
Adventures at the Museum
In the museum courtyard you would probably hear the rushing waters of the Solleu river, speeding on to the falls at the edge of the city. There you might find a giant Elder stone head, crafted by a long-extinct civilization. You pose in front of it so Charon can take a holo-image of you, but before she can get the shot, a dozen chattering Aleena tourists would quickly waddle into the picture, snapping their own holo-images for what seems like ages.
You move inside and through the echoing halls, past a variety of artifacts; perhaps a Gungan fertility totem and rubbings of ancient hieroglyphs from Lothal. You might even find a statue of the three Talz warriors, Chrimed, Chricha, and Adawambo, riding their oversized but faithful narglach steed, Coltak-Sen, into battle. As you prepare your holo-recorder to capture an image, you feel a tug at your shirt tails and find a long-eared little LEP droid reminding you in a timid voice that “photography is not permitted inside the museum…” just as a dozen more Aleena tourists swarm behind her snapping a whole holovid worth of images.
Lunch with Gungans
For lunch, Charon might take you to a Gungan hotpot restaurant, where you’d meet several of her Gungan friends. Boisterous and in good spirits, they’d chatter away in a rural Gungan dialect. You’d only understand every other word, but Charon is thoughtful to occasionally pause and explain. The waiter would bring a boiling cauldron and sets it at the center of the wooden table. As Charon ladles soup into your bowl, you watch a few mysterious tentacles slop back into the pot, splashing the tablecloth. Your first spoonful might draw a tiny gorg from the broth. Perhaps you’ve never eaten amphibians before? If not, you might decide to see how the Gungans eat them, before you try yourself. You’d watch them toss the frog-like creatures into their mouths whole, so you might do likewise… reluctantly. The meat falls away from the bone like custard, but with a flavor of briny fish and swamp mud. It’s almost bearable — if you put your mind on other things while you swallow. The bones however, remain in your mouth; long and awkwardly crunchy.
After saying goodbye to the other Gungans, Charon might suggest you take a speeder-boat ride up the river to the countryside, which would seem like a great idea. The riparian scenery is beautiful as the autumn leaves change from emerald to vibrant blue, purple and pink. You might even catch a glimpse of a bull famba building his winter burrow; heaping earth, sticks and swamp vegetation into an enormous mound. While the scenery might be very interesting, the pounding of the boat hull on the water as you progress upstream, combined with the sunburn on the back of your neck, could bring on a sudden bout of nausea, that is, if you are prone to motion sickness. A speeder-boat full of little Aleena zipping past wouldn’t help much either, as the wake heaves your boat from port to starboard. A kind Charon might notice your discomfort and offer you a drink, or a scarf to cover your sunburn. You’d probably be relieved when you finally come ashore.
The Ride Back to Town
After a visit to several gourd farms and orchards, Charon might suggest you head back to Theed via a leisurely tusk-cat ride, since the boat didn’t suit you. It might seem sensible. However, it’s likely the swaying belly of the cat, and the rhythmic rise and drop of it’s shoulder blades, would all send you lurching from side to side as it walks. You might also find their odor of dusty hair, musk and feline urine is a bit unsettling for the uninitiated. Soon you may even find the morning’s buttered eggs are back in your throat. Thankfully Charon would probably notice your distress again and offer you a Gungan herbal gum remedy, to finally set your tummy at ease.
The country breeze would be sweet with the smell of white spiran caf blossoms — the last of the season — as you pass through a plantation. Perhaps you’d glimpse a squawking flock of indigo-saphire peko-peko on their winter migration to warmer continents. You might even see woolly greysors, feeding on the fallen caf berries, to be regurgitated and collected by farmers later. They berries would be used to brew a prized variety of the popular caf drink — which you see a small crowd of Aleenas buying at a tourist stand along the road.
The sun would probably begin to set as you finally approach Theed for the evening. The wind should be getting cold again by now, as it swirls fallen leaves across the earthen roadway. The ever-thoughtful Charon knows that after a long and chilly autumn day, you might be happiest visiting a cozy pub by the river promenade, with a crackling fire, a steaming pot of shaak stew, and a pint of hot spiced cider. You might, if you were equally thoughtful, invite Charon to join you — deciding that your pre-conceived notions about her were not well founded — this Gungan was surprisingly good company after all. Then over dinner you’d learn about her family and her culture, and the Naboo winter which lay yet ahead.
Author of DK’s Star Wars Rebels: Visual Guide: Epic Battles and co-author of Ultimate Star Wars and Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know, follow Adam Bray on Twitter at @authoradambray.