This place can be a little rough.
The Mos Eisley Cantina is one of the all-time classic scenes from the Star Wars saga. Not only was it the first time that we saw a large assemblage of weird aliens going on with their everyday lives, it was also the Star Wars equivalent to the Wild West saloons: music playing in the background, bartenders diving below the counter, and plenty of alcohol going around. The cantina sequence was filmed in two locations, one in the UK and one in Los Angeles. George Lucas thought that the cantina residents from the UK shoot were too human-like, so he planned pick-up shots with more alien-looking characters constructed by Rick Baker.
A lot of these aliens have become fan favorites such as “Hammerhead” Momaw Nadon, the cuddly Muftak, or the enigmatic Bith musicians. In this article, however, we will introduce you to some lesser known visitors of the Mos Eisley cantina. Next to the alien clientele, there were also a lot of human patrons. At first sight, they may not have four arms, a pair of horns or snaggleteeth, but their backstories are worth checking out.
Many actors who played the humans in the UK were members of the Ugly Agency, a rather derogatory name for an agency that specialized in odd-looking people. The names of these actors have been parenthesized. Be certain to check out the live blog from the “Secrets of the Mos Eisley Cantina” panel that was held during Celebration Anaheim by Pablo Hidalgo and Tom Spina for more information about these actors.
The gruff bartender Wuher (Ted Burnett) took care of the cantina during his shifts. He never allowed droids or blasters inside, but he was the first to wisely take cover whenever something nasty occured. The late bartender shift was usually manned by Ackmena (Bea Arthur), an elderly lady who loved to sing.
BoShek was a Corellian smuggler who played a small but important part in the history of the galaxy. When Obi-Wan Kenobi was looking for a pilot in the cantina, BoShek advised him to have a chat with Chewbacca, the Wookiee first mate of Han Solo. The consequences of that conversation are well known.
Cornelius Evazan (Alfie Curtis) from Alsakan, better known as Doctor Evazan, was a mad surgeon who experimented on his patients. Together with his smuggler partner, Ponda Baba, the scarred and wanted criminal picked a fight with Luke Skywalker in the cantina, even bragging about having the death sentence on 12 systems. That confrontation didn’t really end well, though Ponda was the luckiest of both bullies since he only lost an arm.
Garouf Lafoe (Peter Diamond) was a free trader who imported chunks of ice from the planets Ohann and Adriana in the Tatooine System. Lafoe witnessed Ben Kenobi igniting his lightsaber to defeat Evazan and Baba and walked outside to tell the sandtrooper patrol about the peculiar confrontation.
Dannik Jerriko (Roy Staite) may have looked like a human, but he was part of the Anzati, a long-lived species that fed on the brains of other beings by unfolding their proboscises into the nose of their victim. Jerriko was a dangerous assassin and bounty hunter who was enjoying his hookah pipe when Luke and Ben walked in.
Also at the bar stood Rycar Ryjerd (Marcus Powell), a small being who may have looked human but was actually a Bimm born on Corellia. Ryjerd was a smuggler and though some considered him to be an idiot, he was a shrewd businessman and enjoyed a pleasant relationship with his competitors.
Yerka Mig (George Stock) from Ralltiir was a fugitive from the Imperial Security Bureau. Once a former Imperial bureaucrat with a high clearance authorization, Mig resigned after the Empire occupied his world.
Damono Deomaley (Geoffrey Moon) was a small human (at least he looked like one) standing on the opposite side of the bar where Ben Kenobi talked to Chewbacca.
Karoly D’ulin (Angela Staines) and Shada D’ukal (Christine Hewitt) were two Mistryl Shadow Guards who visited Tatooine on a secret mission. They disguised themselves as Brea and Senni Tonnika, two infamous Kiffar con artists who were known as the Tonnika Sisters.
Near the end of the bar were Boelo and Gela Yeens (Tommy Weldin), associates of Jabba the Hutt. Boelo was Jabba’s right hand man and owned a pet womp rat named Worra. Yeens was a bad-tempered smuggler who assisted Jabba in collecting debts. Both men accompanied Jabba the Hutt to Docking Bay 94 where he confronted Han Solo about his late payment and the death of poor Greedo.
Elsewhere in the cantina …
Lurking in the dark alcoves was the cocky gunner and bounty hunter, Danz Borin, who maintained a residence on Nar Shaddaa. Borin, who was wearing a space suit and helmet, was almost as good as he claimed to be. Debnoli (George Oliver) was an expert marksman and good-natured patron until the Empire impounded his starship. He vowed to take revenge ever since. Jenny (Jenny Cresswell) was a tall, dark-haired female who was talking to a Rodian. Some say she liked to flirt with Han Solo. Merc Sunlet (Ted Western) from Tirac Munda was skilled in several languages. He was an experienced thief who was hired by wealthy people to advise them about protecting their property. Swilla Corey (Mandy Morton) was a former slave who had become a petty thief. She befriended Ketwol, who eventually helped her find her herd of lost jerbas.
Not present in the cantina but seen in the streets of Mos Eisley were Brindy Truchong (Sally Sinclair) and a character known as ”The Prophetess.” Truchong was a Corellian smuggler, sympathetic to the cause of the Rebel Alliance. ”The Prophetess” was a female psychic and an agent of Governor Tour Aryon of Tatooine.
Even after all the sourcebooks and card games, there still are quite a lot of humans in the cantina that never have received a proper name. Decipher labeled one as “Moisture Farmer” (Francis Batsoni), but he was never given an official name. Also unnamed is the bearded man (Ron Tarr) who’s also present in Docking Bay 94 with Jabba.
Selected reading: Ultimate Star Wars (2015), Decipher’s CCG, What’s the Story (formerly on StarWars.com), Galaxy Guide 1 (1989), Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina (1995), live blog from the Cantina Celebration Anaheim panel, and Inside the Worlds of Star Wars Trilogy (2004).
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), Build the Millennium Falcon, and has written four character back stories for What’s the Story?