Much to Learn You Still Have is a rundown of trivia and fun facts, both in-universe and behind-the-scenes, about the aliens of the Star Wars galaxy. Whether you’ve never set foot in a cantina or you’re a well-traveled Jedi Master, you’ll find the intel you need.
It’s official — The Clone Wars will be returning and you know what that means! Well, it means a lot of things, but most importantly for this column we will be seeing a lot more friendly (and not-so-friendly) alien faces! In this edition we’re focusing on one of my favorite alien species that really grew to fame during Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
We’re talking Weequays. These wrinkly, sunburnt sentient beings have quite a reputation. Whether you’re only familiar with the nearly nameless skiff guard Weequays or you’re quite familiar with Hondo Ohnaka, you can still probably learn a thing or two. Here’s eight things you might not already know about Weequays.
1. Their bodies make them ideal for dangerous jobs…
When you think Weequay you may immediately think pirate and that’s because Hondo Ohnaka rolls with an impressive crew of smuggling thugs. The most common jobs for these guys usually involve some sort of dangerous activity. Pirate, bounty hunter, and bodyguard top the list of most common Weequay work, and it’s mainly because their tough, leathery skin, make them ideal for physically strenuous activity. They have a natural resistance to blaster fire, so they certainly come in handy for a Hutt in need of protecting. Weequay also have recessed eyes to protect their vision from the elements while living in harsh atmospheres. They do particularly well on planets like Florrum, a dry, barren world covered in sulfurous geysers.
2. …but they’re not all bad.
It’s true that some alien species are predominantly evil (I’m looking at you, Hutts!) but the Weequays get a bad rap that is not entirely deserved. Take a look back at the Battle of Geonosis from Attack of the Clones and you may catch a glimpse of two Weequay Jedi, Que-Mars Redath-Gom and Sora Bulq. Though their appearances are slim, it’s great to see that it’s possible for these guys to be Force-sensitive. With the Special Edition release of Return of the Jedi in 1997, we got another seemingly non-evil Weequay with the character of Ak-Rev. He’s a member of the Max Rebo Band, and we’re not saying that clears him of any shady business dealings but he sure can beat a mean drum.
3. OK, a lot of them are bad. Even to droids.
Weequays just seem to have a taste for violence and conflict. Hondo Ohnaka’s own boots were stolen off a Corellian, and if you set foot in any Weequay establishment, there’s a chance you can get knocked out with little-to-no explanation. But it’s not only living, breathing creatures that Weequays terrorize. Yep, not even droids are safe from the wrinkly fists of the pirates. They sometimes use their scavenged droids for full blown gladiator fights as seen in The Clone Wars episode “Nomad Droids.” The ASP General Purpose Droid named K0-5D was one such droid that was heavily modified by the Weequay pirates to battle R2-D2 and C-3PO — before they were thankfully saved by Grievous blowing a hole into the pirate ship. Phew!
4. They reference a Lucasfilm and Disney film.
If you read this column or you really know your Clone Wars trivia, you know that the creators of the show love to sneak film references into objects, episode names, ships…you name it. The Weequays have a few of those in their species history, first in the bounty hunter Kiera Swan. Swan’s name is an homage to Keira Knightley’s character in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Elizabeth Swann. Knightley played the handmaiden Sabé in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. But it doesn’t end there. Before the notorious contest in “The Box,” Count Dooku introduces Swan and claims she won the “Obsidian Sphere,” presumably another fighting competition, twice. That name isn’t random — it’s a reference to the Pirates of the Caribbean film, The Curse of the Black Pearl. Fans of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom might have noticed the nod in the form of Hondo Ohnaka’s yacht. Named for two of Ohnaka’s favorite things, Fortune and Glory is also plucked from a line between Indy and Short Round. “What is Sankara?” Indy’s sidekick asks. “Fortune and glory, kid. Fortune and glory.”
Fun fact #1: If you thought the movie references were done, you’d be wrong. When George Lucas was working with concept artist Thang Le on the pirate gang’s speeder bikes for The Clone Wars, they turned to an old Joe Johnston design as reference. The reason? Lucas wanted something with a Mad Max vibe.
5. Their name originated from a classic.
The actual species name of Weequay also has an inspired origin story, though not from a film. The name Weequay comes from the classic novel Moby Dick, specifically from the cannibal harpooner character of Queequeg. During production of Return of the Jedi, the entire species including the character that pokes Luke onto the sail barge plank was called “Queequeg” until 30 years later when he was given the proper name of Pagetti Rook. Rook brandishes a weapon called a vibro-ax and he was actually given several different costume choices by costume designer Nilo Rodis-Jamero. To keep the Weequay heads on properly while shooting intense action sequences, actors wore a harness that came down around their chest and looped under their arms. Their extremely warm latex heads were kept on with velcro closure and could be easily removed to get some air in the 100 degree heat of Buttercup Valley.
6. They keep pets.
Most people know the Hutt gangster Jabba’s cackling Kowakian monkey-lizard, Salacious B. Crumb, but the lesser-known lizards by the name of Pilf and Pikk Mukmuk belong to Hondo Ohnaka. Equally irritating but differing in color, these two assist the Weequay pirate gang with everything from pouring drinks to swiping lightsabers from visiting Jedi and Sith Lords. Their names are a clever play on “pilfering” and “pickpocketing,” two of their most developed skills. In the more hound-like pet variety, the pirates keep terrifying, spiked guard dogs known as Massiffs on leashes, bringing them out when the possibility of hostile intruders might require their fatal bite.
Fun fact #2: The character of Pikk Mukmuk, the blue and yellow Kowakian Monkey-Lizard, was voiced by Matt Lanter. You may know Matt’s less shrieky voice as that of Star Wars: The Clone Wars‘ Anakin Skywalker.
7. Hondo had a love interest.
Hondo Ohnaka has done some things his mother wouldn’t be proud of. Well, maybe she would as she did coin the phrase, “if one hostage is good, two are better, and three, well, that’s just good business!” But deep down Hondo is a lovable, good-humored guy and it doesn’t surprise me that he’d snag a lady friend. I’m referring to the bounty hunter Aurra Sing, who had a relationship with the Weequay sometime before the events documented in The Clone Wars. Was Hondo at Aurra’s funeral after her fateful fall at the hand of Tobias Beckett? The world may never know.
Fun fact #3: Hondo Ohnaka’s office on Florrum was modeled after supervising director Dave Filoni’s office — a complete mess!
8. They know how to party.
To end this article on a high note, let’s talk about how amazing a Weequay party can be. Suspicious green liquid, lively music that is actually the Hindi song “Indian Pop Source” composed by Kevin Kiner, nimble Weequays in striped socks doing a jig on the table and, of course, the occasional Kowakian monkey-lizard battle. Some alien species just know how to have a good time, so if you’re ever on Florrum and don’t mind a potentially poison-spiked libation or a monkey-lizard swiping your speeder, head to Hondo’s complex. As a random Weequay pirate once told Anakin and Obi-Wan, “A true Weequay banquet is not to be missed.”
How did I do? More to say have you about our leathery-skinned law-breakers? Leave your favorite bits of Weequay wisdom in the comments below.
And check out our “Much to Learn” segment featured on The Star Wars Show this week!
Sources: Star Wars Costumes, Brandon Alinger, Chronicle Books, 2014., The Art of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Frank Parisi, Gary Scheppke, Chronicle Books, 2009., Star Wars: The Clone Wars Character Encyclopedia, DK Children, 2010., The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures, 1977-1985, Mark Bellomo, Krause Publications, 2014.
Dana Jennings is Lucasfilm’s associate producer for StarWars.com. You may remember her from such polls and quizzes as, “Who Wore it Best?” and “Which Star Wars Character Should You Invite for the Holidays?” When not acting as chairman of the Nien Nunb Appreciation Society, she can be found working hard to make sure The Star Wars Show stays fully operational or dressing up as Kevin the Ewok. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter for all these things and more!