Learn a thing or two about the green guys from Rodia!
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.
“Oooh tahtoo taht, Solo?”
Just reading the words makes a true Star Wars fan reminisce on the first time they heard the green-hued, jumpsuit clad bounty hunter utter the phrase to a casual fly boy in a cantina. Rodians hold a special place in my heart, as Greedo was the first character to make me absolutely giddy over Star Wars aliens. Though Rodians may seem pretty basic, there’s a lot you might not know about these amphibian-like beings.
1. They were originally four-armed “Martians.”
Our first look at Rodians in the form of Greedo was everything you’d expect from a proper space alien. Aptly called “the Martian” by costume designer John Mollo, the gigantic dark eyes, dual antennae, and suction-cupped fingertips evoked aliens of old sci-fi classics of a bygone era. But their flashy, mint green jumpsuits almost needed some extra armholes. The head of the Rodian originally fit the body of a four-armed creature named the “Plutonian,” and later known as the “Morseerian.” You may remember this guy hanging out at the bar of Mos Eisley but you might have just thought his name was "gas mask face."
2. They can inhale mysterious hyperspace gas.
Speaking of gas masks! This post would be even cooler if I could tell you Rodians could naturally fly through hyperspace by inhaling the blue-green gas Clouzon-36, but…they can’t. Not that we know of, at least. But they can breathe the gas without needing some sort of filtering apparatus like humans and other species. How do we know this? Re-watch the Star Wars Rebels episode “The Call” and notice the Rodians manning Boss Yushyn’s gas refinery. They’re donning some pretty wizard helmets, but also breathing in that sweet Clouzon-36 completely uninhibited. I’d personally love to see a Rodian zooming through hyperspace next to a purrgil, but sadly, this is NOT canon. Forget I ever said a thing.
3. Polite Rodians will salute you.
Speaking of Rodians in Star Wars television series, these green guys appeared quite frequently in The Clone Wars. Perhaps one of the most memorable was Onaconda Farr, the senator from Rodia who Padmé Amidala lovingly referred to as “Uncle.” The Rodians in the “Senate Murders” arc all seem to either greet or show respect to others with the same salute. An open-palmed hand across the chest, either with one or both arms. Ironic that Farr’s aide Lolo Purs gave him the salute the morning before killing him, but some Rodians seem to have a thing for murdering, too.
4. Working for Jabba is sort of their thing.
Jabba really ran an equal-opportunity crime syndicate. Just take a look at his throne room and you’ll see aliens from all over the galaxy. Twi’lek, Kowakian Monkey-Lizard, Rodian, Nikto, Rodian, Quarren, Jawa, Rodian… OK. So maybe Jabba had a thing for Rodians. So much so that he kept at least four of them either working as bounty hunters or as other fixtures around his palace. Greedo of course being the most notable, Beedo, Greedo’s relative who we can see in Jabba’s throne room in Return of the Jedi, the unnamed Rodian seen in Docking Bay 94, and Greeata, the female Rodian with the beautiful, flowing orange mohawk who dances for the Max Rebo Band. Is there anything Rodians can't do?
Fun fact: The quilted collared vest seen on Beedo (above) might look familiar. It was an Empire Strikes Back hand-me-down from the female Rebel personnel on Hoth! Rodians got their clothes at thrift stores before it was cool. (Not canon.)
5. They hunt bounty…and ghests!
We know that some Rodians are particularly skilled at being bounty hunters for slimy crime lords, but bounty isn’t the only thing they hunt. On their home planet of Rodia, long, slithering green creatures known as ghests live in the swampy waters. They often pounce onto the shoreline, preying on innocent Rodians with their razor-sharp teeth and powerful clawed appendages -- but sometimes the Rodians strike back. Prior to the Galactic Civil War, it was common for a team of Rodians to get together and hunt the unruly beasts, but it didn’t come without casualties. In Kevin Hearne’s Heir to the Jedi novel, none other than the aspiring Jedi Luke Skywalker himself defeats a ghest while visiting the mausoleum of the Rodian Jedi Huulik.
6. They don't smell like flowers.
Heir to the Jedi provides another fun little bit of information about Rodians -- they smell pretty rank to humans. When Luke Skywalker visits Rodia’s coast of Betu, he remarks on the smell being similar to a putrid combination of “bad cheese and fungal feet.” The Rodians seem pretty self aware, though. In another scene, Luke comments that a certain Rodian establishment was doused in flowered perfume to make it a more pleasant environment for humans. Makes me wonder just how awful a post-fried Greedo cantina may have smelled…
7. Wald was a prophesier.
You may think Greedo’s only time to shine was in A New Hope…and you’d technically be right. But in the deleted scenes of The Phantom Menace, you can catch a glimpse of little Greedo in all his angsty glory, fist fighting with Anakin over accusations of fraud. Though a simple scene that probably wasn’t necessary to the movie’s plot, I like the idea that Greedo always had that spunk in him. But the real hero of this scene? Wald! Played by Warwick Davis, Wald was the most adorable alien in all of Mos Espa. After Qui-Gon breaks up the scuffle, Wald imparts his wisdom on a seething Greedo, basically predicting a tragic end for the future bounty hunter if he doesn’t change his violent ways. If Greedo listened to his calmer counterpart, maybe he could have grown to be an upstanding citizen of Tatooine. The world may never know.
8. Their language started with an “oink.”
When Greedo needed a voice, George Lucas called upon his right-hand man for sound effects, Ben Burtt, to come up with a voice for the first Rodian. Linguist Larry Ward provided the voice over, and it was up to Burtt to make it interesting enough for the bold bounty hunter. Initially, the single word “oink” was going to be manipulated with “the right rhythm and electrical equipment” to make a bizarre-sounding language, but they ultimately were unhappy with the sound. Burtt, with the help of a UC Berkeley grad student, went through multiple languages including the Quechua, a language spoken in the Central Andes of South America, and created their own. A combination of multiple languages paired with expert editing created Greedo’s magical voice as we all hear it today.
9. Greedo came to life with the help of one household item.
It’s no secret that the brave souls underneath the latex, rubber, plastic, and whatever myriad other materials used in the creature masks of Star Wars were barely breathing by the end of most scenes. Maria De Aragon, one of the actors who brought Greedo to life, claims that George Lucas practically saved her life when he saw her making odd gestures to signal she couldn’t breathe in her mask. Though to make things even more difficult, the mechanism to move Greedo’s mouth broke just before he needed to be shot. The actress was then asked to put a clothespin between her teeth to move the character’s mouth, making the Rodian truly come to life in that iconic cantina scene.
OK -- what did I forget? If you know any other cool Rodian facts, let us know in the comments below!
Heir to the Jedi, Kevin Hearne, Del Rey, 2015
The Making of Star Wars, J.W. Rinzler, Ballantine Books, 2007
The Making of Return of the Jedi, J.W. Rinzler, Del Rey, 2013
Star Wars Galactic Phrasebook and Travel Guide, Ben Burtt, Del Rey, 2001
Dana Jennings is Lucasfilm’s senior content coordinator 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 StarWars.com stays fully operational or dressing up as Crocker the cantina alien. Follow her on Instagram for all these things and more!