Now I know it’s been a while since I’ve done a geek-related Top 5 list here, but I hadn’t realized it was over a year! Where has the time gone? (Why haven’t I finished A Dragon at the Gate yet?!) I wanted to return to the format, and with Star Wars: The Force Awakens now under two weeks away, what better time than to do a list related to Star Wars? I’m putting my own special (read: weird) twist on this one, so make way for my list of…
Top 5 Incredibly Minor Star Wars Characters
The “incredibly” is there to underscore what I’m talking about here. Of course loads of people like Admiral “You’re hearing my catch phrase in your head right now, aren’t you?” Ackbar, and I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t like Wedge Antilles. But they’re too major! Even if they’ve only got a little screen time, they’ve got strong roles to play in the plot and–more importantly–they have multiple lines and scenes. I’m talking about the characters in the background who might not appear for more than a few moments, and might not have any lines, but somehow they capture our (i.e. my) imagination and interest with their own personal style.
Now, bear in mind that I’m the sort who finds amusement in making a (tongue-in-cheek) big deal out of little things, and also bear in mind that I’m sticking with the original trilogy here. Everyone got that? Then set your deflectors on double-front, because this is it…
That Creepy-ass Clown-droid
More officially known as CZ-1, we first spot this particular model in the Jawa sandcrawler, either shut down or just plain broken in the cargo bay. With its wide, dead eyes and a perma-smile, this sucker creeped me the hell out as a kid, and honestly still gives me a slight trace of the willies. I mean, look at it! It looks like the product of a tryst between HK-47 and Stabby the Murder-Clown during a camping trip to the edge of the uncanny valley! The fact that we later see another model walking through Mos Eisley is no less disturbing. It walks! And it’s coming for us all!
Note: In searching for the image (and name) of this sucker, I was surprised to find that it did not actually have a smile on its face, but rather something reminiscent of Vader’s mask. So I guess the smile was just in my mind, haunting me, like all clowns. Frigging Babbadook-droid.
Anyone who’s ever watched Star Wars with me since college already knows who I’m talking about, because it’s become a little ritual of mine to point him out in the split second he’s on screen. I no longer even know why. Sure, he only gets that little moment, but it’s an important moment! That hose is vital, both for what it provides Luke’s X-wing (I dunno, like, fuel maybe, or emergency cheese dip), and for how impossible it would be to take off with the hose still attached! He even gets his own sound effect! You cannot deny that there are many, many characters in Star Wars, and Hose-Guy is most certainly one of them.
Okay, so I admit I’m pushing the limits of my own parameters for this list, since Captain Needa has actually got a handful of lines and his name is spoken on screen more than once. Still, his time in The Empire Strikes Back is very brief, and I have to give him credit for owning his mistakes and reporting his failure to Vader personally. He’s got a sense of loyalty, and perhaps even a sense of sacrifice to shield the rest of his crew from Vader’s anger.
…Or maybe he just figured a direct, in-person apology might get Vader to spare him? If so, way to blow that one, Needa.
A little Captain Needa trivia: Apparently his first name is “Lorth.” Poor guy. He just can’t catch a break.
Lando Calrissian’s right-hand man, Lobot–whose name I only know because that’s what his action figure was called–is…well I don’t really know. Is he a cyborg? Is that thing just a headset that he can take off when the end of the day rolls around? If not, does he have some sort of specially fit memory foam pillow so he can rest with that sucker on? How does he wear helmets?
The fact that he never says a single thing just makes him more interesting. He seems quite loyal to Lando, assuming he has a will of his own and the head-thing isn’t just some sort of technological slavery collar. Ooh, IS it? Wouldn’t that be messed up? Sure, I could look the guy up on Wookieepedia, but why ruin the mystery?
Suppose he gets FM satellite radio on that thing?
The Emperor’s Hat Club
Probably more accurately (but less amusingly) described as Emperor Palpatine’s inner council, cabinet, or advisers, these guys are the ones you see dressed in dark purplish robes and the funkiest hats this side of Guinan. (Yeah, a Star Trek reference in the middle of a Star Wars post. I did it.)
I suppose I’m bending the rules here, since they’re more than just one person, but I don’t care. They have no lines and like cockroaches or Sean Penn scuttle off to the shadows the moment the cameras come near. As a kid I always wondered just who the heck they are, what they’re doing, and if there’s a buffet table back there somewhere.
(Because I still don’t know the meaning of “five.”)
“I got a problem here.” “Eject!” “I can hold it!” “Pull up!” “No, I’m alright, I’m alr–” Yes, Jek Porkins, the Rebel hero who died in the attack on the first Death Star. Perhaps if he’d been a little smarter, he’d have ejected when he should have and survived. Then again, the whole place exploded a few minutes later, so he probably would’ve died anyway.
I have a shirt that reads, in yellow Star Wars font, “Porkins Wasn’t Alright.” So really, I have a moral responsibility to mention him here, no? Plus the poor guy’s last name is Porkins. How’d that conversation with the actor’s agent go? “Um, I’ve got a part they want you for…”
Another doomed Rebel pilot, this one in Return of the Jedi. This guy doesn’t eject either, but he’s under no illusions about the state of his ship. Seeing as he’s right next to the bridge of the Super Star Destroyer Executor, he figures if he’s going to go out, he might as well take the Executor‘s bridge with him. Did he actually have any control of his A-wing? Was his crash intentional, or was he already on that trajectory when he was shot? Regardless, he gets at least a little credit by being included in this list. …And I dunno, probably a posthumous medal or something.
That assumes any actual record if his crash actually existed for the Rebel brass to view. And even then, keep in mind those bastards never even gave Chewie a medal for his help destroying the first Death Star. So I guess it’s more likely that Crynyd got jack squat.
Gareth S Young (@SpartaGus) says
lol Good list. My top five would probably be… R5-D4, the red & white droid who blew a gasket and basically saved the entire Rebel cause by allowing R2-D2 to fall into Skywalker’s hands.
Klaatu, Barada & Nikto – 3 Skiff guards from Return of the Jedi who stand around looking angry and then invariably end up as Sarlacc food. What makes them stand out is their names together make up the codeword to stop GORT from blowing up earth in The Day the Earth Stood Still 🙂 That appeals to me a great deal.
and #5 is Sy Snootles, the ummm…leggy…lead singer for Max Rebo’s band in Jabba’s palace. She gets the shout-out because she was unceremoniously bumped from top billing after Lucas decided to add a CGI chipmunk to the band.
Michael G. Munz says
I’d forgotten entirely about Klaatu, Barada, and Nikto! (That the guards were named that, I mean. I’d never forget about their relation to GORT.) 🙂
Little-known fact I just made up: R5-D4 was actually a deep-cover Rebel agent who’d been on Tatooine for years waiting for just that exact situation…
Nick Fraser says
My mom always assumed R2-D2 blew up R5-D4 using … I have no idea. But that was her assumption.
Michael G. Munz says
That never occurred to me, but I wouldn’t put it past the little guy.
dmcain84DM Cain says
Great post! The minor characters don’t get anywhere near enough love! My personal favourite is Willrow Hood (whose sole job appears to be running through Bespin with a gas canister). He has a whole backstory here: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Willrow_Hood
Michael G. Munz says
The Bespin Ice-cream Man! At least, that’s what a friend of mine called him. I’d forgotten about that guy myself, but I’d say he’s a worthy nomination. 😀
Kari Neumeyer says
I definitely had the Lobot action figure.
Michael G. Munz says
Did you take your action figures and freeze them in cups of water pretending it was carbonite, or was that just me?