When A New Hope came out back in 1977, it brought things that we had seen a million times before. Laser guns weren’t new. Creatures weren’t new. Spaceships weren’t new. Robots weren’t new. Yet George put all of these things we had seen before and mixed them into a style that had never been tried. It all felt so new. These things would go on to inspire sci-fi/fantasy for decades. One of the most memorable of these rehashed oldies were the creatures from the Chalmun’s Cantina on Tatooine. While George hated that scene because it was rushed, over budget and was mostly restyled Halloween masks of the day, it stuck with movie goers forever. Star Wars has been and always will be filled with such a diverse field of aliens. Some we love. Some we hate. Others we respect but loathe. Some we loathe but love!
Here are my top 10 canon species from the Star Wars universe.
Coming in at number ten, the Chiss, as a race, are unknown in canon save for a single being, but when that single being has the impact that Mith’raw’nuruodo has had on the Star Wars scene, we can make the exception. Deep blue skin with red eyes and black hair, Thrawn can paint an imposing picture wherever he goes. Given how skilled and intelligent he is, it can be a bit intimidating to know he isn’t even the best of his species. What other species can ruin your day just by studying your art?
I don’t think any of us will forget the first time we saw Jabba the Hutt come to life on the big screen in Return of the Jedi. There had never been a puppet like him before. It took no less than 6 people to operate Jabba and bring him to life. Jabba and his Hutt clan would show up time and again through out books and comics. The Hutts become so powerful they are a major faction for the Galactic republic and Empire to deal with. They even have their own sector of space they control. While they are slow creatures, you don’t run cartels and gangs by being weak and dim-witted. They are a galactic force to be reckoned with both on and off the scales.
When Dawn of the Planet of the Apes came out one of the catch phrases fans would yell is “Apes on horses!” What could be better than apes on horses? MONKEYS WITH BLASTER CANNONS! The Lakaru are one of the newer species to the Star Wars universe, but while we were waiting for the movie I do not know that there was a more unforgettable scene than a space monkey unloading his automatic laser cannon out the side hatch of his U-Wing and then laughing maniacally at the camera. Bistan had a small roll in Rogue One, but he is a hard guy to forget. They were small but spunky as hell.
At number seven is the only non-sentient species on the list because they are just too cool to ignore. Tauntauns are snow lizards from the ice planet Hoth. The rebels domesticate some of them when they make their base on Hoth. We had seen movies with al sorts of mounts before, but nothing like this. Phil Tippet and Co did such a great job bringing them to life, who didn’t want to own one and take off across the snowy plains.
At number six is a species that would probably be ranked higher if it wasn’t SO popular and overused – the Twi’lek. Don’t get me wrong this is one of the hearts of Star Wars. Ever since their first appearance in episode 6, they have been a favorite de facto species to not only use in stories, but fan cosplay as well. They are probably the single most well developed species in all of Star Wars. They are easy to imagine as dancers, politicians, bounty hunters, anything. They are the be all of Star Wars species.
One of the quieter presences in Star Wars since it firs appeared in 1977, the Ithorians are a giant and imposing species with quiet and docile lives. Overall their species is a quiet and nature loving race, usually leaning towards pacifism. I have always loved the hammerhead look as it was very original. In legends they were also bounty hunters and even Jedi. I hope they are used once more in cannon.
One of the most impressive and underutilized species are the trandoshans. We meet Bossk in Empire Strikes Back in the line up of elite bounty hunters. He is the only one who dares speak back to an Imperial officer. While we don’t know what was said, I think its safe to say it wasn’t pleasant. Bossk was even brought up recently in Solo. With some rare uses in the Clone Wars series, the trandoshans have rarely been used, despite being blood enemies to the wookiees and an aggressively nasty species to boot. I would love to see them be used in some future project.
In third place is the Twi’lek on steroids! While the twi’leks had two Lekku and some bone stubs on the sides of their heads, the togruta have two horns (montrals), two head tails, as well as a tail from the back of their head. Extremely colorful and striped they are very exotic looking. The two most noted are Shaak Ti and Ahsoka Tano and little Ashla. Living in largely tribal communities, their headwork helps them survive and hunt large beasts on their home world of Shili.
This is a species that was established in legends and just made canon in the Darth Vader comics, so little is actually known about them. They look largely human except for one key missing body part. Miraluka have no eyes. Instead they see through the force. Naturally, they make powerful Jedi, those that choose to join. I am surprised we have not heard more about the Miraluka and their planet. You would think Palpatine would make securing their alliance or destruction first and foremost, given how fast they alone could repopulate the Jedi Order. How cool would it be though to see through the force!
At #1 is my all time favorite species of Star Wars – the Cathar. A humanoid cat-like species, they were loyal and strong, but if you made one mad, watch out! When their anger was aroused, they were vicious. The story of Sylvar and Crado was incredible during the Tales of the Jedi run. They lived in giant trees similar to the wookiees. They were excellent fighters.
They actually have three forms that had to be rectified. The Cathar first showed up in the Tales of the Jedi comic books. This was our first introduction into the world of the Old Republic in 1993. Following the tales of Uliq Qel-Droma and Nomi Sunrider, it introduced the first Cathar as feline creatures, very lion-like. The males had sabertooth style tusks and thicker manes around the heads. The females were more streamlines but equally cat-like. Their hind legs were reverse articulated like a feline.
Then along came Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR). One of the greatest computer games of its age, it told a wonderful tale fans still love today. It reintroduced the Cathar in the character of Juhani. The difference now, graphics being what they were back then, the cathar were now shown as humans with furry skin, cat-like eyes and point ears. This was deemed the ‘Juhani’ sub-species.
The third species? We don’t talk about the third species. The third form was actually the first form and dates all the way back to 1978. Do you remember what was in 1978…..the thing that shall not be named….*whispers* the holiday special *whispers*. Yup this guy (Myhr Rho) was in…the thing….and was later deemed a cathar that shaved his fur due to the heat of Tatooine. He is the lost uncle the family never talks about.