The internet has recently been set alight by the break-out star of the first Star Wars TV programme since the Star Wars Holiday Special, The Mandalorian. This star is not the Mandalorian himself. No, he’s just a swaggering piece of fan service with an ice bucket on his head. The star is Baby Yoda. His is the big-eyed face that launched a thousand social media memes (a meme is a repurposed video clip or picture and it’s what young people have now instead of the Renaissance or pensions).
He isn't actually called Baby Yoda. He is instead referred to as simply The Child (it's only a matter of time before this becomes the Christian name of choice for the infant-worshipping middle-classes) but he does strongly resemble that other charismatic tyke with strange powers who also brought peace and happiness to mankind: Jesus Christ.
Sorry, I mean Adult Yoda, who featured in the original Star Wars trilogy as a gnomic gnome who tutored Luke Skywalker in the ways of the force. At the time the qualifier "Adult" was redundant. Not anymore. Adult Yoda had better watch his back. It's a youth culture and I'm pretty sure Baby Yoda is going to turn up to all the same auditions.
How to describe Baby Yoda? He is a floppy-eared, green-skinned bastion of animatronic charisma and is surely set to play the next Bond. He’s also from a long-lived species and is thus meant to be 50-years-old. A 50-year-old baby? This is something most Star Wars obsessives can really relate to.
I haven’t yet seen the Mandalorian but I have watched a video called “Baby Yoda ALL SCENES” and, quite frankly those capital letters are justified. I’ve also watched a memified scene in which Baby Yoda insists on grooving to the theme music of Succession over and over again. His beauty is beyond my ability to describe.
It made me look forward to Christmas, a time we gather young people together and force them to watch Star Wars, and it made me think of Star Wars’ previous non-human stars and how they were generally more compelling and less wooden than the human stars. Here are the most notable Star Wars beings.
R2D2 was George Lucas's first gesture towards cuteness. He's basically a roundy wheelie-bin with a periscope. George's genius was to render this expressionless appliance adorable by giving him a Donegal accent (a sequence of beeps and whistles and interminable glissandos). Unfortunately, Lucas also saw fit to partner R2D2 with a patronising British man named C3PO who insisted on repeating everything R2D2 said, even though he's perfectly comprehensible once you get used to him, like most Donegal people. I could never really understand how it was ever credible that R2D2, who's clearly a bit of crack, ended up with this preachy dose.
In The Return of the Jedi, George Lucas really went all out to appeal to everyone. He put Princess Leia into a "sexy" slave costume, for creepy dads everywhere. And then he pivoted hard and took us to a planet filled with alien teddy bears, for the kiddies (this is a word I imagine someone who puts teddy bears and "sexy" slave costumes in the same film would use). Is it wrong that I think the Ewoks are complete s***heads? They initially take our heroes to their treetop village to eat them before deciding that C3PO is a god, probably because of his RP English accent. Then they helped take down the Empire. Never mind the innocent contractors who died when these "freedom fighters" blew up the Death Star, what sort of atrocities did these carnivorous teddy bears carry out off-screen? You know Luke Skywalker is exactly the sort of person who'd look at an Ewok eating an imperial officer and say, "I guess, that's just their way."
Ha! You mean nothing to me now Adult Yoda. Or, if you prefer: Nothing to me now, you mean?
Chewbacca was initially introduced to us as Han Solo's hunky bearish co-pilot, business partner and, presumably, gentleman lover. It was only on visiting his home planet in the Star Wars Holiday Special that we realised other Wookies wore robes and that Chewbacca was, in fact, in the nude. He was also an absentee father who had left his furry family in a tree-house watching space television while he wandered the spaceways murdering soldiers. Indeed, I was almost certain when tantrumming baddie Kylo Ren took off his helmet in Star Wars: The Force Awakens that it was going to be Chewbacca's abandoned son, Lumpy. Yes, that was what Chewbacca named him before he fecked off: Lumpy.
Anyway, they could have still had Adam Driver play Lumpy. It's a lost opportunity. Though, thinking about it, I imagine Lumpy was better off without Chewbacca and probably runs a successful space accountancy firm or something.
Oh, Han and Chewbacca also did that thing where the former would repeat exactly what the latter had said in growls in people words much like C3PO and R2D2 and Michael and Danny Healy Rae.
The patrons of the Mos Eisley Cantina
I love the Mos Eisley Cantina, especially after watching the Star Wars Holiday Special in which Bea Arthur stars as a barmaid singing Brechtian ballads (I am deadly serious). It's like my local bar except there's less violence and the people are less weird and the band is better. In fact, I was just looking at pictures from the Mos Eisley Cantina before realising they were actually your wedding photos. I like the Cantina. Yes, Han Solo did murder a guy there, but that's years ago now and I have it on good authority he's frozen in carbonite as a conversation piece in that nice Jabba the Hutt's house.
Jabba the Hutt
I know technically you probably don’t consider Jabba to be cute given that he’s a big drooling slug beast but that’s because you’re superficial and not deep like me. I see Jabba’s inner beauty. Of course, he’s dead now, murdered by that monster Princess Leia.
Who was Jabba the Hut? He was many things to many people – a family man, a business owner, a pet lover, an aficionado of hidden trapdoors, a much-respected local employer, a fan of revenge on Han Solo, a patron of contemporary dance, a bon viveur. Where did it go wrong for Jabba? He had, in return for a small business loan from the Empire, helped Darth Vader capture Han Solo. Then he had, perfectly legally, arranged to have Han Solo frozen into carbonite and displayed in his, by the standard of some contemporary rural builds, quite modest palace.
But then along came the naysayers, Leia and her showoff brother, Luke, and they rode roughshod over this hard working, aspiring entrepreneur and tore down everything he'd built for himself. Before long they're throwing his friends into a carnivorous toothy pit and choking him to death. All I can say is, the Rebel Alliance is going nowhere if it doesn't nurture local businesses. And by the Rebel Alliance I mean, of course, Jeremy Corbyn.
Fare thee well Admiral Ackbar, we hardly knew you. Despite his webbed hands, salmony features and flappy mouth, Brian Dennis Ackbar* rose to the top of the rebel fleet where he cut a noble, dignified figure at the helm of his ship, before his tragic, unnecessary death in Star Wars: the Last Jedi. He didn't have many lines ("It's a trap!" was one memorable bon mot) but, oh, the way he might look at you with those googly bedroom eyes.
*His full name may not be Brian Dennis Ackbar.