If you survive an audience with Jabba the Hutt, where do you go to calm your nerves? Why, the Mos Eisley Spaceport Cantina, of course. If a venerable Jedi like Obi-Wan Kenobi warns that Mos Eisley is “a hive of scum and villainy”, Star Wars infamous Cantina is where aliens and creatures really let their hair down. This seedy den of alien smugglers, misfits and rogues is the best place in the ideal Star Wars galaxy for dodgy dealing, debt settling and enjoying exotic intergalactic cocktails. Just don’t take your droids inside - house rules!
Wuher - the ornery, Tatooine born-and-bred human bartender wisely doesn’t ask questions of his criminal clientele… he has his hands full maintaining the peace amongst his ill-mannered customers. And he’s no fan of non-paying robots, who must wait for their owners outside the bar.
Pons Limbic - a big-headed Siniteen smuggler who earns the nickname “Braniac”, thanks to his ability to mentally calculate hyperspace jumps, without the aid of a navigation computer.
Braconnor Bakiska - a Force-sensitive Stennes Shifter, this mustachioed gent is more than a little xenophobic, which is hardly surprising as his species was almost exterminated by outsiders.
Arliel Schous - this bat-like Delfel fortune hunter is getting a little long in the tooth and his ability to bend light around his body and vanish, is seriously on the wane.
Bom Vimdin - an Advosze from the planet Riflor, this morose mercenary specializes in smuggling Imperials from New Republic territory to Empire controlled zones. A loner obsessed with his credit balance, he is universally disliked on and off world.
Hem Dazon - another grouchy regular, this Arcona is stranded on Tatooine after blowing all his credits on his addiction to salt and juri juice, especially the rare stuff made from Rodian blood.
Which brings us to the Rodian scrapper, Greedo, whose mean streak invariably lands him in hot water. Eager to collect the infamous bounty Jabba has placed on Han Solo’s head, Greedo confronts Han in the Cantina and takes a pot shot at him - and misses. Han’s blaster doesn’t and the bounty hunter pays the ultimate price for his foolishness.
In the stupidity stakes, Greedo has some stiff competition from the likes of Dr Cornelius Evazan (below) and Ponda Baba. A promising surgeon turned murderous sociopath, Evazan now practices “creative surgery” on his patients (victims), while his partner-in-crime Baba, a violent, twitchy Aualish thug, is no better. When this deadly duo picks a fight with the young Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan in the Cantina, the Jedi master lops off Boba’s arm in one slice. End of conversation.
The out-of-this-world mood music to all the carousing, scheming and brawling in the Cantina is largely provided by the fabulous Modal Nodes, an all-Bith band whose swinging sounds are directed by its temperamental leader, “Fiery” Figrin D’an (below). Well, Figrin does own most of the band’s instruments, so he gets to call the tune… and design the Nodes’ plain, dark uniforms to let their music shine, even during full-scale bar fights.
While the Modal Nodes wow the crowds at the Cantina, over at Jabba’s Palace, Max Rebo and his band rule the roost. This 12-strong ensemble of madcap musicians is (barely) held together by their leader, Max Rebo, a stocky, blue Ortolan with a very healthy appetite.
Under Max’s leadership and his prowess on the red ball organ, the band has notched up such memorable hits as “Jedi Rocks” and “(That Joyous Night) I Ate my Mate”. Other talented members of Max’s band include:
Sy Snootles - the sultry Pa'lowick lead singer becomes Ziro the Hutt’s girlfriend, later betraying him to Jabba (his nephew) for big money, and eventually taking Ziro’s life.
Droopy McCool, alias “Snit” - a Kitonak horn player specialising in the Chindinkalu flute, whose real name is a series of whistles that is unpronounceable to other species.
Rappertunie - this Shawda Ubb from the bog planet Manpha plays a mean Growdi
Harmonique - a combo flute and water organ. Just keep your distance—if he feels threatened he’ll spit a paralysing poison at you!
Joh Yowza - a gravel voiced Yuzzum from Endor, whose signature ballad “Jedi Rocks” is a much-requested solo number at the Palace, but he also belts out a few duets with Sy Snootles.
Umpass-stay and Ak-Rev - respectively a Klatooinian and a Weequay, who do double duty as the band’s drummers and Jabba’s bodyguards-cum-spies.
This whistlestop tour is just a glimpse of the extraordinarily weird and wondrous Star Wars galactic menagerie. Much more can be found in Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need To Know.
Article by Cefn Ridout
Some people can’t make up their minds. Cefn is an editor, writer and designer who enjoys plying the waters between print and digital. In his long and winding career he’s worked with the ‘cool’ (Marvel Comics, Manga Entertainment, and Dark Horse Comics), the ‘canny’ (Film Australia and British Council Australia), and the ‘corporate’ (McKinsey & Co. and Fuji Xerox). Yet as a pop culture vulture who can sadly connect Harrison Ford, Boris Karloff, and Stan Lee within three degrees of separation, he feels right at home in DK Licensing.