One of the most underrated pleasures of the "Star Wars" saga is poring over the long list of goofy names attributed to the movies' myriad characters. It doesn't matter if they're human or alien, each character is just as likely to get slapped with a bafflingly odd moniker that might make it a fan favorite despite having scant screen time. Once upon a time, people thought Han Solo or Jabba the Hutt sounded weird. These characters far outstrip the canon-mated when it comes to utterly bizarre names. Please enjoy the Lucasfilm-approved backstories for each.
A Jedi-mind-trick-resistant junk dealer who does a little light human trafficking on the side sounds like he should be a major player in the Star Wars universe — and he is to the extent that he owns Shmi Skywalker and her moppet son, Anakin. But a creature as cunning and winged (he can fly!) as Watto seems destined for more dastardly accomplishments. Alas, he’s content to be the evil Fred Sanford of Mos Espa, which, come to think of it, should probably be a Disney+ series ASAP.
If you’re passing through Coruscant and looking for a hot meal and/or to identify the origin of a poisoned dart that nearly killed Naboo royalty, get yourself a booth at Dex’s Diner. Dexter Jettster is the rotund proprietor of this greasy blaster establishment, and he’s evidently bumped protruding bellies with a lot of sketchy folks out in that galaxy far, far away. He also serves the best Jawa Juice in the quadrant, which, given this description, may not be something to brag about.
Hailed in his youth as the Stravinsky of the red ball jett organ, Max Rebo cast his classical training aside and chased stardom with his 12-piece funk-disco outfit, The Max Rebo Band. Dicey business decisions, heavy band turnover and a crushing deathstick habit led to Rebo being indentured to Jabba the Hutt; to pay off his debt and avoid a trip to the Sarlacc Pit, Rebo and his band glumly play their one hit, “Jedi Rocks," to the delight of their bloated creditor.
Once the most promising T-70 X-wing pilot in the Resistance fleet, Stomeroni Starck (son of Chompsalot Starck) saw his burgeoning starfighter career come to a fiery close when a First Order strike wiped out most of his unit at the outset of “The Last Jedi." Starck may be gone, but his legend resonates loudly and proudly in the annals of Resistance history.
Rugor “Boss” Nass is the generously proportioned leader of the Gungans, who reside in Gungan City under Lake Paonga on the occupied planet of Naboo. Boss Nass is both revered and feared for his no-nonsense ruling style, which strictly prohibits gasser boomin’ or the crashing of his heyblibber. Noted mischief-maker Jar-Jar Binks violated both laws and found himself banished topside. Nass is a galactically recognized dejarik grandmaster. He has never married.
Despite the unfortunate name, the only thing that dribbles out of this Twi’lek’s mouth is straight wisdom to the ears of his corpulent master, Jabba the Hutt. Alas, this big-brained adviser is wholly susceptible to the Jedi mind trick, and that, as has often been the case throughout Star Wars history, proved to be his downfall. He left behind no family.
Names can be deceiving, or, in the case of Elan Sleazebaggano, they can be so on the nose that you sometimes wonder if your entire existence is just a bit part in someone else’s nine-part saga. This death-stick dealing dastard slithered in and around Coruscant’s seedy-chic Outlander Club looking for revelers in need of a little pick-me-up. His career met an abrupt halt when Obi-Wan Kenobi Jedi-mind-tricked him into self-reflection. Ten minutes later, Sleazebaggano incinerated himself in the thruster of a low-altitude carrier.
Everyone’s favorite Kel Dor from Dorin, Plo Koon was a steady, sober-minded, not terribly attractive member of the Jedi Order who loved his clone charges almost as much as he loved being a crushing bore. Tragically, he would be killed by his own clone troops during the Jedi purge initiated by Order 66. His inability to carry so much as a semi-interesting conversation would be missed.
The Boba Fett of Jedi warriors in that he became a fan favorite after a brief appearance in one movie (“Attack of the Clones”) without doing anything particularly cool. With his green dreads and black saucer eyes, he certainly looked the part of a tough guy, but most of his best work was relegated to the “Clone Wars” series. When it came time to apprehend Chancellor Palpatine, Fisto and two of his Jedi colleagues were easily dispatched. Great name, though!
Kabe wants a drink! Kabe wants a drink! Kabe got her drink! Yay Kabe! Thus concludes the most emotionally satisfying character arc in the entire “Star Wars” saga. We are all Kabe.
Confused by the pronunciation? Try “hero." That’s what Nien Nunb means to any “Star Wars” fan worth their weight in charred Jawa corpses. The mumble-mouthed Nunb was Lando Calrissian’s co-pilot during the successful assault on the unfinished Death Star in “Return of the Jedi," a participant in the aerial raid on Starkiller Base and threw down during the defense of the Rebel base on Crait in “The Last Jedi." He’s the extraterrestrial Wedge.
He might be a favorite among adolescents given his name’s vague tawdriness, but Moff Tarkin ain’t no joke. He sics a nasty-looking torture droid on Princess Leia as a means of obtaining the location of the rebel base; when some poking and prodding and whatever else doesn’t do the trick, Tarkin blows up her home planet of Alderaan. Tarkin’s a one-man disturbance in the force.
When you’re born with Jek Porkins, you might as well own and eat your way into the name, which, according to the EU lore, he did! He also acquired the nickname “Piggy," which, on top of gilding the lily, is just mean, man. A capable starfighter who bravely took up arms against the Empire due to its occupation of his home world, Porkins deserves to be remembered for the size of his heart. He was voracious in his pursuit of revenge. Justice was his all-you-could-eat buffet, and he stuffed himself full-to-bursting at the Battle of Yavin.
Mothma was the Golda Meir of the Rebellion. She projected strength through victory and defeat and presided over the unlikely crushing of the Empire. George Lucas’ willingness to depict women as strong leaders in times of conflict has been one of the most endearing traits of the saga. And, yes, her name sounds like Mothra.
The Pa’lowick frontwoman for The Max Rebo Band might have lips like Jagger, but she’s got a voice like a dagger to your eardrum. Her vocals in the theatrical release had a strangled Cindi Lauper quality, while the Special Edition remix rocketed her performance into an area of aural pain reserved for jackhammers and Edith Bunker. Meanwhile, her name sounds more appropriate for a coked-up accountant.
Jabba’s mangy, utterly indecipherable court jester isn’t much for verbal wit or anything in the neighborhood of funny, but he sure can get people laughing for whatever reason. He’s the Roberto Benigni of the “Star Wars” universe. If he didn’t die in the detonation of Jabba’s barge, he might have an Oscar-winning Holocaust comedy in him.
Jabba’s palace makes the Mos Eisley cantina look like a Decatur Applebee’s: It’s not just overrun with scum and villainy; it’s got sentient, long-tongued creatures growing on the walls. They’re basically icky porgs. This one in particular is notable for giving C3-PO a lick as he presents Luke Skywalker’s ultimatum to Jabba. Threepio, who once had to immolate a pile of dead Jawas, brushes it off like a champ.
The lead horn player for The Max Rebo Band was once one of the best session chindinkalu flutists in the galaxy, but, like his bandleader, he’d fallen on hard times by “Return of the Jedi." Hailed as the Wayman Carver of Coruscant, he was a pitchy shadow of his former greatness backing up Rebo. A death stick habit ensued, which caused him to nod off during sets. Droopy was last seen on Jakku, trading in his chindinkalu flute for a quarter ration of companionship.
This long-necked Quermian Jedi master was known for…his long neck, which presented a decided disadvantage in a lightsaber duel. Poof made only a brief appearance as a member of the Jedi Council, and, according to the Extended Universe history, received his obligatory decapitation from Darth Vader at some point — but not on screen, which is some real nonsense.
This three-eyed Gran represented the Congress of Malastare while the Republic was in its death throes, but what he should’ve been doing was writing a galactically syndicated advice column titled “Ask Moe”, wherein he offered three differing perspectives on the issues broached by his readers. Would’ve saved him the shame of appeasing an insurgent fascist movement.
They should’ve called him “Oops." A horrible idea from jump, this “force-sensitive humanoid alien” was a labored attempt to create an Emperor substitute because the group in charge of plunging forward with the third “Star Wars” trilogy was creatively bankrupt. And the name for this ultra-powerful force of evil sounded like a nasally congested individual attempting to say “smoke." It’s all academic now: He got unceremoniously dispatched in “The Last Jedi."
The Crolute grump who doles out rations on Jakku is essentially Watto without wings or a passing interest in human trafficking (though he did apparently play a role in Rey’s upbringing). He’s voiced by Simon Pegg but possesses not even a quarter-ration of that gentleman’s bonhomie or good humor.
Known as “Hammerhead” to a generation of Kenner action figure collectors, Momow Nadon is an Ithorian who enjoys reading, gardening and water skiing. There’s a whole backstory for how he was exiled to Tatooine, which explains why he’s a regular at the Mos Eisley cantina (though it’s hard to tell where on his protruding flatworm head he imbibes the blue milk). In any event, he’s a drunk who’s probably not a big hit with the ladies, Ithorian or otherwise.
“Negola dewaghi wool dugger” is evidently Aqualish for “I’m a big, walrus-faced jerk. Would you please ask your bearded friend who was brilliant as Colonel Nicholson in ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’” if we would be so kind as to chop off my right arm with his laser sword?” This unfortunate incident put an end to Baba’s run as a sure-gloved third baseman for the Mos Eisley Cantina beer league team. The squad logged 30 errors in a platoon situation at the hot corner the following season, the highest since Baba joined the team eight years prior.
The Richard Dreyfuss to Luke Skywalker’s Ron Howard, Biggs Darklighter made it out of Tatooine and became a skilled X-wing pilot dodging tie-fighter fire for the Rebellion. Frankly, with a name like “Biggs Darklighter," he should’ve been dodging venereal peril as an adult film star for Hutt Productions. But Biggs’ ambitions far exceeded his libidinal talents, which worked out for him until he became a notch in Darth Vader’s starfighter dashboard during the Battle of Yavin.
"Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker" didn't exactly blow our doors off, but this funny-talking, smash-faced droidsmith from Kijimi was an instant hit with audiences. Mr. Frik is to repairing damaged droids what Crazy Cooter was to fixing up autos in Hazzard County. And he's just as fun to imitate, too! There's no telling how the franchise is going to move forward after this disappointing entry, but any new series needs to find a home for this crafty lil' fella.
Jeremy Smith is a freelance entertainment writer and the author of "George Clooney: Anatomy of an Actor". His second book, "When It Was Cool", is due out in 2021.