Aurebesh was a writing system used to transcribe Galactic Basic Standard, the most spoken language in the galaxy. In the Outer Rim Territories, Aurebesh was sometimes used alongside Outer Rim Basic, another alphabet.
Examples of Aurebesh throughout the galaxy
Aurebesh text could be seen on the screens of various types of technology, including screens in the cockpits of N-1 starfighters, the Separatist facility known as Skytop Station, and inside macrobinoculars.
During the Clone Wars, some clone troopers customized their armor with Aurebesh phrases. The back of clone trooper Ponds' helmet had the phrase "Some guys have all the luck" written in Aurebesh. Others got Aurebesh tattoos. Clone medic Kix, had the phrase "A good droid is a dead one" tattooed on the side of his head, although the tattoo was eventually covered up when he grew his hair out late in the war, while trooper Sketch had his initial, Senth, tattooed on his forehead. In the same vein, some Low Altitude Assault Transports were personalized with Aurebesh, such as the Spaceward Ho! and Lucky Lekku, both of which bore their names, and the Crumb Bomber, which bore the phrase "LAUGH THIS OFF." The patrol transports used on Coruscant were emblazoned with the word "POLICE."
Establishments throughout the galaxy used Aurebesh signs to identify themselves, such as the Playland Theatre and Purple Werm. The Droid Spa on Coruscant used one such sign to show the services it provided. The sign read "OIL CHANGES, RUST REMOVA MEMORY FLUSHING, POLISHING MOTIVATOR REPAIR, DE-FLUTTERING, RESTRAINING BOLT APPLICATION AND REMOVAL, GENERAL MAINTENANCE OVERHAULS, JUNK REMOVAL" Several posters with Aurebesh text hung in Trueping's bar during the Clone Wars, including one for "DJ RANGTHANG," and one for for Sy Snootles (also seen in the bar room) which read "THE SY SNOOTLES SHOW." "IN PERSON." "SY SNOOTLES." "SOMEWHERE ON CORUSCANT." "FRI – SAT 12 – 4." "SOLD OUT."
Wanted posters in the Jedi Archives on Coruscant were written in Aurebesh text. Similarly, bounties in Aurebesh were posted on the walls of Chalmun's Spaceport Cantina, which contained such information as "NIM MINDBEND" – "WANTED": "DEAD" for "KIDNAPPING, THEFT AND MURDER" – "REWARD: 120,000"; OMAR TOGGS – "WANTED": "DEAD" or "ALIVE" for "RACKETEERING AND EXTORTION" – "REWARD: 75,000"; "ZUG TASSIK" – "WANTED": "DEAD" or "ALIVE" for "MASS MURDER" – "REWARD: 800,000"; "SAVAGE OPRESS" – "WANTED" for "FLEEING THE SCENE OF A CRIME" – "REWARD: 550,000."
HEIGHT: 1.9 M
LAST KNOWN LOCATION:
OUTER RIM TERRITORIES,
THEFT OF IMPERIAL SUPPLIES
PILOTING WITHOUT LICENSE."
The electro-proton bomb, attached to Goji and Rod's bomber and dropped during the Battle of Malastare had a warning printed on the nose cone that read "CAUTION ION DETONATOR." The body of the bomb had "CODE SWITCH DESIGNATOR" • "POSITION 1" • "POSITION 2" • "POSITION 3" • "POSITION 4" printed on it and on one of the tail fins, the words "THIS IS FOR YOU DOOKU" were handwritten.
At Hondo Ohnaka's camp on Florrum, a huge piece of superstructure read "HONDO'S SALVAGE" – "PRICES SLASHED" stenciled on it in Aurebesh. Meanwhile, around the time of the Bombing of the Jedi Temple Hangar, protesters carried Aurebesh signs that read "THE JEDI ARE CORRUPT" and "STOP CLONING VIOLENCE!."
During the Imperial Period, an Imperial officer used a monitor that listed the names of a number of prisoners in Aurebesh. The list of names included LADY M'Arshington and Cay Ploon Kett. The Empire also used Aurebesh on its propaganda posters, one of which bore the slogan "PROTECTING LOTHAL" – "PROTECTING YOU" Aurebesh text was also included in the TIE/D Defender Elite blueprints stolen by the Spectres.
Thirty-four years after the Battle of Yavin, Aurebesh was written on a life vest worn by Poe Dameron, a member of an X-wing starfighter squadron bearing markings similar to those of the Alliance and reading "Pull to Inflate," written upside-down so as to be readable to the wearer.
Letters and numerals
Behind the scenes
- "The Aurebesh is a lot like Boba Fett—it is a facet of the Star Wars phenomenon that had its origin as a cinematic aside, but which has come to be widely embraced, far out of proportion to its humble origins."
- ―Stephen Crane
An Aurebesh-like script first appeared in the 1983 movie Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, the last installment in the original trilogy of Star Wars. It could be seen on the monitor readouts on the second Death Star at the beginning of the movie, when Darth Vader's shuttle is scanned while approaching the battle station. Erik Schroeder's decoding of the technical readouts further suggest that this readout is illegible, consisting of lines of character repeats. However, it was Stephen Crane of West End Games who gave each character a name and a corresponding Roman letter or letter combination. At the time, West End Games's flagship product was the Star Wars Roleplaying Game. While he was writing the Star Wars Miniatures Battles Companion in 1993, Crane decided to develop an alphabet for gamers to use. Upon receiving Lucasfilm's approval, Crane came up with the "Aurebesh," a 34-letter alphabet. It was later expanded to include punctuation marks in Imperial Entanglements, a 1996 supplement to Miniatures Battles.
The name "Aurebesh" seems to be derived from the first two letters of the Aurebesh alphabet, Aurek and Besh. This is similar to the real world word "alphabet", which comes from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet—alpha and beta.
Stephen Crane's alphabet was subsequently adopted in many Star Wars works, and even made its way into the movies. In 1999, a variant appeared in Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace, on a readout screen of Anakin Skywalker's Naboo fighter. As Skywalker heads toward the battle, the screen reads: "Anakin turn the ship around and go back home right away." Since the 2004 DVD release of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, the words on the tractor beam control on the Death Star are now in the Aurebesh.
Since April, 2014, most stories in which Aurebesh appeared are part of Star Wars Legends, previously known as the Expanded Universe, and are therefore not canon. However, as revealed in a "Ghost Crew Identification Card" available on the official site of Disney XD, the West End Games mapping of Aurebesh had been kept following the redefinition of canon, although the eight letters representing English digraphs were absent. However, the letters representing digraphs were later included in the 2015 children's book Star Wars Rebels: Battle Plans from Darth Vader and have appeared in Star Wars media such as the film Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens (on Dosmit Ræh's helmet, worn by Rey), the canon comic Chewbacca (2015) 1, and on Ketsu Onyo's helmet in the Star Wars Rebels episodes "Blood Sisters" and "The Forgotten Droid."
Aurebesh punctuation, originally created for the Legends game accessory Star Wars Gamemaster Screen, Revised, is also used in Star Wars canon, and can be seen in several episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels.
Stephen Crane never created numbers for the Aurebesh alphabet, because the Death Star monitors in Return of the Jedi show regular Arabic numerals. However, a fan-made font known as New Aurabesh, which was created by Peter Schuster in 1998 and can be downloaded online, uses an alternate numerical system based on dots and lines.
Although most canon appearances of Aurebesh use Arabic numbers, Schuster's numerals have also appeared in Star Wars media: The 2015 reference book Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary contains pictures of the rank insignia of the First Order, with New Aurabesh numbers appearing in the insignias for sergeant ("Ro 8") and squad leader ("Hal 4"). The "Hal 4" insignia can be seen on Lank Paze in the 2017 movie Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi, while the "Ro 8" insignia can be seen on Armitage Hux's First Order monitor in the same film. The 2017 reference book Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia presents an Aurebesh font which includes two examples of Aurebesh numbers; 3 and 7, both of which use Schuster's font. During the raid on Kessel in the 2018 film Solo: A Star Wars Story, Qi'ra says, "They're in subsector four, coming up on gate X-3-7-1-K". The film then switches to a shot of Han Solo and Chewbacca coming out a door with a sign at the top, saying "D1 X371K", using Schuster's numbers. In The Mandalorian episode "Chapter 7: The Reckoning", New Aurabesh numerals appear on the console aboard the Razor Crest.
Dishabesh and Domabesh
For the 2016 film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, two alternate Aurebesh fonts were created by the art department and were given the production names Dishabesh and Domabesh. The fonts were developed at the behest of director Gareth Edwards, who didn't want a Star Wars universe with just one form of text and mostly one font. Dishabesh was re-used for Enfys Nest's battle helmet in the film Solo: A Star Wars Story. Domabesh can be seen in Jedha City in Rogue One. In 2021, when asked on Twitter, Lucasfilm Story Group member Pablo Hidalgo referred to the script on Tam Posla's helmet as "Domabesh," but it still has not been identified in any canon source. According to Hidalgo, Domabesh is thought to be an archaic script, not as ancient as Ur-Kittât, but older than Aurebesh.
- Star Wars: Visions – "The Duel"
- Star Wars: Visions – "Tatooine Rhapsody"
- Star Wars: Visions – "T0-B1"
- Disney Infinity 3.0
- LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures
- The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special
- LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
- Soulcalibur IV (as the names of the alternate forms of Darth Vader's lightsaber, Yoda's lightsaber, and Galen Marek's lightsaber with different gameplay attributes)
Notes and references