- "You loathsome two-eyed toad!"
- ―Ree-Yees, to Bubo
Frog-dogs were a species of sentient lizards with both frog-like and dog-like features. Each member of the species had a large cranium that sported two large, protruding eyes and long, pointed teeth that stuck out from the mouth. Two squat limbs with five-fingered hands supported the body, although a frog-dog at rest kept his or her large, bulbous mid-section on the ground as well. The body tapered to a long, thin tail. Frog-dogs caught insects and other prey with a long, sticky tongue that darted from the mouth and retrieved the desired meal. The creatures hopped and waddled from place to place. Frog-dog vocalizations sounded like throaty barks and croaks.
Although they were both sentient and highly intelligent, frog-dogs were often mistaken for simple animals. They did nothing to change this misconception and sometimes even used it to their advantage. A frog-dog might deign to live as the pet of another sentient being, for example, trading a life of denigration for a guaranteed source of food. Others worked as assassins and spies, using their unassuming appearance to get into position to complete a particular mission. The frog-dog Buboicullaar operated in this manner as a "pet" of both a tribe of Jawas on the planet Tatooine and of Jabba Desilijic Tiure in the crime lord's palace. While a member of Jabba's court, Buboicullaar plotted to kill his Hutt master. Meanwhile, he foiled a similar assassination scheme by the Gran Ree-Yees. Upon Jabba's death at the Great Pit of Carkoon, Buboicullaar joined the B'omarr Order.
Biology and appearance
- "Stupid two-eyed maggot fish! It's a good thing I don't need you anymore!"
- ―Ree-Yees, to Bubo, as the Gran's assassination plot against Jabba the Hutt progresses
Frog-dogs were sentient reptiles with features of both frogs and dogs. They had two limbs that featured five-fingered hands with craggy gray nails. Nevertheless, the shortness and splayed arrangement of these appendages kept the frog-dog body low to the ground, making each member of the species rest on his or her protuberant belly when at rest. In this position, most frog-dogs stood a mere 0.5 meters tall, at which height a mass of 35 kilograms was normal—although at least one specimen on Tatooine grew to at least four times that size. The body tapered to a long, thin tail toward the species' dorsal regions. Rows of bony lumps ran along the back and down the length of the tail. Frog-dogs were covered in warty hides whose pigmentation varied from individual to individual: possible colorations included brown, green, orange-red, purple, and yellowish dun, although boils, warts, and mottling of another color could appear as well. Frog-dog skin hung loosely on the frame; coupled with their large warts, this created folds so deep that small objects could be hidden inside the flaps.
A huge cranium dominated the forequarters of a frog-dog's body. Two bulbous, heavy-lidded, frog-like eyes protruded from the top of the visage, their coloration varying from one frog-dog to the next. Possible hues included purple, red, and yellow. Frog-dogs had excellent vision, and they could focus their eyes independently. A wide maw full of row upon row of yellowed, needle-sharp teeth constituted the species' only other major facial feature. The lower jaw jutted out so as to allow these teeth to protrude even when the mouth was shut.
The teeth betrayed the frog-dogs' carnivorous diet. Members of the species ate animals of many kinds, although insects formed the main part of their nutrition. A frog-dog fed him- or herself by flicking out the long, prehensile tongue at a target. A sticky fluid allowed the tongue's bulbous tip to adhere to what it touched, so with a quick retraction, a frog-dog's surprised prey could find itself snapped up and in the frog-dog's mouth instantaneously. Frog-dogs in captivity ate nearly anything, including moldy bantha fat, gelatinous chuff, and pieces of Viridian termite jaws.
Overall, the frog-dogs' appearance made members of other sentient species regard them as simple-minded beasts at best, horrifying monsters at worst. Frog-dogs had two sexes, male and female. At least one member of the species carried smaller frog-dogs in the mouth, belching them out when threatened.
Society and culture
- "We live within a den of thieves, little one… Why do you want this?"
"For the money, of course."
- ―B'omarr monk Evilo Nailati and Buboicullaar, on the frog-dog's decision to kill Jabba
In the view of most other sentient species in the galaxy, frog-dogs seemed like non-sentient animals. The squat creatures had no native technology or language, and they seemed content to devote most of their time to eating and slobbering on themselves. Some sentient beings even took frog-dogs as pets, feeding them scraps when they begged with plaintive croaking, and keeping them harnessed and leashed with devices that fit around the frog-dog's head and forelimbs.
In reality, this was just a front. Frog-dogs were highly intelligent beings. Frog-dogs found it in their best interest to hide their intelligence from others. This afforded them regular access to food—they could eat scraps and crumbs or even something more appealing, like a Jawa—and it enhanced their usefulness as spies and assassins, thus providing them with employment. Frog-dogs understood the value of credits and honored contracts such as bounties to which they had agreed.
Despite their lack of language, frog-dogs communicated their emotions via hisses, whines, croaks of laughter, and a that sounded like a cross between a bark and a croak. Their vocalizations could be both loud and throaty. Some members of the species had both a common name, known to outsiders, and a formal name, revealed only to close confidants. Frog-dogs relied heavily on their tongues to interact with the world around them; they tasted people to get a feel for them, as they could tell a great deal about a person by his or her flavor. The tongue also expressed emotion: curling in disgust, or tickling the roof of the mouth with joy.
Frog-dogs at rest often lay with the belly on the ground and the legs splayed, but some also stood upright with the tail held outstretched. They moved by shuffling on their two legs or by hopping. Despite this form of locomotion, frog-dogs could move with great stealth. If threatened, frog-dogs could fight by biting with their sharp teeth and shaking its opponent back and forth.
- "What's so funny, little one?"
"I ate the detonation link, my teacher. The crucial part in Ree-Yees's plan."
- ―B'omarr monk Evilo Nailati and Buboicullaar
As early as the period after the signing of the Treaty of Coruscant, frog-dogs were known in the galaxy. At the time, a Huttball sports team took its name from the two-legged species. The Frog-dogs played a game against a rival team, the Rotworms, on Nar Shaddaa, the smuggler's moon.
Frog-dogs at large in the galaxy often found employ as assassins and spies, occupations in which they took advantage of the fact that other sentients often took them for non-sentient beasts. Other members of the species worked as watchbeasts, keeping guard for intruders on their employers' property.
Buboicullaar, known to the members of Jabba's court as Bubo, lived in the Hutt's palace in 4 ABY. He was considered the pet of a tribe of Jawas and given the official role of Jabba's personal watchbeast, tasked with alerting the court to anyone entering the throne room. When the droids C-3PO and R2-D2 arrived in the palace in 4 ABY—and the protocol droid kicked him—Bubo announced their presence by giving a throaty croak. The Gran Ree-Yees was placed in charge of the frog-dog's feeding and care, which prompted him to use Bubo in an attempt to kill Jabba. The Gran hid a demolitions transmitter among Bubo's flaps of skin. Nevertheless, Bubo hated his keeper, and he ate the device, foiling Ree-Yees's plan.
Bubo played up the misconception that he was non-sentient because, in reality, he was a spy and assassin who had been contracted to kill the Hutt; playing dumb allowed him unfettered access to the palace and proximity to his target. During his stay, Bubo befriended the B'omarr monks who roamed the palace halls in brain walkers. The frog-dog studied under the guidance of the monk Evilo Nailati, and the monks were the only inhabitants of the palace to whom Bubo revealed his sentience. After Jabba was killed by the enslaved Princess Leia Organa during the Battle of the Great Pit of Carkoon, Bubo gave up his life as an assassin and voluntarily allowed the B'omarr monks to remove his brain from his cranium and place it in a brain walker. In this form, he spent his time pondering philosophy and the universe.
Behind the scenes
Industrial Light & Magic created the frog-dog Bubo as one of the background aliens for Jabba's Palace in the film Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, which was first released in 1983. The prototype maquette for the creature had a more upright stance than the final creation, standing on his two legs and not dragging the ground. The final character was a suit worn on the upper half of an actor's body while the performer's legs were hidden in a false floor. In the decades since the film's release, Bubo has often been confused with another creature seen in the film, the worrt. The two are members of different species.
Frog-dogs appear in the 1994 video game Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi as enemy characters in levels representing Jabba the Hutt's dance hall and his palace. The game allows the player to take on the role of Chewbacca, Leia Organa, or Luke Skywalker for these stages. The boss enemy of the Jabba's Palace level is a giant frog-dog who spits smaller frog-dogs from its mouth. Because these events conflict with those of the Return of the Jedi film, this article treats them as non-canonical.
Author Daryl F. Mallett expanded on Bubo's backstory in his 1996 short story Tongue-tied: Bubo's Tale, providing his full name—Buboicullaar—and revealing him to be a frog-dog. Mallett was also the first author to establish the species' sentience. Nevertheless, the Jabba's Palace Limited expansion of the Star Wars Customizable Card Game treats Bubo as a non-sentient creature rather than an intelligent character. Other sources have followed Mallett's designation. In the story Goatgrass: The Tale of Ree-Yees, author Deborah Wheeler calls the character "a bubo" at one point, although it is unknown if this is a mistake or if "bubo" is a general term for all frog-dogs.
Bubo has since appeared in various adaptations of Return of the Jedi, including the Marvel comics version and the manga adaptation. Similarly, frog-dogs have become fixtures of Jabba's court in stories such as Jabba the Hutt: Betrayal and Star Wars Infinities: The Empire Strikes Back, wherein they appear but play no major role.
- Star Wars: The Old Republic Cartel Market
- Star Wars: The Old Republic (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic—Rise of the Hutt Cartel (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars (1998) 8
- Lone Wolf: A Tale of Obi-Wan and Luke
- Jabba the Hutt: Betrayal
- Debts to Pay (Picture only)
- Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card Game
- Adventures in Hyperspace: Fire Ring Race
- Adventures in Hyperspace: Shinbone Showdown
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi (First appearance)
- "Lapti Nek": The Music Video from Jabba's Palace
- Return of the Jedi 1
- Classic Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
- Star Wars Manga: Return of the Jedi 1
- Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi PhotoComic
- Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Cine-Manga
- Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
- Goatgrass: The Tale of Ree-Yees
- Tongue-tied: Bubo's Tale (First identified as Frog-dog)
- Skin Deep: The Fat Dancer's Tale
- Epilogue: Whatever Became Of...?
- Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Coloring Book (Luke Skywalker) (Picture only)
- Return of the Jedi Monster Activity Book
- Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game (Picture only)
- A Guide to the Star Wars Universe, Second Edition, Revised and Expanded
- The Essential Guide to Characters
- Star Wars: Chronicles
- Star Wars Customizable Card Game – Jabba's Palace Limited (Card: Bubo) (backup link)
- Star Wars Customizable Card Game – Jabba's Palace Limited (Card: Jabba's Palace: Audience Chamber) (backup link) (Picture only)
- Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: Behind the Magic
- Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars: The Action Figure Archive (Picture only)
- A Guide to the Star Wars Universe, Third Edition, Revised and Expanded
- "Who's Who in Jabba's Palace" – Star Wars Insider 60
- Inside the Worlds of Star Wars Trilogy (Picture only)
- Star Wars: Complete Locations (Picture only)
- Sideshow Collectibles (Buboicullaar Creature Pack)
- Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 6 (Picture only)
- "Master & Apprentice" – Star Wars Insider 102 (Picture only)
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card Game – Squadrons Over Corellia (Card: Jabba the Hutt) (Picture only)
- Star Wars: Tatooine Adventures (Picture only)
- Star Wars: Head-to-Head Tag Teams
- Star Wars Galaxies Memory Book
- "Rogues Gallery: An Audience with Jabba the Hutt" – Star Wars Insider 134
- Star Wars: The Ultimate Action Figure Collection
- The Essential Reader's Companion
- Star Wars: What Makes a Monster?
- "Take a Tour of Jabba's Palace!"—Star Wars Magazine 2
Notes and references
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. I, p. 296.
- Star Wars: Behind the Magic.
- Star Wars: Head-to-Head Tag Teams, p. 36.
- Jabba the Hutt: Betrayal.
- Star Wars (1998) 8.
- Classic Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
- Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
- Goatgrass: The Tale of Ree-Yees.
- Tongue-tied: Bubo's Tale.
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. I, p. 96.
- "Who's Who in Jabba's Palace" – Star Wars Insider 60, p. 86.
- Sideshow Collectibles (Buboicullaar Creature Pack).
- The Essential Guide to Characters, p. 132.
- A Guide to the Star Wars Universe, Second Edition, Revised and Expanded, p. 70.
- Star Wars Encyclopedia, p. 37.
- Star Wars: Chronicles, p. 228.
- Skin Deep: The Fat Dancer's Tale.
- Star Wars: Behind the Magic, Star Wars Encyclopedia, p. 37, and The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. I, p. 297, all suggest that frog-dogs are highly intelligent, but the Sideshow Collectibles "Buboicullaar Creature Pack" calls them only barely intelligent. This article follows the majority of sources.
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. I, p. 297.
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi.
- Star Wars Customizable Card Game – Jabba's Palace Limited (Card: Bubo) (backup link).
- This frog-dog is visible in Jabba the Hutt: Betrayal. It is unclear whether this individual is supposed to be Buboicullaar or another member of the species.
- Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card Game – Galactic Hunters (Card: Ree-Yees).
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. III, p. 89.
- This is in keeping with Leland Chee's explanation of canon levels: