- "There's…too many of them!"
- ―Gureni Telsij
Gureni Telsij was a human male who served as a lieutenant and pilot in the Alliance to Restore the Republic during the Galactic Civil War. At the Battle of Endor in 4 ABY, he flew a BTL-A4 Y-wing assault starfighter/bomber as part of Gray Squadron, jumping to the Endor system in order to try and destroy the Galactic Empire's Death Star II superweapon.
After the Alliance Fleet realized that it had fallen into a trap, hundreds of TIE fighters and TIE interceptors attacked the rebels, causing Telsij to declare that there were too many of the enemy. Moments later, the pilot was killed when his Y-wing was hit by enemy fire.
Lieutenant Gureni Telsij was a human male who served as a pilot in the Starfighter Corps of the Alliance to Restore the Republic during the Galactic Civil War against the Galactic Empire. He flew a BTL-A4 Y-wing assault starfighter/bomber as part of Gray Squadron, a mixed starfighter squadron of A/SF-01 B-wing starfighters, RZ-1 A-wing interceptors and Y-wings under the command of Gray Leader Horton Salm. In 4 ABY, the squadron flew alongside Red Squadron, Green Squadron, and Gold Squadron during the Alliance Fleet's attack on the Imperial Death Star II superweapon over the moon of Endor.
Believing that they had the element of surprise and that the Death Star's shields were down, the fleet traveled through hyperspace from the Sullust system to the Endor system and prepared for an attack run on the battle station; however, after discovering that the Empire was jamming them, Alliance General Lando Calrissian realized that they had fallen into a trap. The general warned the rebel pilots that the shields were still up and called off the attack run, but as the entire fleet pulled away from the station, they discovered a large Imperial fleet emerging from the far side of the moon.
As hundreds of TIE fighters and interceptors engaged the Alliance pilots, Telsij declared that there were too many enemy ships. Moments later, he was killed when his fighter was struck by enemy fire. The Alliance went on to ultimately destroy the Death Star and claim a major victory at Endor, although not without heavy casualties.
Personality and traits
While piloting his Y-wing at Endor, Telsij wore a gray flight suit, with Gray Squadron's flight suit at the time consisting of a pressurized g-suit overall with an equipment overvest and a pair of black flight gloves. Telsij's red, white, and yellow flight helmet was decorated with a row of slanted green lines above its fitted facetted glare visor, with the visor protecting him from radiation generated by starlight, weapon fire, or explosions. It was also equipped with a connection point for a respirator and a built in wireless communicator linked to his Y-wings comms package.
The helmet was personalized with red symbols on the top and back and a partially worn off red and white emblem on the chin, the latter of which was also present on the helmets of Salm and the pilot Red Two during the Battle of Endor, and on the helmet of a weapons system officer in the squadron. Other markings on Telsij's helmet included a red logo and a green pattern on the right side of the helmet.
Behind the scenes
Gureni Telsij appeared in the 1983 original trilogy film, Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, and was the first Star Wars character portrayed by an Asian actor with dialogue. According to stage director Hilary Westlake, the actor who portrayed Telsij is likely to have been Eiji Kusuhara, who is listed on a call sheet for the film as a "Y-Wing pilot." Westlake was a close friend of Kusuhara's and wrote the latter's obituary. After viewing footage of Telsij's scene, Westlake told NPR that, "Albeit brief, I would say it is most certainly Eiji."
The Y-wing cockpit scenes for Return of the Jedi were filmed on Stage 9 at Elstree Studios between March 2 and March 11, 1982. The footage of Telsij in the film has been mirrored based on comparison of his helmet with behind the scenes photos of the prop. The emblem on the chin of Telsij, Salm, and Red Two's helmet is a tattered sticker from "Radio Free Bolinas," a San Francisco Bay Area broadcaster.
Naming and errors
In the new Star Wars canon, the 2015 reference book Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know first identified the character as just "Lieutenant Telsij," a name originating in the Star Wars Legends continuity, where it was first used in the "Death Star II Limited" set of the Star Wars Customizable Card Game released by Decipher, Inc. in 2000. The 2019 canon reference book Rebel Starfighters Owners' Workshop Manual, written by Ryder Windham, then provided Telsij with the first name Gureni.
The StarWars.com Databank incorrectly identifies a photo of Telsij as Ekelarc Yong, another Y-wing pilot seen in Return of the Jedi. This error was repeated on a card released in 2021 in the Star Wars: Card Trader app.
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi (First appearance)
- Star Wars: Return of the Jedi junior novelization
- Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know (First identified as Telsij)
- Star Wars: I Am a Pilot (Picture only)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 26 (Helmets: Y-wing Pilot) (Picture only)
- Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know, Updated and Expanded
- Rebel Starfighters Owners' Workshop Manual (First identified as Gureni)
- Ekelarc Yong) (Misidentified as
- (Misidentified as Ekelarc Yong)
Notes and references
- The Star Wars: Return of the Jedi junior novelization states that Gureni Telsij was killed in the Endor system during the Battle of Endor, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 4 ABY.
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
- Rebel Starfighters Owners' Workshop Manual
- Star Wars: Geektionary: The Galaxy from A - Z
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
- Star Wars: Return of the Jedi junior novelization
- Star Wars: On the Front Lines
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 26 (Helmets: Y-wing Pilot)
- Star Wars: X-Wing Second Edition – Phoenix Cell Squadron Pack (Card: )
- The Making of Return of the Jedi
- Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy
- Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know
- Star Wars Customizable Card Game – Death Star II Limited (Card: Lieutenant Telsij) (backup link)
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