The Letaki were a species of sentient beings distinguished by eight tentacles, an egg-shaped head, four eyes, and a sharp beak. Two sets of gills allowed them to breathe in both air and water. They were able to focus their eyes on more than one object at a time, and to use their limbs to manipulate several items independently. As carnivores, Letaki gutted their dinners. The Letaki vocal range was higher than that of most species. The musician Evar Orbus, leader of Evar Orbus and His Galactic Jizz-Wailers, was a Letaki, and his species hailed from the Letaki system in the Outer Rim.
Biology and appearance
With eight tentacles and at least two feet, the Letaki were a non-humanoid sentient species. They were able to use several tentacles in tandem, which allowed a Letaki musician to play a number of instruments simultaneously. The sheer multiplicity of their appendages made it difficult for non-Letaki to keep all the manipulators apart, a weakness that the Letaki Evar Orbus exploited by wearing a prosthetic arm in which he hid a weapon. At least some Letaki sported pink skin mottled with a darker shade.
An ovoid head sat atop the Letaki neck and torso. The egg-shaped cranium featured four shiny, black eyes; a sharp, stubby, yellow beak; and two pointed ears. A Letaki was able to focus each of the four visual organs independently, an ability that allowed members of the species to monitor several directions at once. Their sense of hearing was comparatively less developed, falling below the aural capabilities of the Bith species. The Letaki tongue was dark pink in color. Six short, fleshy appendages with ventral suction cups formed a line across the brow. Letaki had two sets of gills, which enabled them to breathe both in an atmosphere and underwater. The air gills resembled flaps of skin, located behind the eyes.
Letaki came in two sexes, male and female. They were carnivores who gutted their dinner before eating it. When he encountered a group of Letaki around 2 ABY, the Human smuggler Han Solo assumed the Letaki beak would make drinking difficult; nevertheless, the Human found the tentacled beings' behavior erratic and assumed they were intoxicated. Letaki blood was colored green. The species was capable of prodigious vocal abilities; the voice of Evar Orbus, for instance, ranged across eleven sectaves.
Society and culture
Letaki used their tentacles to gesture and point during communication. They expressed emotions through their sense organs, which fluttered to convey feelings. Conversely, Han Solo assumed that Letaki likely would not to be able to read the subtleties of Human facial expressions. At least some Letaki were comfortable in arid environments like that of the planet Tatooine. Members of the species were known to wear clothing.
The Letaki evolved in the Letaki system. Outsiders reached the system at some point between 5000 and 1000 BBY, and it eventually became incorporated into the Steniplis sector of the Outer Rim Territories, part of a region of the galaxy known as the Western Reaches. In 9 ABY, during the hostilities between the New Republic and the forces of Grand Admiral Thrawn, the Letaki's home system fell within territory considered allied to the Imperial leader. Decades later, in 137 ABY, the system had fallen within the sphere of influence of the Sith Lord Darth Krayt's Galactic Empire.
Letaki in the galaxy
- "Wait! I'm Evar Orbus!"
"Of the Evar Orbus Galactic Jizz-wailers. Perhaps you've heard of us?"
- ―Evar Orbus and a Bith musician
One Letaki who gained a level of prominence in the galaxy was Evar Orbus, a musician who founded a band known as Evar Orbus and His Galactic Jizz-Wailers. When Orbus and his group made their way to Tatooine under a contract to play at the Wookiee Chalmun's cantina, Orbus felt he had hit the big time. However, the cantina's current band, Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes, resented the competition; under the pretense of sending an airbus to transport Orbus and his group to their new performance venue, they attacked the Letaki and his crew. Although Orbus was able to defend himself with a weapon hidden in a fake tentacle, he was fatally wounded in the skirmish. The other members of his group, under the nominal leadership of the Ortolan Max Rebo, renamed themselves the Max Rebo Band and found work for Jabba the Hutt.
Circa 2 ABY, a group of Letaki was present within a played-out asteroid mine. The Letaki were approached by the Human pirate Alia Terae, whom they told about the slave trade that passed through the asteroid and the path through the mine's tunnels to reach the slave holding pens. Terae then led her companions, Han Solo and the Human pilot Sian Tesar, per the Letaki's instructions.
Behind the scenes
Author John Gregory Betancourt created the Letaki Evar Orbus for his short story "And the Band Played On: The Band's Tale," which relates the events that led the Max Rebo Band to join Jabba the Hutt's court. The story was included in the collection Tales from Jabba's Palace, which was first published by Bantam Spectra in 1996. Later sources, such as the Star Wars Encyclopedia, reference Orbus and his species but reveal no new information about them; The Official Star Wars Fact File 46 even misspells the species's name as "Lataki." A portrait of Orbus provided by artist Justine Mara Andersen for the article "Who's Who in the Max Rebo Band," published in the May 2003 Star Wars Insider 67, is the first and only visual depiction of the species; it lacks certain features attributed to the species by other sources, such as an additional pair of eyes and visible gills. With the release of the March 2011 update of Star Wars: The Essential Atlas Online Companion, a supplement to The Essential Atlas, authors Jason Fry and Daniel Wallace added a Letaki system to the database, placing the species's home system for the first time. The book Razor's Edge, written by Martha Wells and published by Del Rey in 2013, provides new information about the Letaki, such as the ability to become intoxicated. However, the scene is narrated from Han Solo's point of view, leaving unclear whether his suppositions are correct.
- Star Wars 12 (Mentioned only)
- And the Band Played On: The Band's Tale (First appearance)
- Razor's Edge
- The Essential Guide to Characters
- Star Wars Encyclopedia
- "Who's Who in the Max Rebo Band"—Star Wars Insider 67 (First pictured)
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 46 (MAX1–2, The Max Rebo Band) (As Lataki)
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Essential Reader's Companion
Notes and references
- "And the Band Played On: The Band's Tale"
- "Who's Who in the Max Rebo Band"—Star Wars Insider 67, p. 44
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 46 (MAX1, The Max Rebo Band)
- Jason Fry, co-author of The Essential Atlas, stated his intention to create homeworlds for numerous species based on context implied from their names. Letaki appears to be one such case.
- Star Wars 12
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. II, p. 251 ("Letaki")
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. II, p. 419 ("Orbus, Evar")
- Star Wars Encyclopedia, p. 177
- Razor's Edge, Chapter 6
- The Essential Atlas, p. 121
- The Essential Atlas, p. 36
- The Essential Atlas, p. 200
- The Essential Atlas, p. 226
- "Who's Who in the Max Rebo Band"—Star Wars Insider 67, p. 43
- Razor's Edge, Chapter 7
- The Letaki system does not appear in the earlier version of the document, which was released in June 2010.