- "Good afternoon, Kalend, Rycar, Kal, Elis, Nabrun, Az-Iban…thank you for coming. I trust the refreshments are adequate. I have some merchandise I need moved along the Sisar Run. It is quite an important cargo, so I've contacted each of you to make the run to ensure that at least some of it gets through. Your crew will be paid 5,000 credits for the run, with a 5,000 credit bonus if you are the first to deliver your final payload. Those who are interested, remain seated. Those who are not, please leave."
- ―Mal Biron, offering a cargo to Nabrun Leids and a number of other smugglers
The Morseerians were a sentient species distinguished by four arms and methane-based respiration. Most of a Morseerian's body was covered in semitransparent skin that showed the underlying internal organs. The exception was the elongated head, which featured large, black eyes, a small nose, and a thin, triangle-shaped mouth. When found on planets with an oxygen-rich atmosphere, Morseerians wore full environment suits and breath masks that provided the methane they needed to survive. They usually flew ships that supported methane environments and employed crew members who could survive in such conditions.
Morseerians carefully guarded the identity and location of their homeworld from outsiders, and little was known about their history or culture except that they were a reserved and secretive people who had several colonies—including the world Morseer, for which they were named. The Morseerians were clients of the Drackmarians of Quelii sector; after that species was defeated by the Galactic Empire, Morseer came under the dominion of the Empire. During the Galactic Civil War, Imperial investigations into the location of the species' homeworld drove many members of the species to secretly support the Alliance to Restore the Republic. A few Morseerians gained fame in the galaxy at large, including the fighter pilot–turned–smuggler Nabrun Leids.
Biology and appearance
- "Did you hear that?"
"There's someone in here!"
- ―Morseerian pirates in their Mos Espa base hear Anakin Skywalker in the next room
Morseerians were a sentient, bipedal species whose bodies were essentially humanoid. With rare exceptions, though, Morseerians had four arms where humanoids had two. While the upper two limbs were similar or slightly larger in size to those of a comparable Human, the lower pair, which extended from a second set of shoulders, were slightly smaller. These extra arms made them adept climbers and multi-taskers and aided them while grappling in combat or wielding multiple weapons. While all Morseerians had opposing thumbs, individuals had varying numbers of digits on their hands: some had five per hand, others had four, while still others made do with three.
Morseerians had oblong, conical heads covered in overlapping scales of brown, gray, white, green, purple, or tan. The rest of their bodies were covered in greenish, translucent skin that revealed the inner workings of their organs and the flow of their blood. Their large, black eyes lacked pupils and were located above a tiny nose and a triangular mouth slit. Some members of the species had keen hearing. Both males and females had slender builds similar to those of Humans in their early teens, although breasts distinguished adult females from males. Morseerians stood from 1.5 to 1.7 meters tall. They entered adolescence at age thirteen and adulthood at eighteen, and their life expectancy was eighty standard years.
In standard atmospheres, Morseerian biology required them to take special measures that made them look bizarre to strangers. Members of the species required methane-rich gas for respiration; exposure to an oxygen-rich, methane-poor atmosphere suffocated a Morseerian in minutes. Accordingly, those Morseerians encountered by outsiders almost always appeared in full environment suits. A typical example of this protective gear was form-fitting—although looser suits were also found—and included a complex breath mask. It used an incorporated supply of methane to create an atmosphere similar to that of the Morseerian home planet. Masks featured goggles to protect the eyes and straps to attach to the head; a side effect was that they made the wearer's voice sound mechanical, similar to a droid's vocoder. The durable suits rarely needed repairs or replacement and were built with redundant air pockets and filtration systems so that they still offered protection in the event of a tear or a puncture. Although inconvenient, such suits provided additional protection against airborne toxins. On the other hand, they made their wearers vulnerable to fire, which could ignite the methane supply.
Society and culture
Morseerians were introverted, laconic, and secretive. They preferred to keep to themselves, talking to strangers only to obtain information from them. This loner nature prompted Morseerians to avoid confrontation, although they were more than willing to defend themselves if targeted by others.
The Morseerian obsession with secrecy was perhaps most pronounced with regard to the name and location of their homeworld. The planet was uncharted by any but the Morseerians themselves, although rumor placed it in the Outer Rim Territories. A Morseerian would rather die than give up the location of the world. As a result, little was known about their native culture and customs. The Morseerians were at least nominally under the protection of the Drackmarian species. Although the details of the relationship were unclear to outsiders, at least some Morseerians entered into individual contracts with Drackmarian overlords. Breaking such an agreement earned not only the enmity of the Drackmarian master but also a price on the Morseerian's head.
Morseerians spoke a language of the same name. Many learned to speak Basic or Huttese, although these were by no means universal skills. Morseerians had two-part names. Examples included Chall Bekan, Myor Devker, Shalthan Leeru, Nabrun Leids, Bargeth Relb, Nilek Rillion, and Flyrl Sacorbel.
The species had access to galactic-standard technology and manufactured hyperspace-capable starships. Morseerian craft were oval-shaped vessels that ranged in size from small shuttles to bulk freighters. Such ships provided their crew and passengers with a methane-rich atmosphere so that their occupants could move about freely with no need for environment suits.
- "What's that? A sick worrt?"
"Nah, dirty womp rat vermin."
- ―Morseerian pirates, mistaking Anakin Skywalker for a womp rat
The Morseerians evolved on a world known only to them, rumored to be somewhere in the Outer Rim. They lived on the fringes of galactic community for more than 12,000 years before the Battle of Yavin. At some point, they learned the workings of hyperspace technology and spread from their homeworld, whose location they were able to protect from outsiders. They also perfected their own starship designs. Morseerians found a niche just on the edges of galactic society, many taking up employment as galactic traders. At some point, they encountered merchants from the Squib species and established favorable trading status. The Morseerians founded colonies, the locations of which were not as closely guarded as that of their homeworld. The species came to be known as Morseerians after the colony world of Morseer, in the Morseer system of the Outer Rim Territories. They preferred environments conducive to their physiology; Morseer had a methane-rich atmosphere, for example, with vegetation beyond recognition to species only familiar with the flora of worlds with nitrogen–oxygen atmospheres.
At some point, the Morseerians came into conflict with a fellow methane-breathing species, the Drackmarians. The reptilians conquered the colony of Morseer, and the Morseerians became a client species under the protectorship of the Drackmarians as part of the greater Quelii sector.
During the Galactic Civil War, the Drackmarians opposed the Galactic Empire but were defeated and subjugated. Morseer was among the worlds claimed by the Empire as spoils of war, although the species officially remained clients of the Drackmarians. The new government instigated an initiative to locate the Morseerian homeworld, and the four-armed species began to secretly report to the Rebel Alliance on Imperial troop and fleet deployments. Nevertheless, few Morseerians openly supported the Rebellion, and a few even aided the Empire instead. In the end, the efforts of the Rebel sympathizers paid off, and the species' home system remained shrouded in secrecy. Following the Battle of Endor of 4 ABY, Morseer and the Quelii sector came under the control of the Imperial warlord Zsinj, only to be annexed by the remnants of the Empire upon Zsinj's death. By 137 ABY, Morseer had fallen within a region of space controlled by Darth Krayt as part of his Sith Empire.
Morseerians in the galaxy
Although far from common and rarely seen further Coreward than the Expansion Region, Morseerians were encountered on their colonies and at the fringes of society on other worlds. Morseerian spacers preferred ships of their own design or outdated freighters from other manufacturers that had been modified to provide a methane atmosphere. Crews of such vessels tended to be other Morseerians or members of species comfortable in such conditions, such as Chadra-Fan and Gand.
Because many Morseerians in the greater galaxy took up trading, merchants were in many ways the public face of the species. They preferred to deal with partners with whom they had enjoyed good relations and a bit of luck in the past, particularly Squibs. Morseerians were spotted in cantinas and spaceports across the galaxy, including one in Mos Espa on Tatooine, Void Station, the Lazy Bergruutfa Cantina on Betha II, StarForge Station, the Power Dive on Ord Mantell, and Chalmun's Spaceport Cantina on Tatooine. At least a few Morseerians ventured into the Unknown Regions and joined the roving Ebruchi pirates, an adoption that involved them accepting Ebruchi culture as well.
A Morseerian guard served the Black Sun Vigo Darnada in 33 BBY; like the rest of Darnada's entourage, the Morseerian was killed in a strike by the Sith Lord Darth Maul. A pair of Morseerian pirates had a base on Tatooine; when on the planet, they sometimes traded with the Toydarian trader Watto for spare parts. In 32 BBY, the pirates had accumulated a large stash of hard currency in various denominations. While in the next room, they heard someone in the treasure chamber, but upon investigation it seemed like nothing more than a womp rat. Later, though, they heard the unmistakable sound of someone going through their treasure chest. There, they found a young Human boy—unbeknownst to them, a nine-year old slave named Anakin Skywalker, who was leading a group of escaped slave children to a rendezvous with smugglers who would take them from the planet. The child attacked them with a beamdrill, the flame of which would have ignited the methane supplies in their suits. When the boy escaped with a portion of their loot into the sewers, the narrow entrance would not permit the Morseerians to follow him, and he got away. During the Clone Wars, a Morseerian orphan was one of ten younglings kidnapped from the planet Abregado-rae by the Twi'lek woman Kuvuta Pindi for transport to the Neimoidian criminal Dool Pundar on the planet Foless, where they were to be sold into slavery. The Twi'lek conned the Jedi Knight Nuru Kungurama and his partner, Big Gizz, to help her by claiming she was transporting the children to a placement center for the Republic Children's Aid organization. However, upon arrival at Foless, Foless Spaceport Authority alerted Kungurama and Giz to Pindi's scheme. The two rescued the Morseerian and the other orphans, who were then placed with families.
Another Morseerian spacer of note was Nabrun Leids. Although more than qualified as a fighter pilot, he broke his contract with a Drackmarian warlord named Omogg who operated in the Quelii sector. Leids earned a bounty for his trouble and fled into the Outer Rim. There he traded a life of high-speed dogfights for one of smuggling. Leids flew a modified Ghtroc Industries 720 freighter called the Scarlet Vertha and specialized in moving cargos between the Sisar Run and the Triellus Trade Route that led to Tatooine. For the right price, he offered his services to transport passengers anywhere they needed to go. At some point, Leids began a partnership with the Bimm smuggler Rycar Ryjerd. Although the two eventually parted company and found themselves competing for the same cargos, they maintained a competitive camaraderie. In fact, Leids and Ryjerd were both present at the Mos Eisley Cantina in 0 BBY when Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker chartered the services of Han Solo and Chewbacca for transit to Alderaan. In 3 ABY, Leids and his crew entered a smuggling race against Ryjerd and others. They took on a cargo from the Shistavanen Mal Biron on the planet Sriluur with the understanding that the team who delivered their cargo first would win a larger and more profitable cargo later.
Chall Bekan was another Morseerian who lived on Tatooine. During the Galactic Civil War, he became the leader of a cadre of non-Human informants. Bekan and his associates reported on the activities of both Jabba the Hutt and the Rebel Alliance.
Some time after the establishment of the New Republic, two Morseerians were present in a cantina patronized by smuggler Han Solo on an unidentified planet. The first was sitting at the bar, but the second burst into the cantina and seized a young Human who had been playing sabacc with Solo. The boy was the son of Senator Amara and the Morseerian claimed that he would be taken hostage for the Black Sun criminal organization. Nevertheless, the Morseerian was killed when Solo shot him with his blaster and freed the prisoner.
No known Force-using tradition existed among the Morseerians, although some were rumored to have been Force adepts capable of tapping into the energy field. No Morseerian was ever known to have become a Jedi, nor were there any records of encounters between the species and the Jedi Order. Nevertheless, the fact that few outsiders ever saw a Morseerian without an environment suit meant that the presence of a Morseerian Jedi could not be ruled out.
Behind the scenes
- "I'm intrigued by the Morseerians in particular. This four-armed, gas mask-wearing species is prominently featured in the A New Hope cantina scene (and has even been immortalized in plastic) but almost nothing about them has ever been revealed in spinoff material. (And now I missed my chance, dammit.)"
- ―Daniel Wallace
The Morseerian species was designed as one of the background characters of the cantina scene of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, released in 1977. A production sketch shows that the species was at one point envisioned with no gas mask, pointed ears, and two double-jointed arms instead of four Human-like ones. Two Morseerian characters were created. During production and principal photography in London, England, the four-armed aliens were known as the "Plutonians" or "Squid Heads," the latter nickname later being applied to another squid-like alien during the filming of Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi. The four-armed alien's official name was slated to be "Quidultii." One of the characters is visible in the film near the bar, while the other sits in a booth. The Morseerian at the bar was played by a female extra.
In 1995, the game company Decipher, Inc. established the character to be a male pilot named Nabrun Leids and a member of the newly dubbed Morseerian species. The Truce at Bakura Sourcebook by Kathy Tyers and Eric S. Trautmann in 1996 added a few new details about the species, such as the connection between the Morseerians and the Drackmarians. The species' background was more fully fleshed out in Alien Anthology, a 2001 release by Steve Miller and Owen K.C. Stephens. Other appearances of the species have either been cameos (including the non-canon stories "The Emperor's Court" and "Smuggler's Blues") or recreations and flashbacks of the A New Hope cantina scene. In 2010, author Daniel Wallace included a reference to the Morseerians in the Wizards of the Coast book The Unknown Regions. In his blog, Wallace revealed that this was because the Morseerians are an "Unknown Regions species." He also lamented not taking the opportunity to flesh the species out more fully in the book.
Although Morseerian characters appeared in West End Games' Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, the species was never presented in a format useful to players who wished to portray such characters. In the game's rules, Morseerians receive an extra action each turn due to their four arms. The Wizards of the Coast version of the game, the Star Wars Roleplaying Game, explicitly allows Morseerian characters. Such individuals have no appreciable differences from Humans except for their four limbs and dependency on methane. Special rules govern Morseerians who wish to grapple foes in combat, as their four arms give them advantages over two-armed species.
Episode I Adventures Game Book 8: Trouble on Tatooine allows a player to take the role of one of the characters of the novel version of the story as the children make their way through the sewers of Mos Espa. The player may choose to portray Anakin Skywalker or his friends, Arawynne, Dorn, Kitster Banai, or Pala Kwi'teksa. The main sequence of events is identical to the novel version, although details may vary depending on whether the player succeeds or fails at various tasks. The choice of character also changes whom exactly the Morseerian pirates encounter. This article assumes that the novel version of the events is canonical.
Morseerian-like characters appear in two issues of the Marvel Star Wars comic book, but neither is conclusively identified by species. One of these is seen running from Han Solo and Chewbacca after a blaster fight on Aduba-3. The second is the boyfriend of a woman Solo dubs "Pig-face," who gets into a bar fight with the smuggler on Aduba-3 to defend his girlfriend.