Nalan Cheel was a Bith musician and professional bandfill player for the popular jizz band known as Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes. Like his band mates, Nalan was registered with the Intergalactic Federation of Musicians. Regions of Nalan's highly evolved brain allowed him a special acuity when it came to analyzing and relating to music. As such, his talents helped to greatly enhance the quality and popularity of the Modal Nodes' music.
Shortly before the Battle of Yavin, Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes had entered into an exclusive contract with the Tatooine crime lord Jabba Desilijic Tiure. They would routinely perform in the courts at Jabba's Palace and his Mos Eisley town house, but it didn't take long before they all regretted entering into a contract with the Hutt. Recognizing Jabba's penchant for executing underlings that displeased him at a moment's notice, the Modal Nodes began to fear for their lives. It would only be a matter of time before Jabba decided to make a snack of the musicians, by tossing one down into the dungeon abode of his pet rancor. Fortunately for them, a golden opportunity was fresh at hand.
One of Jabba's rivals, a Whiphid named Lady Valarian, offered the band 3,000 credits to perform at her wedding to the Whiphid hunter D'Wopp. Figrin decided that the fast money would enable them to get off of Tatooine and out from under the thumb of Jabba the Hutt. They arrived at the Star Chamber Café reception hall inside the Lucky Despot Hotel & Casino in Mos Eisley.
Jabba learned of the Modal Nodes' breach of contract and sent several of his bounty hunters to the casino to disrupt the festivities. As luck would have it, Imperial stormtroopers likewise raided the party, and a massive firefight broke out. During the confusion, the Modal Nodes met a party guest named Wuher, who showed them a quick way out. Wuher put in a good word for them with Chalmun—a Wookiee who owned a nearby cantina where Wuher tended bar. Chalmun hired the Modal Nodes to play a couple of gigs at his bar, the following evening. They were performing the day Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi entered the cantina seeking a pilot willing to ferry them to the Alderaan system. They continued to perform at Chalmun's on a regular basis. Occasionally, Chalmun's night-shift manager, Ackmena, would liven the bar's atmosphere by singing along with the Modal Nodes' rhythms. However, Cheel was not present when they played during the Imperial curfew.
Shortly after this event, Figrin D'an wagered the band's instruments and equipment on a hand of sabacc. He lost the bet, but the Modal Nodes soon convinced him to win their equipment back. He eventually succeeded, and the Modal Nodes went on to play the intergalactic circuit.
Like many in the band, Nalan Cheel did not actually own his bandfill. All of the instruments and equipment were the property of Figrin D'an (the only exception to this was Doikk Na'ts, who custom built his own Fizzz).
Behind the scenes
In 1995, Kenner released a special Power of the Force series mail-in offer for a five-piece action-figure lot containing the members of the Modal Nodes. Nalan Cheel was one of the action figures featured in the set.
In 1997, Nalan Cheel was released as a twelve-inch action figure for the Wal-Mart exclusive Star Wars Collector Series.
In 2007, the Kenner mold was reissued as part of an exclusive Wal-Mart Commemorative Tin Set containing the members of the Modal Nodes. This time, Nalan Cheel and the other figures were given fabric vests.
- "The Hovel on Terk Street"—Star Wars Tales 6
- We Don't Do Weddings: The Band's Tale
- Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope (First appearance)
- Empire Blues: The Devaronian's Tale
- Star Wars Missions 10: Showdown in Mos Eisley
- Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided
- (Picture only)
- (Picture only)
- Galaxy Guide 4: Alien Races
- The Essential Guide to Characters
- Star Wars Encyclopedia
- "Who Is That Alien?"—Star Wars Kids 5
- "Star Wars Kids Answer Quest"—Star Wars Kids 5
- Star Wars: The Action Figure Archive
- Ultimate Alien Anthology
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 38 (DAN1-2, Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes)
- Star Wars Customizable Card Game – A New Hope Limited (Card: Nalan Cheel) (backup link)
- Jedi Knights Trading Card Game – Masters of the Force (Card: Nalan Cheel) (backup link)
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: Head-to-Head Tag Teams
- The Essential Reader's Companion
- (Picture only)