- "I can dance. If I could have one wish…"
"I would dance the perfect dance. Once. It wouldn't matter who watched. I would know it was perfect."
- ―Oola and Yarna d'al' Gargan
Oola was a female Twi'lek dancer in Jabba the Hutt's court. She was the daughter of a clan chieftain on Ryloth and tricked into becoming a dancer by Bib Fortuna and Jerris Rudd as a gift to Jabba. She was also the half sister of Nolaa Tarkona, the leader of the Diversity Alliance. She was eaten alive by the rancor in Jabba's palace, but by then she had already decided death was far better than another day as Jabba's slave.
Before Jabba's Palace
- "Won't you let me help you? You won't get a second… chance. Do you know 'chance'?"
"We've been chosen to dance in Jabba's palace, the grandest on Tatooine. We're a pair. We go to Jabba together."
"It's the grandest on Tatooine, all right. But I have business there. It won't be pleasant. Jabba's palace isn't what you think."
- ―Luke Skywalker offers Oola a chance
Oola was a Twi'lek female from Ryloth. By 3 ABY, Oola's father was the renowned chief of his eight hundred–person clan, granting both himself and his family considerable power and influence. Despite this, he provided Oola with little or no formal education, as Twi'lek society held that educating women was a threat to male authority. She instead devoted herself to dancing, which won her dozens of admirers, including the visiting Twi'lek criminal, Bib Fortuna. Clan custom gave Oola's father the right to sell her, but Fortuna had doubts that the chief would agree to this. Instead of paying her father, he abducted and enslaved Oola.
To increase their value, Fortuna purchased expensive dance education for Oola and another Twi'lek he had captured, Sienn'rha (Sienn). They received four months of training with the court dancers on Ryloth. Though Oola could not escape her enslavement, she loved to dance and saw her clan's traditions as a preservation of dignity and faith that the court dancers lacked. Oola was protective of Sienn, who was younger and more vulnerable. The first Human that Oola ever met, Jerris Rudd, assisted Fortuna with transporting the enslaved dancers to Mos Eisley on Tatooine for delivery to Jabba's Palace. They were initially delayed by stormtroopers inspecting their vehicle, searching for the Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker.
When Rudd told the Twi'leks to hide from predators until he returned, Oola and Sienn were fearful. Skywalker, who was indeed on Tatooine, sensed their fear and located them. He recognized their enslavement and tried to convince both Twi'leks to leave with him. Fortuna and his people had lied to Oola about the conditions that awaited her; they had claimed that her new master would be handsome, that she would be surrounded by luxury at the Palace while her audience appreciated her dancing, and that the Rebel Alliance was worse than the Empire. Oola thus doubted Skywalker's claim that he could bring her to safety with the Rebel Alliance, and wanted to see what Palace life was like, naively thinking she would be able to leave at any time. However, she knew Sienn was vulnerable, and helped the girl escape with Skywalker by holding Fortuna back while Skywalker used his lightsaber to defeat Rudd. Oola allowed Fortuna to believe that she had merely wanted no rivals at Jabba's Palace, and he delivered her to Jabba the Hutt.
At Jabba's Palace
- "That's the difference between us. For all of your six million forms of communication, you're faithless."
"I beg your pardon. I have every faith in Master Luke. He will rescue me."
"Perhaps I can survive this. I'll do my b—"
- ―Oola and C-3PO, before being interrupted by Jabba the Hutt
Oola quickly learned she had been lied to about everything. Rather than the customary dancing veils she had envisioned, she was given only a flimsy net costume loosely held together by narrow leather strips, and a headpiece that nearly deafened her. Jabba was immediately enamored with her, and kept her chained her by the neck to his throne as his personal property. Over the course of two days and nights, she could not sleep and was forced to dance for the crime lord. She was only thrown scraps of food if she groveled to Jabba, along with food that the Hutt suspected was poisoned. She tested each of her chain's links, hoping to break them and escape, but found that none were weak enough. The few words of Huttese she knew meant "no," "please no," and "emphatically no," which she used to reject the Hutt's advances. As punishment, his Gamorrean guards beat her, but in a way that did not leave her with any disfiguring bruises. She wished they had so that she might become repulsive to the Hutt. She was determined to escape from her horrible existence, whether by getting free from the palace or by death. Unlike her fellow dancer, the Askajian Yarna d'al' Gargan, she did not believe it was worth enduring anything just to survive, as the Great Dance and bright, clean eternity awaited beyond Death.
When she witnessed Jabba execute a prisoner by feeding him to his rancor, she was terrified. Not long after, the protocol droid C-3PO arrived with a message for Jabba the Hutt from Skywalker, whom she recognized from their encounter mere days before. Oola was able to speak with C-3PO, who told her that Skywalker was indeed going to return to rescue them. Just as she expressed a renewed hope that she would have a second chance to escape with Skywalker, Jabba pulled her chain and half-strangled her.
Death and legacy
- "Na chuba negatorie! Na! Na! Natoota…"
- ―Oola's final words
As Oola danced for the last time, she felt a sense of rapture at finally achieving perfect sensual poise, and was determined to continue defying Jabba the Hutt. Initially more angry than frightened, Oola refused when he pulled on her chain, and grabbed her end to haul it back. He became furious and tugged harder, bringing her over the trapdoor in front of his throne. She was terrified, but used her few words of Huttese to continue telling him no.
Once Oola was standing above the trapdoor, Jabba dropped her into the rancor pit to suffer the same fate as others who resisted him, and she was eaten alive by the rancor. Her legend, however, would live on in the form of impersonator Dame Needa, who put on a nightly Oola tribute show at the Gardulla Oola hotel and casino in Mos Eisley.
Personality and traits
Oola was a female Twi'lek dancer who wanted a different and better life off of Ryloth. She waited for someone to help her leave and believed her hopes had come true when she met Bib Fortuna. Knowing how desperately Oola wanted to leave, Fortuna took advantage of her hopes by spinning lies to her about his boss. Oola believed every word and story he told her. She was tricked by him and did not listen to others who warned her about Fortuna and his master, Jabba.
Oola started envisioning what Jabba and his palace were like before she even met him. Despite allowing herself to be taken to Jabba as an enslaved being, she took pride in her work and skills of dancing; it was something she enjoyed. Her interest in having her skills and talents recognized was part of what made Oola foolish enough to trust Bib Fortuna and believe that she would be living in luxury. Another part of her naive nature was the lack of education in Twi'lek society, leaving Oola with no knowledge about the rest of the galaxy such as not trusting strangers like Fortuna and crime syndicates like the Hutts.
Oola trusted Bib Fortuna because he was a fellow Twi'lek, and also because she did not want to pass up an opportunity like the one Fortuna had offered. Even when Oola noticed the warnings that exposed a little truth about Fortuna, she still convinced herself that her choice to trust him was right. Oola's self-delusion caused her to ignore what was right in front of her, and refused help from Luke Skywalker as well as from others who tried to make her see the truth about Jabba. She was too headstrong to listen, and too proud to admit that Fortuna might not be trustworthy. Instead, she remained optimistic in her belief that Fortuna's stories could still be true. Her optimism kept Oola hoping that something good was going to happen in her life.
Oola was repulsed by her new master, and yet afraid for her own life if she refuses his demands. She would try to dance far away from Jabba as possible. However her thought and emotions would make her careless. When she heard that Skywalker was coming, she performed her best dance. She hoped that he would be pleased by it when he arrives to free her. Unfortunately, she moved with such rhythm and grace, Jabba was enticed by it. Oola was so lost in her dance, that she got too close to Jabba's throne. This made it easier for the Hutt to tug his slave girl towards him.
Behind the scenes
- "I remember doing Jedi in the daytime, then taking off my green make-up and going across town to put my cat make-up on in the evening."
- ―Femi Taylor, who filmed her role as Oola while performing in Cats
Oola was portrayed by actress and dancer Femi Taylor in the 1983 original trilogy film, Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi. Taylor portrayed Oola in both the original release and in additional scenes filmed later for the Special Edition. Since she had not significantly changed in appearance during the intervening 14 years, she wore her original costume with a new head-piece, and was filmed in close-ups, showing terror as the rancor approached.
- Star Wars: Obi-Wan (Appears on billboard only)
- LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
- Choose Your Own Star Wars Adventure: Return of the Jedi
- Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars
Notes and references
- Star Wars Character Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 96
- The Essential Atlas sets Return of the Jedi at the start of 4 ABY, and in "A Time to Mourn, a Time to Dance: Oola's Tale," Oola last saw her father four months prior; therefore, he achieved his position during or prior to 3 ABY.
- "A Time to Mourn, a Time to Dance: Oola's Tale"—Tales from Jabba's Palace
- "Let Us Prey: The Whiphid's Tale"—Tales from Jabba's Palace
- "Femi Taylor: Oola-La!"—Star Wars Insider 34
- Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi