Ponda Baba, also known by the alias "Sawkee" was a male Aqualish pirate who served as a loyal partner to Doctor Cornelius Evazan. He fulfilled the Aqualish stereotype of being an ill-tempered thug and his weapons of choice were the BlasTech SE-14C blaster pistol and a modified DL-21 blaster pistol.
Ponda Baba became Cornelius Evazan's partner after rescuing him from the bounty hunter Jodo Kast on Corellia. For a time, he considered betraying Evazan and collecting the sizable bounty being offered. He decided against betraying the Doctor, and they began smuggling spice for Jabba Desilijic Tiure.
One fateful day on Tatooine, Luke Skywalker entered Chalmun's Spaceport Cantina and sat down at the bar. After Baba, who was apparently drunk, growled a few words at Luke, Dr. Evazan informed Skywalker that his partner, Ponda Baba, did not like him. Despite Luke's efforts to avoid a confrontation, Ponda attacked him. The scuffle was ended when Obi-Wan Kenobi severed Baba's right arm with his lightsaber.
Evazan tried to use his medical knowledge to replace Baba's arm, but the surgery was a failure, almost resulting in Baba's death. The two parted ways, with Baba swearing to impart vengeance on his former partner.
After a partial reconciliation, they reunited and set up a base in a castle on Ando. Evazan had created a mind-transferring machine, which Baba hoped would give him a new body. Evazan lured an Andoan senator to the castle, then trapped him in his machine. When Baba was in place, Evazan started the machine. Their bodies switched, Ponda Baba had the senator's body, but the senator, now in Baba's body, escaped the machine and chased them to the rooftop. He tried to kill the doctor and Baba with a thermal detonator, but, they jumped off the roof just before the detonator exploded, which killed the senator. Ponda Baba and Evazan swore vengeance on each other, as previously before.
Ponda Baba was later wanted by the Corellian Security Force for attacking various locations on Corellia's neighboring planet Talus, with the help of his Aqualish gang the Followers of Baba. However, the CorSec could not take him in themselves, so they hired a spacer instead, who was successful in capturing Ponda Baba and dispersing the rest of his gang.
Behind the scenes
Ponda Baba first appeared in the novelization of A New Hope ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster and published in 1976, half a year before the film. Baba was unnamed and described as multi-eyed alien. He was accompanied by a short human and a rodent-like alien—early incarnations of Cornelius Evazan and Kabe. In this version, Obi-Wan Kenobi sliced Evazan's hand and cut Kabe and Baba in half. In the Revised Fourth Draft of the film—identifying Baba and Evazan as Creature and Human—the scene was about the same. In the final film Kabe didn't accompany Baba, and Obi-Wan dealt less drastically with the outlaws.
Ponda Baba had only the designation "Walrus Man", the name of his original Kenner action figure, until the 1981 Star Wars radio drama which called him "Sawkee." That name was overlooked in 1989, when he was given his proper name in Galaxy Guide 1: A New Hope. Sawkee was later referred to as an alias in Evazan's Databank entry on StarWars.com.
Tommy Ilsley played Ponda Baba in the film. A walrus supplied his vocalizations, although Tim Veekhoven and Mark Newbold, the authors of the Star Wars Blog entry "Drawing from the Present: Familiar Creatures in a Galaxy Far, Far Away," could not confirm whether the walrus was Petulia.
In a blooper, his arm has fin-like hands when still attached, but is furry and clawed in the close-up shots of the severed arm on the floor. This may have inspired the writers at West End Games to invent the finned and clawed subspecies of Aqualish in Galaxy Guide 4: Alien Races. Also, the severing of Ponda Baba's arm was one of the few lightsaber wounds that did not cauterize on contact; a pool of blood can be seen on the ground.
A parody of Ponda Baba's confrontation in Chalmun's Cantina is shown in Robot Chicken: Star Wars. In this appearance, Baba is not a hardened criminal, but a harmless architectural draftsman visiting the bar with his wild friend Evazan. As he sits by Luke Skywalker, the scene plays out just as it does in the movie, only Ponda is complimenting Luke on his hair even though it looks like he is pushing on him. Evazan takes advantage of Luke's inability to understand Baba, and makes Luke think they are dangerous, as per the original movie. As Baba tries to explain the misunderstanding to Luke, Obi-Wan Kenobi cuts his arm off. In the end, his Gran employer fires him as he lost his arm and can't draw out designs. Later, however, he receives 5,000 credits in damages in a lawsuit for the loss of his hand.
In LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, Ponda Baba is drinking in Cantina with Evazan, when Luke accidentally knocks down Baba's drinking glass. Angered, Baba pushes Luke to the ground and draws his blaster. Before he can shoot, Obi-Wan Kenobi cuts off both of Baba's arms (instead of just one). Baba dies shortly after in the video game (rather than survive as he does in the Expanded Universe), causing Evazan to quickly drink his glass empty, and flee from the scene.
- Rebel Dawn (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars Journal: The Fight for Justice (Indirect mention only)
- Hammertong: The Tale of the "Tonnika Sisters"
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope novel (First appearance)
- Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope junior novel
- Star Wars 2: Six Against the Galaxy
- The Mos Eisley Cantina Pop-Up Book
- Play It Again, Figrin D'an: The Tale of Muftak and Kabe
- The Sand Tender: The Hammerhead's Tale
- Nightlily: The Lovers' Tale
- Be Still My Heart: The Bartender's Tale
- Empire 15: Darklighter, Part 4 (Appears in flashback(s))
- Doctor Death: The Tale of Dr. Evazan and Ponda Baba
- (Appears in flashback(s))
- (Reprint) (Appears in flashback(s))
- Rebel Force: Renegade (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided
- Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card Game – Threat of the Conqueror (Followers of Baba promotional scenario)
- The Life and Legend of Obi-Wan Kenobi
- Star Wars Journal: Hero for Hire (Mentioned only)
- One Last Night in the Mos Eisley Cantina: The Tale of the Wolfman and the Lamproid
- Dark Force Rising (Indirect mention only)
- Darth Vader and Son
- LEGO Star Wars: Revenge of the Brick
- "Smuggler's Blues"—Star Wars Tales 14
- LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
- Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars
- LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
- "The Revenge of Tag & Bink"—Star Wars Tales 12
- The Return of Tag & Bink: Special Edition
- "The Emperor's Court"—Star Wars Tales 14
- "The Secret Tales of Luke's Hand!" (Arm only)
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 The Essential Guide to Characters
- ↑ Galaxy Guide 7: Mos Eisley
- ↑ Star Wars Character Encyclopedia
- ↑ Star Wars: Head-to-Head Tag Teams
- ↑ Star Wars Galaxies
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card Game – Threat of the Conqueror (Followers of Baba promotional scenario)
- ↑ Star Wars radio dramatization
- ↑ The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia