Ratts Tyerell was an Aleena podracer pilot who flew a massive podracer during the Boonta Eve Classic podrace which took place during the Invasion of Naboo. Tyerell had a drive to beat the reigning champion, the Dug, Sebulba. During the race, Tyerell flew into the Laguna Caves, where his accelerator jammed. Unable to control his podracer, the little Aleena could only throw his arms into the air and scream as he fatally collided with a stalactite. His family was reportedly seen mourning after the race's conclusion. One of Tyerell's children, Deland, dedicated himself to exposing the dangerous aspects of podracing and eventually founded the Ratts Tyerell Foundation in his father's honor.
A male Aleena from the planet of Aleen, the diminutive Ratts Tyerell took on the role of a professional podracer pilot, making up for his small stature with a podracer with large, oversized engines. Utilizing a team of Aleena mechanics, Tyerell toured alongside his family. Tyerell's profession earned him immense popularity on his homeworld, and was sometimes considered to be Aleen's most famous native. A small toy based off of Tyerell's podracer was also produced at some point. Tyerell eventually headed to the Outer Rim planet of Tatooine to participate in the world's largest annual podrace, the Boonta Eve Classic. The race was concurrent with an invasion on the neighboring planet of Naboo. Only a little while before the race, Tyerell's wife gave birth to a third child, a fact that eventually found its way to the race commentators Fode and Beed.[source?]
The Boonta Eve Classic and death
Tyerell's main goal for the Boonta was to beat its reigning champion, the Dug, Sebulba, a vicious individual who was known to cheat. On the morning of the Boonta, Tyerell's Aleena crew saddled the parts of his racer onto a group of Eopie which carried the vehicle to the starting grid of the race, located at the Mos Espa Grand Arena. Tyerell's pod was positioned on the front row, located in between Sebulba's pod and the outside pole position starter, Mawhonic. As the pilots continued their preparations for the race, Fode and Beed conducted the opening ceremonies, introducing Tyerell at some point as well announcing his newborn baby. Once the introductions had finished, Fode and Beed welcomed the race's host, Jabba the Hutt, who announced the official start of the race. With the Hutt's go ahead, Tyerell and his competition were off.
Tyerell was off to a good start, but eventually fell to the middle of the pack. Heading into a section of the course that sped through the Laguna Caves, Tyerell's accelerator jammed while he distracted himself with another pilot. Speeding toward a group of stalactites, Tyerell was powerless to swerve out of the way due to his broken controls. Tyerell screamed frantically as he sped to his fate. Even if Tyerell could have survived, he would have received no help by the rescue teams, as they avoid the caves, because the fearful Krayt dragons inhabited them. The race was ultimately won by a human boy named Anakin Skywalker.
After his demise, Tyerell's family was reportedly seen grieving after the race's end. In fact, the little scrapper's death became an emotional event for the entire planet of Aleen, who had lost what was perhaps their most well known resident. Deland Tyerell, Ratts' son, went on to found the Ratts Tyerell Foundation, an organization that sought to expose the dangerous and criminal aspects that surrounded the profession of podracing. Due to the Foundation's campaigning, the sport was eventually outlawed in the Core Worlds and viewership dropped by more than fifty percent. Although podracing did not completely disappear from the galaxy, the sport saw significant decline under the Ratts Tyerell name.
Personality and traits
Ratts Tyerell was a small individual, but made up for his size with a massive podracer. Having a bit of a flair for theatrics, when his name was announced by Fode and Beed, Tyerell turned to the crowd with an expressive roar. Later during the race, when Tyerell realized he had no hope in swerving out of the obstacles before him, he panicked and screamed before his fatal crash. Tyerell, an Aleena, was the shortest of the Boonta contestants, standing at only .79 meters. Tyerell had black eyes and blue and white skin.
Skills and abilities
While Tyerell's size may have meant that he could alleviated some of the weight from his podracer, it probably wouldn't have mattered with his massive pod. Still, Tyerell performed well in enough races to gain significance on his homeworld and receive wide mourning in the wake of his death. In addition, he was popular enough to have had a small replica of his podracer produced as a toy, one of which was owned by one of his children. However, as concentrated as he was, the Aleena was distracted moments before his death, although since it was his accelerator that malfunctioned, his fate was out of his hands.
Tyerell flew a massive podracer with a spacious cockpit and two large engines. Although the engines didn't have a lot of color added to them, the front ends of the behemoths were bright blue with a red trim. A similar color scheme adorned his cockpit. When racing, Tyerell wore goggles which protected his large eyes, along with some other clothes.
Behind the scenes
Ratts Tyerell was created for the 1999 film Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace. During pre-production, artist Terryl Whitlatch laid some of the foundation work for Tyerell's character, creating artwork for the character which established his look, uniform, skeletal structure, and color scheme. In his earliest published incarnation, dated July 16 1996, he was labeled simply as "Pod Racer - Long Head," and was later nicknamed "Amphibian." Sketches dated May 27, 1997 finally bore the name "Ratts Tyerell." Tyerell later appeared in some Expanded Universe material, although due to his death his overall list of appearances was short. Most notably, all three of his children were named in later sources, which expanded on Tyerell's after death legacy. However, all of these later appearances are now considered to be a part of the Star Wars Legends continuity, and no longer part of the official canon.
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace (First appearance)
- Star Wars Journeys: The Phantom Menace
- Star Wars Journeys: Beginnings
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- "Star Wars Prequels Unseen!, Part 4"—Star Wars Insider 151
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