- "All I know about Rodian customs is that they are big on hunting."
- ―Lando Calrissian
Rodians were a reptilian humanoid species native to Rodia in the Tyrius system. Highly recognizable due to characteristics in facial structure and skin pigment, Rodians were infamous for their violent culture, which sprang from the difficulties of life in the jungles of their homeworld. Though they were often relegated to the fringes of galactic society as bounty hunters or criminal henchmen, Rodians were not merely simple-minded thugs. The Rodian people managed to produce artists, merchants, and politicians who were found even among the upper classes of the Core Worlds.
- 1 Biology and appearance
- 2 Culture and history
- 3 Rodians in the galaxy
- 4 Behind the scenes
- 5 Appearances
- 6 Sources
- 7 Notes and references
- 8 External links
Biology and appearance
- "Is it just me, or are the Rodians kind of creepy?"
- ―A mercenary
The Rodians were green-skinned reptilian humanoids from the planet Rodia. They possessed distinctive faces: large, round, multifaceted eyes; tapir-like snouts; and a pair of saucer-shaped antennae on their heads, which served to detect vibrations. Rodian skin normally had a rough, pebbly texture, except on their hands and snouts. The flexible snouts augmented the Rodians' finely tuned olfactory senses, collecting and filtering the air. Their characteristically large eyes indicated a primarily nocturnal ancestry and were capable of seeing into the infrared part of the spectrum. This allowed the Rodians to visually detect the body heat of their hidden prey emanating from within the darkness. Due to their love of fighting and active lifestyles, most Rodians kept in good condition, normally lean and wiry. However, some Rodians became rather obese, typically those who could hire others to fight for them, such as Black Sun operative Avaro Sookcool or the Nar Shaddaa gangster Reelo Baruk.
Rodians normally had green skin, allowing them to blend in with the vegetation of their jungle world. However, variations in pigment were not uncommon, which ranged from disfiguring birthmarks to discoloration of the entire body. This was distinctive among the race and gave rise to descriptive appellations such as "Navik the Red" and "Jannik the White." Another notable characteristic of the Rodians were their hands. Possessing long, dexterous, sucker-tipped fingers, this trait denoted an arboreal lifestyle, which allowed the Rodians to grip trees and rocky inclines. A ridge of flexible spines crested their skulls, differing in volume, length, and even color. Instead of spines, some Rodians also grew hair. This was more common among females, though some males also grew it, as exemplified by Evo the Blue. Females were also physically distinguished by their breasts and mammary glands. Off-world females, however, oftentimes would shave their hair and wear loose-fitting clothing in an attempt to disguise their gender. Some females, though, would proudly flaunt their femininity if they knew it would work to their advantage.
Rodians exuded a pungent, musky aroma, some smelling stronger than others. This scent was an oily pheromone excretion that served to moisturize the skin and attract potential mates. Most Humans and Diollans found the scent to be particularly overwhelming and likened it to the "odor of animal droppings on the bottom of your boot." This was not the case with all species, however, as evidenced by the unsavory use of Greedo's pheromones; a Tatooine bartender by the name of Wuher ground up Greedo's body to use in the creation of a perfect Hutt liquor. Many would assume that all Rodians smelled the same, however Rodians themselves could differentiate the scent. The scent distinguished identity, communicating to Rodians an individual's family heritage and breeding. One Rodian's smell from a feuding clan could send a rival clan member into a warring frenzy.
Rodians possessed a wide vocal range and had been known to make hooting noises. Basic-speaking Rodians had a unique accent, due to their tendency to lisp, and their difficulty pronouncing certain syllables containing "r," "l," or "s" sounds.
Culture and history
Rodian culture was obsessed with violence and death, due to behaviors and practices that were ingrained since their earliest ancestry. Their densely packed jungle homeworld was ill-suited for agriculture, requiring Rodians to compete with vicious predators for most of their food. Some of these predators, such as ghests, could wipe out entire Rodian villages. As the Rodians developed cunning hunting tactics to survive, the hunt became central to their culture. Eventually, having driven most of the other predators on the planet to near extinction, they began to hunt each other in various wars and gladiatorial contests.
Millennia later, all of Rodia was dominated by a handful of large, powerful clans, which had eliminated or enslaved their smaller neighbors. The leader of the most powerful clan, the Soammei clan, eventually proclaimed himself Inta'si'rin'na, or Grand Protector of the Rodians. Through the rest of Rodian history, the title of Grand Protector shifted from clan to clan with the subsequent changes in loyalties and power. Grand Protectors ruled all of Rodia as dictators.
The following is a listing of several known clans.
- Bomu Clan
- Cairn Clan
- Chattza Clan
- Chekkoo clan
- Intamm clan
- Jungle Clans
- Kenu Clan
- Neetakka clan
- Reeven Clan
- Roolek clan
- Soammei clan
- Tan Clan
- Tanwa Clan
- Tetsu Clan
- Tonena clan
When scouts from the Galactic Republic arrived on Rodia, they too were hunted, until a clever Grand Protector realized the advantages of contact with galactic society. The hunts were called off, and a new policy was implemented. The Grand Protector declared that the best hunters, as proven by success in various gladiatorial contests and hunts on Rodia, would be allowed to leave the planet for work as bounty hunters, mercenaries, slavers, or similar occupations. The Grand Protector's Hunters' Guild, or Goa-Ato, instituted annual awards for the best hunters. The awards, called Atiang, contained such categories as "Best Shot," "Longest Trail," or "Most Notorious Capture."
For what many would consider a vicious and bloodthirsty species, Rodians were renowned for their drama. Rodian Theater began as a simple series of staged fights, encouraged by Grand Protector Harido Kavila as a way for his people to burn off their aggression. Over time, it developed into a vibrant—albeit violent—theatrical tradition. Though not as honored a profession as hunting, each clan had at least one troupe of actors that performed clan legends. Because actors were barred from directly seeking political power at home, drama became an acceptable way for dissident elements to challenge established ideas.
Off their homeworld
Of course, not all Rodians found off-world were bounty hunters or artists. Some were refugees from clan feuds who illegally left Rodia in search of asylum. Illegal emigrants and their descendants born off-world could travel the galaxy freely and work in a variety of professions, from peaceful merchants and technicians to arms dealers and criminal henchmen. Rodian authorities treated off-world-born Rodians as alien galactic citizens, and illegal emigrants were generally not permitted to return to Rodia (though some used forged or legitimate documents to claim off-world status). Rodian politicians, such as the Clone Wars–era Senator Onaconda Farr and Palpatine's aide Dar Wac, were often seen on Coruscant.
During the time of the Galactic Empire, the Rodians were ruled by the Grand Protector Navik the Red, of the Chattza Clan. After instigating an inter-clan war and seizing power, Navik tightened restrictions on emigration and built ties with Black Sun and the Galactic Empire. Navik ruthlessly persecuted his rivals, sentencing the entire Tetsu Clan to death. The genocide was not restricted to Rodia, as even Tetsu refugees offworld, such as Greedo the Elder and his family, were pursued by Chattza hunters.
Yuuzhan Vong invasion of the galaxy and afterwards
The Yuuzhan Vong invaded Rodia on their march to the Galactic Core, enslaving the population. The alien invaders planned to forge their Rodian captives into deadly warbeasts, under the direction of Master Shaper Taug Molou. He took his Rodian experimental subjects apart on a cellular level, reassembling their genetic code with bits from other creatures. This experiment resulted in the creation of the Vagh Rodiek, mindless warbeasts that moved on crab-like legs with sharp half-meter long scythes of bone in place of arms. The Rodian natural head-spines were mutated into razor-sharp quills. Again, the Rodians that managed to flee Rodia found themselves refugees from persecution.
Rodians in the galaxy
The strong association with violence in the Rodian culture led to many pursuing careers in crime offworld. Most popular among these professions was bounty hunting, a direct application for the hunting skills acquired by many Rodians. Some Rodians became very successful at this, such as Hulas, the leader of the secretive GenoHaradan bounty hunter group during the Old Republic period, and Menndo, Hako Armado, and Slyder, who were all active during the days of the Empire.[source?] Working for the highest bidders, Rodians also found work as assassins.
Perhaps the most well-known, though considered by many to be a laughable disgrace, attempt made by a Rodian bounty hunter was that of Greedo on Corellian smuggler Han Solo. On a contract for the crime lord Jabba the Hutt, Greedo accosted the notorious Corellian in a Tatooine cantina, threatening to turn him in to Jabba. In somewhat confusing circumstances, Greedo was shot by the smuggler, although there is some controversy over exactly how this happened. Greedo's backup had actually been paid off by two other Rodian bounty hunters, Thuku and Neesh, who had identified him as from the rival Tetsu Clan, and wished him killed.
The strong association with the bounty hunter profession led to the formation of many armament companies on Rodia. These included the Salus Corporation, Sancretti Arms & Munitions, Interstellar, N'Gant-Zarvel, Tonena Munitions Corporation and Rheshalva Interstellar Armaments. Ranged weapons, such as the N'Gant-Zarvel 9118 heavy carbine, and bladed weapons, like the Repulsor throwing razor and Razor stick, were popular items produced by these companies. Also popular was the Rodian Stalker armor and Rodian hovercam.
Rodians also became involved in many other forms of criminal activities. Some became very successful in this underworld, such as the Black Sun Vigos Dardo, Clezo, and Avaro Sookcool. Others, such as Reelo Baruk and Ne'Chak, went out on their own, establishing their own criminal organizations, often employing many Rodians, as well as other species, as lackeys. Rodians worked for the criminal organizations like the Exchange, the Sabiador Slavers, or as pirates such as Lekk Bazak. Other notorious Rodian criminals included Slerog Fenn, Ten-Suckers Madoom and the terrorists Beekly Grimlok and Lorgal. Many Rodians also frequently worked in gray areas, such as the smugglers Chihdo and Chordak.
Despite this proclivity towards crime, many Rodians found fulfillment in more legitimate professions. Rodians were apt mechanics, commonly working among podracers, while a number became successful musicians, such as Doda Bodonawieedo and Greeata Jendowanian. Others still became successful businessmen, such as Kelko, the owner of Shusko Station mining operation. Another well-known Rodian was treasure hunter and archaeologist Suz Tanwa, who discovered many precious items from her ancestor Suvam Tan.
Many Rodians also joined the Rebellion and New Republic in various capacities. The elite fighter squadron Rogue Squadron contained a number of Rodian pilots such as Koobis Nu, Andoorni Hui, and Standro Jcir. Many others fought in various other capacities, such as Oepoono and Othik Wespoch—both members of the Alliance Special Forces.
Many Rodians were Force-sensitive,[source?] and were a common presence in the major Force orders in the galaxy.[source?] A number became Jedi Knights, during the period of both the Old Jedi Order and the New Jedi Order.[source?]
During the Old Republic, Dree Vandap fought in the New Sith Wars, and a Rodian Jedi fought in the Yinchorri raid on the Jedi Temple, the Battle of Geonosis, and the First Battle of Kamino. The Rodian Jedi Master Bolla Ropal was part of the Jedi Order during the Clone Wars, until he was tortured to death at the hands of bounty hunter Cad Bane. Bane later kidnapped Force-sensitive infants for Darth Sidious. Among them was the Rodian Wee Dunn, who was taken from his mother, Mahtee.
In the New Jedi Order, Kelbis Nu, Jovan Drark, Toile Senn and Twool were all trained Jedi Knights. Both Nu and Drark were killed during the Yuuzhan Vong War; Nu on Eriadu and Drark on the successful but costly mission to Myrkr. Senn was later killed in the Battle of Tralus of the Second Galactic Civil War. Twool perished months later during the Battle of Centerpoint Station during an engagement with Rogue Squadron.
Some Rodians, such as Vinto, had close associations with Jedi, often working with them on various missions, while others, such as Paemos, were not allied with any particular Force tradition but knew and taught some tricks nevertheless. There were also a number of Rodians in Bartyn's Landing, the capital town of Lamaredd, c. 29 BBY.
Behind the scenes
The Rodians in the Mos Eisley Cantina were referred to during production as Martians, and in 1978 were identified in a memo as "Graffties," a reference to the George Lucas film American Graffiti. The Rodian costume used for Greedo was fixed up differently with two extra arms and used for Nabrun Leids, who at the time was referred to as a "Plutonian."
In the original versions of A New Hope and Return of the Jedi, all the Rodian background characters wore the same costume as Greedo. The Rodians added to the Max Rebo Band in the Special Edition of Return of the Jedi were the first Rodians to have their own costumes, not to mention the first Rodians to appear on screen who were not bounty hunters.
The name "Rodian" first appeared in Galaxy Guide 1: A New Hope, but was later used in scripts and production notes for the prequel trilogy. This makes it one of the few elements that originated in the Expanded Universe to appear in the films.
Ambiguously canon appearances
Notes and references
- The Essential Atlas
- The New Essential Guide to Alien Species
- Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided
- Obi-Wan: Prima's Official Strategy Guide
- Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
- Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
- Galactic Phrase Book & Travel Guide
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Bombad Jedi" (Decoded)
- The Essential Guide to Alien Species
- Shadows of the Empire novelization
- A Hunter's Fate: Greedo's Tale
- Starfighter: Crossbones
- Be Still My Heart: The Bartender's Tale
- Tatooine Ghost
- Shadows of the Empire Planets Guide
- The Price of Business
- Reckonings"—Star Wars Gamer 7 "