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"Who jails people for breaking week-old customs?"
"The Sarkans do.
―Luke Skywalker and Rooz[2]

The Sarkans were a species of sentient, egg-laying reptiles that hailed from the planet Sarka.

Biology and appearance[]

Sarkans were tall bipedal[2] reptiles[1] with broad, tapered snouts, five-toed feet, and five-fingered hands with an opposable thumb. Except for the skull and tail bones, their skeleton resembled that of humans. Their scaly skin boasted a variety of tones, including gray, red, orange, lilac, and green. Many Sarkans had mottled skin.[2]

They reproduced by laying eggs, and grouped themselves in family units called egg-broods.[1]

Society and culture[]

"The Sarkans are serious about their customs."
―Leia Organa[2]

The Sarkans lived underground, in vast caves where they mined various gems such as aqua jewels and Corusca gems. They were ruled over by a monarch seconded by an advisor. Sarkans typically wore colorful loose robes adorned with gemstones.[2]

According to Leia Organa, no species in the galaxy spent more time worrying about ritual and protocol than Sarkans. What made it difficult, even for seasoned diplomats, was that they frequently came up with new customs, making it hard to keep up.[2]


The Sarkans hailed from Sarka,[2] a planet located in the galaxy's Mid Rim.[4] During the Imperial Era, they notably traded their gems with the Galactic Empire, a galaxy-spanning autocratic regime led by Emperor Sheev Palpatine.[5] However, the anti-Imperial Rebel Alliance needed gems for their laser cannon, so they spent months getting the Sarkans to agree to hold a summit. Leia Organa, the Princess of Alderaan and a leading figure in the Alliance, was sent to meet Queen Zil of Sarka. However, due to a rough landing in the Sarkan caves, Organa twisted her ankle, which prevented her from meeting the queen on foot as she was supposed to. Therefore, the princess asked the star pilot Luke Skywalker, hero of the Battle of Yavin, to replace her. Little did they know that Lord Rooz, the queen's advisor, wanted nothing to do with the Alliance, instead hoping that the Empire would help him depose Queen Zil. Despite the advice of the protocol droid C-3PO, Skywalker made faux pas after faux pas, until he drank from the queen's own goblet, the Sacred Chalice of the Caves, and was thrown in jail. Meanwhile, as Princess Leia felt better, she decided to join the negotiations. Lord Rooz attempted to arrest her too on a charge of customs violation, but Organa's astromech droid R2-D2 sprayed fire retardant on Rooz and his men, then shocked a pair of guards, which allowed the princess to escape. Organa and her astromech made their way to the tower prison, released Skywalker, and knocked out an Imperial operative that was questioning him. They then went to the throne room to see the Queen, but Rooz arrived at the same time to again arrest them for breaking into the prison and trying to escape. Princess Leia, however, turned the situation to her advantage. She claimed her rescue mission was actually a celebration of Sarkan culture, a reenactment of how Zil's great-great-great-grandmother broke into the tower to free Zil's great-great-grandfather in a tale of epic gallantry and honor. The Princess also revealed that Lord Rooz conspired with the Empire. Finally, C-3PO remarked that Rooz was standing on the royal seal, which was the greatest offense of all. The treacherous adviser was arrested, and the Sarkans agreed to supply the Alliance with gems from their mines.[2]

Sarkans in the galaxy[]

Circa 232 BBY,[6] several Sarkans were aboard the passenger starship Journeyman when it was struck by a piece of debris and had to be evacuated by the Jedi.[7]

The Sarkan Melas

In 0 BBY,[8] a turban-wearing, pipe-smoking Sarkan[9] known as Melas[10] attended Chalmun's Spaceport Cantina in Mos Eisley when Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi first met Han Solo and Chewbacca.[9] In the year 5 ABY,[11] a Sarkan named Vinthar was part of Eleodie Maracavanya's pirate crew.[1]

Behind the scenes[]

A Sarkan first appeared as a puppet shot and edited into the cantina footage for the Special Edition of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope in 1997. The new creature, Melas, replaced the Defel Arleil Schous. The Sarkan puppet was actually the same puppet used for Ketwol the Pacithhip, except turned around: the back of Ketwol's head became the Sarkan' face, while Ketwol's trunk and tusks were concealed by the Sarkan's turban.[12]



Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Aftermath: Life Debt
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 IDWStarWarsAdventuresLogoSmaller.png "Mind Your Manners"—Star Wars Adventures Annual 2018
  3. StarWarsKids.jpg Every Language in Star Wars Movies | Star Wars By the Numbers on the official Star Wars Kids YouTube channel (backup link)
  4. The Force Awakens Beginner Game
  5. Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia
  6. The Star Wars Book dates the launch of the Starlight Beacon to 232 years before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, which corresponds to 232 BBY in the dating system used by Star Wars: Galactic Atlas. As The High Republic: Into the Dark depicts the launch, its events, including the destruction of the Journeyman, must occur around that year.
  7. The High Republic: Into the Dark
  8. Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
  9. 9.0 9.1 Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
  10. ToppsDigitalLogo.png Star Wars: Card Trader (Card: Melas - Locations - Mos Eisley)
  11. Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates the Battle of Endor to 4 ABY and further dates Shara Bey and Kes Dameron's move to Yavin 4 in 5 ABY. The move is placed six months after the Battle of Endor by Before the Awakening. Since Aftermath: Life Debt is set just after Shadow Fall, which takes place around six months after the battle, the events of Life Debt must also occur in 5 ABY, around six months after the Battle of Endor.
  12. Databank title.png Melas in the Databank (content now obsolete; backup link)
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