"We're the cavalry. The… strange, whatever-these-are-called riding cavalry. We're rebels. We're looking for the Partisans who worked with Saw Gerrera."
―Leia Organa, riding a spamel[src]

Spamels were blue-skinned, long-legged creatures that lived on the holy moon of Jedha. They were used as mounts by Imperial sandtroopers to traverse the moon's cold desert landscape and to patrol pilgrimage routes to Jedha City during the Galactic Empire's occupation of Jedha. After the destruction of Jedha City by the Death Star's superlaser, the beasts were also used by the surviving members of Saw Gerrera's rebel Partisans as well as Rebel Alliance members Leia Organa and Luke Skywalker while they were on a mission to locate and help the survivors on Jedha.

Biology and appearance[edit | edit source]

Spamels[4] were a blue-skinned, quadrupedal species[2] that possessed a pair of gray eyes,[3] a long neck, and a small tail. With their four long, slender legs,[2] they stood up to 4.9 meters, or sixteen feet, high.[1] The spamels that dwelled on Jedha after the destruction of Jedha City had breath masks strapped to their faces due to the harsh conditions on the moon. According to Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan, the spamels had a strange appearance.[3]

History[edit | edit source]

"Hey, hero! Come aboard!"
―Leia Organa, to Luke Skywalker, after his spamel was shot down[src]

Luke Skywalker rides a spamel on Jedha during the search for surviving Partisans.

Spamels served as riding mounts for Imperial sandtroopers[1] on the desert moon of Jedha during its occupation by the Galactic Empire[5] prior to the Battle of Yavin. Riding these creatures, Imperial troopers traversed the chilly sands of Jedha,[2] patrolling pilgrimage routes to Jedha City, and watching for smugglers and Saw Gerrera's rebel[1] Partisans.[6] The troopers who rode spamels also wielded pikes.[2] In the year 0 BBY,[2] the Empire destroyed Jedha City in an effort to test the superlaser of the Death Star battle station.[7] The city's destruction devastated the entire moon[3] and dealt a major blow to the Partisans.[8]

Sometime after the Battle of Yavin, Leia Organa and Luke Skywalker of the Rebel Alliance rode two spamels while leading a team on a battle for Jedha in an attempt to make contact with the surviving members of the Partisans. Shortly after the pair rescued two Partisans named Ubin Des and Chulco Gi, an Imperial LAAT/le patrol gunship shot down Skywalker's spamel. All four rebels were then forced to get on the same spamel, eventually escaping the Imperials with the help of the starship Millennium Falcon.[3] Spamels were also utilized by the Partisans, who, along with their new allies from the Rebel Alliance, rode them during their attack on an Imperial drill citadel that was mining for kyber crystals on Jedha.[9]

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

Creation[edit | edit source]

"One of the first shots featured a stormtrooper sitting on a camel, and I thought to myself: 'Wow, I'm in Star Wars!'"
Felicity Jones, the actress who portrays Jyn Erso in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story[src]

"Jedha 'Camel'" concept painting by Christian Alzmann

The spamels were created and developed for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,[10] the 2016 film that marks the first entry in the Star Wars Anthology Series.[11] Prior to the film's release, the creatures were first depicted, albeit unnamed, in the reference book Star Wars: Galactic Atlas, which included a map of Jedha in connection to the then-upcoming Rogue One. The book was illustrated by Tim McDonagh[2] and published on November 3, 2016.[12]

Inspiration for Rogue One's Holy City of Jedha was drawn from real-life holy cities like Mecca and Jerusalem,[13] as well as other, mostly desert locations in the Middle East and North Africa. Thus, the spamels were inspired by camels that inhabit those lands. Concept artist Christian Alzmann's illustration of the creature, which featured in The Art of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, was titled "Jedha 'Camel.'"[10]

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story[edit | edit source]

"I'm not sure anyone's noticed the space camels that the stormtroopers ride in Jedha."
Gareth Edwards, director of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story[src]

Spamel-riding stormtroopers, as seen in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

During the visual effects review for Rogue One, the film crew nicknamed the creature "spamel," shortened for "space camel."[14] The nickname was later adopted as the official name for the beast in "Every Creature in the Star Wars Movies," an installment of the Star Wars By the Numbers web series released through the official Star Wars Kids YouTube channel on May 31, 2019.[4]

During the filming of Rogue One on July 2324, 2015, in Jordan, stormtroopers were filmed riding camels between Jedha City and the lookout rock where Cassian Andor, Jyn Erso, and K-2SO stand in the film. The camels were to be digitally replaced with a creature design by Christian Alzmann, but the shots were ultimately cut. However, the spamels can still be seen in some scenes within Jedha City,[15] which were completely digitally generated.[16][17]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

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Sources[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know, Updated and Expanded
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Star Wars 38
  4. 4.0 4.1 StarWarsKids.jpg Every Creature in the Star Wars Movies | Star Wars By the Numbers on the official Star Wars Kids YouTube channel (backup link)
  5. StarWars-DatabankII.png Jedha in the Databank (backup link)
  6. Bloodline
  7. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  8. Battlefront II: Inferno Squad
  9. Star Wars 40
  10. 10.0 10.1 The Art of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  11. StarWars.com Rogue One Details Revealed at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim on StarWars.com (backup link)
  12. StarWars.com NYCC 2016: Rogue One and Star Wars 40th Anniversary Publishing Programs Revealed on StarWars.com (backup link)
  13. Breznican, Anthony (2016-08-08). Star Wars: Rogue One director reveals new details on Force-sacred world Jedha. Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Archived from the original on October 12, 2019. Retrieved on October 12, 2019.
  14. TwitterLogo.svg Pablo Hidalgo (@pablohidalgo) on Twitter: "I can't recall who coined it first but that's was [sic] it was called during the VFX reviews when people shortened 'space camels.'" (backup link) (In response to: "Do you know who named the 'Jedha camels' spamels @pablohidalgo? I assume it was you 😀")
  15. Star Wars: Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor
  16. YouTube.png Rogue One: Visual effects revealed on the BBC Click YouTube channel (backup link)
  17. YouTube.png ILM: Behind the Magic in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on the ILMVisualFX YouTube channel (backup link)

External links[edit | edit source]

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