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Tanus Spijek was an Elom who was hired by the Alliance to Restore the Republic at some point between 1 and 0 BBY, delivering messages from the planet Alderaan to the Great Temple, the Alliance High Command headquarters on the moon of Yavin 4, by that year, and serving as a spy for the Alliance. At some point by the year 4 ABY, Spijek left the Alliance, and joined the crime lord Jabba the Hutt's organization which operated on the planet Tatooine. Spijek carried out extortion activities for the Hutt. In 4 ABY, the Elom was present in the crime lord's palace on Tatooine when the Alliance's Heroes of Yavin arrived in an attempt to rescue fellow Hero of Yavin Han Solo, who was held prisoner by Jabba. Those events led to Jabba sentencing Solo and fellow Heroes of Yavin Luke Skywalker and Chewbacca to death at the Great Pit of Carkoon, although the captives fought back, with Jabba being killed and his luxury sail barge Khetanna destroyed with Spijek onboard in the subsequent Battle of the Great Pit of Carkoon.


Alliance service and joining Jabba[]

Tanus Spijek, who served both the Alliance to Restore the Republic and Jabba the Hutt

The Elom male Tanus Spijek lived during the Galactic Civil War, a conflict fought between the Alliance to Restore the Republic and the Galactic Empire.[1] At some point between 1[4] and 0 BBY, before the Empire destroyed the planet Alderaan in the latter year,[5] Spijek was hired by the Alliance to deliver messages between Alderaan and the Great Temple,[1] the Alliance High Command headquarters on the moon of Yavin 4.[6] He also served as a spy for the Alliance.[1]

At some point by the year 4 ABY,[5] Spijek had left the Alliance[1] and joined the organization of Jabba the Hutt, a crime lord based on the planet Tatooine. Spijek served in the Hutt's palace on Tatooine, carrying out extortion activities for Jabba.[3]

Festivities and rescue of Han Solo[]

Tanus Spijek (center) raising a glass to the death of Oola

In 4 ABY,[5] Spijek was in the throne room of Jabba's palace, sitting in one of the booths, when the Max Rebo Band performed their song "Jedi Rocks." Jabba had a second performance of the song occur, which ended with the Hutt dropping the slave dancer Oola into the pit of his pet rancor, with the Elom remaining in his seat during Oola's demise.[2]

Immediately after, Alliance leader—and one of the Alliance's Heroes of YavinPrincess Leia Organa, disguised as the bounty hunter Boushh, arrived with the intention of rescuing her ally Han Solo, a prisoner of the Hutt. Organa arrived with the Wookiee Chewbacca, ostensibly her captive, and threatened to destroy the palace with a thermal detonator. After winning Jabba's favor, Organa rescued Solo on that night, before both Organa and Solo were caught and imprisoned.[2]

Luke Skywalker's arrival and Jabba's death[]

Tanus Spijek (left) watching Luke Skywalker being sentenced to death

The next morning,[7] Spijek was among the courtiers sleeping on the throne room's floor, when Jedi Luke Skywalker—also, with Solo and Chewbacca, part of the Heroes of Yavin—arrived to demand the freedom of Chewbacca, Organa, and Solo. Skywalker was in turn dropped into the rancor pit by Jabba, although he ended up killing the rancor. Spijek and others in the throne room watched as Jabba sentenced Skywalker, Solo, and Chewbacca to death at the Great Pit of Carkoon.[2]

Spijek and others in the palace accompanied Jabba to the Great Pit of Carkoon aboard the Hutt's luxury sail barge, the Khetanna. However, the captives ended up fighting back against the Hutt. In the subsequent Battle of the Great Pit of Carkoon, Jabba was killed and the Khetanna was destroyed.[2]

Personality and traits[]

Although most Eloms were sympathetic to the Alliance, Tanus Spijek, a vile opportunist,[3] was supporting Jabba when he captured or attempted to kill the Alliance's Heroes of Yavin.[2] He interacted with few others at the crime lord's palace,[3] and also raised a glass while he watched Oola get attacked and eaten by Jabba's rancor. Spijek reacted with fear when Organa entered the palace, and panicked when she threatened to destroy the palace with a thermal detonator.[2]

Spijek had a thick, oily pelt[3] which was mottled gray, brown, and white.[2] He had calloused skin[3] which was gray and pink, and black eyes.[2]


Spijek carried a T-21 light repeating blaster.[8]

Behind the scenes[]

Nilo Rodis-Jamero's illustration of Tanus Spijek

Tanus Spijek first appeared in the 1983 original trilogy film, Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi,[2] where he was portrayed by at least one extra[9]Hugh Spight and Graeme Hattrick, who were credited in the film respectively as a puppeteer and mime artist,[2] went on to autograph themselves as the Elom[10]—wearing a full-body costume.[9] Before the film's May 25, 1983 release,[11] the character was developed in sketches by Chris Walas,[9] and artist Nilo Rodis-Jamero did an illustration of Spijek around spring 1981, showing the Elom wearing an armored jumpsuit and using a blaster rifle to kill another being.[12] For its obvious underground inspiration,[9] the character was later known as "The Mole" during production and its mask was based on a maquette that was designed with lighter gray fur.[13] The scenes that featured Spijek were filmed between January 25 and March 1, 1982, with the Jabba's Palace scenes filmed in Elstree Studios's stage 8, and the scenes on the Khetanna filmed on stage 9 at Elstree Studios.[12] In the same year as the Return of the Jedi film, Spijek was also included in the Return of the Jedi Monster Activity Book, where he was described as a slimy creature and shown capturing the R2-series astromech droid R2-D2, with the astromech droid calling for help in the Binary language.[14]

In 1998, Spijek was named in a card for the Jabba's Palace Limited set of Decipher, Inc.'s Star Wars Customizable Card Game.[1] According to a fan site for the card game, Spijek's name was an anagram of Justin Pakes, an employee of Decipher at the time.[15] On April 4, 2000,[16] "The Last Page," an article in the 48th issue of the Star Wars Insider magazine, used an image of Spijek to represent the character Vigrriev.[17] While nothing has officially addressed the discrepancy, this article assumes that Spijek is the Elom seen in the Return of the Jedi film, with the Vigrriev identification an error.



Notes and references[]

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