- "Despite what the Imperials say, I know the Velmoc as a proud, intelligent race of warriors."
- ―Ergric Betos
The Velmoc species were sentient, humanoid insectoids indigenous to the planet Velmor. Their distinctive physiology included powerful limbs, compound eyes, two antennae, and prominent crests that jutted from the arms. The species inhabited the mountains of their homeworld, sorting themselves into tribes. They were renowned for their warrior culture by some of the Humans who colonized Velmor; other Humans reviled them as primitives. Despite the sometime animosity between the two species, some Velmoc integrated into Human Velmorian society and worked as servants. The insectoids spoke Galactic Basic Standard as a primary language.
By the time of the Galactic Empire, the Velmoc were nearing extinction on Velmor. After a coup d'état destabilized the Velmorian civilization and ushered in a period of puppet rule under the aegis of the Empire, the Velmoc faced their potential extermination by the Imperial Captain Zeta Traal. During an uprising that upended the Velmorian monarchy, the crown prince, Denid, escaped the planet with the help of his Velmoc aide, Jedidiah, a one-time Jedi hopeful who had turned down an offer of Jedi training to serve the royal family. With the help of Rebel Alliance operatives, Denid and Jedidiah returned to Velmor, a homecoming that eventually prompted a confrontation between Jedidiah and Traal. The encounter resulted in Jedidiah's death, but it also removed Traal from her position of influence, thus freeing Denid to become the king of the Velmorians.
Biology and appearance
- "Not even medical droids can work miracles… The Human [sic] brain cannot be replaced bionically… and his mind is damaged beyond simple repair!"
- ―A 2-1B medical droid, regarding the brain-damaged Velmoc patient Jedidiah
Velmoc were sentient insectoids whose bodies followed a more-or-less humanoid structure. Each of a Velmoc's muscular legs terminated in three long, flat toes, while each hand sported four fingers with sharp claws. A flat, wedge-shaped crest adorned each arm from the upper portion where it attached to the elbow, across the elbow itself, and to the top of the forearm. Members of the species could be strong, hardy beings, with a height exceeding that of an average Human. The insectoids' bodies were colored green or dull purple.
The Velmoc skull housed the brain, an organ otherwise vulnerable to injury such that a blow to the head might result in brain damage and cause the victim to devolve into gibbering insanity. Two compound eyes, colored gray or red, protruded from the sides of the head. A large maw gaped from the front of the face; the lower, cantilevered jaw was shovel-like, with upward-pointing tooth-like projections that fit into slots in the upper mandible. A crest extended from the back of the head and gave way to a rectangular patch of striated skin at the back of the neck.Hairlike growths sprouted from above the eyes, the sides of the face, and the chin. Two antennae extended from the top of the head.
Society and culture
- "Some Velmoc have wormed their way into proper Velmorian society, mostly as servants or freak-show entertainments. (The most highly trained domestic Velmoc in history was probably the royal aide who spirited Prince Denid to his doom.)"
- ―Captain Zeta Traal
As a tribal species, the Velmoc lived in small groups in the mountains of the planet Velmor. They were self-respecting and canny warriors, capable of employing their flexible fingers to use tools and wield weapons, such as long staffs. At least one member of the species wore clothing, which consisted of a segmented tunic, a belt, and boots fitted to the Velmoc anatomy. Some Velmoc learned to ride a native Velmorian beast known as the ycaqt. At least one Velmoc tribe, the Velmoc-Dac, accepted a Human into their ranks: Ergric Betos. Nevertheless, Captain Zeta Traal of the Galactic Empire disdained the entire species, with particular rancor reserved for the mountain-dwelling segments, whom she characterized as primitive.
Velmoc spoke Galactic Basic Standard as their primary language. Velmoc names might be shortened for the convenience of members of other species; for instance, the name Jedidiah became Jedi. Indeed, some members of the species integrated into the society of the Human Velmorians, with whom the Velmoc shared their homeworld. Such Velmoc often found employment as retainers, although others took on the role of sideshow entertainments. Despite the prejudice shown to the Velmoc by the Human Velmorians, members of the two species could become devoted and faithful friends.
- "Though nearly extinct, the Velmoc could prove to be a variable in the Velmor equation. This primitive insectoid trash was already dying out when settlers arrived, but a few tribes have clung on tenaciously in the Tol Velmoc mountains."
- ―Captain Zeta Traal
The Velmoc evolved on the planet Velmor, a world of forests and grasslands with a gravity of 0.92 standard. By the time Human colonists from the Empress Teta system reached Velmor, millennia before the outbreak of the Galactic Civil War, the Velmoc population was already in decline. The planet and its parent system, Velm, became part of the Expansion Region and Mid Rim. Nevertheless, the planet was never highly integrated into the wider galaxy.
While the Velmoc maintained their tribal existence in the world's mountains, the Human colonists established a monarchy and founded settlements, such as Den Velmor, which became the planetary capital. The population of the planet's native sentients continued to decline, however, and by the time of the Galactic Civil War, the species was nearing extinction; they comprised a mere 0.3 percent of the planet's population of 892,000. Those tribes that did eke out a traditional livelihood occupied the Tol Velmoc Mountains.
In the 313th year of the Mrid—approximately twenty years before the Battle of Yavin—the Human King Lorac and his wife, Denira, were ousted from power in an Imperial-supported uprising. A Velmoc named Jedidiah, who served as an aide to the royal family and went by the nickname Jedi, whisked away the fifteen-year-old crown prince, Denid, and his betrothed, Loren. They fled to the nearby Tantajo system, but their poorly equipped starship failed, and they crashed on the planet Tantajoc V. Loren did not survive the crash. Despite insanity born of a head injury and extreme isolation, Jedidiah remained with Denid and helped his Human charge thrive on the forbidding planet for twenty years.
Meanwhile, the regent, Zelor, took over rule of Velmor. He came under the influence of an Imperial captain, a Human woman named Zeta Traal. Traal orchestrated a plan whereby a few months after the Battle of Hoth, the prince Anod would throw the planet's allegiances behind the Galactic Empire—at Zelor's urging—upon his official coronation, an event that could only happen twenty years after Prince Denid's disappearance, as prescribed by Velmorian law. Meanwhile, Traal recommended that the Empire bombard the Tel Velmoc mountains from orbit to exterminate the Velmoc and terrify the Human Velmorians. When Ergric Betos, one of Anod's bodyguards, was exiled from Velmorian society, the Velmoc-Dac tribe accepted him into their ranks as a "soft-skin warrior." His time with the insectoids granted him a deep respect for their culture.
Nevertheless, Jedidiah and Denid's distress signal was finally detected; a band of operatives from the Alliance to Restore the Republic—the Humans Leia Organa and Luke Skywalker and the droids C-3PO and R2-D2—followed the signal to Tantajoc V and rescued Denid and his Velmoc protector. With Skywalker disguised as a bounty hunter named Korl Marcus and Organa as the prince's late fiancée, Loren, the group ventured back to Velmor to stop the coronation of Anod. Moments before Anod could become king, the outsiders appeared. When blood tests proved Denid was who he claimed to be, Traal called a royal forest hunt—actually part of a plot to kill the returning prince. Her plan went awry, however, when Jedidiah appeared riding a ycaqt. He attacked Traal to protect the others, but he was fatally shot in the melee. Anod, too, was killed in the forest. Jedidiah's death thus paved the way for the coronation of Denid, which occurred on Arloc 24th, the 310th Year of the Ycaqt. Years later, Velmor became a member world of the New Republic.
Velmoc in the galaxy
- "The Velmoc, Jedidiah, supposedly had once been offered training as a Jedi, but had refused, sensing the royal family was in trouble. According to Denid, Jedidiah sustained head injuries while in exile that left him little more than a rambling lunatic…. The news that Jedidiah had been reduced to this state was disheartening indeed."
- ―Ergric Betos
The Velmoc Jedidiah had occasion to venture from Velmor on at least two occasions. On the first, the Velmoc was determined to be Force-sensitive. The Jedi Order offered to train the Velmoc as a Jedi, an aspiration Jedidiah deeply desired. Nevertheless, he felt that the royal family needed his help and would even come to ruin if he left for Jedi training. Accordingly, Jedidiah declined the Jedi's invitation and remained on Velmor. Nevertheless, Jedidiah left Velmor for two decades after the Imperial-sparked coup overthrew the king. He subsisted on the planet Tantajoc V with Prince Denid until returning to Velmor with the aid of Rebel Alliance agents.
Behind the scenes
- "It was pretty awful and depressing when it came out."
- ―Walt Simonson, on the print job of Star Wars 49: The Last Jedi
The Velmoc were created for Star Wars (1977) 49, an issue of the Marvel Comics Star Wars comic book series that was first published in July 1981. The issue was written by Mike W. Barr and illustrated by Walt Simonson and Tom Palmer. Barr's idea for the alien Jedidiah sprang from his desire to create a foil for Luke Skywalker; in contrast to the fledgling Force-user Skywalker, who wants nothing more than to be Jedi, Jedidiah is someone who had the opportunity to become a Jedi but turned it down. Discrepancies in the coloring by Don Warfield and Christie Scheele depict the Velmoc character Jedidiah as green with red eyes on the cover, but dull purple with gray eyes in the issue itself. The information above assumes that both are valid phenotypes for the species. Another discrepancy arises when a medical droid suggests that Jedidiah has a "Human brain," despite his obvious non-Human nature. The issue had problems with printing as well; Simonson later recalled that he was aghast at the poor quality of the final printed issue. Dark Horse Comics recolored and reprinted the issue in November 2002 as part of Star Wars: A Long Time Ago... Volume 3: Resurrection of Evil; the re-issue shows the Velmoc Jedidiah and the other characters as they were originally intended to be depicted.
Author Cory Herndon added new information on the Velmoc and their relationship with the Velmorians in his article "Velmor: Royalty and Rebellion," published in March 2003 by Wizards of the Coast. The article is part of the Planet Hoppers series that describe planets in terms usable for the Star Wars Roleplaying Game.
- Star Wars (1977) 49 (First appearance)
- Star Wars: A Long Time Ago... Volume 3: Resurrection of Evil
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. II ("Jedidiah")