- "This year, our Padawan [sic] will enjoy the opportunity to care for a class pet, this voorpak from Naboo. Students will make sure the voorpak's soft fur stays clean and feed the voorpak its diet of live insects."
- ―Jedi Academy welcome-back handout
Voorpee was a male voorpak on loan from the Naboo Zoo to the Coruscant Jedi Academy on the planet Coruscant circa 195 BBY. The zoo introduced the voorpak to the school as a means of teaching students responsibility in caring for a pet, as well as learning about the biology and habits of the species. Students at the academy were encouraged to care for Voorpee at the academy's care center, feeding him a preferred diet of live insects and keeping his soft fur clean.
Voorpee quickly proved popular with most of the academy's students but suffered at the hands of two school bullies, Cronah and Cyrus, who tortured the creature by taking him for unauthorized "walks" and stuffing him in a school locker. Despite the abuse he suffered, Voorpee was allowed to return to the academy the next school year but was used as part of a prank that resulted in hundreds of voorpak clones being set loose at a school talent show.
- "Class Pet 'Voorpee' Delights and Teaches"
- ―Headline in The Padawan Observer, Vol. MXIII #1
Voorpee was a male voorpak—a small, fuzzy species native to the planet Naboo. Circa 195 BBY, the Naboo Zoo placed Voorpee on temporary loan to the Coruscant Jedi Academy on Coruscant, the Galactic Republic's capital planet, as a class pet. Arriving at the Jedi academy with the other students at the beginning of the school year, Voorpee became part of the school's class-pet program, which was established by Gaiana, a Human female student who was excited about caring for the voorpak, as she had once visited Naboo and saw a number of the creatures. The academy was located within the Jedi Temple, headquarters of the Jedi Order, where a number of Padawan learners trained under Jedi Master Yoda and various other Jedi instructors.
Voorpee delighted the students at the academy, who enjoyed taking care of him, and an article was written about him in the school newspaper, The Padawan Observer. The article described how the class-pet program offered students the opportunity to study Voorpee's behavior and mannerisms, while also learning about the diets and natural habitats of voorpaks. Students were allowed to care for Voorpee at the school's care center, where one of the regular tasks was keeping his soft fur clean. Gaiana was often assisted in caring for the voorpak by Roan Novachez, a second-year student who had something of an infatuation for her. Novachez became fond of the voorpak despite being scared of the insects that made up its diet.
Victim of bullying
- "Look at his fur. We should hide him in someone's locker…"
- ―Cronah, discussing plans for bullying Voorpee
Cronah and Cyrus, two Zabrak bullies in the same class as Gaiana and Novachez, saw Voorpee merely as an opportunity for amusement. These two had often bullied other students at the academy and extended their bullying to the defenseless animal. In the first semester of the school year, following a field trip to the planet Hoth, Cronah and Cyrus poked at Voorpee with a pencil, causing him to hiss and puff out his fur, and the bullies threatened to hide him in someone's locker. In the second semester, Novachez, who had fallen out with his regular group of friends, joined the two Zabraks while they took Voorpee for a "walk," placing him on a leash and yanking him around, despite it being against class rules to take him out of the care center. While Novachez did not actively bully the creature, he did nothing to stop it. Gaiana and Pasha, a Human male who had also been one of Novachez's friends, chastised them for having Voorpee out but to no effect.
Soon afterward, Voorpee went missing, having been kidnapped by Cronah and Cyrus and placed within Cyrus's locker. The kidnapping was quickly noticed and reported in The Padawan Observer, Vol. MXIII #8. Novachez fell under suspicion, given his changed behavior and previous affiliation with the creature. He suggested that Gaiana might have done it, given how much she liked Voorpee, mainly to try to further impress Cronah and Cyrus. However, realizing they did not really care about his feelings and with Voorpee having been missing for around a week, Novachez decided to try to rescue the voorpak.
Using a Force power, he sensed a disturbance in Cronah's locker and discovered that the two bullies had made good on their threat. Fortunately for Voorpee, Novachez knew Cronah's locker combination and rescued the hungry voorpak from its confinement, but Gaiana discovered him with the creature and blamed him for what had happened. Novachez, not wanting to argue with her, went to tell Master Yoda what had happened, taking the blame for the theft himself. Yoda made Novachez write a letter of apology to the Naboo Zoo, though Cronah and Cyrus were both eventually discovered and placed on academic suspension for their role in the theft.
- "Another Voorpee?! Wait! There can't be two Voorpees!"
- ―Roan Novachez
The following school year, Voorpee was again loaned to the Coruscant Jedi Academy after Novachez's class visited the Naboo Zoo for a field trip. Gaiana was still fond of the creature, but when Cronah saw her carrying him in one of the school's hallways, he teased her about her "new pet," which was actually a mocking reference to Novachez, who was walking with her. Novachez continued spending time with the voorpak and felt that the creature was warming up to him, and not just because he had been feeding Voorpee extra treats.
Later that year, Voorpee was secretly made part of an experiment by Cronah and Ronald Rinzler, a fellow student at the school who styled himself as a politician. The two created numerous clones of Voorpee, then used them to play pranks. Novachez was caring for Voorpee when he found that each time he left the voorpak in its cage, one of his friends would run up to him to inform him that the creature had escaped and that they had seen it elsewhere in the school. Novachez's personal Jedi Master, Mr. Garfield, was not willing to listen to his student's explanation for the disturbances and issued him a lecture on keeping a better eye on Voorpee.
Cronah and Rinzler's success with their first prank inspired them to greater heights, unleashing chaos at a school talent show. During the show, Novachez and Gaiana attempted to perform a talent act with Voorpee. Although they had worked hard training the voorpak and expected a smooth act, the creature would not respond to any of their commands, such as "jump" or "roll over." Then, to their great embarrassment, Voorpee leaped onto Gaiana and urinated on her head.
As Novachez apologized to Gaiana, he spotted a second voorpak interfering with Cyrus's hula-hoop act. The auditorium soon became overrun with hundreds of Voorpee clones, and Cyrus's arm was broken during the melee. Gaiana later took the clones with her to the Naboo Zoo during her spring break, but the zoo was unable to accept them all. She gave all but one of the remaining creatures to a Voorpak Rescue Organization, keeping the last as her personal pet. Not until the end of the school year were Cronah and Rinzler discovered to be the ones responsible for the prank.
Personality and traits
- "He really likes you! It's like he wants to live in your pocket…"
"Yeah, heh heh!"
- ―Gaiana observes Voorpee behaving affectionately toward Roan Novachez
Voorpee, who did not actually answer to that name but responded to cute noises, had a coat of soft orange-and-white fur. He could puff up his fur and hiss when angry but was otherwise a largely passive voorpak. Voorpee became somewhat worn down and weary following his abuse at the hands Cronah and Cyrus, who stuffed him inside a locker for nearly a week. He possessed some intelligence and was able to learn tricks. Voorpee also cared for those who took care of him and gave him treats. His favorite food was live insects.
Behind the scenes
Voorpee featured in Jedi Academy: Return of the Padawan (2014) and Jedi Academy: The Phantom Bully (2015), the second and third volumes of the Star Wars: Jedi Academy young-readers series from author and artist Jeffrey Brown. The titles feature an often humorous non-canon look at student life at a Jedi academy, borrowing heavily from elements found in Star Wars Legends.
The Voorpee character was inspired in part by Brown's experience with school class pets that ate insects—and, like Roan Novachez, Brown has something of an insect phobia himself. Despite the bullying suffered by Voorpee in Return of the Padawan, Brown confirmed that one or more school pets would be featured in the series' follow-up story, The Phantom Bully. The new school pet turned out to be Voorpee himself, who made a return appearance to the school.
Notes and references
- Jedi Academy: Return of the Padawan
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 106 (NAB46, Naboo - Animals)
- Jedi Academy, the first volume of the Star Wars: Jedi Academy series, gives Yoda's age as 700 years old. According to Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force, Yoda was born in 896 BBY, thus placing the beginning of the series in circa 196 BBY. Jedi Academy: Return of the Padawan, the series' second volume, takes place the following school year, or circa 195 BBY.
- The Essential Atlas
- Jedi Academy
- Star Wars: Complete Locations
- Jedi Academy: The Phantom Bully
- Wookieepedia:Interview/Jeffrey Brown