Guest Talker: Andrew (Partisan Cantina)
People might ask why Ziro the Hutt? To be honest I’ve no “silver bullet” answer to that question.
The main factor, if I were to pick one, is that he added some gloriously sinister razzmatazz to the closing of The Clone Wars movie when I saw it in the cinema. I’ve always loved characters that are truly wicked, yet have a comedy undertone. I see Ziro as playing a villain in the same guise as Cesar Romero’s Joker in the 1960s Batman TV show; slightly chilling amidst the laugh factor.
It’s not just his character-type that reminds me of DC’s The Joker. As many people who know me will be aware I have two central lifelong obsessions – Star Wars and DC comics. Well think about how striking The Joker is. Part of that is his dress, and the predominance of the colour purple. Ziro is in turn striking as a purple Hutt; that’s right, read my lips, “a purple Hutt.”
I don’t think this was a coincidence. Purple was the colour of Roman aristocracy, that’s because during that time period it was a rare colour made from a hard to find pigment. Because of its difficulty to find it has an unnatural and unusual quality. It was synonymous with a certain type of corrupt aristocracy, perhaps because of the decadence required in prioritizing an expensive colour dye in a garment over feeding and housing the plebs! Think of purple, and i’s associations with flamboyant behavior, excess and pride. Now think of Ziro.
In fact to veer off on a complete tangent (why not? Ziro would!) I think that if Ziro was to be aligned with any of Rome’s great Caesars it would have to be Nero, the last of the Julio-Claudian line. In my research for this pieceent fishing around for my old copy of Suetonius’ The Lives of the Twelve Caesars and after the briefest of perusals I would say that Nero, with his reputation for extravagance and excess would be a good parallel for Ziro.
Why do I say this? Well the Emperor Nero famously put personal gain ahead of family ties. He was suspected of poisoning his step-brother and almost definitely murdered his own mother (“charming to the last” to quote Tarkin), and spent time in brothels and taverns. Most famously, a keen amateur actor, he is remembered for being dressed in stage costume while singing a ballad called “The Sack of Illium” on an instrument called the lyre while Rome simultaneously burned around him. I don’t know about you but that sounds very Ziro-esque to me.
Now I know that The Imperial Talker made comparisons with The Mafia in his earlier piece so hopefully the Italian connection with The Hutts doesn’t get drawn out any further during #HuttWeek. Believe me when I say this Italian friends, there are plenty of Irish gangsters, but if you want to take offence, I apologize; blame the colour purple.
Anyway turning back again from Nero to Ziro (couldn’t resist that rhyme – I wouldn’t have been able to make that joke with Emperor Caligula would I?) and “all things purple,” obviously that colour has always been the choice of attire for DC’s clown prince of crime the infamous Joker, head of Gotham city’s Arkham residents. It isn’t only the Joker, though. Let’s play a quick game. Okay, think of Superman, The X-Men, the Transformers, Sleeping Beauty. Now think of what colour their main villain is clad in? You see? I was pre-programmed to love Ziro as a villain; it was love at first sight.
As an aside, the purple pens required for my drawing of Ziro (see picture) from my nearby art supplies shop were also extremely hard to get in 21st century; apparently that was due to a worldwide shortage of pens caused by the adult “colouring-in” trend. A case of history repeating itself and perhaps a reminder that decadence is alive and well in the 21st Century.
In closing some other lesser reasons that helped determine my choice. Ziro as a character links in with the Black Sun, a crime organization (now certified canon!) that holds some fascination for me.
Finally, and it should not go unsaid, Ziro is the former lover of…wait for it…Sy Snootles – what a pairing! Who wouldn’t love him? Well apparently not Snootles who was sent back to Ziro as a honey trap set by Jabba to exact revenge for Ziro’s abduction of Jabba’s son, Rotta! A classic Ziro tale!
How can you not love this character I ask you? Enjoy Hutt Week and all of The Imperial Talker’s hard work!
Check out these other Hutt Week posts:
The Imperial Talker Presents: Hutt Week
Hutt Week: “Cute” Jabba the Hutt Merchandise (by Jenmarie from Anakin and His Angel)
A Man in Debt to a Hutt (by Michael Miller)
Great, well-written post; I appreciate the historical tie-ins and whatnot, but, man, I just hate Ziro…every time I heard his voice in Clone Wars I made a face like I just smelled something awful. That was the single worst part of the entire series for me…had they gone with any other voice, I think I would have been able to see the character the way you did, but *shudder* that voice…
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Appreciate the comment! I will let Andrew know you commented and have him respond. Still, Star Wars is nothing if not controversial at times, and Ziro is definitely one of those characters. I can’t help but wonder if perhaps he was created (and given that voice) because Hutts were still considered hermaphrodites at that point. Hmmmm I guess I should have done a post on Hutt gender-identity. Perhaps for Hutt Week 2.0….
I honestly think he was originally just supposed to be a goof for kids. If you think about it, the Clone Wars movie was definitely a kid-centric project that evolved as it progressed as a series…I like to think killing him off was symbolic in that it was also the death of the kid’s show the series started out to be (that may be getting a little “out there” though)…at any rate, to bring it all back to the Joker, when it comes to Ziro, “I’m glad you’re dead.”
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