Games

Haikuesday: Cloud City

Anoat Sector
Gas giant on the Ison
Home to Cloud City


Lord Ecclessis Figg,
Creator of Cloud City.
Maintained from EU.


Mining colony;
Casino in Bespin’s sky;
Cloud City has wealth!!!


Famous casino:
Pair O’Dice…no, I did not
just make this place up.


Planning to visit?
City climate is controlled,
wear what you want to!


Rey’s Survival Guide –
Cloud City postcard in it
says: “Wish You Were Here”

Haiku Addendum:
That’s right, tourists can purchase
Cloud City postcards.

Haiku Addendum:
That’s right, post-stamped mail is used
in the Star Wars “verse.”


Bespin’s Tibanna,
the gas used in “drives,” “turbos.”
Hot commodity!!!


Tibanna Supply,
disrupted by mining droids.
Sir Corto seeks help.


Carbonite frozen
Tibanna is easy to
galactically ship.


Han Solo lowered.
Leia shouts, “It will be cold!”
“I know,” he responds.


Image and music.
Vader is pure evil when
Solo is frozen.


The City’s Baron
Lando Calrissian, one
handsome looking man.


The Admin’s Palace,
home to the City’s Baron.
A Battlefront Map!!!


Apex Overlook,
luxury plaza in the
heights of Cloud City.


If you’re Apex bound
you’ll probably see Nobles
who are exiled.


Noble Court member
Elenzia trains allies
at the Overlook.


Lounge for the wealthy,
the Paradise Atrium.
Voras hangs out there.

Haiku Addendum:
Voras the Hutt, leader of
Ivax Syndicate.


The Shadow Market,
home to shadowy figures
such as the Kouhun.


Working in the clouds,
Ugnaughts do grueling labor
and play with droid heads.


I have to be frank:
I like the Bespin Wing Guard
uniform design.

Haiku Addendum:
If ever I cosplay I’ll
be a Bespin Guard.


Elayah Mordu,
a former Wing Guard member.
She freelances now.


I’m a big fan of
the Storm IV Twin-Pod Cloud Car.
One hella cool ship.


Skywalker takes a
sky walk and learns about his
sky walking father.

I can’t help but think
that Rey’s Cloud City postcard
is a subtle hint…

If right, I’ll say this:
Yes, YES, my brain is better
than everybody’s!!!!!!!!


Hanging upside down
from the City’s bottom side
is really unsafe.


In the City’s bowels,
Owacchi’s betrayers live.
Vile pirate scum.


Following Endor,
an Iron Blockade locks down
City and Sector.


The Iron Blockade,
led by Adelhard and Bragh.
Their own “Empire.”


Destroyer orbits.
Captain Tystel seeks help to
Protect Cloud City.


Name: Kars Tal-Korla,
well-known local miscreant.
Scourge of Cloud City.


Hired by Lobot,
“The Scourge” captures Borgin Kaa,
Imp sympathizer.


A Broken Blockade.
New Republic and Wing Guard
work to clear out Imps.


Lando with Lobot,
the friends discuss victory
and a baby gift.


Haikuesday is a monthly series on The Imperial Talker, a new post with poetic creations coming on the first Tuesday of each month. The haiku topic is chosen by voters on Twitter so be sure to follow @ImperialTalker so you can participate in the voting. Now, check out these past Haikuesday posts:

Droids (February 2017)

Ahsoka Tano (March 2017)

Darth Vader (April 2017)

The Battle of Scarif (May 2017)

The Truce at Bakura (June 2017)

Queen Amidala (July 2017)

Ryloth (August 2017)

Star Wars Without End

I spend a lot of time pondering the internals of the Star Wars universe – the characters, events, factions, spaceships, philosophies, etc. – but I also spend quite a bit of time thinking about the Star Wars franchise in general. These days, it’s hard not to think about the trajectory of the franchise since Disney – which purchased the franchise from the original creator/owner George Lucas in 2012 – has been announcing and releasing new content left and right. Movies, TV shows, novels, comics, video games, and more are adding to the already rich trove of stories that populate the universe, while an endless line of new merchandise in every shape and form pops up on a seemingly daily basis. Plus, Disney is building two different Star Wars-themed lands where fans can enjoy “being in” the Star Wars universe.

As a lifelong fan of Star Wars, the fact that the franchise is going strong definitely makes me happy, but this also comes with a catch – too much of a good thing isn’t always great. While I am excited there are new Star Wars stories being told and merchandise being sold, there is also a certain amount of burn out that also comes with all of this. Admittedly, it is a bit odd for me to say this since I maintain this site devoted to Star Wars, but it is also the truth – at times, being a Star Wars fan can be utterly exhausting.

Some of this Star Wars exhaustion is a natural symptom of over-indulgence, a symptom which necessitates moving away from the franchise for a while so I can enjoy it more fully another day. Having a site like this where I write about Star Wars certainly adds to this particular form of burn out, and at times, I have to step away from the computer or notebook, giving myself time and permission to not even think about Star Wars.

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I’ve never been to a Star Wars Celebration, the so-called “ultimate fan experience,” and have little desire to attend one. Perhaps someday I will if I’m feeling adventurous and want to put my crowd anxiety to the test.
Photo Credit : Lucasfilm/Disney

On the other hand, some of this burn out is just a general fatigue associated with having to maintain interest in such an expansive franchise, one that is not going to stop growing anytime soon. Just as I look up at the night sky and have difficulty processing the vastness of space, a similar feeling of being overwhelmed hits me when I think about the vastness of the Star Wars franchise, a vastness that encapsulates past, present, and future. While I can appreciate all that Star Wars has to offer, providing fans of every type with something they will love, on a personal level, the more Star Wars grows, the more exhausted I’ve become trying to keep up with it. 

And so, I have found myself trying to reconcile my lifelong exploration of the “galaxy far, far away” with the continued growth of the franchise and the gambit of ways it is making me feel: overwhelmed, exhausted, burnt out, and at times even uninspired and bored. In other words, I have found myself for some time now in the rather peculiar position of trying to decide how I will continue being a fan of the franchise (talk about first world problems). What do I mean by this? Well, it means I have spent a lot of time reflecting on my relationship with the franchise in general, and the content of the Star Wars universe in particular. It means that because I do not have an endless supply of time, energy, and money – especially money – to devote to a fictional universe that will probably still be growing when I am on my death bed that I have to decide which aspects of Star Wars I will continue to participate in/enjoy and which parts I am just uninterested in/do not feel are worth the effort.

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Most people know that I’m obsessed with Grand Admiral Thrawn, but I’m also a huge fan of Admiral Natasi Daala who first appeared in the Expanded Universe novel Jedi Search.
Photo Credit: Lucasfilm/Del Rey

In truth, this isn’t an entirely new approach to the way I engage with Star Wars. We all have our personal preferences and gravitate towards certain things, and I have always been the type of person who likes parts of Star Wars more than others. Even before George Lucas sold the franchise to Disney I was selective about how I participated in the franchise, what merchandise I bought, and yes even which stories I gravitated towards. For example, I can honestly say that while I am well versed in the stories of the now Expanded Universe (EU; now officially called Legends…bleh), there are some Expanded Universe stories I have never touched and know almost nothing about. Case in point: The Old Republic online game. Perhaps one day I will get around to playing The Old Republic or checking out those EU stories I haven’t read, or maybe I won’t.

Like the Expanded Universe I am already treating the “new Expanded Universe,” the Disney Canon, the same way. While I have done my best to keep up with all of the stories being released, it became very apparent early on that it just wouldn’t be possible to do so. This hardly means I haven’t tried my best, but it does mean that I am well aware there are tales I have missed and probably will never experience. Since I have no interest in subscribing to Star Wars Insider magazine, I miss out on the short-stories that appear in each edition. I have certainly read a few here and there, but otherwise I’ve missed most of them and am not rushing out to read them. This is also true of the discontinued Star Wars Rebels magazine, each issue containing a story in the form of a comic. I’m sure those comics are quite fun, and perhaps I will check them out at some point, but for now I’m just not that interested in going out of my way to read them.

In turn, even of the new stories I have encountered in the Disney canon (and this goes for the EU as well), I’ve absolutely loved some, really disliked others, and have otherwise mixed emotions about a handful. I thought Kevin Hearne’s novel Heir to the Jedi was rather bland, have been underwhelmed by the novels in Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath series, felt the Chewbacca comic series left a lot to be desired, and walked out of my first viewing of The Force Awakens asking myself what the hell I had just watched. On the flip side, I really enjoyed playing the now discontinued Star Wars: Uprising video game, absolutely love the Princess Leia and Lando comic series, was blown away by Christie Golden’s novel Dark Disciple and James Luceno’s novel Tarkin, and have really enjoyed the rich layers being added to the canon thanks to the animated show Star Wars Rebels.

Run2
The Grand Inquisitor, introduced in Star Wars Rebels, is now one of my absolute favorite characters. I am hoping he will get his own novel or comic series.
Photo Credit – Star Wars Rebels Season 1, Episode 14: “Fire Across the Galaxy”

But just because I love one particular story or dislike another doesn’t mean I find perfection/imperfection in everything. I might not love Heir to the Jedi but there are some very good moments in the novel, The Force Awakens has grown on me over time, the Uprising game was fun but also incredibly tedious, and even though I am really loving Star Wars Rebels I’ve been a vocal critic of the overuse of the Jedi and the Force in the series. For me, being a fan of Star Wars is not a zero sum game, a matter of either love or hate. Rather, more often than not it boils down to shades of gray, the acknowledgment that stories that I feel are wonderful still have flaws, and those I believe fall short do have some redeeming qualities. 

None of this is to say that my particular reactions/thoughts on each Star Wars story, or my moments of exhaustion, boredom and dispassion with the franchise as a whole, must be globally accepted. My personal fandom is no more or less important than any other fan, and my subjective experiences of Star Wars need not dictate the experiences others have. Besides, I can think of nothing more absurd than being a fan of Star Wars and lording my fandom over others. No, I am far more interested in sharing aspects of my fandom with others, engaging people in rich conversation about Star Wars. By maintaining this site, my hope is to always do just that: share aspects of Star Wars that stand out to me – the good and the bad, inspirational and discouraging – and open the floor for conversation. 

And that being the case, I have to ask: what are your feelings and opinions on the current state of the Star Wars franchise? Am I the only one who has moments of Star Wars fatigue and boredom, or are there others like me who are out there? If you care to share your thoughts and feelings, leave a comment. 

Trailers for The Old Republic

While I have only played The Old Republic MMO sporadically, I have never-the-less been stunned by the incredible cinematic trailers that have accompanied the game. So, I decided to collect them all into one spot so people could watch them without needing to do much searching. Enjoy!


Lando Loiters in a Marketplace

In my last post – The Force Awakens Without Lando – I noted my disappointment that Lando Calrissian did not make an appearance in The Force Awakens while the other main characters from the Original Trilogy were included. I’m not going to rehash that entire post here, but I would encourage you to check it out if you haven’t done so. I will point out that in the post I acknowledged that The Force Awakens was a good movie even though Calrissian was missing from it. And besides, I am hopeful that he will be appearing in Episode VIII and/or IX.

So why, might one ask, am I discussing Lando once again? Is there more to be said about his absence from The Force Awakens? No, not really. Instead, I wanted to extend the conversation on Lando by turning to the 30-year period of time between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. So far, only a handful of stories have taken shape (across various mediums) which have begun to populate this New Republic/Rise of the First Order era. And yet, of those stories that have begun popping up, two characters in particular have been noticeably absent from this era: Luke Skywalker and (you guessed it) Lando Calrissian.

A while back, a guest post from Michael Miller considered Luke’s absence from this era of stories, and I definitely think you should check out what Michael had to say. In the meantime, I’ll cut right to the chase: I find it incredibly odd and definitely confusing that Lando has been such an incredibly minor – and at times blatantly absent – character in the this particular era of the Star Wars timeline. Now, I say this with the full awareness that Lando has popped up in a few post-Endor stories (I’ll come back to these momentarily). Plus, it’s important to note that Lando has been given a great(er) deal of attention in stories that take place before Return of the Jedi. Notably, in the show Star Wars Rebels, Calrissian has made a couple of fun cameos and Lando was the main character in a five-part Marvel comic series aptly named Lando. In fact, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that the Lando series was one of my favorite story-arcs added to the Disney canon, perfectly capturing Lando’s personality, vocabulary, demeanor, and overall style.

Yet, even though Lando is the star of his own comic series and has a spattering of appearances on Rebels, I am left to wonder why he is not a more noticeable and active presence in the stories unfolding in the weeks/months/years following the Battle of Endor. Like I said, he has shown up here and there, but these moments are few in number and relatively shallow.

For example, in Claudia Gray’s novel Bloodline, set 24 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, Lando sends a message of support to Leia as she deals with the fallout of the Galactic Senate learning that she is the daughter of Darth Vader. A kind gesture on Lando’s part, to be sure, but nothing he actually says in the message is detailed, nor does he factor into the novel in any other way. 

In the four-part Shattered Empire comic series, set in immediate aftermath of the Battle of Endor, Lando actually appears in Issue #001 and #003. In Issue #001, Lando participates in the battle (flying the Millennium Falcon) and is present for the celebration which immediately follows the Rebel victory, chatting it up with Han Solo and other soldiers. Nothing new or surprising there. On the other hand, in Issue #003, Calrissian leads a New Republic into the Battle over Naboo, stopping the Empire’s operation to destroy the planet. Pretty awesome, I have to admit. Besides, it makes perfect sense that in the days, weeks and months after the victory at Endor, Lando would continue to serve as General in the Rebellion-turned-New Republic. However, his very next chronological appearance on the Star Wars timeline makes a lot less sense…

battle-over-naboo-2
General Calrissian takes command of the Battle over Naboo.
Photo Credit – Star Wars: Shattered Empire, Part III

In July 2016, Lando was part of an update to the game Star Wars: Uprising. While I eagerly welcomed his addition to the game, hoping that his arrival would add a dynamic new layer to the game plot/story, my enthusiasm quickly turned to utter confusion and disappointment. Allow me to explain. When one initially meets with Lando in the Longstar Marketplace on the planet Burnin Konn, Lando lays out his profitable reasons for sneaking into the Anoat sector (which serves as the location for the game and is under Imperial blockade) and is willing to cut you in on the deal. In turn, Lando gives you a job to raid the Imperial base on Nar Hypa, a moon orbiting the planet Mataou, a mission which yields some basic materials, credits, and trophies (which can be used to purchase other goods). Excited to discover what would come after my first “Lando Job,” I quickly became discouraged when I realized Lando was not going to immediately send me on another run. Surely, I figured, if I waited a day a new mission would be ready for me…and I was right! Logging into the game a day later, I was greeted by an in-game message that “Lando has a job for you.” I eagerly scooted over to the Longstar Marketplace, sought out Lando, and was presented with the EXACT SAME MISSION! The same map, Imperial forces spread out in the same places, and a similar payout. Since Lando was introduced into Uprising, his “jobs” are always the same. And, to make things even more ridiculous, Lando just keeps standing around the Longstar Marketplace. One would presume that at some point he’d make his way to the Carbon Score Cantina… 

landomission
The “Lando Mission” description.
Photo Credit – Star Wars: Uprising

Now, unless one counts some credits and a handful of in-game material as meaningful, Lando’s presence in Uprising is, to put it bluntly, entirely pointless. That is, it is pointless as of right now. While Lando’s inclusion in Uprising currently lacks any significant purpose, I am hoping that his role in the game will be expanded, especially considering the game is set in the days/weeks/months following the Battle of Endor. In short, since a (former?) Rebel/New Republic General was able to infiltrate the Imperial blockade of the Anoat sector, making his way to Burnin Konn, one would think (and hope!) that he would have plans to provide aid to the forces fighting Imperial oppression in the sector. Of course, Lando might also end up indefinitely loitering in Longstar Marketplace, his presence having no outward effect on the overall goal of breaking the Empire’s blockade and freeing the sector. Honestly, at this point, who knows what will happen with Lando in the Anoat sector.

Then again, who knows when or how Lando will show up again in a post-Endor story. I’ll be sure to update this post the next time he does.


Addition: On September 22, 2016, the game developers of Star Wars: Uprising announced that Uprising will permanently shut down in November 2016. As someone who consistently played the game since it came out, I am naturally disappointed although not surprised. The game failed to live up to a number of expectations, and while I enjoyed the lore which it added to the rich Star Wars canon, game play consistently fell short, particularly given its repetitive nature which I detailed (in part) with the “Lando Missions.” 

In light of this development, I am left wondering what this will mean for Lando Calrissian, Perhaps, even though Uprising is shutting down, a novel or comic will be written that completes the game’s primary story – the liberation of the Anoat sector – with Lando taking on a larger, more central role. Or, perhaps he will simply be stuck in limbo, continuing to stand around the Longstar Marketplace on Burnin Konn while the New Republic defeats the remnants of the Empire at Jakku. I suppose only time – and more stories – will tell what Lando’s role will end up being. 

The Hutts of Mataou

Since it was released in September 2015, Star Wars: Uprising hasn’t really garnered a great deal of attention, and when it has, the attention hasn’t always been positive. In large part, this is because the mobile game – which takes place in the Outer Rim’s Anoat sector and is set in the months following the Battle of Endor – is a real slog, taking the player on a lengthy journey of level-ups, gear/crew upgrades, sector battles, and story missions that seem to drag out. In other words, it takes a persistent amount of dedication and patience to stay committed to Uprising, especially if one wants to soak up all that it adds to the Star Wars mythos.

Well, long story short, I am one of those persistent people. I was ready to play Uprising before it launched, and since then, I have consistently played it. I have, in fairness, taken some breaks every now and again, but I nevertheless continue to go back to it. I have always loved Star Wars RPG games, in large part because these games offer a “direct experience” of the universe. Sure, Uprising might not be the most popular of games, but it is a game that I enjoy because it offers a unique take on Star Wars, the immersion in the history and present-day happenings of a sector in the Star Wars galaxy. No, it isn’t the most action-packed of Star Wars games ever made, but approach it with an open-mind and one will quickly discover that there is a lot to glean from it about Star Wars lore.

So what does Uprising have to do with Hutt Week? Well, read on and you will find out it has EVERYTHING to do with Hutt Week.

Journey to a Desolate World

Mataou6
Rancor skulls staked beneath fraying banners.

Photo Credit – Star Wars: Uprising

Originally introduced in The Essential Atlas – one of the MANY Expanded Universe reference guides – Mataou is a planet that C-3PO would certainly describe as a “desolate place.” A hot desert world sitting on the edge of the Ivax Nebula, Mataou serves as one of the entry points into the Ison Trade Corridor, a hyperspace route that branches off of the Corellian Trade Spine. Best known for the native and highly venomous Ro Hypa serpent, Mataou is also notorious for its former rulers: the Hutts.

In those missions in Uprising where one travels to Mataou, what one comes across are the ruins of a once grand Hutt presence. While some of these ruins have been restored thanks to criminal elements that utilize Mataou as a hideout, the structures on the planet are otherwise in disuse and show clear signs of crumbling and decay. Nevertheless, the classic architecture and massive complexes point backwards in history to a time when the Hutts dominated the planet.

Of particular note on Mataou are statues of various Hutts – perhaps those who belonged to the Gnuda Kajidic (family/crime gang) – a visual reminder of the influence and power the Hutts maintained over those they ruled. Draped from the sides of the impressive buildings are tattered banners, the script written on them being a form of Huttese that also appeared in The Clone Wars episode “Bound for Rescue.” In turn, scattered among the abandoned, sand-swept ruins one also comes upon the occasional bleached skulls of dead Rancors, a clear indication that Jabba was not the only Hutt to have an affinity for the massive beasts. Additionally, there are chains and shackles attached to walls, and one has to wonder if slaves and/or enemies were fed to Rancors, Ro Hypa, or other deadly creatures. As well, the wreckage of desert skiffs, similar to the ones we see in Return of the Jedi, can also be found strewn about the Hutt complexes.

Mataou2
Ancient Security Droid
Photo Credit – Star Wars: Uprising

Perhaps the most direct and obvious remnant of these Hutts are the droids they left behind.  In a number of missions to Mataou, one is forced to deal with Ancient Security Droids, Hutt Security Droids, and the powerful Hutt Guard Droids. These robots of old continue to roam and guard the abandoned Hutt structures, following their directive to eliminate trespassers. While these droids are not the only threats one will face on Mataou ,they are never-the-less extremely formidable and dangerous. It is no wonder the Hutt complexes are so sparsely occupied…

The most intriguing vestige of these Hutts, at least in my opinion, is a spot known as the Shrine of Dynasties. With an altar at its center, thriving plant life, and an ambiance radiating tranquility, the Shrine has an obvious sacred and religious feel to it. In fact, I would not be surprised to learn that the Shrine is a conduit for the Living Force.  

Historically, the Shrine of Dynasties was used as a meeting place between the Hutts and the Nothoiin Noble Court. The Nobles, you learn in the game, are the long-time and rightful rulers of the Anoat sector. At the Shrine, the two sides would discuss matters of peace and cooperation. Unfortunately, this is all we learn about not only the Shrine of Dynasties but the relationship between the Hutts and Nobles. Still, this little information is enough to make me want to know more about their relationship. It’s hard to imagine any Hutts being cooperative or peaceful, but clearly the Hutts who governed Mataou were willing to be both with the Noble Court.

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My character stands before the altar in the center of the Shrine of Dynasties.

Photo Credit – Star Wars: Uprising

Then again, even if they were peaceful and cooperative with the Nothoiion nobles, this hardly means they always acted/negotiated with righteous intentions. After all, we are talking about Hutts, a species best known for profiting off of illegal activities. It would not be surprising if we eventually learn their peace and cooperation was motivated by the desire to avoid the scrutiny of the Nobles. Better to play along so the Nothoiion do not suspect the Hutts are up to no good, right? 

Ultimately, it’s hard to say for sure exactly what the Hutts of Mataou were like beyond what little information we can piece together in the game. Perhaps they actually WERE a planet of Hutts that broke the mold, acting altruistically and for the benefit of all. Or, maybe they were like other Hutt clans, entirely concerned with their  own self-interests and preservation. There is no way of knowing for sure until more information about these Hutts is added to Uprising specifically, or the Star Wars canon in general.

And if that is to happen, if we do end up getting more details about these Hutts – their relationship with the Nobles, their opulent lifestyle, their connection with other Hutt worlds, etc. – I also hope we are eventually told why their civilization on Mataou crumbled. This is probably the single biggest question I have about the Hutts of Mataou, a curiosity to know what became of them and why they no longer inhabit the world. In Uprising, a character named Riley mentions that the Hutts might have left the planet because of the Ro Hypa, and perhaps this was so. Otherwise, maybe there had been infighting, or a war with outsiders, or a disease that wiped out the population. Or perhaps, in what would be typical Hutt fashion, living on Mataou stopped being good for profits and they moved to another world. The possibilities are limitless and open to the imagination. 

Still, I should note that there is at least one Hutt who continues to live in the Anoat sector, one whose ancestors hailed from the desert world: Voras the Hutt, leader of the Ivax Syndicate. A mysterious Hutt with his hands in an endless number of criminal activities, Voras and his Syndicate hold incredible influence in the Anoat sector. But that is all I will say about them…I don’t need Voras putting a bounty on my head. 


Check out these other Hutt Week posts:

The Imperial Talker Presents: Hutt Week

Hutts: Galactic Gangsters

Hutt Week: “Cute” Jabba the Hutt Merchandise (by Jenmarie from Anakin and His Angel)

Jabba the (CGI) Hutt

Why Ziro’s  My Hero (by Andrew – @AndrewinBelfast)

A Man in Debt to a Hutt (by Michael Miller)

Hutt Haiku Poems

Hutt Profile: Gardulla

Heir to a Criminal Empire

Hutt Week: A Conclusion

The Compassion of a Jedi Master

Set more than twenty years after the events of Return of the Jedi, author Claudia Gray’s novel Bloodline provides a captivating glimpse of Princess Leia – now a Senator – as she navigates the political turmoil of the New Republic. The book adds a great deal of insight into the post-Endor universe and I highly recommend that Star Wars fans read it. My  intention in this post, though, is not to provide a full-fledged review of the the novel. Instead, what I really want to do is share just a couple of thoughts I had while reading Bloodline, a couple of connections that got me excited. So, let’s get down to business…

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The cover of Star Wars: Bloodline.
Photo Credit – Disney/Lucasfilm

At the outset of Bloodline, an emissary from the Twi’lek homeworld of Ryloth addresses the Galactic Senate, briefly explaining that his planet has historically been the target of Hutt oppression, and that this oppression was doubled under Imperial rule. Emissary  Yendor goes on to explain that with the decline in power of the Hutts, other criminal factions – most notably cartels run by the Niktos – have arisen to fill the power vacuum. In particular, he notes that a Nikto cartel run by a Kajain’sa’Nikto (red Nikto) named Rinnrivin Di possess the greatest threat to the people of Ryloth, and beseeches the Senate to investigate Rinnrivin Di’s criminal activities.

For those of you who have watched The Clone Wars animated series, and specifically the Season 3 episode “Supply Lines,” you may recall that the episode features a Kajain’sa’Nikto Jedi Master named Ima-Gun Di. Well, the moment I read the name “Rinnrivin Di,” the lights and sirens went off in my brain and I immediately wondered: are the two Nikto somehow related?

Honestly, I have no idea. It certainly could be possible, but “Di” could also just be the “Smith” of the Nikto species. Still, it sure is interesting that the two have the same surname, and it really makes me wonder if Claudia Gray or someone on the Lucasfilm Story Group had the idea of connecting Ima-Gun Di and Rinnrivin Di in their OWN bloodline.

What makes this all the more fascinating, though, is that Master Ima-Gun Di led the Republic effort to defend the planet Ryloth – and the Twi’leks – against a Separatist invasion. While Master Di’s only appearance is in “Supply Lines,” and only in a handful of scenes at that, these few moments in the episode are enough make us understand quite a lot about him. Ima-Gun Di is tactically gifted as a general, holding out against a far superior enemy and we watch as he concocts a plan to bottleneck the Separatist forces. But we also see that he is a true friend of the Twi’leks as he works tirelessly to protect them from the oncoming battle droids. This is no more apparent than when Master Di personally oversees the rear-guard action that will cost him his life, selflessly fighting and dying “for the Twi’leks” so they can “live to fight another day.”

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Jedi Master Ima-Gun Di
Photo Credit – Star Wars The Clone Wars (Season 3, Episode 3), “Supply Lines”

One Nikto with the surname “Di” fighting on behalf of the Twi’leks, another many years later causing harm to the Twi’leks. Again, it really makes one wonder if the connection between these two is intentional…

But I don’t want to belabor the connection. It is definitely worth pondering, but I have another thought to consider about Ima-Gun Di and the Twi’leks, one that relies on a little more information found in Bloodline, and elsewhere, about the Nikto species.

One piece of that information comes during  Emissary Yendor’s address to the Senate, but it comes not from the Emissary but instead from c-3PO. Turning to Leia as she listens to Yendor’s presentation, C-3PO states that “The Niktos served the Hutts for centuries. They’ve never had a truly independent government of their own. Hardly even a world of their own, really.” In fact, the first Niktos we meet in Star Wars appear in Return of the Jedi and are henchmen for Jabba the Hutt. Furthermore, we also see Nikto enforcers serving the Hutt Clan in The Clone Wars, and learn from Star Wars: Uprising that Nikto stalkers are utilized whenever Hutts feud with one another.

Nikto Stalker
A Nikto Stalker.
Photo Credit – Lucasfilm/KABAM

Now, it is certainly possible to raise some thoughts and questions about the relationship between the Niktos and the Hutts. In Bloodline, Rinnrivin Di himself tells Leia that his “people have their reasons for hating the Hutts.” But my interest here is not to speculate on what those “reasons” happen to be. Rather, for the sake of this post, I am far more curious about the relationship between the Niktos and the Twi’leks. Since the Hutts oppressed Ryloth for centuries, and the Niktos served the Hutts as henchmen, enforcers, and stalkers, it is safe to assume that the Twi’leks had many negative encounters with members of the Nikto species who were acting on behalf of the Hutts. In fact, Princess Leia strikes at very heart of this point in Bloodline when she notes that “Ryloth has never had much in the way of resources, and whatever they had was traditionally taken away from them by either the Niktos or the Hutts.”

So what the heck does all this have to do with Jedi Master Ima-Gun Di? Well, since the relationship between the Niktos and Twi’leks was tenuous at best, how then would the Twi’leks have reacted to a Nikto Jedi Master leading the defense of their homeworld? Imagine, for example, being a Twi’lek parent whose young daughter was ripped away from them by Nikto enforcers to be taken and made a slave in the palace of a Hutt. Now, imagine seeing a Nikto Jedi Master step off a Republic gunship – how would it make you feel?

You see, as I read Bloodline and thought about the possible relationship between Ima-Gun Di and Rinnrivin Di, I also found myself thinking about the possible emotions the Twi’leks may have experienced seeing, or simply knowing, that a Nikto was fighting FOR them when their planet was under threat. I can easily picture the look of shock and/or surprise on the face of some Twi’leks when they first saw Ima-Gun Di, wondering if this Kajain’sa’Nikto was really to be trusted.

Ima-Gun Di Image 3
Master Di speaks with Twi’lek freedom fighter Gobi Glie.
Photo Credit – Star Wars The Clone Wars (Season 3, Episode 3), “Supply Lines”

But I’m also certain that Master Di knew that members of his species, working on behalf of the Hutts or in their own self-interest, were responsible for a great deal of Twi’lek suffering. As a Jedi Master and as a Nikto, Ima-Gun Di must have been aware of what his presence on Ryloth would mean to many Twi’leks. This is why I think it would be brilliant for a Star Wars writer like Claudia Gray to create a story – even if it is only a short story – that shows us Master Di’s arrival on Ryloth and his subsequent interactions with the Twi’leks before we meet him in The Clone Wars. This story could provide a little background on an otherwise unfamiliar Jedi Master, insight into the beginning of the Ryloth campaign, but most importantly it could show us the compassion of Master Di as he worked to heal some of the pain the Niktos had inflicted upon the Twi’leks.

Of course, this is not to suggest Master Di could single-handedly mend every wound, especially since he had a battle to fight, but perhaps his example and legacy could serve as the future for understanding and reconciliation between the Twi’leks and the Niktos.