Thursday, May 03, 2007
Star Wars 30th Anniversary Special - part 3
When "Star Wars" was first released, the scene where Jabba the Hutt confronts Han Solo outside the Millenium Flacon was not included. The scene, filmed with actor Declan Mulholland standing in for what was later be a stop-motion animated creature that would be Jabba, was not completed due to budgetary restraints. The scene would later be completed using cgi for the "Special Edition" 20 years later.
Of course, back in 1977, we didn't know all this. The footage with Declan Mulholland would not be scene until making-of documenatries for "Return of the Jedi" started airing on television in 1983. Instead, all we knew of Jabba the Hutt was what we were able to gleam from the conversation between Han Solo and Greedo in the cantina. As to what he looked like that was a mystery open to speculation. The novel described him as a "great mobile tub of muscle and suet topped by a shaggy scarred skull" which wasn't much help.
When Marvel Comics published their adaptation of the movie, Jabba appeared as a yellow-walrus like alien, which I thought looked pretty cool. (Note the blue alien which we would all know and love as "Snaggletooth" who will be the subject of a future entry here) This is how Jabba would appear in the comics until "Return of the Jedi" when his appearance changed to the big slug without any explanation or revision. This is how I imagined Jabba.
The design was actually based on a background character which can be seen briefly crossing the screen on the streets of Mos Eisley after Luke and Ben Kenobi leave the cantina. This alien has subsequently been identified as a Nimbanese named Mosep, who is actually an accountant for Jabba the Hutt. I actually find this expanded universe cataloguing of every character that appeared in the movie as limiting. The 11-year old me who saw this movie felt that the unspoken possibility of backgrounds and occupations of all of these weird characters to be a strength of the experience. Telling me this guy was Jabba's accountant, is like taxidermying the poor guy. His alienness has been removed. I'd sure like an action figure of him, though.