Call me silly [you wouldn’t be alone in doing so 😉 ], but I’ve always been … entranced … by Alfred Hitchcock’s decision to make a cameo appearance in his films. They always are unobtrusive roles — an every-day man riding the bus [that’s “Hitch” sitting next to Cary Grant on the bus in “To Catch A Thief”], a customer leaving a pet shop [in “The Birds”], a passenger lugging a double bass trying to board the train [in “Strangers On A Train”]. In some instances, the director had to be rather creative to “appear” in one of his films. In “Lifeboat”, Hitchcock’s image appears in a newspaper ad one of the survivors is reading. It is just as much fun to locate his recognizable visage in the crowd as it is to watch one of his masterful cinematic efforts.
Imagine my glee when I recognized [or thought I did at my first viewing of “Revenge of the Sith”] a certain director standing off to the side in the opera house. Blue-skinned and clad in his finery fit for the occasion, subsequent viewings of ROTS proved that my eyes did not deceive me. That is George Lucas in the background as Anakin races up the stairs to meet with Chancellor Palpatine. How fitting that he, George Lucas, finally appeared in a “Star Wars” film. After all, many a crew member and even Lucas’ children stepped into one role or another to help bring the Saga to life. Even acclaimed artist Ralph McQuarrie stepped in front of the camera [TESB]. ROTS was to be George Lucas’ final foray into the life of the Skywalkers. If he was going to make a cameo, ROTS would have to be the movie in which he did so. I, for one, was pleased as punch to see George Lucas — disguised even as he was — show up in one of his Star Wars films. I hope you join me in that sentiment. 🙂
I bring all this up with a purpose in mind. Truly. 🙂 When I began compiling the list of characters who have played a role in “Star Wars” and began putting them in alphabetical order, I knew who I’d be featuring to represent “P”. 🙂 But first things first. This month’s delving into “The ABCs of Star Wars” highlights the letters N, O, and P. There are some great characters from which to choose to highlight each of these letters, and it was a difficult choice all the way around. I actually flipped a coin [that’s about as scientific as I get] to determine who I’d feature for “O”! So, without further ado, let’s see which characters come into the spotlight this month. 🙂
N … Momaw Nadon, exiled from his home world of Ithor, finally settled on Tatooine, where he became a Rebel Alliance agent. That seemed a fitting post in which to find himself — after all, it gave the once High Priest aboard the Tafanda Bay an opportunity to deal blow after blow against the Empire. It was due to the Empire’s coercion that led to Nadon’s expulsion from his beloved Ithor. Captain Alima, one of the Empire’s more cruel officers, was able to garner Ithor’s agricultural secrets from Nadon by threatening to destroy the Tafanda Bay. To save his fellow Ithorians, Nadon complied. However, that action led to his arrest, and he was tried for treason. Found guilty, Nadon had to leave Ithor for no less than three years, and was allowed no contact whatsoever with his family. Ithor’s loss was Tatooine’s gain, in the end. Nadon helped create new plant life that would grow on the desert planet, and his home became a haven for Rebel fugitives. Later, Nadon had the opportunity to kill Alima, but the Ithorian decided that was not something he could do. Instead, Nadon hatched a complex, cunning plan that ultimately led the Empire to see Alima as a traitor, thus inflicting the same fate on the officer who had caused Nadon such personal pain. Alima was found guilty, and a much more final punishment was meted out so he would atone for his “crime”. After the Battle of Endor, Nadon returned to Ithor, and lived out the rest of his life there.
O … Queen Breha Organa, the loving wife [of Senator Bail Organa] and the adoptive mother [of Leia] won the coin toss to represent “O”. [In case you’re interested, her husband was also vying for the honor. 🙂 ] On screen for mere moments, it is evident that Breha is going to love the little bundle of joy Bail brought home to her. Breha and Padme were friends, and the two shared a common concern about where the Republic was headed. Thus, Breha gladly accepted the responsibility of raising Leia. And, as Bail told Yoda and Obi-Wan on Polis Minor, the couple always wanted a daughter. They’d gladly raise, love, and care for Leia, protect her, and make her their own. From the moment Bail put the newborn in his wife’s welcoming arms, a bond was forged. It’s right there on Breha’s face. 🙂 Not only was Breha a queen, wife and new mother, she also was Alderaan’s Minister of Education. Having two politically-minded parents, it wasn’t hard to fathom that Leia would follow in her parents’ wake. To make that possible, Breha and Bail made sure Leia had a strong, educational foundation. Leia received her history and political training from the famed instructor, Arn Horada. She honed her martial skills under the tutelage of Giles Durane the Weapons Master. [The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. 😉 ] Sadly, Breha [and Bail] were on-planet when Grand Moff Tarken decided to use the peaceful world of Alderaan as the Death Star’s first target. The leaders, and the planet’s populace, perished in the blink of an eye as Breha’s and Bail’s beloved daughter looked on, helpless.
P … An influential Wroonian guild baron with contacts throughout the galaxy, Baron N. Papanoida was rumored to have an information network that rivaled that of the Bothans. Papanoida was once a humble playwright on Wroona. He wrote a series of hits that appealed to audiences all over the planet, and he was able to use the proceeds to create an entertainment empire. The baron held most of his dealings close to the chest, and even to those who claimed to know him, he remained a mystery. However, two facets of his life that he did not keep secret were his love for performance art — he oftentimes could be seen in the audience at Coruscant’s finest auditoriums [like the Galaxies Opera House] and holoentertainment venues — and his disdain for Chancellor Palpatine’s policies. Papanoida may have been critical of Palpatine’s plans for the Republic, but he refused to commit himself to move via overt political actions against the Chancellor. Instead, he funneled information to the Senators of Conscience, like Chi Eekway [also from Wroona]. This enabled him to retain his position as the Empire rose to power. He may have enjoyed living on Coruscant, but where Papanoida truly felt most at home was on his home world. Wroona, a small, blue planet situated on the far edge of the Inner Rim, boasted inhabitants who were light-hearted and had an optimistic outlook on life.
That wraps up this month’s installment as we work our way through the alphabet, Star Wars-style. I invite you to leave a comment in one of the boxes below. If you’d like to contact me, please feel free to do so at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you either way! 🙂
[The 2008, three-volume “The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia” and IMDb.com, as well as my countless viewings of all six films aided in my research. (So did en.wikipedia.org, this time around.)]
Seventy-nine days and counting …
Until next time,
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