Sometimes it can be … a bit challenging … to come up with information about a lesser-known Star Wars character to share with you in my march through The ABCs of Star Wars. That leaves the door wide open for me to speculate, of course. You see me doing a lot of that this time around [denoted by descriptions in italics]. My musings let my imagination take flight – and I’m all for that! 🙂 [I think George Lucas is, too. Look what his imagination created! 🙂 ]
In this examination of characters, we’ll look at the letters Q, R, and S. As much as I was tempted to delve into a member of the Skywalker clan – specifically, my favorite Star Wars character, Luke – to represent today’s third letter, I fended off the hints of the Dark Side to stay on target, and spotlight only those characters who are, basically, faces in the crowd [even if they’re lucky enough to have a line or two]. Besides, is there anything you don’t know about Luke Skywalker? 😉
Q … One of the truly magical aspects of Star Wars – at least for me – was George Lucas’ ability, maybe insistence, that some humor be injected into each of the six films. [I hope that endeavor continues as new individuals pave the way for Star Wars tales.] Not rip-roaring, side-splitting humor, mind you. Most of the time, a more quiet chuckle would escape the confines of my rusty ol’ innards – watching just the right tilt of C3PO’s head to indicate something was just beyond his intellect, Jar Jar’s bumbling antics that usually brought disastrous results to others but to which he always seemed to be immune, listening to the exchange between Anakin and Obi-Wan en route to Padmé’s apartment after the 10-year lapse since seeing her. I always want to be in on the inside joke the two Jedi share. Every minute does not have to be serious. 🙂
That is how I view Ben Quadinaros and his inclusion in the Boonta Eve Classic. He wasn’t even slated to compete against the veteran podracers like the Dug, Sebulba, Er’Kit Ody Mandrell, and the human entry, Anakin Skywalker. However, the day before the monumental race [in young Skywalker’s life] was to take place, the Toong found himself in a precarious situation. In fact, it was as if he was coerced into entering the dangerous competition. Boles Roor [who finished sixth in the Classic] bet Ben that Quadinaros was too cowardly to compete. The Toong found it necessary to defend his honor, and on short notice was able to procure a podracer. We get a quick glance at Ben and his rented machine as he is introduced to the cheering crowd while his fellow racers march out to their respective places in the arena. Finally, the gong sounds, and all but Ben and Anakin speed off. As Anakin tries desperately to fire his twin engines, Ben sits in his faded red, open cockpit, pounding impotently on the dash. Anakin, finally able to overcome his difficulties, speeds off, leaving Ben Quadinaros behind. Just before the race leaders complete their first lap, the power coupling linking the racer’s four engines goes haywire, sending those same engines careening in all directions. Luckily, the pod itself lands safely. Ben can’t believe his [mis?]fortune, and the stunned look on his face as he and his pod descend caused me to experience a few chuckles. Humor. It lightens the mood. 🙂
The thing is – Roor’s challenge never required Ben to cross the finish line, nor even the starting line, for that matter. All Ben really had to do was enter the race. 😉 Thus, Ben walked away a winner – even though he never moved a meter [well, in the expected direction 😉 ]. Not much is known about Ben Quadinaros following that foray into podracing. He lived out his days on Tatooine, a fact that wouldn’t be difficult to ascertain. The Toongs’ homeworld, Toong’l, was destroyed when a comet crashed into it, leaving the planet uninhabitable. One thing is for certain, Ben Quadinaros never again set foot in a podracer. Which was just fine with the Toong. 😉
R … If I can’t highlight Luke Skywalker [no prominent characters! 😉 ], why not do the next best thing and set my sights on someone close to him? That is why – at least in part – I choose Dack Ralter, Luke’s snowspeeder gunner, to represent “R”. “Right now, I feel like I can take on the whole Empire myself!” Dack exclaims to Luke as the pair gets ready to take on the Empire’s ground assault on Hoth in “The Empire Strikes Back”. That line infused me with the same bravado and confidence the two young Rebels felt as they got set to face off against a much more formidable foe. I wanted to fly off with them! Luke and Dack skirt across the snowscape, intent on doing their part to bring down the thundering AT-ATs, and when it becomes clear the speeders’ lasers will not penetrate the AT-ATs’ thick armor, Luke devises a new plan. However, before Dack can let loose the ship’s harpoon and tow cable, he notices a malfunction and attempts to fix it. In a heartbeat, a blast from one of the Empire’s canons finds its mark, and instantly kills Dack. Luke has lost not only his gunner, but a good friend as well.
Dack is from Kalist VI. When the Empire stretched its regime over the galaxy, Kalist VI became an Imperial labor colony. Unwilling to put up with the tyranny imposed on his homeworld – and the galaxy – Dack escaped his homeworld with the help of Breg, a downed Rebel pilot who was sent to Kalist VI to scout the planet for the Rebels. Breg managed to elude Imperial forces while on the planet, and met up with Dack while he [Breg] was hunting for supplies. Dack, 17, convinced Breg to let him [Dack] join the Rebel forces once they fled. Breg figured Dack was old enough to make up his own mind, and since Dack had nothing left on Kalist VI [all members of his family perished in the labor camps], he had ample reason to do his part to rid the galaxy of the evil Empire. Dack died a hero, fighting for something in which he believed. Passionately. A hero in the real sense of the word.
S … As is par for the course when watching a Star Wars film, “The Phantom Menace” was no different from the others when it came to being aware that there was a lot going on onscreen. As I watched – with rapt attention – the story unfold, I couldn’t help but think, “Hmm, that captured ‘queen’ looks a little different from the one who sat upon the throne as she tried to make contact with Senator Palpatine.” There definitely were physical similarities between the black-clad queen and the earlier Royal, but there was just something a little “off” about her. I decided not to spend too much time pondering this oddity – events were quickly unfolding, and there was a lot of information to take in. Everything became clear, of course, later in the film when an obviously agitated Padmé steps past the ‘queen’ to reveal to Boss Nass – and everyone else present – that she, Padmé, really was the queen. “This is my decoy, my protection, my loyal bodyguard,” Padmé discloses. Never called by name, Sabé is Queen Amidala’s trusted and loyal Royal Handmaiden who will, at times, step in for her friend and ruler. By the time I saw TPM the third time that day [yes, I saw the first prequel three times in a 24-hour period 😉 ], the knowing look between decoy and handmaiden/queen outside the starship hangar was easily detectable. After escaping their guards en route to a detention camp, both Sio Bibble and Qui-Gon Jinn try to convince the ‘queen’ to go Coruscant to plead Naboo’s case to the Senate. “Either choice [to go vs. to stay] presents great danger,” the ‘queen’ says. She pauses, turns her head to the left, and continues to the handmaiden standing slightly behind her, “to us all.” The handmaiden responds, “We are brave, your highness,” giving the ‘queen’ her [the real queen’s] tacit direction. The entourage makes for the hangar, and off they go to Coruscant.
Interestingly enough, it is Sabé, still carrying out the ruse, who meets Senator Palpatine and Chancellor Valorum when the Nabooan starship lands on Coruscant. Before long, however, the two young women don their correct roles. Then, they two switch identities once again [before the group returns to Naboo]. On Naboo, Sabé makes it possible for the true queen to regain control of the Palace and her planet. Quite frankly, I found it … odd … that Queen Amidala and Sabé were able to hide their true identities from both Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, but that really isn’t here or there, I suppose. 😉
Sabé spent a good many hours and days learning and practicing all of Queen Amidala’s speech syntaxes and physical nuances and mannerisms so that she could step into the role of queen easily. It was a task she found herself carrying out on more than one occasion. Their physical similarities brought Sabé and Padmé into close contact very often, and they developed a close friendship. Once Padmé left her position as Queen of Naboo, Sabé opted to leave her post. She retired from government service, raising a family of her own. While she was happy to serve her homeworld and the Queen, she was ready for a quiet life of at least somewhat obscurity. Years later, she found herself center-stage once again when she wrote a best-selling novel loosely based on her time as Naboo’s reigning ‘queen’.
I hope you have enjoyed this installment in my 2015 CWK series. Next time, we’ll take a look at T, U, and V characters. I invite you to leave a comment below, or feel free to drop me a line at email@example.com.
[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.]
Thirty-two days and counting…
Until next time,
p.s. Pour le peuple de Paris, de la France: Mon coeur va à vous. Tenir bon. Bien solide. Le monde est avec vous. Les lâches ne gagnera pas.
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