Quite the journey this has been. When I posted my first “The ABCs of Star Wars” blog back in January, I felt like Luke must have felt when he took his first steps into the larger, unknown world of the Force. Ben gave our favorite farm boy a slight introduction in A New Hope — “The Force is what gives the Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.” — so, strange as this new world was to Luke, Obi-Wan’s explanation gave him a hint of what he was going to experience. As a Star Wars fan for more than 30 years — totally immersing myself into the wondrous galaxy George Lucas created — I have been more than a little aware of the rich, multi-layered environment The Maker created for all six films. Thus, I had an inkling of what I was getting myself into when I decided to tackle this series.
Like Luke must have experienced once he opened himself to the Force, I found myself enjoying my journey much more than I thought I would. 🙂 There have been instances during this trek through the alphabet when it has been difficult to choose which character to highlight — there are so many interesting characters with intriguing backgrounds. There has been the challenge, too, to find a non-existent character to highlight one of the 26 letters in our alphabet, and deal with the frustration that has caused [me, at least 😉 ]. The research has been time consuming and exhausting — and so worth the effort. 🙂 Like Luke said to Yoda on the shrouded planet Dagobah in TESB, “…I’ve learned so much!”
Here we are, the second to last installment in this series. We’ve examined characters who had supporting roles in one or another of the films [remember — no main characters have been examined], who appeared in only one or two scenes with just a line or two, as well as those who really were only faces in the crowd. Each one of them has left their mark on the Saga. In this installment, we’ll be introduced to a new trio of characters — those representing the letters T, U, and V. Without further ado, let’s meet them…
T … Jedi Master Shaak Ti, a Togruta from the planet Shili, was in the thick of the Galactic Civil War right from the beginning. She was among the Jedi accompanying Master Mace Windu to Geonosis to rescue Obi-Wan Kenobi [and, unbeknownst to the Jedi contingent, Anakin and Padme]. While many Jedi fell that fateful day, Shaak Ti was not one of them. She returned to Coruscant to play a vital role in the Jedi effort to quell the uprising, and to ferret out the hidden Sith behind the Separatist plot. At one point during the war, Shaak Ti was assigned, with fellow Jedi Masters Roron Corobb and Foul Moudama, to protect Chancellor Palpatine. Shaak Ti’s compatriots were slain during General Grievous’ attack on the capital planet, and while Grievous threatened the same fate to befall the Togruta Jedi, the Separatist leader opted to let her live so she could return to the Jedi Council and report her failure.
To back track a little, Shaak Ti had two padawans prior to the outbreak of the Galactic Civil War. Sadly, each of them was slain by criminals shortly after completing their Jedi training. Fast forward to the civil war, and the Jedi Master was sent to Brentaal shortly after the Battle of Geonosis to free Brentaal from Separatist control. Shaak Ti came face to face with Lyshaa, the criminal responsible for killing Fe Sun, one of Shaak Ti’s padawans. While Shaak Ti may have been tempted to avenge her padawan’s murder [Lyshaa killed the Jedi Knight to gain respect among her criminal peers], the Jedi Master did not give in to the Dark Side. In the end, Lyshaa killed herself in a lightstorm chamber.
Although it was first believed that Shaak Ti was killed when Order 66 was issued, she managed to survive and escaped to Felucia. There, she met up with padawan Maris Brood, whose Master had been killed when trying to return to Coruscant. However, Darth Vader’s secret apprentice, Starkiller, eventually found Shaak Ti — on Felucia — and the two strong-in-the-Force individuals went head to head in a ferocious lightsaber battle over the waiting gullet of a giant Sarlacc. Like Boba Fett years later, the valiant Jedi Master fell to her death satisfying both the Sarlacc and Starkiller.
Interested in a few bits of trivia related to Togruta? Members of the humanoid species have three striped horns, known as montrals, that are used not only for camouflage but also to gather environmental information ultrasonically. The montrals are hollow to allow this ability. On Shili, the Togruta live in dense tribes, and each individual is expected to contribute to the tribe’s well-being. There is evidence the Togruta civilization is ancient, and that there were Togruta members of the Jedi Order 25,000 years before the Galactic Civil War.
U … Another Jedi Master vital to the Galactic Republic’s efforts to quell the Separatist uprising was Luminara Unduli. The Mirialan with luminous blue eyes and facial tattoos was one of the Council’s most trusted advisors. With her padawan Barriss Offee, and fellow Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, Luminara Unduli went to Ansion to broker a deal between the planet’s city inhabitants and the nomads of the plains. The accord the two groups finally reached ultimately kept Ansion from seceding from the Republic. Master Unduli was one of the Jedi Order’s most gifted negotiators. She travelled to many different worlds throughout the galaxy — sometimes in the company of Governor Wilhuff Tarkin — to negotiate with Separatist leaders. After the Battle of Coruscant [at which time Chancellor Palpatine was kidnapped], Master Unduli was sent to Kashyyyk with Master Yoda. While tending to injured clone troopers and Wookiees, the once-loyal Clones turned on the Jedi Master, and cut her down. Later, “official reports” touted that she was killed for her part in the Jedi conspiracy to overthrow the government. Rather, she was a faithful, loyal member of not only the Jedi Order but of the galaxy as well.
V … Previously paying homage to the Jedi, it is only fair that I tip the scale at least a bit toward the Empire. Not all those loyal to the Empire were steeped in the Dark Side. General Maximilian Veers certainly falls into that category. We are introduced to the cunning Imperial commander in “The Empire Strikes Back” when he ventures into Darth Vader’s sanctuary to inform the Sith Lord that the fleet has “…moved out of light speed…” and is approaching the sixth planet of the Hoth system. Too, he tries — in vain — to assuage Vader’s ire toward Admiral Ozzel [who came out of hyperspace too close to the ice-riddled planet] before being commanded to prepare his troops for a ground assault. Leading his troops into the fray — no milquetoast commander is he — Veers takes the controls of the lead AT-AT on Hoth to defeat the Rebels seeking sanctuary there. The AT-AT armor may be formidable indeed, but it is not impregnable. Veer’s AT-AT finally is taken down and destroyed — but not before Veers lets loose a volley of lasers that take out the Rebels’ main force field generator. Veers manages to get free of the explosive inferno, but not unscathed. Losing the use of his legs in the Battle of Hoth, the veteran officer did not let that handicap his use to the Empire. Years later, he served under Executor Sendriss during Operation Shadow Hand. The secret mission was Emperor Palpatine’s clone’s failed attempt to retake the galaxy from the New Republic. The dedicated Imperial officer died during the Battle of Balmorra.
Interestingly enough, General Veers’ son, Zevulon, did not see eye to eye with his father. The younger Veers threw his lot in with the Rebels, and fought against the Empire’s tyranny.
That wraps up this installment of “The ABCs of Star Wars”. Please, leave a comment below. Or, if you’d rather, I invite you to drop me a line at email@example.com. I’d love to hear from you either way! 🙂
[The 2008, three-volume “The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia”, IMDb.com and my countless viewings of all six films aided in my research.]
Eighteen days and counting …
Until next time,
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