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View Full Version : Lack of "alien continuity" in the prequels



El Chuxter
05-12-2010, 06:52 PM
I dunno if anyone's ever pointed this out. I'm not sure it entirely "clicked" with me until looking at the thread about the Clone Wars TRU figure (Kul Theska?) and thinking, "Man, those aliens are all over the place in the prequel era. Wonder why we never saw them in the original trilogy?"

Thinking about it now, the lack of continuity of established aliens over flashy new designs is a problem (albeit a minor one) with the prequels. Sure, it makes sense that there aren't the same species all over the place, and we see different (and, in some cases, more urbane) worlds in the prequel trilogy. But shouldn't we be seeing more of the established species?

Sure, we have Rodians. Rodians all over the place. And there's a delegation of Ithorians in the Senate, and EU Ithorian, Mon Calamari, and Talz Jedi. And the new guys from the Special Edition Cantina scene (I forget their species). And more bloody Twi'leks than you can shake a lekku at, as well as Jawas and Tuskens on Tatooine because, really, how else would we know it was Tatooine and not some other "farthest from the bright center of the galaxy" desert farming world?

But... Snivvians are one of the only species (I'm actually thinking the only species) seen in all three original films. By that logic, they should be really common. Yet there's not a single one in the prequels. Same goes for the Saurin, Ugnaughts, and any other alien species seen in at least two OT movies. (We're seeing the outskirts of civilization; shouldn't alien species that have colonized boondock planets be seen in the center of galactic culture?)

On the other hand, there are a boatload of new species who are so common in the prequels, their absence from the original trilogy makes no sense. Dugs, Togruta, Zabraks, whatever the hell Ratts Tyrrell is. Those aliens seem to be so common, you can't turn around without bumping into one. Why are they totally absent from the original films?

I dunno.... Like I said, I know it's a minor point, but it seems like we should've seen more classic aliens, along with a lot of new ones who weren't seen in such numbers that they seem like some of the most common in the universe.

(And the Aqualish don't count. Those things in the prequels are the same species as Ponda Baba. I can buy the whole "two species, one with flippers, one with paws" thing, though it's pushing it. I can't swallow a subspecies with six eyes and a totally different facial structure that exists only because some costume designer was showing off.)

Mr. JabbaJohnL
05-12-2010, 08:17 PM
Let's go on a species by species basis, shall we?

*Skakoans - There's one in the entire film saga: Wat Tambor. Kul Teska exists because he's from the Techno Union, which is run by Skakoans. We also see them in the microseries, because they're engineering the Nelvaans. But that's it. One in the films.
*Snivvians - Zutton/Rachalt Hyst (or whatever that character is called these days) isn't even visible in ANH, at least not clearly. I'm fairly sure he's only seen in the Holiday Special, actually. The closest thing we have in the film itself is Takeel, who kind of sort of (but barely) looks like a true Snivvian. I don't think you can actually see Wiorkettle in ESB aside from maybe running really, really quickly in the Cloud City scene. The ROTJ one from Jabba's palace or skiff or whatever is barely visible as well. So in this case, it's more of a Holiday Special species than anything, and just a re-use of the only mask made of the species.
*Saurin - I only can think of the Kal Fas folks from the cantina. They're basically prototype Trandoshans, and we've seen Trandoshans in The Clone Wars, including Gha Nachkt, Bossk, the dead body of Nack Movers (just a re-use of Gha Nachkt), and one in Ziro's palace ordering a drink (again, a re-use of Gha Nachkt).
*Ugnaughts - I always associate them with Cloud City, and it would be weird to see them anywhere else. Sure, there's that one in Jabba's palace, but again, I'm not even sure if it's that visible in the film, and it's just a reuse of a mask, like the Snivvian.
*Dugs - There's Sebulba, three or four on Coruscant, and several on Malastare, their home planet, on the show. That's not a lot.
*Togruta - Shaak Ti in the films, and Ahsoka Tano in the show. Again, not common at all.
*Zabraks - Darth Maul, Eeth Koth, and Agen Kolar, the latter of which was born out of recasting Eeth Koth and having him ending up looking totally different. The only new one in TCW is Sugi.
*Aleena - Ratts Tyerell, some Mos Espa tourists, and a few on Coruscant; in the EU, there's Tsui Choi and Kazdan Paratus. Again, not too terribly many.

There's not really an issue here. It just involves reusing masks or CGI models. I do believe you're over-thinking it a great deal. A similar question would be, why are there no aliens in the Rebel Alliance in ANH or ESB? It's a real-world answer of them probably not wanting to use too many masks, more than anything to do with the story itself. It's the same thing here.

El Chuxter
05-12-2010, 08:22 PM
Ah, I was wrong on the Togruta. I was thinking of those things that sell frogs on Tatooine and show up everywhere else. Swokes-swokes, maybe?

I agree that a lot of this, especially in ANH, stems from real world concerns. (Why else would there be reused wolfman masks in the cantina?) But, whether clearly visible or not, it seems like someone should've realized that the really common alien species from the original movies should be visible in some form in the prequels. How tough would it be to toss in a Snivvian in a crowd scene?

I don't really count the goofy "Arcona Roger Ebert" sign from AOTC, which isn't actually an alien, or the Neimoidians, even if Lucas said they were the same as Duros (which they aren't). Just an observation. Honestly, the rampant re-use of the Jabba the Hutt voice in AOTC bothers me more than this. :)

bigbarada
05-12-2010, 10:39 PM
Klaatus (Green Niktos), Baradas (Klatooinians), Niktos (Red Niktos), and Weequays are all featured as background aliens in the Prequels. Niktos and Weequays are pretty common in the Clone Wars show, along with one Klatooinian and a Skrilling (Pote Snitkin's species).

I just wonder why there isn't a single Gamorrean in the Prequel era.

I think the most unnerving, in-universe explanation for why Dugs, Kaminoans, Gungans, Toydarians, etc. aren't around in the OT era could be over 20 years of "species cleansing" across the Star Wars galaxy. Many of those races were probably wiped out, driven into hiding, or locked away in slave labor camps under the Emperor's reign.

However, I think if Lucas would have just recycled alien species for the prequels, then people would have accused him of running out of ideas. Seeing new alien species show up in every movie has become kind of a staple of Star Wars films.

Mr. JabbaJohnL
05-13-2010, 01:16 AM
Ah, I was wrong on the Togruta. I was thinking of those things that sell frogs on Tatooine and show up everywhere else. Swokes-swokes, maybe?

I agree that a lot of this, especially in ANH, stems from real world concerns. (Why else would there be reused wolfman masks in the cantina?) But, whether clearly visible or not, it seems like someone should've realized that the really common alien species from the original movies should be visible in some form in the prequels. How tough would it be to toss in a Snivvian in a crowd scene?

I don't really count the goofy "Arcona Roger Ebert" sign from AOTC, which isn't actually an alien, or the Neimoidians, even if Lucas said they were the same as Duros (which they aren't). Just an observation. Honestly, the rampant re-use of the Jabba the Hutt voice in AOTC bothers me more than this. :)
There's one Swokes-Swokes, and that's Gragra. There was another on set in the Outlander Nightclub, but I can't see it in the film.

Again, where is your perception coming from that the Snivvians are so prominent? The only easily seen one in the OT is Takeel, and he's barely visible at all.

And I like how you're wondering why more OT alien species weren't in the OT, but then saying you're bothered by there being a Hutt voice in AOTC. I give up. :p

RoonStones
05-13-2010, 01:46 AM
I think if Lucas would have just recycled alien species for the prequels, then people would have accused him of running out of ideas. Seeing new alien species show up in every movie has become kind of a staple of Star Wars films.

Yet Lucas seemed to have no problem putting Tatooine, the farthest planet from the brightest center of the universe, in 5 of his 6 films. But that's another story.

I think there's a healthy level of alien overlap in each film with Rodians and Twileks being constants. And at the same time there's a number of aliens we see in one movie and not again (or very little) in subsequent ones. In terms of the prequels, one Toydarian is enough for me and the less devotion to the podracing aliens the better. Perhaps Lucas, knowing his incessant proclivity to push the envelope on computer generated aliens, wanted to develop more and more exotic creatures that couldn't be created by physical masks. Or maybe he's just trying to market as much stuff as possible. If everybody was either human or twilek, we wouldn't have enough action figures to sell.

Oh and Gands. There's not enough Gands in the movies. Zuckuss was one of the coolest aliens in my opinion and there weren't any Gands.

Or Trandoshans. Or Ithorians. Or Devaronians.

RooJay
05-13-2010, 07:11 AM
What I want to know is why does it seem Quarren are so fond of Tattooine? I'm not really interested in doing any research on the subject, but I seem to recall that they show up on the desert planet pretty often in the prequels. Especially considering their well established status as largely aquatic beings! I've always thought that was kind of lazy of the prequel crew - they could very well have made a bunch of new Snivvian masks instead, or any other alien species from the originals.

JimJamBonds
05-13-2010, 12:36 PM
Yet Lucas seemed to have no problem putting Tatooine, the farthest planet from the brightest center of the universe, in 5 of his 6 films.

The (2) people that lived on Tatoonine are the focus of the films, not a bunch of aliens.

bigbarada
05-13-2010, 03:46 PM
What I want to know is why does it seem Quarren are so fond of Tattooine? I'm not really interested in doing any research on the subject, but I seem to recall that they show up on the desert planet pretty often in the prequels. Especially considering their well established status as largely aquatic beings! I've always thought that was kind of lazy of the prequel crew - they could very well have made a bunch of new Snivvian masks instead, or any other alien species from the originals.

Well, I'm no EU writer, but there are a few easy explanations:

1. Quarren criminals/refugees who are hiding out from some kind of oppression on their homeworld. And where is the last place that you would look for an aquatic alien who originated from an ocean planet? A dry, desert world, of course.

2. A Quarren penal colony was set up on Tatooine several generations earlier and the offspring of that group became accustomed to living on Tatooine since it is all they have ever known.

3. The Quarren are like the dolphins in that old Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episode and they actually hate the water and just want to get out. :D

JediTricks
05-13-2010, 04:41 PM
I have to admit, the explosion of "different" aliens and existing aliens with changes was somewhat offputting to me in general, outside of my other issues with the prequels. It's diversity to distraction, especially in the Jedi Temple where they keep getting wackier and wackier while having almost no recognizable faces.

El Chuxter
05-13-2010, 05:26 PM
JJL, even if only one is actually seen onscreen, every SW geek knows there were two in the Cantina in ANH, one in the Holiday Special, one in Cloud City, and one in Jabba's Palace (who I believe is visible, though it's a "blink and miss it" appearance). Plus Snaggletooth is not only one of the most memorable vintage figures, but he gets an extra bump in recognizability because anyone who watches Antiques Roadshow can tell you that Blue Snaggletooth was the toughest-to-find Star Wars figure who actually was released in the US.

There was at least one additional Saurin in Jabba's Palace as well.

Mr. JabbaJohnL
05-13-2010, 06:24 PM
People begrudge the films, saying they were designed to sell toys . . . now you're saying they should have been designed to remind us of old toys?!?

You no nuts, you crazy! :p

RooJay
05-14-2010, 06:45 AM
I honestly would have preferred if they'd been designed to remind me of old toys...

RoonStones
05-14-2010, 01:25 PM
I have to admit, the explosion of "different" aliens and existing aliens with changes was somewhat offputting to me in general, outside of my other issues with the prequels. It's diversity to distraction, especially in the Jedi Temple where they keep getting wackier and wackier while having almost no recognizable faces.

This is interesting because - to me at least - it seemed the aliens in SW and ROTJ seemed a lot more realistic and believable than the prequels. Yes we had Niktos, Rodians, Quarren and others in the prequels, but the promo-shots all had them look more fake - almost as if they were actually masks worn by humans. Maybe it was the low lighting or "used future" aspect that GL preferred in the OT to the "clean" image of the prequels, but the "wackiness" pointed out by JediTricks coupled with CG imaging put me off.

Wuher the bartender is far more believable than Dexter Jetster or Fode and Beed or that alien that looked like a Pterodactyl in robes. There's a certain simplicity in Lak Sivrak the Shistavanian or Arleil Schous the Defel in the original Cantina sequence that CG replacements Ketwol or Melas could not reproduce.

Mr. JabbaJohnL
05-14-2010, 02:32 PM
Wuher the bartender is far more believable than Dexter Jetster or Fode and Beed or that alien that looked like a Pterodactyl in robes. There's a certain simplicity in Lak Sivrak the Shistavanian or Arleil Schous the Defel in the original Cantina sequence that CG replacements Ketwol or Melas could not reproduce.
Ketwol and Melas weren't CGI - the Melas mask is just the back of the Ketwol mask. How's that for simplicity? :p

JediTricks
05-14-2010, 04:37 PM
This is interesting because - to me at least - it seemed the aliens in SW and ROTJ seemed a lot more realistic and believable than the prequels. Yes we had Niktos, Rodians, Quarren and others in the prequels, but the promo-shots all had them look more fake - almost as if they were actually masks worn by humans. Maybe it was the low lighting or "used future" aspect that GL preferred in the OT to the "clean" image of the prequels, but the "wackiness" pointed out by JediTricks coupled with CG imaging put me off.

Wuher the bartender is far more believable than Dexter Jetster or Fode and Beed or that alien that looked like a Pterodactyl in robes. There's a certain simplicity in Lak Sivrak the Shistavanian or Arleil Schous the Defel in the original Cantina sequence that CG replacements Ketwol or Melas could not reproduce.I think Dexter Jettster is probably my favorite background character of the PT simply because he's an interesting character, but even he doesn't have the realism of the OT, he's definitely a thing of CGI and it distracts.


Ketwol and Melas weren't CGI - the Melas mask is just the back of the Ketwol mask. How's that for simplicity? :pKetwol and Melas look CGI because of how they were inserted into the film.