Here at Brown’s Review, we have decided to start an ongoing project connected to our writing on Star Wars, Riffing on Star Wars. With this project, we will pick a topic or another related to the Star Wars franchise and offer a short thought, opinion, or simply coverage. It can or will cover anything in the new Expanded Universe. We hope it makes for quick, entertaining reading, or at the worse, something to chew on before spitting it out at the passing womp rat. Without further ado, Riffing on Star Wars: #1 – The Hutts.
For the segment of fans who grew up on Star Wars before the Special Editions, our first introduction to the galactic crime bosses, the Hutts, came in a couple brief comments from Han Solo, who referred to Jabba without the Hutt moniker, in the first film. At the time, Jabba was originally envisioned as a rather obese man (with a taste for furs) who visited Han in the Millennium Falcon’s launch bay in a deleted scene. Later in the Special Edition, Lucas brought this scene back, somewhat embarrassingly so for Jabba, at least, by inserting the disgusting slimy slug we don’t meet until Return of the Jedi.
Ever since the Hutt was killed by a very motivated Princess Leia, the Hutts have loomed large in the Star Wars universe, popular as villains for our heroes to face off against. After all, they physically embody the immoral ideals they hold as large, disgusting worms. The Hutts were created to exist as the criminal element that dwells in the spaces where law and order have broken down. In the Star Wars Universe, this meant the Outer Rim, where slavery persisted despite the laws of the Old Republic, and scum and villainy migrated to the cities of Tatooine. One can find the strain of wickedness often associated with the worse examples of Roman Emperors, such as Nero and Commodus, dictators who at the peak of a pyramid of power, indulge themselves in recreations which range from the competition of the arena, be it pod racing or gladiatorial combat, to the senseless slaughter and murder of innocents. As our heroes fight for democracy and justice, it is unsurprising the Hutts make such appropriate villains in the Star Wars universe.
As near perfect villains, they have unsurprisingly remain popular in the new Expanded Universe across the mediums of novel, television, and comic books. On the printed page, Jabba receives about as cordial a visit as one can receive from Darth Vader in Marvel’s main Star Wars series and in the self-titled Darth Vader. The purpose of these visits were two fold, officially, to solicit the help of the Hutt criminal organization to produce the raw materials needed to build a second Death Star following A New Hope’s explosive ending. The other, a bit more personal, was Vader asking Hutt to provide him bounty hunters to hunt down the rebel pilot responsible for that explosive ending. As an aside to those purposes, Jabba is marvelously depicted enjoying himself from his doom-fated sail barge as his men slaughter banthas for fun.
The other comic appearing Hutt is Grakkus, introduced in Marvel’s Star Wars line as a major collector of Jedi artifacts and owner of a fighting arena. Unlike Jabba, Grakkus represents a Hutt who has decided that getting one’s own hands dirty from time to time can be just as enjoyable as watching a rancor’s afternoon meal. Incredibly strong, his depiction rejects the somewhat indulgent Hutt’s we have been familiar with, content to essentially recline upon their dais and engorge themselves on food, violence, and misery. He may be the only Hutt so far in recent memory to personally attack Imperial soldiers with the gall to attempt to arrest him. Grakkus even rejects the mobile aspect of his physiology, choosing to maneuver on mechanical legs than to slither hither and thither. Ultimately, Grakkus runs afoul of the Empire in their own search for our rebels, but was recently surprisingly resurrected in Marvel’s Poe Dameron series – a prisoner ever since in a No Escape styled prison which changed hands from the Empire to the New Republic.
On television, the Hutts have been well represented in The Clone Wars, even being featured in the television show’s premiere movie which required the rescue of one of their offspring. Their depiction on the show, while never quite flattering, offered a little bit more in the realm of them possessing deeper character traits than simply performing the business of crime bosses. They were still awful, but they were allowed to add a bit more to their personalities, even if provided ridiculous voices at times (all Hutts should have the menacing baritones of Jabba). The newest Star Wars television show to hit the airs, Lego Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures, quickly brought in their own Hutt villain. This iteration of the Hutt villain is known as Graballa, is also given a bit of a comedic voice, a sin more forgiving given the genre of The Freemaker Adventures, but also still manages to come across as threatening when the heroes of that show cross his path.
Finally, there is Bloodline, a story of Senator Leia Organa, by Claudia Gray, which takes place a number of years before The Force Awakens. The Hutts are not featured in the book, but are treated as something more akin to a footnote to history. By the era of the Resistance and the First Order, the New Republic had almost successfully eradicated the Hutts as a galaxy-wide problem. Indeed, one of our gangs which appears on Han Solo’s smuggling craft looking to make the rogue pay his debts was Kanjiklub. Former slaves of the Hutts, the fighters of Kanjiklub took their freedom for themselves and then promptly decided to adopt something of their former masters’ trade. Even in decline and mostly history, the Hutts remain a force which brings violence and misery upon the galaxy.