The ever-expanding world of Star Wars has allowed storytellers to embrace the most absurd corners of the galaxy far, far away, which includes creators finding ways to make forgotten or seemingly insignificant, yet beloved, elements of the franchise canon. While The Mandalorian has earned a reputation for embracing the series' absurdity, that live-action series isn't the only one reviving bizarre elements of the series, as a recent issue of the Star Wars comic managed to honor a figure that can only be witnessed in supplemental materials for Star Wars: A New Hope and never officially appeared in any live-action, canonical adventures.
WARNING: Spoilers below for Star Wars #16
Jabba the Hutt didn't make his official debut in a Star Wars movie until Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, where he appeared as a massive, slug-like creature. However, George Lucas filmed an encounter between the gangster and Harrison Ford's Han Solo for Star Wars: A New Hope, though ultimately scrapped the sequence. At this point in the development of the franchise, Jabba was imagined as a large, humanoid character clad in fur pelts. This figure recently appeared in Star Wars, serving as a subtle tribute to actor Declan Mulholland.
In the narrative, Luke Skywalker is attempting to rendezvous with Leia, Lando, and Chewbacca as they are trying to secure Han Solo in carbonite, only for Luke to encounter some obstacles in his X-wing, including the Son-Tuul Pride War Cruiser Dark Syndicate. The captain of this vessel might not be outright identified, but devout fans will surely notice a striking resemblance to Mulholland.
The above panels are the extent of the character's involvement in the story, as the Dark Syndicate is then blown up by the Empire. Rather than being a hint that the character could play a major role in the overall franchise, this was likely a decision inspired by the book's creative team (writer Charles Soule, artist Ramon Rosanas, and colorist Rachelle Rosenberg) to honor a figure fans are familiar with.
Mulholland might have played Jabba in the mid-'70s, but he didn't gain notoriety until the mid-'90s when George Lucas was celebrating the 20th anniversary of the trilogy with his Special Edition releases. Various behind-the-scenes features on the process detailed Lucas' efforts to bring the deleted scene back into the film, which included footage of the original deleted scene featuring Mulholland, where Jabba also speaks English. Famously, one challenge with the scene is that Han Solo walks behind Jabba, but after the character was reimagined as having a tail, digital trickery was needed to show Han walking around Jabba and stepping on his tail to compensate for the new design.
Star Wars #16 is on sale now.
Did you catch this reference? Let us know in the comments below or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things horror and Star Wars!0comments