Tusken Raiders Expanded

Our first look at the sandpeople AKA Tusken Raiders, is a brief violent attack in A New Hope. For a very long time, that was it. Beyond Kenobi’s comments that they are easily startled by krayt dragon calls and ride in single file to hide their numbers, we knew little.

And of course, they rode on giant, hairy steeds with curly horns, known as banthas.

McQuarrie Tusken Raider storyteller

McQuarrie Tusken Raider storyteller from the Illustrated Guide to the Star Wars Galaxy

The Illustrated Star Wars Galaxy changed that. Using McQuarrie illustrations, we were taken into their world from the point of view of anthropologist and shapeshifter, Hoole. The tuskens showed no difference between the sexes, all wrapped in the same garb and sharing duties. The very young became full members of the tribe at around ten years old. Most important, they never shed their masks or clothes. It was anathema and would lead to the perpetrator being cast out. It was said in legend it came of one of the suns (the brother) attacking the other, and showing his true face. So now the one eternally pursued the other.

Based on hints in Dawn of the Jedi and others, this may have been based on the use of a super weapon on the primitive natives of Tatooine, which turned it’s lush beauty into the desert millenia ago.

Also fatal was to lose a hand or limb in combat. Combat with a creature like a krayt dragon was a rite of initiation. But there is no mercy for the weak or maimed. Those so crippled committed ritual suicide. Often, their banthas, with whom they formed a special bond, would mourn to the point of wandering alone into the desert to die as well.

Years later, the new Dark Horse Comics Star Wars series, set in the Prequel era fires up and gives us new views.

Soon to be called Star Wars Republic, it visits Tatooine early on. It turns out the former Jedi, Sharad Hett is living among the tribes, with a son, and calling himself a war leader. It’s more than simple settler vs tusken fighting: the Hutt’s are involved, stoking the conflict to sell weapons. Sharad’s tribe fairs badly at the hand of the Hutt’s and this begins a cultural change. Asharad Hett, his son, goes on to join the Jedi.

The few tusken raiders seen without masks are gray faced with feline like muzzles. (Dark Forces 2. These are outcasts and were taken off world by Dark Jedi.) They cannot interbreed with humans, so the matches among tuskens have to be carefully chosen to allow the tribe to flourish. Hence Asharad’s parents were both human.

Attack of the Clones revealed what appeared initially to be conflicts with our established views of Tuskens. We saw them as having brutally tortured Shmi Skywalker to death. But we see woman and children are garbed differently, unlike those Hoole encountered. This incident too, would have a profound effect on the tusken culture. Anakin Skywalker took his revenge on the entire tribe.

Between the loss of Hett’s clan and then the clan Skywalker decimated, the numbers remaining of the Tusken warriors were fewer. Losses which would’ve have been absorbed before were no longer easily accepted. They had long kidnapped people to add to their numbers, but it was no longer enough.

Kenobi, the novel of this character’s life on Tatooine, reveals much.

 Tribes, adapting to the loss had finally accepted their woman as warriors, explaining the differences Hoole discovered from the tuskens of Attack of the Clones era, as well as the other apparent conflicts in the Expanded Universe. 

Between this, and opportunities in the Knights of the Old Republic game, one sees that the sandpeople can, on occasion, be negotiated with. One man even came close to succeeding in brokering peace but was stopped by the Empire (Tales of Mos Eisley anthology.)

There are even a few cases of Tusken Raiders being taken off world to act as security to places like Sulon. Given their nature, I suspect these may have been outcasts even of their own people. However it’s also possible they were kidnapped, as they were in Children of the Jedi.

Famous members include:

Alkhara (rogue human?)

Sharad Hett (Former Jedi, adopted human)

Asharad Hett (Former Jedi, born of adopted humans)

Plug Eye (Leader of a small tribe, a rare female)

Tahiri Veila (Jedi, adopted human)

Find Out More about Tusken Raiders:

  • Illustrated Star Wars Galaxy
  • Dark Forces Jedi Knight 2 (game, novella)
  • Knights of the Old Republic (game)
  • The Last One Standing (an Obi Wan story by Jude Watson)
  • Drawing the Maps of Peace: The Moisture Farmer’s Tale (Tales of Mos Eisley short story)
  • Dark Horse Comics: Empire: Darklighter story arc
  • Dark Horse Comics: Republic: Outlander story arc
  • Tatooine Ghost
  • Children of the Jedi

 

Read More about these characters:

Alkhara

Illustrated Star Wars Galaxy

Tahiri Veila

Tahiri – The New Jedi Order – The Final Prophecy by Gregory Keyes
Japanese cover art: Tsuyoshi Nagano

Tahiri Veila

Junior Jedi Knights

  • The Golden Globe (First appearance)
  • Lyric’s World
  • Promises
  • Anakin’s Quest
  • Vader’s Fortress
  • Kenobi’s Blade

New Jedi Order

  • Agents of Chaos II: Jedi Eclipse
  • Edge of Victory I: Conquest
  • Edge of Victory II: Rebirth
  • Star by Star
  • Dark Journey
  • Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream
  • Enemy Lines II: Rebel Stand
  • Destiny’s Way
  • Ylesia
  • Force Heretic I: Remnant
  • Force Heretic II: Refugee
  • Force Heretic III: Reunion
  • The Final Prophecy
  • The Unifying Force

Dark Nest

  • The Joiner King
  • The Unseen Queen
  • Swarm War

Legacy of the Force

  • Legacy of the Force: Betrayal
  • Legacy of the Force: Inferno
  • Legacy of the Force: Revelation
  • Legacy of the Force: Invincible

Fate of the Jedi

  • Fate of the Jedi: Outcast
  • Fate of the Jedi: Omen
  • Fate of the Jedi: Abyss
  • Fate of the Jedi: Backlash
  • Fate of the Jedi: Allies
  • Fate of the Jedi: Vortex
  • Fate of the Jedi: Conviction
  • Fate of the Jedi: Ascension
  • Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse

Other

  • Crucible

Plug Eye

  • Kenobi

Sharad Hett

Dark Horse Comics: Republic:

  • Outlander story arc

Asharad Hett

Asharad Hett, Dark Horse Comics

Asharad Hett, Dark Horse Comics

Dark Horse Comics:Republic:

  • Outlander story arc
  • Emmisaries to Malastare story arc
  • The Hunt for Aurra Sing
  • Battle of Jabiim part 4
  • Enemy Lines
  • Siege of Saleucami

Dark Horse Comics:

  • Obsession

Fate of the Jedi:

  • Apocalypse

Other

  • The Life and Legend of Obi-Wan Kenobi
Spoiler for Dark Horse Comics, Legacy
Asharad Hett becomes Darth Krayt.

Featured in these stories:

Dark Horse Comics: Legacy:

  • Broken
  • Ready to Die
  • The Wrath of the Dragon
  • Claws of the Dragon
  • War

 

 

 

 

Kenobi Review

Kenobi Book Cover Kenobi
John Jackson Miller
Del Rey
2013
Hardcover

The Republic has fallen
The Sith Lords rule the galaxy.
Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi has lost everything.
Everything but hope.

Tatooine—a harsh desert world where farmers toil in the heat of two suns while trying to protect themselves and their loved ones from the marauding Tusken Raiders. A backwater planet on the edge of civilized space. And an unlikely place to find a Jedi Master in hiding, or an orphaned infant boy on whose tiny shoulders rests the future of a galaxy.

Known to locals only as “Ben,” the bearded and robed offworlder is an enigmatic stranger who keeps to himself, shares nothing of his past, and goes to great pains to remain an outsider. But as tensions escalate between the farmers and a tribe of Sand People led by a ruthless war chief, Ben finds himself drawn into the fight, endangering the very mission that brought him to Tatooine.

Ben—Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, hero of the Clone Wars, traitor to the Empire, and protector of the galaxy’s last hope—can no more turn his back on evil than he can reject his Jedi training. And when blood is unjustly spilled, innocent lives threatened, and a ruthless opponent unmasked, Ben has no choice but to call on the wisdom of the Jedi—and the formidable power of the Force—in his never-ending fight for justice.

How does a Jedi Master, a servant of Justice disappear? Not easily, when the Force keeps putting him right in the middle of trouble.
Wanting nothing more than to blend in, Obi-Wan finds himself discovering (or rediscovering) that for some people, there is trouble and drama enough in their neighborhood and those struggles are enough without galaxy wide wars, Empires and Republics and Jedi and Sith.

This is truly a ‘western’ of the Star Wars galaxy, with the colonists a mishmash of species (though mostly human), Tusken Raiders replacing the Native American Indians, and the Hutt henchmen for the outlaws.

The story is told from Anileen’s point of view, except for Obi-Wan’s meditations. It would be nice to have more of him, but it does work. We get to see where ‘crazy wizard’ idea began.

Obi-Wan finds an unlikely new friend in Anileen, who needs him as much as he needs her. It’s not a romantic friendship. But it is awkward as he can’t afford to be noticed. And just as an additional jolt her nickname is Annie…reminding him of the ‘Ani’ that he lost. He is wrestling with his own guilt, regret and loss of family as well as how to disappear and still watch over the young Luke Skywalker. How can he still be Kenobi, the servant of light and justice, yet sit by while injustice is done before his very nose?

This book is a nice change of pace. Obi-Wan himself is struggling with that very ‘change of pace’ he is so unaccustomed too just as we might wonder if a book without the blasterfire of rebellion, the starship action and lightsabers is really interesting enough.. But being here gives him the opportunity to grow to understand Anakin Skywalker, belatedly, in a way he never did before.

In regards to continuity, it makes some nice compensations for the changes the prequels made.
For instance:
In the Illustrated Star Wars Galaxy and in Junior Jedi Knights it was established that tusken male and female were equal, both were warriors and they couldn’t always be told apart.
In Attack of the Clones, however, the distinctions were obvious: males were the warriors and wore different gear.
By making use of  the influence of Sharad Hett from the Dark Horse comics (Asharad has apparently not reappeared at this point) we see how a transition began. Anakin Skywalker’s reaction to his Mother’s death definitely clinched it. Taking what was a contradiction and using that very contradiction to explain why things changed.
It  also mentions that Qui-Gon told Obi-Wan stories of Jedi, separated from the Order, and how they lived: Kerra Holt (Knight Errant) and Zayne Carrik (KOTOR Comics). Siri (Jedi Apprentice) is mentioned as Obi-Wan’s first test on turning away from love for duty. Satine of The Clone Wars is mentioned, but no details given so if you aren’t into The Clone Wars its not really a problem.

Other Stories about these Characters and Places

Other stories that touch on Kenobi’s life on Tatooine:

  • The Last One Standing – Jude Watson, only available in the paperback combo version of Legacy of the Jedi & Secrets of the Jedi
  • The Last of the Jedi: Desperate Mission – Jude Watson, book 1
  • The Last of the Jedi: Reckoning – Jude Watson book 10 (one chapter)
  • The Life and Times of Obi-Wan Kenobi – Ryder Windham
  • Legacy: Claws of the Dragon 3, 4 : John Ostrander (Author) Jan Duursema  (Artist) Dark Horse Comics issue 16

Stories about Obi-Wan before Tatooine:

  • Jedi Apprentice – Jude Watson
  • Last Stand on Ord Mantell – Dark Horse Comics
  • The Aurorient Express – Dark Horse Comics
  • Jedi Council Acts of War -(Dark Horse Comics)
  • Stark Hyperspace War – (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Legacy of the Jedi – Jude Watson
  • Secrets of the Jedi – Jude Watson
  • Episode 1 : Obi-Wan Kenobi – (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Rogue Planet – Greg Bear
  • Jedi Quest – – Jude Watson
  • The Approaching Storm – Alan Dean Foster
  • Precipice (Hyperspace short)
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars video game
  • Star Wars: Republic 50: The Defense of Kamino (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Star Wars: Republic: The New Face of War (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Star Wars: Republic 53: Blast Radius (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Clone Wars Micro Series (TV/DVD)
  • Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures Volume 1 – “Blind Force” (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures Volume 8 – “One of a Kind” (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Storm Fleet Warnings
  • The Cestus Deception
  • The Hive (add on to paperback of The Cestus Deception)
  • Star Wars: Republic: The Battle of Jabiim (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Star Wars: Republic 59: Enemy Lines (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Star Wars: Republic 62: No Man’s Land (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Boba Fett – The Fight to Survive
  • Star Wars: Republic 67: Forever Young (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Changing Seasons – Timothy Zahn, Star Wars Insider
  • Star Wars: Republic: Dreadnaughts of Rendili (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Star Wars: Obsession (Dark Horse Comics)
  •  Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures Volume 4 – “The Brink” (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures Volume 9 – “Appetite for Adventure” (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures Volume 10 – “Thunder Road” (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Brothers in Arms  (Dark Horse Comics)
  • The Last of the Jedi: Dark Warning
  • Labyrinth of Evil – James Luceno

The Clone Wars TV series also has many episodes (some contradictory) involving Obi-Wan
Novels based on that include:

  • TCW Gambit: Stealth – Karen Miller
  • TCW Gambit: Seige – Karen Miller
  • TCW Wild Space – Karen Miller

Other Stories involving Tusken Raiders/Tatooine:

  • Star Wars Republic: Outlander (Dark Horse comics)
  • The Illustrated Star Wars Universe – Kevin J. Anderson, art by Ralph McQuarrie
  • The Life and Times of Luke Skywalker
  • Tales of the Mos Eisley Cantina (Anthology)
  • Tatooine Ghost, by Troy Denning
  • Junior Jedi Knights 3: Promises – Nancy Richardson Fischer