From the MoviesMaker defend the droid that has wandered away from its masters on the desert world of Tatooine. Of the many dangers that travel the dunes and crags of the arid world, few can send a droid's behavioral matrix circuitry into a tizzy like the Jawas.
They are hardly monstrous, appearing as meter-tall humanoids completely hidden behind rough, hand-woven robes. Their faces are concealed within the dark folds of a cowl, from which peer their sickly glowing yellow eyes.
The Jawas are a scavenger species. They comb the deserts of Tatooine in search of discarded scrap and wayward mechanicals. Using their cobbled-together weaponry, they can incapacitate droids and drag them to their treaded fortress-homes, immense sand-scarred vehicles known as sandcrawlers.
Jawas form an important link in the circle of trade that connects the distant Tatooine communities. They sell their hastily refurbished junk to moisture farmers who are hard-pressed to find a better selection elsewhere. For their shoddy work and vagabond ways, they have a well-earned reputation as hucksters out to hoodwink the outlander colonists on Tatooine.
From the Expanded UniverseFew have ever seen the ugliness that lies beneath a Jawa mask. Jawa faces are obscured by a cloud of insects that gather in the recesses of their hoods, attracted by their foul odors. Their particular stench is a combination of poor hygiene and a mysterious solution into which Jawas dip their clothes to retain moisture. To Jawas, the odor is packed with information about each other, such as clan lineage, health, emotional state, even the last meal eaten.
Jawas have evolved several important survival traits, such as exceptional night vision, a strong immune system, and an efficient digestive system that draws all the needed nutrients from the Jawa staple diet of hubba gourd.
Jawas have long been scavengers, as the Dune Sea provides a bounty of refuse. It is littered with derelict spacecraft wreckage from millennia of star travel. The Jawas have built homes and tools from these ancient scraps, and travel the dunes in sandcrawlers, cast-off mobile smelters from failed outlander mining attempts.
Jawas live in familial clans, each with distinct territories for living and scavenging. While half the clan is crammed into the warren-like compartments of a sandcrawler, scouring the deserts for usable salvage, the other half resides within a thick-walled fortress. These desert homes were built to protect the Jawas from Sand People or roaming krayt dragons.
A chief leads each clan. Jawa leadership is usually conferred upon males -- females are viewed upon as second-class citizens at best, property at worst. The few females afforded respect in Jawa culture are the shamans. A Jawa becomes a shaman when she is overcome by an illness accompanied by a hallucinatory vision. Depending on the outcome of the vision, and indeed if the Jawa survives the illness, she is usually decreed a shaman, and her words are given the respect that such wisdom dictates.
Once a year, the scattered Jawa clans gather for the great swap meet. Here, numerous sandcrawlers converge and the Jawas meet to exchange salvage. Marriages are arranged and Jawa children and females are exchanged among clans.
Behind the ScenesThe Jawas seen in A New Hope were played by both little people and children. The Jawa chief was played by the late Jack Purvis, who had numerous roles in the classic trilogy. He manipulated the giant praying mantis puppet barely glimpsed in the Mos Eisley Cantina (an alien later revealed to be Kitik Keed'kak), and played Ugloste, the Chief Ugnaught in The Empire Strikes Back. For Return of the Jedi, Purvis played the Ewok warrior Teebo.
For the Star Wars: Special Edition, Industrial Light & Magic crafted computer-generated Jawas to ride a CG ronto into the revamped port city of Mos Eisley.
According to Stephen Sansweet's book, Star Wars: From Concept to Screen to Collectible, the Jawas were the centerpiece in one of the strangest copyright infringement cases involving Star Wars. In 1978, small hooded creatures with glowing eyes began accompanying rocker Neil Young on stage during a concert tour, in a tour film, and on the cover of the album Rust Never Sleeps. The case was settled out of court. As a nod to the odd incident, a UK Star Wars comics story -- having nothing to do with Jawas, and starring C-3PO and R2-D2 -- also bore the title "Rust Never Sleeps" shortly thereafter. It was eventually reprinted as an issue of Classic Star Wars: Devil-Worlds by Dark Horse Comics.
Keywords: Databank - Episode IV, Databank - Episode I, Databank - The Clone Wars, Databank - Episode II, Databank - Episode VI, Databank - Expanded Universe
Filed under: Vault, Species
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