Jabba the Hutt is a huge, slimy alien crime lord slug who made his home on the desert planet Tattooine. He’s one of the most hated characters in all of the Star Wars universe, and that’s saying something considering he only had a few minutes of screen time in 1983’s Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and 1999’s Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Maybe Jabba stands out because he isn’t motivated by the Force or wanting to rule the Galaxy. Jabba doesn’t have big plans and schemes. He just wants to stay rich, and is okay making people suffer in the process. He’s also physically repulsive, but hey, he owns it, so no shade.
Still, Jabba the Hutt has made a huge impact as one of the most instantly recognizable villains in movie history. He’s also become a part of pop culture with the name “Jabba the Hutt” becoming synonymous with the under-worldly disgusting sort. With Disney’s announcement that it is developing a standalone film around the gangster, CBR thought it would be a good idea to go over 15 weird things you might not have known about the putrid filth who held Princess Leia prisoner.
15. JABBA FIRST APPEARED IN COMICS
Jabba the Hutt was first mentioned in 1977’s Star Wars when Han Solo said he needed money to pay the gangster. However, Jabba was never actually seen in the movies until Return of the Jedi in 1983, yet he actually made his first appearance in the comics and looked very different.
In Star Wars #2 (Roy Thomas, Howard Chaykin), Jabba appears as “Jabba the Hut,” and at that time, the term “Hut” was a title for gangsters instead of an actual species. Instead, Jabba’s species in the Marvel comics was a walrus-like alien called a Nimbanel. The Nimbanel Jabba made two more appearances in the Marvel comics until the movie made him obsolete. The Nimbanel character was later retconned as Jabba’s accountant, and the Nimbanel aliens later showed up in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV show.
14. JABBA’S HOMEWORLD
What’s more disgusting than Jabba the Hutt? How about an entire planet of Hutts? The Hutts are a species from the planet Nal Hutta, which is a world where giant slugs can feel right at home. Nal Hutta is a planet that’s very hot, leading to the Hutt’s leathery and tough skin. It’s also humid with lots of bogs and swamps. The buildings look more like pimples than houses. Even the rain is slimy and disgusting.
For other species, Nal Hutta is a miserable and disgusting place, but the Hutts call it home. When it made its first appearance on the Clone Wars TV show, George Lucas provided some sketches of what he wanted the planet to look like and the show brought the planet to life in all its stomach-churning detail.
13. JABBA STINKS
As a festering pile of worm-like blubber, Jabba is truly loathsome. Yet, as if it’s not bad enough to look at Jabba, he also smells bad too. One of his favorite snacks is a slimy web-footed creature called a Klatooine paddy frog that he keeps in an aquarium next to his dais to eat alive and whole. His breath (along with his slimy tongue) made Leia recoil when he brought her close to his mouth to lick her.
More than that, in “Greedo’s Tale” from the anthology Tales From the Mos Eisley Cantina (Tom and Martha Veitch), the story described Jabba’s body as occasionally giving off a greasy discharge that smells horrible. Combine that with the fact that Jabba loved to be surrounded by people in a hot and steamy palace, and the smell must have been overwhelming.
12. JABBA EATS PEOPLE
With Jabba’s enormous bulk, it’s probably not much of a stretch to say he eats a lot. In fact, Jabba has become synonymous with overeating and gluttony. However, you may not know how much he eats and what — or in some case, who — he eats. According to official sources, Jabba eats an average of nine meals a day, but that doesn’t count snacks like his favorite Klatooine paddy frogs.
It also doesn’t include people. Jabba often promises to eat people, but it’s not an idle threat. In 1995, Jabba the Hutt: The Dynasty Trap (Jim Woodring, Art Wetherell) had Jabba imprisoned for killing Rusk Nuum, which his sister Norba Nuum had secretly bargained for him to do. When she came down to his cell and offered to free him, Jabba pulled her through the cell door and ate her alive instead as payback.
11. JABBA THE APE
Jabba the Hutt was first mentioned in the original Star Wars in 1977 and in 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back, but he wasn’t actually shown until 1983 in Return of the Jedi. At that point, George Lucas and his crew had to figure out what Jabba would actually look like. When Ralph McQuarrie was asked to develop concept art for Jabba the Hutt, he originally went for more of an ape-like creatur,e as he was intended to be in the first movie.
Some other concept art showed Jabba with multiple arms and a Fu Manchu mustache. Later on, Lucasfilm’s artists went with more of a slug-like feel, inspired by the caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland. The final design combined elements of the head of a snake, the body of a slug and the eyes of a cat.
10. ACTORS WHO INSPIRED JABBA
Jabba the Hutt is an alien unlike any that had appeared in movies or television before but he was inspired by very human actors. When Lucas explained what he wanted for the character, he described a “sultan-like” figure of power and authority who sits around watching people get tortured.
For examples of what he wanted, Lucas described Sydney Greenstreet in The Maltese Falcon and as a club owner in Casablanca which led to some concept art with Jabba wearing a fez. Lucas also cited Marlon Brando in The Godfather as a character to reference, another physically imposing actor which led in that direction. Costume designer Nilo Rodis-Jamero compared Jabba to Orson Welles, the movie actor, writer and director who grew quite large in his old age. All of them inspired the evil but powerful crime lord.
9. JABBA REQUIRED THREE PEOPLE
Jabba’s massive size made bringing the Hutt to the screen a major challenge. They couldn’t just stick a person in a slug costume because it was too big. The final puppet took three people to operate the alien gangster. First, two people stayed inside Jabba’s head: one to operate the left arm and head, and another working the right arm, tongue and provide the voice. A third puppeteer stayed inside and moved the tail.
As if that wasn’t enough, there was an operator below the puppet who pumped a bellows to make it look like Jabba was breathing, and another puppeteer standing behind them to pull strings and move Jabba’s mouth. Yet another person worked Jabba’s eyes by remote control. There was even a “makeup” man who would rub gel all over Jabba to make him look slimy. That’s seven people for one alien.
8. CHOKING JABBA
In his brief appearance in Return of the Jedi, Jabba had made himself one of the most hated characters in the series. He had Han Solo frozen and turned him into a wall decoration, sent his dancer to her death in the Rancor pit, enslaved Leia and chained her to his body, and tried to kill Luke, Leia and Han. That’s why we all cheered when Leia grabbed the very chains that bound her and strangled Jabba to death.
Jabba’s death was inspired by the murder of Luca Brasi in The Godfather, but some viewers have wondered how such a small woman as Leia could hold down such a massive creature as Jabba. Some fans believe the answer lies in the Force, which gave Leia the strength to kill her jailer. That means she first showed her power long before Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
7. JABBA’S PARENTS
We didn’t see it in the movies, but Jabba does have a family. Hutts live for hundreds of years so they were still alive. His father was Zorba the Hutt who first appeared in the novel Zorba the Hutt’s Revenge by Paul and Hollace Davids but his mother is unnamed. Like all Hutts, his mother and father were also crime lords, but Jabba loved them all the same. In fact, Jabba loved his mother a little too much.
In Jabba’s throne room, you may have noticed one of his dancers was a little rounder than the others and had six lady lumps. According to The Star Wars Character Encyclopedia, her name is Yarna d’al’ Gargan and Jabba forced the dancer to wear special makeup to make her look more like his beloved mother.
6. THE CLONE WARS
Jabba the Hutt had been pushed to the sidelines of the Star Wars universe except for a brief cameo in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace but he became a big part of the TV show Star Wars: The Clone Wars. It started with 2008’s theatrical movie of the same name where the Separatists and the Republic fought to gain Jabba’s favor to use his trade routes. In order to do so, they fought over Jabba’s son.
Jabba continued to make appearances throughout the series, especially in his use of bounty hunters and control of Tatooine. Oddly enough, Lucas intended the exact opposite and initially refused to allow Jabba to appear in Clone Wars at all, not even written into the show’s bible. Later on, he changed his mind and the show was better for it.
5. JABBA WASN’T MALE
In the beginning, everyone called Jabba the Hutt “he,” showing they thought of him as a male. In 1992, the novel Zorba the Hutt’s Revenge introduced Jabba the Hutt’s father. That’s why 2001’s The Essential Guide to Alien Species threw a curve ball when it said that Hutts were all hermaphrodites with both male and female organs.
That led to some unusual situations like how Jabba had parents even though other works established all Hutts bear children without a partner, and why some Hutts had a male appearance and others had a female appearance. There’s also the fact that Jabba clearly had an appreciation for humanoid women beyond just their looks. Only recently did Lucasfilm establish that the hermaphrodite status is no longer canon and the Hutts have male and female genders.
4. JABBA COULD BE BUFF
One of Jabba’s defining traits is the fact that he’s really a huge creature. In fact, Jabba has become a pejorative buzzword for those with larger body types. We’ve seen other Hutts in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and the comics and most of them share the same shape, so you might think that’s the way all Hutts are born this way. That’s actually not true. Jabba and other Hutts are bigger because of laziness, not biology.
That was proven by Grakkus, who first appeared in 2015’s Star Wars #9 (Jason Aaron, Stuart Immonen). Grakkus (pictured above) wasn’t like most Hutts, starting with the fact that he was relatively muscular and thin for a Hutt. If Grakkus could lose weight and build muscle, then other Hutts could probably slim down. Then again, maybe Grakkus is the exception that proves the rule.
3. JABBA IN THE BUFF
Jabba’s always gone natural in the movies and TV shows, so it’s easy to think that’s the way all Hutts are, but you’d be wrong. In fact, other Hutts we’ve seen have worn some form of clothing, which means Jabba is a nudist.
Most species in the Star Wars universe wear clothes to stay warm or for protection, but the Hutts don’t have those problems. Their thick layers of blubber keep them warm, and leathery skin protects them even from physical attack. However, even though the Hutts don’t need to wear clothing, many do. One Hutt named Oruba suffered from a disease that left his skin pale and cracked, so he wrapped himself in a shawl. Another Hutt named Jool showed a surprising amount of vanity by wearing a laced corset to look slimmer. Jabba just likes showing his world to the world.
2. JABBA SPOKE ENGLISH
Most of the Galaxy speaks what looks like English to us, but is really a language known as Galactic Basic. Jabba is one of the few who speaks a different language called Huttese, and uses people and droids to translate for him. That’s a sign of his power since he’s lived hundreds of years and could probably learn and speak Basic if he wanted to.
On the set while filming Return of the Jedi, it was decided to have the Hutt speak English to deliver his dialogue. Afterward, the Huttese language was developed based on the way Jabba’s mouth moved in the scene. Sound engineer Ben Burtt and linguist Larry Ward developed Huttese language from words taken from an ancient Incan dialect, Quechua. Over time, others like George Lucas added to the vocabulary.
1. A NEW HOPE
In the original cut of Star Wars, Jabba never appeared on the screen but the special edition of Star Wars: A New Hope surprised audiences with a brand-new scene where a computer-generated version of Jabba met with Han Solo near the Millennium Falcon. In fact, the scene wasn’t really new. It was originally shot in 1977 but cut from the final movie.
An actor named Declan Mulholland had been cast as Jabba in the deleted scene as a human wearing a fur coat, but that wasn’t meant to be the final version. Lucas had shot the scene with plans to replace Mulholland with an alien using stop-motion technology. Unfortunately, Lucas decided the technology wasn’t there and cut the scene. When it came time for the special edition, Lucas replaced Mulholland with a CGI Jabba and it worked out… well, sort of. Many fans wish it never happened.
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