‘Star Wars’ Was Always Weird and Disturbing and We Can Prove It

in Disney, Star Wars

Chewbacca tree memorial from Star Wars Legends

Credit: Dark Horse Comics

For many Star Wars fans, October 30, 2012 was a day that will live in infamy. That’s the day that the Walt Disney Company bought Lucasfilm from George Lucas for nearly six billion dollars, and along with it, the rights to Indiana Jones and his many adventures through history, Willow and his one adventure through an unnamed fantasy world, and a very famous galaxy far, far away.

Lucasfilm Logo
Credit: Lucasfilm

While a sizable number of the Star Wars fandom was intrigued to see what Disney would do with the intellectual property, even more were outraged that the House of Mouse abruptly announced that decades of material under the umbrella of the Expanded Universe was now non-canon.

That meant that dozens of books, comics, animated television shows, video games, board games, radio shows, and that one Star Wars disco album were all now Star Wars Legends, relegated to a status just barely above fan fiction. Never mind that the franchise’s canon was already so hideously complicated that it required Lucasfilm to hire a full-time lore keeper to maintain five different coded levels of canonicity, fans felt betrayed.

Harrison Ford as Han Solo shouting Yahoo
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: “Super Divisive” ’Star Wars’ Sequel Trilogy Almost Didn’t Include Reylo Kiss Scene

Since then, an increasing number of Star Wars fans have pushed against the Disney movies and shows, outraged at the re-expanding universe headed by Kathleen Kennedy and Dave Filoni. While there may be legitimate criticisms of the sequel trilogy starring Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver and Disney+ series like Ahsoka and The Book of Boba Fett, it’s not fair to say they don’t make sense or Lucasfilm is just making it up as it goes along.

That’s because Star Wars has always been a weird and disturbing franchise full of concepts that outright contradict each other, terrible ideas that go nowhere, and absurd tonal clashes. If you ever miss the old, pre-Disney Star Wars, just check out the formerly canonical entries below, and just remember: it’s always been as confusing and bizarre as it is now.

Weird Abstract Space Gods

The Bedlam Spirits with Princess Leia
Credit: Marvel Comics UK

The Mortis family of “Force Gods” are controversial in Star Wars canon, both for being a Dave Filoni creation and a pretty wild idea to begin with. Bizarrely, they were not the first group of space-gods that a Skywalker ever met.

In a comic book from 1982 (written by Alan Moore, of all people), Princess Leia is on the run from Imperial Stormtroopers and encounters four omnipotent space gods who find the idea of mortal lives confusing, but intriguing. Time travel happens, someone’s heart gets turned into a crystal, and Leia eventually survives her brush with terrifying creatures. It’s very weird.

That Gross Frog-Dog in Jabba’s Palace Was Secretly a Devout Assassin-Monk

A frog-dog in Jabba's Palace
Credit: Lucasfilm

The Star Wars Expanded Universe did its best to meet the demand for new stories set in a galaxy far, far away in the years between Return of the Jedi (1983) and The Phantom Menace (1999), but, at a certain point, it started to go a little too far.

Several short story collections filled out the backstory of, say, the weird guy smoking a hookah in the Mos Eisley cantina (murderer who spiritually eats people’s luck) or the guy who found Boba Fett’s armor (he’s just a guy). One of the weirder ones is about the gross frog-dog thing that C-3PO  bumps into for a few seconds in Jabba’s palace, and it turns out that it’s a weird one.

Long story short, that chained-up frog-dog was actually a sentient, highly intelligent being who merely pretended to be Jabba’s guard dog while planning to assassinate him. He also once swallowed a bomb. However, after Jabba’s death, Buboicullaar (as his name canonically is) had his brain transplanted into the giant spider-like mechanical bodies used by the monks who inhabit the shadows of the palace, so he could peacefully contemplate eternity!

Darth Vader Once Fought a Cyborg Squid Alien

Darth Vader fighting Karbin
Credit: Marvel Comics

For all that both Darth Vader and his son Luke Skywalker are cyborgs, there really isn’t that much talk of mechanically enhancing people in the Star Wars universe.

That is, until a Mon Calamari (that’s the fish guys, like Admiral Ackbar) commander spent 18 years on life support after his ship was destroyed in the Clone Wars, then was rebuilt into an unstoppable multi-armed lightsaber warrior by a guy who had been grafting alien parts into his own body to be some kind of perfect being. Then, he had to fight Darth Vader so the Emperor could keep his apprentice on his toes.

Plus, he had a jetpack.

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C-3PO and R2-D2 Once Killed an Ancient Extra-Galactic Droid That Enslaves Planets

Droids cartoon show featuring the Great Heep
Credit: Lucasfilm

All told, Star Wars: Droids: The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO was a pretty significant show for the franchise. It brought Star Wars to television (along with its sister series Ewoks), it guest-starred iconic characters like Boba Fett and IG-88, had a kick-ass theme song by Stewart Copeland of the Police, and was introduced during an exercise special by Tony Danza. What else could you want?

Well, the series finale featured the Great Heep, a monstrous droid from outside of the galaxy who not only cannibalized the bodies of other mechanical beings to maintain his own but kept them as a bizarre “harem” of droids who lived in luxurious oil baths. His species, the Abominor, had previously enslaved entire planets around the galaxy and warred with another ancient droid race until the Yuuzhan Vong got mixed up in things, but that’s a story for another time.

Luke Skywalker Joined a Cult That Worshipped a Blob Covered in Gold

The cover of Star Wars: The Crystal Star, which concerns Waru
Credit: Bantam Spectra

One of the strangest stories ever told in the Star Wars Expanded Universe had a surprising novel premise: what if a star was slowly transforming into a giant crystal?

Of course, we’re here to tell you about weird elements of the canon, so it’s not enough that The Crystal Star exists. The process also slowly eats away at Luke Skywalker’s connection to the Force, so he does the only logical thing and joins a cult that worships a gold-plated blob alien that seems to be from another dimension.

That entity is named Waru and, this cannot be stressed enough, was composed of a single huge blob covered in golden plates that leaked ooze. He had mysterious healing powers and could swallow up people into his actual blob interior. Naturally, inside Waru, there were sharpened scales and a terrifying black hole that may or may not lead to another universe.

Up until then, Star Wars thought it was getting freaky with the Sarlaac. George Lucas had no idea how weird things would get.

Droids Aren’t the Only Enslaved Beings in ‘Star Wars’

A Decraniated servant in Solo: A Star Wars Story
Credit: Lucasfilm

We’ve all learned to move on past the relative disappointment of Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), but a briefly seen detail of the Ron Howard movie is actually one of the more horrific things in the entire franchise.

As you can see above, aboard the yacht of crime lord Dryden Vos, he had servants who had… half a head. They’re called the Decraniated, and they exist because, in a galaxy filled with literally billions of droids explicitly created as servant units, someone had to take living humanoids and completely strip away all their sentience, personality, and memories. Just so they can serve drinks.

It’s a rare moment of body horror, especially when you consider, what if the Decraniated do retain something of their lost selves, deep within their surgically modified bodies? What if it’s a terrifying torture beyond anything one could ever imagine? What if you still have to wash dishes and do chores, even after all that?

The Entire ‘Star Wars’ Saga Depends on a Droid Named Skippy

Comic panels displaying Skippy the Jedi Droid
Credit: Dark Horse Comics

We’ll go to a lighter aspect of the Star Wars Expanded Universe after that bit of gruesome servitude. Once upon a time on Tatooine, a droid named R5-D4 (or “Skippy,” as a cute nickname) was serving in Jabba’s palace and somehow gained sentience and free will, just because. Although canon has pretty firmly established that the Force derives from and exists in organic living beings, he learns to use that Force and escape from Jabba, planning to become the First Jedi droid.

Then he rolls into the opening scenes of the first movie, where a young Luke Skywalker and his Uncle Owen are going to pick him as their new piece of hardware instead of R2-D2. Skippy has a vision of the future in which he realizes that if Luke doesn’t purchase R2, he’ll never see Leia’s holo-message to Obi-Wan, they’ll never go to the Death Star, and basically the entire saga never happens.

So, instead, he voluntarily decides to short-circuit and essentially unalive himself, to save the galaxy without anyone ever knowing his sacrifice. Huh, we guess that wasn’t so light after all.

What’s your favorite weird aspect of Star Wars Legends? List it in the comments below!

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