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Star Wars spans over several decades and is regarded as one of the greatest franchises ever to bless the screens. The characters, plot, locations, everything is good enough to blow people’s minds off. And a striking feature that really helped this franchise outshine others was the introduction of numerous borderline-weird species, which made Star Wars a much more interesting phenomenon.
One such species with ever-so-charming traits was Twi’leks. Twi’leks were famous for their mesmerizing looks. And for this very reason, their females were subjugated to slavery across the Galaxy. Known for their beauty, courage, and strength, Twi’lek were among the most common specie in Star Wars, almost as common as Humans, with whom they shared an uncanny resemblance.
In this Twi’lek specie guide, I am going to take you to Ryloth to tell you everything there is to know about these beguiling creatures. Furthermore, I will also be talking about some famous Twi’lek figures without whom the Star Wars universe would never have been complete.
So, gear up, Padawans; we are about to launch into hyperspace!
- Place of origin: Ryloth
- Kind: Sentient Humanoids
- Race: Rutian
- Language: Twi’leki
- Skin-Color: Green, blue, red, orange, purple, pink, pale, yellow, grey
- Average height:
- Male 1.8 m
- Female 1.6m
- Average Lifespan: 75 Years
Twi’leks resembled Humans in many ways. They had an average height, a slim body (well, not all of them), and a pair of arms and legs. Even their facial features were the same as Humans, and their toned muscular bodies were enough to motivate anybody to hit the gym. However, what really made them gorgeous was the various colors of their skin and eyes, which came in blue, green, orange, grey, brown, purple, black, and yellow colors.
One of their distinctive features was the pair of appendages hanging down from their heads, known as “lekku.” Their lekku reached down to their waists and were considered a part of their brain, which they used for sensory and communication purposes. And if you are wondering, yes, you surely could hurt a Twi’lek by pulling their lekku.
The male Twi’leks had sharpened pointed teeth (as it was considered a symbol of power among them), while the female had Human-like teeth. Another unique feature was the shape of their ears. While male Twi’leks had ears resembling those of Humans, females had cone-shaped pointed ears. Furthermore, their men also had two large bumps on their foreheads.
Unlike Humans, Twi’leks didn’t have hair on their heads or bodies, but they did have some facial hair, like eyelashes; another reason why their females were considered the hottest slaves in the Galaxy.
Characterization of Twi’leks in the Series
Twil’eks were often perceived as those beautiful slaves who knew nothing but submission. They were found at bars, often dancing and entertaining others, and remained in the background for a long time. Twi’leks were first seen serving faithfully under various crime cartels. It wasn’t that they didn’t want freedom or yearned for it; they did not have a chance to live a free life. Under the miserable captivity of their masters, they had no option but to survive.
Some of the Twi’leks were cunning and self-serving politicians, serving only for their narcissistic gains, be it in the Republic or Empire. They didn’t play any significant role in the Star Wars franchise for a long time. However, the Clone Wars brought these Twi’leks into the limelight. People finally noticed that they weren’t just some background slave dancers but rather courageous and modest specie willing to fight for their rights.
They were freedom fighters who never even liked the idea of a foreign invasion. This allowed them to fight off the Separatists from their land, even becoming a part of the Resistance movement against the Galactic Empire. It is worth mentioning that during most of their rebellions against the oppressors, they usually came out victorious.
Another interesting fact about Twi’leks was that since they were so common, they never raised anyone’s eyebrows. This allowed them to be the great spies the Galaxy had ever seen. And alien species would often hire them to eavesdrop and carry out spy operations.
Homeland and Origins
Although the Twi’leks were native to an outer-rim planet of Ryloth, they were found in almost every corner of the Galaxy. Ryloth had vast patches of mountains, valleys, and deserts with challenging environmental conditions. And its inhabitants, Twil’eks, lived in the caves to protect themselves from the enemy forces and the harsh environment. Due to certain geographical locations, half of the planet was covered in darkness while the other half was in light. Still, somehow, the Twi’leks decided to remain in the middle.
Twi’lek’s origin has been a point of controversy for many centuries. Some believed they were a product of a scientific experiment by Rakata, another Humanoid specie from the planet Lehon. Others believed these beautiful creatures were the natives of the planet Ryloth and had been living there for an unknowingly long time.
Twil’eks were a primitive race and were not technologically advanced. They saw thousands of years of suffering and exploitation, and consequently, submission became a part of their personality before a few brave souls broke the order.
For centuries Twi’leks weren’t aware of the Galaxy beyond their planet. And it was not before when alien species started visiting Ryloth that they got introduced to what lies beyond their homeland. Anyhow, due to intermating, especially with Humans, one thing was sure, they had learned how to make their way into the Galaxy.
Culture and Traits
The Twi’leks were known for being a tight-knit clan. They valued relationships and would go to any extent to protect their people. Twi’leks shared strong familial bonds, and each family had an ancestral heirloom (a totem) passed down from several generations called Kalikori. It held special meaning to them and was a tribute to their most treasured asset, their lekku. And we all saw how Hera was devastated when Grand Admiral Thrawn stole her family’s totem.
As it was an outer-rim territory, various criminal enterprises found their way to Ryloth, mainly searching for the slave trade. For a long time, Twi’leks would sell their daughters to different alien species visiting their planet in exchange for some credits or technology beyond their comprehension.
Later, due to increased spice smuggling across the Galaxy, Hutts somehow found their way to this peaceful planet. And let’s not forget that Ryloth was rich in illicit substances such as Ryll, so it was not short of heaven for Jabba the Hutt. Hutts came and subjugated more of the population to slavery and cruelty, and the poor Twi’leks had no choice but to submit to their demands.
An example of how much slavery affected Twi’leki culture is the headdresses they wore. Twi’leks could move their lekku in different ways to communicate with their people. Although the gestures were limited, they still meant something. As the slavers couldn’t comprehend it, they restricted their communication by using headbands and other pieces wrapped around their lekku to control their movement.
Way of Living
Tw’leks lived in tiny homes, just like how primitive Humans used to live. They also built small hidden caves in their houses to protect themselves from wild beasts that could easily break through the walls. Some of their homes also had underground tunnels that led to safe places in case of a foreign attack.
They drew different markings on their wall, probably in their language, like some sort of Paleolithic Art. Talking about their kids, they lived a simple life. These cute little Twi’leks would make dolls out of wood and cloth and play with each other. And obviously, they learned a lot of survival skills from their parents.
When it came to transportation, their most common means included wild animals such as Blurrgs.
Language and Communication
Twi’leks used their own language, Twi’leki, to communicate with each other. However, it wasn’t like any other language spoken in the Galaxy; Twi’leki also included gestures made through lekku. Anyhow, Twi’leks started speaking Galaxy Basic Standard language after their diaspora spread across the Galaxy.
Unfortunately, the Twi’leks, who were sold off young to the other species, usually as slaves, barely even knew their own language.
Another interesting fact about Twi’leks is that they had multiple stomachs. Since they lived on a planet with a harsh (borderline uninhabitable) environment, they really didn’t have many options when it came to eating. Their multiple stomachs were a kind of evolutionary process to help them in digesting any and everything.
Some Famous Twi’lek and Their Roles in the Series
The role of Twi’leks cannot be overlooked in the Star Wars series. Although they received a little less screentime than Humans, their roles turned the tide of some significant events. Following are the Twi’leks that really added depth to the Star Wars series, and I can confidently say Star Wars would not have been the same if it wasn’t for these Twi’leks, not to mention these characters told us a lot about Twi’lek specie as a whole.
Bib Fortuna and Oola, the Courtiers of Jabba the Hutt
Do you remember that odd-looking red-eyed creature whispering in the ears of Jabba the Hutt when Luke came to rescue Han Solo? Well, if you have watched Return of the Jedi, I am sure you do. Bib Fortuna wasn’t the typical Twi’leki we’d encounter in future Star Wars movies, but he definitely left an impact on the audience. He controlled Jabba’s business. After Jabba’s death, he assumed the role of crime lord of Jabba’s palace, proving that Twi’leks knew how to make their place if given a chance.
Bib was cunning, maneuvering, and downright ugly. He sold off his own Twi’lekis to slavery and climbed the social ladder on the bodies of his own people. He did everything in his power to become Jabba’s majordomo but was later killed by Boba Fett.
Another courtier of the Jabba palace was a beautiful Twi’leki dancer, Oola, who was usually seen wandering around and dancing in Jabba’s court. If I am being honest, Bib and Ola presented a very odd and contrasting image of Twi’lekis. At first glance, they didn’t even look like they belonged to the same specie, but rather some outlaws who had no good in them. Unlike their fellow Twi’leks, both went mad after seeking comfort and pleasure. And as Khalil Gibran said, “Lust for comfort murders the passion of the souls,” these Twi’leks lost their values and suffered a very unfortunate end in the notorious place they called home.
Aayla Secura, a Valiant Jedi Master
If you are wondering if Twi’leks could wield Force, then yes, they were also Force-sensitive beings. Aayla Secura, a Twi’leki padawan trained under Jedi Master Quinlan Vos, was one of the many Jedi who fought against Supreme Chancellor Palpatine during the Clone Wars. Aayla was one of the main Republic leaders during the battle of Geonosis.
When the Battle of Geonosis commenced, she fought alongside Master Windu on the frontline. This battle was a huge step and the first success for the Republic against the Separatists. Aayla was praised for her courage and was given charge of the Clone corps. This was a time when Twi’leks started getting recognized across the Galaxy.
Secura also participated in the Battle of Quell and the Defence of Maridun with Anakin Skywalker and Clone troopers. She was a remarkable Twi’lek Jedi Knight who later rose to the ranks of Jedi Master. She was a true representation of how strong and dedicated these Twi’leks can be.
Aayla died on the planet of Felucia by the end of the Clone Wars. Although she was an ill-fated victim of Order 66 by Palpatine, her presence in the Star Wars series, mostly Clone Wars, gave the Twi’leks the overdue recognition they always deserved.
Orn Free Taa, the Twi’lek Representative in the Senate
If you are a meme expert and a Star Wars fan, I am pretty sure you will never forget the Big Chungus of the Star Wars universe. Senator of Ryloth, Orn Free Taa, was another ugly addition to the list of otherwise likable Twi’leks. He represented Ryloth during both the Republic era and the Empire era. He was a perfect example of a politician who would place his and only his interests above everything else. Due to this, he was loathed by his own people, who held no regard or respect for him. He remained loyal to Palpatine till the very end, even though loyalty to himself and his luxurious life was more important to him. He briefly sided with Cham Syndulla during the movement against the Separatists force; however, he ended up being at war against him later on.
Unlike other Twi’leks who never liked foreign presence on their lands, Orn even did not shy about going against his people as he led an attack on Cham and his fellows. But fortunately, it was not a success.
Not only that, but when the Empire took over, he sided with this emerging evil and tried his best to remain in the good books of Palpatine. Even during the Free Ryloth Movement, he sided with the Emperor, showing he had little to no regard for his fellow Twi’leks.
One intriguing thing about Orn Free Taa was his peculiar physical traits. He had four lekku instead of two. However, although lekku were considered an attractive feature of Twi’leks, Orn’s four lekku made him anything but desirable.
Cham Syndulla, leader of Liberty of Ryloth Movement
The hero of liberty of Ryloth and a freedom fighter, Cham Syndulla, was a popular loyal Twi’lek male who rose to prominence during the Clone Wars. Although the Twi’leks had been struggling for freedom for a long time, Cham was the one who materialized their wishes. He was a political leader, fighting hard to give his people their due rights.
In the Star Wars lore, the survival of Twi’leks and the protection of their homeland, Ryloth, are mostly credited to this brave Twi’lek. When the Separatists attacked Ryloth, Cham decided to take matters into his own hands and began a long journey of liberating Ryloth.
However, even after the defeat of the Separatist army, the freedom of Ryloth was relatively short-lived. And Ryloth was under the control of an even more evil command of the Galactic Empire. Cham initially didn’t want another war on his land, so he decided to side with Empire and convinced his people to do the same. But, this union was short-lived. After his capture by Imperial forces on account of supporting an underground resistance movement, he decided to launch a full-scale Free Ryloth Movement. Now, Twi’leks were not settling for anything but complete freedom from thousands of years of oppression.
Unlike any other Twi’lek, Cham proved to be the messiah who even changed the mindset of his compatriots. Cham made other Twi’leks realize there should be no option but complete freedom from foreign forces to bring peace to Ryloth. The character of Cham inspired many Twi’leks, and they became a more valiant and courageous specie than ever before.
Hera Syndulla, a leader of the Rebel Allaince
Hera Syndulla, Cham’s daughter, was another great Twi’lek figure. Her role in the series gave us a new view of Twi’leks, i.e., they can also care for other miserable people in the Galaxy.
Hera became a leader of the rebellion against the Empire after the Imperial Forces took over. Although she focused on rebellion on a wider level, she didn’t forget her homeland and her fellow Twi’leks. She believed that the liberty of Ryloth was attached to liberty-at-large from the Empire, something on which she and her father didn’t see eye to eye. Cham was more focused on freeing the Twi’leks. However, he later agreed with her cause and efforts.
She left her homeland to start her resistance movement. When Hera’s rebellion on Lothal gained momentum and success, she joined with the resistance movements across the Galaxy.
Hera led various rebel forces against the Empire and joined the Alliance to restore the Republic. Under her command, many Twi’leks joined the movement and managed to throw away Imperial bases from Ryloth. Hera later joined Leia Organa’s resistance, making Twi’leks a significant contributor toward the resistance against the Galactic Empire.
Hera also fought in many notable battles, the battle of Hoth being one of them. She fought courageously and was a perfect example of a beautiful Twi’lek with brains. Her presence demanded attention, and it wasn’t long after people fell in love with her character and the Twi’leks.
Another significant contribution of Hera in defining the Twi’leks as a whole was that she married a Human Jedi named Kanan Jerus and had a son, confirming the fact that Twi’leks were capable of inter-specie breeding.
Star Wars fans were first introduced to Twi’leks in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983). Later, they were made a significant part of the Star Wars animated series. Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebel, both animated series from the Canon, featured Twi’leks in many episodes. Some of the major ones are:
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – “Supply Lines”
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – “Jedi Crash”
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – “Defenders of Peace”
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – “Mystery of a Thousand Moons”
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – “Storm Over Ryloth”
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – “Innocents of Ryloth”
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – “Liberty on Ryloth”
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – “Evil Plans”
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – “Hostage Crisis”
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – “Gone with a Trace”
- Star Wars Rebels – “Droids in Distress”
- Star Wars Rebels – “Fighter Flight”
- Star Wars Rebels – “Rise of the Old Masters”
- Star Wars Rebels – “Breaking Ranks”
- Star Wars Rebels – “The Lost Commanders”
- Star Wars Rebels – “Relics of the Old Republic”
Twi’leks also appeared in another Star Wars movie, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and in The Mandolarian television series.
“If We Want Freedom, We Must Make Difficult Choices.” ¾ Hera Syndulla
“Whether We Fail Or Succeed, At Least Our Actions Will Show The Empire And The Galaxy That We Will Not Stand Down …” –Hera Syndulla
“Not a Terrorist, but a Freedom Fighter…” -Cham Syndulla
“What can the Separatists hope to gain from burning our homes?” -Orn Free Taa
“We are a free world now. Thanks to the Twi’lek resistance. Thanks to Cham Syndulla. And thanks to the likes of you, too.” -Tekku Aylay.
Final Thoughts and My Opinion
Twi’leks were among those few species who didn’t get enough screen time but somehow ended up stealing the show whenever they came up. They were not only beautiful but highly intelligent, which made them even more attractive. Their skin colors, values, culture, and everything deserved more acknowledgment and praise. Although most Twi’leks had a good heart, Twi’leks like Orn Free Taa and Bib are testaments to the fact that not everyone is the same.
I believe the best thing about them was how they developed throughout the Star Wars series. Although in the beginning, they were very timid and would give in without a fight, they soon learned to care for each other, especially under the leadership of Cham Syndulla. But I really started to like them after they became more courageous and stood up against the warmongering evil Empire.
And let us not forget The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, which gave Twi’leks more screen time. These shows not only told us that Twi’leks are more than just sex slaves but also fighters that would go to any length to uphold freedom.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What does the word “Twi’lek” mean?
Answer: The name Twi’lek was colloquially used by other species around the Galaxy to call these tail-headed creatures of the planet Ryloth. However, owing to a pair of lekku on every Twi’leki’s head, Twi’lek can be broken into two words, “Twi” and “Lek,” which means Twin lekku.
Question: What was the average lifespan of Twi’leks?
Answer: Being a humanoid specie, Twi’leks shared many characteristics with Humans, age being one of them. They had an average life span of 75 years.
Question: Why did Twi’lek men have sharp teeth?
Answer: Although Twi’lek had ordinary teeth like Humans, male Twi’leks used to file their teeth to make them more pointy and sharp. According to their legends, for men, these sharp teeth were mainly a symbol of power that would also help them to survive. It would not be wrong to say that centuries of enslaving foreign influence had made them adopt such measures, not to mention that Twi’leks were also a primitive specie of the Outer Rims.
Question: Were Twi’leks Force-sensitive?
Answer: Yes, Twi’leks were also Force-sensitive beings, and the famous Twi’lek Jedis include Aayla Secura and Finn Ertay. They both got to show their Jedi Skills during the Clone Wars. Although Finn was not lucky enough to bless the screen for longer, Aayla, the apprentice of Quinlan Vos, on the other hand, became a Jedi Master and a Jedi General of the Grand Army of the Republic.