Twi'leks have graced the Star Wars universe since Return of the Jedi. In the movies, the women have always been beautiful and athletic, whereas the male Twi'leks have been ugly, and frankly, disgusting. Oola, the green-skinned dancer for Jabba the Hutt, showed us a tragic side of the species when she was sacrificed to the rancor at the whim of the gangster. Bib Fortuna, Jabba's majordomo, exemplified the slimy underbelly of the Twi'lek culture.
In Star Wars: The Old Republic, besides being prominent NPCs, Twi'leks are a possible player species for several classes. Smugglers, Consulars, Jedi Knights, and Sith Inquisitors can all be played as Twi'leks. With this wide variety of players running around as these humanoids, it may be a good idea to know where they came from and why they are important to Star Wars lore. Dance past the break to find out more.
In the midst of Jabba's palace, the Twi'lek slave dances to the music of the Max Reebo band. Her green skin reflects the sole source of light in the smokey audience chamber. As she spins to the driving electronic sound, the twin, three-foot-long tails protruding from her head whip around provocatively. What is up with those head tails, anyway? On some Twi'leks, head tails -- lekku -- are fascinating. They give the appearance of long hair tied in two braids. Maybe they add to the existing sleek line of the dancer's body. By contrast, the lekku curled around the neck of Bib Fortuna give the appearance of two snakes slithering over his shoulders.
According to lore, the lekku contain muscle and some brain matter. However, this does not necessarily mean that Twi'leks are more intelligent than other humanoids. But these tails are used for communication between Twi'leks -- and anyone else who understands the subtle wiggles of the lekku language.
As to how Twi'leks differ from humans, the skin color of the Twi'leks varies widely. In fact, each skin color has its own name. Blue Twi'leks like Aayla Secura are called Rutian. Red-skinned Twi'leks like Darth Talon are called Lethan. Although both red and blue skin are supposed to be rare, the majority of Twi'leks with prominent roles in lore appear to have these skin tones. Still, green-, brown-, yellow-, and violet-skinned Twi'leks have also been seen around the Star Wars galaxy.
The Twi'lek homeworld of Ryloth developed more slowly than the rest of the galaxy, possibly because it didn't have the natural resources that other worlds had. We know that the primary trade on Ryloth consists of spice and slaves, thus making the society seem very seedy. Some Rylothians saw slavery as a way for the species to populate the galaxy; after all, slavery allowed Twi'leks to leave their homeworld and see the wider universe. But this was probably just a way for the government to justify the selling of its own people.
Twi'leks are organized by clans. Each clan has a council that makes the decisions for the people living under its rule. During the Star Wars movie era, these clans vote together on the one citizen to send to Coruscant to represent the planet in the Senate. Although it's not specifically said, we can assume that this is the way it was done during the time of The Old Republic, too.
For those interested in remaining true to traditional Twi'lek naming conventions, I am happy to inform you that apostrophes are acceptable when naming your character in game. Traditionally, a Twi'lek's clan name is built into her name to add meaning and unity. The famous Twi'lek Jedi during the Clone Wars era named Aayla Secura was born Aaylas'ecura. Although we are unsure what aaylas'ecura means in the Twi'lek tongue, Ryl, we do know that the combination does have some sort of significance. The splitting apostrophe isn't always in the same place, as with the name Newar'aven, whose clan name was Ven, but the clan name is always last.
Out of all the species in the Star Wars universe, the Twi'leks probably have the largest amount of player-created lore, or fanon. Originally, Star Wars roleplayers, cosplayers, and fans created a lexicon of Twi'lek lore on a site that can still be found in web archives, and fortunately, other sites have picked up this information.
The largest part of this fanon has to do with the worship of the Twi'lek goddess. Although it's canon that the religious Twi'leks follow a goddess, her name, Kika'lekki, is completely made up by fans. In fact, player-created ceremonies for prayer, marriage, funerals, and clan membership can be found on this site too. If you are a planning on roleplaying a Twi'lek at all, you will find this site an exciting read.
Fans of Twi'leks also created names and meanings for each of the Twi'lek colors. Each color represents a different clan of Twi'lek, and each color represents how worship for the goddess should be emphasized. Rutians (blue) worship with water in its many forms. Tolians (orange and yellow) worship with the use of fire. Darians (brown and tan) worship with stone monuments. Tyrians (violet) worship with artistic expression. Tukians (green) worship with ceremony and other religious arts. Lethans (red) can appear in any clan and so follow the practices of their respective clans.
With Twi'leks being the third most common species for a player to choose from and probably the most popular female species next to human, we will play next to more than one in our time in the Star Wars: The Old Republic. However, if you play as a Twi'lek, I can tell you for sure that you will run into slightly different dialogue flavoring based on your species choice. But other than that, your choice of Twi'lek will make little difference unless you roll a Jedi character. Just outside the Jedi temple lies a villiage of Twi'lek refugees. I won't spoil the story, but Twi'lek culture does come into play.
That's all I have for this week. By the time you read this, the fan site summit should be just finishing up. Hopefully, some incredible information comes out of that event. Watch your news feeds, and I'll see you next week.
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