Phil, fellow Offender, and overall curmudgeon of the YOMYOMF crew ragged on George Lucas for not including any Asians in the Star Wars movies. In my second Star Wars post of the day, I’m here to show compelling evidence that there is an Asian and a bunch of Asian-like aliens in the SW Universe. Here are the following exhibits:
Lt. Telsij: According to Star Wars Wikia, Telsij was a Y-wing pilot in Gray Squadron at the Battle of Endor. He flew as Gray Squadron 2 in a Y-Wing, acting as Colonel Salm’s wingman. He is the pilot that says “There’s too many of them” after the Rebel fleet is inundated with TIEs, after they realize that “It’s a trap!” His fate is unknown, but he most likely survived. On the other hand, his squadron did suffer heavy casualties early on in the battle.
In 1999, his action figure was released by Hasbro, and included in the “Rebel pilots cinema scene” and was mistakenly named Arvel Crynyd. Many fans sometimes mistake our Asian pilot for the similarly named Telsij Cayr, who’s apparently a blonde, blue-eyed woman from the Expanded Universe. I guess the Asian Telsij has no surname, kind of like Seal.
Wow, one line in the movie, and mistaken for a buxomy white woman with punk hair? Lt. Telsij ain’t got no respect! See his one scene here in ROTJ:
This clip also helps me segue into the Asian Aliens of Star Wars and said clip presents two of them:
Admiral Ackbar – Granted, he was more cephalopod than human (his race is called the Mon Calamari), but watching this as a kid, I always thought Ackbar reminded me of an old Asian dude. I don’t know, maybe it was the Fu-Manchu whiskery squid-like protrusions on his chin.
Nien Nunb – Lando Calrissian’s co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon during the attack on the new Death Star in Jedi, Nien also had Asiatic features that I just could not pinpoint exactly. Granted, the character was apparently a muppet and the voice actor was speaking an obscure dialect from Kenya, but it did also register with me that this dude was Asian too. Or maybe because I had a Chinese friend in 3rd grade who looked and acted just like him.
Am I just reaching with these comparisons, as if I’m infusing my own stereotypes of Asian media imagery? Maybe I am….
But the most telling of the Asian Aliens in Star Wars are in the first prequel, The Phantom Menace. They were known as the Neimoidians, a merchant race that formed the Trade Federation (led by the Viceroy) and was setting up embargoes to and fro the planet of Naboo.
The Science Fiction Channel + Technorium blog was alarmed and referred to “the portrayal of the Neimoidians as greedy, cowardly, immoral, business-oriented opportunists–charges often leveled at Chinese.” And that’s probably coming from a white guy. Check out a scene with their accented English: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrvVFT37exg
So there you have it. Sure, Asians are portrayed in Star Wars in the Other sense, and Lucas is, if not racist, then surely a rice king in his iconography and revelry of the Asiatic in these movies. But hey, he was an equal opportunist when it came to all minorites. Case-in-point: Jar Jar Binks.