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Your Weekend Creature Comforts From the Planet Hoth

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Despite the astronomical costs and times it seems to take for movie companies to produce a film these days, as well as the slightly shoddy acting we are all forced to deal with from time to time, overall Hollywood has perfected the epic. Of course, sometimes it can be a little frustrating bordering on downright head-splitting when they try to divide a novel or series of novels you love in to as many movies as possible (I mean, waiting over 3 years to see a trilogy of 3+ hour long epics to make up The Hobbit is going to be amazing, but a tad excessive). So when people ask me what your favorite movie is, it might be a bit hard to reply since there are so many phenomenal options to choose from. Ask me that question and initially I might waver and discuss any number of films for their various merits, but ask me it seriously and you will get one answer, which in my mind encompasses 3 movies: Star Wars. Obviously not all 6, or how ever many there will be after Disney gets through with it, but the original 3, episodes 4, 5, and 6.

Afterall, I have been watching these films since I was 2 years old, and aside from the story and the characters getting me hooked, I was also infatuated with the creatures. Each movie has several to appreciate, and species like wookies and whatever the hell Yoda is make appearances in multiple movies. So lucky for you all, I have decided to describe many a creatures in coming posts, as well as today’s weekend edition. What better way to enjoy your weekend then to read up on the monsters that inhabit Hoth, so you can go watch the movie with dinner?

As I mentioned, I watched these movies over, and over, and over again as a child (and still do as an adult). But I will admit my adoration of creatures has always made Return of the Jedi my favorite. I will confess as well that as a child I actually did not like The Empire Strikes Back and whenever I had a movie marathon day at home, I would often skip the middle movie of the trilogy. (Don’t worry, I have grown up and learned to love all 3 for their different qualities). But when I did watch episode 5, I particularly liked the beginning scenes on the planet Hoth.

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Hoth is an ice planet located somewhere in the Outer Rim of the empire, and it’s entire surface is frozen. It is of importance because the Rebels decided to set up base there after destroying the first Death Star. While on this planet only two creatures are shown as native species.

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First we have the Wampa. The Wampa looks probably like what you would expect the abominable snowman would, only a lot more gruesome. This creature walks like a human but is covered in long white fur, has quite a gnarly bunch of teeth, and strange goat like horns on it’s face. When ever I watched the scene where Luke is captured by this carnivore and wakes up in it’s cave, I picture the cave smelling like decay despite the ice’s capability of probably preserving some of the rotting flesh in the household. We only see one Wampa in the movie, but the planet itself is full of them. Sadly for the Wampa of the movie, it is struck with the perpetual Star Wars curse, the loss of an arm. I swear, Luke just brings bad luck for appendages.

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Now, technically not a species of Hoth, and well, technically not a species at all, the Empire’s large battle machinery, known as “The Walker”, seems like quite a creature of electronics. It is more lovingly referred to as the “camel machines” by many Star Wars fans. These massive monsters are marched up to the Rebel base in a classic battle scene, and I felt wrong not mentioning them as their own unique creature from the movie.

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And lastly we have the Tauntaun. As far as we know, this is the only species other than the Wampa that lives on Hoth (though I doubt anyone wants to wander around taking creature censuses while freezing their toes off). The Tauntaun also walks on two legs, but is an herbivore. To me it looks like a cross between a kangaroo and a big horn sheep, but I am told it is actually part reptilian in nature. While their skin does have scales, it might be hard for you to appreciate that since they are covered in a thick layer of fur to insulate them from the cold. They also have excessive blubber layers to keep them toasty warm while roaming on the icey planet, and their feet do indeed look a little more reptilian or bird like in nature with their giant played claws and foot structure similar to an ostrich. They interestingly also have 2 pairs of nostrils, mainly to increase surface area in their nasal passages to better warm the air before it enters their lungs. And like the Wampa, they possses a pair of goat like, curled horns on their head (must be a Hoth thing). Despite all of their cool adaptations to survive Hoth’s brutal climate, the weather there still gets quite worse at night, and most Tauntauns will seek shelter in caves during the night to avoid the extreme cold. As we all know from Star Wars, these monsters too can freeze to death, and of course they have quite an unpleasant odor, inside and out. But looking in to these creatures in more detail is really quite fascinating, as they very plausibly could be real somewhere out there, since Lucas used lots of realistic evolutionary strategies when designing them. And I would love to domesticate one.

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Well, that concludes this weekend’s creature edition for you folks. Hopefully I have inspired you to go catch up on some classic Star Wars this weekend, and you can rest assured, I will be certain to feature many more George Lucas creature creations in the future.

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Posted on September 28, 2013, in Creature Comforts, Geekology and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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