He’s a purple Hutt, bedazzling in sky blue tattoos, a peacock feather nestled behind his rumbled head, a character "Empire Online”"called "a cross-dressing pimp” who holds court in "Downtown Coruscant." He’s sure to be the most talked about new character in the entire Republic when “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” is released August 15. And he’s absolutely "FAB-U-LOUS!"
Ok, let’s be straight for a second: Jabba’s uncle, Ziro the Hutt, a new character introduced specifically for the upcoming animated series, is a gay stereotype that makes what Jar Jar Binks represented to the island of Jamaica look subtle by comparison. It’s not the look or design that pushes it over the top into stereotype, of course, but the voice (performed by Corey Burden), a lispy, high-pitched twang purposively reminiscent of Truman Capote.
So how did a character who wasn’t even supposed to speak English wind up sounding like that? Because George Lucas insisted on it, "Clone Wars" director Dave Filoni confessed.
"Ziro, Jabba's uncle, originally spoke in Hutt-ese, like Jabba and then he had a different sluggish voice just like Jabba, and then George one day was watching it and said 'I want him to sound like Truman Capote.' He actually said that and we were like 'Wow!' " Filion revealed. "It's a hybrid of it but the inspiration is definitely there on Capote. It's one of those things that takes him from being an interesting character and I think really does put him over the top and does something. He's a favorite among the crew here."
Whether he becomes a FAN favorite, or a character reviled along the lines of Jar Jar, remains to be seen, of course, although it'll no doubt be the latter if conversation among journalists after a screening of the film Sunday night is any indication.
But just because Ziro the Hutt is a stereotype, that doesn’t actually make him the first gay "Star Wars" character, Filion insisted. He’s actually not straight either, but biologically asexual.
(And, by the way, mark this down at number one in the folder labeled "Conversations I Never Thought I'd Have About 'Star Wars' Characters.")
"He's of questionable [sexuality] at least as a slug. They tell me that these slugs can be either male or female depending. That's something I guess that slugs and snails do," Filion said. "I wasn't aware of that but I have continuity experts that tell me these things and I'm like. I guess Jabba is [his son’s] mother AND father from a certain point of view. It’s interesting."
Based on what you've seen (or heard) so far, does Ziro the Hutt sound like a new fan-fave to you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.