Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Kumumgah: Tatooine's Precursor Society

Apparently, in addition to Sandcrawlers, Jawas also have fortresses? Image: Wookiepedia
Seems like very epic fantasy or sci-fi franchise out there has some sort of post-apocalyptic society embedded in the backstory. According to Wookieepedia, Star Wars is no exception. The Kumumgah were a humanoid species that lived on the once lush Tatooine. After pissing off the (pre-Republic) ruling authorities, they saw their homeworld's orbit nudged.

Tatooine became a desert.

As a result the Kumumgah adapted and their descendants diverged along two separate evolutionary paths: Jawas and Sand People.

Traditional Tusken handshake
Now this is all "expanded universe" of course, and I'm partial to ignoring it as anything canon in Star Wars, but it does make for quite a nifty background in a greater sci-fi universe, dontcha' think?

Careful on those links, they're chocked full of spoilers and pics of Tuskens without their masks. I'm one to think that they should never be unmasked. Why take the mystery out of something so fun? Also, while the idea of Tatooine being a "once lush" world appeals to me now, there's a stubborn kid inside me who refuses to accept that notion. Part of me is equally perplexed at the frequent use of "rodent-like" in describing Jawas on Wookieepedia. I'd like to think that they're something different and unearthly and we don't need to fall back on terrestrial biology to explain everything. I'm partial to my own make believe anyway.

Regardless, it's still kind of awesome to learn that some big bully didn't like the Kumumgah and splintered their existence by hurling them closer to the twin suns. Makes me think that Khan guy got off easy!


  1. I never liked that story.

    I came up with one that, for my group and I at least, worked better long ago (in a galaxy far, far...you get the picture).

    The system has twin suns. That's Two Suns! Its lucky to be a desert. Also, the Sand People/Tusken Raiders always seemed too human to me. For me the story goes like this...

    In the earliest days of the Old Republic, a mining colony was to be set up on the distant and inhospitable world of Tatooine. Unfortunately the first colony ship, complete with mining operation equipment in storage, crashed on the sand covered planet.

    Conflicts between the Republic and the Sith Empire derailed a second colonization attempt for anywhere from 50 to 100 years. When the new colonists arrived they discovered the remains of the first vessel, which appeared to have been stripped of anything useful and many things not by the native intelligent species, the Jawas.

    Sandcrawlers are old mining vehicles and ore transporters. They got to work on numerous early model droids and kitbashed the Ionization Rifles they use (which, incidentally, one EU source says can be made of various droid parts and scavenged material but uses an ignition device found only in the hyperdrives of large starships. Like say, one that crashed and spilled its inventory of replacements?).

    The Sand People are (SPOILER ALERT) the original colonists descendants. Driven mad by the endless desert, harsh terrain and weather and difficulties finding food and shelter (not to mention having to deal with the Jawas) these people have degenerated into the Tusken Raider you see today.

    Just an idea.

  2. Now THAT is a lot more in line with my thinking as well. Though, the idea presented by the EU is interesting, for some reason I just can't accept that as part of the Star Wars universe.

    I especially like your idea that its the harsh conditions/dealing with Jawas(!) that drives people to become Sand People. :)

  3. But of course. Disgusting creatures.

  4. Both stories are good, though I like Barking Aliens a bit better--except I've never been a fan of Sith Empire EU stuff. Still, I tend to like anything that makes Star Wars a little more exotic or more "Dune-like."

  5. My take on Tatooine is that, originally, it was a fairly nice place, though still rather hot and dry. The problem was, as the ancestors of the Jawa/Sand People grew technologically advanced, they were pumping highly volatile compounds into the atmosphere. Then they developed primitive (for Star Wars) spacecraft, which were essentially rockets. Due to a war, two ships were launched, on the theory that that way it'd be more likely for one of them to get out of the atmosphere. The rockets set off a chain reaction that killed almost all planetary life, and destroyed or vaporized 80-90% of the free water on the planet, which took care of most of the rest. Jawa and Sand People are the result of the inbreeding in the crews of the rockets.

    If you're wondering about where the Bantha came from, they evolved from cave rats, who were safely underground at the time of the explosion, and subsisted off of the mushrooms and such that grew there. As for the Krayt Dragons and those other lizard-like-creatures-whose-names-I-don't-remember, they were the result of a couple of failed Transdosshan (?) colonies.

    Or at least it is since writing that comment... Thanks for the inspiration!