Jawas: The Scavengers of the Sands

Jawas
Jawas

Jawas, the ubiquitous robed characters of Tatooine, are a group many know of but few know about. Here, today, we look to lift the veil of secrecy and give you an unprecedented look under the hood.

We never get anything approaching a real look at a Jawa during any of the movies, the few physical aspects they possess can be listed quickly: Brown robes, glowing yellow eyes, about a meter tall, travel in packs and scavenge the desert for scraps. Study of corpses and skeletal remains told biologists Jawas appear to be gaunt, rodent-like creatures with shrunken faces. Some think that Jawas and Tusken Raiders, another Tatooine species, are related, but the evidence is conflicting; some speculate Jawas descend from humans.

While the traditional robe is brown, numerous colors have been seen. They keep their faces covered at all times to maintain as much moisture as possible; the only part of their body that is open to the air is their hands, which have tufts of fur on the palms. One special point of interest for Jawas is their potent personal odor, which contains information about their identity, health, clam, last meal, maturity, arousal, and even mood. They have exceptional night vision, a strong immune system, and a high metabolism stemming from a 116 degree body temperature (Farenheit).

As the dry climate of Tatooine made debris long-lasting, the Jawas became a compulsive scavenging community, gathering everything and anything they could with the hopes of selling or finding a use for it. They became good mechanics and builders, but became notorious for fixing something just well enough to sell it. Jawas lived in separate clan families, each with distinct territories for living and scavenging. Adults would travel with the Sandcrawlers to trade and sell while the children were raised in the Jawa’s walled cities with their collected scrap, safe from storms, tusken raiders, and other dangers of the desert.

Jawa engineers
Jawa engineers

No canonical source shows what the Jawas look like under their hoods, but multiple sources show conflicting data about their origin. Some say that they, and the Tusken Raiders, are differing evolutions of the Kumumgah, some say the Jawas are devolved or evolved from humans, and some combine the theories. The Jawas were the subject of a strange copyright case. In 1978, Neil Young had small hooded creatures with glowing eyes on stage during a concert tour, in a film, and on the cover of the album Rust Never Sleeps. The case was settled out of court.

Thanks for reading this breakdown of the Jawa culture, and be sure to come back next week for more fun fan information!

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