In Return of the Jedi, Tim Rose and Erik Bauersfeld combined their talents to produce Admiral Gial Ackbar. Rose puppeteered and Erik voiced a character seen on film maybe a total of five minutes. He is one of the Mon Calamari — a bipedal, amphibious race from the planet of Dac (commonly known as Mon Cala). This is their story.
Like other species in the Star Wars universe, there is a great deal of information about the Mon Calamari, though much is officially non-canon. Able to breathe through both gills and lungs, Mon Calamari are more comfortable on land, and they can still drown. With bulbous heads, huge fish-like eyes, and webbed hands, they are easy to recognize. Their hands feature suction cups, and they see in a different wavelength than humans. Since Mon Calamari faces are rather stiff, eyes are used to show emotion: staring with the left eye shows surprise, while the right eye is a challenge or an expression of love. Things are complicated in the dating scene, it seems.
Advanced and civilized, the Mon Calamari culture included great creativity in arts, music, literature, and science. They tended to be soft-spoken and gentle, extremely tempered and slow to anger. Many saw them as determined and dedicated, not willing to give up. This combination of temperament and focus made them famous allies for both the Galactic Republic and the Rebel Alliance.
Due to the fact they saw their work as art rather than simply function, the Mon Calamari also became known as first-class starship builders,. Efficient and unique while still remaining useful to other species, we can see numerous examples of Mon Calamari ships in the battle scene of Return of the Jedi.
Ride of the Mon Calamari
Though they cherished peace, the Mon Calamari were not above fighting. Long traditions of military service extended down family trees for generations, believing their warrior skills second-to-none. When the Galactic Empire took control, warfare began to define the Mon Calamari. They allied with the rebels, and began producing warships. Thousands of soldiers filled the ranks of the rebellion.
Rivaling the wookiees in their resolve, the Mon Calamari could fight on land, and pilot their unique craft with expert precision. They were also, naturally, well-suited for amphibious assaults. Even after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, they continued supplying the Republic with ships and weapons, eventually creating an artificial shipyard ring around their planet.
Famous Mon Calamari Admiral Ackbar was in The Force Awakens. Following the death of Erik Bauersfeld, the character may end up retired for future films.
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