Zam Wesell Character Corner

Human-form Zam WesellEpisode II introduces us to a character named Zam Wesell, shape-shifting bounty hunter and accomplice to Jango Fett. Jango Fett then kills her. We don’t see much of this strange character, but now we have a chance to finally examine the life of this enigmatic figure.

Zam meets Fett

Born on Zolan, a mid-rim planet, Zam Wesell is a member of the Clawdite species. Originally part of the Zolander species, extensive genetic engineering gone awry turned this off-shoot into shape-shifters. The Zolanders ostracized them, and Zam grew up in a world either on the brink of war or fighting. Zam trained as a Mabari, a religious order of warrior-knights, and was thrown out for wanting to become a bounty hunter.

Zam Wesell first met her longtime partner (and eventual killer) Jango Fett while they hunted the same person, a smuggler wanted by a crime lord, currently held in an asteroid prison. Wesell reached the quarry first, but had to stage a riot and breakout. Fett’s arrival ruined her plans, so she decided to hijack Fett’s ship, Jaster’s Legacy. It was destroyed, forcing Zam and Fett to work together. The situation began to spiral out of control when they arrived at their destination and Fett revealed he was working a larger job, of which the jailed smuggler was only a piece.

Fett revealed he was after the location of the failed Jedi Padawan who had become leader of the Bando Gora, a Force-worshipping cult. Thanks to information gained on the current job, the pair headed to Tatooine. There they discovered the location of Bando Gora after dealing with dueling Hutt crime lords.

Zam and Fett battled with the dark Jedi and the cult, ultimately defeating them. Out of the shadows appeared Tyranus (Count Dooku), who was Jango Fett’s contact for the mission, revealing it had essentially been a test to see if Fett was worthy of being the clone template for the eventual Republic Army.

Working together
Clawdite Zam
Zam in her original Clawdite form.

Zam spent several years of working with—and against—Fett on various contracts. Fernooda, a Dug on Coruscant, contacted both bounty hunters, though separately, asking them to recover an artifact stolen from him. Barely escaping with their lives, Fett returned with the artifact. Shortly after, Zam discovered the artifact they had recovered, the Infant of Shaa, is not only capable of destroying planets, but the alien they’d returned it to, Ashaar Khorda, planned to use it to destroy Coruscant.

Appealing to Fett’s better side, the two traveled to Coruscant to stop the plot. Joining with Jedi Master Yarael Poof, the bounty hunters battled the terrorists in an attempt to save the planet. They were successful, but Poof gave his life. The next mission the two took together landed Zam in a fight against another Clawdite, posing as a decoy of their target. Their final mission together was the attempt on Senator Padme’s life. This led, directly or indirectly, to both of their deaths.

Behind the Scenes

Australian actress Leeanna Walsman plays Zam in both Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Bounty Hunter (voice only). She was originally going to be a longer-lasting character and a main antagonist of Episode II. The one-shot comic Star Wars: Jango Fett is her first canon appearance. Walsman was not made aware of Zam’s shape-shifting abilities, as it was a later addition to the film.

Thanks for reading! Come back next week for more fun fan information.

Graduation of a Jedi

Graduation Jedi
A Jedi at graduation

As it’s the end of the school year, you likely know someone graduating from high school or college. Perhaps even yourself! To commemorate, we’re going to take a look at how the Jedi graduation ceremony has changed over the changes that take place in the galaxy.

Old Jedi Order

Dating back to the beginning of the order, the graduation ceremony involved the members of the high council (or one of the other councils, though only the high council could promote at the end of the republic). After the Jedi trials, a Padawan will go to the middle of the Tranquility Spire, where they meditate, searching for their future path.

The next day, the Padawan will be summoned to the next level, which is called the Hall of Knighthood. In a darkened chamber the Masters wait with ignited lightsabers while the Padawan kneels in the center of the room. Led by the Grand Master and joined by other masters and Jedi that helped the Padawan while learning, the circle will recite ancient passages from the traditional ceremony. The Grand Master will lower his or her lightsaber just above the Padawan’s shoulders and sever the Padawan braid for species that grow hair. The ceremony finished, the Padawan would collect his or her braid if applicable and exit the chamber in silence.

Sometimes emergencies overrode the standard tradition. During battles, when the Padawan could not return to the temple, or during extended missions, the master would knight the Padawan himself. The Council was also the one to promote a knight to the level of Master.

Anakin's graduation
Anakin having his Padawan braid removed

New Jedi Order

When Yoda died while training Luke Skywalker, it left Luke without a formal declaration of his Knighthood. As such, Luke did not initially continue the rite in the rebuilt Jedi Order. He proclaimed Padawans Jedi Knights after they completed battery of tests and building their own lightsaber. The proclamation was usually informal, in a conversation or informal gathering. Twenty-four years after the battle of Yavin Luke found the last remaining copy of The Jedi path: A Manual for Students of the Force, a guidebook from the Old Order with details about the knighting ceremony.

Luke devised his own graduation ceremony, more celebratory than the original, but with similar rituals. Later graduating students would be given a private audience with Skywalker, including a speech and formal robes. While they eschewed the tradition during the Yuuzhan Vong war, the Council again began the ceremony after it ended.

Thanks for ready, and happy graduation! Don’t forget to pick up your unique robes for your big day, and be sure to come back next week for more fun information!

Episode VII trailer #2, Digital Download

Episode VII
Episode VII

This week, more information about an upcoming Episode VII trailer and today, Friday the tenth of April 2015, the six Star Wars films are now available for digital purchase and download. From retailers such as Xbox, Playstation, iTunes, Amazon, and Vudu, with some taking pre-orders of the full set or individual movies. They movies are still the special edition, but come packaged with extensive extra features, including featurettes for each movie, conversations between contributors about things such as special effects, props, and discarded ideas, deleted scenes, and more. To add to this excitement, information about the next Episode VII trailer has been released – though it is unsure how accurate this information is. We know this: The next trailer will first be seen before the upcoming Avengers movie, released May first. However, two groups have come forward with differing information about the trailer.

The earlier version, as reported by Umberto Gonzalez of Latino Review (a publication well-known for breaking leaks). Includes a voice-over by a character thought to be played by Lupita Nyong’o, a cloaked Luke Skywalker, a shot of Finn (John Boyega) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) and a blue alien as Finn ignites a green lightsaber. A large city, TIE fighter zoom shots, established characters like Han, Leia, C-3PO, and R2-D2, and another voice-over by who is thought to be Andy Serkis, as well as a few other shots.

This information is contradicted by a new source, Making Star Wars. This version of the new Episode VII trailer is less detailed, but still gives us a run down. Shots include: the planet Yavin, Finn with a blue lightsaber, a shot of Captain Phasma the chrome stormtrooper, Kylo Ren’s helmeted face, multiple shots of the characters in a base, the Millennium Falcon, Darth Vader’s helmet sitting on a podium, and a number of short shots of TIE fighters or X-Wings. No Nyong’o, Serkis, or Luke is present/heard. Making Star Wars has been derided as a rumor mill without substance, but it’s clear we won’t know the truth until we see the trailer for ourselves.

J.J. Abrams has locked down any information coming from the production and filming of Episode VII, but his personal history means we may see an intended leak in the future. We’ll be waiting.