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Star Wars: Everything you need to know about the Aqualish

The Star Wars galaxy is full of creatures who range from big to small, from beautiful to... less aesthetically pleasing. The galactic denizens' reputations also range from stellar to unsavory, whether it be the revered and mysterious bloodline of Yoda or the maligned and misunderstood Tusken Raiders. But one could argue that few beings are more looked down upon in the Star Wars hierarchy than the Aqualish.

The Aqualish species make their latest appearance in chapter 12 of The Mandalorian"The Siege," looting the Armorer's lair on Nevarro. This isn't exactly out of character for the Aqualish, who have something of a reputation for rudeness, crudeness and unlawful antics. The species hails from the planet Ando, and they like to make their living in bounty hunting, pirating, mercenary work, and other shady professions. Their peculiar look resembles a combination of a spider and a walrus, and their touchy temper adds to the intimidation factor. 

Still, despite this collection of unsavory properties, the Aqualish are more than just a random background species. One could argue that they established a solid place in Star Wars lore early on, thanks to one particular member of the species.

The Aqualish made their first impression in the iconic cantina scene

The Mos Eisley Cantina sequence of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope is one of the more iconic moments in the franchise, as Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and the viewers encounter the galaxy's shady underbelly and the true scope of its outlandish characters for the first time. As soon as young Luke hits the bar, one of the many outlaws hanging out in the establishment starts picking a fight with him. The angry, terrifying character is none other than an Aqualish called Ponda Baba (Tommy Ilsley). 

Luke has a tough time making sense of his vocalizations, so his partner Dr. Evazan (Alfie Curtis) helpfully explains: "He doesn't like you." Like any Star Wars aficionado will tell you, this encounter doesn't end too well for Baba and Evazan, as they attempt to pull their blasters on Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness), who uses his lightsaber to cut Baba's hand off and injure Evazan. 

Baba's very brief stint as a Star Wars villain isn't the only time the Aqualish have featured in the movies, though judging by the reputation of the species in the expanded universe canon, his hair-trigger temper and bad attitude makes him a pretty good representative. Still, not all Aqualish like to hang out in seedy bars. The prequels introduced us to Senator Po Nudo, an Aqualish politician who joined the Separatist movement. Nudo ultimately met his end in Revenge of the Sith, when Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen) killed him and the rest of the separatist council on Mustafar.

Since The Mandalorian deals largely in characters who live on the wrong side of the law, we might meet the next prominent Aqualish character before long. Let's just hope that this time, they remember to steer clear of people who carry lightsabers.

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