I'm finding an excuse to mention this whenever possible, but Star Wars: The Force Awakens is almost here (or already here for some press, who I hate beyond belief). This might not be a review for The Force Awakens, but let's all get in the mood for Star Wars with something a little more easygoing.
So... did you know about these 5 real life creatures which inspired classic aliens from the Star Wars universe?
1. Jabba The Hutt
An easy one to start with: Jabba the Hutt of Tatooine, who has featured regularly throughout the movies as a powerful gangster, originally from Nal Hutta.
So who, or what, does Jabba look like?
Well, I'm sure it won't come as a surprise to you that Jabba was based on the standard slug, which belongs to the gastropod family. I'll admit that this little guy doesn't quite inspire the fear achieved by Jabba, but you don't know, he could go on to run a galactic crime syndicate!
Surely we all remember the Banthas from the original Star Wars trilogy, often utilized by the Tuscan Raiders, a.k.a. "Sand People," as a means of transportation. That was a good call by them, there's surely no better transportation through the Dune Sea than a slow-moving ball of fur.
So what does this mighty creature remind us of?
Yes, the desert-dwelling Bantha seems to be based on the ice-age giant -- the Woolly Mammoth. I can understand all the fur on a creature living in the extreme cold, but why the hell does a Bantha need a fur coat?
Remember the Exogoth from that classic Star Wars scene where Han lands the Millennium Falcon on the tongue of a giant space-dwelling beast? Well, it turns out the big guy isn't as fictional as you might imagine.
What vicious creature do we have here on Earth that waits patiently in a tunnel for prey to pass?
I'm so glad you asked... it's none-other than the Moray Eel! The frightening creature with wicked fangs that enjoys dark holes. I'll admit that the Eel's a little smaller, but besides that I'm pretty sure they're indistinguishable from one-another!
There's no way I could finish this list without including the Sarlacc Pit. The huge creature which buried itself in the Great Pit of Carkoon on Tatooine. You'll remember that it was often used by Jabba the Hutt as a means of putting people to death for his own entertainment.
Now this one I've definitely seen in the real world!
It seems pretty likely that the mighty Sarlacc was based on the Antlion. A creature known for burying itself at the bottom of a pit, or "trap" and awaiting unsuspecting prey. To be honest, it's a lot less frightening when you realize the Antlion is only about 1cm long. I suppose it could be the Sarlacc's baby brother?
Let's end on a happy note. I know it's controversial, and I'm very aware that people may hunt me down if they discover I lied -- just for a moment, about Ewok's being real.
However, these aliens definitely have a basis in reality.
That's right, believe it or not we do in fact have our own version of Ewoks here on Earth! I'm always happy to impart knowledge.
But which do you prefer, the Ewok or the brown bear cub? Let me know!