Obi-Wan Kenobi and fan favorite Jedi Quinlan Vos track down Ziro the Hutt, who finds he may have been safer in prison than out

By Christian Blauvelt
November 13, 2010 at 03:21 PM EST
Lucasfilm Ltd.
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Last night Star Wars: The Clone Wars gave us probably the funniest “moral” ever to open an episode of the series: “Love comes in all shapes and sizes.” A fine message, true, but hilarious when you consider that it’s referring to the Hutts, those slug-like kingpins of the interstellar demimonde. In this case, it’s referring specifically to Ziro the Hutt and his problematic relationships with his mother and his girlfriend, lounge singer Sy Snootles. Ziro, who supervising director Dave Filoni has said is based on Truman Capote, but who really seems like a Tennessee Williams matriarch played by Divine, has quickly distinguished himself as one of the breakout  new characters on Clone Wars—probably the most enjoyable other than bounty hunter Cad Bane. Amazingly, both Ziro and Bane, two characters that couldn’t seem more different, are played by the peerless voice actor Corey Burton, who has acted opposite himself on more than one occasion throughout the course of the series.

“Hunt for Ziro,” an immediate sequel to the season 1 finale “Hostage Crisis,” first took us to Nal Hutta, the polluted homeworld of the Hutts. It looked exactly as I would imagine—covered in waste of varying shades of brown, sulphuric vapors wafting queasily through the air, toxic mud covering everything. The refuse of a decadent civilization that consumes all and produces nothing. How great that the Hutts are really getting the spotlight here in season 3—to deny them this bigger role on the show would have been an oversight, considering their prominent role in galactic commerce and politics.

On Nal Hutta, Ziro stood before the council of the Five Families, and blackmailed his fellow crime lords by telling them he kept a holodiary with dirty secrets that could ruin them all. In fact, it was because of that inventory of scandal that they hired Cad Bane to spring him out of prison in the first place, or as Ziro put it, “I have no illusions about the fact that my escape was a result of the highly-sensitive knowledge I possess.”

Back on Coruscant, Obi-Wan Kenobi was investigating Ziro’s escape from Republic prison. The Jedi Council paired him up with renegade knight, Quinlan Vos, for his Hutt hunt. Fans of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, particularly of the Clone Wars comics that were published between 2002 and 2006, know Vos very well. If Christian Bale’s Batman were a Jedi Master, he would be like Quinlan Vos.

During the Clone Wars, Vos operated a vast spy network. Eventually he went deep undercover with the Separatists, acting like he’d turned to the Dark Side to gain access to Count Dooku and his inner circle. Above all, he hoped Dooku would lead him to the “Second Sith,” Darth Sidious, the mastermind of the war. He never got that far, but, still, he almost sold his soul. How long can you pose as a dark-sider without actually becoming one? Eventually, with the help of his former Padawan, Aayla Secura, Vos left the spy game—and the dark side—behind. He’d go on to survive Order 66 and father a son with his non-Jedi girlfriend, Khaleen, forming the kind of nuclear family Anakin, Padmé, Luke and Leia were never destined to be.

In “Hunt for Ziro,” Vos certainly did not come across like the brooding, haunted avenger he appears to be in the comics. In fact, he seemed rather devil-may-care. When he made a dramatic entrance jumping out of a Republic gunship, Obi-Wan scolded him with “If you could tell time half as well as you can stick a landing, we wouldn’t be behind schedule now, would we?” To which Vos responded with “Well, that’s your opinion, man.” Wow. Quinlan Vos is The Dude of the Galaxy Far, Far Away! Needless to say, it didn’t take long for Obi-Wan and Vos to high-tail it to Nal Hutta where their quarry found himself locked up by the Hutt Council.

NEXT: Ziro finds out destiny is a fickle bitch. Also, a Star Wars musical number!

Is there anything better than a Star Wars musical number? If I had to choose my favorite moment from Return of the Jedi, it would probably be the “Jedi Rocks” number, a feverish cantina-rock anthem headlined by tube-snouted singer Sy Snootles. (Now that we know that Sy was working in showbiz at least 25 years prior to her set at Jabba’s Palace in Jedi, I have to applaud the Hutts for their complete lack of ageism.) In “Hunt for Ziro,” at this much earlier point in her career, Sy put on more of a cabaret number, replete with disco ball and backup dancers seemingly choreographed by Busby Berkeley. It played like “Jedi Rocks” crossed with Kate Capshaw’s Mandarin “Anything Goes” number from the opening of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

After her performance, Sy, sitting at a wall-length make-up mirror, Showgirls-style, found out that her ex-lover Ziro had arrived back in Dodge…but under lock and key, until he’d agree to tell his fellow Hutts the location of his blacklist. Sy was still smarting from his apparent abandonment of her sometime earlier. She went to her supposed beloved, exchanged some priceless Harlequin romance dialogue (“Unfortunately the cage that entraps me now also entraps the chance of loving you again,” Ziro wailed), then popped him out of the pokey.

Sy and Ziro then went to his mother’s house for help. Honestly, she may be the most disgusting Hutt yet, a room-filling mass of blubber, completely immobile, covered in smaller parasitic slugs. Ziro wanted to trade his repulsor-sled for Momma’s starship, and she agreed. Later when Obi-Wan and Quinlan came a calling, Mommy said “First my deadbeat son and his loose-lipped girlfriend come in and sponge me out of my starship, then some slime sap and his droid charge in and force me to give up the skinny on where Ziro’s a-headin.” Yes, Cad Bane had been there before our heroes. And he was just one step behind Ziro’s tail (literally) when Sy turned the tables on her beau.

It’s hard not to see something Shakespearean in the set-up: Ziro, at his father’s grave, where he hid his holodiary, confronted by the betrayal of his former love, who wanted his secrets for herself. “Next time you’ll think twice about breakin’ someone’s heart. Oh wait, there won’t be a next time,” Sy said like the femme fatale she is. A couple of well-placed shots from her blaster, a whiff of tibanna gas, and Ziro fell before his father’s tomb. Thus, as it must to all men, death came to Ziro the Hutt.

I, for one, will miss Ziro. From the outset of the war, he was one of the doomed, a triple-crosser playing both sides against the middle and losing, but with a flamboyance and flair that made him an intergalactic Sydney Greenstreet—so puffed up with pride he couldn’t see his own demise coming until it was too late. If not a tragic figure, in his own way he’s at least a human one.

What think you, Clone Wars fans? Are you also sad about Ziro’s demise? Or was there nothing much more to do with him, anyway? And do you love it when Star Wars goes all Busby Berkeley on us? Sound off below.

EVER WISH EW.COM HAD A RADIO STATION? Quit living in the past, man or lady! In this week’s TV Insiders podcast, Annie Barrett, Dalton Ross, and Michael Slezak grade the first week of Conan, pick the funniest Modern Family character, and discuss the trouble with the Survivor: Nicaragua cast and Bristol Palin’s improbable run on Dancing With the Stars. Click here to download the TV Insiders podcast to your MP3 player, or listen to an embedded version below!

Episode Recaps

Before the Dark Times, before the Empire, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker fight to restore peace and justice to a galaxy far, far away…
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