Wednesday, September 10, 2014

101 Star Wars Variations 53: Jabba the Hero

Sometimes perspective can blind you to the truth.  Take Jabba the Hutt, for example.  He's really not such a bad guy once you get to know him, remove all the distractions.

On the desert world of Tatooine, he's one of many of his kind, a middle manager, constantly fighting the interference and misconceptions of others.  Hutts are generally known as gangsters, but that's only because they keep to themselves, have nothing to do with the Galactic Empire or the Rebel Alliance or any other of the many special interests that flit about the stars.  Jabba is a cog in the machine, a part of a business that's much bigger than him, that doesn't particularly care about him, those who work under him, any of that, just so long as at the end of the day, it's business as usual, profits are up, and the clients are happy.

It's a stressful position and he gets little to no sympathy.  He's always got someone angry at him, and he doesn't get to spend enough time with the kids.

And on top of all that, he's got aspirations, and what's more, he's trying to make things better.  He's got all kinds of resistance to those efforts, but he doesn't give up.  He has precious little to work with that is of any value, but he can only use what he has available to him.  One day, a contractor named Han Solo dumps a whole cargo load and goes on the run.  He actually hides in plain sight, right here on Tatooine.  He doesn't seem to think he's done anything wrong!  Yet as far as Jabba's concerned, he's done everything wrong.  No one wants the attention of the Empire.  The Hutts have about as much autonomy as possible, and the Empire has no reason to even care about Hutt business, but when someone like Han makes innocent, legitimate business look like the smuggling he in fact does on the side, what else is Jabba supposed to do but address the situation for what it is, an employee who needs to be handled and probably even terminated?

Unfortunately, other employees aren't much better.  Greedo, for instance, interprets the term "terminated" much differently than Jabba.  This only complicates matters.  All Jabba wants is to quickly resolve one tiny problem.  In his best days Han Solo was the best, but those days are long gone.  He's gotten careless.  Jabba doesn't need the headache.  What he needs are his shipments going where they're supposed to, because he's working toward a goal.  He wants to see other worlds have the same luxury as Tatooine, freedom from the tyranny of intergalactic meddling.  Free to rule themselves.  He knows things aren't perfect here, but they're better than on other worlds.  In his youth, Jabba visited a lot of them.  He was shocked at what he found.  He couldn't return home fast enough!

In a lot of ways, he's no different from the Rebellion, but he's also not a hypocrite.  He's not looking to resurrect the Republic, a system easily corrupted as anyone can see.  He sees value in large structures, continuity, familiarity, comfort.  But he also sees that giving too much away is always a bad thing.  Maybe even he's warped a little, but he's trying, he really is.

Enough of the nonsense.  Enough of delusions of grandeur.  Enough even of bounty hunters!  He'll reach that point.  Use Han Solo as an example.  He hates to stoop to that level, but there are so many expectations, and he can only replace them gradually.  If he can just make it a few years longer, regardless of how many obstructions he sees building up around his efforts, he'll make it.  He'll make everything better.

Jabba will be the hero.

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