This is one of those “in-jokes gone rogue”. Yes that’s right, we’re going to dive into E.T. this time. Originally created by Steven Spielberg for his 1982 classic E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, this lovable alien has made its way into the Star Wars galaxy. It took a while, and there were always some hints to its origin, but it only became “official” only a few years ago.

Both Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back were already out when E.T. was released, and so was their respective merchandise. Spielberg wanted to include an homage to his good friend Lucas’ saga by including some references to Star Wars. In one of the scenes, young Elliot shows his Star Wars action figures to E.T., including Hammerhead and Boba Fett. Another scene has the kids going out for trick-or-treating on Halloween. They decide to take E.T. with them, and throw a white sheet on him to disguise him as a ghost. When they pass a kid dressed as Yoda, E.T. seems to recognize the little fellow, shouting “home, home!” repeatedly. Did he just recognize Yoda as a being from his home galaxy?

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Seventeen years later, Lucas decided to return the favor. Arguably one of the most well-known Easter eggs in the Star Wars saga, a familiar face pops up in the Galactic Senate in Episode I: The Phantom Menace. A senate pod with three E.T. aliens, joining in on the vote of no confidence! One of the tie-in novels of the movie, Cloak of Deception, took the next step. James Luceno included a reference to a Senator Grebleips, from Brodo Asogi. “Grebleips”, as in “Spielberg” spelled backwards.

Valorum recognized some of the voices and many of the faces. […]. Behind him, Senator Grebleips and his trio of large-eyed, puddle-footed delegates from Brodo Asogi.

And for those of you that are not heavily into the E.T. expanded universe (the ETEU?), Brodo Asogi is one of the names for the E.T. home world given in The Book of the Green Planet. Although it was not specifically said this was a reference to the E.T.s seen in Episode I, it was a little too obvious to ignore.

And more detail was added to the in-joke. In the online HoloNet News feature that set the stage for Episode II: Attack of the Clones, one of the “Other Headlines Today” reads “Senator Grebleips to fund Extragalactic Survey”. Wonder what galaxy that expedition was aimed for… the Milky Way perhaps?

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All fun and games, but we were still without any “official” species name for these guys. With all the sneaky references, it was becoming obvious that this in-joke was well passed the stage of a mere Easter egg. They were long referred to as Children of the Green Planet, but that was a term from the E.T. universe, not a Star Wars thing. When Abel G. Peña released his SkyeWalkers novella in 2015, it included a mention of “Asogian grub-sticks”. This was specifically meant to refer to the chopsticks used by an alien named Braxas that appeared in issue #89 Marvel’s original Star Wars run. He was long assumed to be one of the “E.T. aliens” by fans, which actually would make him the first appearance of this Easter egg chronologically.

So, Asogians? I mean, the chopsticks could just be “grub-sticks from Asogi”. The final answer came in Star Wars Insider 161. In the “Jedi Challenge” quiz one of the questions asked for the name of the alien species in The Phantom Menace that looked like E.T. The answer? Indeed, Asogian. Funny detail, this is the first official mention of Asogian as a species name. So how could we have known the answer to this quiz…?

Ah well, doesn’t matter. We have a name now. It’s real. The Asogians, from Brodo Asogi, in the Perinn Sector of the Outer Rim. Represented by Senator Grebleips during the final decade of the Galactic Republic. Best in-joke gone rogue ever, if you ask me. Fan theories even hold that the Asogian that came to Earth in 1982 was a Jedi… who will know? For now, case closed! Be good!

Sources

  • The Cinema Behind Star Wars: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (link)
  • Cloak of Deception, Del Rey 2001
  • HoloNet News Vol. 531 50
  • SkyeWalkers: A Clone Wars Story, StarWars.com 2015 (link)
  • Star Wars 89: I’ll See You in the Throne Room, Marvel 1984
  • Star Wars Insider 161, Titan Magazines 2015