I’ve now watched the first two episodes of The Mandalorian several plus lots carry the eleventy times and my pick for the breakout star of the show is an unlikely Ugnaught. Known to be hard-working, pragmatic, and with a slightly upturned nose, Ugnaughts are the Midwesterners of the Star Wars galaxy.
Normally relegated side characters in a non-speaking role, let’s shine a spotlight on Ugnaughts in order to get to know this Star Wars species a little better. I have spoken.
I mentioned upturned nose, but a vaguely porcine appearance is not the only physical characteristic of Ugnaughts. They also have pink skin, white hair, and thick jowls, which makes you wonder if Wilford Brimley isn’t a distant descendant.
Ugnaughts are also known to be short and stout, although they aren’t typically as thick as one would picture a typical Tolkien / D&D dwarf. However, their compact constitution make Ugnaughts ideal candidates for engineering and mechanical work.
Indeed, Ugnaughts are known throughout the galaxy as having that good ole’ fashioned Midwestern work ethic. If you put a wrench in their hands and point them at a problem, you can rest assured that it will be taken care of. We see this clearly in The Mandalorian.
Because of this, Ugnaughts have never had trouble finding work across the galaxy. Indeed, Star Wars fans were first treated to Ugnaughts in Empire when we saw them serve as engineers in Cloud City.
Native to the swampy Outer Rim planet Gentes, the species was originally forced into slavery, but a combination of the Rebellion and the Ugnaughts own industriousness lifted the reputation of Ugnaughts. In fact, many Ugnaughts were hired during the building of Cloud City and they ultimately were given several of the lower levels of the city in exchange for their loyal service.
Ugnaughts also came to be known for their pragmatism, a characteristic that shown forth from Kuiil, my breakout star of the first episode of The Mandalorian.
When Kuiil rescued the Mandalorian, he immediately declared he’d help him get his bounty. Why? Well, it was a very pragmatic-thinking “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
From there, Kuiil displayed a steady competence as a rancher, ultimately teaching Mando to ride a blurrg mount that would take him to his bounty. It was all done in the gravely voice of Nick Nolte, the actor who protrayed the character.
One of the best things about Star Wars are the strange and bizarre species that turn up in every scene. We’ve seen Ugnaughts before, but now we’re able to put a name with a jowly face.
That gave Star Wars fans a break-out character in just a few minutes of screen time. Others agree with me. @ugnolte has popped up on Twitter as a fan tribute to the character.
So spare a thought or two for the Ugnaughts: a hard-working and pragmatic people of the Star Wars galaxy. Then go watch Kuiil again in The Mandalorian. I have spoken.