Here's What Happened to Constable Zuvio in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Friday, 15 April 2016 - 1:11PM
Star Wars
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Friday, 15 April 2016 - 1:11PM
Here's What Happened to Constable Zuvio in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Of all of the ongoing mysteries of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Constable Zuvio might have been the most baffling. The character, a member of a new alien species, was heavily teased in the marketing, but seemingly never appeared in the movie. Now that the Blu-ray is out, eagle-eyed fans have been scouring the film for an appearance from the distinctive-looking alien, but to no avail. So, what gives?

As it turns out, the marketing for Zuvio was entirely to promote a cool new action figure. Lucasfilm tends to name all of its background characters, for the purposes of tie-in products as well as the Expanded Universe (and to avoid another "Prune-Face" situation). 

Opening quote
"We knew, with Star Wars being Star Wars, that we'd want a name and identify as many characters as possible for potential toys, potential storytelling, potential what-have-you," Pablo Hidalgo, a member of the Lucasfilm story group, told EW.
Closing quote

Before The Force Awakens came out, Lucasfilm released promotional images, action figures, and descriptions of the character, calling him a "vigilant law officer on a mostly lawless world, [who] keeps order in a frontier trading post," which turned out to be on Rey's homeworld, Jakku. And regarding his personality, The Visual Dictionary of The Force Awakens claimed that he "has a strong sense of justice and cannot be bribed." This backstory was devised by the storytelling department, but for the sake of the action figure, not because he had a role in the movie. 

Opening quote
"The notion that this guy was some sort of lawman in Niima Outpost came from the creature department," Hidalgo said. "So we coined the name for him, and that name got married to an action figure, and thus the legend of Constable Zuvio was born."
Closing quote

There was a rumor after the movie came out that Zuvio was part of a cut sequence, but that's not the case, as J.J. Abrams confirms that "never had a line of dialogue." And, to be fair to everyone involved, no one knew whether the character would be in the movie when the marketing came out. He was always in the background, so he could have been in the movie, and at that point it was just luck of the draw that his face could never be seen in the background when Rey and Finn's action was taking place.

Opening quote
"I guarantee you that as they were reviewing 'safe' characters that can be made into action figures and presented to the public, that was one of those characters," Abrams said. "They had no idea and, frankly, we wouldn't know either back when we were shooting, if he would end up in the final cut."
Closing quote

And technically, he did end up in the final cut, although he can only be seen from the back:



Hidalgo found him in the background of the Niima Outpost marketplace when Finn and Rey make a break for it. He's off to the right of the frame, and has his back turned to the camera.

Opening quote
"I think there's like four frames of him. Literally," Hidalgo said.
Closing quote

But for those of you who are curious about this principled character, this is still Star Wars, so he will get his due in the Expanded Universe. His backstory will first appear in the short story, High Noon on Jakku, which is written as a classic Western and follows "a renegade droid causes problems for Constable Zuvio on Jakku." It was released as an E-book on December 1, and as part of the anthology Tales From a Galaxy Far, Far Away Volume I: Aliens on April 5.
Science Fiction
Sci-Fi Movies
Star Wars
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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