‘Crucible’ Alien Spotlight: The Columi

July 4, 2013 at 9:03 am | Posted in Books, Commentary, Star Wars, Star Wars Books | Leave a comment
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As we countdown to Crucible, this week we’re putting a spotlight on the Columi. The Columi are one of many alien species in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. They also happen to play a big role in Crucible. But just who are the Columi? Follow below and we’ll take you through a history lesson of this rarely used and intriguing species.

The Columi are described in The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia as follows.

“Craniopods from the planet Columus, they spent their waking moments on mental activities. Physical work was done by droid and other machines, with which the Columi communicated with via brain-wave transmissions. A peaceful and nonaggressive species, they sometimes sought employment as advisers and soothsayers. They were also the most feared gambling opponents in the galaxy. Columi had huge, hairless heads that took up fully one-third of their bodies, with throbbing blue veins around the cerebrum and huge black eyes. Otherwise they were puny, with thin, non-functional arms and legs.”

Their first appearance was in West End Games’ Star Wars Galaxy Guide 4: Alien Races by none other than Troy Denning back in 1989. According to Galaxy Guide 4…

“Columi technology advanced as rapidly as had their evolution. They were one of the first races to develop interstellar travel. They sent scouts out to explore the far corners of the galaxy.

What the Columi found was terribly disappointing to their hopes of finding a species with which they could share the galaxy. Because the Columi were one of the earliest races to develop a complex civilization, they found nothing but barbarians (or barbarian precursors) on the planets they visited. In addition, the Columi, who had never been a hardy race, found the gravity on standard worlds prohibitive. They gave up interstellar travel and remained on their home planet, content to improve, in isolation, their society and bodies.”

As such, the Columi are often mentioned in early history. In the New Essential Guide to Chronology, the Columi are credited with achieving interstellar spaceflight 100,000 years before the Battle of Yavin. The primitive planets they explored included Coruscant and Duro. The Essential Atlas notes that the Columi may have had an ulterior motive in “checking their expansion to escape retribution from the Celestials.” The Essential Guide to Warfare further supports this idea.

“Pre-Republic specialists believe that the Columi, the Gree, the Kwa, and the Sharu all had contact with a species known as the Celestials, or the Architects, beings of astonishing power and malleable form. The Columi retreated from the stars after contact with the Celestials…”

Regardless of their early exploits, the Columi still had a ways to go. Galaxy Guide 4 goes on to describe how the Columi spent a millennia in devotion to meditation and science which resulted in the species present form. Their evolution resulted in the species developing four cerebrums and very advance sight.

“The eyes serve as the only contact between the Columi’s highly evolved brain and their world. Therefore, these organs have become much more than photoreceptors. In addition to seeing all wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum, the Columi can “hear” through their eyes by detecting and analyzing the frequency of sound waves. This ability also extends into radio frequencies. However, the eyes do not compensate completely for their lack of other organs. Columi have no sense of taste or smell, and only a vague sense of touch.”

Despite the Columi’s relative seclusion on Columus, they do have a bit of a legacy. For instance, a Columi face appears on one of the wonders of the galaxy, Belgoth’s Beacon. Plus they are behind one of the most famous droids in the Star Wars Expanded Universe: the mouse droid. Created by Rebaxan Columi, a corporation owned by a Chadra-Fan, the MSE droids were intended to be cute but failed to appeal to consumers. As such, they were sold to the Empire at a huge discount. To movie fans, it’s that squeaky droid on the Death Star.

Beyond the reference books, Columi have showed up in several stories. A Columi appeared in Troy Denning’s choose your own adventure book, Scoundrel’s Luck, in 1990 (which includes a direct tie-in to Crucible). They showed up in Dave Wolverton’s The Courtship of Princess Leia in 1994 and Star Wars Missions 15: Voyage to the Underworld in 1998. Here and there they’ve had small mentions but, for the most part, they’ve been overlooked and overshadowed by everyone else.

Crucible, however, brings the Columi back into the big picture. As for the details, we’ll leave that up to the readers to find out.

Crucible hits stores in hardcover, digital and audiobook formats on July 9th. You can find all the links for those formats, as well as some excerpts, on Random House’s product page. Fans in the Roseville, MN area can also meet Troy in person at Barnes & Noble on July 9th at 7:00 PM.

Posted By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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