Finding Boshek
February 10, 2016 5:54 AM   Subscribe

The smuggler in the Mos Eisley Cantina scene from the original Star Wars who refers Obi-Wan to Chewbacca has been known for years as BoShek. But despite having an action figure of the character, the actor playing him was unknown. With help from the Rebel Scum forum, Billy Jensen was able to use social media detective work to track him down.
posted by graymouser (32 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
I want that shirt.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 6:00 AM on February 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Very cool. I've always thought he had a striking resemblance to Scott Thompson, so finding out the actor's last name was Tomlin is an added bonus for me.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:03 AM on February 10, 2016


I enjoyed reading this. I am very glad the internet is filled with heroes like this guy.

It's weird to know all these characters have names. Are they officially sanctioned names or is Wookipedia just some sort of thing where fans can make up names and back stories for all these people? I remember the original Star Wars figures from Kenner had some of these Cantina aliens like Hammerhead, Walrus Man and Snaggletooth but I figured it ended there.

I suspect the expanded universe is more powerful than I can possibly imagine.
posted by bondcliff at 6:19 AM on February 10, 2016


Whilst obviously not being him, I always thought that guy had a bit of a Pete Postlethwaite look to him. Those killer sideburns were very 70s.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:29 AM on February 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Basically every character that appears onscreen in the original trilogy at any point is named in the Expanded Universe. I had a book of short stories (no idea where it is now) that was just about the characters who appeared in the Mos Eisley cantina scene, in fact.
posted by IAmUnaware at 6:30 AM on February 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Are they officially sanctioned names or is Wookipedia just some sort of thing where fans can make up names and back stories for all these people?

They're not just made up by fans, but how these side characters get names varies a lot. Toys are a big source (Kenner named a ton of different characters), but so also are novels, games, etc. Basically, whenever someone is working with the Star Wars license and needs to name something, that ends up leaking back into the canon.

Also, there have been a number of "encyclopedia" type books written that provide names / back story / etc for a lot of ships, technology, people, etc.
posted by tocts at 6:31 AM on February 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


And here it is, actually! I remember it being pretty good, but also I was probably 11 or 12 when I read it, so don't take that as too strong of an endorsement.
posted by IAmUnaware at 6:33 AM on February 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


I suspect the expanded universe is more powerful than I can possibly imagine.

I'm not an expert and I'm going to resist falling into the Wookipedia tar pit because I've got stuff to do today... but I'm guessing every single character in the Cantina (and just about every characeter that appears on screen in any of the films) will have an official name and backstory and probably turns up in some EU comic or book somewhere. I remember some free book of short stories that came with a mag than included one about one of the jawas that was hanging around outside that gets about a second of screen time.

However a great deal of that stuff is no longer 'official' official and has been shunted off into 'Legends' as the EU was wiped clean for Force Awakens

(On preview what IAmUnaware and Tocts said)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:34 AM on February 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


From your link

God I hope this part is a typo on the Wookiepedia page

while listening to the best jizz riffs in the universe
posted by Twain Device at 6:36 AM on February 10, 2016


As an aside I finally yesterday got around to listening to an interview with a couple of the Force Awakens sfx / designer guys and they said whole backstories for the characters in the new Maz cantina scene as part of the design process... I wonder how much, if any, of that will get incorporated into official sanctioned stuff
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:36 AM on February 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh, also, and I'm sure someone out there can come up with an actual list, but I've been given the impression that a lot of the names that are given are references (often hamfisted) to what the character does on screen. For example, Ben Burtt (sound designer for basically every Star Wars movie, including prequels and TFA) has a cameo in RotJ as an imperial officer who tries to accost Han, and is immediately killed by being knocked over a railing. The name of the character? Colonel Dyer ("die-er").

(and as a note, that character made it to 1999 before having a name; he was named for inclusion in a collectible card game)
posted by tocts at 6:37 AM on February 10, 2016


I suspect the expanded universe is more powerful than I can possibly imagine.

In 2013, the Holocron enumerated a mere 17,000 Star Wars characters who "live" on several thousand different planets.
posted by zamboni at 6:38 AM on February 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


God I hope this part is a typo on the Wookiepedia page

It is not, in fact! We were discussing this in the giant TFA thread. For reasons that are lost to time, the type of music played by the cantina band (and the band in Jabba's palace) is known as 'jizz'. Even better, a really good practitioner of such music is a 'jizz-wailer'.

Thanks, George.
posted by tocts at 6:38 AM on February 10, 2016 [16 favorites]


Yeah, that is absolutely real and nobody knows why. Taking the name of an Earth thing and changing it by one letter or sound to name the Star Wars equivalent is definitely an Expanded Universe thing. You can see "nic-i-tain" in that same paragraph, for example.
posted by IAmUnaware at 6:41 AM on February 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Are they officially sanctioned names or is Wookipedia just some sort of thing where fans can make up names and back stories for all these people?

I recall an interview with George Lucas where he stated the marketing team would sit with him and watch the films and ask Lucas about various characters. Some of the more prominent one he had backstories for and the others would be just made up out of the blue by the team.

And as someone else mentioned, the ones that no one was marketing got their names from things like the official card game.
posted by dances with hamsters at 6:42 AM on February 10, 2016


It's a bummer he didn't get any recognition while he was alive. I'm guessing the various licensing deals would have prohibited him from profiting off of the action figure sales in his likeness as well.
posted by Think_Long at 6:42 AM on February 10, 2016


Is there any other work of fiction that has the same amount of backstory for everything in it? I'm not into LotR, but does the Tolken universe even come close? What about the Bible?
posted by bondcliff at 6:48 AM on February 10, 2016


Yeah, the old Decipher Star Wars CCG named a ton of background characters, because they were devoted to only using stills from the films as card art which meant that when they wanted to make a new character card they had to use a character that appeared in the movies. In particular, this is where the names of a lot of the random background droids come from, I think.

I really loved that card game. Remarkably, some players have taken it on themselves to keep it alive and it's still being played: http://www.starwarsccg.org/
posted by IAmUnaware at 6:50 AM on February 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Wait, the guy's name is Frances, Alfred, Basil Tomlin? There are commas in his name? Or is Alfred a nickname and it should have been written Frances "Alfred" Basil Tomlin?
posted by Rock Steady at 6:52 AM on February 10, 2016


I was a little confused by the commas in the name too.
posted by octothorpe at 7:06 AM on February 10, 2016


Re-reading the email from his daughter, there are some other spelling and grammar quirks in there, so maybe it is just her idiosyncratic way of writing Frances Alfred Basil Tomlin.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:12 AM on February 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Is there any other work of fiction that has the same amount of backstory for everything in it? I'm not into LotR, but does the Tolken universe even come close?

No, it does not. At least, not for the Hobbit/LotR-era stuff. JRR's son Tolkien has written a fair amount of Silmarillion fanfiction, but that's about it. (And even those tend to focus more on significant named characters from Silm, rather than fleshing out weirdo background guys.)
posted by tobascodagama at 7:17 AM on February 10, 2016


I'm going to resist falling into the Wookipedia tar pit

Sarlacc pit, surely.
posted by ODiV at 7:31 AM on February 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm going to resist falling into the Wookipedia tar pit

Sarlacc pit, surely.


Yeah, I'm totally stealing that.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:37 AM on February 10, 2016


Weirdly, until today I'd never interpreted that scene as the guy introducing Chewbacca to Obi Wan... I'd always seen as there was a queue to talk to Obi Wan re the job and he didn't want it or could not do it. Like it was some kinda of standard procedure re bartering for work in the place and / or Obi Wan had just given a shout out of something like 'come and talk to me if you can do a smuggling job'

There's a scene like it The Sting.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:43 AM on February 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


For reasons that are lost to time, the type of music played by the cantina band (and the band in Jabba's palace) is known as …

In the Comedy Bang Bang 2015 podcast (part 3), Scott and Paul F Tompkins cover this. I have not heard them laugh harder.
posted by zippy at 7:54 AM on February 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Jizz

Deet-deet-doot-doot-dee-doo-doot
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:21 AM on February 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


You have to go the underground Cantinas, where the real hep-banthas hang out, for the hottest Jizz
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:24 AM on February 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Jizz. It's like jazz music played on the splooge-o-horn.
posted by George Lucas at 8:44 AM on February 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


So, the jizz thing is real funny and all, but mostly because you don't know that "jazz" and "jazzm" was also slang for semen at one point. Things I learned from Tijuana bibles
posted by RustyBrooks at 9:00 AM on February 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


The ironic thing is that, in the Star Wars universe, 'jizz' is slang for Mandalorian olfactory secretions that play no role in reproduction whatsoever.
posted by straight at 12:36 PM on February 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Waiting for the 'Boshek Horseman' crossover
posted by AAALASTAIR at 1:17 PM on February 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


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