Whatever Happened to…Sy Snootles?

Depending on what year you were born, when I say “Sy Snootles” or “the green alien with blue spots and a trunk-like mouth from Star Wars,” you might have a different reaction. 

These differences are thanks to the Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition rerelease in 1997. In anticipation of The Phantom Menace in 1999, George Lucas and 20th Century Fox reworked elements of the Original Trilogy (VFX, new scenes) to modernize for audiences and align more with the upcoming Prequel Trilogy.

While the rerelease was successful at the box office, their legacy is a mixed bag. The added VFX to enhance production design like Cloud City, adding Aurebesh on screens in the background, and the ending celebrations in different cities (even though some don’t make sense canon-wise) were all welcoming changes.

Sy’s data file from The Star Wars Character Encyclopedia (2016) | credit Lucasfilm Publishing

However, one change in Return of the Jedi Special Edition became quite divisive (although nowhere near as divisive as today): the addition of “Jedi Rocks” performed by the Max Rebo Band. Instead of some easy-listening rock music in the original release, this version was a pop song complete with a CGI Sy Snootles, who was more mobile in her performance.

Sy’s Rebirth in The Clone Wars

All this is to say that she could have been a throwaway character only talked about regarding this CGI makeover, but Dave Filoni had other plans. The Clone Wars film, released in 2008, revolved around the kidnapping of Jabba the Hutt’s son (who deserves his own Whatever Happened to post). The culprit turns out to be Count Dooku working with Jabba’s Uncle, Ziro the Hutt, establishing bad blood between the two. And The Clone Wars series takes advantage of this with Sy.

After Cad Bane and other bounty hunters break Ziro out of a Coruscant prison, he is taken to Nal Hutta to face the Hutt Crime families, who believe Ziro has incriminating evidence against them. Ziro confirms this, telling the Hutt Families that the evidence is in a secret location in a holo-diary to ensure his safety. The information will be sent to Republic authorities if anything happens to him.

In “Hunt for Ziro,” the Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi and Quinlan Vos are also looking for Ziro. The Hutt only has one person he can trust: his former lover Sy Snootles, a singer at a Nal Hutta nightclub. Ziro, believing himself to have the upper hand in the power dynamic of his relationship with Sy, uses her to break him out of the Hutt prison so he can retrieve his holo-diary. And the story progression also leads viewers to believe Sy is an innocent fool in love. However, as soon as Ziro leads her to the holo-diary hidden in his father’s grave, she gives him two shots to the chest. Later, Sy reveals herself as a bounty hunter hired by Jabba to find the diary.

Her work for Jabba connects Sy to Jabba’s Palace as the lead singer in Max Rebo Band in Return of the Jedi and puts that scene in a different context by having another bounty hunter in the room in addition to Boba Fett. It has already been established that the Max Rebo Band was on the Sail Barge when it was destroyed but survived. Per The Star Wars Character Encyclopedia, the band split up shortly afterward, and Sy had difficulty finding mainstream work with her voice.

So, could Sy have returned to her other job as a bounty hunter? She has connections in the criminal underworld, although Jabba and Bib Fortuna are both gone.

Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau have already brought many callbacks to Return of the Jedi in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett. We have already seen that version of Luke Skywalker in both series, Bib Fortuna, another Rancor, and more Hutts (Jabba’s cousins, The Twins). The Book of Boba Fett could be considered more of a sequel to Return of the Jedi than “The Mandalorian Part Two,” as some fans have lovingly called it. Therefore, it is not entirely out of the question that Filoni and Favreau could bring back other characters from Episode VI like Sy.

We know that at least two shows will coincide in the timeline as The Mandalorian: The Skeleton Crew and Ahsoka. Jon Watts (Spiderman Home trilogy) will be the showrunner, with Filoni and Favreau as Executive Producers. All we know about the plot is that it will follow a group of kids lost in the galaxy, which opens up a wide net of possibilities of familiar faces we could see. Star Wars series tend to have familiar canon characters that will generate buzz. While Sy is nowhere near as popular as Luke Skywalker, she is more recognizable than Black Krrstantan, a comic character who made his live-action appearance in The Book of Boba Fett. And she would be familiar to most casual fans who have at least seen the Original Trilogy.

None of the characters in Ahsoka have had an encounter with Sy, so it is less likely that we will see her in that show, which will have plenty of familiar characters and doesn’t need another.

The Practical vs. CGI Dilemma

CGI Sy is noticeable next to the practical makeup and costumes of the Max Rebo dancers | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

However, there is an obstacle that makes it unlikely that Sy will appear again in live-action, and, unfortunately, this is thanks to that Special Edition. Changing Sy from a puppet to CGI, which is now the version most people are familiar with, makes it difficult to return to the practical effects that Lucasfilm seems to prefer now. Yes, there were a lot of CGI aliens in films like The Last Jedi on Canto Bite, but overall most of the aliens and creatures that appear in Star Wars live-action content are still puppets or full-scale costumes. After Return of the Jedi Special Edition and The Clone Wars, it would look odd to go back to a practical Sy to convey the singer, given how animated she is. That’s not to say that it couldn’t be done, but the effort might not be worth it unless she played a significant part.

This brings us back to animation, and the only animated series that takes place around this time is The Bad Batch. There is little information about when Sy started working at Jabba’s palace as a double agent so she could show up in The Bad Batch at any time (especially if the show goes more than two seasons). We have seen other The Clone Wars characters like Cad Bane, Rex, and the Martez sisters. With the season two release, we also know that Cody and Gungi (the Jedi Youngling) will also show up, and the group might find themselves continuing to work within the underworld, which could lead them to Sy.

So, the animation is a more likely medium to see Sy again. And, as much as I would love to see Jedi Rocks Part Two, we don’t need MORE division within the fandom.