I noticed that, in The Force Awakens, we see very few of the alien species we met in the other movies: there are

  • no Twi'leks;
  • no Rodians;
  • no Transdoshans;
  • no Hutts;
  • no Gamorreans;
  • no Ewoks;
  • no Ithorians;
  • none of the Mos Eisley Cantina aliens, like
    • the Aqualish (spider-face),
    • or Chadra-Fan (bat-person),
    • or Shistavanen (wolfman),
    • Devaronian (the demon),
    • or Duros;
  • and no representatives of many other familiar species.

As far as I could tell, the only alien species in The Force Awakens that have been seen in previous films are:

  • Humans (Han, Leia etc)
  • Wookiees (Chewbacca)
  • Mon Calamari (Ackbar)
  • Whatever Nien Nunb is Sullustans (Nien Nunb)

However, we see many alien species in Maz' castle, so the problem isn't simply a lack of time and space for the appearance of familiar species of aliens.

Has anyone associated with the movie commented on this issue? Why did the producers decide to use new alien species to the exclusion of so many of the species we've come to know and love in episodes I-VI?

  • Related, not a dupe: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/111454/… – Wad Cheber Jan 6 '16 at 4:35
  • The Niima Outpost was founded by a Hutt. – BCdotWEB Jan 7 '16 at 7:29
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    There was also one Dug (Sebulba's species) as a Resistance pilot. Personally I liked there being more aliens as it makes the galaxy seem more populated, but it was odd not to see the species that exist galaxy-wide like Rodians, Twi'leks or Zabrak – LogicianWithAHat Jan 7 '16 at 10:17
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    Not canon, but possibly because of increased focus on physical effects as opposed to CGI – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 7 '16 at 16:09
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    It seems to me that re-using alien species is an exception rather than a rule in Star Wars films. You could ask this question about every film except Episode IV and they'd all amount to probably the same answer: these films aren't about the galaxy itself, but about some people doing things in it. References to aliens we've seen before come mostly from secondary sources, such as The Clone Wars, which are made to explore the things the films don't care about. – DaaaahWhoosh Jan 10 '16 at 18:28

This question was put to Force Awakens 'creature effects supervisor' Neal Scanlan in an interview for IGN. The very short answer is that like all soft-reboot directors, Jar Jar Abrams was keen to put his own mark on the film series by blending the old with the new.

I asked if it was a conscious decision to create all-new creature designs rather than just use the same ones we've seen in other Star Wars projects over the years.

"Absolutely," Scanlan said. "It was very important to try to feel that there was a newness, a freshness to this, and that we're going to go somewhere in the future as well. I think it was also important, certainly from J.J.'s perspective as well as ours, to be able to look at some of the characters, what we call 'Legacy characters,' and I would love to bring as many of those forward as we can. The idea was there was some timeframe difference and some worldly difference. So, yes, it was a conscious decision to try and give a whole new landscape of characters to the fans."

By "Legacy characters," Scanlan means classic Star Wars species like Bith, Rodians, Twi'leks and Duros, which would be very exciting to see in future movies -- especially rendered with newer technology.

However, Scanlan added that he and his team still have a back catalog of roughly 600 original character designs, of which only 100 or so were used in The Force Awakens. That's not even counting the other concepts they've done for Rogue One and Episode VIII.


  • That's on the middle ground between "cool" and "even more weird". – user40790 Oct 4 '16 at 21:33
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    "The idea was there was some timeframe difference" - with respect to mostly replacing the set of alien species in the universe, this statement is downright bizarre. Unless we're talking about a "timeframe difference" of millions of years, so evolution can strike, that is. – O. R. Mapper Oct 5 '16 at 5:02
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    It actually makes sense if you consider it from the perspective of military recruiting over time. The French Foreign Legion accepts recruits from essentially every country, but the average makeup of the Legion has changed over time. 50-70 years ago, there were a lot of Germans. Nowadays, there are more Arabs (especially from the Maghreb) and Sub-Saharan Africans serving, but that doesn't mean that Germans as a nation are dying - it's just that they are not enlisting, for various historico-politico-economic reasons, etc. – Robert Columbia Jan 9 '18 at 21:52
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    I wouldn't have minded seeing a few more familiar species in the backgrounds at least. Just to solidify that it's still the same universe. – Baldrickk Jan 7 '20 at 13:35

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