What are Jawas supposed to look like under their heavy clothes?

Screen capture from "Star Wars" showing 8 Jawas who have just captured R2-D2.  The background is a sandstone cliff, and they are walking on rocky ground.  5 of the Jawas are carrying R2-D2, with another, the one with the gun that shorted out R2-D2, guiding them from the front.  2 other Jawas follow just behind.  The Jawas all wear a brown, full length robe with a voluminous cowl pulled well forward of their face.  The interior of the cowl is dark, except for two orange-glowing eyes.  The Jawas wear a variety of belts, bandoliers and pouches slung over their robes.


5 Answers 5


The short and easy answer: because those make for cheap, quick costumes.

The long and hard answer: Jawas look like "gaunt, rodent-like creatures, with shrunken faces and yellow eyes".

And for the robes, those are used much like the ones from Dune, to hold in moisture, hide their identity and to dissipate their body heat. The glowing eyes they seem to have is the result of polished orange gemstones that are sewn into the robes to protect the Jawas’ eyes from the bright sunlight (no mention about WHY they would evolve such delicate eyes in such a hostile environment).

The robes are also soaked in some liquid which smells awful (to us), but helps keep them hydrated, and helps them communicate (with smell).

Reference: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Jawa

  • 12
    I think we can forget any sensible reason for evolution in Star Wars. Otherwise, why would there be as big a beast as a Sarnak on Tatooine, unable to move, but in need of lots of food (just by nature of its size) when there isn't much plant life on that planet? But for an in-story answer, considering the variety of life on a desert planet with few plants, I wonder if Tatooine only recently became a desert? Perhaps due to a shift in the orbit of the two suns?
    – Tango
    Commented May 24, 2011 at 3:52
  • Very few Jawas ever leave Tatooine. They've been there for centuries, if not generations, and have a rigid clan structure. They don't fight for the rebellion because they don't care. They get on with their lives regardless of who is in power at the time.
    – Jeff
    Commented May 24, 2011 at 17:24
  • @TangoOversway, it seems like the planet has always been a desert (at least on the wiki), but you're right, SW is great fun, but not very SCI oriented in sci-fi. Commented May 24, 2011 at 22:52
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    @TangoOversway what's a Sarnak? Do you mean the Sarlacc? It was brought to Tatooine, it didn't evolve there. Additionally the Sarlacc holds its food in its stomach for thousands of years, it doesn't really require all that much food...
    – dkuntz2
    Commented May 25, 2011 at 0:42
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    @DKuntz2 I got names crossed. Star Wars tends to confuse me with names more than any other work. I know the sarlacc holds food, but considering how much the tentacles move (and their speed) and the size of the creature, I would think if someone did a few calculations, that one or two humans would not give it energy to last but so long. I didn't know it was imported - thanks for pointing that out.
    – Tango
    Commented May 25, 2011 at 1:42

Why wear a hood, even indoors? Why do you wear clothing over your groin, even when it's really hot? Why do women cover their chests, even when they don't cover much else? Why do Muslim women wear veils? Why do orthodox Jews wear those little hats?

Clothing is not always functional. It is also cultural, and in that regard, it ceases to require rational explanation.


According to Ralph McQuarrie, the intention was to keep their identity purposely mysterious. Although he mocked up some "under the mask" concept art (and later books claimed that they were "rodent-like"), the reality is that the hoods were an artifice to hide their appearance from the camera.

Scan of part of a page of "Star Wars" concept art, showing a group of Jawa, 3 of whom are not hooded.  Their heads are reasonably normal humanoid faces, and they appear to be wearing close-fitting round helmets with optional googles and breath/dust masks.  The caption for the image reads "Unpublished Ralph McQuarrie sketches of a group of "unhooded Jawa."  Says McQuarrie, "I was just idly doodling and wondered, 'How would these guys look if they didn't have their hoods on?' I didn't get very far with it.  I think George wanted them to remain mysterious."


Because in the original Star Wars movie the actors were children. So they needed a costume to hide that fact.

Sometimes these props come about only due to the practical, real life problems the producers face.

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    Actually, only some of the jawas were children, there were some who were adults.
    – dkuntz2
    Commented May 25, 2011 at 0:43
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    According to the documentary I watched most were children and some were small adults (commonly called midgets). The Jawa scenes were very hard due to the children not cooperating fully (which is not surprising). For the scenes that require a lone Jawa doing something complicated, like shooting the gun, it was the small adult.
    – Keith
    Commented May 25, 2011 at 0:52
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    I've had a few people I worked with along the way correct me and explain that the term is "little people" and many find "midget" offensive. Some like "dwarf" and some don't. Hervé Villechaize was a noted exception.
    – Tango
    Commented May 25, 2011 at 1:46
  • Well, it's just a label for a more specific thing or person like any other. In any case, Since Jawas are supposed to look uniform Mr. Lucas had to make the children and "small adults" look similar, and the full-body cloak is just the instrument for that. No need to read in more than that, but maybe I'm too much of a realist for this site.
    – Keith
    Commented May 25, 2011 at 3:24
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    @Tango As I understand it, midget and dwarf are two separate conditions. Midgets/"little people" are just unusually small people. Dwarfs are people with the condition dwarfism, who are small but have some full-sized parts (often their heads). Commented Jul 31, 2013 at 9:05

The robes are cultural and practical (cultural as in tradition, practical as in their doused in chemicals that allow for scent to become a factor in communication, they keep in moisture allowing for cooling, and if a jawa steals something its pretty much impossible to tell which one).

No one's 100 percent sure what they look like, but from skeletal remains it seems they are rodent-like. Also, they DON'T speak Ewok, they speak their own language called Jawaese (really, look it up) which Lucas based on sped up Zulu.

The reason for delicate eyes is likely they interrupted the evolution process, by wearing veils beneath their hoods with gemstones over the eyes, leading to no need for stronger eyes. As for Tantooine's desert appearance, Tusken raider legends claim that the ancestors of the Tuskens and the Jawas insulted some great traveler or another, who then fried the planet with a death star-esque cannon which turned the surface of the planet into glass, which then shattered into sand.

Plus two interesting facts

  • Sandcrawlers were left behind by a mining company which failed to make a profit, and most were salvaged by the Jawas

  • Jawas smell so bad that swarms of insects collect under their hoods, providing sources of food for a desperate Jawa.

  • 1
    Hi, welcome to SFF.SE. Your answer wasn't really well-shaped. Please work on this next time. Also, can you provide source for what you explain ?
    – Kalissar
    Commented Jul 31, 2013 at 9:09
  • 1
    I'll echo the welcome. The site looks for answers that are supported by references to relevant material from the subject area. You might find it helpful to read the Answer section of the FAQ
    – Stan
    Commented Jul 31, 2013 at 13:28
  • its all from wookiepedia
    – jawanator
    Commented Jul 31, 2013 at 17:28

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