15 Things 'Star Wars' Fans (Probably) Didn't Know About The Tusken Raiders
Tusken Raiders, more commonly known as Sand People for the majority of the franchise, are a diverse and interesting people. Of course, you wouldn't know that (or very much at all) about them if you've only watched the theatrical Star Wars films. Over in the expanded universe of video games, comic books, role-playing games, collectible card games, and much more, the Tusken Raiders have been expanded far beyond what the films have shown of these strange beings from Tatooine.
Of course, it took episodes of The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett for the more casual fans to learn more about Tusken Raiders. That said, there are 40+ years of history related to these strange, violent, and enigmatic people, so there are plenty of things you didn't know about Tusken Raiders. This list aims to solve that problem by highlighting many of the interesting and informative facts about the Tusken Raiders that are out there. Take a look at it all down below, and if you see something you didn't already know that you find interesting, be sure to give it an upvote before you go!
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After Numerous Slaughters, The Tuskens Built A Massive Effigy Of Darth VaderPhoto: Marvel Comics
One of the first truly dark moments in Anakin Skywalker's life came when a clan of Tusken Raiders kidnapped his mother. The young Jedi tracked them down, finding his mother mere moments before succumbing to her injuries. That's when Anakin abandoned his Jedi training, giving in to hate, as he slaughtered every man, woman, and child of the clan. He came back to the light side of the Force, but this moment permanently stained him, and it was the first of many steps on his road to becoming Darth Vader.
That was the first time Anakin attacked the Tuskens, and after becoming Darth Vader, he took every opportunity he could to deliver the same form of "justice" on whichever band of Tuskens he happened to cross. After destroying another clan in Darth Vader #1, he left one person alive. That Tusken was later integrated into a clan of Tuskens, where he shared the story of how a being clad in black came and destroyed everyone in his clan.
The tale finds its way to a shaman who visits the location of the slaughter, and he's so disturbed by the carnage, he has a massive effigy of Darth Vader built. The corpses of the fallen are burned at the shrine's feet. The sole survivor is also burned along with his tribe as the clan kneels in reverence at the feet of the indomitable being who easily slaughtered so many of their people.
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They Are Related To JawasPhoto: 20th Century Fox / Disney+
Tuskens are the indigenous people of Tatooine, but there's another desert dweller who makes the planet their home. Jawas are a scavenger race who, like the Tuskens, always keep their faces hidden from outsiders. Both species are native to the planet, and they share a lot of similarities (even if they don't always get along). Because Tuskens are so dangerous, Jawas are often in a state of high alert whenever Tuskens are in the vicinity. However, the Tuskens do not exhibit the same disposition when Jawas are near.
While it's not been expanded upon in canon, Star Wars Legends has gone into depth as to how these two sentient Tatooine species are related. About 25,000 years before the Battle of Yavin (BBY), when Tatooine was a lush and verdant world, the Kumumgah species learned the secrets of space travel. Upon meeting the Rakata, the planet was bombarded, turning it into the desert world depicted throughout the franchise. The Kumumgah were forced underground, where they evolved into Jawas. The ones who remained on the surface evolved into Tuskens. While this makes some sense, it is no longer considered canon.
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Killing A Krayt Dragon Is A Major Right Of Passage For The Tuskens
Many of the animals in the Star Wars universe are massive beasts capable of devouring a person whole. This is certainly true of the krayt dragon, which is an umbrella term for any giant reptilian beast native to Tatooine. Several different species fall under this name, including the canyon krayt and the greater krayt. Canyon krayts are smaller than many of the other species. They can be found in rocky caves and canyons.
A Tusken Raider will seek out and kill a canyon krayt as part of their warrior initiation rites. This is done when a young Tusken boy reaches the age of 15. They must slay a canyon krayt and remove its pearl found inside the stomach. Once this is complete, they become an adult in the clan. Killing a greater krayt isn't something a single Tusken can do. In an episode of The Mandalorian, an entire clan takes down a greater krayt dragon, though they needed help from outsiders. Once the greater krayt is dead, a Tusken finds its pearl, holding it up in victory.
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In Legends, A Jedi Exiled Himself And Became A Tusken WarlordPhoto: Dark Horse Comics
Tuskens aren't Force-sensitive people, and at no point in Star Wars history has one become a Jedi or a Sith. They simply don't have the ability to follow the path, and they aren't the only species with such a limitation. Force sensitivity is incredibly rare across the galaxy, and many species are unable to become a Jedi or a Sith. That said, there once was a Jedi who exiled himself to become a Tusken warlord and to anyone who saw him, he'd look like a Tusken Jedi.
Now, this wasn't transferred to canon when Disney purchased the Star Wars franchise. While it's a pretty interesting story/character, the tale of Sharad Hett remains a part of Star Wars Legends. Sharad Hett was once a powerful Jedi Knight who lived a few decades before the Invasion of Naboo. After Hett's homeworld was destroyed and his family was slain, he decided to exile himself from the Jedi Order. He settled on Tatooine, where he joined a clan of Tusken Raiders, ultimately becoming their warlord. Years later, he perished during a war between the Tuskens and the Hutts.
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Tuskens Are Forbidden To Remove Their Clothing Except In Special Circumstances
Tusken Raiders are depicted wearing robes, bands of cloth, and face coverings, leaving no part of their body exposed. This isn't done solely for protection from the heat of Tatooine's twin suns; it's also a large part of their custom, which forbids a Tusken from removing their clothing in front of others. This includes other members of their tribe, though there are some exceptions.
A Tusken can remove their clothing during childbirth, during coming-of-age ceremonies, or on their wedding night. On top of that, because the clans are so insular, no outsider is ever allowed to see a Tusken without their clothing. This makes the Tuskens a very enigmatic people, and there's no record in canon of anyone outside a Tusken clan ever seeing one without their full-body clothing and surviving to tell the tale.
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Tribes Domesticated Banthas As Mounts, But Never As A Food Source
Tuskens are seldom seen without a bantha nearby, which is why Luke mentions that he sees a bantha while wondering where the "Sand People" were when he first encounters them in A New Hope. This is because Tuskens are incredibly close to their banthas and rarely leave their side for long.
Banthas make for exceptionally strong pack animals, making them useful in transporting heavy items. Tuskens use them solely for this purpose, and while banthas have a lot of meat on their bones, they are never slaughtered for food. This is strictly forbidden in Tusken culture, and the idea of doing it would seem completely taboo and unnatural to any Tusken.
That said, Tuskens have, on occasion, used banthas as sacrificial animals. In an episode of The Mandalorian called "Mission to Tatooine," a clan of Tuskens attempt to feed a bantha to a krayt dragon to make it sleep for a more extended period of time. It doesn't work out, and the krayt dragon eats a Tusken instead.