In previous Star Wars films, we’ve seen the aquatic aliens — known as the Mon Calamari — being roughly the color of lobsters or crabs, but new images of Mon Calamari in Rogue One are ghostly blue or almost white. Then there’s also the new character Admiral Raddus, who is sort of greyish-blue in color. Is it a trap? Nope, it turns out different Mon Calamari are colored the way they are be because of where they’re from on their home planet.
New Rogue One: A Star Wars Story trading cards were released over the weekend, and with them we got a glimpse of what seemed an unusual sight: Mon Calamari who were not the same skin tone as the beloved Admiral Ackbar. But whereas Ackbar was from a more tropical region of his planet (Mon Cala), these new characters are from a polar region. “Rogue One will show us Mon Cal from the colder polar extremes. Ackbar and the other ones we’ve seen so far are more tropical,” Lucasfilm Story Group’s Pablo Hidalgo said.
This matches up with what StarWars.com has to say on the subject: The skin color of a Mon Calamari changes depending on what part of the planet they hail from. Normally, we’ve seen aliens from the warmer, more tropical waters of Mon Cala, but the planet also has polar regions. Much like bears and their fur, it turns out the colder the water, the paler the alien.
There are several alien species in Star Wars that sport variant skin colors. Most notable would be the Twi’lek, whose skin color also depends on what part of the planet they’re from, with different families and clans having unique colors or shades. However, this is actually the first time we’re hearing of variant skin shades for the Mon Calamari, who have typically been portrayed as various shades of reddish brown.
A lot of this comes from the fact that the Mon Calamari’s importance in the Star Wars universe has greatly increased over the years. When creature artist Phil Tippett first designed Ackbar, he was designed to be a background character. That didn’t stick. The Mon Calamari have since grown to what the Star Wars encyclopedia calls “the soul of the Rebel Alliance,” becoming one of the key species in the Rebellion.
We’ll have to see if Admiral Raddus is a worthy predecessor to the beloved Admiral Ackbar, but it’s awesome to see the Mon Calamari species being further developed and explored. And you know what: Since things are bound to go south in Rogue One, there isn’t a better person than Raddus to utter those three distinct words: “It’s a trap!”