Where is Constable Zuvio? It's a question fans have (kinda) been asking since The Force Awakens came out in December 2015. The character was in the first wave of Force Friday action figures that year. And he seemed like kind of a big deal. Many speculated that he was the next Boba Fett. And Funny or Die even gave the character his own Christmas Special, which is more than the actual movie gave us. So will this notorious character return in Star Wars 9?
Who is, or was, Constable Zuvio anyway? Well, he hails from an alien race know as Kyuzo, and eventually wound up on the lawless planet Jakku. The tough, taciturn Zuvio is the leader of Niima Outpost's small militia, and keeps a wary yellow eye out for cheats, thieves and others bent on trouble. Alas, all of his scenes were axed from The Force Awakens, and his figure stands alone, collecting dust on toy shelves across America.
There is no indication that Zuvio will return in The Last Jedi. Mostly because the movie is not returning to Jakku. But early reports indicate that Rey will make her journey back to Jakku in Star Wars 9, just as Luke Skywalker returned to Tatooine in Return of the Jedi. Two almost Jedi flocking back to their home planets? No, Star Wars 9 isn't going to be anything like Return of the Jedi at all, wink, wink. Especially with J.J. Abrams in the director's seat.
Constable Zuvio's disappearance from The Force Awakens was a mystery that wasn't solved until the Blu-ray came out in Spring 2016. J.J. Abrams had kept quiet on the mysterious alien's absence for a good duration of Star Wars 7's run in theaters. And others weren't talking. But Lucasfilm story group head honcho Pablo Hidalgo finally opened up to Entertainment Weekly about what happened.
The Force Awakens Blu-ray doesn't really offer much in the way of what became of Zuvio, or what he was all about. There was a book that detailed the character in length, and gave him somewhat of a backstory. But it's speculated that the character is still alive and well within the Star Wars universe. Pablo Hidalgo confirms that he actually named the character himself. He says this.
"I got to name him as part of working with [creature effects supervisor] Neal Scanlan and talking to the creature shop crew. We knew, with Star Wars being Star Wars, that we'd want a name and identify as many characters as possible for potential toys, potential storytelling, potential what-have-you. The notion that this guy was some sort of lawman in Niima Outpost came from the creature department. So we coined the name for him, and that name got married to an action figure, and thus the legend of Constable Zuvio was born."
Pablo Hidalgo not only named the character, but he came up with an entire backstory for the alien, at the time not knowing how much screen time J.J. Abrams would invest in Zuvio. The story was handed off to toy manufactures, who ran with the idea. Zuvio didn't just get a smaller scale original action figure, he also got a very detailed Black Series figure from Hasbro as well, and was included in other merchandise, including Lego.
The interesting thing Star Wars fans might not recognize or realize at this late stage in the game is that Zuvio is one of the good guys. Which was mirrored in the Funny or Die Holiday Special. Says Hidalgo.
"You know, life is tough on Jakku. So even the good guys are rather harsh."
As you can see in the tweet below, if you look REALLY hard you can catch a very quick glimpse of Zuvio in The Force Awakens. Barely. It's blink and miss at its best. Not to mention he has his back turned, in a crowded Niima Outpost marketplace. Hidalgo claims there are exactly 'four frames' of him in existence at this point. Many believe that Zuvio was killed in Rey's 'Forceback' (or rather flashback) scene when she touched Luke's old lightsaber for the first time. But no, that has long been confirmed to be another poor dead dude. Even if they share a similar love for helmets. Says the story god.
"If you do a search on the character there is this myth starting to evolve that he was part of a sequence that was cut out of the film."
The scene in question has the Constable stepping in to break up the fight when Unkar Plutt's thugs step in to take BB-8 and get a beat down from Rey. But that scene was never shot. And it's not included on any of the deleted scenes that have been released thus far. When J.J. Abrams was approached about the character after the movie came out, the director didn't even seem to know who Zuvio was or remember him at all. It took a moment, and some photographic evidence before it all became to ring a bell. J.J. Abrams eventually had this to say about the missing character.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah... I know who he is. If you look at any of the creature shop behind-the-scenes photographs or videos, you'll see that there are so many characters. And each one of them had a name and a designation. In every shot on Jakku we figured out where they would all go and what they would do. He never had a line of dialogue, no."
Zuvio was never meant to be more than living scenery for some of the scenes on Jakku. But the actor playing him, who is going nameless at the moment, was just never in the right moment at the right time. But he was presented to toy makers as a 'safe character' that wouldn't pose any possible spoilers. As the toys needed to be planned out months in advance, he was one of the lucky few who got chosen. At the time, no one knew the character wouldn't show up in the movie at all. J.J. Abrams goes onto explain.
"They had no idea and, frankly, we wouldn't know either back when we were shooting, if he would end up in the final cut. Each [alien creature] of whom will probably, eventually, get made into a figure. This was just one that I guess didn't end up in the movie as they had hoped."
Hildago argues that Zuvio falls into a long tradition of action figures who never amounted to much on the big screen. Leading all the way back to 1978, when the first Star Wars action figures emerged on store shelves. Zuvio is actually part of a long standing tradition.
"[Zuvio] fits in the great tradition of characters like Snaggletooth or Pruneface. Characters that you might have had actions figures of as a kid, but were hard pressed to identify where exactly they were in the movie."
If you want to know more about Zuvio, you can look no further than Tales From a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens - Vol. 1, a book by Landry Q. Walker. The missing character takes the lead in the very first story contained within this book. The tale is called High Noon on Jakku and is basically a galactic western involving a transport heist, a shoot-out, and a gang of outlaw droids. Old Zuvio and his bright yellow eyes are even included on the cover.
Zuvio may have been a background character with no lines of dialogue, but in the time since The Force Awakens came out, he has taken on quite a life of his own. And with Star Wars 9 returning to Jakku, and J.J. Abrams back in the director's seat, it is heavily speculated that The Constable will finally get his moment to shine in the final sequel revolving around Rey. In the book, Zuvio has sacrificed some of his own happiness to make Jakku more livable and pleasant for its residence, including Rey. They aren't necessarily friends, but he could come to her rescue in some form or another. Will Zuvio finally get his time in the sun. We can only hope. Then, perhaps, his figure will finally be swept up by children and not left hanging on store shelf hooks like Rose Tico during this past Force Friday. Here is Zuvio in The Force Awakens, if you can spot his back. And we've included the Holiday Special.
Well, it's out now. So your patience is rewarded, Constable Zuvio spotters. pic.twitter.com/gl3WehlEWf— Pablo @ SLCC 2017 (@pablohidalgo) April 1, 2016