The 35 year-old Central Illinois man known as “icruise” has a thing for Jabba the Hutt. By day he is a Japanese-language translator. By night icruise collects anything and everything Jabba, Jabba, Jabba.
Why do you like Jabba so much?
That's kind of a difficult question to answer. When I was a kid, I just liked him because he was a weird looking alien monster surrounded by more weird looking monsters. Now that I'm an adult, it's a little more complex. I love the artistry that went into designing, sculpting, painting, and puppeteering such a huge creature. As a translator, I think it's cool that they came up with a genuinely alien sounding language for him to speak. And of course Leia in her metal bikini probably has something to do with it, too…
If your house caught fire, and you could only save ONE of your Jabba collectibles, what would it be?
That's tough to say, but I suppose it would have to be one of my commissioned art pieces, since they are one of a kind. Most other things could be replaced (although it wouldn't be easy for some of them!)
Was it love at first sight for you with Jabba the Hutt?
I've always liked him, ever since I was a boy. Part of it was probably that they had toys for him and the main aliens in his palace. But to be honest, it's only been in the last several years that I've become such a big fan. I sort of rediscovered Star Wars in my early 30s after getting out of grad school and starting to work full time. I had just started to have some more disposable income when I found out about the amazing high-end merchandise they're making now, so I got hooked into collecting.
I typically think of Jabba as a bad guy. But maybe I'm misunderstanding him. Maybe he's just a guy who operates according to a different set of moral codes. What do you think? Is he totally evil? Does he have any redeeming qualities?
Are you kidding? He's scum! But he does have a sort of independent spirit that I like. He doesn't work for anybody else. Also, one thing I like about Star Wars is that the characters all seem to operate on more than one level. Take Darth Vader, for example. He's the main villain in the original trilogy and a pretty scary one at that, but people have a great deal of affection for the character. If you looked just at the merchandise they make, you'd think he was a hero. That's also true of Jabba to some extent. They even made Jabba pajamas! (Still looking for those, by the way.)
How many Jabba items do you currently own? Would you say you are the foremost collector of Jabba merchandise in the world?
That would depend on whether you mean items that only feature Jabba, or items that feature other characters from his palace. I'm sure I've got close to 200 items featuring just him.
I can't say if I'm the foremost Jabba collector in the world. I do know a couple of other people who specialize in Jabba — one in Japan and one in Australia. And then there are the super-collector types like Steve Sansweet. He may very well have more Jabba items than I do, even though he collects everything and not just Jabba. Still, I think my home office probably has the highest number of Jabbas per square foot in the world.
Is there a female Jabba? Do you think he ever had a girlfriend?
I don't think Lucasfilm has been entirely consistent on this point, but the consensus seems to be that Hutts are hermaphroditic, so they're neither male nor female, and they reproduce asexually. But there was a character called Gardulla the Hutt in The Phantom Menace that appeared to be female, so it may be that they can sort of choose a gender. (Too much information?)
Do you have a favorite Jabba moment or scene from the films?
Probably when we first see him in his throne room. They talked about the character in the first two films, but we never saw him until Return of the Jedi, so it was an exciting moment. That's one reason why I think it was a big mistake to try and digitally add Jabba to the first Star Wars film, like George Lucas did in his “special editions.” Aside from the fact that the CGI didn't look very good, it also ruined the surprise.
Do you think Jabba is happy or sad? Lonely or fulfilled?
I can't say that I've ever really tried to psychoanalyze him, but I'd say his main personality traits would be greed and ambition. So no, he's probably not very fulfilled. He always wants more than he has.
Of all the Star Wars characters, who would you want to be?
Luke Skywalker. I always wanted to be him as a kid, and I don't think that's changed.