Watto


Watto

"For the Australian cricketer with the same nickname, see Shane Watson."

SW Character



color=Independent
bgcolor=#fff
fgcolor=#000
name=Watto
position=Junk store proprietor
species=Toydarian
gender=Male
planet= Toydaria (resides on Tatooine)
affiliation= Commercial
height= 1.37 meters
weapon= none
portrayer=Andy Secombe (voice)

Watto is a fictional character in the "Star Wars" universe, featured in the films ' and '. He is computer-generated and voiced by Andy Secombe.

A mean-tempered, greedy Toydarian, he is the owner of a second-hand goods store in Mos Espa on the planet Tatooine. While one of the minor stores of Mos Espa, Watto's junkyard is nevertheless a wealth of surplus equipment and spare parts.

Among Watto's belongings are the slaves Shmi Skywalker and her son, Anakin. He acquires them after winning a podracing bet with Gardulla the Hutt, and he puts them both to work in his store. Anakin demonstrates an incredible aptitude for equipment repair, and Watto decides to profit from it by having the boy fix various broken equipment in the store.

Anakin is an astonishing pilot, the only human to participate in the treacherous sport of podracing. However, whenever Anakin would race against the scheming Dug Sebulba, Watto would always put money on Sebulba, who always won.

In "Phantom Menace"

Watto's greed gets the better of him when the Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and the young Queen Amidala of Naboo cross his path. Watto wagers all his money -- and Anakin as well – on Sebulba, who loses the Boonta Eve Classic to Anakin.

Watto ultimately sells Shmi Skywalker -- in an effort to recover some of his losses -- to a moisture farmer named Cliegg Lars. Lars reports as much to a grown Anakin Skywalker in "", when he revisited Tatooine a decade later to see his mother.

Controversy

It has been suggested that this character is offensive because he resembles a stereotypical Jewish caricature. He has a large nose, beady eyes, and speaks in a gravelly, Jewish-sounding accent and is portrayed as greedy and covetous, another common stereotype of Jews.

* "...the most blatant ethnic stereotype is the hook-nosed merchant insect who owns young Anakin" (Hoberman, "Village Voice", 1999)J. Hoberman: cite web
title=All Droid Up
publisher=The Village Voice
url=http://www.villagevoice.com/film/9920,hoberman,5854,20.html
accessmonthday=June 11
accessyear=2006 | date=May 19 - 25, 1999
]

* "Even in a galaxy far away, the Jews are apparently behind the slave trade" (Gottlieb, "Slate", 1999)Gottlieb, Bruce: cite web
title=The Merchant of Menace: Racial Stereotypes In A Galaxy Far, Far Away?
publisher=Slate
url=http://www.slate.com/id/29394/
accessmonthday=June 11
accessyear=2006 | date=May 27, 1999
]

* "Although a number of groups have protested that Watto is an insulting Arab stereotype, he struck me as more comprehensively anti-Semitic -- both anti-Arab and anti-Jew" (Williams, "The Nation", 1999)Patricia J. Williams: cite web
title= Racial Ventriloquism
publisher=The Nation
url=http://www.thenation.com/doc/19990705/williams
accessmonthday=June 11
accessyear=2006 | date=June 17, 1999
]

* "As we left the movie theater, a couple of young boys around age 12 made reference to 'that weird little Jewish guy with wings.' The movie's depiction in Watto was not at all subtle. It can be counted on to flush out already-formed Jew-haters among young audiences and give them permission to continue their hatred out loud." (Prettyman, "American Review", 1999)Jane Prettyman: cite web
title=George Lucas serves up anti-Semitic stereotype in Star Wars Episode I
publisher=American Review
url=http://www.americanreview.us/back71.htm
accessmonthday=June 11
accessyear=2006 | date=June 3, 1999
]

Other "Star Wars" characters have also been alleged to represent offensive ethnic stereotypes. Another example is Jar Jar Binks.

Expanded Universe

Canon

Before coming to Tatooine, Watto is part of the Ossiki Confederacy Army during the conflicts of his homeworld of Toydaria. In one battle, Watto suffers injuries that left him with a broken tusk and a disabled leg.

On Tatooine, Watto learns much of his business savvy from dealing with the native Jawas. Not only does he have a talent for haggling, but also cannot be affected by Jedi mind tricks. His preferred targets are outlanders, whom he regards as easy marks.

Non-canonical

The non-canonical "Star Wars" comic book "Star Wars: Visionaries" reveals Watto is killed when a half-cyborg recreation of Darth Maul tracks Obi-Wan Kenobi to Tatooine, seeking revenge for his defeat in the Battle of Naboo.

Behind the scenes

Initial designs for Watto were of a more bird-like nature, including plumage and a beak. Another design included tentacles and a cigar. Watto's face originated in an early Neimoidian picture by design director Doug Chiang. The hooked trunk and crooked teeth were carried over to the Toydarian design.

Animation supervisor Rob Coleman realized that the alien's dental work would need some modification when the time came to create Watto on screen, as Watto's craggy teeth made lip-sync easier said than done. To solve the problem, Coleman broke off one of Watto's incisors, giving him a 'corner-of-the-mouth' vernacular.

The sound of his wings flapping is a looped recording of sound designer Ben Burtt opening and closing an umbrella.

References

External links

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