Star Wars diehard or Star Wars newbie, if you’re a fan of the galaxy far, far away, you probably have a favorite character that isn’t one of the major heroes or villains, or even one of the myriad supporting stars. Just, you know: that cool background character who maybe shows up for a glimpse, or a tie-in media character who rarely escapes their medium and you go, “oh! it’s them! ”
That’s your Glup Shitto. And Star Wars probably knows a bit too well now that you have one.
Glup Shitto isn’t an official term — because god, we don’t need thoseand it’d honestly be kind of wild to hear someone at Lucasfilm say it in an official capacity — but it’s been embraced by fandom for years now, a 2020 viral tumblr gag about Star Wars characters and their weird names turning into fandom lexicon for the lesser-known, barely explored characters of the Star Wars universe. Like all good things about Star Warsit’s both really silly and very loving, a testament to a fan community at its best when it embraces and enthusiastically loves even the tiniest, fleeting details about its worldbuilding.
But Star Wars is also sometimes a deeply reflective franchise, one almost always more willing to return to familiar and less familiar faces and flesh out their backstory — and their potential connections to those biggest, beloved characters. Which is why sometimes the world of loving a Glup Shitto can be weirder than, well, openly saying the sentence “oh, it’s them, my Glup Shitto.” Case in point: the latest episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi, when our titular Jedi hero infiltrates the Fortress Inquisitorius to rescue his young protectee, Leia Organa, from the hands of the Third Sister and her Imperial forces. All very big, all high stakes, all everything capital-S capital-W Star Wars. Until Obi-Wan enters a dark, secret area of the Fortress on his hunt for Leia, and discovers chambers of bodies seemingly entombed in amber. He looks up at one in particular, and the camera lingers …
Because this isn’t just some random Jedi we’re meant to infer by context, this is indeed a familiar Star Wars character: Master Tera Sinube. The camera lingers enough for the little tiny part of your diehard Star Wars fan brain to make the connection and presumably have that tiny little part of your brain lose its shit, because who’s thinking about Tera Sinube in the year 2022?
Sinube had a fleeting prominent role in the season two Clone Wars episode “Lightsaber Lost.” It’s not a particular great episode of the series, sure, but Sinube — a centuries old Cosian who became a Jedi investigator, specializing in the criminal activity in Coruscant’s underworld, who helps Ahsoka recover her titular lost lightsaber after a thief steals it — is a highlight. He’s a Yoda-esque, crotchety old Jedi to provide patience and wisdom to the young, brash Ahsoka, and perhaps most notably of all, has a very cool and very silly lightsaber cane. And that’s that: Sinube doesn’t have another prominent appearance in Clone Wars, popping up in a couple more episodes as a background character. Most recently before his Obi-Wan appearance, he had a minor presence in the High Republic novels, where we learn that centuries prior to the Clone Wars he served on the Jedi Council. It’s a life that’s a small stitch in the Star Wars tapestry, a grade-a example in the bumper book of Glups Shitto.
Seeing him given such a peculiarly big moment in Obi-Wan Kenobi just feels weird. It could’ve been any random person identifiable as a Jedi in that chamber Obi-Wan sees in horror; the emotional impact of it would’ve been the same on him and on us as an audience. Making it a “known” character, in about as hyperspecific way as you could get, makes it feel like Star Wars is metatextually in on the joke, that our favorites aren’t the Obi-Wans or Leias of the galaxy, but the Tera Sinubes. In a world as nostalgic as Star Wars can be, and in a show that is nostalgic even further — perhaps the only way to go one step deeper into that nostalgic, interconnected world is indeed to dig into the Glup Shitto bucket.
And yet somehow it feels like a strange new step for these Star Wars shows, as they vie between nostalgic navel-gazing and trying to enrich the texture of the Star Wars galaxy with new sights, new characters, new stories to fall in love with. As no stone gets left unturned these days, at some point you’re going to have to get to those smaller and smaller characters as you dig through all these nostalgic throwbacks and connections. To live in this weird world where Tera Sinube gets a front-and-center cameo in one of the most anticipated shows of 2022 feels like there’s no one off the table at this poin — anyone, no matter how big or small, could show up next. If Luke Skywalker in The Mandalorian was the watershed moment for the big characters, then maybe Tera Sinube in Obi-Wan Kenobi is the watershed for the familiar fleeting figures of the Star Wars world. Glup Shittos of the galaxy, your time … is now?
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