Monday, March 21, 2011

Top Ten Bond Henchmen Translated into Star Wars

What's that you say? Riding a concept into the ground?!? Me!? Never! So without further ado, yet ANOTHER post about adapting James Bond stuff to a Star Wars setting. This time, I'm focusing on memorable henchmen from the movies. As before, I'll try to give reasons why I chose each. And as before, I can't promise they'll be anything but subjective.

10. Mischka & Grischka

I know "Octopussy" was a lame Bond movie, but for some reason, I remember this 'team'. I mean, hey- one of them actually KILLED a 00 agent at the beginning of the film. No small feat. Plus they're twin knife throwers who work in an (at least partially) evil circus. That's worth some creepy style points. I'm sure some folks prefer the tag-team of Bambi and Thumper from "Diamonds are Forever", but...meh. They kind of sucked, for all their laughable 'kung fu' moves.

In Star Wars, I see these two being much the same as in the movies, working for a Circus that is actually a front for a smuggling operation. They are a pair of expert knife throwers- which gives them a great signature style. They are fast and deadly, but can become a bit unhinged if one or the other of them is seriously threatened or injured.

9. May Day

I can't quite bring myself to call Grace Jones a 'Bond Girl'. She's just...scary. Besides, she really was more of a henchman. Not only is she visually 'distinctive' (scary), but she also has that cool stunt towards the beginning of "A View to a Kill" where she kills a guy with a poisonous butterfly then leaps off the Eiffel tower. Not too shabby.

Because of her already 'freaky' look, I would make a Star Wars version of May Day an alien- a near human of some sort, powerfully (but leanly) built. She would be a dedicated servant to her master (Max Zorin), but unfortunately operating under the delusion that her insane boss actually cares for her (which he does not). This leaves her open for possible conversion to an ally if the true nature of her boss is ever exposed to her.

May Day would be physically powerful, much stronger than she looks. She would also be quite agile and a highly skilled personal combatant.

8. Zao

I liked this henchman from "Die Another Day" because to me he hearkened back to the 'good old days' of Bond, where the henchmen were odd/freakish in their appearance (Oddjob). I got kind of sick of the 'generic blond muscle guy' that appeared in several Bond movies (You Only Live Twice, For Your Eyes Only, The Living Daylights). In this case, you have a guy scarred by an explosion, leaving him not only hairless, albino and burned, but also with diamond chunks embedded scarringly in his face and eyes discolored.

In a Star Wars setting, I like the idea of Zao being human and getting turned INTO a freak by an explosion. That makes his appearance all the more horrific. Apart from the appearance, he has a rather generic background as an Imperial agent who eventually sides with an ambitious young officer in a scheme to work the black market- both for personal gain and to strike back at the New Republic.

Zao is an exceedingly well trained agent, trained in all manner of skills from personal to ranged combat, espionage, piloting, driving, you name it. Though his appearance may be horrific, his physical abilities are undiminished.

7. Xenia Onatopp

She kills people by crushing them with her thighs. Need I say more? Oh, and she's played by Famke Janssen and she wears tight, black outfits a lot. There. Position on this list secured. Again, I wouldn't classify Onatopp as a "Bond Girl". In fact, she never actually 'slept', with him, she just tried to crush him with her legs. What a way to go.

Being a play on the classic 'femme fatale' stereotype of the Bond universe, I see the Xenia of the Star Wars universe as a stereotype of THAT setting: Namely a seductive, pale-skinned Twi'lek. Though starting life as a slave, Xenia's murderous talents were discovered by Imperial Intelligence- which soon recruited and trained her to serve as one of their agents. It was while working for the Empire that she first met a rival agent, Alec Trevelyan. When Alec later went rogue and set up his own crime syndicate, he recruited Xenia as his lieutenant. She is a casual killer with warped sensibilities (she derives great pleasure from killing people) and has a signature assassination method of choking her prey to death with her unnaturally strong 'lekku' head-tentacles. Though quite bloodthirsty, she is reasonably loyal to Alec, likely because he allows her to indulge in her violent tendencies.

Xenia is lethal in unarmed combat and surprisingly strong for her appearance. She is also skilled in all manner of combat and espionage skills and is an expert pilot and driver to boot.

6. Mr. Wint & Mr. Kidd

Like them or hate them, this assassin team from “Dimonds are Forever” was memorable. They also probably have the most number of lines spoken by any Bond Henchmen, even if it was just the polite and stilted banter back and forth between them. And you have to admit, that banter was as creepy as it was campy. Their flair for puns rivals bond himself.

True to the odd-ball nature of these two, see them in Star Wars as being two aliens of disparate appearance. I see Mr. Wint as a preening Bothan, fond of scenting his fur and always dressed impeccably. Mr. Kidd would be an Aqualish with mutton-chop style hair- who also wears a pair of tiny, round spectacles. The two are sadists who often speak in prose and finish each other’s sentences. They are also fond of bad puns as they relate to their ‘work’. As far as their ‘work’ goes, they have a flair for the dramatic, employing various oddball methods of killing, from small poisonous beasts to drowning to incineration to explosives. As far as their personal life goes, it does appear that the two of them are in a relationship- and as such, can be provoked into unwise actions if the other is injured or killed. They are nominally in the employ of SPECTRE, cleaning up the ‘loose ends’ of their operations, but occasionally hire out for freelance work from others.

Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd aren’t particularly powerful opponents in a direct fight, but they are exceedingly sneaky and smart. They will either pose as non-threatening individuals to get close or otherwise attack from ambush. They are skilled in poisons, drugs (particularly knockout drugs) and demolitions.

5. Nick Nack

A killer little person. What's not to lik-err...fear. He's definitely one of the most visually memorable henchmen in the Bond Series. I just kept expecting him to call out "The plane! The plane!"

In the Star Wars universe, I see Nick Nack as a Bimm- a diminutive race of people usually known for being pleasant and peace loving. Nick Nack can put on a show of being charming- and indeed non-threatening- but at his core he is a rotten individual who values personal wealth, power and comfort. For the time being, he has attached himself to the legendary assassin, Scaramanga, serving as his personal servant. He is loyal enough, but is really only biding his time, waiting for the day when his boss finally does meet his match and he, Nick Nack, will 'inherit' his master's wealth (and private asteroid). To this end, he oversees Scaramanga's deadly funhouse maze, triggering traps and tricks within to distract his master AND whatever opponent he is currently facing.

Overall, Nick Nack is a non-combatant, preferring to order others about when he can- and relying on his Master's presence and reputation to back him up. Even so, he is very sneaky, quick and deceptively good with thrown and melee weapons- especially in self defense.

4. Baron Samedi

Certainly one of the more bizarre bond Henchmen, Baron Samedi was a Voodoo priest in “Live and Let Die”- though I will always remember him as the 7-up guy (Nevah had it! Nevah will! Hah hah haaaaaa!). Apart from being physically imposing (the guy was very tall) he had that whole voodoo vibe going- and played with snakes as well. Oh, and he somehow survives getting shot by Bond, showing up creepily (and memorably) at the end of the film.

I see a Star Wars version of Baron Samedi appearing very much as he does in the Bond Universe. A tall, dark-skinned man with a dramatic voice and mannerisms- seeming to find amusement in the deadly situations he finds himself in. He is skilled in many different Dark Side force powers- coming from a tradition of such users (outside of the Sith) that grew among the population of a remote, tropical planet. He works with the villain Kananga, acting as high priest in the ceremonies that keep the locals in line. Though much of the work of this cult is done through intimidation and bluff, there is a dark center to it- real dark side energies that Samedi himself doesn’t entirely understand or control. Personality-wise, Samedi is, for lack of a better word, insane. He enjoys the power he has over others and the fear he invokes- and thus serves Kananga and his vicious schemes willingly.

Samedi isn’t much for direct combat. His Force powers are geared towards illusion and playing on the fears of others. Faced with direct combat, he is likely to flee, using his illusions (and his servants) to cover his escape.

3. Tee Hee

Yes, one of the more stupid Bond Villain names, but…well, they’re all kind of silly, aren’t they? Tee Hee is another guy from “Live and Let Die” and the most probably reason he’s this high on the list is that I remember commercials for this movie as a kid and I was frightened of the guy with the metal claw hand.

In Star Wars, Tee Hee is pretty much the same as you see him in bond. A big, bald guy with a metal claw for a hend. Being Star Wars, however, Tee Hee would, of course, be a cyborg- and that hand of his could be a swiss-army-knife of killing tools. As far as a personality goes, he’s a thug at heart who got his name from the fact he finds hurting people- or seeing people in pain- amusing. As far as how he GOT to be a cyborg, he had a run-in with Kananga’s pet crocosaurs while he was still a young henchman. Somehow he survived and Kananga rewarded his resilience by having him partially rebuilt. So it is that Tee Hee is both vicious and loyal.

Though passably skilled in ranged combat, Tee Hee is deadly in hand-to-hand fights, both skill-wise and because of his cybernetic enhancements.

2. Jaws

Jaws appeared in two Bond movies- “The Spy Who Loved Me” and “Moonraker”. And what’s more, he actually survived both- a feat that no other henchman has since equaled. He’s also a giant with metal teeth who rips people’s throats out. As hokey a villain as he may be, he is memorable, and thus makes this list.

The Jaws of the Star Wars universe is a Barabel- a huge, lizard-humanoid with a mouth full of jagged teeth. In this case, however, I see him being augmented with a cybernetic jaw and metal teeth, capable of shearing through metal and doing MUCH worse to flesh. Jaws isn’t particularly bright, but he is nigh-invulnerable due to his incredible strength and durable scaley hide. He has an odd habit of living through things that would kill anyone else. Since he /isn’t/ particularly bright, Jaws tends to follow in the wake if villainous masterminds, doing whatever he’s told. Even so, it is possible for a boss to anger Jaws if they treat him as too much of a simpleton.

Jaws is a deadly hand-to-hand combatant with a penchant for ripping his enemies throats out. He is incredibly strong and durable, to almost superhuman levels.

1. Oddjob

Oddjob was the prototype henchman who set the bar for all who followed. Prior to him, henchmen were typically just guys with guns or knives. Not only did he have a distinctive look (that of a sumo-wrestler of sorts- in a suit), but he had a signature weapon- his metal-brimmed hat, which he threw at people with enough force to snap bone. He was the first and most memorable of a line of Bond henchmen and deserves his place here at the top.

With Auric Goldfinger reimagined as a Hutt, what else could Oddjob be but a Gamorrean. But unlike his barbarian counterparts, Oddjob puts in refined airs as Auric’s manservant- wearing fine suits and a stylish hat (which doubles as a weapon, capable of being thrown). Even so, Oddjob doesn’t speak much, and when he does, it is usually in monosyllabic grunts. He is completely loyal to his master, even unto death. He is well aware of his imposing appearance and resistance to damage and takes pleasure in showing off both when in a fight, often responding to an attack by smiling a tusky smile at his opponent.

Oddjob is incredibly skilled at hand-to-hand combat and his natural strength and bulk make it very difficult to injure him. He is also deadly accurate with thrown weapons- particularly his custom-made, gyro-stabilized throwing hat- which can strike with enough force to shatter bone. He is also a passable driver and even pilot and remarkably stealthy and spry for one of his size.

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