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(Star Wars Legends) Let's Remake/Redesign: The Ssi-Ruuk


The Freak
Originally appearing in The Truce at Bakura novel in the Star Wars Expanded Universe by author Kathy Tyers, the Ssi-Ruu are a race of dromaeosaurid or dromaeosaurid-like aliens in the Star Wars universe that attempted to invade the known galaxy on several occasions.* Although often depicted unrealistically in other sources, the sources that Kathy Tyers herself was involved in* depicted both the Ssi-Ruu and their P'w'eck** underlings fairly realistically.** However, a lot has changed since then and I think the Ssi-Ruu and their P'w'eck underlings are in need of a redesign. I think that in the spirit of the original author, Kathy Tyers, we should try and do what was considered realistic at the time. I think that the Ssi-Ruu, if Legends was to be continued or if they were to appear in the new Disney Canon, should be based on more modern, scientifically accurate depictions of the dromaeosaurids they were based on.

To start with why I think this, Kathy Tyers had a degree in microbiology. Although this doesn't make her as apt in the subject of dinosaur biology as a paleontologist or ornithologist, this does show that she at least had an idea of what she was dealing with. Not to mention that the sourcebook based on TaB** depicted the Ssi-Ruu and the P'w'eck** minions even more realistically, as seen in the first attached picture. Note that they have postures similar to what dromaeosaurids are believed to have had and their more bird-like hips. Even more so, the tail looks more like what more modern dromaeosaurid recreations have and even seems to serve to balance the bodies of the P'w'eck. Most astonishingly, they even have beaks! One would usually not find this in Star Wars media.**** This proves that Kathy Tyers and her colleagues were at least trying to go for a more scientifically accurate depiction of dromaeosaurids than most fiction at the time. As such, I think it would be most respectful to Kathy Tyers and her colleagues if a more scientifically accurate depiction of the Ssi-Ruu was to be created.

Secondly, I would like to provide more information on what I had in mind. Even today there are many exotic and/or dinosaur-looking birds. Using the traits from both said birds and more modern recreations of dromaeosaurids, I think one could create unique designs for both the various classes of Ssi-Ruu and the P'w'ecks. In order to cover each Ssi-Ruu caste with just as much respect, I will be dividing their blurbs into different subsections, starting with the P'w'ecks and moving all the way up to the Blue Ssi-Ruu Caste. However, before I get into what I had in mind, I think I should lay out a list of constants.

  1. The presence of feathers or feathery apendages.
  2. An attempt to stay as close to dromaeosaurid biology/morphology without straying too far from the source material (I.e. The nose-tongues will stay, as that was likely an intentional move to make them feel alien).
  3. A unique but still consistent appearance for each and every one of the Ssi-Ruu Castes as well as the P'w'ecks. For the sake of this, we'll be assuming that each Ssi-Ruu Caste is in fact a subspecies of the Ssi-Ruu, as the redesigns would suggest that the different castes would be subspecies of the Ssi-Ruu rather than all of them being a single species. This actually works well with the lore, given that it is theorized that the P'w'ecks are an offshoot of the Brown Ssi-Ruu Caste in some material.
There would also be some general inspirations. For starters, more modern dromaeosaurid recreations (Like that of the Velociraptor):


Another general inspiration would be the shoebill due to their very dinosaur-like stance and bill:


Now, let's begin:

Unlike the other designs, the P'w'ecks need little change. This is because they were depicted more realistically than even most Ssi-Ruu (Which is demonstrated in the attached picture). What I would do is continue the theme of them being slaves. In various depictions, the P'w'eck are often depicted as scrawny-looking or malnourished, likely because of the fact that they're not that well treated by their Ssi-Ruu masters. To further illustrate this, I think their plumage should look rough and matted; with some spots of feathers missing and revealing a pierced, sometimes near-gangrenous layer of scales (akin to what one might see in more non-dromaeosaurid reptiles). For a more visual inspiration, I think the bearded vulture provides the unkempt aesthetic I'm looking for:


That and the fact that the bird is so much like modern velociraptor restorations that it has even been used to represent them (Off of the top of my head, SCP-1265). Another inspiration comes in the form of the blue heron hatchling for similar reasons:

Image result for dinosaur looking birds

As it is theorized that the P'w'ecks are an offshoot of the Brown Caste, I believe it would be the most fitting to draw them in a similar fashion to P'w'ecks. In addition, I think some of them would have traits from different caste, as the Brown Caste are usually born when two Ssi-Ruuk of different caste breed. For instance you might see feathered crowns on some of them or perhaps more warrior-like claws. Also unlike the P'w'ecks, they would appear slightly more well kept, although still wild-looking. I believe that in addition to the previous two entries, one of the other inspirations for the Brown Caste could be the white-backed vultures:


The Green Ssi-Ruu, unlike the Brown Caste and the P'w'ecks, would look better kept but also not that fashionable.* They would have shorter ''wings'' and would have slightly shorter claws because they would have time to trim them. That and unlike the P'w'ecks, they would see less combat because they would be more oriented towards physical labor. One of their inspirations (At least in terms of plumage and their body types) would be the endangered kakapo of New Zealand:


Also of note is that they would have a slight but still visible crown of feathers on their heads, something that will become more visible in the higher Ssi-Ruu castes.

The Red Caste would be the most adapted to killing. They would have large claws easily adapted for slicing into their opponents and very intimidating displays of feathers. Similar to many birds, I believe that they would have a large amount of plumage that could be used to deceive and intimidate potential prey. Or perhaps rather than an intimidating plumage, they could have some form of red paint or blood painted onto their feathers to make them look more intimidating than their naturally red plumage already makes them. The inspiration for this comes from the bloodied southern giant petrels and bearded vultures:


This could be demonstrated perhaps by having multiple shades of red on their bodies. One shade (Perhaps clay, blush, or rose red) being overlapped by a shade of crimson manifesting in a spiral pattern would be enough to demonstrate this in my opinion. As with the Green Caste, there would be a crown (Although this crown would be lager than before). Or perhaps the crown could be replaced or combed into a mohawk-like hairdo(?) resembling a cockatoo, Knysna turaco, or great curassow to represent how aggressive they are.


  1. Usually being stopped by the Rebel Alliance and its various successor states as well as the Chiss/Empire of the Hand amongst others.
  2. The Truce at Bakura and the sourcebook of the same name based on it. Although they were almost always depicted as having no feathers and when they did have feathers it was in small amounts. This was largely because it was based on what was considered to be scientifically sound and to be fair, Kathy and her co-workers' fruits still hold up more today than say the Jurassic Park films.
  3. The P'w'eck especially were portrayed realistically, some of them even had tuffs of feathers.
  4. Something rare at the time, especially for Star Wars outside of authors like Timothy Zahn or Curtis Saxon who tried to make their work somewhat realistic.
  5. By Ssi-Ruu standards at least. TBH birds look more visually appealing than humans. They have more vibrant colors and there are so many speceis of them that it's hard not to see why I find them amusing.


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