Though they may not be first to mind as an integral species in in the universe, Gungans have appearances in four of the six Star Wars films. With a particularly important role to play in The Phantom Menace, and several main characters in the film, no Star Wars fan can deny the Gungans; role in the films. This is the start of a short series exploring Gungans and some of my feelings about the species.
Before expressing some of my opinions, I’ll first give a brief overview of the species and history in Star Wars.
Gungans are native to the planet Naboo. They are an amphibious , humanoid species that typically live in the swamps of Naboo. They tended to be isolationist, existing primarily within their own socio-political community structures. Their underwater capital is Otoh Gunga, where the Gungan council sits led by a Boss (like Boss Nass in The Phantom Menace).
After The Phantom Menace, Gungans worked more closely with the Naboo government. Though typically a peaceful species, the Gungans do have a warrior culture, and utilized their energy field technology for effective warfare. They maintain an army called the Gungan Grand Army.
Gungans spoke a type of modified Galactic Basic with a mix of Gungan words. This, with their appearance, underwater lifestyle, and use of animals as beasts of burdens probably led to the view by many others that Gungans are a primitive species. However, with their biotechnology, and blue plasma energy, they are a technologically advanced society. Plus, their cultural structure is a complex one, with a combination of that warrior subculture yet isolationist policies that eventually changed to working more with the human Naboo society and participating in the Galactic Republic. Their political structure works well. Though it seems a little bureaucratic at times, the Gungan council and Boss usually work well to regulate and protect society. They would follow strict cultural rules, for which a Gungan could be exiled from society for breaking (as the Gungan Jar Jar Binks was). This strictness though seems to be what has kept their unique culture intact. Plus, the events of The Phantom Menace see the Gungan people more open to interaction with other societies.
Gungans, while perhaps odd looking and sounding to the viewer, are actually an advanced species with a culture, biotechnology, and war fighting capabilities to be respected.
If you could live in an underwater city, would you?
~ Bethany Blanton