A Galaxy of Possibilities: Discussing Character Writing, Diversity, Star Wars and Fandom – Week 28: Vala Netrano

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Vala Netrano, The Sovereign Galactic Empire
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As previously mentioned, I try to have a diverse group of characters: personality, gender, background, species, allegiance, image claim, romantic and sexual orientation, age and so on. I am lucky that, while I keep this in the back of my mind, I naturally have ideas which feed this diversity. I am glad about this because it also allows me to have a more organic character creation process. Of course, if I consciously decided to switch image claim or species or anything to add diversity that I didn’t originally have, I think I would still have interesting characters, but having all of this fall into place on its own accord is a comforting part of my writing process.

I had been toying with a possible character using Rinko Kikuchi since I had seen her in Pacific Rim, but I didn’t have much inspiration to come up with a new concept. I eventually came up with the idea that she could be partially Rattataki as I liked the species because of the Imperial Agent’s companion Kaliyo in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Yet, I knew that Kikuchi, especially with her black hair, wouldn’t work for a full bloodied Rattataki. So, I went back to something I have been drawn to for years: I made her half Chiss and half Rattataki. I once wrote a Chiss, and toyed with other Chiss or half Chiss, but until Vala, I didn’t have one that actually lasted.

Vala was born on Csilla and was the fruit of a forbidden love between a member of the Chiss Ascendancy and his Rattataki bodyguard. While Vala’s Chiss father was first inclined to keep his partner and daughter with them, he discarded them a few years later and both Vala and her mother were sold as slaves to another Chiss, a female politician, who took a liking in the bright child and made sure that she was educated, while her mother served as security in her house. Combat and linguistic skills came to Vala with easiness and she was used as an envoy for certain missions and helped as an interpreter when she was a teenager. Fluent in a few languages, Vala dislikes Basic and rarely uses it, even preferring Huttese to it. She has no problem speaking the language but she doesn’t like the sound of it, finding it not refined enough for her ears.

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When Vala turned nineteen, her owner decided to free either her or her mother. Vala’s mother chose to remain a slave so her daughter could have a life of freedom. The irony is that despite her past as a slave, Vala had no problem becoming a slaver herself in the following decade. She specialized in the commerce and traffic of rare and often illicit goods, exotic and dangerous creatures and slaves. She is interested in forging business ties with about any customer as long as they pay well.

Vala is the only character whose deletion I requested since the launch of this blog series. I realized that as much as I liked her, she wasn’t a good fit for SWRPG. I still write her in cross universe email roleplaying with my friend Rose.

  • Do you ever write characters who are hybrids from two or more species?
  • Did slavery ever influence your characters?
  • Do you write characters who belong to the underworld by choice?

2 thoughts on “A Galaxy of Possibilities: Discussing Character Writing, Diversity, Star Wars and Fandom – Week 28: Vala Netrano

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