Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Why I Love Cad Bane - Reasons 3-4.5

Reason #3: Duros Species Characteristics

The Duros are one of my favorite Star Wars species, right alongside species like Kaleesh, Dathomirian, Tuskens, Zabraks, and so on.  The reason I love the Duros is they have a beautiful, exotic look without being too exotic.  They are set apart from the Human species with their own unique attributes, but not so much so that the audience cannot relate to them (this is also true for the Duros cousin species the Neimoidians, I should add).  Thus, being a non-Human species makes Cad Bane stand out all the more, and really cements his uniqueness as a character.  While I was reading up on the origins of the character, I noticed that the earlier designs were for that of a Human.  With that in mind, if they had dared to make Cad Bane a Human, I really doubt that the magazine ad from way back in 2009 would have grabbed my attention as much.  Furthermore, his alien features made him stand out to me when I saw "Hostage Crisis" and the Holocron arc.  It got my attention quickly, and it just stuck forever afterward.

And in all honesty, Cad Bane just wouldn't be the same if he were not a Duros.  I have nothing against Human characters, but it is a trope that can be and has been severely overdone.  In my opinion there are too many Star Wars characters who could have had potential in bringing more popularity to an alien species, but they were resorted to being Human instead, because for some reason you can never have too many Humans.  Since Cad Bane the Duros species has earned more popularity, and I love that.

Not to mention it is a lot more fun to try and draw or write alien species than just more Humans; it's very exciting, actually!  As a writer and artist, it is an interesting challenge to note the differences between how Humans and aliens look and behave (for example, since I cannot use eye-rolling or blowing through the nostrils as non-verbal reactions of Cad Bane's, I have to think up more creative ones instead).  It is way too much fun to explore other species, and since I have loved Cad Bane I have been exploring other Star Wars species as well.  It's fantastic and I owe it all to the fact that he is a Duros.

Now I am going to actually explain the characteristics of the Duros species, and specifically Cad Bane, that I love so much.  You might feel a bit weirded out by this, but bear with me; if you do end up thinking it's weird, well, I don't care.  To start, I love the large, red, bulbous eyes.  Unlike Human eyes, Duros eyes convey emotion in different ways, and sometimes the eyes make emotion more complex to decipher, which I actually like.  Just the fact that the eyes are a bright, glowing red got my attention.  Red is an intense and emotional color, so it works great to have red eyes!  Plus I don't know how many people know this, but their eyes basically glow in the dark as well; you can see this in any instance Cad Bane is slinking back in the shadows, because his eyes really stand out.  I have always found those kind of eyes to be very appealing and beautiful, and yes, I do think so more because of Cad Bane, but I just love the overall look it gives him as a character.

Second is Bane's skin color, blue.  The first time I realized how much I loved blue skin color was when I saw James Cameron's movie Avatar in 2009.  I had a temporary obsession with the Nav'i afterward, and now I know one of the reasons is the skin color.  As much as I love all the diversity of Human skin color, there is something about blue skin that seems beautiful to me.  It has a cold, cool look.  It's exotic, but not to the point of being tacky or obnoxious.  Its familiarity as a hue and its rarity to be seen on the body is a wonderful combination.  Blue as a skin color is, for me, the most attention-grabbing and even the most alluring.  I love other non-Human skin colors too, mostly green, gray, and red, but since Cad Bane blue has become my favorite.  It also goes without mentioning that his particular shade of blue is especially pretty.

Third is the hands.  Duros hands are perfect.  The long, knobby fingers with the swollen tips are nothing short of stunning.  I've always loved that shape of hand; it's probably my favorite.  I remember when I was first really getting interested in the character that I paid close attention to the shape and look of his hands.  I don't know why I take such note in things like that, but I have always noticed that if you want to get to know someone, you take a good look at their hands.  Sometimes when I am watching an episode with Cad Bane, I'll just watch the hands and how he's always fixing his hat, sticking a toothpick in his mouth, drawing a blaster, etc etc.  Also, while I'm here, I'm going to mention the finger-less gloves.  I have always had an obsession with those kind of gloves; they're comfortable, they look good, and they're just "tough".  Cad Bane's gloves are awesome!

There are two more things I have to add.  Duros, as you hopefully know already, are a hairless species without noses or ears.  Other people I know are a bit weirded out by this, but for me it is actually a bonus package!  Honestly, I do not like noses.  Being in martial arts taught me that bloody noses are one of the most disgusting, uncomfortable injuries to deal with.  Also, since I have many allergies, every change of season means I have to put up with a runny or stuffy nose for days or weeks, so I have wished I could wish away my nose scores of times.  I've never thought nose piercings or nose rings were attractive in the least bit.  I pretty much hate noses.  Ears are also a not-so-appealing attribute of the Human body.  I don't mind them nearly as much as I do noses, but still, not exactly what makes me attracted to somebody.  And finally the best part for those of you who can relate: you know that wonderful feeling you get when your legs are clean-shaven and all smooth?  Yeah; that's what Duros skin feels like all the time and not just on their legs!  So I find not having any of those Human characteristics makes Duros even better!

All in all, I am not saying that if he had been created as a Human, Cad Bane would be less interesting, because Human characters can be just as awesome as non-Human ones.  I would argue, though, that the fact that he is a non-Human species does make him a lot more interesting as a character, not to mention very beautiful and appealing in multiple ways.  It is yet another reason why I love him.

Reason #4: Outfit

In Reason #1 I touched a bit on the inspiration of Lee Van Cleef's western gunslinger's on Cad Bane's design.  Here I am going to be more specific.  One of the things that made Cad Bane "pop out" to me when I first saw him in "Hostage Crisis" - and I am probably speaking not just for myself - was his outfit.  It goes without saying that he certainly stands out in a crowd, or at least in a crowd of fellow Star Wars baddies.

I am a sucker for leather.  I love outfits heavily accented on the leather.  I don't care if it's steampunk or biker or cowboy, if there's leather, I am going to love it.  And Cad Bane's outfit goes rather heavy on the leather. Frankly, I love the look, to be very basic.  Even people who hate his character have to acknowledge that he looks rad as hell decked in his tailcoat and wide-brimmed hat..  If he wore something more dull like regular clothes or plain armor the character certainly would not have stood out as much and got our attention.  That, in fact, could be one of the reasons Bane wears such an outfit in the first place.  When he enters a room, he probably wants to leave a good impression and make himself known.  Considering his line of work, this is understandable to a fair extent.  There could be a bit of narcissism involved in this, but that is another topic I'll touch on later.

Also, if you take note, Cad Bane does not exactly go heavy on the armor, as with the Fett's.  Instead of wearing an outfit that is centered on self-protection against weapons and enemies, Bane's is more of a defense against harsh climates.  This goes to show that Bane is not as concerned with preventing physical damage as he is with surviving in whatever environment he is in.  Armor could save one a lot of wear and tear in combat, but a leather coat and pants would be more suitable if one is going to a place where one needs to stay warm (or cool, because leather works either way), stay comfortable, and can change outfits quicker if in need of a disguise or the like.  From that we can assume that Bane would rather endure some physical damage than risk exposure to a threatening climate.  In other words, survival in the essence comes before prevention of injury and/or pain.  So, not only does his choice of outfit show that Bane views natural threats as more hazardous than physical threats, but that Bane is confident he can come out victorious in a fight suffering minimal to no injury without wearing any armor.

I have not even mentioned the breathing tubes yet.  At first they kind of shocked me as they are certainly a unique attribute to Bane's appearance.  Now I think they are a really cool addition to his outfit, and not just because they add more of the "sci-fi/space opera" element to his Old Western-esque getup, but because they are actually quite practical.  For one, Bane can survive harsh climates and toxins in the air without suffocating.  In addition, the breathing tubes act as a means of surviving against a Force-choke.  Then there are his rocket boots and his wrist gauntlets, also practical additions to his outfit.

One last thing.  In one episode of Season Four, when asked why he wears a hat since it makes him "stand out", Bane answers with, "I don't like to hide under a helmet."  I think this line can be interpreted in a few ways.  One, he wants anyone to immediately recognize him in a crowd.  When considering that he was the most renowned and notorious bounty hunter during the Clone Wars, this makes sense; after all, people would be more likely to respect him and keep their distance if they knew who he was.  Two, it could be playing towards Bane's own confidence in keeping up in a fight.  To him, wearing a helmet may seem like a self-defense cop-out for both physical and psychological reasons, and he doesn't feel like he needs one to protect himself.  Or the simplest reason, that he just doesn't like helmets and has had bad experience with them in the past, and he "likes" hats the same reason some of us like the color red or Nutella on toast.

But whichever reason it is, it's still clear...if Bane walks into a room, everyone in that room knows who it is.  Hence, the trademark look.  And not only does his outfit make Cad Bane look cool, but it actually works in his favor.  Also, I love leather.

Reason #4.5 - The Hat

After touching on the uniqueness and practicality of Bane's outfit, I must touch on one accessory that I believe makes Cad Bane stand out the most in regards to physical appearance.  I am talking about his wide-brimmed hat.  I can remember how extreme I thought the hat seemed when I watched "Hostage Crisis" and the trailers for The Clone Wars: Season Two.  How could Lucasfilm get away with having a cowboy hat in Star Wars?  And not just your regular hat.  It's a full-out, fifteen-gallon, leather tortilla of a hat.

The hat definitely makes Bane's design a unique one, and anyone who recognizes him will know him by the hat. As with Human characters it is easy to recognize them at once, obviously because they were given real-life actors to portray them.  Non-Humans like Yoda, Chewbacca, or Ahsoka can be recognized quickly as well because of how their design is unique in some form, and that is what Bane's hat contributes to his appearance.  It could be argued that Cad Bane's hat is as trademark to the character as Vader's mask, or Darth Maul's tattoos, or Boba Fett's helmet, or Princess Leia's hairdo.  Not to mention the hat is awesome enough to die for.

Speaking of which, someone did die for the hat.  There is a scene in Season Four where Bane catches a bounty hunter wearing his hat or at least one very familiar to it.  No apparent explanation is made as to how this bounty hunter came upon the object, but the possibility that Bane would have lost his hat during a skirmish at some point can certainly be argued.  Bane approaches the bounty hunter with the remark of "Nice hat", just before plugging him with a laser bolt.  Then he dons the hat and looks around at all the staring faces of the other bounty hunters.  "What are you looking at?  It's a nice hat," he snarls.

Even Bane openly confesses his fondness for the hat.  Sure, maybe he didn't want someone else walking around with his trademark accessory, and once again it can be argued that there is some narcissism involved in this case, but in the end, it cannot be denied.  We all love Cad Bane's hat.  We all think of Cad Bane when we see the hat.  It does its job and it does its job well.

1 comment:

  1. Another wonderful and fun to read post.
    I loved how you broke down all the reasons why Cad Bane is so interesting. I too, like non-Human species, although I prefer the ones that look Near-Human, like Twi'leks, Togruta, Kiffar, etcetera. It can be a bit harder to make human characters stand out because there are so many of them, that's why I like for mine to have scars or tattoos and very distinctive personalities. Red is a wonderful color--I would want my lightsaber to be red, and blue is a cool color as well. If you like red eyes and blue skin so much, have you ever heard of the SW species called the Chiss? They have red eyes like Duros' and blue skin, but otherwise appear completely human. I always enjoy trying to decipher what Cad Bane's eyes are attempting to express in your wonderful, wonderful work.

    I like leather too, especially black leather. It's just so cool, and I think Bane's outfit is really cool. I like how you interpret the fact that he doesn't wear armor, that he is confident in his skills and views the natural environment as more of a threat. There is definitely a backstory to that rationale, I think!

    Well, the hat, I like that hat. I think the incident you mentioned is rather amusing, and I can see him wanting to be the only one with such a distinctive piece of headgear, and indeed it does make him distinctive. You have always liked the cowboys, haven't you?

    Another excellent post, and I really enjoyed reading this.