This week, The Book of Boba Fett dropped it’s third episode titled the Streets of Mos Espa and with it, some colorful speeders. And funnily enough, these speeder colors have been a source of some minor controversy in the Star Wars fandom.
Can there be too much color in Star Wars? According to some fans, yes. However, Star Wars has always been intentional in its use of color. Drash, Skad and the rest of her street gang’s speeder colors are no exception.
There are two reasons why the Mos Espa street gang have such vividly colorful speeders on Tatooine. I will go over the two largest reasons. One is paying due to Star Wars’s generational influences. The second one reason is an intentional narrative choice on the characters themselves.
The Colorful Speeders Are An Homage To Boomer Loves of Sweet Rides
The original and first Star Wars film, A New Hope is the brainchild of George Lucas. Lucas was born on the cusp of the Baby Boomer era, and his interests reflect what would be popular for Boomers.
For example, Westerns were among the most popular genres of the 1930s to 1960s. Samurai films also had a major heyday in the 1950s. For a child of the 50s, and teen of the 60s, Hot Rod culture was a part of youth life.
These colorful flashy cars were a vibrant symbol of teenage rebellion against authority. Fixing up cars, driving cool cars, socializing around cars was Boomer youth culture.
Lucas has incorporated his 50s and 60s nostalgia in Star Wars multiple times. Who can forget the 50s American diner in the middle of Attack of the Clones?
Dex’s Diner is an entirely 50s era eatery with cushy bright red cushions, and a New York accented waitress in Coruscant. The cook even has the greasy white t-shirt!
In the Book of Boba Fett, the colorful speeder influences are less 1950s Americana, and more British Mods and Rockers. Well, rather the Mods. Mod culture was complex and variegated, so I won’t go into all of it in detail. But it had an influence in the United States. Mod culture at various points had an emphasis on bright colors in fashion. Vespas were popular, and other Italian vehicles.
Drash and the rest of her street gang wear Quadrophenia-style jackets and drive the requisite vivid speeders. The speeders evoke the period that ends the Baby Boomers, and begins Generation X. It would be Generation X that watched Star Wars in 1977, and Quadrophenia only a few years earlier.
The bright speeder colors are not out of place in Star Wars. They are a reminder and homage to the generations that sat in movie theaters in 1977 to 1983 watching Star Wars films for the first time. In this, they are no different than previous Star Wars films.
In fact, I would point out that the Star Wars films from original trilogy to prequel trilogy are primarily Boomer generation. The Clone Wars cartoon’s character style is based on the early 60s puppet show the Thunderbirds.
However, current Star Wars cartoons such as The Bad Batch are more heavily influenced by Generation X cartoons of the 80s and early 90s. The Book of Boba Fett uses the earliest Generation X influences, such as the 70s film Quadrophenia.
The Bright Speeder Colors are The Point
The most common criticism directed at the colorful speeders in the Book of Boba Fett is that the colors are too bright and garish against the Tatooine desert.
I would argue that the dayglo colors are the entire point. Drash and her street gang are young 20 somethings that want to stand out in the drab desert. They are supposed to be garish. They are supposed to look hedonistic and indulgent.
The Mos Espa street gang stands for what all youth rebel movements stand for: clashing against authority and the status quo.
In a way, the colorful street gang produces a very funny meta result among fandom.
“They are too bright and tacky in MY Star Wars!”
“That’s not how they are supposed to look!”
It brings out the “Get off my lawn!” mentality of actual Baby Boomer and older Generation X folks [disclosure–I’m Generation X] , shaking their fist at those too-flashy young people spending way too much of what little money they have on the newest Iphones.
Where are Drash and Skad gang getting their money to invest in flashy speeders and implants? They likely steal a bit, have credits saved from parents somewhere or past gigs. It’s not important because they are a symbol of every young upstart in a dull drab town.
Are you offended by the colors assaulting your senses? Good. That was the point. Are these kiddos wasting water to clean their rides and keep them shiny? Probably.
That is all that is happening here.
In conclusion, the Mos Espa gang is colorful on purpose. It’s an homage to flashy car and bike cultures at various decades. It’s a visual choice that tells us exactly what kind of young people Drash and Skad represent.