The new Disney+ series The Mandalorian has proven quite fascinating for a number of reasons, but I think by far the most important revelation from the show has been our very first glimpse, since the series started way back in 1977, of a toilet in the Star Wars universe. For me, this is far bigger than the reveal that Darth Vader was Luke’s father, by far. I’ve been wanting to know how all those aliens and heroes and villains in that universe from a long time ago and far, far away peed and took dumps. Now, thankfully, I have pretty good idea.
Since there was always eating in the Star Wars movies, there’s always been at least the suggestion that, yes, these biological being must somehow need to relieve themselves sometimes. And, very occasionally, I’ve gotten my hopes up that we’d get some glimpse into understanding how this happens.
I mean, was it possible that Darth Vader’s “Meditation Pod” was just a euphemism for where the Lord of the Sith would pinch off steaming Dark Side loaves? Sadly, this didn’t seem to be the case.
I mean, you had to wonder about life aboard the Millennium Falcon at least, right? Han Solo living there with Chewbacca the Wookie, most likely having to share a bathroom. Chewbacca is a seven-foot-tall carnivorous bipedal mammal with a willingness to eat stuff like this:
Can you imagine the sheer scale and density and bone-chunk-studded grandeur of turds a full-grown Wookie must produce? Can you imagine what sharing a bathroom with that would be like? Wookies seem mammalian, but do they have separate anuses and ureters? Do they have separate solid and liquid wastes? Do they have a solitary cloaca for one combined sort of waste? Do they bellow and howl as they grip the sides of whatever they’re shitting into, the process a violent, painful undertaking? Or, does the waste just gently slither out with the easy abandon of an egg yolk down the drain? I have no idea, but I long to know more.
(A quick aside I can’t help but add in here—that chunk of meat in the pictures up there that’s used to lure Chewbacca into the Ewok’s trap has a name—it’s an animal called a Verkle. But that’s not what’s nuts about it—what’s nuts is that it was made for the movie by taking a deer butt and putting a fake mouth in its anus. This is a documented thing. During production of Return of the Jedi, at some point someone was paid to put teeth in a deer’s asshole.)
The Star Wars universe is one populated with a vast array of alien species, all with wildly different morphologies. Designing a waste disposal system that would accomodate all species seems like it would be a near-impossible task, but there has to be situations where species-specific waste management facilities are just not practical, so some sort of almost-universal shitter must exist, right?
Thankfully, The Mandalorian delivers.
The first hint, the first even acknowledgement that waste-disposal events may be happening occurred when their landspeeder pilot mentions that spaceships dump their “Gray Holds” out on the ice. Anyone who has lived in an RV can recognize that euphemism for befouled water.
Later, it becomes obvious we’re about to get into some never-trod Star Wars territory when we’re treated to this fascinating monologue:
Ah ha! We now have an idea what Star Wars toilets are called—well, at least spaceship toilets—vacc tube!
The name “vacc tube” implies a number of things: first, it’s likely vacuum-operated, as opposed to a liquid flushing-type toilet. That makes sense, as the toilets we humans build in our spacecraft, like the ISS, work in just this manner.
Also, it’s a tube. At least in part.
Then, we get really graphic about biological waste production, for Star Wars, at least:
A Fledgling Mythrol evacuating their thorax does sound pretty gross, yes, no question. Absolutely, take that to the damn vacc tube, don’t do it in the seat.
So, and I don’t think there’s really any spoilers here, this Fledgling Mythrol is permitted to find the vacc tube on the Mandalorian’s ship. And that’s when we get our very first glimpse ever of a Star Wars toilet:
Wow. They should have sent a poet.
Okay, so, let’s take a good look at this bathroom, and see what’s going on in there. The silvery metal toilet-like thing at the center seems to be for humanoid-type species, of which I count myself as one, and I think I’d be able to comfortably evacuate my own thorax into there, no problem. It looks like it even has grab handles at the sides!
But, there’s a lot more going on here; luckily, we’re treated to a closer look:
I’ve taken the liberty of adjusting the brightness curves on the image and enlarging it a bit to get a better look at all of what’s happening in there, and I’ve also called out all of the fittings and attachments I think are used to adapt the basic setup to accomodate a wide variety of biological types:
As you can see, I’ve identified what I believe are 11 separate fittings and adapters for this vacc tube, as well as what I think is a sink, which I’m glad to see in there.
In looking at these various fittings, I think numbers 1 through 4 are designed for liquid wastes primarily; they’re smaller, and appear to have a generally funnel-like shape that would be good for fitting over a variety of liquid waste ejection organs. They seem to be generously sized to accomodate a good variety of, um, designs.
Number 5 I suspect is for beings that have a semi-solid type of waste; I can easily imagine there’s types of aliens that eject chowder-like slurries of waste, and that large, bucket-like collector probably works great for that.
The central toilet-like unit is pretty obvious, to us, and likely works for most humanoids that eject wastes via some pelvic-area orifice. Number 7 looks like another large-diameter semi-solid waste collector, and 9 appears to be something that makes a tight fit, with its rubber-ish looking bezel, over some oblong orifice, or, possibly, around some organ roughly the dimensions of that rectangular hole.
Number 10 is interesting, since I think it’s designed to be inserted into some cloaca-like orifice, and waste is vacuum-sucked in through a series of perforations around the dildo-like shaft.
Finally, 11 has its open end facing us, and that end seems to be surrounded with thick, brush-like bristles. I can imagine a number of options here—it could surround some organ, and the bristles help make a seal or stimulate the organ into its release state, or perhaps there’s a similar ring of biological bristle-like growths that these mesh and sort of ‘lock’ with, forming a conduit for whatever foul wastes get ejected.
Perhaps there’s more options here I can’t see, but I suspect even this set could accomodate a pretty vast array of alien bodies, which must be important for a bounty hunter, who never really knows who’s coming next on the ship.
Certain species, like Hutts, are likely not able to be accommodated due to sheer scale. But I suspect that the Mandalorian’s shitter can give relief to everything between whatever Yoda is and a Wookie.
I’m delighted that after all this time Star Wars has finally stopped being squeamish about the realities of biological life, and added this wonderful, rich new dimension to their already lavish universe.
I can’t wait to plop down on my vacc tube and evacuate my thorax while watching the next episode!