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Darth Terrabbicus

Darth Terrabicus
Photo: Robbins Studios Photography and Fine Art
Darth Terrabbicus Doing a Force Push... Er...
Maybe the Queen's wave?
Like so many of my cosplay costumes, Darth Terrabbicus started out as a kind of joke. In order to understand that, you get backstory. (Sorry.)


There is a character who appeared in the first stories to follow the Marvel Star Wars adaptation of the movie A New Hope (which was, in 1977, always just called Star Wars as I remember it.) This character was Jaxxon, a giant, sassy, green rabbit (er, 'Lepus Carnivorus') who palled around with Han and Chewie for a while.

As characters go, Jaxxon was sort of silly although Marvel created sillier characters in their nascent exploration of the Star Wars universe. (For example, there was also an anthropomorphic porcupine character in a green cloak who shot quills out of his arm which Han actually calls a 'spiner'. Really?) So while a cheeky, meat-eating rabbit is absurd, he wasn't the most absurd Star Wars character out there. (*cough* Jar Jar *cough*)

Then again, how can you expect anything but absurdity from a character whose origin, according to his creators, was Bugs Bunny? As explained in his Wookieepedia entry, Jaxxon "was created in homage to Warner Brothers cartoon star Bugs Bunny who often addressed strangers with the generic nickname "Jackson" in his 1940s cartoons." Even his home planet - Coachella Prime - is a nod to Bugs' mention of the Coachella Valley in the classic cartoon Bully for Bugs.

Which brings us to my fascination with him. I love the classic Bugs Bunny cartoons. Admittedly, when I got through the first story in Marvel and found Jaxxon and his fellow cartooney characters (including a Don Quixote knock-off, the space porcupine, a Luke Skywalker Lite and an odd half tank/ half robot) heading out with Han Solo to protect the farmers in a 16th century Japanese village, it struck me as being a bit out of sync with the movie. But I suspect my love of Bugs Bunny made me identify with this character and I never really forgot him.

Comic page
Jaxxon Being Jaxxon. K-Chop! (From Marvel Star Wars (1977) #8, pp. 11-12.)
When I started doing cosplays, I kind of joked about doing Jaxxon. For whatever reason, the most obscure, absurd things appeal to me. At first I just talked about this cosplay because a) most people I spoke with had no idea what I was talking about and b) I thought it was funny. If something strikes me as being funny, I will spend untold time, effort and money trying to make it happen. This is what led me to create a Ringwraith cosplay in 2014. (Believe it... or not. See the never-created page on my Ringwraith costume for more on that.)

For some reason, possibly because I kept repeating it, I started to think I actually should follow through on this stupid idea. There were two major obstacles: 1) Finding the right mask and 2) That skin-tight red jumpsuit. Nobody wants to see me in a skin tight red jump suit. (Especially me.)

So I put in some time searching for an appropriate mask. Someone had had one made by artist Miss Raptor which was gorgeously realistic. Even though 'realistic' and 'Jaxxon' don't belong together in the same sentence (stop reading this now before it's too late!), I looked into it anyhow.

Although it was probably well worth the money given how realistic and detailed the mask was, at over $1000 it seemed a bit steep for a joke. Plus, beautiful thought it is, that mask looks like it would be really hot. So I shelved the idea and went on with my life. But it was always still in the back of my head, roaming around as talking green rabbits are wont to do. This nearly always means it was doomed... uh.. I mean, destined, to become reality. And so it was.

Creating the Darth Terrabbicus Costume

Jana and Shana
Photo: Shana - Jana and Shana as Twi'leks
This brings us to the events leading up to Star Wars Celebration 2017 which was in Orlando. Two of my pirate re-enacting pals, twins Jana and Shana were planning to go. (I am actually the third twin, but this is irrelevant to this article, so you will just have to wonder about that.) Even though I had bought my entry pass, I was on again, off again about going until about a month before when I decided to go because several other people I liked and hadn't seen in a long time were going.

I only had passes for Friday and Saturday, so I at first figured to wear my (admittedly somewhat less than interesting) Captain Antilles Rebel Fleet Trooper gear and perhaps my Sith Bith outfit. As it happened, I wore neither because they were both uncomfortable in their own special way. The trouble with the Bith is that costume is hot and the mask made it very difficult for me to see anything. From past experience I knew that had I worn the Sith Bith, one of the twins would wind up guiding me around by the hand like an addled child. It's a tough feat in a crowd. Enter Jaxxon.

I settled on him in large part because I found a really interesting paper mache and paper clay rabbit mask made by Artisan Jaxxon Mask
The Green Rabbit Mask with Ribbons and Lower Jaw Intact
Masks on ETSY. I asked Carolyn, the store owner, if she could make a green version with prominent teeth and have it ready in a few weeks. She said she could. Since this wasn't a complete mask, I knew I was either going to have to make it a complete head covering somehow or find a way to hide the back of it. The easy out was to get a black balaclava and then keep my head in the shadow of a black cowl. Thus the Jaxxon cosplay became a Sith.

Carolyn was as good as her word and I had the mask well in advance of Celebration. It had two ribbons on the side that were to be tied in the back to hold it in place. They actually held it quite well, but that put all the pressure of the mask on the bridge of my nose. While this seemed as if it would be OK while testing it, experience has taught me that when something is a little annoying will become excruciating by the time you are ready to leave. (Which will be early. Seriously. I do not overstate this. If you learn nothing else from reading, know this: Little annoying cosplay costume irritants transform into hot knives digging into you over time.)

Examining the sturdy construction of the mask, I decided it could be firmly attached to a black baseball cap with the bill removed using screws and glue. This relieved the pressure on my nose a great deal, although not entirely. I also cut the chin of the mask off and touched up the paint so I could breathe, talk and drink (through a straw). Not perfect, but anyone whose ever worn a mask for an extended period will understand Terrabbicus Mask and Cap
Final Darth Terrabbicus Mask Sans Lower Jaw Plus Cap
when I say there is no such thing as a perfect mask.

Not knowing what the weather would be in Orlando, I also researched the best way to waterproof paper mache. I found that a woman in England named Jackie Hall had conducted a year long experiment into this! (Honestly! You can read about it here.) From her research, yacht varnish proved to be the stuff to best protect paper mache from wet weather. I discovered that we Yanks call yacht varnish spar varnish and that it can be found in convenient spray cans at your local hardware. I coated the mask with this several times. It didn't rain at all, of course, but Murphy's Law dictates that if I hadn't varnished it, the stuff would have come down in buckets and my mask would have been reduced to green papery mush before I ever got into the convention center. My insurance was less than $10, cheap at the price.

I should mention the balaclava and baseball cap while I'm talking about head gear. I purchased both on Amazon (mostly because I get free two day shipping through Prime and they had a variety of choices.) I was specifically looking for lightweight, possibly sweat wicking products. I found this baseball cap, which claimed to be 'cool mesh' and was also low profile. Terrabbicus in Bith Costume
The Mask, Balaclava, Two Bith
Layers, Belt, Gloves And
Boots (Not the Final Outfit)
(Important for wearing under a cowl.) I came across a couple sweat-wicking balaclavas, but the general trend was for versions that kept you warm. I finally decided on a Brubeck balaclava despite the fact that it seemed to lean towards warming the wearer. However it was seamless and it showed the wearer having it pulled below their chin, both of which would work best for me. So much for head wear.

The basis of the fabric part of this costume was the Sith Bith outfit repurposed, which was actually the Darth 3PO outfit repurposed. Don't bother looking for the D3PO costume on this web page. While I greatly desired to create and wear this costume, it never happened and probably never will. I reserve the right to continue daydreaming about making and - more importantly - withstanding the wearing of it. You don't know claustrophobia until you've imagined firmly bolting yourself inside a 3PO mask and then putting on droid fingers that won't allow you to grab and hold of the bolts so you can remove the mask should a crises develop such as a mosquito getting into your mask. (Unlikely, but we can't discount Murphy's Law here.) But I digress...

The one problem with the original Sith Bith outfit was that the layers of fabric were heavy and hot. Plus the costume had no cowl, an essential part of making the Jaxxon costume work. Fortunately for me, Jana generously offered to make me a black, fairly lightweight Jedi robe with cowl and bring it to Celebration with her. Although this meant I couldn't try it on in advance, you sometimes have to have faith that things will work out. (This is almost never a good plan for a cosplay costume. But what are you gonna' do when you're up against it? Have faith and worry anyway. That's my policy.)

I reused other Bith/D3PO elements such as the Darth Terrabbicus Belt
The Multi-Use Black Anakin Belt
JediRobeAmerica.com Costumes' Black Anakin Skywalker Sith Belt and lightsaber. Almost everyone in Star Wars has some kind of fancy leather belt, so that just made sense. And a Sith needs a weapon, so I reenlisted my old Darth Maul Signature Series FX Lightsaber with Removable Blade. Hey presto, weapon and fancy belt handled.

This covered all the Sith details, but it I didn't want to create a rehash. (Not that anyone at Celebration would remember the Sith Bith. But I would.) While black Sith robes and similar accoutrements are nice, I felt that up that I had been ignoring the Jaxxon element in the costume. What to do, what to do.

In addition to his absurd red jumpsuit with the strange yellow stripes down the front, Jaxxon had some signature Bugs Bunny white gloves and tall white boots. (Like the fancy leather belt, a lot of characters in the Star Wars universe don tall, serious-looking boots.) Various Cosplay Boots
My SW boots from most expensive and least comfortable to least expensive and most comfortable.
Although a Sith would probably never wear white (I think the union rules prohibit such), I chose to incorporate these things into my Sith Lepi character.

I was most worried about the boots. I have had bad luck with boots. The discomfort of the Captain Antilles costume that I mentioned previously have everything to do with the stupid Fry's Campus Boots required for that costume. (I'll bet you though I forgot about mentioning the discomfort of the CA costume, didn't you? Nyah.) I am not bragging when I say I bought a brand new pair of them for well north of $300 and still found them uncomfortable after an hour or two of wear. Curiously, I had purchased another pair of boots two for the Sith Bith (with the ridiculous name of "Men complex Guma Ding shoes European and American style punk fashion") which were 1/4 of the price of the Fry boots and were worlds more comfortable. But they didn't fit this character.

I decided to go out on a limb and buy a pair of Funtasma White Captain's Boots, which I found on sale on a Halloween site for the princely sum of $16. You would think a pair of $16 boots would be less than worthless, wouldn't you? You would be wrong. With a pair of Dr. Shoals inserts in them (something that doesn't fit in the stupid expensive Fry boots), the Funtasma boots turned out to be more comfortable than either the Fry's boots or the Guma Ding boots. (Guma ding. I mean... what?!) There seems to be an inverse law at work here between Darth Terrabbicus Gloves
The Darth Terrabbicus Leather Gauntlets
boot prices and comfort which works in my favor. (If anyone out there sees a pair of really cool costume boots going for $1, please let me know. They will probably be like wearing clouds.)

The gloves were actually the most expensive part of this build. I purchased Tough Gloves Ultra™ Enforcer Leather Gauntlets in white, which I got from Leather Gloves Online. Although I used their sizing procedure to determine the proper pair to order, the ones I received were far too small. This was no problem whatsoever for the folks at Leather Gloves online. They paid to have them shipped back and, upon receipt, immediately sent me the larger size I requested. No extra charge. They're princely people to work with. This may account for the reason their gloves are so expensive. It was worth it, though. I think they really helped make the costume.

Jaxxon Neck Brace
Jaxxon's Neck Piece
In the 11th hour, I decided to add one more detail to the costume from the original Jaxxon garb: his neck... thing. Neck piece? Neck brace? Jana and I speculated about what it might be. Maybe a translator? A native Lepi decoration? Something ol' Jaxxon had to wear after his space ship was rear ended in the parking lot? Hard to say. However, I sort of liked the look of it, so I decided to include it in my outfit as something important to the Lepi culture.

Making it was easy - I used a medical neck brace. All these things seem to be white, probably for the same reason nurses used to wear white. Darth Terrabbicus Neck Brace
The Neck Brace With the Odd Center Yellow Piece
(No, I don't know the reason.) I debated leaving it white so it would be like Jaxxon's, but decided no Sith would stand for such a thing. (The Sith union rules are probably pretty clear on this point.) So I dyed it black. Then I cut up some yellow disposable plates to make the layered thing in the middle and just glued that piece to the neck brace with Gorilla Glue. It's sort of tough to see with the neck brace with all the black and shadow that's in that part of the costume, but the square really stands out.

The last detail to be purchased for the Darth Terrabbicus build was body paint. As I mentioned, I wanted my chin and mouth exposed. Fortunately Jana and Shana have been using body paint for years for their Twi'lek cosplay and were able to steer me towards TEMPTU Pro Dura Specialty Colors. I chose Olive Adjuster 321, which seemed to work fairly well.

"Yes, most definitely."
Although that covers all the parts of the costume, one final detail concerned me: what to call this character. I didn't think Jaxxon would actually turn to the Dark Side and I didn't want to besmirch his name (if that is possible - a lot of people hate this character.) After hours, maybe days, spent thinking about this, I came up with Darth Terrabbicus. It just seemed to work. I could tell you about all the time I spent building this character's background: his upbringing on Coachella Prime, how he first discovered his force sensitivity, the way he was chosen and then trained by Master Not-Yet-a-Sith Bith, how he embraced his anger at the tragic falling death of favorite pet teddy rabbit Sloopy despite the fact that he [Terrabbicus] told him [Sloopy] that he [Sloopy] [Or maybe Terrabbicus. I'm getting confused.] to "Hang on Sloopy, hang on!", his [Terrabbicus'] [OK, I'll stop now.] fall from grace and the way he embraced the Dark Side... but that would all just be a lie. I just thought Darth Terrabbicus sounded funny.

Plus, if Scaramanga had been a Sith Bunny, this would have been his name.

Star Wars Celebration 2017

This brings us to the final assembly of the costume. The first thing Jana and me (mostly Jana) needed to do was make a hole Darth Terrabbicus Face Paint
The Terrabbicus Green Face Paint. I'm Proud to Say I Did
The Eyeliner. (Had you told me a year ago if I'd ever use
eyeliner, let alone be proud of it, I'd never have believed you.)
in the cowl for the ears to poke through. I wanted the mask in the shadow of the cowl, but the ears were so well done that I wanted them to be visible. Jana handled this adroitly and I think the final look was ideal. Her cloak was so lightweight that it kind of flowed around me, which I think added to the character. As light as it was, it still covered me so effectively that I decided to wear only the sleeveless Sith Bith inner robe and ditch the outer robe entirely.

Jana also painted most of my face for me. I touched it up a bit here and there, but she handled the bulk of it. She also darkened my lips so they would sort of match the mask for me. (Looking back on this, I now realize that this project would never have happened without Jana's help. This costume is at least a third, if not half, hers.) I did do the eye-liner. (But only because she was afraid to get too close to my eyes. It had to be done, though, because my eyes were visible through the mask.)

I had never worn this kind of body paint before. I wish I could tell you my thoughts on it, but I barely noticed it except when I took the mask off to eat. (My impression of that? It feels funny when your mask peels the paint off the bridge of your nose.) Makeup is a pain to remove, though. But I suppose we must suffer for our art. (If 'art' is the word I want here.)

The Star Wars Celebration was actually the weekend of Easter, something that hadn't even occurred to me until a week or two before the event. Here I was dressed as a giant green rabbitty thing on the day before Easter. While we were waiting to go through the metal detector, I wound up posing with several small children, at least one or two of whom accused me of being the Easter Bunny. Darth Terrabbicus and Vader Poster
Pimping For the Franchise. (Vader's Force Push Hand is So Much More Effective Than Mine.)
(I began to wonder if parents would want to set up a chair and have the kids sit on my lap for Easter photos.) But that (mostly) changed once we got inside. (Mostly. There was one three or four year old kid who insisted I was the Easter Bunny, so I finally just gave up and said I was. Then he went away. Magic.)

I didn't count, but I'd guess that at least twenty or thirty people called me Jaxxon. (This may surprise you. But it is Star Wars mecca, after all.) Only one of them made a derogatory comment about the character. (It might have been George Lucas. I don't actually know because it was a little hard to see out of that mask.) I was asked to pose for several dozen photos, so Darth Terrabbicus was a success from that standpoint.

Speaking of my name, I started out trying to explain that I was not Jaxxon, but a poor distant relation called Darth Terrabbicus. This comment was a sort of a Bugs Bunny reference - for those who want to see how, go watch the cartoon Hair Trigger. incidentally, that is the same cartoon where he sings Go Get the Axe, which appears in a couple classic Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes, being used to particularly good effect in Robot Monster. But I am wandering off topic, not to mention mixing fandoms...

I finally realized that most people who want a photo with you really don't care about your backstory, let alone your name. They want to get a quick photo with you and then a quick one with that Wookiee and then Darth Maul Our Little Group of Twi'leks and a Lepi
Three Twi'leks (Mickey, Jana and Shana) and a Sith Lepi
and a not-quite-so-quick photo with the girl in the sexy Ewok costume. (I have no words to explain the sexy Ewok cosplay phenomenon. In fact, forget I brought it up.) As a result, I stopped trying to explain my character to a cold, uncaring populace and just let people call me Jaxxon. (At least they recognized the origin of this thing.)

Early on in the proceedings, I noticed that the fourth member of our group, Mickey Flint, who was dressed as a Dark Side force-wielding Twi'lek, usually posed with people while holding his lightsaber dramatically and doing a force push with his free hand. So I decided to copy this. Now Mickey has been cosplaying for years, maybe decades, and he knows how to just pose for the camera. I, sadly, do not. This is why most of the photos of me as Darth Terrabbicus have me holding my hand out, giving my unseen opponent a weak Force push. Force nudge? Force tap? Whatever it was, while glancing over the photos I decided I'd have to work on that bit if I ever decided to do this character again..

One group of people who really liked my costume were the Marvel Comics folks. Since Jaxxon was their creation (about 40 years previously), I can see how he might be of interest to them. However, several of them were quite enthusiastic. This is true even though I am not certain any of the ones who talked with me were even alive when the original comics were drawn. I managed to get photos on my camera with two Marvel employees which you see below.

Darth Terrabbicus with John Tyler Christopher
DT with John Tyler Christopher
Alternate Comic Cover
Tyler's Alternate SW (2015) Jaxxon Cover
Jaxxon and Marvel girlDT With a Marvel Employee Outside Their Booth

The photo above left is of me with a guy who told me he was the guy who drew the Jaxxon cover. (At first I thought he meant the 1977 covers, which seemed unlikely given his age, so I asked him which one. Then he explained that he had drawn the alternate cover for the 2015 series which showed Jaxxon on the opposite side of the wall from the canon characters demanding to be let in (above center). So that was apparently John Tyler Christopher. (I told him I had bought that comic, which seemed to please him. It's nice to have your work appreciated.) The other is a woman whom I believe told me her job had something to do with marketing. She seemed quite excited to see a Jaxxon cosplay. (So... if you guys are fans, why not bring ol' Jaxxon back? Hmm? Team him up with Jar Jar. Maybe have him kill Jar Jar.)

That's pretty much all there is to say about ol' Darth Terrabbicus. As Star Wars costumes go, it wasn't the least comfortable I've ever worn (thanks in large part to my cheap costume boots). However the mask did press on my nose a bit and I had a slight headache by the end of the day. Below are a few last, favorite photos.

Dramatic Pose Darth Terrabbicus
Darth Terrabbicus in a (Somewhat)
Dramatic Pose on the Bridge
Darth Terrabbicus and Jana
Photo: Rob Permenter
Kiva and Her Pet Darth Terrabbicus
Darth Terrabbicus Wondering
Photo: Jana Kiva
Terrabbicus Looking Thoughtful