Wat Tambor. Wullf Yularen. Plo Koon. These are some Star Wars guys that I know. I actually know a lot of Star Wars guys, which is why I was surprised that I had never heard of Glup Shitto. And yet it’s a name I keep seeing online, in social media handles and discussions of The Mandalorian. I have now learned everything there is to know about Glup Shitto.
Like all of the best things in Star Wars, Glup Shitto is not canonical. He sprung from the mind of Tumblr user gomjabbar on September 3, 2020, in the following post:
every time a new Star War movie or show is announced all the fans are like “OMG Glup Shitto is back ”
Since the post first appeared, Star Wars as a franchise has had several Glup Shitto moments. The meme has taken off accordingly. Finally, people like me who watched all of the Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels cartoons can have their day in the sun, with characters from those shows and other Star Wars spinoff properties popping up in The Mandalorian and in Disney’s upcoming slate of Star Wars shows.
It used to be that I would just corner people at parties and lecture them about Grand Admiral Thrawn, receiving little more than a glassy-eyed stare and a hollow promise that my conversation partner would check out Clone Wars “sometime.” But now when I do that, I might even see a flicker of recognition in their eyes, because Thrawn is a recurring character with a tentative foot in a popular show.
No one ever really wants to check out Clone Wars. I mean, I didn’t either, at first. It starts slow, and it stays slow for a long time. There are various lists online of the best episodes, but all of them conflict, because there are relevant and emotionally resonant tidbits in all of the episodes, blanketed in a wash of boring stuff that doesn’t find its footing until well into season 2 (or later, depending on who you ask). Star Wars Rebels has better pacing from the jump, but its best moments don’t land if you haven’t watched Clone Wars. It’s tough to convince your average adult Star Wars fan that the best Star Wars stuff is buried in a show that is based on the prequels, of all things, and whose target demographic skews really young, even by Star Wars standards. It also moves so slowly that I don’t even think Child Me would have had the patience for it. Only the most stubborn Star Wars fan would bother.
But I’ve held onto these weirder corners of Star Wars in this post-Rise of Skywalker world. I expect mainstream Star Wars to let me down these days, by simplifying the series’ most complicated and unnerving aspects into something safer, and oftentimes stupider. Meanwhile, the books, cartoons, comics, and video games can get into weirder, sillier stuff — as well as themes and ideas that challenge the Star Wars status quo. The lid seems a bit looser on these fringe properties, and that’s where the good stuff — the Glup Shitto of it all — can shine through.
Glup Shitto is mostly just a fun joke about how Star Wars names sound like garbled nonsense. But to me, at least, he’s a representation of the bizarre stubbornness of a certain sector of Star Wars fans, in the face of a franchise that has been painfully hit or miss for the past two decades. The crying emojis in the original post sum it all up, really. Glup Shitto is back. Star Wars is good again, but only in an extremely discrete and obscure way, one you have to dig to uncover and truly understand.
I’m not a Star Wars fan. Not anymore. I’m just here for Glup Shitto.