Preston Comic Con is taking place as we speak and Fantha Tracks have been busy on the ground as Paul Naylor chats with Nien Nunb performer Mike Quinn. Here, Mike explains the origins of Nien Nunb’s name.
FT: Hi Mike. Fantha Tracks presented you with a birthday cake at the recent London Film and Comic Con. How was the cake?
MQ: Yeah. Hi guys. Thanks for that. It was delicious. I kept the white chocolate Falcon and picture of Nien Nunb from it. Still in my refrigerator.
FT: There’s been a lot of debate over the years regarding the pronunciation of your character name. Is it Nee-en Nunb, or Nine Nunb?
MQ: I often hear Nee-en but it should be pronounced Nine. In fact I didn’t have a character name to begin with. I was just on a long list of background aliens. The origin of the name came about because George Lucas needed a co-pilot for the Falcon as he wanted Chewie on Endor.
FT: So how were you selected?
MQ: George took a look at the pictures on the list. My character looked suitable to co-pilot with Lando and he referred to me as Nine, as I was ninth on the list. The name became Nine Numb, and evolved – I think as a printing error in the toy line – to become Nein Nunb.
FT: That’s cool. And a lot of your work on Return of the Jedi back in the day was puppetry, crouched under the character to move his mouth and eyes. How was it?
MQ: You learn to be a contortionist as a puppeteer. I’d worked on Labyrinth and various muppets projects. When people hear that their eyes light up. There’s always been a strong link between Star Wars and The Muppets.
FT: Absolutely. And now you are a legacy character, more importantly one of the last members of the Resistance aboard the Falcon at the end of The Last Jedi. Can we take it we will see you in Nine, or nein?
MQ: Ha. Yes. I’m back, but obviously I can’t say anything about that.
FT: Of course. Well we all look forward to seeing you again in a galaxy far, far away.
MQ: Cheers folks. May the Force be with You.
Paul Naylor is pictured with an autograph from Mike to his son Matthew.