"Twi’leks are a humanoid species with long, prehensile head-tails called lekku–organs housing sections of the Twi’lek brain and specialized for communication through subtle motion. Twi’leks are native to the harsh world of Ryloth, a planet that has suffered from occupation by the Hutt Cartel in recent years; Twi’leks on Ryloth not forced to work in the mines are often taken as slaves, exported to markets throughout the Outer Rim. Millennia of dispersion into the wider galaxy, however, means that many Twi’leks have little or no sense of connection with their beleaguered homeworld; Twi’leks may be second only to humans in their ubiquity throughout known space. Nonetheless, many Twi’leks can’t escape the shadows of slavery and the underworld–often, they find work with the same pirates, slavers and spice dealers who have traditionally oppressed their species. Twi’lek names vary dramatically, depending on whether the parents follow the old Twi’lek tradition of combining given and family name, or use the more common approach (separating first name and surname) used by many other species. Some Twi’leks eschew any surname altogether."
Twi'leks are a race of omnivorous humanoids native to the planet Ryloth. Their distinctive features include colorful skin, which varies in pigment from individual to individual, and a pair of shapely prehensile tentacles that grew from the base of their skulls. The tentacles, called "brain-tails", "lekku", "tchun-tchin" or "head-tails", are advanced organs used for communication and cognitive functions. Naturally quick and cunning, they excel in both physical and cognitive skills, and Twi'leks can generally perform feats of dexterity that significantly surpass other species’ capabilities. Twi'leks are often used as slaves, the females primarily as dancers because of their beauty.
Often stereotyped as slaves, dancers, and criminals, the truth is that Twi'lek are represented in all walks of life. Naturally quick and cunning, they excel in both physical and cognitive skills, and Twi’leks can generally perform feats of dexterity that significantly surpass other species’ capabilities. Their human-like qualities and varied skin pigmentations have earned them a reputation as some of the most beautiful beings in the galaxy. Though this has clearly increased their value as slaves and contributed to the exploitation of their species, many free Twi'leks have learned to use their natural beauty and charm to great effect.
One of the most striking aspects of the Twi'leks' exotic physical appearance is their "lekku" or "head tails" which are far more than simple cosmetic appendages. The lekku serve as extra-sensory organs, giving Twi'leks heightened awareness and a greater capacity to master the arts of communication. Historically, Lekku and skin color were symbols of social status among the Twi’leks. In fact, to some extent, skin pigmentation appears to be linked to certain personality traits. Twi'leks with red-colored skin, for instance, are generally expected to have volatile and violent natures, but just as with any other species, despite such genetic predispositions, character traits are varied depending on the individual.
The distant Twi'lek homeworld of Ryloth has a tragic history. Though it's a cold, rocky planet, the Twi'leks had adapted to the environment and lived in relative harmony for many centuries. Several thousand years ago, however, Ryloth was discovered by the Republic and soon after found to have rich stores of the rare and valuable Ryll spice. Still new to the Galactic economy, the Twi'leks were unable to leverage the natural resources to their advantage. Instead, control of the Ryloth mining operation fell into the hands of Hutt criminal enterprises who enslaved the Twi'leks and put them to work in their own mines.
Because of their beauty and their skills, Twi’leks were also sold as slaves on the open market, and today they can be found in almost every system in the galaxy. Though many remain slaves, countless others have achieved freedom and assimilated well into the Galactic population. Despite the number of free Twi'leks across the galaxy, there has never been any credible attempt to liberate Ryloth. This is likely because after generations in slavery across the galaxy, most free Twi'leks have little connection to each other as a species and even less connection to a homeworld which they never knew.