Michael Kaluta’s art for White Wolf Publishing.
The other day, I told a friend that essentially, all White Wolf game art for years looked just like the instructions given were “do it just like Mike Kaluta would,” and I was surprised to hear Kaluta himself did some art for side games and side projects.
The second or third most important person to the mythos of Buckaroo Banzai is someone who wasn’t even mentioned in the finished film at all: supergenius and leader of the World Crime League, Hanoi Xan, responsible for the death of Buckaroo’s wife. All references to him were cut from the film (W.D. Richter said it was because he felt Xan’s name should never be spoken in a comedy).
Xan doesn’t appear in the film, except in one place: he was on a comic cover created by Mike Kaluta, the one and only reference to him in the final movie.
The novelization, however, gives us more information on Lord Xan:
- Hanoi Xan’s chief henchmen are the Bravos, martial arts fanatic assassins who’s final initiation ritual is pinning their ear to a tree, so they have to cut off their own ear.
- His chief base are in caves on an island in Malaysia (shades of Sandokan). Buckaroo assigned Seminole Kid (a Hong Kong Cavalier not seen in the finished film) to patrol the waters of the island for activity, and Xan tricked Buckaroo into getting into the caves by planting rumors his wife was still alive and in his captivity.
- Xan has a fleet of submarines known as Nautiloids.
- His chief female henchwoman is a beautiful female zombie he commands named Le Negrette (possibly the female shown in the cover above?)
- He uses robots known as Xan’s “Deadly Dwarves,” who are only alluded to in dialogue, but can be rigged to explode.
- “Hanoi Xan” is a nickname given to him by interpol. He does not go by that name at all.
- Xan was responsible for breaking Dr. Lizardo out of prison (specifically his henchman Lo Pep), and was the one who helped Lizardo steal a Maserati, a plot point that was mentioned in dialogue in the finished film but never resolved. He apparently had contact with Lizardo for years but never believed his story about the 8th Dimension until Banzai broke the time barrier. Xan broke Lizardo out to create his own Oscillation Overthruster.
- Xan is not Chinese but Mongolian, and his hatred of Buckaroo Banzai is due to a family feud from centuries back. The novelization makes it explicitly clear that Xan’s assassins killed Buckaroo’s parents.