"An epic of heroes, villains, and aliens from a thousand worlds."
That's what the stentorian announcer promised to deliver in the first
theatrical previews for a new sci-fi extravaganza called Star Wars. The
flickering trailer offered tasty flashes of zooming spaceships, strange
beasties, and double sunsets, hinting at a fantastic galaxy that was
utterly unlike our own.
When the movie finally broke in May 1977, the "gee whiz" factor didn't
diminish one bit. Our heroes' planet-hopping adventures took them from
the hot sands of Tatooine to the cool mists of Yavin 4. And the
phantasmagoric menagerie of bizarre barflies knocking 'em back in the Mos
Eisley cantina hinted at a thousand other points of origin.
The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi added several strange new
locales to the canon, leading one to speculate that the Star Wars galaxy
has a peculiar number of single-climate worlds: Tatooine is a desert
planet, Hoth an ice ball, Dagobah a slimy mudhole, Endor the "forest
moon." (But hey, this is space opera--why not?)
Though the films have been loved by generations of moviegoers and VCR
buffs, they spotlight only a small fraction of the countless planets in
that galaxy far, far away. The books, comics, computer games, and
television specials have done their best to rectify that. Even places
that were mentioned only in passing on the big screen, such as Dantooine,
Kessel, and Taanab, have been given climates, geographies, and elaborate
histories by dozens of new authors and artists. If you're interested in
tracking down the original source material on any given planet, the back
of this volume contains a coded bibliography to help you in your search.
From Abregado-rae to Zhar, planets and moons are the backdrops for the
world's most popular space fantasy. This book covers a hundred of the most
notable. But galaxies are big places, and there is still much to explore.
Enjoy the bus tour, and don't feed the Wookiees.
--Daniel Wallace, Detroit, Michigan
ABREGADO-RAESystem: Abregado system
Species: Humans, Gados, Moochers
Points of Interest: LoBue cantina
Abregado-rae has always been a common destination for smugglers and
free-traders, who are greeted at spaceports by Moochers-- small sentient
creatures that survive by panhandling. In recent years the world has
suffered from the rise of a new, tyrannical government that has modernized
Abregado-rae but demanded total obedience from its citizens. A peaceful
separatist group in the southern hills made the mistake of publicly
protesting; as an example, the regime cut off its supply lines, forcing
the group to submit or starve.
During the New Republic's war against Grand Admiral Thrawn, Han Solo and
Lando Calrissian went to Abregado-rae to make contact with Talon Karrde's
smuggling organization. The planet's notoriously seedy starport was now
gleaming and polished, but the sight of grim police thugs made it clear
that the native Gados had lost a measure of freedom.
Ducking into the LoBue cantina, Lando spotted their contact, Fynn Torve,
in an intense game of sabacc with several other players. All too aware of
the security officers casing the place, Han purchased a pile of betting
chips and took a seat at the table. As he was easing into the game, a
burly religious minister shoved forward, seemingly plucking a
"skifter"--an illegal face-changing sabacc card--from Han's hand. Law
enforcement toughs converged to harass the suspected cheater, and Torve
quietly slipped away.
Lando and Han finally met Torve back onboard the Falcon. Since
Abregado-rae's constabulary had impounded Torve's ship, the Etherway, for
running contraband food to the hill dissidents, the smuggler had wisely
been lying low. The "reverend" back in the cantina had actually been one
of Torve's local contacts, happy to create the needed diversion. After Han
and Lando expressed their desire to meet his boss, Torve reluctantly
agreed to take them to Talon Karrde's hidden base on Myrkr.
Later, Mara Jade arrived at Abregado-rae to pick up the confiscated
Etherway on behalf of Karrde and discovered that the smuggling ship had
been released from the impound yard thanks to a generous bribe given by
Wedge Antilles. After briefly chatting with Rogue Squadron's leader, Mara
boarded the Etherway and piloted through the outer fringes of the planet's
Accelerating to full speed, Mara rapidly prepared the jump to hyperspace,
but the Victory- class Star Destroyer Adamant roared from the planet's far
side and expertly cut off her escape route. The Imperial warship's smug
commander called for the outlaw vessel's immediate and unconditional
Mara was out of options. Though she had enjoyed her years of anonymity,
she had no choice but to transmit the unmistakable recognition signal that
identified her as the long-lost Emperor's Hand.
His valuable prize safely aboard, the Adamant's commander left
Abregado-rae with all possible haste, bound for Endor and a very
interested Grand Admiral Thrawn.
AGAMARSystem: Mirgoshir system
Terrain: Binka forests
Points of Interest: Calna Muun starport
A secluded planet in the isolated Outer Rim, Agamar is known primarily as
the homeworld of Keyan Farlander--a determined recruit who overcame his
humble beginnings to become one of the greatest pilots in the Rebel
Because of the Outer Rim's distance from the Core Worlds, the Emperor was
unable to maintain a tightfisted grip on the wild frontier region. Upstart
resistance groups on backwater worlds such as Agamar thought they could
plot against the Imperial regime with impunity. They were sorely mistaken.
An Imperial assault craft was dispatched to Agamar to quell its fledgling
insurrectionist movement. Over deafening loudspeakers, the warship's
commander announced the in-escapable penalty for Imperial citizens who
dared harbor traitors. Proton torpedoes were then dropped from the sky.
A young Keyan Farlander, racing home through the binka forest, heard the
screams of the wounded and dying. When the bombardment finally ceased, his
hometown of Tondatha was a smoking ruin. At the blast crater that had once
been his family's struggling mugruebe ranch Keyan found the lifeless
bodies of his mother and father.
With no reason to remain, Keyan drifted to the main city, Calna Muun,
where he joined the Agamar Resistance. The dissident group had been shaken
by the Empire's brutal attack but was now more driven than ever to
continue the fight.
Mon Mothma, the distinguished leader and founder of the Rebel Alliance,
arrived on Agamar for a secret meeting with the planetary resistance,
hoping to persuade them to join her larger cause. Keyan listened intently
as the dignified woman recited a litany of the Emperor's atrocities and
called upon all free beings of the galaxy to make a stand against tyranny.
Inspired by her eloquence, Farlander asked how he could become a
starfighter pilot to strike back against the butchers who had devastated
Flight Cadet Farlander was sent to the Alliance star cruiser Independence
for orientation and intensive training. It was far from easy, but the
young Agamarian displayed a natural skill in the cockpit--and manifested
an uncanny ability to wield the Force.
Over the next few years Farlander distinguished himself in extraordinary
service to the Alliance. Between countless dogfights, Farlander helped
annihilate the Star Destroyer Intrepid, participated in the Battle of
Yavin, spearheaded the successful Operation Ram's Head, oversaw the
deployment of the new B-wing fighter, and helped cover the Rebel fleet's
evacuation to the ice world of Hoth. Agamar has every reason to be proud
of its most famous son.
System: Alderaan system
Terrain: Plains, small seas
Points of Interest: Aldera, Castle Lands
Everyone has heard of the Alderaan tragedy. Grassy plains and alien ruins,
distinguished universities and celebrated museums, soaring thrantas and
dazzling glimmerfish were all obliterated in an instant by the Death
Star's superlaser, leaving only a ragged debris field fittingly called the
For thousands of years Alderaan was famous as a world of unspoiled beauty
and a center of art, culture, and education. The earliest colonists
refused to pave their new home with ferrocrete--one Coruscant was enough
for them. Instead, cities were built into canyon crevasses, beneath the
polar ice, and on stilts in the shallow saline seas.
The rolling plains and gentle breezes attracted some of the greatest
artists and philosophers who ever lived. Some sought inspiration in the
Castle Lands (empty dirt mounds left by long-vanished aliens), while
others used the endless fields as their canvas in vast "grass paintings."
Though Alderaan had long been a democracy, it still retained a royal
family: House Organa. The Organas, ruling from the capital, Aldera, took
an active role in the Old Republic government and helped oversee the
voluntary demilitarization of their world after the bloody Clone Wars.
After Palpatine's rise, Bail Organa became a founding member of the Rebel
Alliance, and his adopted daughter, Leia, followed in his footsteps.
But Princess Leia was captured above Tatooine by Darth Vader and brought
aboard the newly completed Death Star. Grand Moff Tarkin had planned to
use his new weapon on Alderaan--as an example to other free-thinking
worlds--but now he could also finally crush the Rebellion.
The princess was brought to the control center and led to believe that she
could save her homeworld by divulging the site of the secret Rebel base.
Leia named a location, but it made no difference--the defenseless planet
Tarkin, however, had made a disastrous error. The callous murder of
billions struck anger--not fear--into the galaxy. New allies, seeing the
Empire's true face, flocked to the Rebel banner.
Imperial spokespeople put their best spin on the story, initially claiming
that Alderaan had destroyed itself with titanic internal detonations. When
a pirated holoclip exposed the lie, the Empire claimed that its action had
been necessary to prevent the release of "Bail Organa's biowar virus."
Few, save the staunchest Imperial loyalists, believed that.
Today those Alderaanians who were safely offworld during the incident make
regular pilgrimages to the Graveyard. Among the drifting rocks they leave
flowers, poems, and mementos of their lost loved ones. The survivors leave
with a new determination: the galaxy must never forget.
System: Almanian system
Terrain: Mountains, plains
Points of Interest: Great Dome of the Je'har, Stonia
Almania is a cold, wind-whipped planet on the farthest edges of the
galaxy. Its three moons, Pydyr, Auyemesh, and Drewwa, are also habitable
and have been settled for generations. Almania is so far from the galaxy's
hub that even the Empire ignored the remote outworld.
For years the planet was ruled by the Je'har, a group that lent financial
support to the Rebel Alliance. During the New Republic's battle against
Grand Admiral Thrawn, however, the Je'har changed to a new, merciless
regime. Thousands of Almanian dissenters were brutally executed. Some of
them sent a distress signal to the New Republic, but the government was
preoccupied with other problems. The slaughter continued for years.
During that time Dolph, a Force-sensitive Almanian studying at Luke
Skywalker's Jedi academy on Yavin 4, received terrible news about his
family. Rashly, Dolph abandoned his Jedi training and rushed back to his
homeworld, only to find his parents' bodies hanging outside the Je'har
ruling palace. Not yet able to control the Jedi powers he had learned,
Dolph allowed his anger to consume him, tapping deep into the powers of
the dark side.
Dolph assumed the name Kueller, after an ancient Almanian general, and
began a crusade against his parents' murderers. Through the eyeholes of a
chilling death's-head mask, he watched as his armies killed their former
oppressors and then massacred all who stood in their way. Only a thousand
handpicked Almanian citizens survived Kueller's holocaust.
Thirteen years after the Alliance's victory at Endor, Kueller set his
sights on the galaxy. He murdered the populations of Pydyr and Auyemesh
with explosive-rigged droids, using the acquired wealth to finance his
campaign of conquest. Luke Skywalker felt the deaths in the Force and
tracked the disturbance to Almania. When his X-wing unexpectedly exploded,
a severely wounded Luke was captured and imprisoned. With the Jedi Master
in his possession, Kueller contacted President Leia Organa Solo and
demanded that she transfer all governmental power to him--or her brother's
life would be forfeit.
Unintimidated, Leia arrived at Almania with a New Republic fleet. While
Wedge Antilles battled Kueller's warships and their TIE squadrons, Leia
rescued Luke from the dungeon, but the pair ran straight into Kueller.
An inexperienced Leia and an injured Luke were no match for Kueller's dark
side power. Han and Chewbacca arrived with Force-canceling ysalamiri, but
the lizards were promptly swallowed by a huge, hairy Thernbee. The
ysalamiri still projected their nullifying bubble even as they were
digested. Without the Force, Kueller's advantage vanished. In a last
desperate move he tried to detonate the bombs in every rigged droid he had
spread across the galaxy. Leia killed him with a blaster shot, finally
putting a stop to his reign of terror.
Excerpted from The Essential Guide to Planets and Moons: Star Wars by Daniel Wallace. Copyright © 1998 by Daniel Wallace. Excerpted by permission of LucasBooks, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.