Slavery’s Curse on a Galaxy

A galaxy full of various races of beings is bound to have ideological differences, of what was right and wrong. The ones like the Hutts and the Sith Empire firmly believed the strong should rule. Slavery is a natural outgrowth of that attitude. On the other side you had the Republic which believed in freedom and the Jedi. In the middle, you had the pirate gangs and slavers who cared little except for their own profit. Slavery itself had a terrible impact on individuals. It created heroes and destroyed them.

The Republic

The Republic and the Jedi firmly opposed slavery. The deeper in Republic space you got, the less likely you were to encounter slavers. The risk of incurring the wrath of Judicials and the attracting the attention of Jedi were much stronger toward the Core worlds. But the further out you went, the less protection you had. The worlds outside the Republic, such as the Hutt sector, in some cases built their whole culture around it. This is true both of the Old and New Republic. The Republic did not want war with their neighbors. This may be a matter of resources, or a matter of corrupt politicians and companies that did business with the Hutts.

The Slavers

Jabba the Hutt

The Hutts

The Hutt species with their natural belief they were superior had no qualms about keeping slaves. They even tricked entire races into “indentured servitude” in perpetuity. Their worlds, such as Nal Hutta and Tatooine, were havens for it. While they were considered neutral turf during the days of war between Empire and Sith, slavers and slavery flourished there and the Republic and Imperials were not immune from capture.

The Sith (Race)

It’s unknown what the Sith culture was before the Jedi who turned to the Dark Side found it. But they were known to be among those called to Tython. By the time they reappeared to attack the Republic, they had various classes such as warrior (Massassi), engineering, servant and slave classes. Non purebloods, or those without the jedi blood were considered inferior, as were those who had no force powers. This Sith Empire was forced into retreat after losing badly to the Republic.

The Sith Empire Returns

When the Sith Empire returned to ravage the Republic, more successfully this time. Many slaves were taken of all races. At this point, Sith Purebloods and humans were considered the superior and all else lesser. It wasn’t until after the Treaty of Coruscant that the Sith selected force sensitive slaves of other races and took them to Korriban for training. The overseer was not thrilled with this, but at least one became an Inquisitor on the Dark Council. The Sith in general from the time the fallen jedi arrived have used slaves, apparently right up until their fall.

The Galactic Empire

Slavery returned to the galaxy when the Republic fell at the hands of Darth Sidious, who declared himself Emperor and the government an Empire. Darth Vader, formerly Anakin Skywalker, was less than eager, having been a child slave himself on the Hutt world of Tatooine. But Vader was resigned, as the people of the former Confederacy worlds and those who objected to becoming an Empire were sold. His acceptance even led to aiding in the subjugation and capture of the wookiees of Kashyyyk when they harbored the Jedi.

The Pirates and Smugglers

All pirates and smugglers are not slavers. For some, slavery is an odious thing. Han Solo and Chewbacca flat refused to smuggle slaves for Jabba the Hutt due to bad personal experience. But then you had pirates like Black Sun, the Brothers, and Krayn. These profited off of others misery.

Corporations

While inside the Republic slavery was illegal, those who did business with it but remained outside skirted that law. Czerka Corporation took advantage of the Mandalorean Wars to enslave the wookiees of Kashyyyk, which they named Edean. As the Old Republic fell and gave rise to Empire, the Corporate Sector became infamous for tricking people into indentured servitude.

The Mandaloreans

Another culture that believes in becoming stronger through battle at all costs, the Mandaloreans have kept slaves. This isn’t consistent through the ages, but in the war against the Republic and Revan they did take prisoners and used them as slave labor. They even conscripted them into battle, willing or no.

The Methods of Slavery

Heavy weapons, starfighters, tractor beams all were tools in the arsenal of the slaver. They might also drag asteroids just large enough to trip the sensors, forcing a ship out of hyperspace. Once captured, they would put the victims in their cargo bay (sometimes a hidden one, depending on where they were.) They would use slave collars, and if they had the time, would implant slave chips that included a location detector and bomb. This made escape attempts and rescues difficult. However, the slavers themselves did have devices that allowed them to override these implants, enabling them to steal those already enslaved.

Some slavers were particularly innovative, such as the Besaddi Hutt clan and their Ylesian allies, which tricked their followers to thinking they were going to a religious retreat. A pleasure inducing pheromone, natural to the species, kept the workers going until they were thoroughly broken in to be sold. Others such as those in the Senex sector and some of the Hutt’s long term slaves were actually bred specifically for certain tasks as if they were livestock.

Slaves might be used in anything from standard jobs that free people would hold, to far crueler work of spice mining, heavy labor, gladiators, pleasure dens and even soldiers forced to fight in wars. Age was no object, for the slave owner cared little for his slave as a person, only as a piece of property, like a ship, or a speeder.

The People Affected

Slavery can make a hero out of someone determined to free others or themselves. It can also destroy them as hatred at those who mistreated them takes over. There wasn’t one particular race affected over the ages, anyone can be taken and ruined by it. Families were torn apart. Here are a few famous people and races.

Wookiees

Their great strength and technical skills made them a prime target. They were at one point enslaved by Czerka Corporation. During the Galactic Empire they were enslaved to work on the Death Star and other projects. Most notable was Chewbacca, copilot of Han Solo. This wookiee hero fought the Separatists at the end of the Clone Wars and was forced to flee Kashyyyk as the Empire began enslaving his people. Eventually they caught up with him, leading to his rescue by Han Solo.

Lorrdians

Lorrdians were enslaved during the Kanz disorder until they were freed by the Jedi. Forbidden from communicating with each other during this time, they became masters of body language and mimicry.

Nosaurians

These people were enslaved by the Galactic Empire, ostensibly due to their involvement with the Confederacy. They continued to resist the Empire.

Oola, a Twilek dancing girl, was sold to Jabba the Hutt by Bib Fortuna

Twileks

The Twilek race, especially the females, were often enslaved. The women were much sought after as dancers. Often their own clan members, such as Bib Fortuna, preyed on and sold them. This was true of both Oola and her sister, Nolaa. Oola was killed by a rancor when she refused Jabba the Hutt’s commands. Nolaa murdered her masters and sought revenge.

Eleena Daru was a twilek slave in the Sith Empire at the time it returned to reclaim Korriban. Taken in by Malgus, who was attracted to her, she served him well. They were lovers. Eventually, he decided his love for her was a weakness holding him back and he murdered her.

Other Races

Slavery was not limited to one race. As far as those who treated sentient beings as commodities were concerned, anything goes.

Darth Nox was a Sith Inquisitor who was originally a slave who fought their way to the Dark Council.
(This is a player role in Star Wars the Old Republic. The player character can alternatively earn the title of Darth Imperious or Darth Occlus, depending on their light or dark alignment. Any race in the options is playable, though its likely it was meant for someone without head tails.)

Jedi Ki-Adi-Mundi was one of the few Jedi to marry. His daughter was enslaved by Jabba the Hutt after he foiled criminals on Cerea. This was especially awkward as after he saved her, he had to gain Jabba’s assistance on a mission.

Jango Fett was enslaved due to manipulation of a governor of Galidraan and the Jedi. When he escaped he became a bounty hunter. He would become template of the clone army. Small wonder perhaps that his ‘offspring’ would be trained to slaughter Jedi under Order 66, after the Jedi destroyed most of his Mandalorean clan on Galidraan. It’s possible he named his ship “Slave 1” as a play on words, slave “won”.

Jabiim and Toprawa

Both these worlds rebelled against the Empire. Both were subjugated and forced into forced labor camps or sold into slavery. This was standard procedure for the Empire.

The Skywalker Story and the Influence of Slavery

Shmi Skywalker was a child when slavers took her family. She had no idea how she became pregnant with her son, but she raised him as best she could in spite of their circumstance. She and her son were lost by Gardulla betting on a pod race to Watto, who discovered and exploited the Anakin’s talent for racing and machinery.. When the Jedi came, they were only able to free Anakin. It would be years before Cliegg Lars would come into her life and free her.

Anakin is forced to leave his Mother, Shmi, behind in slavery when he chooses to leave with the Jedi.

It was the influence of slavery that led to Anakin’s craving for power. He had no thought of becoming a tyrant. He merely wanted to protect his own from the fears left of a powerless childhood and the destruction of war.

Anakin Skywalker earned his freedom in a podrace, thanks to Qui-Gon’s clever (and secret) bet with Watto. But he was forced to leave his Mother and friends in slavery. The friends Anakin left in slavery on Tatooine were inspired to find ways to free themselves but he would never learn this.

Anakin’s first confirmed kill with a lightsaber was of the slaver Krayn, who had taken killed his childhood friend Amee’s mother. In doing so, he freed the slaves of Nar Shaddaa, as the mission ended with the factory under Republic control.

Years later, terrible visions would lead Anakin to seek out his Mother. She had indeed been freed of slavery, but was brutally tortured and murdered by the sand people, dying in his arms.

Anakin’s pain over losing his Mother and his desperate need for power to protect his own wife led to his downfall. Palpatine promised him the power to prevent death, the power to set the galaxy to rights. But once he gave in, he found Palpatine had every intention of allowing slavery. In serving him, he allowed it to flourish, at times even encouraging it.

Ultimately his own actions as Darth Vader led to his son and daughter going to Jabba the Hutt’s palace to free Han Solo. His own daughter, Leia, being briefly enslaved. Sad as it was that Anakin, the boy who wanted to free slaves became a slaver, it’s ironic that his children helped put a dent in the slavery of Tatooine, by killing Jabba the Hutt.

Would Anakin Skywalker have fallen to evil had he not been left with such a deep terrible wound? It was no excuse for becoming Vader. But it does explain where the weakness that Palpatine exploited originated.

The Effect on the Galaxy

The greatest challenge of slavery for the Republic and Jedi is that they have no official jurisdiction outside the Republic, they do not want war with their neighbors. The Jedi however, serve the Force first and foremost. The mere existence of both is enough to limit slaveries impact. Some worlds would rather be in the Republic than hold on to an economy that relies on slaves. Slaves are encouraged to hope for freedom knowing there is a place they can go should they somehow escape. While the government may not official be able to act, many may do so unofficially, giving them plausible deniability.

After events leading to the Yuuzhan Vong war, the galaxy reformed under the Galactic Alliance. The Jedi eventually broke free of this, on the basis that remaining inside it’s politics limited their ability to fight slavery and other evils.

References

  • Star Wars The Phantom Menace (movie) story by George Lucas, (novel) by Terry Brooks
  • Star Wars Attack of the Clones (movie) story by George Lucas, (novel) by RA Salvatore
  • Star Wars Return of the Jedi story by George Lucas, (novel) by James Kahn
  • Tales of the Jedi: Golden Age of the Sith (comic) by Kevin J. Anderson
  • Knights of the Old Republic (game)
  • Knights of the Old Republic (comics) by John Jackson Miller
  • Star Wars the Old Republic (game)
  • Star Wars the Old Republic: Deceived (novel) by Paul Kemp
  • Star Wars the Old Republic Fatal Alliance (novel) by Sean Williams
  • Star Wars Prelude to Rebellion (comic) by Jan Strnad
  • Jango Fett: Open Seasons (comics) by Haden Blackman
  • Jedi Quest (YA hardcover) by Jude Watson
  • Jedi Quest 3 The Dangerous Games by Jude Watson
  • Dark Times (comics) by Multiple authors
  • The Force Unleashed (game and novel) by Haden Blackman
  • Han Solo’s Revenge (novel) by Brian Daley
  • Death Star (novel) by Michael Reaves and Steve Perry.
  • Empire 32 (comic) by Thomas Andrews
  • Young Jedi Knights: the Fall of the Diversity Alliance (5 books or one omnibus YA novel) by Kevin J. Anderson & Rebecca Moesta
  • Fate of the Jedi series (novels) multiple authors