The Star Wars Expanded Universe not only had new stories, new characters and new concepts. It didn’t just kill off major characters, set others on the warpath, down the super fun slide of evil into the Dark Side or blow up countless worlds with the Suncrusher. It also gave us new and wondrous worlds, mysterious locations with deep histories that not only affected the characters in their stories but also influenced events in the distant future, sometimes even explaining possible plot holes in the films and even works by other authors.

Today, as part of this look into the wealth of information and lore in the Star Wars Expanded Universe that just isn’t official anymore, I’m going to take you to new worlds you might never have heard of. Some you might but not in the right context, nor would you know more than their name. Finally, there’s a weird one, but we’ll get to Zonama Sekot later.

When you hear the word Yavin, you might instantly think of The Battle of Yavin, the first major victory of the Rebel Alliance against the Empire with the destruction of the first Death Star, but the planet and its moons, particularly Yavin 4 (where the Rebel base was), had a lot more going on that a simple battle.

Yavin 4 held the Tomb of Naga Sadow, one of the Sith Lords I mentioned yesterday. He instructred his Massassi (the warrior caste of the Sith) to construct a great temple. In it, he placed himself in stasis in a sarcophagus, but not before alchemically altering his servants into hunched monsters who viewed him as a god. Over time these Massassi became feral, devolving completely. The Last Sith Lord to make the moons his home was Exar Kun, who had the Massassi construct many temples to harness dark energies while he worked on some of the most appalling artefacts ever created, such as an orb that held the souls of the Massassi children as a power source.

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Naga Sadow overseeing the construction of his tomb on Yavin 4

Before the Jedi could destroy him, Exar Kun gathered all his slaves in the greatest of his temples and drained them all of life, using the power to free himself of his body and inhabit the temples themselves as a spirit, slumbering for thousands of years. At least until Luke established his Jedi Praxeum on Yavin 4. Exar Kun manifested himself and corrupted one of Luke’s students who then beat Skywalker into a coma that lasted months. Eventually though, Luke managed to get his apprentice back from the Dark Lord and vanquish his spirit.

The gas giant Yavin on the other hand was the hiding place of the Suncrusher, a terrifying starship created by the Empire but stolen before they could send it out to do its mission. The Suncrusher could fire specially made torpedoes into stars, creating chain reactions that would make the stars go Supernova. Han Solo, Chewbacca and Kyp Durron (the apprentice eventually corrupted by Exar Kun) stole the ship from its research installation and left it inside the poisonous atmosphere of Yavin, believing the intense atmospheric pressure in the planet would be enough to keep people away from the weapon.

They weren’t as successful as they hoped.

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The Tomb of Exar Kun

During the events of Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast, the dark Jedi Desann infiltrated Yavin 4 and sought out Exar Kun’s temples, with the hopes of using the nexus of energies in the Great Temple to increase his powers. He succeeded, but Kyle Katarn struck him down soon after.

 

If you think of Cloning, you might immediately think of Kamino, but there were more cloners out there, the most famous ones being Arkanian Mikrotechnologies from the planet Arkania. Originally a planet of miners, the Arkanians eventually moved into the cloning field, with cloning centres for organ or limb replacement. When the war broke out, and through the influence of a Jedi Knight, the Arkanians remained neutral, though by the second year of the war, the Arkanians supplemented the Kaminoan armies with their own Spaarti clones, matured in less than a year and imprinted with all the knowledge they needed. These clones were subpar to those on Kamino, but they were necessary for Palpatines plans.

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Imagine mining in those conditions. It’s no wonder the Arkanians went into other business ventures!

In the films and other media we’ve seen the Great Jedi Temple of Coruscant. We’ve seen its halls, its classrooms and we’ve seen it burn and its occupants murdered by Darth Vader. That’s actually the second time the Temple went kaput. During the Galactic Cold War, the temple was one of the many places destroyed during the Sith Empire’s assault on Coruscant (one of the trailers for The Old Republic depicted the invasion).

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Not a new thing for this temple, trust me!

But the most interesting thing about the Jedi Temple isn’t its destruction, but its foundation. The Jedi, in their myopic arrogance—remember I said they were misguided in the best of cases? Well they were also pretty arrogant—built the temple on top of an ancient Sith Temple, convinced that their presence had completely cleansed the site. Unfortunately for them that wasn’t true and the dark energies of the underground Sith structure seeped into the building, weakening the Jedi in their seat of power for millennia to come. This weakness, this dark interference, was one of the reasons the Jedi couldn’t sense Sidious’ identity before it was too late. Whenever Yoda said something clouded his visions, it was the Great Temple itself, corrupted in its foundations that blocked him.

 

The Jedi and the Sith, over the course of their long enmity, clashed in battle on many worlds. They warred each other on the surface of countless planets, but never did they leave a greater mark than in The Valley of the Jedi.

What would later be the Valley of the Jedi was the site of the last battle of the New Sith Wars, a warring period between the Jedi and the Sith that lasted over a thousand years—because everything in Star Wars is measured in millennia. On the planet Ruusan, the leaders of the Brotherhood of Darkness, led by the Sith Lord Kaan, congregated in a ritual chamber to create a Thought Bomb, an ancient ritual weapon that when detonated killed everything in their blast radius, capturing the souls and power of those it destroyed into a silvery sphere.

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The Valley of the Jedi monument

The Jedi Lord Hoth, not to be confused with the planet, led his Army of Light into the depths of Ruusan to stop Kaan. He almost succeeded but as he moved to strike his enemy down, the Sith lost control of the ritual and prematurely detonated the Thought Bomb. The resulting explosion changed the very ecosystem of the planet, killed the entirety of Kaan’s brotherhood and all hundred members of the Army of Light that landed on Ruusan, Hot included.

The site of the battle and ground zero for the explosion became a Force Nexus, a place with a powerful link to the Force, charged with its energy. The Valley held the trapped souls of the Jedi from that battle, preventing them from becoming one with the Force. Against the wishes of the Jedi Council, Hoth’s apprentice, with the aid of the Republic, built a monument to the brave warriors who perished there. This was the Valley of the Jedi, an underground compound with murals depicting the brave souls, artefacts that belonged to them and a decorated central chamber where the Thought Bomb detonated.

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The Force Nexus chamber of the Valley of the Jedi

The Jedi removed all records of Ruusan, though certain members of the Jedi Order kept a star chart to the planet. In the years after the destruction of the Empire, the Imperial Inquisitor and Dark Jedi Jerec captured one of the last Jedi of the old order and the keeper of the Valley’s chart, Qu Rahn, but Rahn had already passed the information along to an old friend, Morgan Katarn, Kyle Katarn’s father, a simple farmer.

After many grueling battles, Kyle would defeat Jerec at the valley and release the Jedi spirits held within. Later on and years after he’d given up his Force abilities, and on a quest for revenge against Desann, Kyle returned to the valley and absorbed some of the power held within to jumpstart his powers again.

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Not even the power of the Valley helped Jerec in the end.

If there is a city I love in the Star Wars universe, it’s the Vertical City, Nar Shaddaa. If you think Mos Eisly was a den of scum and villainy, you have never been to NS.

Nar Shaddaa is one of the many moons of Nal Hutta, the homeworld of the Hutts. Nar Shaddaa never sleeps and everything is for sale, if you can pay the price. Bounties, assassinations, death sticks, and everything in between you can be sure you’ll find it on Nar Shaddaa. If the lower levels of Coruscant are dangerous, then Nar Shaddaa is downright deadly. It’s no surprise it had another name: Smuggler’s Moon.

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Welcome to Nar Shaddaa, I hope you have your wits about you!

If you needed to disappear from the authorities, come right in, and if you’re looking for trouble, don’t worry, it’ll find you. Combat arenas, prostitution, slavery, it’s all part of the norm in this place. This city never sleeps, and you’d better hope to stay awake. Also, don’t be a sucker, they don’t survive very long on Nar Shaddaa

Nar Shaddaa is so sleazy that they celebrated for an entire week after the rise of the Empire, not because they cared about the regime, but because they realised the Empire would focus on internal matters and leave them alone to do their dirty deeds in peace.

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Doesn’t it just look delightfully sleazy?

This was the slimiest, most wretched place in the entire galaxy for millennia. From the time of the Old Republic down to the new one, Nar Shaddaa was a festering pit of criminality, and no one could tie it down. Even the Hutts, the absolute masters of all things illegal, could barely keep a grip on business, focusing on their own and leaving everyone else to their own affairs. If you can make the control-freak Hutts give up on dominating every aspect of business, you know the place is special!

 

Now it’s time for the weird one on today’s list, Zonama Sekot. There are Force Worlds out there, those with many Force sensitive beings on its surface, both sentient and Force beasts and then there’s Zonama, a sentient Force Sensitive planet. Yeah, you heard that right. Zonama Sekot isn’t only alive, it thinks and feels and is quite opinionated. The fact that it can use The Force makes everyone listen to it. It also has the annoying habit of moving. Zonama Sekot has never stayed in Orbit for very long, preferring to travel the cosmos thanks to the Hyperdrives built into it by some of the locals.

Now, if that doesn’t make this planet awesome enough for you, Zonama Sekot grew from a seed of Yuuzhan’tar, the original homeworld of the Yuuzhan Vong, the extra-galactic race of pain-loving zealots that nearly destroyed the known galaxy, killing trillions of people in their quest to end mechanical technology.

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Faces only a mother could love, or a home world I suppose

At the end of the war, Zonama became a new homeworld for the Yuuzhan Vong, and was instrumental in the peace treaties. It eventually left for the Unknown regions, leaving some of the Vong stranded in the known galaxy as they worked with their former enemies on reconstruction efforts.

 

I’ve dropped this name in the past couple of pieces, but now it’s time to tell you about it, the secret weapon and ultimate downfall of the Rakata Infinite Empire: the Star Forge.

The Star Forge got its name from two simple things: it created weapons, as a forge would, and a star powered it. It sat over the star of the Rakata homeworld of Lehon, and drew on the bright sun to power its systems. But it was Rakata technology, so the Dark Side of the Force was strong in it, filling it with intent, with a purpose. The Starforge was so strong in the dark side, that considering it sentient would not be crazy. It drove its masters to greater conquest, producing endless supplies of weapons and warships. Eventually, it turned on them and made them fight each other, starting the chain of events that led to the fall of the Infinite Empire.

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The Star Forge

The Star Forge sat silently until Darth Revan rediscovered it, following the ancient Rakata star charts left on their many conquered worlds, such as Dantooine and Kashyyyk. Revan used the forge to create his new army and with it he invaded the Republic, but the Jedi sent an elite taskforce to take him down, with Bastila Shan leading them. After his master’s defeat, Darth Malak took control of the station and continued Revan’s war efforts, naming himself the new Dark Lord, as Sith tend to do.

At the end of the battle against Malak, the redeemed Revan (the taskforce didn’t kill him, just wiped his memory) took down his former apprentice and destroyed the Star Forge, ending its bloody history.

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Did the forge serve its masters, or were they just pawns?

There are many worlds out there, many more strange and wonderful locations in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Some appeared for a little while and others were there for the long run, but with every new moon and every new planet, the universe and the lore grew exponentially. There were new places to visit and new stories to tell.

I hope you’ll come back tomorrow for the next piece on Life, Technology and The Force. I’ll go over the Yuuzhan Vong in a bit more detail then, but also talk about some other cool people out there.

References:

  • Wookiepedia (For when I don’t remember all the details…and source of all images)

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