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"The Aiwha of our world hunt in pods to bring down much larger prey."
Taun We[4]

Aiwha (pronounced /Äē'-wä/)[1] were flying cetacean creatures that lived on the planets Kamino and Naboo. They could use their wing-fins to either propel themselves through water or to soar through the skies. Kaminoans were derogatorily referred to as "aiwha-bait" by various clones of Jango Fett, bred at a cloning facility on the planet.


"We've got to stop meeting like this, my friend."
Obi-Wan Kenobi to an aiwha after falling on it for a second time[5]

Majestic cetaceans that could take to the air, aiwhas could be found in the churning oceans of the planet Kamino, where they had been domesticated as mounts by the native Kaminoans. The creatures were strong swimmers, able to launch themselves from the cresting waves and then continue their momentum in flight.

Aiwhas swimming beneath the surface of Kamino's oceans

Aiwhas and similar creatures could be found on several worlds, including the planet Naboo. There, they lived in medium-size "pods," feeding on surface-dwelling krill and the fish (like daggerts and rays) found in the huge Naboo lakes. Like other cetaceans, aiwhas filtered food through the sieve-plates in their baleen. The Gungans of Naboo had domesticated aiwhas to accept mounts and provide airborne transportation. Gungans also used the aiwhas as war mounts, using them as reconnaissance and bombers. Aiwhas employed a water-vascular system that allowed them to control their relative density. When they needed to swim underwater, their spongy tissues absorbed water. When flight was required, they expelled this water and shed it to lighten themselves.

While some believed the aiwhas on Kamino to have been imported from Naboo, others speculated that this particular breed was entirely the result of cloning technology.

Aiwhas were sold by the Rothana Heavy Engineering company to be used as mounts for Imperial troops, who used them on worlds that had a breathable atmosphere, and could be used for performing reconnaissance over 5,000 meters overhead, or to traverse between two Imperial outposts without any concern for the trail or terrain. A standard animal cost 45000 credits at a starting price, and larger, cargo-hauling breeds were available under the premium pricing model.[6]

Behind the scenes[]

A wild aiwha and her young

The word "aiwha" is a deliberate corruption of "air whale." They are also called Air Whales in the Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption game manual.

Aiwhas existed, in one form or another, for over twenty years before being incorporated into a Star Wars movie. Concept illustrator Ralph McQuarrie drew flying whales to populate Bespin in The Empire Strikes Back, but they were a casualty of budget and effects limitations. They resurfaced as transports on the planet Sicemon in Return of the Jedi, but were ultimately replaced with the more practical sail barge and skiffs when the world didn't appear in the final film. For The Phantom Menace, the aiwhas returned as Gungan mounts, but were again dropped from the finished film. For Attack of the Clones, they were to be possible mounts for the Geonosians before finally finding a home on Kamino.

The aiwha bears a striking similarity to the thrantas of Alderaan, and the neebray of Rugosa and the Balmorra Run, but no in-universe relation has been documented between any of the three species.



Notes and references[]