- "The Aiwha of our world hunt in pods to bring down much larger prey."
- ―Taun We
Aiwha (pronounced /Äē'-wä/) 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.
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 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.
Behind the scenes
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.
The aiwhas have existed, in one form or another, for over thirty years, but they've only recently been 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 also 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 Neebrays of Rugosa and the Balmorra Run, but the three species share no known in-universe relation, or at least none that have been proven.
- Darth Plagueis (Mentioned only)
- Darth Plagueis audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
- Republic 50
- "One of a Kind"—Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures Volume 8
- Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds (First appearance)
- Star Wars: Republic Commando (Mentioned only)
- Republic Commando: Triple Zero (In flashback(s))
- "Odds"—Star Wars Insider 87 (Mentioned only)
- Republic Commando: True Colors (Mentioned only)
- Republic HoloNet News Core Edition 14:9:01 (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "ARC Troopers"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Fugitive"
- Imperial Commando: 501st (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Tiny Death Star (Non-canonical mention)
- Rebel Force: Firefight
- Onslaught at Arda I (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption
- Legacy of the Force: Bloodlines (Mentioned only)
- Legacy of the Force: Sacrifice (Mentioned only)
- Legacy (2006) 28 (In flashback(s))
- "The Tale of the Aiwha Pod"—Star Wars: Republic Commando: Prima Official Game Guide
- The Wildlife of Star Wars: A Field Guide
- Star Wars: Attack of the Clones: The Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary
- Geonosis and the Outer Rim Worlds
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 75 (AIW1-2, Aiwhas)
- Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption Expansion: Prima Official Game Guide
- The New Essential Guide to Alien Species
- The Art of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
- The Art of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
- "The Toughest Ever Creatures"—Star Wars Insider 102
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Unknown Regions
- Star Wars: Head-to-Head Tag Teams
- "50 Great Reasons to Rewatch Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season Three"—Star Wars Insider 125
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars The Complete Season Three
- Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide: Updated and Expanded
- Star Wars: What Makes a Monster?
- Star Wars: Imperial Handbook: A Commander's Guide
- Stay on Target