- "To be a Ranger meant knowing how to move in any environment. To blend in with the forest or grassland, to sail, to swim, to dive, to pilot. To be masters of our surroundings. We were good spies, good warriors, very adept at intrusion and escape."
- ―Tyria Sarkin on being an Antarian Ranger.
Organization and philosophy
- "I have never seen an Antarian Ranger run from a fight—"
- ―Jedi Master Tahl to Qui-Gon Jinn.
This unique organization of non-Force-users were unlike many citizens of the galaxy in the sense that they did not fear the power of the Jedi. Instead, they actively sought to assist them whenever possible and dedicated their lives to serve as support troops for the Jedi Order. Their duties ranged from being deployed for reconnaissance duty to covert operations that was designed to make the work of a Jedi easier to conduct. This also meant that, at times, they were tasked to do tasks that were considered "dirty work". The Rangers consisted of various different branches with its members constantly preparing for their service to the Jedi. The organization served as a natural point where those without Force talent had a way of fulfilling their dreams of connecting to the Force by serving the Jedi cause. Despite this being the case, the life of a Ranger was not an easy path and only the most dedicated of beings as well as the most fit for the position thrived within the organization. As such, very few members actually coveted the rank of Ranger and most actually became support personnel for this elite body within the group.
At one point, their numbers were over a thousand individuals with their ranks being as diverse as the Jedi Order itself. Normally, Jedi that made use of Antarian Rangers dealt with a small group of them who they were familiar with and relied on the same individuals repeatedly. This even evolved to the point that some Jedi held a semi-permanent Antarian Ranger companion who traveled the stars with and served as an aide. This relationship was described as being similar to a Jedi Master-Padawan relationship where the Antarian Ranger assisted the Jedi in their operations. On such assignments, typically between one and three such Rangers accompanied a Jedi on their missions. In fact, in some cases when the rules surrounding emotional attachment were lax, some Jedi were known to have married Antarian Rangers. This resulted in Jedi occasionally holding familial as well as ideological ties to the Rangers.
In terms of recruitment, very few of its members actually joined the Antarian Rangers without being prompted by an existing member. The organization was known to keep a watch on those recruits that were turned down for Jedi training and especially selected those old enough to make a decision on joining the group. Beyond this, it was known that any being that admired the Jedi Order and sought to uphold its ideals were eligible for entry. However, those that went far within the group were those with physical and mental prowess that matched their dedication. Upon entry, all members were evaluated for any pertinent skills and potential contributions they could make to the organization. Most applicants went on to become support personnel where they served as technicians, transport pilots, communication experts, and so on. However, some did enter training that was needed to become a fully fledged Ranger. Before that point, all trainees were given the rank of Explorer and were allowed to accompany Rangers on dangerous missions in order to get field training but were not at the point where they could conduct independent duties. Upon becoming a true Ranger, they earned all the rights and responsibilities that were befitting the post.
The group was organized in a manner similar to other military units though actually consisted of much fewer ranks when compared to genuine militaries. Recruitment was still a lengthy process which required applicants to prove their loyalty and capability. Rangers were required to respond at all times to answer to their leaders. Their highly specialized training taught them survival and pathfinding skills along with search and rescue protocols as well as providing armed support for Jedi. Ranks included:
- Explorer : the lowest rank who were applicants that had not yet completed their training to become full-fledged Rangers.
- Lieutenant : an honorific position within the Antarian Rangers.
- Ranger : official members who had completed their training and were on active duty.
- Ranger Captain : field commanders and officers within the organization that distinguished themselves from their comrades by their capacity to lead troops in combat.
- Ranger General : highest ranking position within the Antarian Rangers, they made sweeping decisions that affected the entire organization.
While a paramilitary body, they could never afford losses even at the height of their membership as they were never a large faction. They valued the services of each and every member and went out of their way to ensure that their ranks remained within the organization. Retirement or discharge as the result of injury were both qualifying grounds for leaving the Antarian Rangers, while leaving without good reason was considered desertion. Though they tried to ensure their members remained enlisted, the Rangers did not stop an individual that was determined to part ways. At the same time, the organization had concerns about its secrets being leaked to outsiders and took steps to eliminate the problem if a former member began revealing important information. Another reason for leaving was if the individual intended to join the Jedi Order which was a rare case but considered an exceptional honor with such members receiving a fond farewell from the group. The Rangers also kept an eye out for any of its members who conducted overtly evil or cruel acts which led to such individuals being expelled from the body in the similar manner as if a Jedi began to make use of the dark side of the Force. Such disgraced Antarian Rangers received a dishonorable discharge before being cast out of the organization.
The Jedi Council was known to have had treated the Rangers with indifference whilst the individual opinion of each Jedi varied with many working closely with the group as well as valued their service. While they were not condoned or directly supported by the Jedi, the Antarian Rangers gained a well respected reputation though they were not a widely known organization. In the peaceful era of the Old Republic, many became wary of an independent organization that were heavily armed—yet, the Rangers suffered none of the negative publicity that encompassed the Jedi Order or those associated with them. This was another benefit to the group as those beings that were intimidated by the Jedi Order had a better chance of interacting with a Ranger rather than a Jedi which was one way the group contributed to the cause.
The Rangers were founded on the world of Antar 4 in the year 620 BBY by the actions of the Coruscanti Human Jedi Knight Marus Timpel. Upon arriving on the planet to conduct routine duties, he came into contact with a Gotal by the name of Kaskutal who was turned down for Jedi training. Kaskutal possessed limited Force sensitivity but was now a highly successful and wealthy businessman. During an exchange between the two, Timpel highlighted how the Jedi lifestyle had put limitations on his travels as well as available resources while Kaskutal still expressed his admiration for the Jedi way. After becoming good friends, the Gotal offered to raise funds and resources from various donors as well as investors in order to create an organization to help alleviate the problems faced by the Jedi Order. This in turn led to the formation of a group that became known as the Antarian Rangers who quickly spread beyond Antar 4 and into the galaxy. Amongst the first of these true Rangers was Kaskutal himself who assisted Timpel for the rest of his career. After the human's death, Kaskutal moved himself into an administrative role and saw to it that the organization formed branches throughout the galaxy. Whilst small in its early years, the group was ambitious and managed to set up divisions on several well-populated systems such as Corellia, Brentaal, Ruan and Coruscant.
Their expansion throughout the Core Worlds led the Rangers to become dominated by Humans, though other species did continue to join their cause as well as rise to positions of leadership on occasion. At the time, the Jedi were loosely organized and did not discourage the growth of the Antarian Rangers as the group proved itself to be highly useful without drawing upon the Jedi's resources. Furthermore, the good investment and business deals of Kaskutal ensured that the body was financially stable though not overly wealthy.
In 53 BBY, Jedi Master Tahl encountered an individual dressed in the clothing of an Antarian Ranger who she believed carried a message for her. However, when she approached him, the suspected Ranger along with his accomplices attacked her forcing Tahl to defend herself. The Ranger ultimately managed to escape and Tahl contacted Jedi Master Yoda about the possibility of enlisting the Antarian Rangers aid on the matter at Telos. However, Yoda declined the suggestion despite the fact that they were stationed at nearby Toprawa, where the Order's closest allies and trained with the Jedi. Tahl later commented that she had never seen an Antarian Ranger run from a fight and that the suspected individual on Telos had a great deal to hide.
In the era approaching the Separatist Crisis, the Jedi Council began taking a more traditional stance in regards to its policies which saw the Rangers being less relied upon by the Jedi. This period of inactivity saw some branches even being disbanded while others used their combat training as well as entrepreneurial skills to become freelance mercenaries or even members of a sector defense force. This led to the organization being reduced to less than half of its former size though it did see a revitalization during the Clone Wars. Rangers found themselves in high demand at this point as the Jedi were outnumbered and unable to sufficiently defend the galaxy from the Separatist threat. Thus, the Antarian Rangers were once more called upon to aid the Jedi Order with Jedi-Ranger pairings becoming a common practice again. Membership also saw a brief surge during this point in the organization's history.
During the war, the Antarian Rangers acted as leaders in the army and in support of the Jedi that took leadership roles in the Grand Army of the Republic. But the Antarian Rangers' ranks were thin and whole branches were destroyed in the fighting. When Palpatine began the Great Jedi Purge he deemed supporters of the Jedi such as the Rangers to be targets equal to the Jedi themselves. Few in numbers, the remaining segments of the organization went into hiding for the duration of the Imperial Period and the Galactic Civil War. Upon the initiation of Order 66, a squad of Rangers in the service of Jedi General Rahm Kota managed to whisk him to safety and, learning what had happened to the rest of the Jedi Order, vanished into the Outer Rim Territories.
During the era of the Galactic Empire, the Rangers gradually evolved from being a paramilitary unit and transformed itself into an underground resistance unit. They never managed to reach the same scale as the Rebel Alliance and conducted covert military operations in order to locate as well as rescue Jedi. Their campaigns also included fighting off Imperial oppression whilst protecting their own members from discovery and imprisonment. This saw them sheltering any survivors of Order 66 in the hopes of preserving the few Force-sensitives with the hope of preparing for the day when the Jedi Order was reborn with their charges becoming a new generation of Padawans. Among the small cells that operated during the rise of the Empire were on Toprawa and Tabiid.
Members of this organization were hunted down by the Sith Lord Darth Vader and the Inquisitorius with the same ruthless dedication that they had for Jedi. This saw any individuals found being associated with the Rangers facing the same punishment as suspected Rebel Alliance members or those who harbored fugitive Jedi. Thus, sympathies to the Rangers was a dangerous choice in this era with the Antarian Rangers requiring dedication and loyalty that was not found often in the galaxy in this age. Bounties were placed on the heads of known Rangers and the searches of the Inquisitors saw the remaining branches of the organization going into hiding. One such group led by the Feeorin Solm openly opposed the tyranny of the Empire but the majority of the Rangers went into seclusion or disbanded themselves in order to avoid capture. The enclave that existed on the planet Toprawa was later eliminated by the Empire.
After the defeat of the Emperor and the establishment of the Jedi Praxeum, Luke Skywalker uncovered the history of the Antarian Rangers and sought out the survivors. Branches began to rebuild their ranks, although New Republic politicians showed concern for another independent, paramilitary group aside from the New Jedi Order. This small group attempted to revitalize the organization and achieved limited success with their membership consisting of no more than 50 to 60 beings.
As the Republic weathered the remains of the Empire, the reborn Emperor, warlords, and a variety of other external and internal threats, the number of paramilitary and mercenary forces grew steadily, including the Antarian Rangers. By the invasion of the Yuuzhan Vong in 25 ABY, the organization was almost back to its pre-Clone Wars numbers. The new Antarian Rangers were essential to the protection of the Great River and the scouting of alternative routes to the ones established by Han Solo.
Equipment and training
When not assigned to a Jedi, Rangers often spent their time training as well as honing their skills in preparation for the time when they were called for service. Those that held the rank of Ranger were trained to become masters of any terrain. As such, they were required to be stealthy, observant and capable of assisting a Jedi in the field. After reaching this position within the group, an Antarian Ranger was normally assigned a sector or, in some cases, to a specific Jedi who requested their services. As they possessed no set uniform, they instead wore a distinctive brown leather jacket that was similar to those worn by off-duty members of sector defense forces.
Behind the scenes
- Jedi—The Dark Side 2 (Mentioned only)
- Imperial Commando: 501st
- The Last Jedi
- X-Wing: Wraith Squadron (First mentioned)
- Millennium Falcon (Mentioned only)
- X-Wing: Mercy Kill (Mentioned only)
- Hero's Guide
- The New Essential Chronology
- The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film
- "Who's Who in Rogue Squadron"—Star Wars Insider 59 (Mentioned only)
- Wraith Squadron"—Star Wars Gamer 9 (Mentioned only) "
- Special Ops: The Medic"—Star Wars Gamer 10 "
- Threats of the Galaxy
- The Force Unleashed Campaign Guide
- Star Wars Annual 2009
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- "Blaster"—Star Wars Insider 139
- Fly Casual