The Battle of Lola Sayu, also called the mission to the Citadel, was a battle fought during the Clone Wars between the Grand Army of the Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems in and around the Citadel, a Separatist prison on Lola Sayu. Launched as a mission to infiltrate the Citadel, Jedi and clone troopers led a rescue of Jedi Master Even Piell, Captain Wilhuff Tarkin, and their clone forces; Piell and Tarkin had discovered the coordinates of the hyperspace lane known as the Nexus Route, which they believed could prove vital to the Republic's war effort. Though Piell was killed, Tarkin and his forces were rescued and brought the information to the Galactic Republic.
Capture of Even Piell
- "I erased the computers when we were boarded and had each of us memorize part of the intel. That way, if somehow I cracked, the information would be useless without the other half."
- ―Even Piell
During the Clone Wars, Jedi Master Even Piell was on his way to Coruscant in order to deliver valuable information about secret hyperspace coordinates known as the Nexus Route to the Jedi Council. This information could prove vital for both the Republic and the Separatists, as the Nexus Route included secret ways to reach deep into enemy territory. Piell's fleet was suddenly attacked by Separatist forces. To secure the information, Piell had the ship's computer erased, while he and his Captain, Wilhuff Tarkin, both memorized half of the data. The enemy boarded Piell's cruiser and made it to the command bridge. Piell himself destroyed a first wave of B2-series super battle droids that entered the bridge by using the Force, but when a second wave consisting of droidekas entered the bridge, the Lannik and his crew chose to surrender.
Piell, Tarkin and five clone crewmembers were imprisoned in the Citadel, an infamous prison on the planet Lola Sayu that was known to be almost inescapable and had been designed to hold and break Jedi. The Citadel's warden, Osi Sobeck, had Piell tortured by an interrogation droid and some commando droids to get the information out of him.
- "May the Force be with you."
- ―Plo Koon, while watching the shuttle take off
When the Jedi Council learned of Piell's capture, they made plans to rescue him. Plo Koon held a briefing about the situation. Since the archives did not contain any recent data about the Citadel, it would be difficult to form a strategy. The plan was to get a rescue team on the planet by using a stolen Separatist shuttle to make the enemy think they were Separatists. The team was led by generals Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker and consisted of Commander Cody, Captain Rex, ARC troopers Echo and Fives, Longshot, Charger and three other clone troopers. Additionally, Skywalker's astromech droid, R2-D2, had three reprogrammed B1-series battle droids under his command which would pilot the captured Sheathipede-class Type B shuttle 81572.
Skywalker's Padawan Ahsoka Tano wanted to join the team, but he wouldn't allow it as he thought the mission would be too dangerous for her. In order for the team to pass the Citadel's lifeform scanners undetected, Skywalker had the entire team frozen in carbonite. While the carbon-freezing process was ongoing, Tano discussed Anakin's refusal to let her come along with Plo, and secretly joined the rescue team. Once all frozen team members were loaded onboard the shuttle, R2 and his droids started the engine, with Plo watching the shuttle take off and silently wishing them good luck.
Infiltrating the Citadel
- "This is Central Command. Please identify yourself."
- ―K2-B4 contacts the shuttle
When the shuttle entered Lola Sayu's orbit, it was spotted by the Separatist blockade fleet surrounding the planet. They were immediately contacted by the Citadel and the prison's second-in-command, T-series tactical droid K2-B4, asked them to identify themselves and their cargo. R2-D2 had his battle droids reply that the shuttle carried supplies and frozen rations. Sobeck, already suspecting that the Republic would attempt to rescue Piell, ordered the shuttle to be scanned for lifeforms. R2-D2 and his droids nervously waited while the shuttle was scanned, but no life was detected onboard and K2-B4 gave them permission to land on the planet.
The droids landed the ship in a cave near the prison tower and thawed out the Jedi and clones. At this point, Kenobi and Skywalker discovered that Tano had joined the strike team, claiming that she had gotten permission from Master Plo. Skywalker was angry at first, but realizing that sending her back was impossible, he reluctantly let her join. While R2-D2, OOM-10, and the other reprogrammed droids stayed with the shuttle, the group began with the mission. The first waypoint was an isolated entrance in a cliff face, which the team was forced to free-climb as the wind conditions were too strong for jetpacks and electromines dotting the cliff made the use of ascension cables too dangerous. When Kenobi, leading the way, reached the platform, he was forced to drop down when a patrol of droids exited. They did not notice his hand holding onto the edge of the platform, but sealed the door with a ray shield upon re-entering the prison. This seemed a setback, but Tano was able to fit into a ventilation duct just above the door and deactivate the shield, a duct that had been dismissed during the original planning as none of the strike team's intended members could fit inside it.
Meanwhile, Sobeck grew suspicious when a security droid reported that the cargo shuttle had never arrived, despite having permission to land. In the meantime, all of the rescue team's members reached the entrance platform. Clone trooper Charger, being helped onto the platform by Fives, put his weight on a weak foothold which broke off, causing him to lose his balance and fall straight into an electromine, which killed him and triggered an alarm. This caused Sobeck to be certain that there were intruders in the facility, leading him to order all security protocols activated and summon his special commando droid units. Sneaking through the prison, the rescue team destroyed several cameras, which activated some laser turrets which were swiftly destroyed by Kenobi, Tano and the ARC troopers. This, however, activated an electric field that moved down the hallway toward the group. Most of the team escaped to one of the side halls, but trooper Longshot was caught in the field and electrocuted to death.
The team located the cell where Piell was tortured. The interrogator droid was just about to gouge Piell's one remaining eye out when the team entered the cell and destroyed the droids. At this point, Piell revealed that his captain, Tarkin, had part of the information as well. The team proceeded to the cell where Tarkin and Piell's other captured officers were being held, but Sobeck located the team on the security cameras. He had the group surrounded by his commando droids. The Jedi destroyed the first wave, but Sobeck activated a magnet in the ceiling that claimed the group's weapons, as well as snagging Skywalker by his cybernetic right arm. A second group of commando droids surrounded the group. The Jedi attempted to push them back with the Force, but the droids had magnetized their feet. Despite Sobeck shocking Skywalker, the Jedi was able to power through the electricity to reclaim his lightsaber from the magnet and destroy it, releasing the group's weapons and allowing them to destroy the droids. This angered Sobeck, and after being further angered by Rex shooting out the security camera he had been using to watch, the warden vowed to deal with the team personally. However, the rescue team managed to free Tarkin and the imprisoned clone officers before he arrived.
Escaping the facility
- "I must commend you on your escape tactics. But in the end it was easy to predict your every move."
- ―Osi Sobeck upon recapturing Kenobi's group
The Republic team decided to split into two groups to secure the information as a safeguard if they were recaptured. Piell, Kenobi, Cody, three clone troopers, and three rescued clones formed one group, while Skywalker, Tano, Tarkin, Rex, Echo, Fives, and the other two rescued clones formed the second group. Kenobi's group went to the upper level to create a diversion, while Skywalker's group escaped the tower through the lower levels. Kenobi's group planted thermal detonators in several hallways of the upper levels, causing explosions that wreaked havoc in the facility. This allowed Skywalker and his group to leave the tower and flee into a series of tunnels. Skywalker then ordered R2-D2 to fly the shuttle to the Citadel's landing platform, so Kenobi's group could be evacuated. Not long thereafter, K2-B4 informed Sobeck that Count Dooku wished to speak to him. Dooku demanded a status report and told Sobeck that he had heard about "problems" with the prisoners. Dooku asked if this matter would require his presence, but Sobeck assured him that he could handle it himself.
Meanwhile, Kenobi's group was hiding in the ventilation shafts of the facility and searching for a way out. While climbing up a shaft, Cody encountered a probe droid. Piell managed to destroy the droid before it could escape to give away their position, but this caused the security doors in the vents to begin closing. One clone trooper got stuck and was bisected by a door, and Kenobi and Piell had to use their lightsabers to cut through the other doors. Skywalker's group, meanwhile, traveled through the tunnels, with the Jedi General protecting the flank while Tano led from the front. Arriving at a seeming dead end, the group hit an impasse, whereupon they were attacked by commando droids carrying plasma shields. Skywalker, arriving, was not impressed and demanded to know why Tano had not blown a hole through the wall at the end of the tunnel, leading him to realize she had not actually gotten permission to come along. Tano planted explosives on the wall, before finding thermal detonators that she used to take out the commando droids.
R2 and his droid squad landed the shuttle on the platform, but were awaited by K2-B4, who demanded to know why the shuttle was so late. R2's droids acted as if R2 was their prisoner and K2-B4 ordered him to be taken inside for interrogation. She then reported to Sobeck that the shuttle that the Republic had used to get on the planet had been captured. Sobeck ordered the shuttle to be guarded so they could lure the Jedi into a trap. Obi-Wan's group was looking at the shuttle from the shaft, but did not see R2 or his droids. Obi-Wan suspected a trap and the group went to the other side of the building to get a better view on the ship. Kenobi tried to contact Anakin, but instead heard Sobeck's voice, who congratulated him on his escape, but said that it was easy to predict his next move. The group was then surrounded by crab droids, droidekas, and commando droids, forcing them to surrender. Anakin's group meanwhile entered a big fuel pipeline to get to the rendezvous point, where R2 would pick them up after evacuating Obi-Wan's group.
Piell, Kenobi and the rest of their group were brought before Sobeck, who demanded Piell's half of the information and threatened to execute his men if he refused. Piell replied that in times of war everyone was prepared to die to protect this information. Not impressed, Sobeck executed a trooper and when Piell remained silent prepared to execute another, but at that point K2-B4 informed him that they had located Anakin's group and that the droids were closing in on them. Sobeck ordered the prisoners to be brought to the interrogation level for torture, while he oversaw the capture of the second group. R2 and his droids figured out that Kenobi's group had been captured and managed to trick the security droids that escorted them into handing over the prisoners. Ahsoka found a way out of the pipeline and looked around for the shuttle, but didn't spot it. The group was ambushed by droids. After leaving the pipeline, Skywalker threw a thermal detonator in the pipeline, creating a large explosion that destroyed their attackers. Realizing that something was wrong, as the shuttle hadn't arrived yet, Anakin led the group to the Citadel's landing platforms. With the droid squad that was supposed to take Anakin's group in gone, Sobeck and K2-B4 tried to figure out the group's location. A droid then reported to Sobeck that the prisoners hadn't arrived at the interrogation level. K2-B4 informed Sobeck that Count Dooku insisted to speak with him, but Sobeck ignored it as he correctly predicted that both groups would head for the airfield to steal a ship, as it would be their only way to escape the planet.
Kenobi's group, escorted by R2 and his droids, tried to fool the droids guarding their shuttle, by telling them that they had orders to move the prisoners to another location. At this point, however, K2-B4 informed the guards that the prisoners were trying to escape with reprogrammed battle droids. This resulted in a battle on the landing platform between the group and Sobeck's droids. Anakin's group soon joined the fight and took out the droids that manned the defense turrets. Three droids on STAPs attacked the group. Piell destroyed the first, while Skywalker hijacked the second with Piell jumping on his back to deflect shots from the third and destroy it. The group destroyed several waves of droids, but didn't have a chance to board the shuttle and escape, afraid that it would be destroyed. A group of commando droids with plasma shields entered the platform. Echo and Fives used a thermal detonator to blow them up, but one survived and manned a defence turret to blow up the shuttle. Anakin tried to shoot it with his stolen STAP, but the droid shot the STAP down. Echo took a plasma shield from a fallen droid and attempted to secure the shuttle. To no avail, as the droid managed to hit the shuttle, destroying it and "killing" Echo. With the shuttle gone, the group retreated into the lower caverns.
The team did not know, however, that Echo survived; he was found by the Separatists, becoming a valuable prize to the Confederacy by virtue of the fact that he was a clone trooper. He was captured and experimented on by the Separatists.
On the run
- "The prisoners have evaded us long enough. Bring out the anoobas! Use them for tracking only!"
- ―Osi Sobeck
With their shuttle destroyed, the group contacted the Jedi Council to inform them of the situation. The council dispatched a fleet led by masters Plo Koon, Saesee Tiin, Adi Gallia and Kit Fisto that would attempt to rescue them. Meanwhile, the group had to cross the rough landscape of Lola Sayu. Later, when the group contacted the council again, Yoda gave them the rendezvous point, a small island. After the transmission, the group was attacked by a few commando droids. One was shot and Fives used a grenade to destroy the others. Kenobi remarked that it wouldn't be the last droids they would face.
Osi Sobeck had K2-B4 command the blockade fleet, as he expected the Republic would launch a second mission to evacuate the prisoners, while he focused on recapturing the team. Dooku contacted him again, angry that Sobeck had been avoiding his transmissions. He once again asked if he had recaptured the prisoners and Sobeck replied that this was not the case, but his troops would soon capture them. Dooku told him that his honesty was the only thing keeping him alive. The group meanwhile had to climb down a cliff to continue. Unfortunately, another squad of droids attacked them. The group used cables to climb down and Anakin ordered R2-D2 to have his droids hold off the enemy. OOM-10 and the other reprogrammed droids fought Sobeck's troops, but were quickly outnumbered and destroyed. A commando droid shot a climbing cable, causing two clones to fall to their deaths. The others made it down and fled into a cave, while Anakin and Cody covered them before retreating as well.
Sobeck released a pack of Anoobas, creatures that could track the team down with their scent. The group heard the howling of the creatures when they came at distance and realized that the Anoobas would lead the droids right to them. Anakin and Obi-Wan volunteered to lure the creatures away while Piell led the group. Skywalker and Kenobi fought of the Anoobas, killing at least three of them with their lightsabers. The rest of the group was attacked by crab droids and droids on STAPs. A crab droid killed a clone, and Piell and Ahsoka ordered the group to continue while they took care of the crab droids. The others, however had to fight off the STAP squad. A clone navigation officer sacrificed himself to save Tarkin from STAP fire and Tarkin responded by shooting the droid responsible down. A droid on a STAP tried to shoot Kenobi, but the Jedi destroyed him with his lightsaber. An Anooba then lunged at him from behind, but Kenobi kicked the creature in a lavastream. Piell and Tano took out the crab droids, but while Piell finished the last, a remaining Anooba attacked him by surprise and mauled him, fatally wounding him. Ahsoka took care of the creature before tending to the dying Piell. She wanted to get help, but Piell urged her to stay and gave her his half of the information. He ordered her to make sure that no one but the Jedi Council would get it, before passing away. The group had just destroyed the last STAPs when Ahsoka arrived with Piell's body. The group took a moment to honor Piell and cremated his body in the lava before moving on.
Space battle and rescue
- "There have not been battles like these since the days of the Old Republic."
"Indeed. Good hunting."
- ―Plo Koon and Saesee Tiin
The Republic rescue fleet came out of hyperspace and approached the planet and engaged the Lola Sayu defense fleet. Saesee Tiin, Adi Gallia and Kit Fisto commanded some squadrons of ARC-170 starfighters in their personal starfighters in order to break through the blockade for Plo Koon, who would attempt to land on the planet with a gunship to evacuate the team.
Meanwhile, Sobeck learned that the Anoobas had located the prisoners and went with a squad of commando droids on STAPs to deal with them personally. The group had made it to the island that served as rendezvous point for the rescue fleet. The group now only consisted of Skywalker, Kenobi, Tano, Tarkin, Rex, Cody, Fives, R2-D2 and two rescued clones. Sobeck's squad arrived and engaged them. Anakin and Obi-Wan both hijacked a STAP and destroyed most of the droids. Sobeck opened fire on the group, but R2-D2 created a cloud of smoke, blinding the warden and allowing Fives to shoot his STAP down. Sobeck fell on the island. Tarkin attempted to shoot him, but missed. An enraged Sobeck lifted the captain and, realizing he could never have the information from Tarkin, prepared to throw him in the lava so that no one would have it. Ahsoka spotted Sobeck and impaled him through the back with one of her lightsabers, killing him and saving Tarkin. Plo Koon's gunship, escorted by Tiin, Gallia and Fisto, used a hole in the Separatist defenses and made it to the planet. They were just in time to retrieve the surviving members of the team, as a squad of crab droids overwhelmed the island. Koon ordered Admiral Barton Coburn to recall all starfighters and, after they made it back to the command ship, the Republic fleet retreated to Coruscant.
- "Personally meet with the Chancellor, I will. Decide what is best to do, we shall."
Once on Coruscant, the survivors met with Yoda and Mace Windu on the Jedi temple landing platform, who expressed their sadness about Piell's death. Yoda wanted to speak to Tarkin and Ahsoka, who had both halves of the information, but Tarkin revealed that he had orders from Supreme Chancellor Palpatine to bring his part of the information directly to him, while Ahsoka had promised Piell to bring her information to no one but the Jedi Council. Yoda then decided to personally discuss with Palpatine what the best solution to this problem would be. Before leaving, Tarkin showed his respect for Skywalker and wished there were more Jedi like him. After he left, Kenobi expressed his doubts about Tarkin and told Skywalker that the Jedi should never give up their principles even in a time of war like this.
Echo's survival was not discovered until much later, during the Battle of Anaxes. He had been sold to the Techno Union, who kept him in a stasis chamber and extracted a battle strategy algorithm he had developed with Rex and Fives from his brain. When the algorithm was used against the Republic on Anaxes, Rex realized the Separatists had it somehow and deduced that Echo must not have been immediately killed in the blast, as he and Fives were the only people besides Rex to know of the algorithm, and Fives' later death was definitively confirmed. Rex was able to confirm that Echo was alive after infiltrating a Separatist Cyber Center alongside Clone Force 99, the "Bad Batch", and picking up a transmission of his voice. Echo was eventually rescued from Skako Minor by Rex, Skywalker and the Bad Batch, later accepting an offer to join the squad after helping defeat the Separatists at Anaxes.
Echo remembered Tarkin, by then promoted to Admiral, from the battle and pointed him out to his squadmates when the officer came to Kamino to evaluate clones in the aftermath of Order 66 and the proclamation of the Galactic Empire, noting that he had not liked clones.
Behind the scenes
The Battle of Lola Sayu first appeared in a three-part arc late in the third season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, consisting of the episodes "The Citadel", "Counterattack" and "Citadel Rescue".
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Citadel" (First appearance)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Counterattack"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Citadel Rescue"
- Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel (Indirect mention only)
- Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel audiobook (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Darkness on Umbara" (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Bad Batch" (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "A Distant Echo" (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: The Bad Batch – "Aftermath" (Mentioned only)
- Tarkin (Mentioned only)
- Tarkin audiobook (Mentioned only)
- (First identified as mission to infiltrate the Citadel)
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 2 (Databank A-Z: Alzoc III–Antilles)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 16 (Databank A-Z: E-11 Blaster–Cornelius Evazan)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 18 (Databank A-Z: First Order–Fyrnocks)
- Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know, Updated and Expanded (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 35 (Weapons & Uniforms: Ready for Action)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 45 (Databank A-Z: Petranaki Arena–Proton Torpedoes)
- Star Wars Encyclopedia of Starfighters and Other Vehicles
- Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary, New Edition (First identified as Battle of Lola Sayu)
- Star Wars: Alien Archive
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 53 (Databank A-Z: Tantive IV–Tatooine) (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 55 (Databank A-Z: Saesee Tiin–Toydaria)
- Star Wars: X-Wing Second Edition – Guardians of the Republic Squadron Pack (Card: ) (Picture only)
- Collapse of the Republic
- Star Wars: X-Wing Second Edition – BTL-B Y-Wing Expansion Pack (Card: ) (Reissued in Hotshots and Aces Reinforcements Pack) (Picture only)
- Ultimate Star Wars, New Edition
- Star Wars: Build Your Own X-Wing 27 (Starfighter Aces: Saesee Tiin – Iktochi Jedi Ace)
- "R2-D2" – Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: The Lightsaber Collection
- "A Seat on the Council" – Star Wars Insider 199 (Indirect mention only)
- "Explosives, Heavy Weapons and Unstable Elements" – Star Wars Encyclopedia
- "Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Final Countdown" – Star Wars Insider 200 (First identified as mission to the Citadel)
- Skywalker: A Family at War
- "The Beginning of the Clone Wars" – Star Wars Encyclopedia
- "Anakin Skywalker" – Star Wars Encyclopedia
- "Battle Droids and Other War Droids" – Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: Battles that Changed the Galaxy
- (Indirect mention only)
Notes and references
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Citadel"
- "Brain Invaders" establishes that the second occupation of Geonosis began after the Second Battle of Geonosis, while Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel shows that it continued throughout the rest of the Clone Wars. As "The Beginning of the Clone Wars" – Star Wars Encyclopedia establishes that the Battle of Lola Sayu occurred after the Second Battle of Geonosis, but still during the Clone Wars, the battle must have been concurrent to the second occupation.
- Star Wars: Force Collection (Card: Bacara (★★★★))
- Star Wars: Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide states that the Onderonian Civil War began 22 years before the Rogue One mission. Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates the Rogue One mission to 0 BBY. Therefore, the Onderonian Civil War began in 22 BBY, while its end, depicted in "Tipping Points," must occur in 20 BBY; Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates the events of "Water War" to 20 BBY, while Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Character Encyclopedia - Join the Battle! dates the events of "The Gathering" to be 20 years before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, which corresponds to 20 BBY according to Star Wars: Galactic Atlas. As establishes that the events of "Tipping Points," and therefore the end of the Onderonian Civil War, occurred between the events of "Water War" and "The Gathering," the war must have ended in 20 BBY.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Citadel Rescue"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Padawan Lost"
- According to Tarkin, the events of "The Citadel" occur a year after the battle on Murkhana, which itself took place nine months after the First Battle of Geonosis. As a result, "The Citadel" takes place one year and nine months into the Clone Wars. Additionally, Star Wars: Galactic Atlas places the events of Ghosts of Mortis and "Water War" to 20 BBY. As "The Citadel" takes place between those two Star Wars: The Clone Wars episodes according to , it must also be set in 20 BBY. As the Battle of Lola Sayu begins in "The Citadel," it must occur in 20 BBY.
- Star Wars: Battles that Changed the Galaxy
- Skywalker: A Family at War
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Counterattack"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "A Distant Echo"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Bad Batch"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Unfinished Business"
- Star Wars: The Bad Batch – "Aftermath"