- "Wipe them out. All of them."
- ―Darth Sidious
The Battle of Naboo was the final conflict of the Trade Federation's invasion of the planet Naboo. The battle featured four separate parts and was conceived by Queen Padmé Amidala upon returning to her planet, after unsuccessfully pleading with the Galactic Senate for help. The plan would be to use the Gungans and their Grand Army to lure the Trade Federation army away from Theed, the capital city, so Amidala and her security forces could infiltrate the palace and capture Trade Federation Viceroy Nute Gunray. Meanwhile, a team of starfighter pilots would enter orbit in an assault on the Federation command ship, the destruction of which would disable all Federation battle droids on the planet.
When the battle began, the Gungans fought the Federation army away from the city at Great Grass Plains, while the queen and her team made their way to the palace. Once inside, and as the starfighter pilots made their way into orbit after being freed, the Naboo were confronted by the Sith Lord Darth Maul. The queen's Jedi protectors, Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, fought the Sith Lord throughout the palace while Amidala and her forces made their way to the Viceroy.
By the battle's end, the Federation control ship had been destroyed by Anakin Skywalker, saving the Gungan army from destruction; Amidala and her security personnel captured Gunray; and Darth Maul was defeated and presumed dead after having killed Jinn in lightsaber combat. The battle liberated Naboo from the Federation, led to Kenobi's promotion to Jedi Knight, and convinced the Jedi Council to accept Skywalker for Jedi training.
The Battle of Naboo was ultimately part of a much larger plot. The invasion itself had been orchestrated by Naboo's Senator Sheev Palpatine, who was secretly the Sith Lord Darth Sidious, in a successful effort to be elected Supreme Chancellor. He later engineered the Clone Wars to amass total control over the Galactic Republic so he could transform it into the Galactic Empire and destroy the Jedi Order. During the war, in which Palpatine achieved his goals, Count Dooku remarked that, despite ten years passing between them, the Clone Wars truly began during the Battle of Naboo.
- "The Federation Army's also much larger than we thought, and much stronger. Your Highness, this is a battle I do not think that we can win."
- ―Captain Quarsh Panaka to Queen Padmé Amidala
Ten years before the Clone Wars, the Trade Federation was forced to invade the planet Naboo by its hidden master, Darth Sidious. Over the course of the engagement, the Federation failed to capture the planet's Queen, Padmé Amidala, despite the assistance of the Sith Lord Darth Maul. She fled to Coruscant to plead her case to the Galactic Senate, to no avail as many Senators were, as Palpatine put it, "on the Trade Federation's payroll."
Deciding to take action herself, she returned to Naboo and, with the aid of the exiled Gungan Jar Jar Binks, the Queen went to the Gungan sacred place to convince Boss Rugor Nass, leader of the Gungans, to align with the human population of Naboo. The Trade Federation had managed to drive the Gungans to their sacred place after invading their homes. Amidala humbled herself before the Gungans, begging them for their help, and Nass pledged to support to her, forging a historic pact between the Naboo and the Gungans. Once what remained of the Royal Naboo Security Forces had been summoned to their hiding place, the Queen, head of security Captain Panaka, and Nass devised a plan to retake Naboo. By the time Amidala returned to the planet, only one Droid Control Ship was left in orbit.
During the planning session, Nass made Binks a Bombad General for the upcoming battle. The plan for the Gungan Grand Army was to lure out the main bulk of the Federation's Droid Army onto the Great Grass Plains for the head-to-head assault, allowing Amidala and her strike force, along with the two Jedi, Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi (with Anakin Skywalker tagging along), to attack capital city of Theed and capture the main hangar. Naboo pilots would then attack the Droid Control Ship in hopes of deactivating the Federation Army, and allowing Amidala to capture Viceroy Nute Gunray, and thus regain control of the planet. Binks commanded a regiment of militiagungs, including Captain Roos Tarpals and Oma Prumba.
Battle in the Great Grass Plains
- "Ouch time."
- ―Captain Tarpals
The Grand Army had moved into their position by midday, taking up much of the level part of the Great Grass Plains, 40 kilometers from Theed, where Captain Tarpals ordered the activation of their shield generators, set up on the backs of fambaas. The army was encased in at least three enormous energy domes impervious to any bombardment. The Droid Army descended from the hills into the valley, in a formation of Armored Assault Tanks escorting Multi-Troop Transports. Settled into position, facing the massive Grand Army, OOM-9 ordered a preliminary bombardment, firing on the Gungans' shields, with his AATs, to little effect.
After a while, OOM-9 ordered the other AATs to hold fire; the Gungans believed the battle to be won. The tanks fell back, and the Federation's MTTs unloaded thousands of battle droids, much to the horror of the Gungans. The B1-series battle droids slowly marched through the Gungan shield and fired on the unprotected soldiers. The Gungans, led by Captain Tarpals and Bombad General Binks (whose kaadu tossed him off early in the battle), fought with personal shields, catapults, boomas, cestas and atlatls, destroying dozens of battle droids. The Gungan energy catapults launched large plasma boomas at the droid ranks, but they could not halt the persistent droid march. A squad of droidekas rolled onto the battleground, further increasing Gungan casualties as the MTTs moved in to trap the Grand Army. At some point, a battle droid, having been severed at the waist, fell onto General Binks, eventually getting him off and he started stomping and kicking it, eventually accidentally getting his foot entangled with the severed wiring. This setback eventually came with an advantage when he took down some droids, including one destroyer droid, due to the wiring causing the droid to fire its blaster when he moved the entangled foot.
Ultimately, the shield generator was destroyed by concentrated droid fire, deactivating the protective dome. OOM-9 immediately called upon all AATs, battle droids, Single Trooper Aerial Platforms, to advance. Tank shells now ripped unobstructed into the Gungan lines, tearing up the previously untouched Great Grass Plains. Gungan ranks fell to the mechanized Trade Federation Army; the two armies engaged each other at close range among several ruins and mounted laser cannons. A retreat was quickly ordered. In the confusion, Binks, running on foot since his kaadu had been lost, jumped onto a cache of boomas carried by falumpaset. The weight of the Gungan opened the door and released the large boomas; one impacted with an AAT, destroying it while others disabled destroyer droids. An explosion then sent the harried Binks flying onto a tank. Tarpals drew up alongside on his kaadu and threw a booma at him to aid Binks, as Binks lacked a booma to take down the tank. However, Binks clumsily deflected it onto the tank's pilot, causing the vehicle to crash. In the end, both Gungan officers were captured by a battle droid squad. Their army defeated, Binks surrendering easily, much to Tarpal's dismay.
Battle of Theed
Battle in the streets
- "I thought the battle was going to take place far from here. This is too close."
- ―Nute Gunray
Sneaking into the city, the Queen's strike team and the remains of the Royal Security force waited for an opening. After exchanging signals with the queen, Panaka's forces opened fire on the droids, destroying an AAT and many B1 units. The destruction of the AAT surprised Gunray, who had expected the final battle to take place elsewhere. Under cover of the confusion, Amidala led her team into the Theed Royal Palace. As the battle raged in Theed, the strike force entered the hangar, but was slowed down down by battle droids.
The Naboo forces cleared out the hangar in short order. During the engagement, the Naboo pilots were able to to take off to attack the Droid Control Ship, although one was shot down by an AAT stationed outside of the hangar. Panaka ordered Red and Blue Groups to regroup, and the strike force moved toward the Palace. As they approached the hanger doors, however, Darth Maul appeared on the other side blocking their way. The two Jedi moved to confront him, while the rest of the Queen's strike force decided to take the longer route to the throne room in order to avoid the imminent duel. They were then pinned down by the Federations reinforcements, a squad of destroyer droids. Anakin Skywalker, taking refuge in a N-1 starfighter cockpit at Qui-Gon's request, while trying to find the fighter's trigger in order to help the security force, accidentally took off, but managed to destroy the droids with the craft's far stronger laser blasts. The fighter's auto-pilot then engaged, and took Skywalker into space to join the assault, with Skywalker telling R2-D2 to try and override the autopilot. Skywalker's fighter, while leaving the hangar, also managed to evade fire from the aforementioned AAT.
Retaking of the Palace
- "Viceroy! Your occupation here has ended!"
The Queen's battle continued further into the Royal Palace, traveling through the ceremonial halls before she was stopped by a contingent of battle droids. She split up with her handmaiden, Sabé (who was once again disguised as the queen), who led a second squad of Naboo soldiers through the palace corridors. Amidala, Panaka, and other soldiers escaped through the window to the outside of the palace, and used their ascension guns to get up to the throne room level.
Amidala's own group tried to break through to the throne room which their target, Viceroy Gunray, had taken over. However, a squad of destroyer droids surrounded Amidala's soldiers and managed to force their surrender. Amidala ordered Panaka and the others to throw down their weapons, seeing that resistance at this point would be pointless. The destroyer and battle droids brought the Queen's squad to the throne room, then left the area, leaving only around a dozen battle droids to accompany them in the room, where Gunray and Rune Haako waited.
After being led to the throne room as captured enemies, the Queen and her protectors were not to be prisoners for long. Sabé and her team, responding to Amidala's signal, suddenly appeared and fooled Viceroy Gunray into thinking Sabé was the Queen. The battle droids were distracted just long enough for Amidala to open a secret compartment in the throne full of blasters and throw them to her allies. The confused battle droids were quickly shot down and the doors to the throne room jammed, locking the Viceroy and Haako in with Queen Amidala. Two of the most prominent leaders of the Trade Federation were now in custody. Theed had been taken back from Federation control.
Duel on Naboo
- "We'll handle this."
- ―Qui-Gon Jinn
Meanwhile, the lightsaber duel between Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan and Darth Maul raged on. The trio fought through a pair of blast doors connecting the hangar to the Theed power generator. On a catwalk across the complex, the duel raged for a long time, Maul being a more formidable opponent than either Jedi had ever faced before, wielding his saberstaff with lethal efficiency. Despite Maul's seeming dominance on the battlefield, he continually gave ground over the entire battle, leading the two Jedi into a labyrinth of catwalks. Maul then leapt up to a higher level, with the Jedi following. Maul split the two Jedi apart after he forced Kenobi over the ledge.
Jinn forced the Sith Lord back down to the central catwalk, which met a hall with laser fields. By the time Obi-Wan caught up to the two combatants, he was kept back by the laser barriers. The laser barriers also separated Jinn from his Sith adversary; the Jedi meditated while Maul paced until the barriers opened. Kenobi did not catch up before the barriers closed again, leaving Qui-Gon to duel alone with Maul. Eventually, Maul slammed the handle of his lightsaber into Qui-Gon's face, stunning the Jedi Master, and the merciless Sith Lord quickly took the moment to stab Qui-Gon in the chest, while Obi-Wan could only watch in horror. The laser fields soon switched off, and Obi-Wan ran through to avenge his master's fatal blow.
Overcome with hatred, Obi-Wan lashed out at Maul. He succeeded in slicing the Sith Lord's double-bladed lightsaber hilt in half, leaving Maul with only one blade. However, the Sith Lord remained in control and eventually Force-pushed Obi-Wan into the pit. The Jedi Padawan could do nothing but clung for his life and watch as Maul kicked Obi-Wan's lightsaber into the pit.
As the Sith Lord tried to dislodge him with lightsaber strikes on the edge of the pit, Obi-Wan managed to Force-jump himself out of the pit, Force-pulled his master's lightsaber into his hand, and landed with a single sweeping near-death blow into Darth Maul's middle. The Sith Lord fell into the pit, sliced in two and presumed dead. By then, the rest of Naboo had been liberated after the Droid Control Ship orbiting the planet was destroyed, thereby shutting off the droid army and ending the Invasion of Naboo.
Attack on the Droid Control Ship
- "The deflector shield is too strong!"
- ―Olié, after his failed strafing run
Once in orbit over Naboo, the pilots of Bravo Squadron, including Porro Dolphe, assaulted the Droid Control battleship, which coordinated all droid forces on the planet. Dineé Ellberger, also joined the assault. After the first wave of droid starfighters was down, Bravo Squadron moved in close to engage the Control Ship. Olié ordered another pilot to attack the bridge. One of the pilots was killed during a strafing run by the battleship's turbolaser cannons, but the Naboo pilots managed to land hits on the Droid Control Ship with their proton torpedoes. The torpedoes were not strong enough, however, to affect the Federation ship.
As the battle raged in space, down on the planet the young Force-sensitive Anakin Skywalker accidentally entered the battle when he accidentally launched his starfighter and took off from the Theed Hangar on autopilot. He asked his astromech droid R2-D2 to disengage the autopilot; Although R2-D2 demanded that Skywalker return to the hangar, Skywalker refused, citing that Qui-Gon had earlier told him to "stay in the cockpit." Skywalker then succeeded in shooting down several droid starfighters before having his own starfighter shot down, and he landed in the battleship's left hangar.
In the hangar, Skywalker's ship landed on the hangar floor, overheated. He attempted to restart the fighter by fiddling with the controls. After his starfighter rebooted, he unintentionally launched a pair of torpedoes into the main reactor when trying to escape and fire on the droids attacking him. Communications officer Tey How reported the disturbance to Captain Daultay Dofine, who dismissed these reports after claiming that it was impossible for anything to get past the deflector shields. However, the reactor explosion caused by Skywalker managed to create a massive explosion that ripped the ship in half. Shocked over the explosion, Skywalker quickly escaped through the ship's main hangar, also comparing it to podracing. The ship's impending destruction was also seen by the remaining Bravo Squadron pilots, initially baffling them as they had never actually hit the vessel, until they saw Skywalker's starfighter escaping from one of the hangars.
A puzzled Dofine and crew failed to realize what was happening when the control computer in front of them malfunctioned and exploded, killing Dofine and the entire crew in an instant; this also deactivated all the battle droids stationed on Naboo and thus marked the end of the Federation's invasion of Naboo. The Bravo Squadron pilots cheered, for the day was won.
Despite a crushing defeat for the Gungans on the Great Grass Plains, events altered dramatically when the Droid Control Ship over the planet was destroyed, deactivating the droid army, and leaving the Gungan survivors liberated from their recent capture. They watched dumbstruck as their droid captors, and enemy vehicles all around them suddenly shut down, realizing that while their own battle had been lost, the battle above must have been won. They promptly celebrated by tipping over the deactivated droids.
- "Thinking on it, was we all just mooie-mooie lucky? Maybe we was. But mesa liken to think it was destiny."
- ―Gungan militiagung Oma Prumba
After the battle was over, peace finally returned to Naboo. Viceroy Gunray was captured and forced to sign a treaty, officially ending the invasion. The Gungan people and the Naboo united as one world, and a celebration took place in Theed. During the Clone Wars, Skywalker recounted his story to members of the 501st Legion; the story later served as an inspiration for three clone troopers who, acting against orders, utilized Skywalker's tactics of taking out a ship's reactor from the inside when they blew up a Separatist supply ship during the Battle of Umbara.
Palpatine had been elected Supreme Chancellor in the meantime, replacing Finis Valorum. The next day, Palpatine arrived on Naboo with members of the Jedi High Council to oversee the arrest of Gunray and Haako. Yoda promoted Kenobi to full Jedi Knight and assigned him to train Skywalker. That evening, Qui-Gon was given a Jedi funeral. The day after, the Gungans and Naboo celebrated with a parade in Theed, complete with overflights by N-1 starfighters.
Despite what the Jedi and even Darth Sidious were led to believe, Darth Maul did not die on Naboo. Instead he survived through his all-consuming hatred for Obi-Wan Kenobi and managed to escape the planet. Knowing his master would never forgive his failure, Maul fled to the reclusive world of Lotho Minor, where, despite the strength of his rage, the pain he felt from his near-fatal wound drove him to insanity and made him lose his mind. The only thing he remembered was the reason why he had become what he was now: Kenobi. The only person who knew of Darth Maul's survival was Mother Talzin of the Nightsisters. At the height of the Clone Wars, after having incurred the wrath of Count Dooku, Talzin sent her new servant, Savage Opress, Maul's brother, to find him. Sidious would later learn of Maul's survival during the Clone Wars from Kenobi in person when debriefing him on the events on the Skirmish on Florrum. Sidious later tracked Maul down to Mandalore and managed to subdue him, sparing him as he still had use for him to track down Mother Talzin.
Maul eventually escaped from Sidious and went into hiding for several years after the fall of the Republic and the Jedi Order. At one point, he became the secret head of the Crimson Dawn crime syndicate. He was finally discovered on Malachor, when the Jedi survivors Ahsoka Tano and Kanan Jarrus, as well as Kanan's apprentice Ezra Bridger, arrived on the planet seeking information about how to destroy the Sith. Maul would manipulate the Jedi (particularly Ezra) in assisting him for his own purposes, eventually leading to him discovering that Obi-Wan Kenobi was still alive. After learning that Obi-Wan was hiding on Tatooine, Maul manipulated Ezra to draw Obi-Wan out and then confronted his old enemy on the desert planet. However, when Maul attempted to defeat his opponent in the same manner as he had done with Qui-Gon Jinn years before, Obi-Wan countered in anticipation with a fatal slash of his lightsaber and finally brought an end to Maul's threat to the galaxy.
Behind the scenes
Like the Battle of Endor featured in the 1983 film Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, the Great Grass Plains battle is inspired by the Vietnam War, in particular, the concept of a technologically inferior race besting a more advanced culture in battle. However, unlike Endor, Great Grass Plains is not won by the protagonists, and they are only saved due to luck, and outside intervention. According to Lucas during the audio commentary, Binks' antics were inspired by Buster Keaton. The battle also had Japanese themes to it. According to the 1999 reference book The Art of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the battle was originally perceived as taking place between Naboo/Gungan piloted airwhales and Federation "air bikes."
Star Wars: The Making of Episode I The Phantom Menace described the production process of the special effects for the battle. First, the scene was mapped out by animatics. Then, FX artist Dennis Muren assembled pictures of Earth locations, and these images were distorted by Industrial Light & Magic to appear alien. CGI images of the Trade Federation vehicles and Gungan armies were subsequently inserted into the shot. Animators received horse-riding instructions to illustrate the kaadu realistically. In addition, hundreds of effects such as laser blasts were rendered. Explosions were made on stage in real life, then scanned into the digital compositing system for alterations. The droids, at the suggestion of George Lucas, were made to be pigeon-like, with different actions randomly assigned to individual droids. On the other hand, the space sequence was produced through a combination of computer animation and motion-control model photography.
For the duel between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn against Darth Maul on the Naboo hangar, John Williams wrote and scored "Duel of the Fates," the musical theme ultimately featured as the main theatrical motif for the film. According to Dave Filoni, the use of the musical theme symbolically represents that the duel's outcome will decide the fate of Anakin Skywalker; Qui-Gon Jinn fights for Anakin's future as he knows that he's the father figure Anakin needs after convincing him to leave his mother on Tatooine. In the end, Obi-Wan Kenobi takes Anakin as his Padawan because he promised Qui-Gon to do it rather than for genuine care of Anakin, as while Kenobi comes to see Skywalker as a brother, he doesn't act like a father.
- LEGO Star Wars: All-Stars – "Lo, I am Manufactured" (In flashback(s))
- LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – "Zander's Joyride" (In flashback(s))
- LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales – "Exit from Endor" (In flashback(s))
- LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
Notes and references
- Star Wars: On the Front Lines
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
- Queen's Peril
- Ultimate Star Wars, New Edition
- Star Wars Encyclopedia of Starfighters and Other Vehicles
- Queen's Shadow
- Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Shadow Warrior"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Plan of Dissent"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Brothers"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Revival"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Lawless"
- Solo: A Star Wars Story
- Star Wars Rebels – "Twilight of the Apprentice"
- Star Wars Rebels – "Twin Suns"
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace audio commentary
- The Art of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
- Star Wars: The Making of Episode I The Phantom Menace
- Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian – "Legacy"