- "But thanks to recent events and my appalling lack of good judgment, my time with the Rebellion has earned me a death mark on all Imperial worlds. Including the good ones ― Corellia, Coruscant, Eriadu, Thyferra... You know, the ones with thriving black markets."
- ―Han Solo to Chewbacca, two months after the Battle of Yavin
The black market, also called the underground market, was an illegal underworld center where goods not publicly sold or traded could be found and purchased. Virtually every planet had a black market of some kind. Many forbidden droids, drugs, weapons, and other technological innovations could be found on the black market, as well as banned music and entertainment, bootleg holos and Twi'lek slave girls. On repressive or religious planets, items like alcohol or caffeine would be available only through the black market.
Even planets allied to the Rebellion during the Galactic Civil War were known to have black markets containing pornographic holos, alcohol, or expensive clothing not carried in the Alliance Commissary.
Black market technology was often employed by pirates and other criminal organizations such as the Zann Consortium. Although the technology was effective, it was sometimes outdated. Also, the users would have to be careful, as it was a crime to possess illegal items.
Items were usually classified in three categories:
- F (Fee) - A special fee or permit was usually required to purchase these items. The fee ran from 5 to 50 percent of cost of the item and averaged at 10 percent. Records of these transactions are still kept to keep track of who owns such items. The black market would prevent the names of the purchasers from getting into such records. This was helpful for acquiring items that would go to the Rebellion. In addition to the above mentioned, armor and hunting blasters were included with this group, but required a fee and permit on Imperial-dominated worlds.
- R (Restricted) - These items could only be accessible with a local or Imperial license, involving a background check and high fee (100 percent of the item's cost or higher). The background check and fees could be avoided with the black market. Items included most combat weapons, blaster pistols, blaster carbines, ship-mounted weapons, and grenades.
- X (Illegal) - Possession may have violated local law, Imperial law, or both. These items would only be available through the black market. Items included thermal detonators, stormtrooper armor, spice, and anti-Imperial holos.
Goods did not necessarily have to be illegal or restricted to be sold on the black market, as some vendors would try to avoid taxes or notifying authorities.
Certain goods that were normally not mass produced and not available on sale, such as lightsabers, could end up being sold and bought on the black market. An example was Ahsoka Tano's stolen lightsaber.
Examples of black markets
The city of Depatar was considered the biggest black market in the Cularin system. It had been built by five crime syndicates wanting a neutral meeting ground to deal, and later offered to any parties with similar needs. The A68 Market was a black market right under the nose of the Empire, located within the Death Star itself.
- Bulldog RLR
- Buzz droid technology (StarViper-class attack platform)
- Carbonite missile technology (Missile Attack Launcher)
- Cloaking technology (F9-TZ Transport, Merciless, Vengeance-class frigate)
- Core Overload works (MZ-8 Mobile Pulse Cannon, Aggressor-class Star Destroyer, Vengeance-class frigate)
- Disruptor technology (Mercenaries)
- Full missile salvo technology (Interceptor IV frigate)
- Illicit Electronics products (Flesh camouflage, SB-20 Slicer Droid)
- Laser point-defense technology (Crusader-class corvette)
- Proximity mine technology (Mercenaries)
- SD-6 Hulk infantry droid
- Sensor jamming technology (GAT-12 Skipray Blastboat)
- Shields leeching works (Keldabe-class battleship)
Notes and references
- "From the Files of Corellia Antilles"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 14
- Galaxy Guide 6: Tramp Freighters
- Star Wars 1
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Lightsaber Lost"
- Clouded Paths
- Death Star Technical Companion
- Star Wars Battlefront II: Prima Official Game Guide
- Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption
- Galladinium's Fantastic Technology