- "Republics may fall, empires may rise. But the Bounty Hunter Guild stands strong."
- ―From the Bounty Hunters Guild Handbook
The Bounty Hunters' Guild was an ancient institution that regulated the bounty-hunting trade. It was led by a guildmaster who held members to the Bounty Hunters' Creed, the unwritten rules of the bounty hunters. Its rules were the laws that kept bounty hunters together, but the guild was full of loose cannons, who would often break the rules for their own benefit. The guild was more a coalition of the professionals than a proper organization, and rivalries between its houses were a common occurrence. The bounty hunters who joined the guild had the benefit of notifications of bounty postings before they were broadcast through official channels, which gave guild members a head start. Many Imperial agents preferred to deal exclusively with guild bounty hunters.
The Bounty Hunters' Guild was composed of many smaller guilds that operated nearly independently. Those guilds were loosely held together by the overarching Bounty Hunters' Guild, each with its own organization, regulation, specialties and agendas. The core of the Bounty Hunters' Guild is made up of ten major houses along with a number of smaller groups, each specializing in a unique brand of bounty hunting, but reporting to the guildmaster. Those major Houses were:
- Crimson Nova (specialized in Jedi)
- House Benelex (specialized in kidnapping retrieval)
- House Neuvalis (rarely dealt with outsiders)
- House Paramexor (specialized in hunting murderers)
- House Renliss (consisted of female hunters pursuing male bounties)
- House Salaktori
- House Tresario (specialized in hunting pirates)
- Mantis Syndicate (specialized in big groups)
- Ragnar Syndicate (specializing in unorthodox techniques)
- Skine Bounty Hunter College (specialists, who were top at variety of things)
- Slaver Syndicate (sometimes turned their bounties over to slavers)
With rogue bounty hunters coming into conflict with Jedi Knights more and more often, and leading to an increasing number of deaths, the Jedi Order requested that the Galactic Senate address the matter. The Senate decided that the best way to regulate the hunters was for the bounty hunters to police themselves. The hunters were allowed to form governing bodies, providing that they adhere to by-laws and create personnel records, leading to the creation of many guilds. Soon, these guilds formed together, creating one overarching group - the Bounty Hunter's Guild. The four founders had a vision of uniting bounty hunters, training apprentices, and encouraging collaboration with the Jedi Order and with each other.
One of the Guild's complexes was located on Trandosha.
Old Sith Wars
During the Old Sith Wars, many hunters ceased to follow the Creed, giving in to the dark, desperate mood of the times. With the Jedi nearly extinct, Goto, leader of the Exchange on Nar Shaddaa put out a bounty in the hope that the guild's members would bring them alive; however, many thought of it as a decree to destroy Jedi and attempted to kill known survivors. Members of the Guild on Nar Shaddaa turned on each other in eagerness to capture Meetra Surik. Vossk, the leader of the Guild, was one of the few loyal to the Creed.
The Golden Age of the Republic
A few years after 900 BBY, a Human-only faction was created, forming a schism in the Guild. They invaded Mandalorian territory, and the Mandalorians retaliated by exploding the location of their first meeting - a space station at Ixtlar - killing them all. This pushed the Guild to recruit members of many different species, to prove that the Guild was not speciesist. Even droids were allowed to join.
In 200 BBY, the Mandalorians won a war against the Ithullans, then proceeded to exterminate the entire Ithullan species. The Jedi Council failed to take any action against the Mandalorians, so a number of rogue Jedi teamed up with the Bounty Hunters' Guild to take down the ruling Mandalore.
Following his departure from the Cularin system in 53 BBY, the Hutt crime lord Riboga placed a bounty on the Gran Nadin Paal, which could only be collected if Paal ever left the Cularin system. The Bounty Hunters' Guild sent some of its minions to the system, to monitor Paal's movements, so that they would know if he ever left.
The Clone Wars
During the Clone Wars, the Crimson Nova chapter, under the leadership of Mika, sanctioned a bounty on Jedi offered by Kh'aris Fenn. This was in direct contradiction to the history of the Guild's alliance with the Republic. Mika, crazed by her hatred of Jedi, refused to end the bounty when Mace Windu, Agen Kolar, Saesee Tiin, and Kit Fisto arrived on her space station. The Jedi captured Mika, and Stroth, former leader of the chapter, took over and agreed to end the bounty and turn over Kh'aris Fenn to the Republic.
Galactic Civil War
The Guild itself survived under the leadership of the Trandoshan Cradossk, father of Bossk, where it acted as a formal allied holding to the Empire. According to the official field manual for the Imperial forces, the Imperial Handbook: A Commander's Guide, the reason for this working relationship was because of the belief among bounty hunters that "the highest bid makes the rules." This continued until around 1 ABY, when it was destroyed through the manipulation of Boba Fett. The plan itself was the work of Prince Xizor, who enlisted Kud'ar Mub'at as a middleman between himself and Fett.
Fett, who was known for his disdain of the Guild, joined it, tearing it into two factions: the True Guild and the Guild Reform Committee. The True Guild was composed of the elders who had run the Guild and reaped the profits, igniting the resentment of the younger, bounty-earning members who formed the Guild Reform Committee. This manipulation resulted in the Bounty Hunter Wars. The weak hunters were crushed, leaving only the strong to be hired by the Empire. During the conflict, Bossk killed and devoured his father.
In the aftermath of the Bounty Hunter Wars, only Dengar, Bossk, and several others were left alive. Boba Fett and Dengar once teamed up to capture Han Solo but failed, marking the end of their partnership. Bossk eventually retired. Zuckuss and 4-LOM split up and hunted fewer and fewer bounties.
Later during the war, the same belief about the highest bid making the rules was ultimately what resulted in the Guild siding with the Rebels.
Second Imperial Civil War
By 137 ABY, the Guild remained active. It had been infiltrated by Azlyn Rae, a former Padawan and undercover member of the Imperial Knights. Black Sun assassin Ku Vrat had been a member of the Guild until he was expelled for interfering with other hunters' bounties.
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds
- Aurra's Song (Mentioned only)
- The Bounty Hunters: Aurra Sing (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars Adventures 4: Jango Fett vs. the Razor Eaters
- Star Wars Adventures 5: The Shape-Shifter Strikes
- Star Wars Adventures 6: The Warlords of Balmorra
- Boba Fett: Maze of Deception (Mentioned only)
- Republic 53 (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Republic: Show of Force
- Force Convention (Mentioned only)
- The Hutt Gambit (Mentioned only)
- Under a Black Sun (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided
- The Last One Standing: The Tale of Boba Fett (Mentioned only)
- The Mandalorian Armor (First appearance) (In flashback(s))
- Slave Ship (In flashback(s))
- Hard Merchandise (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Legacy: Trust Issues (Mentioned only)
- Legacy (2006) 23 (Mentioned only)
- Legacy (2006) 38 (Mentioned only)