- "Your primary objective is to locate civilians and get them to an evacuation ship."
- ―Jedi Master Lar Le'Ung, regarding the Bulwarks' role in the evacuation of Rychel
The Bulwark Mark III, also known as the Bulwark-class battlecruiser, was a massive warship developed by TransGalMeg Industries using an old Techno Union battleship from the Clone Wars as a design basis. Equipped with extensive firepower, shielding, and carrying capacity, the 2,500-meter Bulwark Mark III was ideal for large-scale operations, capable of inflicting damage equal to an Imperial-class Star Destroyer. During the Galactic Civil War, the Bulwark battlecruiser was one of the most heavily armored and durable vessels serving with the Rebel Alliance, while the SoroSuub Corporation's Sullustan Home Guard also utilized the ship in defense of the planet Sullust. Later, during the Yuuzhan Vong War, the New Republic employed several Bulwarks in an operation to help evacuate citizens from the beleaguered planet Rychel, which had fallen under Yuuzhan Vong attack, and again during a blockade to defend the planet Shramar from Vong invasion.
Developed by TransGalMeg Industries, Incorporated, the Bulwark Mark III, or Bulwark-class battlecruiser, was a massive, 2,500-meter capital warship. Although plagued by rumors of unreliable electronics and sensors, the Bulwark Mark III nevertheless boasted an extensive arsenal, shielding, and carrying capacity. Armed with Multiple turbolasers and 580 ion cannons, covering its fore, aft, port, and starboard angles and outfitted with a support complement of up to ten starfighter squadrons and four troop regiments, the Bulwark was a veritable mobile fortress. Adding to its versatility, the immense battlecruiser was capable of making planetary landfall and disembarking ground forces. The Bulwark was equipped with a hyperdrive system in addition to a basic sublight drive.
The Bulwark Mark III's powerful armaments and considerable defensive capabilities made it ideal for large-scale military operations. The battlecruiser could absorb and administer damage equal to that of Imperial-class Star Destroyers.
Age of Rebellion
TransGalMeg Industries developed the Bulwark Mark III based on the old designs of the Bulwark Mark I, a behemoth warship produced by the Techno Union and later used by the Confederacy of Independent Systems against the Galactic Republic during the Clone Wars. The Bulwark Mark III directly succeeded the Bulwark Mark II, another Clone Wars–era Confederate battleship.
During the subsequent Galactic Civil War, the Bulwark Mark III proved to be one of the most armored, durable, and battle-proof starships employed by the Rebel Alliance Fleet. Additionally, the Sullustan Home Guard, an antipiracy armada established by the SoroSuub Corporation to defend the planet Sullust, also utilized the Bulwark Mark III during this period.
Shortly before the Battle of Hoth, the SoroSuub orbital shipyards constructed the Bulwark battlecruiser Arrow of Sullust. However, SoroSuub—formally neutral during the Galactic Civil War but secretly sympathetic to the Rebel Alliance in its struggle against the Galactic Empire—could not openly deliver the ship to the Rebellion. The task of stealing the Bulwark thus fell to a group of Rebels, who, with only a skeleton crew, held off Imperial forces long enough to cruise to a safe distance and escape to hyperspace with the Arrow of Sullust.
Yuuzhan Vong War
- "Strike force, the wait is over. Return, and hit your targets with everything you've got."
- ―Admiral Bylsma relates Queen Galfridian's order to attack the Yuuzhan Vong supply fields on Shramar
TransGalMeg later constructed Bulwark Mark IIIs for the burgeoning New Republic, the Rebel Alliance's successor state, early in its existence. In 25 ABY, amidst the Yuuzhan Vong War, the New Republic dispatched at least four Bulwarks to assist in the evacuation of the besieged planet Rychel, whose civilians had fallen under attack by the Yuuzhan Vong. The Bulwarks delivered a joint force of Republic troops and Jedi led by Masters Luke Skywalker and Lar Le'Ung to Rychel's surface to combat the Vong and evacuate as many civilians as possible aboard the battlecruisers. Once filled with Rychel evacuees, the Bulwarks departed the planet with the surviving Jedi and Republic forces, although many civilians were left behind at the mercy of the Yuuzhan Vong, as the New Republic did not have the resources to evacuate everyone.
Later in 25 ABY, at least two Bulwarks participated in the joint New Republic–Imperial blockade of the planet Shramar, an effort to prevent the Yuuzhan Vong fleet from recovering its captured slaveship, the Heart of Artorias, which the Republic and Imperials were using on the surface to evacuate refugees from the planet. The blockade, however, eventually became part of a larger plan masterminded by Queen Nina Galfridian of the planet Artorias to destroy the Yuuzhan Vong's vital supply fields on Shramar. As the Vong attack on Shramar began, Galfridian ordered the joint Republic–Imperial fleet to withdraw into hyperspace and wait, a diversionary move. Convinced the planetary defenders had retreated in defeat, the Vong moved in to attack the Heart of Artorias. At that moment Galfridian ordered her ships to return to Shramar. The Bulwarks and the rest of the fleet arrived on the other side of the planet from the Vong force and unleashed a devastating orbital bombardment that wiped out the enemy supply fields before once more escaping into hyperspace and later rendezvousing at the edge of Wild Space.
Behind the scenes
- "Good catch on the Bulwark battlecruiser from the game Rebellion. Note that this is actually the 'Bulwark Mark I,' however. It's still definitely a Rebellion tie-in, but I wanted to make sure I depowered the ship enough for it to fit into the Clone Wars timeframe."
- ―Daniel Wallace discusses the Bulwark's inclusion in The New Essential Chronology
The Bulwark Mark III first appeared in the 1998 PC game Star Wars: Rebellion as one of the playable capital ships available to the Rebel Alliance. Referred to in the game as the "Bulwark Battlecruiser," and by the in-game encyclopedia as the "Bulwark class capital ship," the Bulwark represents the game's most powerful warship in the Alliance arsenal, designed to be a competitive match for the Galactic Empire's Super Star Destroyer in gameplay. As the Bulwark's entry in the Star Wars: Rebellion: Prima's Official Strategy Guide notes, "the Bulwark battlecruiser is the most powerful in the game and can stand toe-to-toe with all Imperial ships except the Death Star […] this battlecruiser is almost a fleet in and of itself. It's the natural flagship for any major Alliance fleet."
The Bulwark from Star Wars: Rebellion later received a nod in the 2005 reference book The New Essential Chronology, which refers to a "Bulwark Mark I" vessel utilized by the Techno Union during the Clone Wars. Author Daniel Wallace explained that he intended this vessel to be a Rebellion tie-in, as a sort of Clone Wars–era predecessor to the Rebellion Bulwark battlecruiser. Wallace further speculated on the Rebellion Bulwark's exact relation to his Bulwark Mark I: "I'll allow that they could be Mark IIIs or IVs, depending on whether anyone ever goes back to create new ship classes. I've always thought that the New Republic got their hands on Bulwarks at some point post-ROJ, but that the Rebel Alliance never did."
In 2008, the Rebellion Bulwark was granted an official starship classification with the release of The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, which identified the vessel as the "Bulwark-class battle cruiser," drawing upon the original in-game encyclopedia entry material from Star Wars: Rebellion. The Bulwark again appeared in the 2009 comic Invasion 3, written by Tom Taylor, which featured the starship in a prominent New Republic military role during the Yuuzhan Vong War. Taylor again included the Bulwark in New Republic service in the subsequent 2011 comic Invasion: Revelations 5.
Author Jason Fry, who has collaborated with Daniel Wallace on several previous Star Wars works, included the Rebellion Bulwark in his 2012 reference book The Essential Guide to Warfare, in which he established the vessel's name as the "Bulwark Mark III" and described it as being built by TransGalMeg Industries for the New Republic. Fry intended to canonize Wallace's plans for the evolution of the Rebellion Bulwark class, which Wallace had previously discussed but had never had an opportunity to do so. However, given that Wallace's evolution is inconsistent with Star Wars: Rebellion, The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, and the 2015 Star Wars: Age of Rebellion roleplaying sourcebook Strongholds of Resistance, all of which state that the Rebel Alliance utilized the Bulwark, this article attempts to reconcile all information.
- Star Wars: Rebellion (First appearance) (as Bulwark Battlecruiser and Bulwark class capital ship)
- Invasion 3
- Invasion: Revelations 5
- Star Wars: Rebellion: Prima's Official Strategy Guide (as Bulwark battlecruiser)
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia (First identified as Bulwark-class battle cruiser)
- The Essential Guide to Warfare (First identified as Bulwark Mark III)
- Strongholds of Resistance (as Bulwark-class battlecruiser)
Notes and references
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. I, p. 97 ("Bulwark-class battle cruiser")
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- Strongholds of Resistance
- Invasion 3
- Invasion: Revelations 5
- Star Wars: Rebellion
- The Essential Guide to Warfare states that TransGalMeg Industries built the Bulwark Mark III "using the old Techno Union design as a starting point." According to The New Essential Chronology, the Techno Union developed the Bulwark Mark I, thereby identifying the Bulwark Mark III's design inspiration. Note that the Bulwark Mark II's developer was never identified in Star Wars Legends.
- The New Essential Chronology
- Star Wars: Rebellion: Prima's Official Strategy Guide
- The Essential Atlas
- Bulwark Mark III/email. Jason Fry. "I was looking to canonize Dan Wallace's plans for the evolution of the class, which he'd discussed but never had a chance to make formally so."