- "This planet has been central to many events in galactic history. It was perhaps the greatest of the Neimoidian purse worlds. The Trade Federation barons competed to outdo each other with displays of wealth and opulence, building gorgeous gilded bridge cities. This beautiful palace, for example, belonged to Lott Dod, senator for the Trade Federation during the last days of the Galactic Republic. The Trade Federation was central to those great events – in fact, one of the final battles of the Clone Wars was fought right here on Cato Neimoidia"
- ―A Cato Neimoidian tour guide
Cato Neimoidia was a planet in the Cato Neimoidia system, within the Quellor sector of the galaxy's Colonies region. It was a wealthy colony world of the Neimoidians and the base of operations for the Trade Federation. Much of the world was covered in a persistent fog, while the bridge cities of Cato Neimoidia were suspended above the planet's acidic ocean surface on bridges anchored on massive giant rock arches, upon which thrived forests and grasslands.
Cato Neimoidia was located in the Cato Neimoidia system, within the Quellor sector of the galaxy's Colonies region. Emerging from the depth of its stormy, geyser-spouting acidic oceans were massive rock arches, cliffs, and canyons where the fog-covered planet's forests and grasslands thrived.
- "That business on Cato Neimoidia doesn't... doesn't count."
- ―Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi
Cato Neimoidia joined the Galactic Republic approximately 25 millennia before the Battle of Yavin. By the High Republic Era, Cato Neimoidia was known for its opera; in the aftermath of the First Emergence, Nihil Tempest Runner Pan Eyta supported taking time away from raids, suggesting he would use the break to take a vacation to see Cato Neimoidia's opera.
During the Clone Wars in 22 BBY, two Jedi, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, were involved in "messy business" on the planet which required Kenobi to be saved by Skywalker. Kenobi, however, felt that this particular rescue did not count towards Skywalker's running tally of the number of times that he had saved him. At another point, the Republic attacked the planet in an attempt to capture Viceroy Nute Gunray at his stronghold. Gunray, however, escaped into the Outer Rim.
During the Clone Wars, the Trade Federation signed over holdings, including Cato Neimoidia, to the Intergalactic Banking Clan in exchange for a loan to purchase equity in a new droid factory. Nevertheless, the Neimoidians would manage to stay in control, and the Trade Federation remained headquartered on the planet. Senator Rush Clovis of the InterGalactic Banking Clan visited Cato Neimoidia to negotiate with Senator Lott Dod of the Trade Federation at his palace while accompanied by Senator Padmé Amidala of Naboo, who was secretly investigating rumors of the Banking Clan backing the Confederacy of Independent Systems.
Later in the war, Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano were sent to assist in defending Cato Neimoidia from the Separatists, but shortly after their dramatic arrival on the planet they were summoned back to Coruscant to investigate the bombing of the Jedi Temple hangar. With the 501st Legion pulled away to deal with the bombing, Cato Neimoidia fell under Separatist control. During the final days of the Clone Wars, Jedi Master Plo Koon led the Grand Army of the Republic in an attack against the Separatist Alliance on the planet, resulting in a Republic victory. Following the battle, Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine ordered the execution of Clone Protocol 66, forcing the Jedi General's own wingmates to open fire on his starfighter, killing him along with the thousands of other Jedi across the galaxy affected by this swift command.
Matese, who served as a Republic Intelligence direct action operative during the war, lost his right eye on Cato Neimoidia, forcing him to wear an eye patch while he waited for Veteran Services to cover a replacement's cost. During the Imperial Era, the Galactic Empire maintained a presence on the planet, with at least one 20-T Railcrawler conveyex transport being used for transportion. Around 10 BBY, the crime lord Dryden Vos owned a storehouse on Cato Neimoidia which contained items he had collected.
Nearly 28 years after the Battle of Yavin, a mysterious and extremely dangerous annual race known as the Gauntlet took place on Cato Neimoidia. During the Cold War, the Resistance undertook a mission to Cato Neimoidia to rescue Lor San Tekka.
Cato Neimoidia was one of the most prominent purse-worlds colonized by the Neimoidians,[source?] a wealthy species originally from the planet Neimoidia who operated the Trade Federation, which controlled most of the interstellar shipping passing through the Rim territories. One of the wealthiest corporate organizations in the galaxy, Cato Neimoidia was the Trade Federation's headquarters and was eventually developed to the point that it was considered to be a more desirable and hospitable destination than the Neimoidian homeworld.[source?] The Neimoidians constructed opulent bridge cities that spanned the world's rock arches and cliffs and jeweled palaces owned by Trade Federation barons, who sought constantly to one-up each other and dazzle guests with displays of ostentatious hospitality and luxury living.
Behind the scenes
Cato Neimoidia was originally developed as one of a montage of planets, when the initial story of the 2005 film Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith opened with a series of Clone Wars battles across the galaxy. Cato Neimoidia (often spelled Niemoidia at this stage) was very different in its early incarnations. It was a gas giant surrounded by an artificial ring space station, which was meant to echo the donut-ship design of the Neimoidian Trade Federation battleships and was eventually reused for the planet Ringo Vinda. Always envisioned as an affluent world, its interiors were marked by golden structures and gaudy riches in early paintings. At the same time, the Art Department was developing "bridge world," a planet then named Saleucami. This planet of curving arc-like structures with city skylines suspended on the bottom edge of the bridges was to be home of the Techno Union.
Both designs were dropped from the film in the finished shooting script, though Cato Neimoidia was mentioned twice as a place where Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Commander CC-2224 had some rocky history. The shooting script also described Order 66 and Plo Koon's death, but in this version, Koon is killed over Mygeeto.
During postproduction, the mix of planets changed, and Plo Koon was moved off Mygeeto. The bridge world was resurrected and modified—the city skyline now rested atop the bridges, and it was no longer a Techno Union world. It was identified as Cato Neimoidia, and the name Saleucami was reused elsewhere for a reworked concept. The concept of city skylines suspended on the bottom of bridges eventually appeared in "Sabotage," the seventeenth episode of the canon animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars' fifth season, which originally aired on February 9, 2013.