- "The identity of the architects remains a mystery…"
- ―Historical Council
The Celestials, also known as the Architects, were an ancient civilization who were present long before the dawn of the galactic community and even the Rakatan Infinite Empire. Believed to be responsible for a number of large artifacts and anomalous planetary formations and species placements throughout the galaxy, what little was known of the Celestials came from xenoarchaeology. The Jedi and the Sith alike theorized that the balance between the light and dark sides of the Force was actually under the guidance of the Celestials.
- "We are sorry. We do not know how to explain the Celestials any better. They are beyond the understanding of mortals."
What little was known of the Celestials owed to the permanence of their cosmological constructions. They were considered one of the earliest and most potent cultures of their time that were identified by the colossal objects they had left behind. Their identities were considered largely a mystery due to lack of information on them. Evidence of their works led many to determine that the galaxy was once visited by these stunningly powerful alien architects. Even their appearance was something of a mystery: the Celestials were said to have malleable form, and another theory held that they were a group of discorporate entities who had perhaps merged themselves with the Force thousands of generations earlier and continued to guide the fate of the galaxy ever since. Doctor Insmot Bowen, a pre-Republic specialist, identified a common motif of sinuous patterns - perhaps serpents, tentacles or vines - in the art of ancient civilizations thought to have had contact with the Celestials, ranging from the Ophidian grotesques of Coruscant to similar patterns found on Caulus Tertius and Shatuun. Some held that the Celestials were a higher order of intermediaries whose powers were beyond the understanding of mortal beings.
The origin of the Celestials was unknown: Thuruht, the oldest of the Killik hives, claimed to remember seeing the Ones, a group of Force wielders apparently related to the Celestials, coalescing out of a geyser on an unnamed tropical planet more than a million years before the events of the Clone Wars. It should be noted that the collective memory of a Killik hive does not make distinctions between fact and fiction like the human mind—any individual memory joined to that of the collective, be it mythology, incontestable fact, or the plot of a holodrama, is history to the Killiks.
Nevertheless, by 100,000 BBY, this spectacularly powerful species had dominated the stars and had made contact with a number of other species in various states of advancement. These included the Gree, Kwa, Sharu, Columi, Killiks, Humans, and Taung. The Columi retreated from the stars in fear of the Celestials, while the Sharu - whose brief expansion period saw their race push Coreward as far as Aargau - went even further and sought refuge in a forced culture of primitivism after attracting their notice. The frightened Sharu buried their cities beneath immense plastic pyramids and drained their intellects in a last-ditch effort at escaping Celestial attention. Similar pyramid designs would later be identified among the Kwa.
The Celestials are known to have conscripted the insectoid Killiks of Alderaan to serve as laborers, and the Killiks were seeded up and down the Perlemian. According to the Killiks, a connection was present between the Celestials and the group of Force wielders known as The Ones; it was believed that the Force wielders were descendants of the Celestials. Similarly, the Gree, Kwa, and the Rakata acted as servant races to the Celestials alongside the Killiks. Together, they worked to build astonishing technological projects that ranged from the assembly of star systems to the engineering of hyperspace anomalies.
- "He said no mortal mind could know everything, and the last thing he wanted was to become a Celestial."
- ―Feryl, on Jacen Solo
The Celestials were known to have created a number of projects that took place near Corellia, Kessel, and other sites in the eastern galactic disc. Notable achievements of this race included assembling the Corellian system, the Vultar system, the Hapes Cluster, the Kathol Rift, and the Maw black-hole cluster.
The Corellian system was highly anomalous: chemical composition of the Corellian planets matched no known model of the formation of stars or planetary discs. Mathematical analysis of the system's planetary orbits indicated they had decayed into near-ellipses from perfectly circular orbits, something that was extremely rare. A further 17 star systems had been identified with similar signatures by 1 BBY. Thus it was generally accepted by researchers that the Corellian system had been assembled at some point from pre-existing planets that were brought together by a combination of buried planetary repulsors and hyperspace tractor engines like Centerpoint Station or the Cosmic Turbine. It was believed that the Architects were responsible for seeding the Core Worlds with life and in particular with Humans, though some claimed this was the result of the Rakatan empire. These Architects were held to be responsible for populating the worlds in the Corellian system with Drall, Selonians, and Humans. While the Drall and Selonians were believed to be native to their worlds, it was possible that the Human Corellians were transplanted to their world by the Celestials.
Killiks were believed to have had a hand in the construction of Centerpoint Station, which they called Qolaraloq. In addition, they witnessed the creation of other Celestial wonders such as the Maw and the Vultar system. Killik slaves were also present on Sinkhole Station where they created a pressure seal that was adapted from their own construction techniques that used technology of the station. A suspected Celestial sensory operations complex on Kessel contained planetwide underground machinery tended to by the Bogeys and contained a type of gigantic astronomical observatory detailing the location of gravity wells across the entire galaxy.
Pre-Republic specialists believed the Celestials were responsible for the hyperspace disturbance beyond the edge of the galaxy, possibly as a defense against outside interference. They were also believed to be responsible for the chain of hyperspace anomalies west of the Core that bisected the galaxy and prevented travel into the Unknown Regions. The ancient creature known as the Mnggal-Mnggal claimed to have witnessed the golden age of the Celestials. Speculation holds that the Celestials had crafted the hyperspace anomalies that bisected the galaxy in order to separate and isolate the influence of the predatory creature. Other academic speculation held that this barrier had been created to contain the Rakata. Such was the scale of the Celestials' achievements that Doctor Insmot Bowen was prepared to contemplate the possibility of the entire universe being a Celestial construct.
Around 35,000 BBY, the domain of the Celestials was usurped when the Rakata slave race revolted. Stealing technology from the Kwa, another Celestial client race, they waged a war against the other servant races. Some hypotheses over the hyperspace turbulence in the Unknown Regions claimed that it was created to serve as a barrier between the Celestials and the upstart Rakata. Despite the Celestials' efforts, the Rakata broke through the barrier and waged a war of extermination upon them. The ancient grimoires of the Gree Enclave, which referred to the Celestials as the "Ancient Masters," recorded that they were undone by curses unleashed by the Rakata, or the "Soul Hunters," which they called the "Gray Swallowing" and the "Hollowers of Beings," and further referred to them as the "Faceless Mouths" and "Eaters of Worlds."
Information discovered from the Thuruht hive in 44 ABY suggested that the Celestials' decline may have been associated with the rise of the being Abeloth: The Killiks believed that the Force was the dominion of the Celestials and then their power was usurped when the "Bringer of Chaos" emerged. It is known that the Son and the Daughter, two of the Ones that the Killiks claimed were what the Celestials became, approached the Killiks to gain their assistance in the construction of the Maw cluster of black holes. Using Centerpoint Station, the Killiks moved numerous black holes to form a prison for Abeloth, lest she throw the galaxy into chaos and disorder. The Son and the Daughter joined the hive mind and lent the hives their knowledge and their enormous power in the Force. It is believed that after they completed their labors, the siblings left the hive mind and somehow removed the Force powers that they had shared with the hive.
The eventual fate of the Celestials was unclear. They may have been trapped inside the galaxy by their barrier and destroyed by the Rakatan revolt, or they may have escaped through the barrier. Insmot Bowen suggested that they may have withdrawn from this dimension completely. The Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Plagueis mused on the possibility that the Celestials were the ones who, according to Jedi and Sith legend, merged into the Force to control its path.
By 30,000 BBY, the Celestials were nowhere to be found, and the Rakatan Infinite Empire had taken center stage. Similarly, the Killiks vanished from the galaxy and migrated beyond the veil of the Unknown Regions, which was an act presumed to be attributed to the Celestials. After the construction of Centerpoint Station, it was claimed by the Killiks that the Celestials had grown angry with their Kind and had emptied them from their homeworld of Alderaan. It was theorized that the Celestials drove the Killiks into the Unknown Regions after they devoured their own homeworld and attempted to lay claim to another planet. The Mnggal-Mnggal similarly claimed that it had witnessed the sudden withdrawal of the Celestials from the galaxy in this era.
- "Could this be from the same makers? The so-called Celestials? It doesn't look that old."
- ―Han Solo, on the machinery at Kessel
Despite their achievements, little evidence remained of where the Architects came from and what was their eventual fate. Many of their extraordinary works and machines were known to have survived the ages with some races claiming the engineering marvel that was Centerpoint Station was a product of their own civilization. The barren Tion Cluster world of Foran Tutha became famous following the discovery of the Foran Tutha star probe. Scholars debated for centuries on whether the fragments of this ancient starship were a remnant of Celestial, Rakata, or an example of early Core technology. This argument continued for five centuries with the true origin of the probe being unknown. Other traces of the Celestials that remained ranged from the anomalous like the Quintarad star group and the Aur Diamonds, to the ruined like the Penegelen Shards and the Ianane Ring, to the obviously artificial like the Ciratu Spheres and the Diatian Clockwork.
In the years of Darth Plagueis, some believed that the Celestials were a higher order of Force beings that guided the events of the galaxy, though many Sith Lords dismissed this theory as such a theoretical line of thinking as to have no bearing on their desire to make the galaxy subservient to their will, since it meant that this was only in the realm of the enlightened elite.
At some point after the Yuuzhan Vong War, the Jedi Jacen Solo traveled the galaxy to learn from various Force sects. On these travels, he met with the Mind Walkers of Sinkhole Station who offered him to enter into the Pool of Knowledge, but he refused as he did not want to become like the Celestials and hold all the knowledge of the universe. In 35 ABY, the Unu Joiner Raynar Thul stated that the Celestials had emptied Oroboro on Alderaan, around ten thousand Killik generations ago, approximately twenty thousand years in Human time. He also claimed that the Killik Colony had built Centerpoint Station and shortly after the construction of Qolaraloq, the Celestials had become angry with them over an unspecified matter. Later, in 41.5 ABY, Jaden Korr encountered debris from a large structure the creation of which he attributed to either the Celestials or the Rakata.
Two years later, ancient machinery was discovered on Kessel which prompted Han Solo to wonder if it was a creation of the Celestials. The lowest levels of the planet had massive amounts of this technology, and almost destroyed the entire planet. Afterwards, Grand Master Luke Skywalker and his son Ben Skywalker discovered Sinkhole Station within the Maw Cluster. Ben Skywalker theorized that the Celestials may have constructed Centerpoint Station and created the Maw in order to contain Abeloth, who was believed to have some connection to the Celestials. Sinkhole Station, a similar structure to Centerpoint, also had possible ties to the Celestials. Once there, they discovered the body of a dead Killik slave who was involved in the station's construction. The Mind Walkers would tell a transcended Luke Skywalker that they had invited Jacen Solo to bathe in the Pool of Knowledge, but that he declined, stating it would make him too much like the Celestials.
After traveling to the Celestial Palace, the Thuruht hive explained what they knew from their hive mind of the Celestials. This led to Raynar Thul wondering whether Abeloth was a member of this mysterious race, though the Thuruht did not know the answer to that question. The Killiks debated on whether Abeloth was the Bringer of Chaos because of the Celestials desires or because she took such a role after defying the wishes of the Celestials. Ultimately, the Thuruht concluded that the true nature of the Celestials could not be comprehended or grasped by a mortal mind nor could one discern their will.
Behind the scenes
The term "Celestial" was created by writer Troy Denning for his 2005 novel Dark Nest I: The Joiner King, though the concept of a highly advanced "precursor" race that greatly influenced the early galaxy, a recurring motif in science fiction, is much older, most notably figuring in Star Wars: The Corellian Trilogy with the debut of Centerpoint Station, revealed to be the Celestials' masterwork. They would play a key backstory role in Denning and his colleagues' work on Star Wars: The Dark Nest Trilogy, Star Wars: Legacy of the Force, and Fate of the Jedi. Prior to The Joiner King, Centerpoint's builders had been given the name "Architects" in 1999's The Essential Chronology.
"Hyperspace aliens" is a fanon nickname of the otherwise undescribed aliens who, according to Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, gave Humans hyperspace technology. According to The New Essential Chronology, the Rakata developed the technology, whence the Corellians adopted it, although the book refers to the Architects separately from the Rakata, signifying they were only a part of the Architects' "myth."
The Essential Atlas equated the Architects with the Celestials and identified several star clusters and astronomical phenomena that were a result of their manipulation. In Darth Plagueis, the eponymous Dark Lord of the Sith muses on the possible fate of the Celestials, equating them with the Force wielders of Mortis. The Star Wars Blog article "Galactic Architecture 101 and the History of Centerpoint Station" concretely identifies the Mortis denizens as Celestials.
The New Essential Guide to Alien Species stated that the Rakata are the Architects and built Centerpoint Station, but this can be attributed to the fact that this guide came out before much of the information on the Celestials did.
According to Jason Fry's endnotes for The Essential Guide to Warfare, a piece of cut content would have involved a transcript where Dr. Insmot Bowen of the Obroan Institute explained that the barrier west of the Core was a remnant of Celestial technology. In addition, he explained that a war was fought between the Celestials and the Rakata.
In Part 1 of Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Warfare Author's Cut, one of the revealed cut concepts, a debriefing that was originally supposed to act as the prologue of the book, dealt with the Celestials, including the Celestial-Rakata War.
More details on the Celestials were revealed in the apocryphal novella, Supernatural Encounters: The Trial and Transformation of Arhul Hextrophon by Joseph Bongiorno. The apparent Force demon Wutzek was in fact a Celestial, as well as the father of the Bedlam Spirits, who were also Celestials. The Ones were Celestials incarnated into mortal form, and Abeloth was the final child of Tilotny.
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Rise of the Hutt Cartel (Mentioned only) (As Architects)
- Darth Plagueis (Mentioned only)
- Darth Plagueis audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu (First mentioned)
- Star Wars: Rebellion (Mentioned only)
- Jedi Search (Indirect mention only)
- Champions of the Force (Indirect mention only)
- Dark Nest I: The Joiner King (Mentioned only)
- Dark Nest III: The Swarm War (Mentioned only)
- Legacy of the Force: Betrayal (Indirect mention only)
- Riptide (Mentioned only)
- Fate of the Jedi: Outcast (Mentioned only)
- Fate of the Jedi: Outcast audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Fate of the Jedi: Abyss (Mentioned only)
- Fate of the Jedi: Abyss audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse (Mentioned only)
- Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Crucible (Mentioned only)
- Crucible audiobook (Mentioned only)
- The New Essential Chronology
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Essential Atlas
- Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 29
- The Unknown Regions
- "Apocalypse... Now!"—Star Wars Insider 132
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- The Essential Reader's Companion
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Who Are the Jedi?
- Enter the Unknown
- Suns of Fortune
- Dangerous Covenants
Notes and references
- Galactic Architecture 101 and the History of Centerpoint Station
- The Essential Atlas
- The New Essential Chronology
- The Essential Chronology
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- Darth Plagueis
- Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse
- Star Wars: The Old Republic—Codex: "Galactic History 01: The Architects"
- The Unknown Regions
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Who Are the Jedi?
- Fate of the Jedi: Abyss
- Fate of the Jedi: Outcast
- Dark Nest I: The Joiner King
- Dark Nest III: The Swarm War
- Supernatural Encounters: The Trial and Transformation of Arhul Hextrophon