- "They're supposed to be great warriors. Clever, resourceful, proud. Intensely loyal to one another, too."
- ―Eli Vanto, on the Chiss
The Chiss were a near-human sentient species that possessed blue skin, red eyes, and dark blue hair. They hailed from the planet Csilla. The Chiss were notable for the nature and structure of their families, and how Chiss families dominated many aspects of Chiss society.
The Chiss Ascendancy was the governing body of the Chiss. Their domain was located in the Unknown Regions. They had little contact with the rest of the galaxy, and until Grand Admiral Thrawn's ascent in the ranks of the Galactic Empire, their existence was regarded as mostly a legend even within the Unknown Regions.
Biology and appearance
- "What is he, some kind of Pantoran with an eye condition?"
- ―Driller MarDapp, commenting on Thrawn's appearance
The Chiss were near-humans, meaning their shape, features, and dimensions were greatly similar to those of humans. However, some notable differences being that their skin was blue, their hair a shimmering blue-black, and their eyes a glowing red. Because of those first two characteristics, they were mistaken for Pantorans, blue-skinned humanoids from Pantora, although Pantorans did not have red eyes. Besides their coloration, Chiss eyes were slightly better than those of humans, their visible spectrum edging a little into the infrared range. Additionally, their hearing was sharper.
Force-sensitivity, referred to as the Sight by the Chiss, was incredibly rare and manifested in limited abilities, namely precognition which was Third Sight and telepathy, which was known as Second Sight. These Force-sensitive Chiss were almost always female. Their abilities diminished as they grew older and eventually disappeared. The secrets of Second and Third Sights were among the best-kept secrets in the Chiss Ascendancy, to such an extent that many Chiss themselves were unaware of their full extent or even their existence. While he was familiar with the intricacies of Third Sight, Chiss Imperial Grand Admiral Mitth'raw'nuruodo knew of the existence of Second Sight but was unaware of its abilities. Girls identified with the ability to use the Sight were trained to act as navigators for the Chiss fleet through the treacherous hyperspace routes of the Unknown Regions. They were known as ozyly-esehembo, the Cheunh word for "sky-walker."
Society and culture
- "One fact has always remained constant: The Chiss must be approached from a position of strength and respect. One must have strength, for the Chiss will deal only with those capable of keeping their promises. One must have respect, for the Chiss must believe that those promises will be kept."
- ―Passage from Thrawn's journal
The ruling class of the Chiss Ascendancy was known as the Aristocra. The supreme legislative and executive body of the Ascendancy was the Chiss Syndicure. The Chiss military consisted of the Chiss Defense Force and the Chiss Expansionary Defense Fleet.
The Chiss were renowned throughout the Unknown Regions for their military might as well as their perceived just military doctrine. Even among species with no direct contact with the Chiss Ascendancy, stories and legends of the Chiss as blue-skinned noble warriors flourished. This was true even among species that had apparently performed no space travel for decades. During a devastating civil war on her homeworld, a leader named the Magys fled with 200 refugees to the Rapacc system, where they settled. The Magys' refugees warned the native Paccosh of invaders who would seek to destroy the Paccosh people, and encouraged them to dispatch refugees to preserve their culture. She told her hosts legends of the Chiss as noble warriors famously capable of disabling their enemies without destroying them, leading the Paccosh to send a refugee ship to the Dioya system at the edge of Chiss space in the hopes of seeking Chiss aid. Uingali foar Marocsaa later tested the identity of Senior Captain Thrawn by challenging him to disable a Paccosh freighter without destroying it.
The primary Chiss language was Cheunh, though in their rare contacts with outsiders, the Chiss used trade languages such as Sy Bisti, Meese Caulf, Taarja, and Minnisiat. Written communication was done in the Cheunh script.
Most Chiss names were multi-syllabic and consisted of three distinct parts, as in Mitth'raw'nuruodo. The first portion identified an individual's family, the second was the given name, and the third indicated other social factors. Aside from the long form of their names, the Chiss also used shortened variants—for example "Mitth'raw'nuruodo" could be shortened to "Thrawn". These short form names were known as core names and for the sake of expediency, core names were conventionally used in all except the most formal situations. In a rare case of an outsider among the Chiss, the human Eli Vanto was given the standard three-part name "Eli'van'to," which his shipmates reduced to the core name "Ivant."
The Chiss hailed from Csilla, a planet located in the so-called Unknown Regions of the galaxy. The Chiss and other inhabitants of the Unknown Regions called them "The Chaos," referring to the hazardous nature of navigation within the region. Millennia earlier, the Chiss had contact with the greater galaxy, and were politically and militarily drawn into the ancient wars between the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire, but eventually broke off contact with both entities and withdrew back into the Unknown Regions, sealing their borders. During the Republic Era and Imperial Era, they were ruled by a government known as the Chiss Ascendancy.
Despite their secrecy, one Chiss known as Mitth'raw'nuruodo became an officer of the Galactic Empire. Attaining the rank of Grand Admiral, he participated in the Imperial Military's efforts to combat the early rebellion in the years prior to the Battle of Yavin.
Shortly after the Battle of Yavin, former Senator Johhar Kessen acquired the services of several female Chiss mercenaries. During the Galactic Civil War, a Chiss female spy infiltrated the Empire posing as a human Imperial officer using fake skin.
Behind the scenes
The Chiss species first appeared, albeit unidentified, in Heir to the Empire, a 1991 Star Wars Legends novel written by Timothy Zahn as the first entry in The Thrawn Trilogy. The species' name would later be revealed in Vision of the Future, a 1998 Legends novel also written by Zahn as the second entry in Star Wars: The Hand of Thrawn Duology. The Chiss became canon when they appeared in Secret Alliances, the sixth campaign featured in Star Wars: Commander, a mobile game published by Disney Interactive that was released on August 21, 2014.
Though it was ultimately decided that he would be a human, a preliminary design of Agent Kallus, one of the antagonists of the canon animated television series Star Wars Rebels, depicted him as a member of the Chiss species. Eventually, the Chiss would appear in the series, in the form of Grand Admiral Thrawn.
- Star Wars: Build the Millennium Falcon 70 (Guide to the Galaxy: Serenno – Home of Count Dooku)
- Star Wars Rebels (Set: 75170 The Phantom)
- Star Wars: Alien Archive
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 54 (Databank A-Z: Tauntaun–TIE Craft)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 70 (Weapons & Uniforms: Grand Admiral Thrawn)
- Cyphers and Masks
- "Emperor Palpatine" – Star Wars Encyclopedia
- "Anakin Skywalker" – Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: Battles that Changed the Galaxy
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Notes and references
- Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising
- Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good
- The novel Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good describes Chiss as eating cheese, yubals (a herd animal), and plant products.
- Thrawn: Treason
- Thrawn: Alliances
- Thrawn Ascendancy: Lesser Evil
- Star Wars Rebels: Steps Into Shadow
- Star Wars: Commander
- Cyphers and Masks
- Heir to the Empire
- Vision of the Future