The Columi were one of the oldest sentient species in the galaxy. They were easily recognized by their large heads (which made up over one-third of their approximately 1.75 meter height) and their vestigial arms and legs.
The Columi originally evolved from herbivorous reptiles who roamed the marshes of the low-gravity planet Columus. They quickly developed a technological civilization and, by 100,000 BBY, interstellar spacecraft. However, their early explorations in search of other civilizations led to disappointing results. Every life-bearing planet they discovered, including Coruscant and Duro, was inhabited by people they considered no better than subsentients and barbarians. To make matters worse, the gravity on other planets was much too high for the Columi’s comfort. The disillusioned Columi abandoned space travel, and retreated to Columus to develop in isolation.
Over time, the Columi began to develop their minds and their society to the exclusion of their bodies. While their limbs and torsos shrank and atrophied, their brains expanded. They eventually developed highly sophisticated brains, with four cerebrums and over one hundred lobes. Their eyes became highly acute, able to detect most of the electromagnetic spectrum. However, they lost their senses of smell and taste, and became essentially immobile. Eventually, they became utterly dependent on machines, repulsorlift chairs, and droids for mobility and all other physical tasks. These devices were controlled by radio signals generated by the Columi's brain waves. One such device was the Columi mental hoverpod, a vehicle controlled by mental projection. Eventually, the Columi gained sufficient understanding of non-Columi minds to allow the device to be modified to work with other sentients.
Columi in the galaxy
By the latter days of the Galactic Republic, Columus was something of a backwater, with Columi civilization having been overtaken in influence by younger species. Though their technology was up to galactic standard, it was too specialized to attract significant trade. The Columi tried to attract trade by marketing their homeworld as a tourist destination, though the health benefits of Columus' low gravity were disputed. The Columi also had cloning facilities on their homeworld—facilities which were their only means of reproduction—but civilian use of these facilities was restricted during the Clone Wars.
The Columi government was a democracy, where every Columi had an equal share in decision making. This resulted in policy discussions which dragged on for years. However, when the Galactic Empire turned its attentions towards Columus, the Columi reacted with uncharacteristic swiftness and joined the Imperial cause. Though the Columi feared and despised other, more "primitive" sentients, they were willing to lend assistance to the Empire in exchange for being left alone. Many Columi thinkers held positions within the Imperial administration. A minority of Columi went renegade, and lent their intellectual assistance to criminal organizations or even the Rebel Alliance. Boss Tosk, a crimelord operating in the Tapani Sector, was perhaps the best known Columi renegade.
Despite admitting that they had an ancient civilization, the Imperial sentientologist Obo Rin claimed in his Catalog of Intelligent Life in the Galaxy that the Empire was the first galactic civilization to make contact with the Columi. These claims, revealed to merely be Imperial propaganda, were similar to those he made about the Mon Calamari.
- Galaxy Guide 4: Alien Races
- Star Wars Gamemaster Screen
- Galladinium's Fantastic Technology
- Lords of the Expanse
- The New Essential Chronology
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia