- "…the underworld is never traveled alone."
- ―Pollux Hax
The Coruscant underworld, lower levels, undercity, underground, underlevels, or Lower Coruscant, were terms used to describe the lowest regions of the city-planet of Coruscant, laid with a mixture of ancient and forgotten ruins from the planet's prehistory along with modern-looking, crime-ridden venues and clubs. During the Clone Wars, a massive ventilation shaft offered access to the heart of the underworld.
Different regions and levels ranged from the merely seedy (such as the Uscru Entertainment District and 1313), progressively worsening as one descended, ending in areas of unending darkness populated solely by hypertrophied vermin and zombie-like devolved humanoids. The underworld's streets were riddled with thugs and the walls and streets were home to all manner of strange creatures.
Most of the underworld rested more than a kilometer below the urban surface and city platforms. It was beneath some of the greatest skyscrapers in the galaxy and other closely-spaced spectacular buildings of Coruscant where few rays of light filtered through to the gloomy section known as the Underworld.
Lying hundreds of stories below the skyscraper pinnacles, Coruscant's urban canyon floors never saw the light of day. Due to its enclosure by larger buildings, air was trapped in the lower levels, creating a micro-climate of which there were at least three layers. Trapped moisture contributed to rainstorms and convective wind patterns within the canyon floors. A realm of artificial illumination, the lower levels of the galaxy's largest city were the only affordable areas for many of the planet's citizens. Rumbling with machines that served the elite above, its streets haunted by exploiters and thugs, and its walls riddled with vermin, Coruscant's underworld toughened the strong and consumed the weak. Coruscant's underlevels harbored a larger population than many star sectors, leaving millions beyond the protection of the world's security force. Local neighborhoods were at the mercy of hired thugs and extortionists. The toughest faces sometimes belonged to vigilantes, who chose to defend the people on their own land from criminals.
Garbage was compressed into thick blocks and stored in the deeper levels of the Underworld. Much machinery that satisfied the needs of the well-to-do surface-dwellers, were also kept in the depths of the Underlevels and so there was a constant sense of motion and unrest. Artificial lighting barely brightened the dark and sorrowful levels. The Underlevels were home to various mutant species including the cthon, Coruscani ogre, duracrete slugs, hive rats, shadow barnacles, Conduit worm, taozin, and granite slugs, which often posed a threat to sentient beings.
Very little is known of the Coruscant underlevels in the Pre-Republic era. In 100,000 BBY, the lowest fifty levels of the planetwide ecumenopolis had been fully built over the entire surface. During this period, all native non-sentient species presumably became extinct with the exception of the Thrantcill (which began to evolve with the new city) and the Hawk-bat (which stayed the same). Around that time, the big-brained Columi visited the world and dismissed Coruscant as a primitive failure despite the presence of the planetwide city.
Over the following millennia, the lower levels became the domain of criminals and vagrants. The bottom fifty levels that made up the underworld were buried under levels of duracrete and buildings. Several mutant species developed around this period including the humanoid Cthon and the corridor ghouls.
Despite the formation of the Galactic Republic in 25,053 BBY, life in the underlevels was left unchanged by the new galactic government. Millennia after millennia during the Old Republic era, the undercity stayed the same. During the Great Galactic War, food shortages caused riots in the underlevels.
During the waning days of the Galactic Republic period, while the wealth and marvel of Coruscant gleamed on its exterior level, the Underworld below degenerated even further, since the Republic was in decline. It served as a refuge for scum, petty crooks, as well as drug dealers, the poor gone bad, and other outlaws. Even the highest of the underlevels fell into ruin and disrepair by the time of the Naboo crisis and the Clone Wars.[source?] Seedy nightclubs, overlooked gambling corners, and trashy cantinas were actually areas of some of the higher sections of these run-down nether levels. One place as dangerous as it was popular in the Underlevels was the Uscru Entertainment District with such hangouts as the Outlander Club and the Snapping Septoid.
The once-famous criminal organization called Black Sun had many allies working in the Coruscant underworld including none other than District Mayor Acros-Krik.The lowest levels of the Underworld had such an unbelievable crime rate that many areas were locked down by order of the government. These poor communities of desperate beggars and violent people were isolated from the rest of society by enormous, impenetrable blast doors.
Queen Padmé Amidala of Naboo and her head of security, Captain Quarsh Panaka, got to see the Underworld firsthand when she was taken hostage by mercenaries during her visit to Coruscant. Panaka was given access to one of the locked-down communities where the Queen had been taken by holding the door-operator, an intellectual government agent, at gunpoint. Once rescuing Queen Amidala and killing much scum and hostiles alike, Panaka re-opened the verbally-accessible blast doors by giving the passcode phrase "Coruscant has lovely sunsets".
Lower-class immigrants who came to Coruscant, expecting to be living in the prosperity of the "surface life", were all gradually sunken into the subterranean realms. Self-made neighborhood lookouts would often gain some small territory over their group of companions and lessers (if lower ranks could at all be possible), thus occasionally creating a tight-knit and durable community who might have even withstood hoodlum fights and minor attacks. Usually though, once these vigilantes acquired weapons to protect their turf or began engaging in violence, even if in self-defense, there was always a great chance their strengthening community would collapse to eventual criminal influences.
In 27 BBY, Ashaar Khorda along with his associates attempted to euthanize the Coruscant Underworld, along with the entire planet itself with the Infant of Shaa. The destruction of the galactic capital was hoped to be followed by the destruction of the Galactic Republic. However, their attempts to use the infant were thwarted by Zam Wesell, Jango Fett and Yarael Poof. This resulted in the deaths of Ashaar, all his comrades, and Yarael.
During the Imperial reign of the galaxy that began in 19 BBY, conditions in the Underworld deteriorated further and it became a refuge for Jedi Purge survivors and dissidents. As a result of all space traffic to Coruscant being tightly controlled by the Empire and the harsh cruelty of the ruling Imperials, many criminals fled to the underworld. They ranged from bureaucrats who had made serious mistakes in their work, to diplomats from worlds punished by the Empire, to even clumsy personal servants and slaves from the Imperial Palace. Thus, an entirely shadowy culture developed in the lower levels since the fugitives were forced to remain there for all their lives. These fugitives survived by revamping some of the abandoned underbasement rooms, tapping into electrical conduits, and stealing energy from the city world's power grid, while surviving upon scraps and the fungus found in these lower levels.
Han Solo was once forced to descend to the very planetary surface itself, an experience he found so harrowing he vowed never to do it again, making the same vow for the surface of Nar Shaddaa. Also, at some time prior to the Battle of Endor, the Emperor had the Super Star Destroyer Lusankya constructed and hidden beneath the lower levels of the planetwide city. The Lusankya would become the private prison and secret headquarters of the Director of Imperial Intelligence Ysanne Isard, who would use it to imprison key Rebel Alliance prisoners.
Even after the capture of Coruscant from the Empire by the more benevolent New Republic in 6 ABY, life in the lower levels continued as it had for millennia. After one of her captives, Corran Horn, escaped, Ysanne Isard had the crew of the Lusankya break the immense vessel free of the planet. While leaving Coruscant, the Lusankya caused devastation over 100 square miles (259 km²) of the planet surface, killing millions instantly and presumably causing damage to a large area of the lower levels. The Lusankya blasted its way through the two planetary shield levels, pausing to exchange fire with an orbiting Golan space defense platform, before jettisoning the lift cradle and departing the Coruscant system.
Worst was to come in 10 ABY when the Imperial Inner Circle launched an attack on Coruscant and other key worlds, having being encouraged by Grand Admiral Thrawn's devastating campaign throughout the New Republic. The combined Imperial armada began bombarding Coruscant's energy shield from orbit, causing extensive damage to the heavily populated cityscape below, turning much of the planet into a battlefield and forcing Chief of State Mon Mothma to order a general evacuation of the entire population of the capital.
However, after Coruscant had been retaken, the Council decided that it was time to elect a new Galactic Emperor. The various admirals, generals, Moffs, Inquisitorius, COMPNOR and Imperial Security Bureau officials disagreed, and an armed conflict soon broke out amongst the various Imperial factions on Coruscant. The city planet was devastated during the conflict, with much of the planetwide metropolis devastated by the fighting, resulting in the deaths of billions.
After Palpatine's final death in 11 ABY at the Battle of Onderon, the New Republic reoccupied the planet and used EVS Construction Droids to clear the rubble and create new gleaming, skyscrapers. However, much of Coruscant's population had fled as result of the fighting and the planet's population during the New Republic era may have been lower. Thus, many of New Republic City's midlevel apartments were unoccupied, but still serviceable. However, the shadowy lower levels remained unaffected by the reconstruction program and would still remain the haunt of various crime syndicates, most notably the Lost Ones. Many still struggled to survive in the lower forty or fifty levels.
In 23 ABY, the Second Imperium sent three Nightsisters named Tamith Kai, Garowyn, and Vilas to infiltrate the lower levels and recruit more followers for their cause including the street gang Lost Ones and Zekk. Those discovered to be Force-sensitive became Dark Jedi while others became stormtroopers and TIE pilots.
The Underworld persisted through the years of Yuuzhan Vong domination, but gained some new inhabitants. When the Yuuzhan Vong conquered and vongformed Coruscant into Yuuzhan'tar in 27 ABY, many Coruscanti fled into the Underworld to escape the Yuuzhan Vong. It was during this event the Yuuzhan Vong empire was formed, since they had claimed the galactic capital. Soon, however, the tunnels became the home of the outcasts of the Yuuzhan Vong—the Shamed Ones. Fleeing torment and persecution, many Shamed Ones fled to the Underworld to find honor of their own. It was also down here that Nom Anor took the guise of Yu'shaa, and began molding the Jeedai heresy into a true threat to the Elite.
The lower levels were also the domain of various life forms brought in by the Yuuzhan Vong from their home galaxy. In 29 ABY Coruscant was liberated by the Galactic Alliance from Yuuzhan Vong occupation, but the Inner Rim world of Denon was the temporary capital of the galaxy; during that time, the surface world was reconstructed by the Reconstruction Authority, but the lower levels remained largely untouched.
Between 30 ABY to 44 ABY, the Coruscant Underlevels were left untouched by the new galactic government due to the reconstruction efforts, along with simply keeping order in the greater galaxy following the end of the Yuuzhan Vong War in 29 ABY. As late as 44 ABY, the underlevels were still overrun with exotic wildlife introduced by the Yuuzhan Vong and criminals who had survived the Fall of Coruscant. This was due to the Galactic Alliance being preoccupied with the chaos after the end of Second Galactic Civil War.
The Underlevels still existed as late as 137 ABY, with one notable resident being the Hutt crimelady Queen Jool who owned Rik's Cantina. This cantina appeared to be on the lowest level of the lowest fifty levels of Coruscant. Following the failed Ossus Project and the Sith–Imperial War, the underlevels became home to a large population of Vongspawn—sentients infected by the Vongspawn virus.
Known non-sentient species
Notes and references
- The Illustrated Star Wars Universe
- Coruscant and the Core Worlds
- Star Wars: Attack of the Clones: The Visual Dictionary
- The Essential Guide to Planets and Moons
- The New Essential Chronology
- Star Wars: The Old Republic website
- Inside the Worlds of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace video game
- Star Wars: Jango Fett
- Evasive Action: Recruitment
- The Essential Chronology
- Young Jedi Knights: The Lost Ones
- The Jedi Academy Sourcebook
- The New Jedi Order: Traitor
- The New Jedi Order: The Unifying Force
- Dark Nest I: The Joiner King
- Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse
- Star Wars: Legacy 0
- Legacy (2006) 14