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"I decided the only way we can break the blockade is if I pilot the Defender right into their battleship and take out their commander."
"This way, I'm the only one at risk. Besides, the Defender is damaged already."
―Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano — (audio) Listen (file info)[1]

The Defender was a Venator-class Star Destroyer of the Galactic Republic naval forces' Open Circle Fleet during the Clone Wars. In 21 BBY, the Defender served within the Republic fleet commanded by Jedi General Anakin Skywalker alongside the Venators Resolute and Redeemer. During the war, in that same year, the Defender and the fleet were dispatched to the planet Ryloth under instructions to break through the Confederacy of Independent Systems' orbiting blockade led by the Neimoidian Captain Mar Tuuk.

After its arrival, the Defender and the others Venators were drawn into a trap designed by Tuuk. Amid the engagements, the Neimoidian ordered additional reinforcements into the Ryloth system, which caught the Republic off guard and forced the three Venators to retreat, but not before the Redeemer was destroyed while retreating to hyperspace. Afterward, while recuperating, the Defender was evacuated of all its personnel to the Resolute as Skywalker planned to assume command over the Star Destroyer and return to the blockade. Returning to Ryloth, Skywalker, after offering his false surrender to the Confederacy, was able to destroy Tuuk's Lucrehulk-class Battleship after sending the Defender crashing into it, allowing for the Resolute's arrival and the destruction of the remaining Separatist warships by Skywalker's Padawan, Jedi Commander Ahsoka Tano.


"Boost the engines, and let's get out of here."
―Anakin Skywalker, to R2-D2[1]

As a Venator-class Star Destroyer of the Galactic Republic, the Defender possessed two command bridges[1]—a primary command tower and a starfighter flight control bridge[6]—both of which were equipped with a pair of hyperwave comm scanners[4] located atop either command tower, as well as was propelled by[1] a series of eight ion drive thrusters,[2] the power of which could be increased by an R2 series astromech droid via scomp link. The Star Destroyer was also equipped with several escape pods, a hyperdrive generator, a dorsal hangar bay, and forward deflector shield generators, which were capable of repelling the heavy turbolaser fire of multiple Munificent-class star frigates and a Lucrehulk-class Battleship and gaining additional power from the vessel's other systems. In addition, the Defender was also capable of being operated by a sole crewmember and an astromech droid.[1]

Within one of the Star Destroyer's command towers, the bridge contained a holographic display table as well as several tactical display screens behind a pair of blast doors.[1] The Defender was also armed with four port and four starboard DBY-827 heavy turbolaser turrets, two medium dual turbolaser cannons, one mounted on the port hull and another on the starboard side.[3] Furthermore, either side of the Defender's hull was emblazoned with the symbol of the Republic's Open Circle Fleet, while its port and starboard wings were painted with three red stripes commonly featured on Republic Venators.[1]


Assaulting the blockade[]

"Captain, are you prepared?"
"Our blockade is impenetrable. When the Republic attacks, they will get quite a surprise."
"I'm counting on you, Captain. We cannot allow the Republic to invade this planet."
―Wat Tambor and Mar Tuuk, in response to Anakin Skywalker's dispatchment to Ryloth[1]

The Defender arrives in the Ryloth system with the Resolute and the Redeemer.

In 22 BBY,[7] during the Clone Wars fought between the Galactic Republic and Confederacy of Independent Systems, the confederate government's Separatist Droid Army had launched an invasion of the planet[8] Ryloth under the leadership of Techno Union Foreman Wat Tambor, which resulted in the establishment of an orbital blockade of Separatist warships commanded by Neimoidian Captain Mar Tuuk. Responding to the blockade as well as the Twi'lek inhabitants' dire situation,[1] in 21 BBY,[5] the Republic sought to liberate the planet from Separatist occupation. As a result, the Defender was dispatched alongside a fleet of two other Venator-class Star Destroyers—the flagship Resolute and Redeemer—under the command of Jedi General Anakin Skywalker to break the blockade and allow for the landing of an invasion fleet led by Jedi Generals Mace Windu and Obi-Wan Kenobi on the surface.[1]

Arriving from hyperspace in the Ryloth system, the Defender and the rest of the fleet began its assault against Tuuk's blockade, which was flagged by a Lucrehulk-class Battleship accompanied by two Munificent-class star frigates. The fleet launched the V-19 Torrent starfighter Blue Squadron under the leadership of Skywalker's Padawan, Jedi Commander Ahsoka Tano, against Tuuk's Lucrehulk-class Battleship, while the Defender and the two other Venators remained behind to provide support fire. While remaining away from the Separatist blockade, Tano's squadron was able to create a path through a swarm of Separatist Vulture-class droid starfighters for a direct course to Tuuk's command ship.[1]

The Defender, Resolute and Redeemer were heavily damaged in the Republic's first attack.

While on approach to the Lucrehulk, the Neimoidian captain ordered four additional frigates to the star system in order to reinforce his blockade. Upon their arrival, the Defender, alongside its accompanying Venators, were caught off guard by the Separatists as they became overwhelmed and suffered damage from a series of suicidal attacks by the vulture droids. As a result, Republic Admiral Wullf Yularen ordered Tano and her squadron to return and assist the three Star Destroyers after their battle lines were broken by the droid starfighters. However, in her disobedience, the Padawan explained that her squadron were still able to break through the blockade, but relented shortly after upon Skywalker ordering her back to the Resolute. After returning to the fleet, the damaged Defender and Resolute began to withdraw from the battle into hyperspace, while the Redeemer's hull tore apart in space amid its retreat.[1]

Return to Ryloth[]

"We have completed the scan of the enemy ship."
"The ship is heavily damaged. All power is diverted to the forward shields. There is only one life-form on board."
―A B1-series battle droid, reporting the Defender's status to Mar Tuuk[1]

The Defender (left), damaged after the first assault.

Following their retreat from the system to consolidate their forces and treat their injured crewmembers, the Defender, which had lost one of its command towers as a result of the battle, had begun to develop several fires across its hull. While the Republic fleet recuperated, Skywalker convened with Generals Kenobi and Windu on the battle's situation and their losses, but was informed by Windu that if the blockade was not breached before the next planetary rotation, the Republic would be required to postpone its invasion, despite Skywalker's dwindled forces. After convening with his fellow Jedi, the Jedi Knight devised a plan to destroy the blockade as he ordered the evacuation of all personnel from the Defender to the Redeemer in order for him to assume control over the Star Destroyer alongside his astromech droid, R2-D2, and prevent further Republic losses. Explaining the plan to his Padawan after she became alerted of the Defender's evacuation, Skywalker told Tano that he planned to pilot the damaged Star Destroyer into Tuuk's command ship, while the Togruta arrived aboard the Resolute to destroy the frigates as Skywalker awaited in an escape pod.[1]

After the Defender's personnel were transferred to the Resolute, Skywalker and his astromech boarded the Star Destroyer and returned to the Ryloth system. Upon his arrival, as Tuuk had planned, the Neimoidian's Lucrehulk was contacted by Skywalker aboard the Defender, who promised the false surrendering of the Star Destroyer and its crew to Tuuk in exchange for the safe transportation of foodstuffs and medical supplies to the displaced Twi'leks on the surface. Initially in belief of Skywalker's deception, the Separatist captain was informed that the Defender was heavily damaged and the starship's power had been diverted to the forward deflector shields, with only a single life-form aboard. After discovering the Jedi Knight's deception, the Resolute exited from hyperspace directly behind the Defender, to which Skywalker instructed R2 to increase the engine power before the two of them fled the doomed vessel aboard an escape pod.[1]

The Defender plummets into Mar Tuuk's command ship.

As the Defender plummeted towards Tuuk's battleship, the Lucrehulk's crew of B1-series battle droids and the surrounding frigates opened fire on the Star Destroyer in an attempt to prevent its collision into their command ship. However, unable to destroy it, Tuuk proceeded to board an escape pod and left the battle droids in control of the remaining frigates as the Star Destroyer crashed into the Lucrehulk's central sphere, destroying the command ship and sending the OOM command battle droids into a period of confusion. Following the Lucrehulk's destruction by the Defender, the Resolute proceeded to follow Tano's instructions as it angled its ventral toward the Munificents as part of her[1] Marg Sabl tactic.[9] As a result, Tano proceeded to command the starfighter squadron of BTL-B Y-wing starfighter/bombers against the Separatist blockade, leading to the destruction of the frigates. With the blockade's destruction, the Republic invasion fleet arrived with three Acclamator-class assault ships shortly after and landed on the planet's surface, which furthered the Republic's campaign to liberate Ryloth from Separatist control.[1]

Commanders and crew[]

During the time of the Battle of Ryloth, the Defender was placed within the fleet of Jedi General Anakin Skywalker under his command from his flagship, the Resolute. It was operated by its own crew, which were evacuated from the vessel during the battle in order for Skywalker and R2-D2 to control the Star Destroyer.[1]

Behind the scenes[]

The Defender was introduced in the opening newsreel of "Jedi Crash,"[10] the thirteenth episode of the first season of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series, which aired on January 16, 2009.[11] It later made its full appearance and received its first identification in "Storm Over Ryloth,"[1] the first season's nineteenth episode, which aired on February 27, 2009.[12] In "Storm Over Ryloth," one of the Defender's command bridges were removed as a result of the battle, but was restored in a subsequent scene, although it was once again removed in its next on-screen appearance.[1]



Notes and references[]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 1.31 TCW mini logo.jpg Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Storm Over Ryloth"
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Storm Over Ryloth" depicts the Defender as a Venator-class Star Destroyer with eight of what Star Wars Complete Vehicles, New Edition identifies as ion drive thrusters.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Storm Over Ryloth" depicts the Defender as a Venator-class Star Destroyer armed with eight—four port, four starboard—and two—one port, one starboard—of what Star Wars Complete Vehicles, New Edition identifies as DBY-827 heavy turbolaser turrets and medium dual turbolaser cannons.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Storm Over Ryloth" depicts the Defender as a Venator-class Star Destroyer with two of what Star Wars Complete Vehicles, New Edition identifies as hyperwave comm scanners.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Star Wars: Galactic Atlas places the events of "Blue Shadow Virus" and "Innocents of Ryloth" in 21 BBY. As "Storm Over Ryloth" is set between those two Star Wars: The Clone Wars episodes according to StarWars.com Star Wars: The Clone Wars Chronological Episode Order on StarWars.com (backup link), its events must also take place in 21 BBY.
  6. "Storm Over Ryloth" depicts the Defender as a Venator-class Star Destroyer in possession of two command bridges, which Star Wars Complete Vehicles, New Edition identifies one as a starfighter flight control bridge.
  7. Star Wars: Galactic Atlas places the events of "Supply Lines" in 22 BBY.
  8. TCW mini logo.jpg Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Supply Lines"
  9. Thrawn: Alliances
  10. TCW mini logo.jpg Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Jedi Crash"
  11. StarWars.com The Clone Wars Episode Guide: Jedi Crash on StarWars.com (content now obsolete; backup link)
  12. StarWars.com The Clone Wars Episode Guide: Storm Over Ryloth on StarWars.com (content now obsolete; backup link)