- "Good job, Artoo. Someday, these droids will learn they keep messing with the wrong Jedi."
"Looks like you're clear."
"Just keep watching and learning, Padawan. Uh-oh."
"You're trailing smoke. What's wrong?"
"Oh, nothing serious, just a small malfunction."
- ―Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano, right before a starfighter malfunction renders the former unconscious
The defense of Cato Neimoidia took place in 19.1 BBY, the final month of the Clone Wars, when a Confederate Navy fleet invaded Cato Neimoidia, a Galactic Republic world and major base of the Trade Federation. Despite the planet's ties to the Confederacy of Independent Systems through secret Trade Federation dealings, the Republic launched a defense of the former Neimoidian purse world, with Jedi General Anakin Skywalker and his Padawan, Ahsoka Tano, commanding an assault force from the 501st Legion. While a fleet from the Republic Navy held off the Separatist frigates in orbit, Skywalker and Tano breached the enemy aerial defenses with an escort of starfighters, clearing the way for LAAT/i gunships with Clone Captain CT-7567 and his 501st clone troopers aboard. They then moved in to engage the squadrons of droid tri-fighters that the Confederate fleet, which was occupying the Neimoidian bridge cities, deployed.
Both Jedi were separated from their squadron when a swarm of buzz droids disabled Skywalker's starfighter, forcing Tano to stage a mid-air rescue of her Master before his ship crashed. While the 501st Legion continued its efforts to repel the Separatists, Jedi Grand Master Yoda recalled Skywalker and Tano from Cato Neimoidia to investigate a bombing of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant.
- "You forget yourself, Clovis. You cannot threaten me on my own planet."
"This is hardly your planet anymore, not since you signed your holdings over to the Banking Clan in return for a stake in this new droid foundry."
- ―Senators Lott Dod and Rush Clovis conspire on Cato Neimoidia
Cato Neimoidia, a former Neimoidian purse world, served as a major holding of the Trade Federation, which claimed neutrality during the Clone Wars between the Galactic Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Lott Dod, the Trade Federation's delegate to the Republic Senate, maintained a palace on Cato Neimoidia, from where he conducted dealings with the Separatists, isolated from the scrutiny of Republic Intelligence. As a result of one such contract in late 22 BBY, the first year of the war, Dod and the Federation elite were forced to sign over their assets—allegedly, Cato Neimoidia itself—to another pro-Separatist megacorporation, the InterGalactic Banking Clan, in exchange for a share in a new Confederate battle droid foundry on Geonosis.
Although Dod's deal with Banking Clan Senator Rush Clovis collapsed when the Grand Army of the Republic destroyed the Geonosian droid foundry, the Clone Wars eventually engulfed Cato Neimoidia itself. In 19.1 BBY, the final month of fighting, the Confederate Navy mounted an invasion of Cato Neimoidia, which—through the Trade Federation—was still part of the Republic, in spite of the Separatist ties held by Dod and Trade Federation Viceroy Nute Gunray. In response, the Republic and Jedi Order mobilized the Grand Army's 501st Legion, led by Jedi General Anakin Skywalker and his Padawan, Commander Ahsoka Tano, to stage a defense of the world.
- "Are you okay, Master?"
"Yeah, what'd I miss?"
"Oh, not much."
"Wait a minute, wasn't I flying? Where's my fighter? How did I get here?"
"Fighter crashed. I saved the day. You're welcome."
- ―Ahsoka Tano and Anakin Skywalker
By the time Skywalker's Republic Navy fleet reached the Cato Neimoidia system, the Separatists had divided their defenses between the surface and orbit. Three Munificent-class star frigates and a Providence-class carrier/destroyer occupied one of Cato Neimoidia's bridge cities, while another trio of frigates were saved for orbital support. In response, Skywalker had his flagship and his task force's other two Venator-class Star Destroyers remain in orbit to engage the enemy frigates stationed there. While the opposing fleets exchanged turbolaser fire, Skywalker and Tano boarded their Eta-2 Actis-class interceptors, leading a squadron of clone trooper–piloted Z-95 starfighters to provide escort for their ground forces, the soldiers of the 501st Legion under the command of Clone Captain CT-7567, nicknamed "Rex." With Rex and his troops following in six LAAT/i gunships, Skywalker and Tano worked with their clone pilots to clear a path for the gunships, blasting through groups of Vulture droid starfighters that the Confederate frigates launched. The Jedi-led squadron breached the droid aerial defenses and entered the atmosphere, heading to assault the Providence-class carrier/destroyer and the three frigates flanking it.
As Skywalker, Tano, and their troopers approached the Separatist fleet occupying the bridge cities, the Providence-class destroyer deployed several squadrons of droid tri-fighters in retaliation. The tri-fighters swarmed the clone pilots from behind and shot down several of their Z-95 starfighters before moving in on Skywalker and Tano. The two of them evaded the tri-fighters' discord missiles but fell prey to the munitions' contents: Pistoeka sabotage droids, more commonly known as "buzz droids." While Tano and her astromech droid co-pilot, R7-A7, escaped the buzz droids unscathed, a number of the sabotage droids landed on Skywalker's starfighter, quickly getting to work doing as much damage as possible with their buzz saws. Skywalker's astromech droid, R2-D2, smashed a buzz droid with one of the solar panels, while the Jedi Knight himself used the Force to telekinetically repel the rest of the saboteurs within sight.
Unbeknownst to Skywalker, the majority of the buzz droids had crawled onto the underside of his starfighter, drilling into the cockpit and sparking an explosion that knocked him unconscious. The blast also compromised the engines, preventing R2-D2 from flying the starfighter back to Skywalker's flagship. Tano pursued her Master's starfighter, with their flight path separating them from the rest of their squadron. With Skywalker in trouble, Tano told R2-D2 to land on an approaching cliff ledge while she resorted to staging a mid-air rescue attempt. Having R7-A7 match her own starfighter's speed with that of Skywalker's, Tano jumped ship just as R2-D2 crashed his starfighter onto the cliff, crushing the buzz droids underneath. With the long drop at the opposite edge of the plateau drawing near, Tano activated her lightsaber shoto and sliced open the cockpit, dragging out the still-inert Skywalker and pulling him to safety. R2-D2 ejected from his astromech socket before the starfighter careened over the edge to its destruction many meters below; the astromech droid joined Skywalker and Tano back on the cliff face.
After Skywalker regained consciousness, Tano reported her actions to her Master, as he had been comatose throughout the entire incident. Skywalker contacted Captain Rex via comlink to request a retrieval, and Rex had his gunship, the Lucky Lekku, and the rest of his 501st troop convoy adjust course for their position. The Republic's assault continued without the leadership of Skywalker and Tano, with their task force's Consular-class cruiser moving in to provide support amidst the bridge cities. One of the Separatists' Munificent-class frigates was crippled as a result of the Republic's efforts. Several bridge cities also suffered damage, with fires erupting amidst the canopies.
While waiting for Rex's arrival, Skywalker and Tano received a high-priority holographic message from Jedi Grand Master Yoda, who informed them that the Jedi Temple on the galactic capital of Coruscant had been bombed. Despite Skywalker and Tano's ongoing efforts on Cato Neimoidia, Yoda recalled them to Coruscant to assist in the investigation of the bombing. Rex eventually returned to Coruscant with them as well.
- "Return to the Jedi Temple quickly, you should. You and your Padawan."
"We're kind of busy, Master Yoda."
"The reason we need you, important it is, Skywalker. Bombed the Temple Hangar someone has. Your assistance to find the terrorist, we need."
- ―Yoda withdraws Anakin Skywalker and his Padawan from Cato Neimoidia during the battle
Upon Skywalker and Tano's return to Coruscant, the Jedi High Council assigned them to lead the investigation of the bombing in the Jedi Temple's hangar. As the Trade Federation's ties to the Republic eroded over time, the Neimoidians fortified their defenses of Cato Neimoidia, doubling the conscription rate of the Neimoidian Home Defense Legions and installing other countermeasures in preparation for potential Republic reprisals. Such action came a month later in 19 BBY, when the Grand Army launched a campaign against the Neimoidian pursue worlds. As part of those efforts, Skywalker returned to Cato Neimoidia with Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, overseeing an assault on Viceroy Nute Gunray's citadel to apprehend him and the rest of the Trade Federation elite. Although Gunray and his staff escaped, the Republic captured Cato Neimoidia from the Neimoidians. Nevertheless, scattered pockets of resistance thwarted total Republic control.
Behind the scenes
- "We wanted to challenge her, so the opening sequence in the first part of the arc shows her flying toward Cato Neimoidia and the action is all about showing her in her prime, and how she is now capable. Anakin shouldn't have to worry about her, because she's the one that saves him. She has a bit of an edge to her, not unlike Anakin."
- ―Series Supervising Director Dave Filoni, describing how the battle sets up Ahsoka Tano as the protagonist of the Season Five finale arc
The defense of Cato Neimoidia was created as the opening act of "Sabotage," an episode of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series that aired on February 9, 2013. The episode served to establish the character of Ahsoka Tano as the protagonist of the following four-part story arc that ended the series' fifth season. Prior to the release of "Sabotage," scenes from the battle were initially previewed in a trailer for the fifth season that was featured at the Star Wars Celebration VI convention in August 2012. An entry for the buzz droid on the StarWars.com Encyclopedia was the first publication to reference the events on Cato Neimoidia. The battle showcased the series' debut of the Eta-2 Actis-class interceptor, made famous notably by the 2005 film Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. Because of a lack of information presented in the episode, the battle's result cannot be identified.
- (First pictured)
- "Launch Pad" – Star Wars Insider 139 (Indirect mention only)
- (Indirect mention only)
- "Unexpected Journeys" – Star Wars Insider 140 (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars The Complete Season Five
- The Official Star Wars Fact File Part 7 (HEA1, Z-95 Headhunter) (First identified as defense of Cato Neimoidia)
- (First mentioned) (Indirect mention only)
- The Official Star Wars Fact File Part 42 (20 BBY 11, Jedi Temple Bombing)
- The Official Star Wars Fact File Part 80 (ART26, D-Squad Hero)
- The Official Star Wars Fact File Part 94 (NEI 1-2, Cato Neimoidia)
Notes and references
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Episode Guide
- Star Wars Character Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Sabotage"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Jedi Who Knew Too Much"
- The Official Star Wars Fact File Part 23 (PLO5–6, Clone Wars Ace Pilot) places the events of "Sabotage" within the final month of the Clone Wars, which The New Essential Chronology more specifically dates to 19.1 BBY.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Senate Spy"
- The Official Star Wars Fact File Part 7 (HEA1, Z-95 Headhunter)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Sphere of Influence"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: New Battlefronts: The Visual Guide
- The Official Star Wars Fact File Part 8 (22 BBY 101–102, Spying for the Senate)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Weapons Factory"
- The New Essential Chronology
- Labyrinth of Evil
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- "Unexpected Journeys" – Star Wars Insider 140