Dengar, also known as "Payback," was a Corellian bounty hunter and the pilot of the Punishing One. Brought up in the culture of swoop bikes and becoming a successful racer himself, Dengar also led a double life as a successful bounty hunter during the Clone Wars, becoming one of the galaxy's most efficient mercenaries; his work teamed him with the likes of bounty hunters such as Boba Fett and Bossk. Dengar would eventually give up the life of bounty hunting to pursue his other passion: swoop racing.
Following a grievous injury sustained at the hands of the smuggler Han Solo during a swoop race through Agrilat Swamp on Corellia, Dengar was rebuilt by the scientists of the Galactic Empire as an assassin, augmented by various neuro-implants and cybernetic enhancements and being void of all emotions besides rage, despair, and hope. Dengar served under the Empire until he refused to kill the Holy Children of Asrat; sensing the despair in the children, Dengar deserted his post and became a freelance gun-for hire. It was after a bounty was posted on Han Solo by the Empire that he became entangled in the Galactic Civil War, serving under the Rebel Alliance in Echo Base on Hoth with the intention of taking Solo when he had the chance. Due to a chance encounter, Dengar was among an elite group of hunters recruited by Darth Vader to capture Solo and the passengers of the Millennium Falcon shortly after the Battle of Hoth.
- "Thought you could run from me, hey Solo?"
Dengar was born on Corellia and as a young child, he worked with his father repairing and tuning swoops. This early experience lead to him becoming a well-known and successful swoop racer for the Ferini team during his youth. By the time he reached pre-adolescence, he was considered something of a cult hero throughout the Corellian system. Through his connections with the Ferini team, he gained endorsements and higher wages and winnings.
By 21 BBY, Dengar had established himself as a bounty hunter, keeping a respectable track record. He eventually became a member of a posse of hunters consisting of Boba Fett, Bossk, Latts Razzi, C-21 Highsinger, and Oked. Dengar and company were hired to escort a hovertrain containing cargo valuable to Otua Blank, the leader of the Belugan people of Quarzite. Dengar and company prepared for the mission on Tatooine, making a last minute addition to the team: Asajj Ventress, a (unbeknownst to them) Dark Jedi who killed Oked in Chalmun's Spaceport Cantina.
Dengar and company set off in the Hound's Tooth to Quarzite, where Major Rigosso transported the team to the train's subterranean loading dock via a space elevator from an orbital skyhook. Dengar, along with Ventress, were assigned to guard the rear of the train. After unsuccessfully flirting with Ventress, a team of skilled Kage Warriors boarded the train in an attempt to retrieve the cargo. Dengar managed to fight off many of the attackers due to his skilled hand-to-hand combat techniques, and even managed to kill two using sticky explosives. Dengar was eventually overwhelmed by the attackers and was thrown from the train, landing safely on the subterranean surface. Dengar and his allies, who were likewise thrown from the train, returned to the skyhook to await Ventress, who had betrayed the mission objective by swapping the cargo with Boba Fett, who was bound and gagged.
Dengar was employed soon by the Hutts alongside Latts, Embo, and Sugi as protection on Nal Hutta. They were present when Darth Maul, Savage Opress, and Death Watch leader, Pre Vizsla came to ally with the Hutts. When the plan went sour, the four bounty hunters attacked, though they were pushed by the Mandalorian's flamethrower. The trio soon received reinforcements and attacked. When the battle was clearly lost, Dengar and Latts saved the beaten Embo and Sugi by covering their escape with smoke grenades. The group of mercenaries fled the Death Watch and their Sith allies.
The swoop accidentEdit
At some point prior to 3 ABY, Dengar, having mastered the professional swoop circuit on Corellia, was called to the private tour, where more dangerous challenges awaited him. He was constantly compared to a young swoop jockey on the private circuit named Han Solo. Eager to prove his superiority, Dengar challenged Solo to a winner-takes-all race through the crystal swamps of Agrilat. On the final stretch of the race, Solo brought his swoop down directly over and in front of Dengar, burning his face in the swoop's exhaust and locking the repulsor fins of both swoops. The maneuver sent Dengar flying off of his swoop to crash headfirst into crystalline plants. One crystalline stem directly impaled his brain, leaving him in a condition so perilous that only the Empire's doctors had the ability to repair him to a near-natural state. Dengar was kicked out of professional swoop racing for engaging in the illegal race and was abandoned by his friends on the Ferini team. Part of the Agrilat Swamp Racing Circuit eventually became known as Dengar's End, in honor of his accident. With his life in ruins, Dengar became viciously embittered with Solo, upon whom he vowed his vengeance.
As it was, to save his life, Dengar was forced to become part cyborg through Imperial experimentation. The parts of his brain controlling his senses of compassion, mercy, and pity were removed, leaving him an emotionless killer. He was only left with rage, hope and, accidentally, loneliness, the only emotions the Imperial doctors decided he would need to fulfill his new duties as an assassin. Particularly, the doctors allowed him to feel hope at the empty promise that if Dengar was successful in serving the Empire, he would be returned to his old self. He was also fitted with a number of cybernetic implants, such as new, more powerfully-enhanced eyes and ears, and a drug-induced flawless memory, which left him susceptible to hallucinations. His hypothalamus gland was cut out and replaced with a central computer module to control his new systems.
The Ferini team had scattered after his accident and eventually joined up with another swoop gang on Tatooine. Dengar wanted his revenge, but he was still property of the Empire and could not do the job himself. In 1 ABY, he hired a tough and well-armed individual to take out his old crew.[source?]
He briefly worked as a gladiator on the planet Loovria, before the Empire employed him as an assassin, a task Dengar carried out ruthlessly and without question until after he was ordered to kill the Holy Children of Asrat. These children denounced the Emperor and declared their official desire to leave the Empire. Faced with killing children or deserting the Empire, Dengar chose to leave. Despite no longer being able to feel the difference between good and evil, he still recognized the disparity when he saw it. The Empire posted a bounty for his desertion.
Return to bounty huntingEdit
- "You can imagine that someone as famous as me gets more bounties than he can accept."
Sometime after his desertion from Imperial service, Dengar became a bounty hunter again after learning of a price on Han Solo's head. Drawing from his vast Imperial assassin experience, he quickly came into the service of Jabba the Hutt despite a debatable record at best. Of the twenty-three bounties he'd collected, only six were taken alive. During the Galactic Civil War, he encountered Solo a number of times. Once, just before the Battle of Yavin, while searching for the Yavin Vassilika, and then twice in the year before the Battle of Hoth: once on Tatooine, when Solo attempted to reunite Jabba the Hutt with his nephew Grubba, and then again while teamed up with Boba Fett, Skorr, and Bossk in a showdown with Solo, Luke Skywalker, and the pirate Raskar on Ord Mantell. Still, Dengar was never able to capture Solo; it seemed as if Solo always got the best of him and was always one step ahead of him. Dengar often remarked to himself that all he ever saw of Solo was the aft of the Millennium Falcon as it was flying away from him.
His career as a bounty hunter and assassin even saw him targeting Imperials, specifically officers of COMPNOR's Redesign efforts. Dengar believed that COMPNOR was the most evil branch of the Empire. This included COMPNOR General Sinick Kritkeen on the planet Aruza. During this mission, the Aruzans paid him a small bounty to assassinate Kritkeen in the hopes that the Empire would abandon their Redesign efforts of Aruza. There, Dengar saved an Aruzan woman named Manaroo, who would soon become an integral part of his life. At some point, he also contacted a spacer to deliver a "message" to pirate captain Nym on Lok.
Following the battle of Talus, Dengar was one of many bounty hunters involved in capturing Emperor's Most Wanted, individuals from a list of high-paid bounties on critical Rebel Alliance leaders. Dengar had scored a big bounty on Tatooine, and then traveled to Naboo to hand it over to the Empire. From Moenia, he made his way to the Imperial outpost at Dee'ja Peak, where he engaged in a conversation with several sneaky-looking individuals. In the midst of the conversation, they were interrupted by an arrival of several individuals in a landspeeder. They explained that they worked for Borvo the Hutt, who, reportedly, had a job for Dengar. However, Dengar was suspicious, and the individuals revealed themselves to be in fact Rebel agents looking for the location of the captured Rebel leaders. With uncanny speed, Dengar drew his blasters and started the firefight, his associates joined him immediately. However, while the Corellian bounty hunter put up a strong defense, his companions were all killed, forcing Dengar to surrender. He explained that he handed over the bounty to Imperial authorities at the outpost in Dee'ja Peak, but did not know the location where the prisoners were being held. When pressed, he added that, according to rumors, Snoova had recently delivered a bounty to the same outpost as well. The Rebels went in pursuit of the trail, while handing Dengar over to the Rebel authorities for questioning. He was later seen walking free on Nal Hutta in 2 ABY, seeking bounty hunting work from the Hutts.
On the planet Toola, Dengar was recruited by an unnamed woman to join the Rebel Alliance, who had taken notice of his targeting of Imperial officials. The woman secretly programmed the coordinates for an unnamed star on the farthest rim of the galaxy into his ship's navicomputer, where he found a hidden Rebel outpost. There, he was examined by military intelligence officers and accepted assignment to a newly-formed outpost on the planet Hoth. However, his true intention for joining the Rebellion was that he knew wherever the Rebellion was would be where he would find Han Solo.
The hunt for SoloEdit
Unfortunately for Dengar, he exited hyperspace into the Hoth system in the midst of the Rebel evacuation of the planet. Despite the presence of a Super Star Destroyer and a massive Imperial fleet before him, he recklessly tried to reach the planet's surface in hopes of finding Solo. His ruse of posing as an Imperial scout failed when, riding in the wake of a squadron of TIE Fighters, Dengar's ship was hit with an ion blast from the planet's surface. Drifting helplessly through space, his ship was tractored in by the Executor. His ship was boarded, Dengar was captured and, the Empire quickly realizing his identity, was imprisoned.
Aboard the Executor, Darth Vader offered him a reprieve of his death warrant, allowing him the freedom to hunt down Solo and the Millennium Falcon. Disgusted with the fleet's inability to capture the fugitive ship, Vader then recruited Dengar and five other bounty hunters to bring him the passengers of the Falcon, possibly believing Luke Skywalker was one of them. By this time, his bounty hunting record was still unimpressive. He had yet to claim one remarkable bounty.
While searching for Solo in the Hoth asteroid field, the engines of the Punishing One were crippled by a bomb placed by Boba Fett, who may have heard of Dengar's death warrant, only to leave Dengar helplessly watching the Millennium Falcon slowly limp out of the system followed closely by the Slave I. He managed to repair his craft and followed Solo's particle vapor trail to Bespin's Cloud City, where he arrived a few days later, again, to see the Slave I leaving the city with the carbonite frozen Han Solo on board. However, it was on Cloud City that Dengar was reunited with Manaroo, where he saved her and several other dancers, for a time, from the Imperial subjugation of the city. The woman would soon become a permanent part of his life.
With Manaroo accompanying him away from Cloud City, the Aruzan woman, pitying Dengar's near-emotionless state, tried to share her own feelings with him through her Attanni, an Aruzan custom in which two people shared emotions cybernetically. Dengar was able to feel what it was to be Human again, feeling what she felt and seeing what she saw. It was from this emotional experience that Dengar was finally able to work with the Rebel Alliance by assisting in the evacuation of the Aruzans from their world, freeing them of their Imperial tormentors. Dengar's primary interest in the matter was to free Manaroo's parents.
Sometime during 3 ABY, a contract had Dengar teaming up with fellow bounty-hunters 4-LOM, IG-88, Bossk, and Zuckuss on a mission for Domina Tagge to steal a sacred gem from a temple in the Red Nebula.
Soon after, Dengar had a run in with Princess Leia who was searching for information about the location of Solo. After an unsuccessful bounty hunt for the Mandalorian Fenn Shysa, Dengar was imprisoned and to be handed over to the Empire. Promising Leia that he would reveal everything he knew, she distracted Shysa while C-3PO cut Dengar free. However, Dengar double-crossed the pair, and secretly informed the Empire of Leia's location. The planet was then seized. With Dengar's assistance, the Empire overrun the planet of Mandalore. Dengar was however, recaptured by Shysa and Leia, and forced to reveal a possible hideout for Boba Fett and therefore Han Solo.
Eventually, Dengar and Manaroo traveled to Tatooine, where he knew Boba Fett would eventually deliver the carbonite frozen Han Solo to Jabba the Hutt. He soon learned that Solo was indeed alive and being held in Jabba's Palace. There, Dengar finally caught up with Solo, clutching the carbonite slab and laughing in the face of his old nemesis. However, in his absence, Manaroo was captured by Jabba's cronies and taken to his palace to work as one of the crime lord's many dancers.
In a bid to rescue her, Dengar returned to Jabba's Palace, knowing he would have to kill the Hutt to save Manaroo. He witnessed Jabba's ruthlessness when killing Oola, his Twi'lek dancer. Quickly, he formulated a plot with few other members of Jabba's entourage, which Jabba himself soon discovered. The Hutt tasked Boba Fett with personally taking care of Dengar, with the stipulation that he died a painful death by way of the Teeth of Tatooine in the Valley of the Winds. The night before Jabba was to execute Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca at the Great Pit of Carkoon, Fett drugged Dengar and left him at the mercy of Tatooine's elements. Surprisingly, for the second time, Boba Fett had done Dengar a favor, so to speak. Although he left Dengar to die, he allowed him to remain with his armor strapped on, which effectively saved him from the brutally harsh winds until he was saved by Manaroo. Dengar realized that for the second time, Fett refrained from killing him, the first being when he merely disabled the Punishing One near the Hoth asteroid field instead of destroying it and Dengar outright. Still, he vowed to make Fett pay.
Life after 4 ABYEdit
After being rescued by Manaroo, the two agreed to be married. Dengar recovered from his wounds after several weeks in Mos Eisley, racking up enormous medical bills. It was then that he realized that few people were aware that Jabba had died at the Pit of Carkoon. He traveled with Manaroo to the site of the Hutt's death hoping to salvage valuable goods, only to find a badly burned and scarred man on the brink of death, who had apparently killed the Sarlacc. He discovered that this broken man was Boba Fett, having survived from being swallowed by the Sarlacc. With Dengar's newly found compassion, sourced from Manaroo's Attanni device, he nursed Fett back to health. Dengar, Fett, and Kateel of Kuhlvult then survived to a bombing run on the Great Pit of Carkoon arranged by Kuat of Kuat, the leader of Kuat Drive Yards. This unlikely partnership then led Fett and Dengar on a mission to foil what was believed to be Prince Xizor's complicated plan to destroy the Bounty Hunters' Guild. To achieve this the pair had to kidnap the powerful Kuat of Kuat. The infamous Fett even served as Dengar's best man during his wedding to Manaroo.
In 5 ABY, Dengar tracked the pirate Nosstrick to the planet Fluwhaka for a bounty posted by the New Republic. However Jodo Kast, whom Dengar believed to be the feared Boba Fett, had arrived first. Dengar entered to see Kast dangling from a spiked pit. Dengar blasted the computer controls to the trapdoor that dropped into the pit, saving Kast's life. Kast responded by pointing a blaster at Dengar and taking the bounty for himself. Realizing that Boba Fett wouldn't have made nearly as many mistakes or threatened to shoot the man that saved his life, Dengar contacted Fett, making him aware of Kast's posturing. Dengar accompanied Fett to Paqualis III where Fett disguised himself as "Sava Brec Madak" and approached the House Benelex bounty hunters' guild to hire Kast. According to "Madak," a man called Satnik Hiicrop had stolen his name and reputation; Hiicrop, "Madak" said, could be found in a clan keep on Nal Hutta, and he wanted Kast to bring him in. Dengar proceeded to help Fett lay traps for Kast in the ruined clan keep, and was present when he was killed.
Their partnership continued until 10 ABY, when the cloned Emperor Palpatine returned. The pair's final, failed attempts to recapture the elusive Solo on Nar Shaddaa and Byss led Dengar to proclaim that he would never work with Fett again.
After his partnership with Fett, Dengar settled down to married life with Manaroo. However, he resurfaced from time to time for unknown reasons.
In 9 ABY, Mara Jade was taken prisoner for a short time by a bounty hunter. She later escaped from him and found an ID card that read "Dengar Roth". However, the card was forged and carried by a man named Gunner Groth, who used the phony ID to better scare his targets and negotiate higher bounties with the Empire.
In 11 ABY Dengar free-lanced for Grappa the Hutt, who was paying large sums for bounty hunters. After Grappa's organization began to unravel, Dengar fled, but was captured by the Black Sun, which Grappa had offended. However, after revealing all he knew of Grappa's organization, Black Sun let Dengar go unharmed, and he swore never again to work for a Hutt.
Over a decade later in 24 ABY, Dengar joined the quest for Bornan Thul during the Diversity Alliance's reign. This brought Dengar face-to-face with Jacen and Jaina Solo, the children of his former enemy.
Personality and traitsEdit
- "Go ahead. Try it. I've got nothing to lose."
Early in his life, Dengar was a crude and slovenly bounty hunter with a proven track record, priding himself on firepower and destruction. Though scruffy-looking and battered, he would frequently make passes at women that caught his eye. Despite some perceiving him as obnoxious, a young Boba Fett enjoyed working with him and held him in high regard.
His mind would take a sharp turn following his swoop accident and the bio-implants the Empire used to save his life. Dengar became a person devoid of all caring emotions. His new cybernetics transformed his damaged biological brain into that of an emotionless and remorseless killer. Dengar continually displayed a serious demeanor and would only kill a person professionally, not for amusement. Dengar strongly believed Han Solo was responsible for how he was, and right before any assassination, he would attempt to visualize his target as Han Solo, his need for revenge enhancing his desire to kill.
During much of his career, he was considered more ruthless than Boba Fett himself, and usually performed assassinations rather than live captures. Nevertheless, traces of self-recrimination and foggy memories of his past plagued his thoughts, resulting in deep self-loathing and despair.
After he met and married Manaroo however, his emotions were restored, thanks to the Aruzan Attanni device and Manaroo's will to change him. Following her wishes, Dengar, who no longer needed his cybernetics, had them removed. After the removal process, he was still a man of formidable strength and speed, and possessed acute senses. Even when he re-received his emotions, only a small portion of his former self resurfaced and he was still regarded as a cold man by all, save for Manaroo.
Dengar's worn and faded body armor was a conglomeration of various Imperial armor components which served as an ever-present reminder of his Imperial past. The chest plate and undersuit were from a snowtrooper, while the shoulder bells, gauntlets, midsection, codpiece, kneepads, and thighs were standard sandtrooper armor, which was a slight variant of stormtrooper armor, with Dengar wearing two kneepads instead of the usual one. His facial wrappings, used in his younger days as a fashionable turban, later helped to cover and hide his cybernetic implants and scar tissue. During an assassination, he would often cover his mouth and nose, hiding his identity and adding to his intimidating demeanor.
Dengar carried with him an impressive array of weaponry. His weapon of choice was the Valken-38 blaster rifle, a sniper rifle that he used to kill or wound his prey from a long distance. He also possessed one DL-21 blaster pistol, concussion grenades, and a vibroblade. He was proficient, and in some cases overly enthusiastic, about using grenades and other explosives to complete a bounty.
Dengar's personal flagship was the Punishing One. Initially a JumpMaster 5000 scout ship, Dengar had it heavily modified with greatly improved sublight engines, and an array of weaponry including a mini-ion cannon, proton torpedos and an R2 unit controlled, quad-blaster cannon system.
Behind the scenesEdit
The character's depiction in Payback: The Tale of Dengar by Dave Wolverton was inspired by the author's time as a prison security guard during college, capturing the air of "inner deadness" that incarcerated killers possessed.
Dengar was played by British actor Morris Bush in Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back. He briefly appears in Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, although it was unknown if it was still Bush in the role until Jeremy Bulloch confirmed it in the Celebration Europe II panel, The Fett-Tastic Four. He is played by voice-actor Joe Hacker in the audio adaption of Dark Empire. In the Star Wars series, his armor consists of bits of sandtrooper and snowtrooper armor, that were repainted from their original white. This was to point to his Imperial past. Simon Pegg voiced Dengar in Bounty, an episode of the fourth season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which causes him to speak with a British accent.
In pre-production still photographs from Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, Dengar is pictured holding a modified WWII-era German MG 34 machine gun (the basis for both the W-90 concussion rifle and BlasTech DLT-19). In the film, though, that weapon was held by bounty hunter droid 4-LOM, and Dengar was armed with a modified German MG 42 (as seen in the main profile image above).
There is an easter egg in Star Wars: The Old Republic that features a rendition of the bounty hunter scene from Empire Strikes Back. Dengar is featured in this, along with all the other bounty hunters featured in the scene with Darth Vader.
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