- "Wipe this pathetic planet from the face of the galaxy!"
- ―Darth Malak
Following the destruction of the Endar Spire by the Sith battle fleet in hopes of capturing Jedi Padawan Bastila Shan, the destruction of Taris was an event that took place during the height of the Jedi Civil War. Intending to capture the Jedi Padawan Bastila Shan, whose talents with battle meditation had been crucial to the Galactic Republic's effort against the Sith Empire led by Darth Malak, the Dark Lord of the Sith set his fleet around the Outer Rim world of Taris. After successfully ambushing the vessel under Shan's command, the Hammerhead-class cruiser Endar Spire, Sith troopers led by Darth Bandon boarded the ship, intent on seizing her alive. However, Shan, Carth Onasi and the amnesic ex-Sith Lord Revan were able to escape before the vessel's destruction. Afterwards, Malak ordered the conquest and blockading of Taris in order to search for the Jedi. The escape pod bearing Shan crashed in the Undercity, however, and she was taken prisoner by the Black Vulkars swoop gang.
With support from the Hidden Beks swoop gang, Revan found and freed Shan. Impressed, the Mandalorian mercenary Canderous Ordo offered Revan an opportunity to leave the planet by stealing Exchange boss Davik Kang's flagship, the Ebon Hawk. Accepting the offer, Revan raided the main Sith base to acquire codes to bypass the blockade; Ordo then brought him to Kang's estate to steal the ship. Malak, meanwhile, grew weary of the protracted search. Seeking to eliminate Shan, he ordered Admiral Saul Karath to thoroughly bombard the surface. As the Sith fleet in orbit repositioned itself, Ordo and Revan succeeded in accessing the Hawk. However, they were confronted by Kang and the bounty hunter Calo Nord. After a brief firefight as the bombardment began, Kang was killed and Nord incapacitated; with the way clear, the party boarded the freighter, picking up Onasi, Shan, Mission Vao, Zaalbar, and T3-M4, and blasted off for space. The Ebon Hawk eluded a vanguard of attacking Sith fighters before fleeing into hyperspace, en route to the Jedi Enclave on Dantooine. Despite their escape, the bombardment continued until the entire world was virtually scoured of life, killing billions of beings. However, Taris's ecosystem eventually recovered over the next three centuries, leading the Republic to resettle the planet.
- "Bastila's escape pod is away!"
- ―Carth Onasi
In an effort to capture the Jedi Padawan Bastila Shan, whose mastery of battle meditation had served the Galactic Republic well in its fight against the Sith Empire, Darth Malak had tracked her as she journeyed to the Outer Rim world of Taris aboard the Hammerhead-class cruiser Endar Spire. With his fleet waiting in orbit around the planet to trap her vessel, Malak ordered a large number of Sith fighters from his flagship, the Interdictor-class cruiser Leviathan, to attack the ship as it was dragged out of hyperspace, before boarding the captured ship. During the battle that followed, Shan managed to board an escape pod, which crashed into the Undercity of the planet. Captain Carth Onasi, a veteran of the Mandalorian Wars and a decorated war hero, and the recently mind-wiped former Dark Lord of the Sith Revan, were also aboard the doomed vessel at the time; after fending off or bypassing a number of Sith troopers and Dark Jedi who were part of the boarding party, the two met up on the starboard side of the ship and used the last escape pod to reach the Upper City of Taris moments before the Endar Spire was destroyed. After landing, Onasi pulled the unconscious Revan from the pod and, dragging him through the crowd of Upper City residents who had arrived to investigate, reached safety in an abandoned apartment.
Realizing that Shan had not been captured or killed in the destruction of the Endar Spire, Malak ordered an immediate conquest of the planet, instituting a massive blockade in order to prevent all space travel to and from Taris. Shan, however, had been captured by a swoop gang known as the Black Vulkars, which were based in the decaying Lower City. The group offered Shan up as the prize for the winner of the Tarisian Season Opener swoop race, the key event of the Galactic Swoop Racing Circuit. Revan and Onasi, with the assistance of the Twi'lek Mission Vao and her Wookiee companion Zaalbar, eventually won the favor of a rival swoop gang, the Hidden Beks, led by Gadon Thek, by returning a stolen prototype accelerator. As a condition of their agreement, Thek agreed to sponsor Revan for the race under the Bek banner. After Revan successfully beat the times of all other opponents, Brejik, the leader of the Vulkars, retracted the prize, accusing the Beks of cheating by using the accelerator that the Vulkars had stolen. After freeing herself from Vulkar captivity, Shan intervened in the brief fight that followed, which ended in the gang leader's death.
- "The search for Bastila is taking too long. We cannot risk her escaping Taris. Destroy the entire planet."
- ―Darth Malak, to Admiral Karath
Malak, however, was growing impatient with his troops' inability to find Shan on the planet's surface. In an attempt to completely remove her from the playing field, denying her battle meditation to the Republic, he ordered Admiral Saul Karath to begin an orbital bombardment of the planet. Karath, hesitant at first, stated that it would take some time to properly arrange the fleet to initiate the operation. Karath also questioned Malak about those in the Sith military who had been stationed throughout the vast cityscape. Still angry, Malak ordered the preparations to begin at once and offered no care for the loss of life, regardless of allegiance. With the armada in place and ready, the bombardment began. The Taris government, along with representatives of every major science and industry, froze themselves in carbonite as the destruction began so that they could be saved. They were stored in an underground archive, where they were to remain until Taris was once again in Republic hands.
Meanwhile, on the surface, Revan had teamed up with the Mandalorian mercenary Canderous Ordo, who had a plan for getting off-world. In order to infiltrate the Sith military base, in which the codes necessary to pass through the blockade were kept, he bade Revan acquire the astromech droid T3-M4 from Janice Nall, the Twi'lek owner of a local droid dealership in the Upper City, in order to break into the base itself. With the assistance of T3, Revan successfully raided the base and secured the passage codes after a brief duel with the planet's Sith Governor. With the codes in hand, Ordo promised Revan the means of stealing the Ebon Hawk, the recently acquired flagship of Davik Kang, who was the head of the Exchange's presence on Taris. Ordo brought Revan to Kang's estate in order to hijack the Hawk, claiming that Revan was a person who might make a prime recruit. While attempting to steal the ship, having freed its former pilot and getting the hangar security codes, Revan and Ordo were confronted by Kang and the bounty hunter Calo Nord. Kang was killed in the fight that followed; however, the bombardment had already begun. The hangar began to collapse, causing debris to fall on Nord, severely injuring him and preventing his activation of a thermal detonator. Revan then boarded the Ebon Hawk, gathering all of his companions before fleeing the planet, even amidst the barrage of turbolaser fire.
After gathering all of his and Revan's companions aboard the Ebon Hawk, Carth Onasi piloted the ship off the planet and up out of its gravity well in spite of the sheets of destructive energy raining down upon the surface as the bombardment continued. Once above Taris, however, the fleeing vessel soon encountered elements of the Sith fleet. Even though a half-squadron of Sith fighters attacked the Hawk as it continued to flee the battle, they were destroyed by Revan, who had manned the ship's dorsal-mounted laser cannon turret, giving Onasi a window in which to make the jump into hyperspace. The Ebon Hawk and its crew, at Shan's urging, then fled to the Jedi Enclave on the grassy world of Dantooine. After their escape, the bombardment continued, mercilessly pummeling the surface and reducing the planetwide cityscape to a smoking ruin and killing billions of innocent civilians. The planet's skyscrapers collapsed to the surface, including Taris's most lively cultural and business districts, which formed an area known as the Sinking City.
- "You saw what they did to Taris! There wasn't a single building over two stories tall left standing!"
- ―Carth Onasi
The Sith fleet decimated the surface of Taris, killing billions of its citizens, though the exact number of fatalities remained unknown. The destruction was so vast that survival was unlikely for most residents, with the exception of the Outcasts. Other than Revan and his companions, one notable survivor was Calo Nord. Nord was able to free himself from the debris that had trapped him and flee on his ship. He would later offer his services to Malak in a renewed attempt to hunt down Shan.
The destruction of Taris became an important event that echoed throughout the galaxy. Citizens of other planets, such as Dantooine, wondered if the Sith would attempt such an attack there, as well. Wherever Revan traveled, he encountered discussion about the event. Even among his companions, emotions ranged from shock, as exhibited by Mission Vao, to anger, as shown by Juhani, a Cathar Jedi from Taris who was off-world at the time. The destruction of the planet also affected commerce. Taris was still an important commercial and cultural center, as well as the hub of swoop racing throughout known space; the circuit was decimated by the losses suffered in the bombardment. Even though Revan had won the race, no one in the galaxy believed him because they believed that no one could have escaped that bombardment. Another immediate effect was the shortage of Tarisian ale, which later became a potential business opportunity for Tarisian Twi'lek Griff Vao, Mission's elder brother.
The Outcasts, a group of Tarisians who lived in the Undercity prior to the bombardment, successfully reached their Promised Land, which they discovered to be the original colony established by Taris's first settlers, despite the bombardment. Thanks to a rakghoul serum given to them by Revan, the "Promised Ones" were able to survive for many generations, but the serum eventually ran out, and the group was ultimately killed off by rakghouls and radiation poisoning. The swoop racer Milos Brejik was among the few survivors of the bombardment, and he turned scavenger in the years afterwards, foraging for supplies and delivering them to the other survivors.
In the centuries that followed the bombardment, Taris's ecosystem began to adapt to the toxic environment left by the former city-world and thrived in the absence of settlers: plants overgrew the wreckage of fallen skyscrapers, and animals repopulated the growing jungles as they adapted to the toxins and pollutants left in the wreckage. Many of the factories and production facilities, including the Taris ChemWorks Factory, were damaged during the bombardment, releasing chemical and toxic waste into the environment. During the bombardment, a factory that was believed to belong to a Tarisian environmentalist named Ark Brell was destroyed and leaked chemical waste, forming an acid lake later termed Lake Brell, and the area around the lake became known as the Brell Sediment.
Several ancient species that existed on Taris before the planet's initial colonization, such as the bogstalker, were believed to be extinct until they were rediscovered when the Republic began to recolonize Taris. Bogstalkers in particular absorbed the pollutants from the bombardment, developing poisonous flesh over the centuries. The population of the supposedly extinct ferrazid hounds also recovered in the absence of Taris's urban environment, developing a robust population. Unfortunately for the rest of the galaxy, Taris's rakghoul population was not completely wiped out in the bombardment, and the creatures thrived despite the absence of other sentients to infect—some rakghouls were even mutated by radiation and pollution left by the bombardment, growing stronger and more violent.
An unexpected result of the rakghouls' isolation was the evolution of the nekghoul, a subpsecies of rakghoul that was approaching sentience and could use the Force. The tarsarian stomper—a species not native to Taris that had been kept in a number of Tarisian zoos prior to the bombardment—was released into the environment and initially thrived, but several stompers were infected by rakghouls and, thanks to a mutation in the rakghoul virus, developed into creatures that the Republic named tarsarian devourers. The devourers quickly wiped out their stomper cousins and became the kings of the food chain on Taris, though the mutated virus in the devourers lost its ability to infect sentient species.
Around 3648 BBY, during the Cold War between the Republic and the reconstituted Sith Empire, the Republic established the Taris Reconstruction Authority which oversaw the resettlement and reconstruction of Taris. In rebuilding Taris, which had been destroyed by Sith centuries earlier, the Republic sought to create a symbol of hope and steadfastness against the new Sith threat. The Republic established the Republic Tarisian Archival Database, which sought to recover and preserve knowledge of Taris from before the bombardment. Republic archaeological salvage teams also cataloged the bodies discovered in the wreckage in hopes of identifying them.
A rare cancer known as Colu's Syndrome developed in the centuries after the bombardment; the cancer only affected the descendants of refugees from Taris. Pirates also flocked to the devastated world, scavenging the wreckage and braving the planet's dangers in search of treasure and lost wealth. While the Reconstruction Authority made significant progress under Governor Leontyne Saresh, the Sith Empire invaded Taris in the early days of the Galactic War between the Republic and the Empire. The Empire razed the Reconstruction Authority's work, seeking to restore what they saw as a glorious monument to Darth Malak and the power of the Sith.
By 3 ABY, nearly four thousand years after the bombardment, much of the planet had been rebuilt, once again becoming a prominent city-world in the galaxy, but the scars that had been left by Darth Malak and his armada still remained. By 40 ABY, the planet was still a hub for many elements of galactic culture, including a small number of Mandalorians who had set up shop there.
Behind the scenes
The destruction of Taris, as it first appears in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, is depicted mostly as a series of cutscenes and scripted in-game sequences. The only real involvement by the player, other than securing the Ebon Hawk from Davik Kang in order to escape the planet, is taking up the laser cannon turret on the Hawk and shooting down a number of pursuing Sith fighters before making the jump to hyperspace en route to Dantooine. Content that was cut from the final game reveals that a large number of automated landing craft were sent by the Sith fleet to retrieve their ground troops; one of these was to allow the escape of Deadeye Duncan, who was to have met Revan on Manaan in order to ask permission to use the title of "Mysterious Stranger."
The battle is later indirectly referenced in the video game Star Wars: Empire at War and its expansion, Forces of Corruption, which depicts a cityscape not unlike that of Coruscant, which is also depicted in the game. In Legacy of the Force: Bloodlines, another indirect mention is made when Mandalore Boba Fett visits Taris in order to meet with a number of his Mandalorian allies. Most recently, when Star Wars: The Old Republic was being written, the creators of the game wanted to return to Taris and use it as a focal point for the game. As a result, the destruction of the planet was an important factor into the creation of the landscape. The reestablishment of Taris also became a plot point in the game.
- "Shadows and Light"—Star Wars Tales 23 (Vision to Duron Qel-Droma)
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (First appearance)
- The Old Republic: Revan (Mentioned only)
- The Old Republic: Revan audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Onslaught (Indirect mention only) (Codex entry)
- Star Wars: Empire at War (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption (Indirect mention only)
- Legacy of the Force: Bloodlines (Mentioned only)
- Knights of the Old Republic: Prima's Official Strategy Guide
- The New Essential Chronology
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- "5 Evil Deeds! (Expanded Universe)"—Star Wars Insider 113
- Star Wars: The Old Republic Explorer's Guide
- The Art and Making of Star Wars: The Old Republic
- Star Wars: The Old Republic Encyclopedia
Notes and references
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
- The New Essential Chronology
- Star Wars: The Old Republic Explorer's Guide
- Number based on dialogue between Saul Karath and Darth Malak prior to bombardment, and conversations with random people after the fact.
- Star Wars: The Old Republic—Republic Mission: "The Archive" on Taris
- Star Wars: The Old Republic—Codex: "Sinking City"
- Star Wars: The Old Republic—Republic Mission: "Chasing History" on Taris
- Star Wars: The Old Republic—Codex: "Brejik's Run"
- Star Wars: The Old Republic—Codex: "Environment of Taris"
- Star Wars: The Old Republic—Mission: [Heroic] "Spilling Chemicals" on Taris
- Star Wars: The Old Republic—Codex: "Brell Sediment"
- Star Wars: The Old Republic—Codex: "Bogstalker"
- Star Wars: The Old Republic—Codex: "Ferrazid Hound"
- Star Wars: The Old Republic—Mission: [Heroic] "Mutations" on Taris
- Star Wars: The Old Republic—Codex: "Nekghoul"
- Star Wars: The Old Republic—Codex: "Tarsarian Devourer"
- Star Wars: The Old Republic about ten to twelve years after the signing of the Treaty of Coruscant, which is dated to 3653 BBY by Star Wars: The Old Republic Encyclopedia. The Old Republic—The Lost Suns 2 takes place ten years after the treaty, one week after the mission to Nar Shaddaa, and around the time of the SpecForce Incident. Since the mission and the incident are respectively part of Act I of the Jedi Knight and Republic Trooper's storylines, and the Trooper's Act I occurs concurrent to Act I of the Smuggler storyline, the general events of the Prologue and Act I for all classes can be assumed to occur in 3643 BBY. The Endar Rebirth was sent to Taris five years before the game, giving a date of 3648 BBY. places
- Star Wars: The Old Republic—Codex: "Taris"
- Star Wars: The Old Republic—Republic Mission: "The Corpse Counters" on Taris
- Star Wars: The Old Republic—Republic Mission: "Legacy of Death" on Taris
- Star Wars: The Old Republic—Codex: "Pirates and Scavengers"
- Star Wars: The Old Republic—Codex: "Governor Saresh"
- Star Wars: Empire at War
- Legacy of the Force: Bloodlines
- Team Gizka lists a number of items cut from the final game.
- Official interview with Drew Karpyshyn and other Star Wars: The Old Republic creators
- The Art and Making of Star Wars: The Old Republic