- "The cave is collapsing!"
"This is no cave!"
- ―Leia Organa and Han Solo
Exogorths, also known as space slugs, were members of a silicon-based sentient species that resided in the hollows of asteroids and who prided themselves on maintaining a pleasant ecosystem within their bodies. At least one such being, named Sy-O, lived in the Hoth asteroid belt.
Biology and appearance
Space slugs reached full maturity at ten meters and reproduced by splitting into two smaller, separate bodies. If a space slug was incapable of this process, its growth continued uninterrupted, potentially reaching lengths of 900 meters. Slugs of this size were known to swallow starships whole and house entire ecosystems.
Often living in asteroid fields, space slugs would burrow into an asteroid until completely hidden. From there, they fed on stellar energy emissions, mineral-rich deposits from the asteroid, floating space debris, and other silicon-based creatures, such as mynocks. Largely dormant, the opportunistic feeder could lunge upon passing ships. However, doing so used up all of its energy, exhausting it.
The creatures could live extremely long times. Sy-O, the creature that resided within the Hoth asteroid belt, had lived for over a billion years by the time of the Galactic Civil War, yet was considered young.
Society and culture
Exogorths were a patient and relatively peaceful species that prided themselves on their ability to have their bodies become stable ecosystems that were home to countless species that peacefully co-existed. Exogorths with incredibly diverse ecosystems in their bodies were considered highly respectable, while those with limited lifeforms such as Sy-O were looked down upon even by their parents for only being able to host mynocks.
The species existed for more than billions of years, as Sy-O, who was billions of years old itself, was considered young by others of its kind.
Exogorths in the galaxy
After an attack on a rebel base during the Galactic Civil War, a conflict between the Alliance to Restore the Republic and the Galactic Empire, Commander Tylux of the Imperial Navy ordered his Imperial-class Star Destroyer, the Bellicose, to pursue an escaping rebel spy in order to not fail the Sith Lord Darth Vader. Eventually, the Bellicose lost its entire force of TIE fighters in a failed pursuit of the rebel's UT-60D U-wing starfighter/support craft, yet Tylux continued the chase into an asteroid field. After his protocol droid Exo spotted an Exogorth ahead of them in one of the asteroids, the rebel flew his U-wing into the creature to attempt to get away, but, to the horror of one of his Imperial officers, Tylux ordered his Star Destroyer to pursue the U-wing into the beast; the Bellicose rammed into the Exogorth's mouth and through it, forcing the rebel to fire on the creature to try to escape. Bursting through the Exogorth's skin after the U-wing, Tylux understood he had the rebel trapped, only to learn mynocks from inside the creature were spreading damage on the hull of the Bellicose, making one of his officers incorrectly speculate the rebel had led them into the exogorth as a trap. As the remains of the exogorth floated nearby, the crew of the destroyer were forced to abandon the starship after rebel reinforcements arrived.
After the Battle of Hoth, the Millennium Falcon, unable to jump to lightspeed, due to its damaged hyperdrive, fled pursuing TIE fighters by hiding inside what its crew believed to be the crater of a large asteroid; in reality, the maw was a giant space slug named Sy-O, where they also tried to repair the Falcon's hyperdrive. While sitting in the cockpit, Leia Organa was disturbed by a mynock, and she stepped outside with Han Solo and Chewbacca to investigate. When shots were fired, Sy-O lurched: Solo, realizing where they actually were, ordered everyone back in and flew the Falcon out before the space slug closed its mouth. The space slug emerged and snapped its jaws at the Falcon in hopes of keeping the crew inside it and expanding its ecosystem, but the freighter was too fast for it, so it receded back into the crater. After the Falcon's departure, one of the pursuing TIE fighters was attacked by Sy-O, forcing the pilot to eject into space. The accompanying members of the TIE squadron concentrated their attack on it, chipping its tooth and eventually forcing it to recede once more into its hideout.
While being chased in the Y'Toub System by the bounty hunters Zuckuss and 4-LOM aboard their starship Mist Hunter, fellow hunter Beilert Valance flew the Corona-class armed frigate that he had stolen with another hunter, Dengar, into an asteroid field inhabited by a number of exogorths. As the exogorths reached out of their asteroids, the Corona escaped the Mist Hunter.
Behind the scenes
The exogorth first appeared in the 1980 original trilogy film Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back. Concept art of it was made by Ralph McQuarrie. The exogorth was identified in the 2015 reference book Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know.
Huge slabs of beef fat and dozens of raw eggs being walked on were used to create the squelchy sounds of the Millenium Falcon crew's footsteps as they trudged inside the exogorth in The Empire Strikes Back.
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Notes and references
- "This Is No Cave"—From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back
- Ultimate Star Wars
- Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
- Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know
- Vader - Dark Visions 2
- "Amara Kel's Rules for TIE Pilot Survival (Probably)"—From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back
- Bounty Hunters 12
- The Art of Ralph McQuarrie