- "The shroud of the dark side has fallen. Begun… the Clone War has."
- ―Grand Master Yoda
The First Battle of Geonosis, also referred to as the Battle of Geonosis or the Battle on Geonosis, was the first major battle fought in 22 BBY between the Confederacy of Independent Systems and the Galactic Republic on Geonosis, marking the beginning of the three-year Clone Wars. It would be the first major combat of the Grand Army of the Republic, as well as the first major battle the Jedi had fought in years. The battle also caused the death of the notorious bounty hunter Jango Fett and the discovery of Count Dooku's dark side allegiance.
- "I've got a bad feeling about this."
- ―Anakin Skywalker
Twenty-two years before the Battle of Yavin, the Galactic Republic was in the depths of a catastrophe. Thousands of star systems and groups including the Trade Federation, InterGalactic Banking Clan, Techno Union, Commerce Guild and the Corporate Alliance, had left the Republic and united with the Confederacy of Independent Systems under the direction of the former Jedi Count Dooku as terrorist strikes hit the capital planet Coruscant. The Galactic Senate prepared to meet that year to consider the Military Creation Act.
The day of the vote, Senator Padmé Amidala of Naboo landed on Coruscant to oppose the Act and survived an assassination attempt. At the request of Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine, Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi and his Padawan, Anakin Skywalker were assigned to her security detail. Kenobi pursued the trail of the toxic dart which ended the life of the assassin while Skywalker accompanied the senator back to Naboo.
Kenobi followed the suggestion from his friend Dexter Jettster to the planet Kamino, which had been deleted from the Jedi Archives by an anonymous force. There he learned that ten years prior, Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas had arranged for a purchase of a clone trooper army. During the tour, he met the bounty hunter Jango Fett. Kenobi revealed the new information back to the Jedi High Council and decided to go after Fett, speculating that he was a part of the assassination attempt. They fought on a landing platform, and Kenobi was able to fix a homing beacon on Fett's ship, Slave I.
Kenobi tracked Fett to Geonosis. His ship only just dodged a homing torpedo, and he landed on the surface. He snuck into a facility and watched a meeting of Separatist Council members, where it was revealed that Viceroy Nute Gunray of the Trade Federation was leading Amidala's assassination attempt. Kenobi reported back to the Jedi Council but was ambushed and taken captive by Droidekas. His signal was rerouted through Amidala's ship on Tatooine, as she and Skywalker had traveled there in a failed attempt to rescue his mother. Meanwhile, Dooku spoke with the captive Kenobi to try to gain him as an ally. Kenobi declined, and Dooku implied it would be difficult for him to secure his release.
Skywalker and Amidala traveled to Geonosis to rescue Kenobi but were captured in the Geonosian droid factories. The two were sentenced to execution in the Petranaki Arena along with Kenobi. They narrowly escaped their executions, which involved an acklay, a nexu, and a reek.
In response to Kenobi's report about the Separatists' plot, the Galactic Senate, at the proposal of Junior Representative Jar Jar Binks, granted Chancellor Palpatine "emergency powers" to handle the catastrophe.
- "My Master will not let the Republic get away with this treachery."
- ―Count Dooku
A group of 212 Jedi, including Jedi Mace Windu, Coleman Trebor, Eeth Koth, Kit Fisto, Plo Koon, Even Piell, Shaak Ti, Luminara Unduli, Aayla Secura, Barriss Offee, and Ki-Adi-Mundi were tasked with rescuing Obi-Wan Kenobi and investigating the reports of Separatist warmongering on Geonosis by the Jedi High Council. Despite this large number of experienced Jedi, among the group were many new Jedi Knights who lacked the experience of their masters. Among these newer knights was Bultar Swan, who later stated that "The battle wasn't supposed to happen." She also said that she knew it possibly could, but she expected the enemy to surrender as soon as the Jedi ignited their lightsabers.
- "They should have surrendered, but instead they fought back. Suddenly all the relatively new Knights like me, who mistook our overconfidence for foresight, had to figure out what to do next."
- ―Bultar Swan, on the battle
Skywalker, Amidala, and Kenobi managed to avoid the creatures that had been set upon them long enough for Master Windu's Jedi strike team to show up. As the Jedi came into view throughout the arena, many Geonosians chose to flee rather than face them in combat. However, Count Dooku deployed the Separatist's new battle droid army, and a violent battle took place in the arena. Though outnumbered, the Jedi fought bravely even as their ranks were slowly diminished in the face of an unending number of battle droids. Jedi Stass Allie and Bultar Swan would fight back to back during the battle against the droid army.
It was during this fierce battle that bounty hunter Jango Fett attempted to kill the famed Jedi Master, Mace Windu. However, during their confrontation, the Reek charged Fett and nearly crushed him; although Fett slayed the beast, its attack had broken his jetpack. When the duel resumed, Mace Windu charged straight towards Fett, deflecting his blaster shots. At the last second the Mandalorian attempted to activate his jetpack, but it back-fired, allowing Mace to quickly decapitate the notorious bounty hunter disturbing Dooku in the process. His damaged helmet was soon found by his "son" Boba Fett after the conclusion of the arena battle.
An unexpected participant in the battle was C-3PO, whose head had been detached and welded onto a battle droid's body while a battle droid's head had been attached to his body. Both incarnations walked into the battle alongside the battle droids and were knocked out by Kit Fisto and another Jedi. By the end of the battle R2-D2 was able to locate C-3PO's head and reattach it to his original body.
Despite the bravery of the Jedi, Dooku's droids held the upper hand, and with the last of the surviving Jedi surrounded he called a halt to the fighting. The separatist Head of State offered the Jedi the chance to surrender, but Windu declined, saying the Jedi would not become hostages with which Dooku could barter. Dooku then apologetically ordered the surrounding droids to slaughter the Jedi.
They were saved by the sudden arrival of Jedi Master Yoda and a regiment of Clone troopers aboard LAAT/i gunships, creating a perimeter around the survivors long enough for them to board and escape. Yoda's squad and the other troopers landed and, during this arena battle, enormous Republic assault ships had penetrated the upper atmosphere of Geonosis, knocking out the Geonosian launch hives with aerial bombardments and Clone commando strike teams and clearing the way to deploy the Grand Army of the Republic. As Jedi General Yoda and the survivors evacuated the vacant arena cluttered with droid parts, the first battle of the Clone Wars began.
War on Geonosis
- "If Dooku escapes, rally more systems to his cause, he will."
Following the Grand Army's arrival, Neimoidians on Geonosis fled to their Federation core ships. After the rescue of the Jedi, the droid and clone armies battled one another in an intricate series of confrontations on a number of different fronts. Much of the Separatists' heavy equipment had already been loaded onto their transports, but with their communications being jammed the rest was hastily thrown at the clones in order to buy the Confederacy navy enough time to escape. Meanwhile, the Republic army's goal was to capture the Separatists leadership and as much of the Geonosian droid foundries intact as possible in order to uncover the depths of the Separatist conspiracy, precluding the indiscriminate use of starship weapons. The resulting battle would mostly consist of ground combat then, but, although the clone troopers were greatly outnumbered by battle droids, the Republic enjoyed air dominance thanks to their preemptive strikes on the launch hives. However, at some point during the battle, the Geonosians launched thousands of standby Nantex-class territorial defense starfighters to break the Republic's orbital cordon, which was preventing Separatist ground reinforcements from the Corporate Alliance.
Obi-Wan and Anakin directed the gunship carrying them and Senator Amidala to attack the lightly-armored Techno Union transports while the gunship carrying Yoda and Mace Windu proceed on to a nearby assembly area. After arriving, Mace took command of a number of special commando units while Yoda proceeded to the forward command center, where he would direct the overall battle. On all fronts the two sides grappled with each other in fierce combat: heavily-armored AT-TE walkers facing down hordes of battle droids. However, when the Trade Federation core ships started to take off, a lone AT-TE fired a shot on a core ship. As homing spider droids swept their laser cannons across clone trooper battalions, Republic gunships strafed the Separatist front lines and lost a number to intense laser flak. As the Trade Federation core ships attempted to take off, Yoda commanded the army's artillery to bring a number of them crashing back to the ground. Because the core ships on Geonosis were ringed with air and land defenses, many of them were able to escape to the skies.
Confronting the Count
- "I can't take Dooku alone! I need you! If we catch him, we can end this war right now! We have a job to do!"
- ―Obi-Wan Kenobi to Anakin Skywalker
Kenobi vs. Dooku
- "As you see, my Jedi powers are far beyond yours. Now…back down."
"I don't think so."
- ―Count Dooku and Obi-Wan Kenobi
In the chaos of the battle, the Separatist leader Dooku, secretly Darth Tyranus, attempted to retreat to a hangar where his starship was docked using a Flitknot speeder. However he was spotted by Obi-Wan Kenobi, who directed the gunship carrying them to chase after the count. Unfortunately the gunship was unable to shoot down the Count's speeder, and Dooku's escorting Nantex-class starfighters slipped in behind it and opened fire. One of their shots knocked Padmé and a clone trooper out of the gunship but, despite Anakin's protestations, they did not go back for her. The gunship continued to pursue Dooku, dropping Kenobi and Skywalker into the Count's hangar shortly before being blasted out of the sky by laser fire.
Upon arriving at Dooku's hangar, Kenobi and Skywalker confronted the Count. As Kenobi began to strategize, Skywalker impatiently charged at the Count. Before he could reach Dooku however, the Count intercepted Skywalker with a blast of Force lightning, hurling the young Jedi against a wall and incapacitating him. Dooku and Kenobi then began to circle one another, and Dooku remarked that his powers were far beyond those of his opponent. Ordering Kenobi to back down, he unleashed a blast of Force lightning at the Jedi Knight, but Kenobi simply used his lightsaber to absorb the incoming energy and calmly rebuffed Dooku's demand. Dooku then ignited his own lightsaber and awaited Kenobi.
Kenobi initiated the duel by aggressively charging the Count, but Dooku deflected Kenobi's opening attack and his subsequent jab. After a quick flurry of bladework, Kenobi sliced at Dooku's legs, but the Count leapt over the strike and flourished his blade to drive Kenobi back as he landed. As Kenobi retreated, Dooku remarked upon his disappointment, noting that he had expected a better performance from someone who was held in such high esteem by Yoda.
A short while later, Kenobi was pulled into a bladelock by the Count. Dooku, a full grin on his face, parried Kenobi's weapon and jabbed at his arm, slicing it open and causing Kenobi to drop his lightsaber. He immediately followed the attack up with a slash across one of Kenobi's legs, and Kenobi collapsed in agony.
As Dooku lifted his lightsaber to finish Kenobi, Skywalker managed to recover from the Count's blast of Force lightning. Seeing Kenobi's plight, Skywalker ignited his lightsaber and used the Force to leap across the hanger. As he landed, he managed to intercept what would have been a killing stroke on Kenobi by Dooku. Dooku turned to regard Skywalker and mocked him for his earlier foolishness, and as the two opponents disengaged, Kenobi used the Force to reclaim his fallen lightsaber and threw it to Skywalker.
Skywalker vs. Dooku
- "Brave of you, boy, but I would have thought you had learned your lesson."
"I'm a slow learner."
- ―Count Dooku and Anakin Skywalker
Skywalker ignited the second blade and unleashed a flurry of Jar'Kai bladework upon the Count. Initially taken off his guard by Skywalker's aggressive series of attacks, Dooku briefly retreated but managed after a short time to regain his composure. The Count quickly reestablished his footing and pushed Skywalker back, taking the advantage when he cut apart the hilt of Skywalker's green blade. After losing his extra weapon, Skywalker launched two quick strikes at the Count and retreated.
As he regrouped, Skywalker flicked his remaining weapon through a power cable on the floor, damaging it and causing the hangar lights to flicker out for a brief while. Dooku then slowly advanced on Skywalker and both angled their blades into a high guard position. They spent a short time regarding each other in silence, then engaged in a relatively long and continual bout of swordplay. Though Skywalker managed in that time to hold his own against the Count, Dooku unceremoniously ended the duel by slicing off Anakin's right arm above the elbow. As Anakin shouted in agony, Dooku blasted him aside with a Force push. The young Jedi skidded over to where Kenobi was also lying and lost consciousness.
Yoda vs. Dooku
- "It is obvious that this contest cannot be decided by our knowledge of the Force, but by our skills with the lightsaber."
- ―Count Dooku to Yoda, his former master
As Dooku caught his breath, Yoda entered the hangar and confronted his former student. Dooku asserted that his diminutive former master would not interfere with his affairs again, and immediately attempted to kill Yoda by telekinetically flinging a pair of wall fixtures at him. Yoda repelled the fixtures with his own powers, but launched no counteroffensive. Dooku then used the Force to break apart a small portion of the hangar ceiling, which he dropped onto Yoda. Again however, Yoda was able to toss the improvised missiles aside. Yoda noted that Dooku had become powerful, but lamented that he could sense the dark side of the Force in his former student. In response, Dooku boasted that his power was now greater than that of any Jedi, even Yoda's own. He then unleashed a storm of Force lightning at the Grand Master, but Yoda used the Force to catch the bolt with his bare hand. Without any apparent strain, he redirected the blast back at Dooku, who deflected it into a nearby wall. Dooku proceeded to unleash a second volley against Yoda, but as a demonstration of his superior mastery, Yoda absorbed the bolt completely and remarked that the Count still had much to learn.
Recognizing the futility of continuing his Force-based assault, Dooku challenged Yoda to lightsaber combat and ignited his blade. Yoda silently accepted and ignited his own weapon, and the two combatants leapt at each other. A brief but very intense duel then ensued in which Yoda was able to gain a slight but visible advantage over the Count. Recognizing that he could not defeat Yoda, and forced to act due to incoming Republic reinforcements, Dooku diverted Yoda's focus by using the Force to collapse one of the hangar's power columns onto Kenobi and Skywalker. Yoda broke off the duel in order to telekinetically catch the power column, while Dooku quickly boarded his ship and fled.
- "I have good news for you, my Lord. War has begun."
"Excellent. Everything is going as planned."
- ―Darth Tyranus and Darth Sidious
Count Dooku, who was secretly a Sith Lord called Darth Tyranus, traveled to Coruscant, to convene with his master Darth Sidious, who was settled in a deserted building in The Works. Pleased by the news of war, Sidious commanded his apprentice to arrange a second battlefront against the Republic. Meanwhile, the Grand Army of the Republic was assembled throughout the galaxy as the Clone Wars began.
Back at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, Masters Kenobi, and Windu, both declared their shared belief that the battle would not have been won without the clones. However, Master Yoda was quick to point out the irony in such a pyrrhic victory, as the Republic had only fought their first of many such battles, in what became known as the Clone Wars. The council also agreed to investigate the Sith Lord that Dooku had mentioned to Obi-Wan Kenobi during the latter's capture, Darth Sidious, in case Dooku was telling the truth. It would not be until three years later, nearing the end of the Clone Wars, that they would finally identify Sidious as being none other than Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. Skywalker, meanwhile, accompanied by Senator Amidala, headed back to Naboo, where they married in a secret ceremony.
Clone trooper "Slick" participated in the Battle of Geonosis, but he came to the conclusion that the Jedi were not competent commanders. Slick began to feel anger at the Jedi Order and felt that their defeat would end the war faster, and that this would free his fellow clone troopers from the service that he saw as slavery.
When Republic engineers announced that they were unable to reconfigure Geonosian factories for Republic needs, its strategic value fell. This eventually led to the Republic occupation force stationed on the planet being overrun by Separatist and Geonosian forces, ending the occupation of Geonosis and leading to the Second Battle of Geonosis.
Behind the scenes
The First Battle of Geonosis first appeared in the 2002 film Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones, the second installment of the Star Wars prequel trilogy. The 2016 reference book Star Wars: Complete Locations establishes that the Republic was outnumbered by the Separatist Army by giving the number of troops each side used. A later reference book, 2017's Star Wars: On the Front Lines, stated that the Republic held the numerical advantage. Because Complete Locations gives official troop numbers, this article assumes it is correct.
- LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – "Duel of Destiny" (Appears in hologram)
- LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales – "Exit from Endor" (In flashback(s))
- LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
Notes and references
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
- The novel Tarkin establishes that the Antar 4 schism began before the Battle of Geonosis and occurred during the events of Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones, the film in which the subject of this article takes place.
- Star Wars: On the Front Lines
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Deserter"
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
- Rise of the Separatists
- Collapse of the Republic
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Secret Weapons"
- Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary, New Edition states that 212 Jedi made up the Jedi strike team. Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones shows that Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Yoda also fought in the battle, bringing the total number to 215.
- Star Wars: Complete Locations
- Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 16 (Helmets: 501st Legion stormtrooper)
- Star Wars Rebels – "The Last Battle"
- Although Slick's name is not used in Star Wars: On the Front Lines, the book and the information it introduces clearly references the events of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars episode "The Hidden Enemy" and Slick's actions within its story.
- Jedi of the Republic – Mace Windu 1
- Star Wars Journeys: Beginnings
- "Explosives, Heavy Weapons and Unstable Elements" – Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 8 (Helmets: General Grievous)
- Star Wars: Complete Locations establishes that 1,000,000 B1-series battle droids, 100,000 B2-series super battle droid, and 3,000 droidekas were used during the portion of the Battle of Geonosis that took place on the desert plain. Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones establishes that these three battle droid models were also used during the portion of the battle that took place in the Petranaki Arena.
- Star Wars: Droidography
- Star Wars: Complete Vehicles
- Star Wars: Build the Millennium Falcon 54 (Starship Fact File: Sheathipede-class Shuttle)
- Ultimate Star Wars
- Star Wars Lightsabers: A Guide to Weapons of the Force
- Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary, New Edition
- Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Landing at Point Rain"
- Lost Stars