- "Among other dishonorable acts, this piece of human filth once interfered with a legitimate slaver operation on Gandolo IV."
- ―Bossk, referring to Han Solo
Gandolo IV was a barren, rocky moon in the Gandolo system of the Lahara sector, in the Outer Rim Territories. Shortly before 1 BBY, a group of several dozen fugitive Wookiee slaves, including the famous Chewbacca, attempted to establish a safe colony on the moon but was discovered by the Trandoshan bounty hunter Bossk. Paid in advance by the Imperial sector governor, Bossk and a team of hunters landed on Gandolo IV to capture the renegade Wookiees. The hunt proved particularly opportunistic for Bossk, who finally got a chance to capture Chewbacca after the Wookiee had continuously eluded him for some time. Before the Trandoshan could secure his quarry, however, Chewbacca's smuggling partner, Han Solo, returned to Gandolo IV from business elsewhere to find the Wookiees detained. Careful not to harm Chewbacca and the other Wookiees, Solo strafed the camp in the Millennium Falcon and proceeded to land his ship directly on top of Bossk's own ship, crushing it. The Wookiees overpowered Bossk's group in the mayhem.
Although the Wookiees were forced to abandon their colonization effort, Solo and Chewbacca promised to help them set up a new colony elsewhere. The incident turned into an utter humiliation for Bossk, whom Solo and Chewbacca had left trapped in his ruined ship, rather than killing him. Bossk, determined to avenge himself for the embarrassment, would be painfully reminded of the Gandolo IV fiasco on occasion for the next twenty-five years.
Gandolo IV was a barren, rocky moon located in the distant Lahara sector's Gandolo system, within the north-eastern quadrant of the Outer Rim Territories. Its surface pockmarked with large craters, Gandolo IV appeared gray and lifeless from space.
The Wookiee colony
- "Bossk…had a personal grudge against Chewbacca…to capture the mighty Wookiee would greatly add to Bossk's already formidable reputation…The bounty hunter got his chance during a visit to Gandolo IV."
- ―Rebel Alliance historian Voren Na'al
Sometime shortly prior to 1 BBY, a group of several dozen renegade Wookiee colonists led by Chewbacca set up a safe retreat on the remote, barren moon Gandolo IV. When news of the Wookiee colony's establishment reached Bossk, a successful Trandoshan bounty hunter, he jumped at the opportunity to hunt down the refugees. Bossk harbored a vile hatred of Wookiees, with whom his species shared the Kashyyyk system, as well a blood feud after the Galactic Empire declared Wookiees to be slaves at the behest of a Trandoshan dignitary during the early Imperial Period. Bossk was among the Trandoshans vowing to help bring all fugitive Wookiee slaves to Imperial justice. Despite his successes at hunting Wookiees, he most desired to capture the elusive Chewbacca, who, along with his Human smuggling partner, Han Solo, had earned quite a reputation among the criminal underworld.
Chewbacca refused to present himself to his Trandoshan pursuer, but Bossk's opportunity came at Gandolo IV. After the bounty hunter first visited the Lahara sector's Imperial governor in order to be paid in advance for the bounty on the Wookiee colonists, Bossk and a handful of fellow hirelings armed themselves for the trip to Gandolo IV, where they found their quarry. A group of poorly armed Wookiees was setting up a small outpost on the barren moon with the assistance of Chewbacca himself.
Bossk's group, greatly outnumbering their prey, easily surrounded and captured the camp, catching the Wookiees almost completely by surprise. With their captives in binders, the hunters were on the verge of skinning the Wookiees when Han Solo arrived on the scene. Solo had previously dropped Chewbacca off on Gandolo IV before proceeding to a nearby star system to visit an old girlfriend. The Corellian, piloting the Millennium Falcon, returned only to detect the bounty hunters' ship from low orbit, and he knew something was wrong.
Solo dropped in on the camp unannounced, strafing low over the confused bounty hunters with a hail of laser fire from the Millennium Falcon. Knowing he couldn't directly attack the hunters for risk of hitting the bound Wookiees, Solo was careful to shoot only the ground, which sent Bossk and his crew scattering for their own ship. Although the Trandoshan's craft was larger and better armed than his own, Solo had already outwitted them. As soon as Bossk had raised his boarding ramp, Solo lowered his landing gear and brought the Millennium Falcon directly down upon the bounty hunter's ship. The additional weight of Solo's freighter buckled the landing struts of Bossk's ship in a collapsed heap of explosions and a cloud of shot hydraulic fluids. When Solo lifted the Millennium Falcon off the ruined ship, it rolled over onto its side, a wrecked heap.
Bossk and his team tried desperately to open the emergency hatches of the ship, to no avail. In the confusion, Chewbacca and the Wookiees escaped their captors. They broke free of their binders, dispatched the two bounty hunters guarding them, and proceeded to neutralize the rest of the group before disabling the drive and weapons systems of Bossk's ship. Solo and Chewbacca left Gandolo IV behind, promising to help the rest of the Wookiees find a new place to establish a safe colony. They refused to kill Bossk, however, leaving him and the bounty hunters trapped in their damaged ship.
Only Bossk's natural regenerative ability to regrow lost limbs saved him from Solo's ambush. It took he and his companions several days to finally work their way out of their crushed ship with a few blasters and hand torches. A week later, they were rescued from Gandolo IV's barren surface by a small out-world hauler transporting nerf manure. The Gandolo IV incident proved a bitter humiliation for Bossk, and a rare setback. He had lost his ship, his Imperial bounty on the fugitive Wookiee slaves, but more importantly, he had lost his chance at capturing Chewbacca. The embarrassment that Solo had caused him also inspired in the Trandoshan a strong desire to one day seek vengeance on the Corellian smuggler.
Bossk's continued humiliation
Bossk's humiliation at Gandolo IV would stay with him for years, and he yearned for retribution. When Darth Vader summoned an elite group of bounty hunters, including Bossk, to his Super Star Destroyer, the Executor, in the wake of the Battle of Hoth in 3 ABY to capture Han Solo and his Rebel companions, the Trandoshan formed an unorthodox partnership with fellow bounty hunters Tinian I'att and the Wookiee Chenlambec. The trio agreed on an uneasy alliance to capture Solo and Chewbacca—in reality a ruse by I'att and Chenlambec to capture Bossk—by tracking them to the planet Lomabu III. During their negotiations, I'att surreptitiously mocked Bossk by casually mentioning to him that she and Chenlambec and heard something about the Gandolo IV incident, which irked the Trandoshan. In fact, Chenlambec's own brother had been among Gandolo IV's Wookiee colonists, standing next to Chewbacca as they watched their situation turn from disaster to success, and then utter hilarity at the expense of Bossk's group.
I'att's and Chenlambec's cover story involved telling Bossk of a safe colony a group of Wookiees was attempting to set up on Lomabu III, not unlike that of Gandolo IV. However, the situation on Lomabu III was quite the opposite. The planet was actually the site of an Imperial prison camp containing several hundred Wookiees, which would correspond closely to the former layout of Gandolo IV's outpost, as Chenlambec related to I'att. Although Bossk hoped to manipulate the situation by tricking Chenlambec into wiping out his own kin in the purported Wookiee colony, thus avenging himself for Gandolo IV, I'att and Chenlambec double-crossed him and rescued the Wookiee prisoners.
Gandolo IV was still a sore subject for Bossk many years later. In 25 ABY, Bossk once more encountered Solo on the Jubilee Wheel, a space station orbiting Ord Mantell. The Trandoshan, joyful at Chewbacca's recent death at Sernpidal, mocked Solo for his loss, citing the anger he still felt for the humiliation he was dealt on Gandolo IV. Solo gloated in return, remembering well how he landed the Millennium Falcon on top of Bossk's ship, crushing it, much to Bossk's mortification.
Shortly before 1 BBY, several dozen fugitive Wookiee slaves attempted to establish a safe colony on Gandolo IV, free from the galaxy's Imperial-motivated persecutions. After Bossk and his bounty hunting entourage discovered and attacked the colony, the Wookiees abandoned their efforts on Gandolo IV with Han Solo's and Chewbacca's promise that they would help the refugees find a new location for safe haven.
Behind the scenes
The moon Gandolo IV was created for the 1989 first edition of the West End Games sourcebook Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back, written by Michael Stern. The moon serves as the locale where the bounty hunter Bossk first encountered the infamous outlaws Han Solo and Chewbacca, providing a backstory for the Trandoshan bounty hunter seen in the employ of Darth Vader in Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back. The incident on Gandolo IV establishes Bossk's motivation for hunting Solo and Chewbacca in the film. The 1995 The Essential Guide to Characters recounted the Gandolo IV tale in Bossk's character entry, expounding on and establishing several new minor additions to the story.
The Gandolo IV incident would be referenced by author Kathy Tyers in the short story The Prize Pelt: The Tale of Bossk, appearing in the 1996 anthology book Tales of the Bounty Hunters. She would use the details of the story from Galaxy Guide 3 to supplement her own, in which her protagonists use Bossk's desire to redeem himself for his failure at Gandolo IV to trick and capture him. The incident was likewise referenced in James Luceno's 2000 novel The New Jedi Order: Agents of Chaos I: Hero's Trial, as part of The New Jedi Order series of stories, in which Solo and Bossk reencounter one another years later, still remembering quite well what had happened.
Gandolo IV also appears as one of 200 playable worlds in the 1998 PC game Star Wars: Rebellion, which provided the planet's only canonical visual depiction to date, an illustration as a rocky moon in accordance with Gandolo IV's original physical description from Galaxy Guide 3 in 1989. The image used for Gandolo IV, however, is replicated in use with sixteen other planets of similar barren composition in the game.
Star Wars: Rebellion and Star Wars: Rebellion: Prima's Official Strategy Guide both place Gandolo IV in the Moddell sector of the Outer Rim, relatively close to the Forest Moon of Endor. This geographical placement has since been overridden by the 2009 release of The Essential Atlas and its related online material on StarWars.com.
Additionally, the Star Wars: Rebellion in-game encyclopedia seemingly refers to the Gandolo IV Wookiee colony as existing concurrently with the chronological start time of the game, which begins in 0 ABY, the day after the Battle of Yavin. This time frame has since been overridden by the 2002 The New Essential Guide to Characters, which places the Gandolo IV incident prior to the events taking place in the comic Underworld: The Yavin Vassilika, prior to the Battle of Yavin.
The 2008 The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia explains in the "Gandolo IV" entry that Han Solo lands the Millennium Falcon on top of an Imperial troopship during the incident with Bossk, killing all aboard. This is a significant contradiction from all previous sources describing the incident, in which Bossk and his crew are aboard his own ship, rather than an Imperial troopship, as it is crushed, only to dig themselves out later, still alive.
- Star Wars: Rebellion (First appearance)
- The Prize Pelt: The Tale of Bossk (Mentioned only)
- The New Jedi Order: Agents of Chaos I: Hero's Trial (Mentioned only)
- Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back (First mentioned)
- The Movie Trilogy Sourcebook
- The Essential Guide to Characters
- The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels
- Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back, Second Edition
- Star Wars: Rebellion: Prima's Official Strategy Guide
- Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Aurra Sing: Dawn of the Bounty Hunters
- The New Essential Guide to Characters
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- "Blood Feud!"—Star Wars Insider 124