- "The great army of Gardulla is on the way!"
- ―A Rodian aide
Gardulla Besadii the Elder, better known as Gardulla the Hutt, was a feminine-natured Hutt crime lord who vied for control of Tatooine in the last centuries of the Galactic Republic. The mother of Gardulla Besadii the Younger and Decca Besadii Diori, Gardulla was the one-time owner of Anakin and Shmi Skywalker until she lost them to the Toydarian junk dealer Watto in a podracing bet. This weakness for excessive gambling continually marred her long life with failure and defeat, and led to her downfall in a pronounced rivalry with Jabba Desilijic Tiure, who usurped control of Tatooine and attempted to have her assassinated. Gardulla survived, but by the time of the Clone Wars, was reduced to serving as Jabba's representative on Nal Hutta.
Consequences of gambling and crime
Born in 700 BBY on Nal Hutta, Gardulla's criminal activities flourished during the golden age of her rule, in which her use of slavery would seem to have granted her great fortune, although it caused numerous conflicts between her and the more powerful Jabba Desilijic Tiure. At one point, she resorted to a limited partnership with Jabba, who would become her greatest rival, after she lost her entire fortune on gambling. Gardulla still maintained power over her slave trade franchise.
The Republic soon outlawed slavery in the Outer Rim Territories, as soon as the two Hutts' agreement was reached; Gardulla was to be sentenced to life in prison. Eventually, though, she escaped and returned to Tatooine, where she would control her failing criminal empire.
- "Fortunately, longevity comes naturally to my species... But I don't want for enemies of a different sort, Magister. Enemies who would like nothing more than to see me in an early grave... They are precisely the reason I wish to remove myself from Nal Hutta—and from the likes of Jabba Desilijic Tiure and the rest. With your financial assistance I can accomplish that."
- ―Gardulla petitions Hego Damask for the run of Tatooine
In 67 BBY, fueled by her desire to wrest Tatooine from the clutches of the Desilijic Hutt clan, the Besadii crimelord and notorious gambler traveled (by secret invitation) to the occult Gathering of Sojourn and there petitioned Hego Damask (the Sith Lord Darth Plagueis) to fund her planned takeover of the arid Arkanis sector planet. Gardulla considered Damask's financial power and Muunilinst IBC connections as key to a successful grab for Tatooine, which included plans for the building of a Podrace course that would make those of the rest of the galaxy seem like amateur runs. At the root of her proposal, of course, were unexampled gambling profits to be realized, a worthwhile portion of which she promised to reserve for her 'silent partner'. The powerful Muun agreed to the proposition, along with his own stipulation that Gardulla allow an arrangement-of-favor to be struck on behalf of a crime-boss acquaintance (who was set to soon answer to Black Sun overlord Alexi Garyn, concurrently being groomed for leadership by the crime syndicate). She reluctantly agreed, and Damask sealed the deal by promising to advance her the needed credits for her Podrace enterprise through the Bank of Aargau.
More than thirty standard years later Damask reneged on the agreement, when in 34 BBY, he struck a new deal with Jabba Desilijic Tiure to allow the Hutt the self-proclaimed title of Tatooine 'overseer' by ceasing to fund Gardulla's ventures (Jabba wanted economic siege for his rival, to 'starve her out'). In exchange, Jabba promised to reveal to Damask valuable secret information regarding the Bando Gora, the Force-worshiping cult and criminal terrorist organization assailing Damask's interests in the Outer Rim, truly an agitating thorn in the Sith Lord's side: that its new leader Komari Vosa (former Padawan of Jedi Master Dooku who had fallen to the Dark Side) was in league with Gardulla in a contaminated death-stick operation to supply the Bando Gora with 'brain dead' recruits. In light of this incriminating information against the Besadii Hutt, Damask felt fully justified.
But feeling betrayed herself, Gardulla soon joined forces with Vosa's notorious terrorist group, corrupt King Veruna of Naboo, and the Black Sun crime syndicate to wreak revenge on Damask by targeting with an ill-gotten nuclear warhead his clandestine outpost on the Sojourn-moon. But, courtesy of Jabba's spy network and personal starship interceptor Star Jewel, Damask escaped the bombardment (an attack carried out concurrently with the Republic's Eriadu Summit with the Trade Federation, at which event Damask orchestrated and delivered his own powerful attack). With the aid of Darth Sidious and his Zabrak assassin, the IBC magnate/Sith Lord then took quick revenge upon all parties involved in the plot against his life, with the exception of Gardulla, whom he left to Jabba (and Darth Sidious, whom he didn't suspect, but who in fact was the mastermind of the nuclear attack, having merely used weak-minded individuals to carry out his will, allowing them the belief that they alone were responsible). Palpatine had learned, moments before the Eriadu Trade Summit was to commence, that scandalous King Veruna had quite suddenly abdicated his throne to young Padmé Amidala (upon learning from the exultant Jabba that Damask was still very much alive). Damask decreed, therefore, that he himself would personally attend to the Naboo monarch's dark but deserved fate.
In 32 BBY, less than two weeks before the Boonta Eve Classic, Gardulla—a connoisseur in exotic alien creatures, which she unabashedly housed in her great palace near the Dune Sea on Tatooine—kidnapped, with the purpose to enslave as ornaments in her luxurious if notorious pleasure garden, several Ghostling children. These delicate and beautiful native creatures of the planet Datar were rescued from that heinous fate through the brave exploits of young Anakin Skywalker and his childhood friends, including the boy Kitster Banai, the Bothan Dorn, and the young Twi'lek Pala Kwi'teksa. Anakin, Kitster, and Pala, had all been enslaved to Gardulla within the walls of her fortress as very young children, before Anakin and Pala were acquired by new masters; hence, they knew one another intimately and had been the best of friends for as long as they could remember. As soon as one of the children responsible for the theft of the Ghostlings had been identified by using a DNA scanner on a small piece of skin found at the scene of the crime, Gardulla sought revenge against the children by attempting to activate Pala's implanted slave tracking chip, which would have exploded and killed her had it not been for the signal scrambler device that Anakin had constructed and gifted to his friend to protect her.
The Boonta Eve Classic
Gardulla, whose grand plans for a peerless Podrace course were eclipsed over the years by Jabba's own, had been a longtime supporter of the Dug podracer, Sebulba. Before the spectacular Boonta Eve Classic of 32 BBY in which Sebulba was to participate, Gardulla tried to trick Jabba into thinking a less likely racer, the Xexto Gasgano, would win. She predictably failed in her cunning and felt she was tricked herself, in that Jabba's astromech droid had determined Anakin Skywalker might succeed. She had wagered that he'd lose, and to be sure, Gardulla employed the use of her majordomo, Diva Funquita, to find someone in Mos Espa to sabotage the boy's podracer.
Funquita hired the Nuknog racer, Ark "Bumpy" Roose, to carry out the job. But Roose erroneously sabotaged the podracer of Ben Quadinaros. The effect of this was apparent when the race began and Skywalker busted through to a top place after a slow start while Quadrinaros' racer awaited its eventual explosive doom (when the racers came around for the second lap) at the starting point, having barely moved past the first-lap start line. Gardulla, the plot's originator, surely had to have been humbled as well as infuriated.
After the race, Gardulla tried to persuade Watto to sell Anakin back to her. Unfortunately, Watto was never able to retrieve the boy from Qui-Gon Jinn, who took him away to Coruscant to become a Jedi.
Battle in the Jundland Wastes
The attack on the Tusken Raiders of Tatooine's Jundland Wastes would end up being the ultimate triumph and failure of Gardulla the Hutt. It traced its origins years back to when the Hutts were stuck with a junk surplus of weapons in the possession of Dreddon the Hutt. Jabba conceived the idea of sending thugs to raid Tusken camps, in turn causing the Sand People to raid nearby settlements, which gave the civilians a need for weaponry. Jabba then continually sold portions of Dreddon's surplus at inflated prices, increasing the profit of the Hutts. He remained the hero.
Gardulla decided to assemble all her criminal forces to launch an assault on the Tusken Raiders, dispatching the bounty hunter Aurra Sing to personally assassinate the unknown Jedi leader, Sharad Hett. Her plan was to puncture the Tusken Raider defenses and slay all in the army's path, thus ending the "Tusken threat" and stopping Jabba's weapon franchise. She hoped that Nal Hutta would then see to it, at last, that she managed Tatooine.
Gardulla's plot for wresting Tatooine power from the Desilijic Hutt clan failed, and the crimelord was forced to retreat to her palace in Mos Espa—but not without the mortifying and degrading assistance of her arch-rival, Jabba, who was tipped off by Sing (revealing the bounty hunter to be a double agent).
- "There's one more thing, Gardulla: Jabba sends his regards."
- ―Jango Fett
Possibly a year or more before 34 BBY, Gardulla became associated with Komari Vosa, leader of the deadly Bando Gora terrorist cult. Gardulla used her resources to transport for the Bando Gora special mind-altering substances to the Malastare Dug crime lord and drug producer Sebolto to create tainted "death sticks" for trafficking; these death sticks would turn already 'brain-dead' addicts into mindless, brainwashed slaves, whom Gardulla would then dispatch to Vosa as new cult 'recruits'. Separatist leader Darth Tyranus, on Darth Sidious' order, dispatched bounty hunters Jango Fett and Montross to track down and destroy the cult; Fett and his partner Zam Wesell followed leads across the galaxy that eventually led to Gardulla. While changing into a "disguise", the shapeshifting Clawdite Wesell was captured and imprisoned in Gardulla's dungeons, and there waited to be fed to her pet canyon krayt dragon.
Gardulla did not know that Zam was working with Jango Fett. On a tip from Jabba Desilijic Tiure, Jango infiltrated Gardulla's palace soon afterward. When the bounty hunter refused to release Wesell from her cell so that Gardulla's pet might feast, the Hutt called for her guards, and Jango was captured. Brought before the Hutt crime lord, Jango was to be fed to her krayt dragon instead, and Wesell was to be sold as a slave. Jango managed to escape the jaws of the krayt dragon, and after defeating legions of armed guards, he at last burst into Gardulla's throne room. Jango interrogated the Hutt about Komari Vosa, but she refused to tell him anything, saying the bounty hunter didn't know what he was up against; Gardulla then released her krayt dragon into the throne room to finish Jango off. To prove her wrong and fulfill his mission, Jango then maneuvered behind Gardulla and pushed her off her throne into the beast arena. She was then promptly devoured by the dragon in a matter of seconds.
Working for Jabba
- "No one can outsmart a Hutt! And no one can digest a Hutt, either!"
- ―Zorba Desilijic Tiure
Gardulla, ostensibly—just as she'd always seemed able to do against any and all attackers—survived; Jango Fett had killed the krayt dragon before it could fully digest her, allowing Gardulla to crawl out of its stomach and exit through its mouth. Despite her survival, Gardulla's lucrative deal with the Bando Gora was destroyed with the death of Vosa herself at Jango's hands soon after. Gardulla's criminal empire was reduced to shambles yet again left Jabba with full control over Tatooine.
During the Clone Wars, circumstances found her working for Jabba, serving as his representative on Nal Hutta. She, along with the other heads of the five Hutt families, listened to Ziro the Hutt's testimony regarding a holo-diary which listed the many heinous crimes of the Hutt Council. When Jedi Masters Obi-Wan Kenobi and Quinlan Vos arrived on Nal Hutta to report that Ziro had escaped with the help of Cad Bane, Gardulla told Kenobi that she and the rest of the council knew of this already. After Vos stated that he thought that the Hutt Council was behind Ziro's escape, Gardulla threatened him, saying that if Vos were alone, he would not be allowed to leave alive. After Ziro escaped, Gardulla and the Council hired Cad Bane to track down both the diary and Ziro, who had just escaped with the help of Sy Snootles. Unknown to Gardulla, Sy was also hired by Jabba to kill Ziro once the diary was in her possession. Sy easily killed Ziro and delivered the diary to Jabba before Bane could arrive.
Behind the scenes
Although Gardulla made an appearance in the 2008 The Clone Wars TV series, In Jedi Quest: The Shadow Trap Gardulla is regarded as being dead and succeeded by her daughter Decca The Hutt. There is no official explanation behind this discrepancy.
- Darth Plagueis
- Darth Plagueis audiobook
- Episode I Adventures 5: The Ghostling Children
- Episode I Adventures 6: The Hunt for Anakin Skywalker
- Episode I Adventures 7: Capture Arawynne
- Episode I Adventures 8: Trouble on Tatooine
- Podracing Tales
- Catch That Pit Droid! (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace novelization (First appearance)
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace unabridged audiobook
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace comic (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace junior novel
- Episode I: Qui-Gon Jinn
- Star Wars (1998) 11
- Star Wars (1998) 12
- Star Wars: Bounty Hunter
- Jedi Quest: The Shadow Trap (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars novel (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Hunt for Ziro"
- Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided (Mentioned only)
- (Mentioned only)
- The Rise and Fall of Darth Vader (In flashback(s))
- Tatooine Ghost (Mentioned only)
- Legacy (2006) 37 (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars Episode I Who's Who: A Pocket Guide to the Characters of The Phantom Menace
- Star Wars: Episode I The Visual Dictionary
- "Around the Galaxy: Dark Horse Unmasks The Phantom Menace" – Star Wars Galaxy Collector 6
- Secrets of Tatooine
- Star Wars: Bounty Hunter: Prima's Official Strategy Guide
- Galactic Phrase Book & Travel Guide
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 7 (WAT2, Watto)
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 8 (TAT7–8, Mos Espa)
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 12 (ANA1, Anakin Skywalker)
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 127 (HUT5-8, Gardulla the Hutt)
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 136 (HUT9-10, Gardulla the Hutt)
- Star Wars Customizable Card Game – Coruscant Limited (Card: Gardulla the Hutt) (backup link)
- The University of Sanbra Guide to Intelligent Life: The Nikto"—Star Wars Gamer 6 (Mentioned only) "
- "Star Wars Q&A" – Star Wars Insider 64
- "The Ultimate Return of the Jedi Insider's Guide" – Star Wars Insider 67
- The New Essential Chronology
- The New Essential Guide to Droids
- Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars Fandex Deluxe Edition
- Scum and Villainy
- "Toy Wars" – Star Wars Insider 107
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars The Complete Season Three
- Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side
- Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide: Updated and Expanded
- Lords of Nal Hutta
Notes and references
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 127 (HUT5, Gardulla the Hutt)
- Star Wars: Bounty Hunter
- Star Wars: Republic: Outlander
- Darth Plagueis
- Cloak of Deception
- Episode I Adventures 5: The Ghostling Children; Episode I Adventures 6: The Hunt for Anakin Skywalker; Episode I Adventures 7: Capture Arawynne; Episode I Adventures 8: Trouble on Tatooine
- Podracing Tales
- Star Wars: Episode I Adventures (TPB): Episode I: Qui-Gon Jinn
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
- Galactic Phrase Book & Travel Guide
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Hunt for Ziro"