The Gondola Speeder, also known simply as a water speeder, was a handcrafted transport speeder used as a lake barge on the planet Naboo. Piloted by Paddy Accu, the speeder was utilized by Senator Padmé Amidala to reach her family lake retreat, Varykino.
The Gondola Speeder was one of the elegant vessels used in the Lake Country, and exemplified the balance between aesthetic and environment the Naboo sought in the exploitation of their planet's natural resources. While other lakeside communities and traders used slow-moving, paddle-wheel barges or airspeeders, the craftsmen working near Varykino hand-crafted the Gondola Speeder as a variant of the larger lake barges. This was a smaller, uncomplicated vessel that afforded its passengers a relaxed journey.
An environmentally friendly craft, the homegrown Gondola Speeder was slim, practical, and compact. The single front seat accommodated the vessel's pilot, who steered via a navigation wheel, and three seats allowed for three adult passengers behind, although this space was usually reserved for luggage. With only a pilot aboard, the Gondola Speeder could achieve a maximum flight ceiling of two meters, allowing its use in all but the stormiest of weather. Although it typically hovered above the water, the speeder also functioned as a watercraft. In this mode, its top speed of a little over one hundred kilometers per hour was curtailed. The vessel kept engine baffling components to a minimum, resulting in a craft that was not altogether quiet, but was not too noisy to prevent conversation among its passengers.
The vessel's sleek hull was not armored, although if holed the pilot could raise it out of the water to prevent sinking. Floats could be deployed in an emergency, and the pilot had access to a communicator on the control panel, collapsible paddles, and emergency flares under the rear passenger seat. The craft's engine was located fore of the pilot, while the downthrusters protruded from the vessel's curved stern.
Paddy Accu, the caretaker of Varykino, piloted boats and speeders for the Naberrie family, and on numerous occasions transported the young Padmé Naberrie to the lake retreat aboard his Gondola Speeder. Ten years later, Padmé returned, in the company of Anakin Skywalker, and again experienced a ride aboard Accu's watercraft. The mischevious caretaker initially worried the pair by dropping the speeder into the water before kicking in the accelerator, letting the vessel bounce across the waves. The expert driver kept the vessel from tipping as he crested the waves, and ultimately delivered the pair to the island dock where Accu tied up the speeder.
In 19 BBY, Ferus Olin and Solace reached Varykino aboard a gondola speeder, finding Ryoo Thule murdered by Imperial Inquisitor Malorum. Their foe fled in his gondola, but was pursued by Olin, who used the Force to leap onto the speeder. The pair fought, while Olin's allies approached in other gondolas, though Malorum used a rocket launcher to destroy the pursuing vessels. An IPV-1 System Patrol Craft arrived to attack the remaining gondolas, and spirited Malorum away from the skirmish.
Behind the scenes
The Gondola Speeder was created for Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones, although the vessel appears in only one shot of the finished film.
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones novelization (First appearance) (First identified as water speeder)
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones unabridged audiobook (First identified as water speeder)
- Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones
- The Last of the Jedi: Death on Naboo
- Star Wars Chronicles: The Prequels
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 87 (NAB7-8, Naboo Gondola Speeder) (First identified as Naboo Gondola Speeder)