Master Qui-Gon, more to say, have you?

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Z-95 Headhunter

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"Grysks are a species living somewhere in the Unknown Regions. Creatures half of myth, whom few have ever seen. It is said that they are nomads, with no fixed home, traveling in spacecraft so numerous they blot out the stars. They are said to be terrifying warriors, overwhelming their opponents by sheer numbers and ferocity."
―Thrawn, to Darth Vader[1]

The Grysks were a warlike sentient species that hailed from a planet in the Unknown Regions. Known to be half of myth, the Grysks were a nomadic warrior society that ruled an empire known as the Grysk Hegemony. They used a common script and a rare language.

According to Chiss Grand Admiral Thrawn, they should not be underestimated and, if they fled, it would be because they chose to leave the battle. Thrawn believed that the Grysks were such a danger that they posed a threat to both the Chiss Ascendancy and the Galactic Empire.

Biology and appearance[]

«You said when the Chiss have been forced into combat, the Ascendancy would fall. Would not the correct term be if?"
"Do you question my words and my skill, Kilji? […] Or do you mock me? Because you should think long and deep before you step onto that path. You have no concept of the true power of the Grysks. We can crush the Illumine like boulders that can be turned to fine sand, or we can twist your culture, your lives, and your very souls to do our bidding. Do not force me to choose which of those fates would be the more satisfying.»
―Nakirre and Jixtus — (audio) Listen (file info)[2]

The Grysks were a species with deep-set eyes, angled brow ridges, wide shoulders, a tapered skull, no teeth,[1] and fingers. They also had a neck,[2] gray skin, and ridges lining their jaw to the back of their head.[3]

Society and culture[]


"We can't tell right now which signal originated from which group of prisoners. Also, without knowing the encryption method they were using—or even their language, for that matter—it's impossible to know how much they could have said."
Karyn Faro, to Thrawn on the language used by the Grysk[1]
Grysk ships-ThrawnAlliances-3

Grysk starships were said to be numerous enough to block stars

The Grysks were a species that were known to be half of myth who few had actually seen. They used a common script and a rare language. Stories about the Grysks were that they were nomads that travelled in starships numerous enough to block stars, and that the Grysks were terrifying warriors, using their numbers and ferocity to overwhelm their opponents.[1]

The Chiss Grand Admiral Thrawn of the Galactic Empire believed, when compensating for the bias of artists on their art about the Grysks, that the stories of vast hordes of the Grysks were not accurate. Rather, he believed it was more likely that the Grysks used unfamiliar tactics and weapons to defeat their opponents. Thrawn also did not believe the myth that the Grysks were nomadic, as most species that begin on planetary worlds do not easily surrender them and because their starships, as depicted in art pieces, strongly demonstrated a preference for sun, sky, and soil, rather than the vast darkness of space.[1]


"I've touched the mind of Un'hee. I've seen what the Grysks did to her, how they probed deeply into her mind and soul, how they found her deepest desires and fears, her most comforting memories and her most cherished hopes. How they twisted and tarnished and bent all of them to their will. How they broke her soul. They are a terrible enemy, Eli. Your Empire—your former Empire—forces its will on its slaves through soldiers and weapons and warships. But the Grysks…three can command a nation. A hundred can rule an entire world. Billions of beings, their hearts and souls broken, ready to fight and die at the order of a handful of aliens. No resistance, no revolt, no dissent, no hope."
Navigator Vah'nya, to Lieutenant Commander Eli Vanto on the ability of the Grysks[4]

They controlled an empire known as the Grysk Hegemony. The Grysks employed "client species," which were beings they had co-opted and coerced to serve them.[4]

With the help of the telepathic Agbui, a client species employed by the Hegemony,[5] the Grysks would probe deeply into a potential client's mind and soul, finding the individual's deepest fears and desires, as well as their most treasured hopes and comforting memories. The Grysks would twist all of these to their will, eventually enslaving the individual. These new "clients" were then willing to fight and die for their new masters.[4] Additionally, the Grysks would isolate what mattered to a species, threatening it to help bring them under their will.[1] Sometimes, instead of using their preferred method of subverting entire populations, in cultures that blindly followed their leaders the Grysks would simply bend the foreign government to their will and purpose. Because of this, the Chiss ozyly-esehembo named Vah'nya believed it only took three Grysks to rule a nation and only one hundred to rule a world.[4]

War capabilities and mentality[]

"The Grysks are out there somewhere, Admiral, and they're an enemy like none we've ever faced before. Warships and weapons we can deal with, but alien races who can subtly strike at the Ascendancy's very heart and turn us against one another are something new. We've turned back this assault, but we know there will be more to follow."
―Thrawn, sharing his deductions of the Grysk to Ar'alani[2]

Thrawn also deduced that the Grysks should not be underestimated; if they fled, it was because they decided to do so. The Grysks, being a warlike species, had several types of starships at their disposal, including elliptical ships resembling Corona-class armed frigates, a type of long-range heavy freighter, a type of small transport, a type of spacetug, and a type of warship.[1]

Grysk helmets-ThrawnAlliances-4

The trophy collection of a group of Grysk warriors

Grysk warriors utilized a type of lightning gun, as well as a type of pellet gun. They also made use of armor and helmets, which had curves on the left half and a distorted right half. Grysk weapons and armor were ritualistically disfigured on the right side, with the measure of degradation possibly related to the amount of animosity the Grysks had for the particular species the Grysks fought against, or perhaps, the length and bitterness of the particular conflict. The damages done to the armor and weapons also appeared to be chronological, as the deformities to the leftmost part of the right halves demonstrated more signs of age. Thrawn believed that the trophy collection held by a particular group of Grysk warriors could be a representative of what he considered to be overall the entire military history of the Grysks, and also thought that he could use it to help him uncover the location of their homeworld. Thrawn also noted that there were tales of some of the Grysks' wars.[1]

In what Thrawn believed to be an ingenious tactic, Grysk warriors had their teeth removed and replaced with upper and lower moldings that contained break-apart weapons, communicators, and lock-breakers. As such, they could converse with their coded language using ultrasound signals through the metal bulkheads of a starship, which was done on at least one occasion.[1]

Chimaera Exp Pack box art crop

The Grysk were well aware of Imperial-class Star Destroyers

Because the Grysks had been surveying the Empire, they were aware of Imperial-class Star Destroyers, the capabilities and limits of TIE starfighters, and other Imperial weaponry and technology, and utilized that knowledge in combat against Imperial forces. The Grysks, however, had several cultural blind spots, one of them being that they considered the nearest enemy to be the most dangerous, and would adjust their combat tactics to supplement that bias. Despite the Grysks' knowledge of Imperial weaponry, they had not encountered a TIE/d "Defender" Multi-Role Starfighter before their encounter with the Chimaera, and as such, were unable to effectively combat against it.[1]


Conquest and expansion[]

"The Grysks will be back. But you will not be here to stand against them. I wish you and your allies the pleasure of this final memory as you watch your worlds burn."
―Jixtus to Mitth'raw'nuruodo — (audio) Listen (file info)[2]

Sometime before the Battle of Atollon, the Grysks led conquests in the Unknown Regions of the galaxy, coming into conflict with the Chiss Ascendancy and other factions. Survivors of the conquests created artistic pieces in memorial.[1] The Chiss Ascendancy had records of many battles against the Grysks, some that they participated in and others they simply observed, while the Grysks degraded the right side of their helmets and armor on the previous wars they fought against various other species and groups.[1]

Despite effectively conquering many worlds, the Grysks saw the Chiss Ascendancy as a dangerous threat requiring greater planning. Placed in charge of this campaign was Jixtus, who believed the best way to defeat the Chiss would be to use their own socio-political hierarchy and strict non-interference laws against them.[2]

In an attempt to use the latter against the Chiss, Jixtus employed the Nikardun Destiny, led by General Yiv the Benevolent to conquer the surrounding worlds of the Chiss Ascendancy in order to box them in to an unwinnable battle. However, Yiv was thwarted by Senior Captain Mitth'raw'nuruodo who didn't follow as closely to the non-interference laws as the Ascendancy wanted him to and as a result discovered Yiv's campaign while investigating some of the attacks.[2]

Despite Yiv's failure, Jixtus still believed he had the advantage over the Chiss and began to manipulate the Chiss hierarchy by using the Agbui to create a rumor that a planet rich with valuable nyix alloy, a metal alloy used in the creation of Chiss warships, was free for the taking. He intended to create a civil war among the Chiss, whose system of socio-political "families" was constantly under pressure with rivalries and alliances commonplace among the families and, as a result, within the government itself. His plan almost worked, with warships from three different families approaching the planet, Hoxim, simultaneously in order to claim it for themselves: the Xodlak, Pommrio and Erighal. With tensions high, the situation would have resulted in a battle between the families had Thrawn not again discovered the plot and showed up at Hoxim to prevent the imminent fighting.[5]

Tensions were still present among the Chiss families, and despite his minor failure with Hoxim, Jixtus was confident that the Chiss were fractured beyond any ability to effectively defend themselves, and after further spreading rumors and false information to high ranking Chiss military leaders he began a formal military campaign, recruiting the Kilji Illumine to further strengthen his own fleet. However, Thrawn was able to ultimately defeat him through superior military tactics and alliances with former victim species of Yiv's campaign, the Paccosh, the Garwians and the Vaks. Knowing he had been thwarted, Jixtus detonated his own ship to prevent information about the Grysks leaking to the Chiss, killing himself in the process, but not before declaring to Thrawn that the Grysks would return. Despite exposing Jixtus' plot and saving the Chiss from destruction, Thrawn was exiled by the Ascendancy Defense Hierarchy Council for breaking Chiss laws of non-interference repeatedly, leading to him joining the Empire. However, this was orchestrated by Thrawn, General Ba'kif and Admiral Ar'alani in order to investigate the Empire as a possible ally against future invasion plans of the Grysk.[2]

Monitoring galactic affairs[]

"I propose two questions. First: How did the Grysks know that cortosis would be an effective defense against blasters and lightsabers?"
"You suggest they were studying us as far back as the Clone Wars?"
"I do, my lord. After all, the Chiss were watching you. Why not the Grysks? My second question: Once the Grysks knew the value of cortosis against blasters and lightsabers, how did the Separatists gain that knowledge?"
―Thrawn, explaining to Darth Vader Grysk activities during the Clone Wars[1]

During the Clone Wars between the Galactic Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems, the Grysks maintained surveillance on both governments. They would later supply Count Dooku, Head of State of the Confederacy, with information on cortosis, which was resistant against lightsabers. Dooku dispatched Duke Solha to Mokivj to mine the cortosis and manufacture it into B2-series super battle droids. To the surprise of the Grysks, however, the Mokivj droid factory began producing clone trooper armor as well. Unknown to the Grysks, Dooku was Sith apprentice to Darth Sidious, publicly Supreme Chancellor of the Republic Sheev Palpatine, who sought to add cortosis to clone armor in order for the clone troopers to be better protected when they eventually betrayed their Jedi Generals as part of Order 66. Ultimately, the mine was destroyed.[1]

Inbound invasion[]

"The invasion is coming, Lord Vader. But I have now bought the Empire time to prepare."
―Thrawn, to Darth Vader[1]

Shortly after the Battle of Atollon, which was part of an uprising rebellion against the Galactic Empire, the Imperial capital ship, Chimaera, traveled to Batuu in order to uncover the cause and meaning of a disturbance in the Force sensed by Emperor Palpatine. As the Chimaera was above Batuu, Sensor officer Commander Hammerly detected four small transports above the planet in loose formation, and together with the six starships already on Batuu's surface, made for ten. Commodore Karyn Faro spoke with Hammerly as the crew of the Chimaera attempted to gather as much information as they could on the vessels, deducing that they could be either small freighters or small warships. As the information gathering continued, two more ships exited hyperspace straight ahead from the Chimaera at a distance of 400,000 kilometers, which Hammerly deduced were a type of long-range heavy freighter at the least.[1]

Vader kills Grysks-ThrawnAlliances-4

Darth Vader was warned by Thrawn of the future Grysk invasion and even came face to face with the species.

The ships were bearing straight for Batuu. Faro believed that all of the unidentified vessels were headed for Black Spire Outpost, where Grand Admiral Thrawn and Darth Vader were investigating. Hammerly discovered that the two new starships had arrived from over the Chimaera's shoulder on the same hyperlane that the Chimaera had arrived from. Shortly prior to a skirmish on Batuu between Thrawn and Vader against a group of Darshi, one of the heavy freighters was heading towards Thrawn and Vader's position while the remaining vessels maintained orbit above Batuu. Vader ordered Commander Kimmund and his unit to intercept, examine, and engage the other heavy freighter.[1]

Shortly after the skirmish, Kimmund and his stormtroopers approached the heavy freighter in the Darkhawk, although the Grysk vessel was able to detect the Darkhawk and broke orbit. Defender Squadron One arrived and was able to prevent its escape by disabling the starship, and later chased away the other smaller transports.[1]

After the expedition of the Chimaera, Grand Admiral Thrawn believed an invasion of the galaxy would be imminent, and had tricked the Grysks into possibly attacking the Chiss Ascendancy before the Empire, as Thrawn believed that the Grysks would continue with their bias of attacking the nearest enemy first.[1] By 1 BBY, the Grysks had begun to make advances into Imperial territory, committing multiple criminal acts against it as noted by the Chiss Admiral Ar'alani.[4]

Behind the scenes[]

"I'm hoping to develop more about the conflicts and threats of the Grysks with the Chiss and the Imperials in future material."
―Timothy Zahn[6]
Grysk Hologram-ThrawnAlliances-3

The Grysks as they appear in the Thrawn: Alliances comic miniseries.

The Grysks first appeared in Timothy Zahn's 2018 canon novel Thrawn: Alliances.[1] They resemble alien warlord Nuso Esva's followers, the Chosen, who could also easily subjugate peoples and make them fight for them with a stubbornness equal to their own,[7] like the Grysks.[1] Their leader, Nuso Esva, also concealed their identity,[8] like Jixtus,[2] and was defeated by the Quesoth, an insectoid species who turned on Esva after the warlord killed their leader, the Queen of the Red,[7] similar to how the Kilji dealt significant damage to Jixtus after the Grysk killed the Kilji ruler, Generalirius Nakirre.[2]

The Grysks were first pictured in the third issue of the comic miniseries Star Wars: Thrawn: Alliances,[3] an adaptation of the novel Thrawn: Alliances that was illustrated by Andrea Di Vito and Pat Olliffe.[9]

Outbound Flight[]

"There's an invasion coming. A massive assault force of dark ships, shadowy figures, and weapons of great power, based on organic technology of a sort we've never seen before. We believe these Far Outsiders, as we call them, already have a foothold at the far edge of the galaxy, and even now have scouting parties seeking information on worlds and peoples to conquer."
"Stories of mysterious invaders are both convenient and difficult to disprove."
―Kinman Doriana and Force Commander Mitth'raw'nuruodo[10]

In an interview with the French YouTube channel La Tribune de Coruscant on May 5, 2023, Timothy Zahn said that in his mind, the Grysks were the Far Outsiders mentioned in the 2006 novel Outbound Flight since the description of the threat was vague.[11] In fact, this is not the case, as Outbound Flight mentions the biotechnology used by the Yuuzhan Vong that the Grysks do not possess. At first Mitth'raw'nuruodo seems dismissive of Kinman Doriana's description, even asking for proof of this threat from Darth Sidious. He later asks if Darth Sidious and Doriana have actually seen the invaders, to which they reply that they haven't. Thrawn in turn confirms that the Chiss have already fought a battle with the Yuuzhan Vong.[10]


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