- "Gungans no dyin' witout a fight. Wesa warriors."
- ―Jar Jar Binks
The Gungans were a sentient, amphibious humanoid race native to the terrestrial planet known as Naboo. Prior to the Invasion of Naboo, an event that took place in 32 BBY, the Gungans were a largely isolationist society. They were able to combine machinery with biology. They lived in large bubble-like domes under water. Gungans had strong leg muscles for swimming and were aided by their long fin-like ears. Their somewhat lanky arms ended in four-fingered hands, and their feet had three stubby toes each. Females tended to be slightly smaller with sleeker faces. They often tied their long ears back.
The long Gungan face had a tough yet flexible bill for burrowing and rooting out food. They also had long muscular tongues with which they scooped mollusks and lesser amphibians from the Naboo swamps. Their teeth were quite large and very blunt capable of cracking through shellfish. Their large nostrils completely sealed for underwater travel.
While most spacefarers would dismiss Gungans as primitives, they developed an advanced, albeit unique, technology. They grew the basic structures of buildings, vehicles and technology and adorned them with artistic flourishes and organic lines. This gave Gungan technology a very fluid, non-rectilinear look.
The power source for Gungan technology was a mysterious blue-white energy "goo" that was mined in the depths of Naboo's oceans. The viscous plasmic material formed the basis of Gungan weaponry as well.
The Gungans had mastered energy field technology for a number of uses. Their underwater cities employed hydrostatic fields to create large bubbles of atmosphere within which they dwell. Similarly, Gungan ground troops carried portable frames which generate a protective energy field capable of deflecting blaster fire. In large-scale combat, giant Gungan shield generators could create an immense umbrella of protective shield energy that could stop laser bolts and physical objects with great kinetic energy.
Despite mastering this bizarre technology, Gungans still employed beasts of burden for transportation. Their most common mount was the kaadu, a wingless reptavian which Gungans adorned with feathers and rode into combat. Other favored Gungan mounts included the large, stubborn falumpaset. For truly heavy loads, the Gungans domesticated the fambaa, a nine-meter tall, quadrupedal amphibian.
The Gungans maintained a large standing-armed force called the Gungan Grand Army. This huge collection of foot soldiers carried cestas, electropoles, and atlatls capable of hurling plasmic energy spheres (or boomers, as Gungans called them). Gungan catapults hurled even larger boomers over great distances.
The Gungans were ruled by a Boss and his Rep Council from the High Tower Board Room of Otoh Gunga. The Gungans had an uneasy relationship with the Naboo, the human colonists on the planet. Many Naboo looked down upon the Gungans, thinking them as primitive. The Gungans in turn tried to avoid any contact with the surface-dwellers.
Individuals were called a Gung (eg. Militiagung).
Biology and appearance
- "There was also a creature who looked like a cross between many species. He stood upright on two legs like a Human. He had a mouth shaped like a bill, and a frog's big eyes rising out of his head. He was not really that unusual compared to some of the creatures who pass through Mos Espa. But I'd never met anyone like him before."
- ―Anakin Skywalker's description of Jar Jar Binks, the first Gungan he ever saw
The Gungans were separated into two races: the lanky orange, yellow or red-skinned Otolla race, and the heavier green-skinned Ankura race. However, they all exhibited many of the same basic physical traits.
Starting life as tadpoles, Gungans developed into tall beings with extremely flexible cartilaginous skeletons. Strong leg muscles allowed for powerful and quick frog-kick style swimming through water as well as a remarkable jumping ability while on land. Fin-like ears (called haillu) also aided them in swimming, as well as expressing emotions like aggression, friendship, and fear. They had partially retractable eyestalks with nictitating membranes when underwater. They also possessed a unique mucus creating organ that helped when being underwater which they use to stop water from entering their nasal passages and mouth. Green eyes were unusual amongst Gungans.
Expressive faces and long bills with flaring nostrils were signatures of Gungan physiology. Lengthy muscular tongues and large blunt teeth allowed them to eat lesser amphibians, while a layer of tough skin on the head allowed for burrowing. A Gungan's arms ended in four digits, and their feet had three stubby toes, both unlike that of a human. Females were smaller with sleeker faces and tended to tie their ears back. Females Gungans with light-colored ear flaps were considered very attractive by male Gungans, while the ones with dark-colored haillu were thought of as 'boyish'. As male Gungans aged, some, like Roos Tarpals, developed prominent whiskers. Both sexes had a lifespan of roughly 65 galactic standard years.
Gungans had nostrils that sealed when they entered the water. They also boasted very strong compound lungs, allowing them to both hold their breath for extended periods of time, breathe underwater, and withstand the pressure of deep water, along with well-padded kneecaps and powerful calves and legs for increased swimming speed. However, because they were so well-adapted to their watery environment, their skin dried easily in hot and arid climates, which Jar Jar Binks experienced during his visit to Tatooine.
The Gungans appeared to be related to the Glurrgs, whom they used as a worker caste in their society.
Society and culture
- "My warning you, Gungans no liken outsiders, so don't spect a warm welcome."
- ―Jar Jar Binks
Long ago, explorers on Naboo discovered the Gung Slabs, a set of ancient stones engraved with Olys Corellisi on one side and Old Gungan on the reverse. These relics, coupled with the work of philologist Burro Flats of the Baobab Archives, helped the galaxy to better understand the culture and language of the Gungan people.
Gungans spoke a variation of Basic known as Gungan Basic, or "Gunganese," which occasionally incorporated elements of Old Gungan, a language spoken during the time of the Old Republic. In fact, the Gung Slabs, a series of ancient monoliths, were essential for the translation of Old Gungan. The Slabs, coupled with the work of philologist Burro Flats of the Baobab Archives, helped the galaxy to better understand the culture and language of the Gungan people. Few Gungans were able to speak the pure Gungan language.
The later Gungan language was largely a pidgin dialect that most users fluent in Basic could understand. Gunganese, as it was commonly referred to, combined slightly-altered Basic words with the occasional Old Gungan term (i.e. "Seeks doopeewees isa berry good" is translated as "Six landspeeders are very good.")
Utilizing their own unique phraseology, Gungans established a rather successful history of scholarly excellence, albeit unknown to the galaxy at large. Among their achievements include the epic poem Das Depu Epu Sea, or Deep Dark Water. This ode to Da Beauty Al' Round was a source of great pride to these noble beings.
Gungan alpha-males often exhibited a series of oral clicks when aggravated or angered. The Gungan military was made up of mostly male volunteers.
Gungans were generally a generous and peaceful race until the Trade Federation invaded. They truly loved to have visitors and warmly welcomed them; however, they would remain suspicious until the visitors had earned their respect.
Gungans were not tolerant of anyone who threatened their peaceful culture. They had very strict laws, and would go to the extremes to punish anyone who had committed a minor crime. Vandals, for example, could be given a sentence of exile, caning, or even stoning.
If a Gungan was cast out of society, it was very difficult for them to return. If they did manage to return legally, they would often be subjected to heavy discrimination. This could make life very difficult for them and could go on for months or years, until their past offenses disappeared from memory. In addition, returning back to the settlement they were exiled illegally will sometimes result in the death penalty, especially if they brought along outsiders. It usually requires a significant deed to not only have their exile revoked, but also be welcomed back to the fold, such as the time when Jar Jar Binks, due to his actions in uniting the Gungans and Naboo together to fight the Trade Federation, had his exile revoked and promoted to Bombad General by Boss Rugor Nass.
Gungans were also known to produce Force-sensitive children and the Gungans Kin-Ya Dosun and Kosa-Yin Hadu served as members of the Jedi Order, while the Gungan child Roo-Roo Page was considered as a candidate to receive Jedi training. The Gungans relied on the semi-sentient mollusk Kresch for much of their knowledge on matters as varied as Gungan civilization and the fauna of Ohma-D'un. The Kresch was consulted by Gungans as an encyclopedia of sorts.
Gungans also organized yearly the Festival of Warriors, in which Militiagungs gathered to celebrate the Gungan's militaristic culture. An arena was scheduled for construction in Lake Umberbool for the festivity.
- "Your gods demand that his life belongs to me now."
- ―Qui-Gon Jinn
Gungans were known to venerate certain deities exclusive to their culture known as guds, such as Mekamok, Wamka Pol, Balmtop, Dobbis, Kobble, Nododo, Balam, Gobba, and their chief god, Oma-Oma. By 1 ABY, the fundamentalist sect of the Ultragungans was active on Naboo. This cult was responsible for stealing an artifact from Boss Rugor Nass, later retrieved by a spacer hired by the Boss.
Main Article: Gungan Grand Army
The Gungans possessed a large military force, known as the Gungan Grand Army. Most of their transportation were beasts, although there were some biomechanical constructs in one of their heavy weapons. Their vehicles are generally named after native fauna within the Naboo wetlands.
The Gungans were believed to be indigenous to Naboo, but this is uncertain. Biologists believe the Gungans, wherever their original home, evolved originally as land-dwellers.
On Naboo, evidence of Gungan habitation extended for ages, as there are records of battles of survival with the woolly veermoks during an ice age. However, the primary reason they developed warfare technology was the threat of the bursas that often attacked their settlements. The Gungans assembled a "Grand Army" to meet this threat, eventually driving the bursas into extinction. Their technology was peculiar in that everything, from tools to structures is not constructed, but "grown", each device being therefore organically unique.
Ancient starfarers told tales of great Gungan migrations across the plains of Naboo prior to their shift to more aquatic environments. The reason most commonly accepted for their flight to the water revolves around an alien civilization of reptilian humanoids remembered as the "Elders", who colonized Naboo. They engaged in warfare with the Gungans, forcing them to retreat underwater, giving rise to modern Gungan civilization. Undoubtedly, the presence of healthful underwater plants and tasty gumfish did much to solidify their change in lifestyle.
The Ankura and Otolla branches of Gungans united, forming a symbiotic relationship. They dominated Naboo for millennia afterwards, though largely keeping to the swamps and waterways; the mountains and grasslands were considered 'desert-like'.
About 3000 BBY, Gungans were separated in tribes that fought against each other (War of the Gungan tribes), until united under Boss Gallo. Gungans from various cities migrated to a new large city, Otoh Gunga, which was the major and capital city of Naboo (as far as Gungans were concerned).
Around five hundred years before the Battle of Naboo, a number of needy Gungan locals were approached by recruiters sent by Hugo Bartyn. Bartyn wanted amphibian fishermen to settle a new city in Lamaredd and tempted these poverty-stricken individuals with promises of untouched seas in a new frontier. Once they arrived, however, they became slave laborers.
The Gungans and the Human inhabitants of Naboo did not get along, as the Gungans believed the Naboo to be pompous cowards while the Naboo believed the Gungans to be barbarians. This attitude lasted until Queen Amidala united the Gungans and Naboo to fight the Trade Federation in the Battle of Naboo. Gungans, over the millennia of Human presence, have developed their own dialect based on their language, called Gungan Basic.
After the Battle of Naboo, the Gungans attained representation in the Galactic Republic Senate through Representative Jar Jar Binks. The Gungans also colonized the moon of Ohma-D'un, due to overcrowding on Naboo. A number of extremist Gungans colonized Naboo's other moon, Rori, at about the same time. During the Clone Wars in 22 BBY, a CIS biological weapon known as the "Swamp gas" was unleashed on Ohma-D'un and wiped out much of the population. Later, a Jedi task force defeated the CIS forces on the moon during the Battle of Ohma-D'un, thus saving Naboo.
Following the end of the war, the newly formed Galactic Empire established a presence on Naboo. Fearing enslavement, the Gungans went into semi-seclusion. However, Gungan resistance fighters fought a number of clashes with Imperial forces. At least one Gungan worked on the nearby Rori Space Station. After the Empire's defeat at the Battle of Endor in 4 ABY, the Gungans and the Humans of Naboo banded together once more to oust the Imperial presence from their world, reclaiming the world as free for both species. As a result, the species began traveling in much larger numbers, across Naboo and the galaxy.
Gungans in the galaxy
Gungans in Lamaredd achieved certain renown as the co-engineers, along with the Quarren, of the popular gondola skimmersub. Other Gungans that succeeded in that planet were Bamfurd, a tapcafe owner in Bartyn's Landing; Boom Boom, the Security Chief's Second; and The Mighty Musstoro, an Akura wrestler.
Behind the scenes
Gungans were partially modeled after hadrosaurs, duck-billed dinosaurs from the Cretaceous period.
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