- "There isn't enough life on this ice cube to fill a space cruiser!"
- ―Han Solo
Hoth was the sixth planet of the remote Hoth system. A desolate world covered with ice and snow, located in the Anoat sector, a rarely-traveled portion of the Outer Rim Territories, it became famous as the one-time location of the Alliance to Restore the Republic's Echo Base during the Galactic Civil War. The base was discovered by the Empire in 3 ABY, precipitating the Battle of Hoth, a major engagement during which the Rebels suffered heavy casualties and lost Echo Base.
Located on the fringe of the Ivax Nebula in the Anoat sector of the Greater Javin along the Ison Corridor, Hoth orbited the blue-white star Hoth on a wide elliptical orbit.[source?] Beyond Hoth was voluminous band of planetesimals, known as the Hoth asteroid field, from which small asteroids regularly broke off, crashing onto Hoth's surface as meteorites. The planet was the sixth in the Hoth system.
The planet consisted of a molten metallic core with dichotomous crust.[source?] Its surface was entirely covered by a frozen ocean, except where volcanic fissures opened up steam vents, depositing rock and minerals in darker patches on the glacier plains. A few mountain ranges pierced the permanent ice shelves, some being geologically active. The tidal pull of Hoth's three nameless moons caused fissures in the ice-layers, sending jets of ocean water into the freezing Hoth air. The intense cold froze these jets into spires of ice, suspending primitive ocean algae within these tall columns and glaciers. Massive oceanic currents beneath the southern hemisphere caused regular seismic activity, resulting in a constantly shifting landscape of caves and tunnels. Buried deep in Hoth's equatorial region was a fissure, reaching hundreds of meters towards the core of the planet. In this area never exposed to Hoth's blue-white sun was a cache of lumni-spice, a rare fungal growth.
Its orbit and axial tilt resulted in consistently icy weather patterns. Daytime temperatures reached levels unbearable to most species and rarely rose above freezing, even in the planet's relatively mild equatorial regions. The gale force winds and intense snowstorms that regularly wracked the windswept surface magnified the extreme cold of Hoth.
The frigid biosphere included a minimal food chain: the predatory wampas, the omnivorous tauntauns, the herbivorous Hoth hogs, a few rodent species, including snowmice and ice scrabblers, and iceworms, lichens, and Dragon slugs.
The average planetary temperature was around -61ºC; however, at Echo Base, located near the planet's equator in the northern hemisphere, daytime temperatures could reach -32ºC; however, night-time temperatures got as low as -60ºC.
Hoth appears to have been part of the Infinite Empire in a long forgotten past as evidenced by the existence of Rakatan steles on the ice planet. Indeed during the Cold War, a Jedi Consular looking for the prison of the Esh-kha, discovered in a cave an holographic artifact designed by Rakatas who provided the coordinates of the planet Belsavis.
Hoth's existence was known throughout the galaxy as early as 4000 BBY. Indeed the Republic suffered a major defeat at the hands of the reconstituted Sith Empire during the Great Galactic War. The two fleets included some of the most advanced warships available, and the Republic lost several valuable prototype vessels in the engagement. The battle showered the planet's surface with hundreds of shipwrecks, but neither side possessed the resources to recover them. By the time of the Cold War, pirates began efforts to salvage the wreckage, but their efforts were contested with the onset of competing efforts by the Republic and Empire. Also, around the Great Galactic War, a group of Ortolans tried to colonize the planet, building thermal power stations in order to better survive the harsh environmental conditions of the icy world.
Galactic Civil War
- "But a settler would have to be crazy to stake his claims on Hoth. This planet doesn't have a thing to offer anyone—except us."
- ―Luke Skywalker
The planet was not entirely unknown to the galaxy at large. The trans-system data storage library on the planet Halowan contained a substantial amount of information concerning the Hoth system and the planet's geography. While still relatively unknown, the planet was a destination for ice-boarding and hover-skiing enthusiasts, who could visit Hoth traveling with Star Tours. Hoth was occasionally visited by pirates and smugglers who took advantage of its remote location, using the ice planet as a base. Even prior to his inclusion with the Rebellion, Han Solo was already familiar with Hoth from his days as a smuggler. The Mon Calamari smuggler Salmakk and his crew used one of Hoth's ice caverns as a base for several years prior to the Alliance's presence there. He and his group were chased away from Hoth by Solo after failing to capture him, hoping to collect the bounty placed on his head by Jabba the Hutt. The smuggler Raskar, leader of the Pirates of Iridium, attempted to seize a valuable cache of lumni-spice before the Alliance settled on Hoth, but was chased off by a dragon slug. A group of failed stormtroopers attempted to start a hunting business there, but were all supposedly killed by a group of wampas.
Around the time of the Battle of Tatooine and the destruction of the Anchorhead Base, a small team of Rebels established Gamma Base on Hoth, joined by Rookie One. However, the location was discovered by Imperial Intelligence employing Viper probe droids. This resulted in a battle involving AT-AT walkers and T-47 airspeeders in a remarkable foreshadowing of events to come at the Battle of Hoth three years later. The Rebels fought valiantly but eventually had to evacuate the base and the planet. Joining up with Ru Murleen's group, Rookie One fought waves of TIE fighters until they safely jumped out of the system for Yavin Prime.
After a mission on Aridus during the Blockade of Yavin, Lieutenant Commander Luke Skywalker with C-3PO made a daring escape through the Imperial blockade of Yavin 4, plunging his ship into the vapor-trail of a transdimensional cometary body. His starship was caught in the hyperstream of the comet, and was dragged to the Hoth system. Skywalker was saved from certain death after being trapped in a Hoth blizzard by a young woman named Frija Torlock. Skywalker was given sanctuary by the woman's father, Lexhannen Torlock, an Imperial governor. However, he soon learned that the two were in actuality human replica droids of the real Torlocks, hiding from the Empire on Hoth. Fearful of organic beings, the elder Torlock intended to kill Skywalker. However, in the attempt, he accidentally shot and destroyed his daughter. He was then cut down by the young Jedi's lightsaber. Skywalker and C-3PO managed to escape the planet after sending a transmission, answered by Han Solo aboard the Millennium Falcon. He later recommended Hoth to Alliance High Command as a possible relocation site. The Habassa also hinted to the Rebellion the Hoth system as a possible candidate for relocation.
The Rebellion's first official involvement on Hoth came in 1 ABY when Alliance High Command agreed to use the planet as their headquarters. The Alliance Corps of Engineers, under the command of Major Kem Monnon and supervised by Major Bren Derlin, descended on the ice planet to begin construction of High Command's new base of operations. Monnon's engineers took over the remains of the caverns once used by Salmakk for his smuggling operation, expanding the facilities considerably. The base was built in the northern hemisphere on the only livable temperate band near the equator. Construction on the new Echo Base was completed in 2 ABY. Aside from its remote location and near unbearable temperatures making it an unlikely candidate for Imperial probing, Hoth was an ideal location because of the asteroid belt that surrounded the system, providing a difficult barrier for approaching ships. Additionally, the ever shifting caverns meant that it would be easy to move the base within the planet.[source?]
The Rebellion operated out of Echo Base for about one year before it was discovered by the Empire in 3 ABY. An Arakyd Viper probe droid, launched to Hoth from the Imperial II-class Star Destroyer Stalker, attached to Darth Vader's Death Squadron, reported the location of the base to the Imperial Navy. Vader and his fleet of Star Destroyers soon arrived in Hoth's orbit, deploying a large invasion force to the planet's surface. The Battle of Hoth ensued between the two forces, resulting in a crushing Rebel defeat. Those Rebels lucky enough to survive the battle evacuated the planet. The debris of the battlefield attracted the scavenger Arns Grimraker.
During the battle, a group of eighteen Rebels deemed most valuable to the Alliance's cause jettisoned from the disabled GR-75 medium transport Bright Hope back to Hoth's surface aboard an escape pod. They were forced to survive on Hoth for more than a month before a rescue party led by Commander Toryn Farr was dispatched to recover them.
After the ground battle in 3 ABY, Hoth returned to a world of obscurity, visited mostly by poachers, smugglers, xenobiologists, and the occasional tourist.[source?] The Empire captured numerous wampas and from their base stock bioengineered the cliff wampas which the Imperials used to guard their facilities on Gall. An Imperial Correctional Center was established on the planet, which became known for its harsh conditions; it was said no inmate survived more than three years there before freezing to death. In 5 ABY, the imposter of Kadann sentenced Grand Moff Dunhausen to four years imprisonment at the Center. By 4.3 ABY, the interstellar travel agency Star Tours had planned for a family getaway vacation deal to Hoth.
In 12 ABY Luke Skywalker and Callista Ming visited the planet to attempt to regain Callista's Force powers. They encountered a group of smugglers who were hunting wampas for their valuable pelts. Luke happened to come across One-Arm, the wampa that captured him prior to the Battle of Hoth. The two Jedi barely escaped from the savage wampas.
Due to overhunting, both the tauntaun and the wampa became endangered. Under the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances, the Senate passed legislation protecting the wampa. Similar legislation was proposed for the tauntauns.
Behind the scenes
There is some controversy on how the Rebels discovered Hoth. The first explanation was in the newspaper strip Iceworld, which says that Luke found it by chance while escaping an Imperial pursuit. The second came in the comic issue Star Wars 3-D 2 claims that Han knew the planet's location and suggested it to the Alliance. A third came in the PC game Star Wars: X-Wing, which says that the Habassa aliens proposed its location to the Rebellion after they allied and the Rebels protected them against Imperial attacks. It is supposed that the Habassa only proposed the system as a candidate location, and the planet itself was discovered by Luke, after the system was already known. The Star Wars 3-D version is not compatible with any of the others.
The real-world locations for Hoth are in Finse, Norway.
Several sources mention tundras on Hoth. However, one has never been depicted. Most depictions are of icy plains with no vegetation whatsoever. Tundras have many varieties of low vegetation such as grasses.
Star Wars: Behind the Magic mistakenly claims that the Rebels believed no other species existed on Hoth besides the wampas and tauntauns.
Hoth's Holonet entry on the Star Wars: The Old Republic website has five hidden Aurebesh phrases: "Icy Graveyard;" "Watch out for wampas;" "Umbra Encrypter;" "Chiss secret base;" and "Captain Valon."
Hoth also appeared in the Japanese Star Wars 1987 video game, although there was some debate as to whether the planet was intended to be Hoth. In addition, some unofficial translations to the game, as well as the Katakana for the planet, referred to the planet as "Tina." In an email, Jason Fry stated that they generally treat the planet as if it were Hoth.
The location around and above Echo Base serves as a location for multiple Versus Mode matches in Star Wars: Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike.
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