- "Manaan's an unusual place. Not for its water, mind you… it's the kolto. Healing juice. Only place where it occurs in the galaxy."
- ―Jolee Bindo
Kolto was a liquid known for its healing abilities. It was found in the water of the oceanic planet Manaan, with a significant concentration near the Hrakert Rift along with other underwater chasms. It was considered a valuable commodity during the Jedi Civil War, but its significance was lost over time, being replaced in favor of bacta. During the Galactic Civil War, kolto was considered to be less effective than bacta.
Kolto was a liquid that could only be found naturally on depths of the oceanic planet Manaan, and it was known for its healing capabilities. Both the Sith and the Jedi had an equally limited supply of kolto during the Jedi Civil War, and so they sought a way to get more of it to gain an advantage, but all attempts to synthesize kolto failed. In turn, it became a vital export for the economy of Manaan and for the Selkath species that controlled the planet.
The Hrakert Rift was considered a prime location for kolto harvesting during the Jedi Civil War, being home to a giant firaxan shark known as the Progenitor, which may have been guarding the kolto. According to Selkath legend, kolto was also produced by the Progenitor. However, the scientists Kono Nolan and Sami believed that the shark had reached its large size and thus old age because it was feeding on the kolto.
During the Jedi Civil War, the Selkath remained neutral; neither favoring the Jedi and the Galactic Republic nor the Sith Empire. As a result, both governments set up "equal" operations on Manaan. In desperation for the healing power of kolto and to get an advantage over the Sith, Republic emissaries crafted a deal with several key members of the Selkath government. Fearing that the Sith would destroy the Selkath society, these leaders allowed the Republic to construct a secret underwater facility in the Rift to harvest kolto.
During the time between the Jedi Civil War and the Galactic Civil War, the production of kolto suffered substantially and the value escalated. With the cost of kolto so high, the market for it collapsed in favor of a less expensive alternative: bacta. The reason for the sharp decline of kolto production is unknown and was hotly contested in academic circles. Nevertheless, the economy of Manaan collapsed and kolto became almost completely forgotten.
With the onset of the Galactic Civil War, bacta had become the primary healing agent used in medicine. Aware of kolto's presence on Manaan and historical significance, Emperor Palpatine invaded Manaan and enslaved the native Selkath. The Galactic Empire exploited the Selkath and possibly their kolto resources. While kolto was still being used during the Galactic Civil War, it did not possess great value. It appeared to be less effective than bacta, but was used as a cheaper alternative. In their research, however, some historians noted that kolto may have been more effective in the past. By 1 ABY, kolto was in use aboard the Imperial prison barge Purge, where it was administered to some medical patients.
- "Kolto for your cuts."
- ―A military phrase referring to in-field medical care
Kolto was most commonly applied through complete submersion in a kolto tank. Patients would remain inside the tank, completely submerged in a solution of kolto, until their wounds were healed. During its peak, kolto tanks were aboard Republic starships, inside government buildings and in medical facilities. The concentration of kolto could be tailored to the patient, allowing the input of different solutions.
Kolto was also one of the primary components of medpacs during the Jedi Civil War. Medpacs contained small amounts of the liquid for easy carriage and transport. Therefore, the amount of kolto was usually not substantial, so medpacs functioned primarily as first aid supplements.
During the Cold War, both the frequency of kolto usage and the diversity of delivery methods expanded, particularly among the elite ranks of the Republic and Sith Empire. While regular troops and civilians on both sides relied regularly on standard kolto tanks and medpacs, Imperial Agent Operatives delivered kolto injections via wrist-mounted dart launchers or hovering medical probes in support of their comrades. Even the likes of Bounty hunters modified their missiles to saturate small areas with revitalizing kolto mist.
Both factions also explored alternatives and supplements to kolto, including using narcotics such as Spice in place of painkillers.
Behind the scenes
Kolto first appeared in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, a video game released by BioWare during the summer of 2003. In the game, the player is given a choice of two possible outcomes: player can pressurize the fuel tanks to four million sangens, resulting in detonation of the fuel supply, which destroys the internal mechanisms and appeases the Progenitor; kolto production would then resume. As a non-canon option, player can kill the Progenitor, which results in the cessation of kolto production (the poison that kills the Progenitor also corrupts the kolto, turning it black), spikes in kolto prices, and the banning of Revan permanently from Manaan.
Both kolto and Manaan itself also appear in Star Wars: Empire at War, where infantry units can get a healing bonus due to the presence of kolto. Kolto, however, is not mentioned anywhere else after the Old Republic era, not having been conceived before Knights of the Old Republic.
Comments from Darth Bane: Path of Destruction support the theory that kolto was an inferior healing agent to bacta. It mentions that miners who couldn't afford bacta used kolto as a cheaper alternative. This could be circumstantial, however, as kolto may have already lost its economic significance in the Galactic economy.
Kolto is used frequently in Star Wars: The Old Republic, the MMORPG released by BioWare in December of 2011. It is utilized by all of the non-Force-using player character classes that have access to healing-type abilities.
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (First appearance)
- The Old Republic: Revan (Mentioned only)
- The Old Republic: Revan audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
- The Old Republic: Deceived (Mentioned only)
- The Old Republic: Deceived audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic
- "The Last Battle of Colonel Jace Malcom"—Star Wars Insider 137
- The Old Republic: Annihilation
- The Old Republic: Annihilation audiobook
- Star Wars: The Old Republic Cartel Market
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Rise of the Hutt Cartel
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Galactic Strongholds
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Shadow of Revan
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Knights of the Fallen Empire
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Legacy of the Sith
- Darth Bane: Path of Destruction
- Darth Bane: Path of Destruction audiobook
- Death Troopers
- Death Troopers audiobook
- Star Wars: Empire at War (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Tiny Death Star (Non-canonical appearance)
- Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption Expansion: Prima Official Game Guide
- Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide
- (Mentioned only)
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Essential Atlas
- Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook
- Star Wars: Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook
- Strongholds of Resistance