L8-L9 was a prototype battle droid built by TaggeCo during the Clone Wars. The droid was created in the utmost secrecy, and was part of a ploy by Baron Orman Tagge to gain favor in the sight of Palpatine.
To test the L8-L9, Orman Tagge arranged the droid to fight in the Rattatak arenas to show off its abilities. Unfortunately for L8-L9 and Tagge, Dark Jedi Asajj Ventress bested the robot, therefore shutting down any further production of the combat droid L8-L9 was based on.
The droid was equipped with advanced servomotors and equilibrium centers. These additions helped to give the droid increased agility and maneuverability when compared to most battle droids in use during the Clone Wars. Mounted inside the droid's arms were built-in plasma cannons and flamethrowers, which proved effective against most combatants.
The helmet of the combat droid was purposfully modeled after that of a clone trooper. TaggeCo felt that this "nod" to the prospective buyers would help persuade the Republic to throw their support to the project. An enhanced sensor globe sat in the upermost portion of the helmet. The "fingers" located at the tips of the blast nozzles were of little use in manipulating objects, but, when spinning rapidly as they had been designed to do, could cut through solid durasteel.
Orman Tagge began sketching out plans for L8-L9 almost immediately after the blockade and invasion of Naboo, as an army for the Republic to use against the droid forces of the Trade Federation. When the Clone Wars broke out in 22 BBY, TaggeCo frantically moved the units from design to production, through a secret division.
Tagge intended to replace infantry units in environments that were deemed unsafe, even for the Republic's expendable clone troopers. Eventually, he hoped that the droid units would phase out the need for the troopers.
The product was considered to be top secret for several reasons, most notably the restrictions placed on battle droid development following the invasion of Naboo. TaggeCo also wanted to protect the design from competing companies.
Testing the new droid
Before making the creation of the L8-L9 public, Tagge wanted to test it under the most extreme conditions available. Scouts from the House of Tagge reported that the back-water planet of Rattatak and its barbaric arena death matches would be excellent training grounds. Tagge ordered that L8-L9 was to be tested there and entered into one of the arena battles. The young man was so confident in the combat droid's abilities that he bet 100,000 credits on his victory.
Unfortunately for Tagge, the prototype L8-L9 was doomed due to the Dark Jedi Asajj Ventress. During the battle between the gladiators, L8-L9 identified Asajj as the greatest threat, and attacked her. The resulting spread of fire and plasma took out many other contenders, but was unable to defeat Ventress, who held L8-L9 in a Force grip and destroyed him by smashing him against the ceiling.
Legacy of L8-L9
The aftermath of the battle caused TaggeCo to halt production of any further combat droids based on L8-L9. However, Tagge continued to work on his idea of an automated trooper, and with the rise of the Galactic Empire and help from General Rom Mohc, TaggeCo began work on a new droid trooper project. This new unit would supplement stormtroopers in later battles. Eventually, both of these projects would be considered and improved on in the later dark trooper projects.
Behind the scenes
- Star Wars: Clone Wars – "Chapter 6" (First appearance)
- Star Wars: Clone Wars PhotoComic
- Republic HoloNet News Core Edition 15:2:22 (Picture only)
- The New Essential Guide to Droids
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 32
- The Essential Guide to Warfare