- "The terrorists have won, Admiral Orlan. The inhibitors are down. The animals are… Escaping the zoo. Bomb it all. Burn it to a cinder. Uploading authorizuh [sic]… authorization code now. Begin orbital campaign."
- ―Grand Moff Lozen Tolruck responding to the Wookiee uprising
The liberation of Kashyyyk was a battle of the Galactic Civil War between the Imperial territory G5-623, a breakaway faction of the Galactic Empire and the forces of the New Republic. The battle resulted in the liberation of the Wookiees and their homeworld of Kashyyyk.
- "C'mon, Chewie. Set new coordinates. It's time to get you home."
- ―Han Solo to Chewbacca, on the way to liberate Kashyyyk
Following the end of the Clone Wars, the new Galactic Empire annexed the planet Kashyyyk and enslaved the Wookiee species. The Empire regarded the Wookiees as beasts and reclassified them as non-sentient. The xenophobic Empire enslaved the Wookiees not because they posed a meaningful threat to the Empire but because their massive, robust physiology allowed them to work long and hard in extreme conditions.The Imperials also renamed the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk "Imperial territory G5-623."
During the Age of the Empire, the Wookiees were used to cut down Kashyyyk's wroshyr trees for lumber and to produce crops to supply the Imperial Military. Besides felling wroshyr trees, Wookiee laborers were also used to harvest the mineral deposits that clung to the fungal nodes on wroshyr trees. These fungal nodes contained wroshite, a hard flinty crystal that was used in the manufacture of Imperial beam weapons. Large numbers of Wookiees were also shipped across the galaxy to work as slave laborers in mines and to build structures such as the Death Stars. In addition, the Empire used Wookiees as experimental subjects to test medicines and weapons.
Wookiees were also forced to breed by their Imperial captors in order to produce a large labor force. To ensure compliance, all Wookiees on Kashyyyk had inhibitor chips bolted to the back of their skulls that would cause excruciating pain or death if they defied their Imperial masters. Some Imperials like Grand Moff Lozen Tolruck also hunted Wookiees for entertainment. Knowing the deep importance that Wookiees attached to their families, Tolruck and his subordinate Commandant Theodane Sardo enforced compliance by threatening to harm their pack members. Many Wookiees were forced to live and work in Imperial work settlements including Camp Sardo.
While most Wookiees were enslaved, there were several free Wookiees living offworld including the rebel co-pilot Chewbacca, the freighter captain Lohgarra, and the bounty hunter Black Krrsantan. Following the Battle of Endor, the Empire was forced to redeploy Imperial forces based on Kashyyyk due to the threat posed by the New Republic, the government created by the Rebel Alliance. Imperial territory G5-623 became an isolated but self-sufficient Imperial remnant under Grand Moff Tolruck which propagated the belief that Emperor Palpatine had not perished aboard the second Death Star.
While the New Republic was too preoccupied to send substantial forces to Kashyyyk, the rebel smuggler Han Solo and Chewbacca decided to embark on a half-baked mission to liberate the planet after receiving information from his smuggling contact Imra. In response, Han and Chewbacca rallied a force of smugglers and Wookiees at Warrin Station. However, this information turned out to be a ploy by the Empire to trap Han and Chewbacca, who were two prominent members of the Rebellion. Han managed to escape but Chewie was captured. Two months after embarking on campaign to liberate Kashyyyk, Han Solo tried searching the Outer Rim for his companion. While corresponding with his wife Leia Organa via hologram, Han came under attack. Worried about her husband's safety, Leia solicited the help of the New Republic starfighter pilot Lieutenant Norra Wexley in rescuing Han.
For this mission, Norra and her Captain Wedge Antilles traveled to the edge of Wild Space in the MK-4 freighter Moth. Tracing the coordinates of the Millennium Falcon, the two pilots found a lot of debris within the vicinity. However, Wedge believed that the Falcon had survived destruction due to the ship's reputation for reliability. Before they could proceed with their mission, Norra and Wedge's ship encountered Commander Valent's Imperial Star Destroyer Scythe. They managed to evade the ship using an Eimalgan Turn but were pursued by TIE fighters. While their hyperdrive was hit, the rebels were rescued by two New Republic warships commanded by Commodore Kyrsta Agate.
Commandant Agate's Alderaanian escort frigate Sunspire and Starhawk-class battleship Concord decimated the Imperial forces and rescued Norra and Wedge. Back on Chandrila, Norra decided to resign her commission as a New Republic military officer after Fleet Admiral Ackbar ordered her to cease her mission to find Han. Norra regarded Han and Leia as heroes of the Rebellion who had played an important role in the Battle of Endor and refused to turn her back on Han. Free of her military obligations and duties, Norra assembled a team consisting of her son Temmin Wexley, his B1-series battle droid Mister Bones, the former Imperial loyalty officer Sinjir Rath Velus, the Zabrak bounty hunter Jas Emari, and the New Republic soldier Jom Barell to rescue Han and Chewbacca.
After Han Solo discovered that Chewbacca was being held in an automated prison on Kashyyyk called Ashmead's Lock, he traveled to the planet Irudiru; which was home to the Imperial Siniteen architect Golas Aram. Norra and her team also traveled to Irudiru after Sinjir received a tip from the imprisoned Imperial Adviser Yupe Tashu. Joining forces, the rebels managed to break into Aram's well-defended house and forced the Siniteen to share everything he knew about the jail.
Raid on Ashmead's Lock
Putting their plan into action, Han and Norra's rebel band traveled on the Millennium Falcon and Jas Emari's SS-54 assault ship Halo to Kashyyyk. They found the planet blockaded by a pair of Star Destroyers, several battleships, shuttles, and TIE fighters. When the crew were contacted by the Imperial Star Destroyer Dominion, Norra and Sinjir managed to transmit a special Imperial work code claiming that they had been sent to repair the facilities at Ashmead's Lock.
Using the coordinates that Aram had supplied them with, the rebels forced their way into the automated prison. They quickly encountered the prison's automated computer system SOL-GDA, which demanded the security passcode. Unable to supply the password, the rebels were attacked by several security droids. Following a struggle, Jas and Han, at Temmin's urging, managed to disable SOL-GDA by disabling the cable linking the computer to its power source: the prisoners, who were being kept in stasis and used as organic generators.
Norra and her rebel companions then proceeded to free the prisoners which included her husband and Temmin's father Brentin Lore Wexley and the Wookiee Chewbacca. Unknown to the rebels, Fleet Admiral Gallius Rax was monitoring signals from Ashmead's Lock. Anticipating that the New Republic would eventually find the prison, Rax had earlier arranged for the Ashmead's Lock prisoners to be fitted with bio-chips. He intended for the liberated prisoners to assassinate the New Republic's leadership during the upcoming Imperial-Republic peace talks being held on Chandrila.
Unaware of Rax's plans, the Galactic Senate on Chandrila accepted Sloane's offer for peace talks. To avoid provoking the Empire, Chancellor Mothma ordered that New Republic forces not make any official incursions into Kashyyyk. As a sop to Princess Leia, Mothma agreed to raise the matter of Kashyyyk's liberation with Sloane. While Leia regarded the freedom of the Wookiees as non-negotiable, she reluctantly agreed while still waiting for her husband Han and Chewie to return home.
Hour of the Wookiees
While Norra, Temmin, and Bones returned to Chandrila with the newly liberated prisoners, Han, Chewie, Sinjir, Jas, and Jom stayed behind to continue on their mission to liberate Kashyyyk. After capturing an Imperial command station on the far side of Kashyyyk, Jom and his Wookiee ground team tried to capture an Imperial shuttle platform that would allow them to travel to Grand Moff Lozen Tolruck's island fortress. Jom's Wookiee companions managed to flee but he was captured by the Imperials. In an attempt to procure information from him, the Imperials gouged out one of his eyes.
Sinjir attempted to free Jom by infiltrating Grand Moff Tolruck's palace disguised as the Imperial Navy Lieutenant Jorrin Turnbull, who had purportedly come on behalf of Grand Admiral Rae Sloane. However, Tolruck quickly realized that Jom was an intruder and incapacitated him by plunging a Kishakk blade into the back of his calf. While Sinjir distracted Tolruck, Han Solo, Jas Emari, Chewie, and their Wookiee team blew up the Imperial deflector shield generator at Camp Sardo, which was near the Wookiee city of Awrathakka. Unaware of the rebel presence, Grand Moff Tolruck visited Jom and Sinjir in his fortress. There, Sinjir was forced to fight the Imperial aide Odair Bel-Opis for the amusement of the Grand Moff and his men.
After Odair had bested Sinjir, Tolruck demanded to know why the former Imperial had come to his "lair". Sinjir responded that he had come for his control module, which controlled the chips in each of the Wookiees on Kashyyyk. Tolruck kept the control module on his person but Sinjir revealed that he had smuggled a hyperwave transceiver spike inside the heel of his boot. This hacked into the control module and disabled the inhibitor chips on the enslaved Wookiees throughout Kashyyyk.
Having been abused, murdered, beaten and enslaved by the Empire for decades, the Wookiees immediately revolted en-mass upon realizing the inhibitor chips were offline and attacked Imperial personnel all over Kashyyyk. Wookiees of all ages and sizes seized weapons, fought against Imperial personnel and either commandeered gun turrets or even tore them clear of their moorings.
Back at Camp Sardo, Han and Chewie's team were attacked by a Low-altitude Imperial transport, which killed the Wookiee fighter Harrgun. However, Chewbacca managed to shoot one of the forest troopers aboard with his bowcaster. Jas then shot down the LAIT gunship with her slugthrower. Han's team were also joined by the former Wookie slave Greybok, his Weequay companion Hatchet and the Quarren Palabar, who had escaped from an Imperial slave mine on Sevarcos. Before Sinjir and Jom could be killed, the Wookiee slaves present attacked the Imperials and the two freed themselves while a Wookiee ripped Odair apart.
Within minutes, the Wookiees had secured Camp Sardo and toppled the AT-ST walkers. Jas piloted her gunship Halo over the battle and strafed the Imperial AT-AT walkers and LAIT gunships. Despite the revolt in Camp Sardo, many of the settlements were still contained by suppression fields. However, the newly freed Wookiees were able to take over their prisons. Back at Sardo's island frotress, Sinjir and Jom confronted Grand Moff Tolruck in his throne room. However, Tolruck responded that he had ordered the orbiting Imperial fleet to bombard Kashyyyk. Tolruck was subsequently killed by his Wookiee servant Cracktooth as revenge for her maltreatment.
Unknown to the Imperials and Han's team, the freelance New Republic slicer Conder Kyl had a probe droid monitoring Imperial fleet movements and traffic in the Kashyyyk system. This probe droid transmitted footage of three Imperial Star Destroyers moving into position to bombard Kashyyyk from space. The probe droid also intercepted comm traffic of Grand Moff Tolruck ordering Rear Admiral Urian Orlan to bombard the planet in response to the Wookiee slave revolt. The Star Destroyers started to both fire on settlements with their turbolasers and drop "propulsion bombs" from their massive bays. Conder informed Leia and Chancellor Mon Mothma, who dispatched a fleet to Kashyyyk.
The Imperial orbital bombardment caused damage to Kashyyyk's surface. After evacuating the liberated Wookiees into the excavated root systems of the wroyshyr tree above Camp Sardo, Han and his team undertook a mission to infiltrate the Imperial Star Destroyer Dominion in order to stop the bombardment. The rebels smuggled large webweaver spiders aboard their transport and these were unleashed when the unsuspecting Imperials boarded the transport. The spiders then proceeded to massacre the personnel in the Dominion's hangar, including Admiral Orlan. Jas then landed her ship Halo inside the Star Destroyer and joined the attack. The rebels managed to fight their way through the Star Destroyer but were captured by stormtroopers.
Han and his team were brought before Vice Admiral Domm Korgale, who intended to use his prisoners as a bargaining chip to get a seat on Gallius Rax's Shadow Council. Before Korgale could proceed with his plans, Leia arrived on the Millennium Falcon with Wedge's Phantom Squadron following in suit. Korgale ordered the Dominion and her sister Star Destroyers Vitiator and Neutralizer to destroy the "paltry" New Republic attackers. However, Fleet Admiral Ackbar arrived on the MC80A Home One Type Heavy Star Cruiser Home One and ordered their surrender.
Chewbacca and his rebel comrades broke free and attacked Korgale and his men. After Korgale fled, Han and his team took control of the Dominion's bridge and used the Star Destroyer to destroy the Vitiator, splitting the ship in half. As a result, the Neutralizer's crew surrendered to the New Republic. With the Imperial fleet defeated, Han and his wife Leia reunited in the Dominion's hangar bay.
Following the New Republic's liberation of Kashyyyk, Chewbacca led teams of Wookiees to survey the damage caused by the Imperial orbital bombardment and to deal with Imperial holdouts on the planet. The battle's outcome also rendered moot Chancellor Mothma's suggestion that the New Republic negotiate with Grand Admiral Sloane on the matter of Kashyyyk's liberation. Due to their shared experiences, Han Solo and Chewbacca renewed their friendship. Having served his life debt to Han, Chewie stayed behind on Kashyyyk with his family.
Despite the surrender of Tolruck's ships, Wookiee and New Republic forces conducted mopping up operations against Imperial holdouts on Kashyyyk. One holdout was a child labor camp on the slopes of Mount Arayakyak, which lay near a defoliated jungle. While Commandant Dessard and his men managed to reassert their authority over the Wookiee children through shock-lances and blasters, they were demoralized by the disabling of the inhibitor chips. One Wookiee slave named Lumpawaroo attempted an escape but was cornered by Dessard and his men. However, Dessard's forces were wiped out by a joint Wookiee and New Republic soldiers including Chewbacca and Greybok. Waroo experienced an emotional reunion with his father.
Despite the events on Kashyyyk, the New Republic's victory was overshadowed by reports that the Ashmead Lock's prisoners had involuntarily attacked New Republic leaders during the Liberation Day celebrations on Chandrila's Hanna City. This set the stage for the Battle of Jakku, which ended the Galactic Civil War in favor of the New Republic. Despite her role in liberating Kashyyyk, Princess Leia's actions made her unpopular with the Senate for a while.
In addition, disciplinary action was taken against elements of the New Republic military which had participated in Kashyyyk outside of the official chain of command. While Phantom Squadron was publicly praised, the unit was disbanded and many of its pilots were relegated to desk jobs. One Phantom pilot even resigned out of frustration. However, the squadron was re-established just shortly before the Battle of Jakku. Jom Barell was also dismissed from the New Republic Special Forces but managed to rejoin the unit and see action on Jakku.
Behind the scenes
- Star Wars Battlefront II (Mentioned only)
- Aftermath (First mentioned, simultaneous with Aftermath audiobook)
- Aftermath audiobook
- Aftermath: Life Debt (First appearance, simultaneous with Aftermath: Life Debt audiobook) (First identified as liberation of Kashyyyk)
- Aftermath: Life Debt audiobook (First appearance, simultaneous with Aftermath: Life Debt)
- Aftermath: Empire's End (Mentioned only)
- Aftermath: Empire's End audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Last Shot (Mentioned only)
- Last Shot audiobook
- The Force Awakens Adaptation 2 (First pictured) (In flashback(s))
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Expanded Edition (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Expanded Edition audiobook (Indirect mention only)
- Resistance Reborn (Mentioned only)
- Resistance Reborn audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars: Complete Locations
- Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know, Updated and Expanded
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 31 (Databank A-Z: Kaminoans–King Katuunko)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 55 (Databank A-Z: Saesee Tiin–Toydaria)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 71 (Databank A-Z: Zam Wesell–Wexley)
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary
- The Star Wars Book (Indirect mention only)
- "The Battle of Endor and the Fall of the Empire" – Star Wars Encyclopedia
- "Ships of the First Order and the Resistance" – Star Wars Encyclopedia
Notes and references
- Aftermath: Life Debt
- Lost Stars
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates the Battle of Endor to 4 ABY and further dates Shara Bey and Kes Dameron's move to Yavin 4 in 5 ABY. The move is placed six months after the Battle of Endor by Before the Awakening. Since Aftermath: Life Debt is set just after Shadow Fall, which takes place around six months after the battle, the events of Life Debt must also occur in 5 ABY, around six months after the Battle of Endor.
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars Rebels: The Visual Guide
- Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy
- Darth Vader (2015) 1
- Aftermath: Empire's End