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"This is a place for me to establish a new base—no matter how long it takes."
―Naga Sadow[src]

The Massassi Site, also known as the Massassi ruins, was a region of Yavin 4, a jungle moon orbiting the Outer Rim planet Yavin Prime. The site comprised a group of stone temples that were built around 5000 BBY by order of the exiled Sith Lord Naga Sadow, and it was named after the Massassi warriors who once inhabited it and erected its monuments.

Although the Massassi temples were scattered across the surface of the jungle moon, some of the oldest and most importants temples belonged to the Site. Those would be known millennia later as the Great Temple, the Palace of the Woolamander and the Temple of the Blueleaf Cluster. In the wake of a devastating battle between the forces of Exar Kun and the Jedi Order, the ravaged complex was abandoned for several millennia. The Dark Jedi Asajj Ventress and the Padawan Anakin Skywalker were amongst the rare visitors of the Massassi complex, on which they dueled in 22 BBY.

The Massassi Site was reoccupied in the early days of the Galactic Civil War, when the Alliance to Restore the Republic established one of their central bases of operation in the Great Temple. The area was abandoned once again following the Battle of Yavin, but this cluster of ancient ruins housed the Provisional Council of the New Republic around 5 ABY. Six years later, the Jedi Master Luke Skywalker decided to use the Great Temple as the site of his Jedi Praxeum. The Massassi Site remained in use until 26 ABY, with the destruction of Skywalker's academy by the extra-galactic humanoids who called themselves the Yuuzhan Vong.

History[edit | edit source]

A Sith Lord in exile[edit | edit source]

"A secret place… for a new start."
―Naga Sadow on Yavin 4[src]

Location of the Massassi Site

In 5000 BBY, at the end of the devastating conflict known as the Great Hyperspace War, a space battle occurred between the forces of Dark Lord of the Sith Naga Sadow and the fleet of Empress Teta, leader of the Koros system. Sadow's forces, who had just fought and won another battle with his rival Ludo Kressh, were too diminished to sustain the assault. However, the Dark Lord himself managed to fake his death. Aboard his Derriphan-class battleship, the Corsair, Sadow fled to the uncharted regions and limped to the fourth moon of Yavin Prime,[1] located within the Outer Rim Territories.[6] On this hospitable moon, he wished to rebuild the Sith Empire with the help of a few Massassi, the warriors of the Sith species.[1]

Sadow ordered the Massassi to assemble monuments, so his crew burned a piece of forest with their battleship's concussion missiles, and then expanded outward from the burned clearing. An army of Massassi workers used their machetes to cut the lianas interconnected with felling trees, then mowed down the said trees with cables. When the surface of the site had been scoured clear of the jungle vegetation, the Massassi began drawing up the plans of their future temples, and then the construction started.[1] The primary material of their constructions was a sedimentary calcite compound with certain conductive alchemical impurities. Such compounds were similar to those that could be found on Korriban and Ziost, the homeworlds of the Sith species.[7]

The Sith survivors named this newly domesticated region "Massassi Site" after themselves, and they established their stronghold in the Great Temple.[3] While building the temples for their wordly master, the Massassi came to worship the red orb of Yavin Prime as a deity, the god Yavin who filled the skies of the fourth moon. The warriors developed an inferiority complex, and they found a new purpose in the building of temples: reach the sky and achieve godly status themselves.[8] Even after Sadow's death, the mutated descendents of his Massassi continued to inhabit the Site.[9]

Den of Exar Kun[edit | edit source]

Exar Kun had the Massassi expand the Site.

"Welcome to the Yavin moon, Exar Kun. Great power is locked in these temples."
―The spirit of Freedon Nadd[src]

In 3996 BBY, a Human Jedi Knight named Exar Kun was seduced by the dark side of the Force. Kun discovered the spirit of Freedon Nadd, who led him back to Sadow's tomb on Yavin 4. Perfecting his dark powers, Exar Kun appointed himself the new Dark Lord of the Sith. While amassing his own army of Dark Jedi, he subdued the local Massassi, forcing them to build new temples in his honor.[10] Kun also added a roof comb to the Great Temple, which was intended to house arcane rituals.[11] When the alliance of the Jedi and the Republic threatened his newfound glory, Kun used the Massassi's souls to power his own greed, destroying them in the process. At the same moment, the Jedi army orbiting the moon created a devastating wall of light, a powerful salvo of light side energy, which they launched at Yavin 4. This attack set the moon's jungles on fire, burning the rain forest of the Massassi Site to the ground.[10] Much of the buildings that stood on the moon were also destroyed in the process.[12] Since most of the Sith warriors were dead,[10] and others had fled the moon using emergency spacecrafts,[13] the temples of the Massassi Site were abandoned for millennia.[10] The Jedi Order ensured that the ecosystem of Yavin 4 would be restored by constructing a subterreanean terraforming station,[14] which was known as the Lost City of the Jedi after it was abandoned.[15]

Showdown on the Massassi Site[edit | edit source]

"I'm going to make you pay for what you've done."
"Come, Padawan. Your fall will be my ascension to the Sith."
―Anakin Skywalker and Asajj Ventress — (audio) Listen (file info)[src]

In 22 BBY, when a pan-galactic conflict known as the Clone Wars had been raging for four months,[16] the Jedi Anakin Skywalker was led to Yavin 4 in pursuit of a mysterious female Dark Jedi named Asajj Ventress. After engaging combat in the jungle,[17] the two ended up fighting in the Massassi complex. The duel ended on a temple's roof when Skywalker gave up to his rage. He caused the stone Ventress was standing on to crumble, causing her to fall off of the edge of the building. Roaring in rage, the Jedi left her for dead.[18] However, Ventress had in fact survived the fall, and she returned to her allies to keep fighting in the war.[19]

Rebel Alliance's headquarters[edit | edit source]

"You would prefer another target, a military target? Then name the system! I grow tired of asking this so it will be the last time: Where is the rebel base?"
Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin to Princess Leia Organa[src]

The Alliance to Restore the Republic established their headquarters on the Massassi Site.

Thousands of years later, the Alliance to Restore the Republic was founded in reaction to the Galactic Empire, a despotic regime led by Emperor Palpatine[20] In the early days of the resistance, Alliance members scouted Yavin 4 and decided to establish their primary base on the Massassi Site. The Sullustan naturalist Dr'uun Unnh gave their modern names to the temples in the site. These included the Temple of the Blueleaf Cluster, the Palace of the Woolamander, and the Great Temple itself.[21] The Alliance chose to specifically settle in the ruins of the Great Temple, as it was the largest structure in the area.[10] In order to meet their new base's energy needs, the Rebels also built a power-generating station.[3] The Rebels also maintained a few smaller command posts in various ruined structures of the surrounding area.[22]

In 0 BBY,[16] the Alliance launched their desperate assault against the Empire's "Death Star", a moon-sized battlestation that had enough firepower to destroy planets. The resulting combat, which came to be known as the Battle of Yavin, ended with the destruction of the Death Star and a decisive victory for the Alliance.[23] Following that crushing defeat, the Empire launched a series of attacks in retaliation, and the rebels were forced to leave Yavin 4[24] six months after the Death Star's demise.[16]

Restful gardens of the new Jedi[edit | edit source]

"The Massassi are gone, their works crumbling, battered by war, violated by trespassers. But Yavin still rules over their world."
―Luke Skywalker[src]

Jedi apprentices Kyp Durron and Dorsk 82 on the Massassi Site

In 4 ABY, the Galactic Empire was defeated at the Battle of Endor, and the Alliance evolved into the democratic government named the New Republic.[16] One year later, the Republic established the headquarters of the New Republic Provisional Council in the refitted Palace of the Woolamander.[25] However, when the new government recaptured the world of Coruscant, the Senate was relocated on this planet, which had been the galactic seat of power for millennia.[26]

The Massassi Site then remained unoccupied until 11 ABY, when Luke Skywalker decided to establish his Jedi academy on Yavin 4.[16] The new government decided to establish a New Jedi Order to further protect its institutions, and the history-loaded Massassi Site appeared as the ideal location to train fresh Jedi recruits in relative safety and autarcy.[27]

Aside from rearranging the temples, the Jedi also installed their training grounds on the Massassi Site, notably in a set of ruins located to the South of the Great Temple.[28] The old Rebel power generator had been repaired by Skywalker and his droid R2-D2 during their preparation for the Jedi academy. While the Rebel Alliance had been far too busy in its war against the Empire to bother with archaeological inspections,[27] Master Skywalker and his students took the time to survey the Massassi Site in detail, discovering other temples—including the Temple Atun—and retrieving ancient artifacts like the Books of Massassi.[8]

In 25 ABY, a species of extra-galactic aliens known as the Yuuzhan Vong invaded the galaxy, starting one of the most devastating conflicts ever fought in history.[29] Thanks to an illusory projection generated by the Force, the New Jedi Order's were preserved for a time, but the Yuuzhan Vong eventually assaulted Yavin 4 in 26 ABY and drove the Jedi out.[16] Now the invaders had captured the planet, they used damuteks—giant, star-shaped organic buildings—to raze the buildings from the Massassi Site and began terraforming the moon's surface.[2] Four years later, the Yuuzhan Vong were defeated following the Battle of Yuuzhan'tar, but Grand Master Luke Skywalker decided not to rebuild his academy on the Massassi Site, opting to establish a new one on the planet Ossus instead.[30]

Layout[edit | edit source]

"The shuttle flew on easily and just missed clipping some trees as we came down in the clearing on the east side of the Temple. There, at the base, I saw a long, low opening of sufficient height that I could have tucked the shuttle on inside, but a landing zone had been laid out well clear of that area."
Corran Horn, landing on the Massassi Site for the first time[src]

Map of the Massassi Site

A vast area surrounded by forests, the Massassi Site comprised the Great Temple, a fortress of the Massasi people, and two other monuments located to the South-East zone, known to the modern archaeologists as the Temple of the Blueleaf Cluster and the Palace of the Woolamander.[3] In 11 ABY, orbital surveys revealed that more structures still lay buried under the thick vegetation, but the Alliance had been far too wrapped up in its struggle against the Galactic Empire to conduct thorough archaeological expeditions. The Massassi site was crossed by a wide warm river of a sapphire-blue color overlaid with muddy swirls of brown.[31] This river divided the area into three parcels, each with its own temple.[3]

When the Alliance to Restore the Republic took up its quarters on the site, the considerable clearing in front of the Great Temple was turned into a landing pad for incoming starships, and a power generator was built[3] two kilometers away[11] from the west wall of the temple.[3] On the uppermost level of the temple, the Rebels constructed an observation deck that allowed them to see the entire Massassi Site from above the trees.[10] Other notable features of the Massassi Site were a circular water fountain and a viaduct ending in a reflecting pool. By the time of the Galactic Civil War, the pool was completely dry and invaded by vegetation, but the fountain was still functional.[22]

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

The Massassi Site first appeared in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, the first installment of the original trilogy, which was released in 1977.[23] The forests and the temples of the Massassi Site were filmed in the Maya civilization ruins of the Tikal National Park in Guatemala.[10] The same Tikal location was also used in the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special to portray the green canopy of the then unnamed Rwookrrorrocapital city of the Wookiee planet Kashyyyk.[32]

The shot in Star Wars Episode IV where a Rebel sentry oversees the Millennium Falcon landing on the Massassi Site was shot on top of Tikal Temple IV, looking east where the roof combs of Temple I, II and III can be seen.[33] Today, this same shot is often recreated by tourists and photographers who visit the Tikal site.[33][34]

Al Williamson's early vision of the Massassi Site

An early depiction of the Massassi Site was often featured throughout the 1980s series of comics Classic Star Wars, which was written by Archie Goodwin and drawn by Al Williamson.[35] The temples shown in this series were shaped more like the rectangular summit shrines of Tikal temples rather than the whole structures.[36] However, later depictions of the Massassi Site's temples in canon more closely resemble full step pyramids.[3]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Sources[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Tales of the Jedi: The Fall of the Sith Empire 5: End of an Empire
  2. 2.0 2.1 The New Jedi Order: Edge of Victory I: Conquest
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 Galaxy Guide 2: Yavin and Bespin, Second Edition
  4. Star Wars: Battlefront
  5. The New Jedi Order: Dark Tide I: Onslaught
  6. Geonosis and the Outer Rim Worlds
  7. SWInsider.png "Refresher Reading"—Star Wars Insider 92
  8. 8.0 8.1 Before the Storm
  9. Tales of the Jedi: Dark Lords of the Sith 4: Death of a Dark Jedi
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 Star Wars: Behind the Magic
  11. 11.0 11.1 Inside the Worlds of Star Wars Trilogy
  12. The Jedi Academy Sourcebook
  13. The Night Beast
  14. Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide
  15. The Lost City of the Jedi
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 The New Essential Chronology
  17. CloneWarsLogoMini.jpg Star Wars: Clone Wars – "Chapter 18"
  18. CloneWarsLogoMini.jpg Star Wars: Clone Wars – "Chapter 19"
  19. Star Wars: Republic: Dreadnaughts of Rendili
  20. A Guide to the Star Wars Universe, Second Edition, Revised and Expanded
  21. Databank title.png Massassi Temple in the Databank (content now obsolete; backup link)
  22. 22.0 22.1 Star Wars: Battlefront II
  23. 23.0 23.1 Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
  24. Doom Mission
  25. The Glove of Darth Vader
  26. X-Wing: Wedge's Gamble
  27. 27.0 27.1 Jedi Search
  28. Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
  29. The Essential Reader's Companion
  30. The New Jedi Order: The Unifying Force
  31. Dark Apprentice (novel)
  32. The Star Wars Holiday Special
  33. 33.0 33.1 Outerspace travel on Earth: Tikal. Travels of a B.B.A.D Woman. Archived from the original on February 11, 2013. Retrieved on December 28, 2012.
  34. If We Had to Pick a Favorite—Tikal National Park Archaeological Site, Guatemala. Trans-Americas Journey. Archived from the original on March 18, 2016. Retrieved on December 28, 2012.
  35. Classic Star Wars 2
  36. Temples of Tikal. Archived from the original on July 12, 2002. Retrieved on December 28, 2012.
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