- "Make no mistake, the Mon Calamari saved the galaxy."
- ―Mon Mothma
- 1 Biology and appearance
- 2 Society and culture
- 3 History
- 4 Mon Calamari in the galaxy
- 5 Behind the scenes
- 6 Appearances
- 7 Sources
- 8 Notes and references
- 9 External links
Biology and appearance
- "This ship stinks of fish. Or so I would imagine. The Mon Calamari are such a disgusting species."
On average, a member of the species stood between 1.3 to 1.8 meters tall and also smelled of salt and the sea. They were a fish-like amphibious humanoid species with salmon-colored skin, webbed hands, high-domed heads and huge, fish-like eyes. They were equally capable of breathing both on land and in water with them being at home in either environment. Male Mon Calamari had protrusions on their chin called "barbels" which grew more numerous with age. Most Mon Calamari had salmon-colored skin, often mottled with light and dark patterns, though examples of other skin colors were known. The Mon Calamari are able to descend to depths of up to 30 meters below sea level without requiring breathing or pressure apparatus. Though they can breathe water, they find it somewhat uncomfortable, and use organic gills whenever possible. Mon Calamari could stay underwater for an indefinite period of time, although a frightened Mon Calamari, particularly a juvenile, could drown underwater. They also did not need to decompress when resurfacing. They tended to smell of salt and sea giving them a particular identifiable odor.
Their hands, apart from being webbed, also featured five claw-tipped fingers; one opposable thumb with two more shorter claw-like protrusions, two long middle fingers, and two extremely short outer fingers. As an additional feature, Mon Calamari hands also presented three suction-cup like holes on their palms. Mon Calamari could swivel their eyes independently from one another, focusing on two areas at once. Mon Calamari saw in different wavelengths than Humans, making it difficult for one species to view visuals designed for the other and vice versa. Their eyes were often used to express emotion; staring with the left eye was a way of showing surprise, while staring with the right eye was either a challenge to fight or an expression of love, depending on the circumstances.
Due to their fish-like appearance, the Mon Calamari were referred to by the somewhat derogatory Deal-slang expression "Mon Cals in a fishbowl", which referred to the act of making several big and easy deals from naïve or less-than-intelligent clients.
Society and culture
- "I tell you, it was like blasting Mon Cals in a fishbowl."
- ―Deal-slang expression
The Mon Calamari had developed a very advanced and civilized culture. Art, music, literature, and science showed a creativity surpassed by few in the galaxy. An example of the art the Mon Cal used was the Squid Lake Ballet. The Squid Lake, was a performance of Mon Calamari Ballet, played at the Galaxies Opera House on Coruscant during 19 BBY. The show attracted many influential figures such as Supreme Chancellor Palpatine and distinguished Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker. Mon Calamari literature depicted stars as islands in a galactic sea. This showed a passionate longing to explore space and discover other civilizations. In terms of temperament, they were both soft spoken and gentle. They were extremely tempered to the point that they were slow to anger and had the remarkable ability to maintain their concentration without being distracted by emotional responses. Other notable personality traits included being inquisitive and creative as well as being quiet. In addition, they were known for a near-legendary quality of being both determined and dedicated. This meant that once a Mon Calamari decided on a course of action, they were not easily swayed from that decision. As they were idealistic and daring, they often fixated themselves on causes that seemed hopeless or lost from the start. As such, they had a great deal of enthusiasm and spirit which was often masked by their quiet, orderly exterior. Ultimately, a Mon Calamari often attempted to demonstrate that even dreamers and thinkers were capable of daring and bravery when the need arose. This meant that they often thought of the needs of the society and believed in performing the greater good to the point that they placed it above the good of the individual.
They had developed a reputation for being one of the most skilled starship designers in the galaxy. This partly stemmed from the fact that they saw everything as a work of art rather than being a simple tool or weapon. Their technology was notable for being unique, yet comparable to that of the other inhabitants of the galaxy. While their starships were significantly different from those of other races, they were in fact more efficient in design. However, such vessels tended to be extremely difficult to construct. The mathematically-minded Givin could not stand the Mon Calamari spaceships, as they were too organic and not geometric enough.
The Mon Calamari language was shared with the Quarren though many members of the species adopted Basic as their common tongue. In fact, they were able to speak both of these languages with ease though in the case of Basic, their vocal cords often produced a gurgling sound when they spoke in that tongue.
- "A friendly escort, don't forget, if you know what I mean."
Their species had long been recognized for their organizational and analytical skills. It was this trait that made them brilliant strategists and tacticians. In terms of governance, the Mon Calamari made use of a highly efficient representative form of government that was similar to the Senate. They tended to be lawful and an organized people with little tolerance for those that operate outside the status quo. As such, Mon Calamari tended to dislike and mistrust smugglers, with the famous Admiral Gial Ackbar being no exception. The loathing of smugglers and all things smuggling on the part of the Mon Calamari was considered to be the stuff of wardroom legend. This facet of Mon Calamari culture led to some tension in the early days of the New Republic. One of the cultural beliefs of the species was that the truth of a person's character was capable of being expressed through their eyes. Mon Calamari also possessed a keen love of flying through the stars.
While the Mon Calamari cherished peace, they were not above waging war in causes that they believed were just. As such, though noted for being peaceful, they were also known to possess warrior clans within their society with a long tradition of military service within certain families that extended generations. These clans believed that their skills as warriors were second to none and fiercely believed in their superiority on the battlefield. Conflict with the Galactic Empire would forever change Mon Calamari culture. Once seen as one of the most peaceful species in the galaxy, warfare came to define the Mon Calamari people. Once their allegiance to the Rebel Alliance had been solidified, the Mon Calamari began a massive military buildup. The shipyards over their home planet of Dac began converting their ships for war. These ships, once viewed as some of the most beautiful and luxurious passenger liners in the galaxy, quickly became instruments of death and destruction. Though new to warfare, the Mon Calamari quickly adapted and soon found themselves at home with the concept. Nearly overnight, thousands of Mon Calamari began to fill the ranks of the Alliance.
As soldiers, the Mon Calamari were known to fight with a resolve that rivaled the Wookiees. As pilots, the Mon Calamari would control their ships like an artist would control a paintbrush. Their most notable role in the Rebellion were the officer and tactical positions that the Rebels desperately needed to fill. The Mon Calamari were renowned for their leadership and tactical brilliance both in space and ground combat. After the defeat of the Empire and the establishment of the New Republic, the Mon Calamari found themselves unwilling to return to their pre-Imperial pacifism and military disarmament. Instead the Mon Calamari felt the galaxy was yet to be safe and continued to devote ships, personnel, and resources to the Republic. Even 40 years after the Battle of Yavin the Mon Calamari were still noted for their continued military excellence, with many Mon Calamari serving at the highest ranks of the Galactic Alliance military. By the time of the defeat of the Galactic Alliance in 130 ABY and the rise of the Galactic Empire under Sith rule, the shipyards over Mon Calamari consisted of a massive and heavily armed construction station that ringed the entire planet.
- "Mon Calamari are not aggressive. They value life too much -- including their own."
- ―Darth Azard
The Mon Calamari shared their planet with the Quarren, the Whaladons, the Moappa, and the Knowledge Bank. The species claimed that their race came of age in the ancient archipelago Mkbuto Islands which was considered sacred as a result. Their primitive ancestors were shore dwellers though had an affinity for water as well as fed largely on crustaceans, fish and fruit. Over the millennia that followed, they developed a rudimentary form of aquaculture which allowed them to farm fish as well as cultivate kelp. Unlike the other species, their civilization was centered in the shallow parts of the ocean and on Dac's few islands. This gave them a technological head start over the planet's other denizens, especially the Quarren of the ocean depths. Despite this being the case, their technological progress was relatively slower to that of Humans due to the weak metals in their homeworlds crust.
Circa 4500 BBY, the Mon Calamari were attacked by the Quarren leading to the devastating Quarren–Mon Calamari War. The Mon Calamari, though less aggressive by nature, had much better technology, and won the war. In order to prevent future wars, the Mon Calamari took hundreds of young Quarren prisoners, taught them the ways of Mon Calamari civilization, then set them free. After the re-educated Quarrens gained control over Quarren civilization, peace between the two peoples continued for centuries (though it was sometimes a tense relationship). After the initial confusion had passed between the two races, the Mon Calamari formed a symbiotic relationship with the Quarren which resulted in a golden age engulfing their planet. As the Calamari began to advance technologically, they started to construct floating cities which became government, learning and cultural centers.
The Mon Calamari had always been explorers, even from their earliest records, and wanted to explore the stars. As part of their desire to reach the stars, the Mon Calamari along with their Quarren partners created a program for their slow expansion into space. This started with the creation of a ring of habitats as well as science laboratories from which they could further chart their mission. For over a century, they developed their understanding of zero-gravity as well as starship propulsion before they were ready to take the next step of their journey.. It was the Mon Calamari mathematician known as Q-Viza who invented his species cavitation hyperdrive technology which, whilst slower than the Corellian equivalent, allowed his species to establish colonies on worlds such Hinakuu in the years between 4400 BBY to 4200 BBY. What followed was early starliners being launched to nearby worlds where they colonized the planets Mantan and Ruisto as well as established an asteroid mining operation that was overseen by the Quarren who refined metals to supplement the construction efforts of the Mon Calamari. This wave of expansion led to the development of the rough boundaries of what became known as Mon Calamari Space though their expansion was limited due to both practical as well as psychological reasons.
Joining the Republic
It was during this peaceful era of expansion that first contact came with the Galactic Republic in 4166 BBY, just prior to the Great Sith War. This was when Republic scouts made contact with Mon Calamari starships at Ruisto. Before this time, the Republic was aware of the existence of the Dac system through probes but deemed it too far from known space for further expansion. As the two civilizations made contact with one another, the Mon Calamari showed their eagerness in learning more of the vast Republic as well as its great knowledge of the galaxy. Their Quarren cousins, however, were more cautious and urged discretion. The Mon Calamari and their homeworld remained a mystery to the Republic over the years due to outsiders being unwilling to interact with the inhabitants as they were constantly on the brink of war. While there was contact between the two, relations were not solid between the two races as the Mon Calamari were reluctant to trust those from off-world.
Mon Calamari delight turned to dismay when the corrupt forces that gripped the Galactic Republic devastated their homeworld. Later, Dac joined the Galactic Senate. One Mon Calamari even served as Supreme Chancellor in 3653 BBY, during the Sacking of Coruscant. Some Mon Calamari even served in the Republic Military in the Cold War that followed the Great Galactic War.
Around five hundred years before the Battle of Naboo, a number of needy Mon Calamari and Quarren locals were approached by recruiters sent by Hugo Bartyn. Bartyn wanted amphibian fishermen to settle a new city in Lamaredd and tempted these poverty-stricken individuals with promises of untouched seas in a new frontier. Once they arrived, however, they became slave laborers. Besides, all the aliens were forced to live in crowded conditions and, as Mon Calamari and Quarrens could never stand each other, this eventually caused inter-species violence — and the eventual creation of a Quarren colony, The Shoals.
During the last decades of the Galactic Republic, the government of Dac, and its representation in the Galactic Senate, was shared between the Mon Calamari and the Quarren. While many Mon Calamari traveled through the galaxy and individuals from the Republic came to Mon Calamari Space, ultimately Dac and its colonies were visited infrequently. Furthermore, the planet resisted any attempts at formally joining the Republic which led to Mon Calamari and its legendary shipyards being considered rumors by many. Just before the Clone Wars, the corrupt Quarren Senator Tikkes allowed Thalassian slavers to operate in Calamari sector, and defected to the Confederacy of Independent Systems as leader of the Quarren Isolation League after being forced out of office. Another Mon Calamari by the name of Merai even led Separatist forces to attack the cloning facilities on Kamino. A civil war on Dac ensued, with the Republic loyalist Mon Calamari Knights joining Republic forces against the Quarren Isolation League. After the Republic victory at the Battle of Dac, new accords between the Quarren and Mon Calamari were signed, with pro-Republic Senators Tundra Dowmeia (a Quarren) and Meena Tills (a Mon Calamari) jointly representing Dac in the Senate. At some point in the conflict, Count Dooku unleashed the Force Harvester on Mon Calamari and other worlds during the Dark Reaper Crisis.
The Empire and Beyond
With the dawn of the Galactic Empire, the Mon Calamari initially welcomed the Imperial forces when they entered their system. However, the Imperials saw the people of Dac—the Mon Calamari in particular—as natural slaves whose industries and resources could be used to power the Imperial war machine. The Imperial leadership may also have been suspicious because both of Dac's senators signed the Petition of 2000. Aided by the sabotage of the planetary shields by Quarren saboteurs such as Seggor Tels, the Empire swiftly conquered Mon Calamari. The Mon Calamari led a passive resistance movement following Imperial forces forcibly taking governance of their world and treating them with contempt. While they were largely unsuccessful and enslaved, the Mon Calamari did not yield their desire for freedom. Emperor Palpatine did not tolerate any form of defiance to his rule and thus ordered three Mon Calamari cities to be destroyed in reprisal which killed thousands. Regardless, the Imperial attack did not succeed in breaking the Mon Calamari spirit. Eventually, the Mon Calamari, joined by the Quarren, rose up against their oppressors, driving them off their planet.
Later, an Imperial sentientologist named Obo Rin, working under the direction of Darth Vader, wrote the Catalog of Intelligent Life in the Galaxy. In an attempt to discredit the Mon Calamari, this work included falsified claims that the first contact between the Mon Calamari and galactic civilization occurred during the reign of the Galactic Empire. This was accepted as truth by many citizens of the Empire, further angering the Mon Calamari.
A critical change in the Mon Calamari's position came when the Rebel Alliance rescued a Mon Calamari slave by the name of Gial Ackbar from Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin. Ackbar joining the Rebel Alliance led to him convincing the rest of his species in supporting the Alliance to Restore the Republic. With the introduction of the Mon Calamari into the Rebel fleet, they proved to be an invaluable asset in the Galactic Civil War. They were, in fact, the first alien civilization to declare their support for the Rebel Alliance. The Rebel Alliance were quick to rely on the Mon Calamari for military planning. As the Mon Calamari were masters of starship construction, they began supplying the Alliance with badly needed Mon Calamari Star Cruisers, the capital ships that could take on the Galactic Empire's ships of the line. Prior to joining the Alliance, the Mon Calamari had only built passenger liners because of their peaceful ethos. During the promotion of Ackbar to the title of Admiral, the Mon Calamari proved to be instrumental in the addition of Mon Calamari Star Cruisers into the Alliance fleet as well as their conversion into full scale military capital ships. During the Battle of Endor, Mon Calamari vessels were used by the Alliance and played a major role in the battle.
In 4 ABY, the Mon Calamari began campaigns against Imperial forces in the Outer Rim and were eager to strike back at their enemies who had harried them for so long in the past. Their actions led to victories on Emmer and Makem Te whilst they continued to combat the warlord territories of Zsinj as well as Teradoc. These aggressive attacks, however, halted after the Imperials launched an assault against the Hast shipyards which saw the Mon Calamari change tactics by deciding to protect the newly forming New Republic government. Their only notable action in leaving Mon Calamari Space was to stop the rampage of Stenax through the Gordian Reach in the following year.
During the reborn Emperor Palpatine's insurrection in 10 ABY, the Mon Calamari were targeted by the Dark Empire in retaliation for supporting the Rebel Alliance. Many Mon Calamari floating cities were destroyed by the massive World Devastators. However, the Empire's efforts were repulsed during the First Battle of Dac. Dac came under assault again by the forces of Admiral Daala in the attack on Mon Calamari, but her forces were also repelled. During the Yuuzhan Vong invasion, Dac was used as the temporary capital of the newly formed Galactic Federation of Free Alliances after the loss of Coruscant.
By the end of the Sith–Imperial War, the Mon Calamari were reduced from their equal status under the One Sith. Since then, the Mon Calamari assisted Alliance Admiral Gar Stazi, by supplying recruits, parts, supplies, and bacta. When Stazi stole the Imperious-class Star Destroyer Imperious, Darth Krayt took his frustration out on all of Dac's population. He ordered the immediate extermination of ten percent of the Mon Calamari population and internment of the rest in work camps to provide an example of the consequences of betraying the Sith to the rest of the galaxy. The first act in the genocide ordered by the Emperor was the massacre of the Mon Calamari Council. However, in order to oppose the extermination of their people, the Mon Calamari Rangers were formed.
Destruction of Dac
Due to the fierce resistance and continued assistance given to the Galactic Alliance Remnant Fleet, Darth Wyyrlok issued Final Protocol, the complete extermination of all life on Dac. Sith scientist Vul Isen used viral spores to infect the planet. The biological weapon worked swiftly and took only one week to wipe out all life on the planet. Learning of the fate of the planet, Admiral Stazi ordered the Evacuation of Dac. The effort involved a massive armada made up of the Galactic Alliance Remnant Fleet, Roan Fel's Empire, the remnants of the New Jedi Order, and countless civilian ships voluntarily assisting in the evacuation. Aware that Dac was home to other sentient life forms like the whaladons and Moappa, the Galactic Alliance fleet dispatched YZ 3000 tankers to rescue as many as possible to guarantee the survival of those species. A delegation of Quarren, angered that whaladons and Moappa were being rescued, demanded that their species take precedence. Angered by their demands and unsympathetic to the Quarren due to their collaboration with the Sith, Stazi refused. Still, despite his anger, Stazi allowed one out of every tenth ship to focus on rescuing those Quarren who remained. While the ships protecting the evacuating ships were under fierce attack by Sith forces, the evacuating ships were widely successful. 20% of Dac's entire population had been rescued. After the evacuation, they were relocated to various safe spots in the galaxy with the assistance of the New Jedi Order.
Following the defeat of the One Sith, the Sith were driven underground again and a Galactic Federation Triumvirate, consisting of the Fel Empire, the Jedi Order, and the Galactic Alliance, assumed power in Coruscant. In 138 ABY, a large number of Mon Calamari and Quarren were lured back to Dac under the pretext that the planet was being "renewed". Instead, these unfortunate Mon Calamari and Quarren were enslaved by a pirate syndicate led by the rogue Sith Darth Luft, who forced them to build a fleet of ships. Darth Luft and his pirates also kept their children and elderly relatives hostage. The Mon Calamari and Quarren ship builders were also beaten and mistreated by their pirate captors.
One Mon Calamari environmental engineer named Aunt Luen befriended a Quarren named Tikin. These two encountered the Imperial Knight Jao Assam and the junk dealer Ania Solo, who learnt about their predicament and quickly transmitted word of the pirates and their slaving operation to the Triumvirate authorities in Coruscant. Later, Tikin was murdered by Darth Luft. His death triggered a slave uprising by the Mon Calamari and Quarren, who joined forces to rebel against the pirates. This uprising coincided with an attack by the Galactic Triumvirate led by Admiral Stazi and the Imperial Knight Yalta Val, who liberated the slaves and apprehended the pirates. Darth Luft himself was killed during a duel by Jao Assam. The Mon Calamari and Quarren then settled in the space station, which had been flooded with water by Admiral Stazi, to provide a comfortable atmosphere for the former slaves. As a gesture of reconciliation between the Mon Calamari and Quarren, Luen adopted Tikin's son Tilin.
Mon Calamari in the galaxy
- "We forced the Empire off our world once. They fought with blasters and fighters, destroying cities at will. We fought with whatever we had – kitchen utensils, industrial tools, our bare hands. We won that time."
- ―Gial Ackbar
- Gial Ackbar - Supreme Commander of the Alliance Fleet and Supreme Commander of the New Republic Defense Force
- Jesmin Ackbar - niece of Ackbar, founding member of, and communications expert for, Wraith Squadron
- Ackdool - Commanding Officer of the Star Cruiser Mediator.
- Cilghal - niece of Ackbar, Senator for Dac and Jedi Master in the New Jedi Order
- Bant Eerin - Rise of the Empire era Jedi Knight
- Gumbrak Hoxz - Rise of the Empire era Padawan
- Gial Gahan - Member of the Galactic Alliance Triumvirate
- Ibtisam - Pilot of Rogue Squadron
- Monia Gahan - Pilot of Rogue Squadron and member of the Galactic Alliance Remnant
- Meena Tills - Joint representative of Dac in the Galactic Senate
- Timi Rotramel - Last representative of Dac in the Imperial Senate, early member of the Rebel Alliance.
- Thaneespi - Deck officer/tactical analyst on Home One at the Battle of Endor
- Merai - Separatist Naval Commander during the Clone Wars
- Pashna Starkiller - Seasoned officer in the Rebel Alliance and New Republic
- Arikakon Baraka - Admiral and Supercruiser Commander
- Terpfen - Unwilling Imperial spy
- Cha Niathal - Supreme Commander of the Galactic Alliance Defense Force
- Sissalik - second and final Captain of Nanda's Luck
- Genkal - Captain of the Naritus
- Halabar - Respected professor on Calamari.
- Moth Caralli - owner of the Mos Eisley Inn.
- Nahdar Vebb - Jedi Knight and second former Padawan of Kit Fisto
- Pakmillu - Captain of the Outbound Flight
- Berooken - The Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic during the Great Galactic War in 3653 BBY.
- Eekar Oki- Jedi Knight during the Clone Wars.
- Tanquar-leader of the Mon Calamari Rangers.
- Yos Kolina - Leader of the Mon Calamari people some time during the Clone Wars.
- Lee-Char - Son of Yos Kolina and leader of the Mon Calamari people following his father's assassination.
Mon Calamari achieved a certain degree of influence in the planet Lamaredd; the new boat designs had a clear Calamarian influence, and several Mon Calamari were locally well-known — particularly the constable and later Administrator Mix Liddell, but also the pretty casino owner Nyubuna Bulul and the dockmaster Howe Walwahd.
Behind the scenes
When Return of the Jedi was in pre-production, George Lucas took one look at a nameless alien design laid out by the production creature designers. He decided at that moment that it was going to be Admiral Ackbar. Creature designer Phil Tippett named the species after his lunch of calamari salad one day as a joke. Eight creature masks were constructed for Mon Calamari background characters, though only Ackbar's was fully detailed and articulated.
Before the release of the prequel trilogy, when West End Games was responsible for generating most of the backstory for the various alien species in the Star Wars galaxy, the Mon Calamari and the Quarren were said to have had their first contact with offworlders when the Galactic Empire discovered their world. This generated continuity problems when Quarren appeared as background aliens in The Phantom Menace, and when the Mon Calamari Padawan Bant Eerin appeared in the Jedi Apprentice series. The idea that the Mon Calamari's conflict with the Empire was their first experience with offworlders was retconned away when they appeared as loyal members of the Galactic Republic in Star Wars: Clone Wars. Geonosis and the Outer Rim Worlds explained these previous references as Imperial propaganda.
In Legacy (2006) 32, it is stated that Mon Calamari can breathe underwater. However, according to other sources Mon Calamari have to use an Organic gill if they wish to stay underwater for an extended period of time. The official StarWars.com Databank makes the compromise that Mon Calamari can breathe underwater, but find it uncomfortable and thus prefer to use an organic gill whenever possible.
- Jedi Academy
- Jedi Academy: Return of the Padawan
- LEGO Star Wars: Microfighters video game (Picture only)
- Tag & Bink: Revenge of the Clone Menace
- "A Death Star Is Born"—Star Wars Tales 4
- Tag & Bink Are Dead
- "The Princess Leia Diaries"—Star Wars Tales 11
- Star Wars Infinities: Return of the Jedi
- LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
- LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
- LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
- LEGO Star Wars: The Padawan Menace
Notes and references
- Ultimate Alien Anthology
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
- The Essential Guide to Alien Species
- Star Wars Roleplaying Game Revised Core Rulebook
- Star Wars Sourcebook (Second Edition)
- Galaxy Guide 4: Alien Races (Second Edition)
- Agents of Deception
- Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor
- The Last Command
- The Cestus Deception
- Geonosis and the Outer Rim Worlds
- The Essential Atlas
- Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide
- The Old Republic, Threat of Peace Act 1: Treaty of Coruscant
- Star Wars: The Old Republic
- Bartyn's Landing"—Star Wars Gamer 7 "
- The Clone Wars Campaign Guide
- Rebellion Era Campaign Guide
- Legacy (2006) 47
- Legacy (2013) 8
- Legacy (2013) 9
- Legacy (2013) 10
- Reckonings"—Star Wars Gamer 7 "