Mos Espa was a spaceport settlement located on the desert world of Tatooine. The settlement, which was controlled by the Hutt Clan, included a number of commercial and workspace settings, as well as entertainment establishments such as the Mos Espa Grand Arena. During the Invasion of Naboo, Mos Espa was also home to a number of slaves, including Anakin Skywalker and his mother, Shmi.
One of the few port cities on the Outer Rim planet of Tatooine, Mos Espa filled with dwellings, workplaces, and commercial operations of many kinds, along with entertainment venues, some of which were grandiose in size. The Mos Espa Grand Arena, home to the Boonta Eve Classic podrace, could seat an audience numbering almost as many as the city's entire population. Because the Hutts controlled Mos Espa and found the institution of slavery to be very useful, slaves were often traded within the city. One such slave trader was the Toydarian Watto, who owned a parts store within the city.
Ten years before the outbreak of the Clone Wars between the Galactic Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems, Mos Espa was visited by Queen Amidala of Naboo, the Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, the Gungan Jar Jar Binks, and the astromech droid R2-D2, as their ship was in dire need of hyperdrive repairs. The party stopped by Watto's part store, where they met the young slave Anakin Skywalker. Unable to acquire the parts they needed, the group headed out, but due to a sandstorm, Skywalker took them back to his house. There they met Anakin's mother Shmi Skywalker. After a secret blood test, Jinn realized Anakin's midi-chlorian count was the highest of any Jedi, and he thus began to believe Anakin was the Chosen One, the one prophesied to destroy the Sith and bring balance to the Force.
Because of Anakin's access to the Force, Jinn attempted to free the boy from Watto by way of gambling on a podrace. The two agreed that, if Anakin won the race, Watto would hand over the parts needed for the hyperdrive and free Anakin. If Anakin were to lose, Jinn would have to give the entire ship over to Watto. Anakin went on to win the race, ensuring his freedom and acquiring the parts needed to fix the hyperdrive. He then left his mother to begin training as a member of the Jedi Order.
Just prior to the outbreak of the Clone Wars, Skywalker returned to Mos Espa in search of his mother, who had been the subject of numerous nightmares that had been keeping the Jedi from sleeping. Watto informed Skywalker that he had sold Shmi, and that her new owner Cliegg Lars had freed her and married her. Skywalker departed to find his mother after Watto showed him the location of the Lars moisture farm on his map.
Behind the scenes
Mos Espa made its first Canon appearance in the 1999 film Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace. It then appeared in the 2002 film Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones. It received its own entry in the Databank.
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