- "Delusions of grandeur, hah! I'd always thought that was just a figure of speech, just a needlessly pejorative bit of language contrived by lesser minds that couldn't find a better way to describe the aspirations of truly great men."
- ―Governor-General Praji
Nahdonnis Praji was a Human male born to the wealthy House Praji on the planet Coruscant during the waning years of the Galactic Republic. Sometime around the year 19 BBY, Praji joined the newly formed Galactic Empire's navy and became an honored graduate of the Imperial Academy on the planet Carida. He participated in various Imperial campaigns, such as the subjugation of Almak. During the Galactic Civil War, Praji led troops against Rebel cells in the battles of Datar and Nar Shaddaa. Because of his actions, Praji became Lord Darth Vader's aide aboard the Imperial Star Destroyer Devastator. In 0 BBY, after the Rebels acquired the plans of the Death Star superweapon, the Devastator chased the Alderaanian CR90 corvette Tantive IV, Imperial Senator Leia Organa's consular ship, to the planet Tatooine. When the starship was captured and boarded over the planet, the stormtroopers quickly secured the ship, and Praji hastened to the main computer room to search for the stolen plans.
However, the plans were copied into the memory banks of the astromech droid R2-D2 who, accompanied by his counterpart, the protocol droid C-3PO, left the corvette in an escape pod which crash landed on Tatooine. Praji reported to Vader that an escape pod had been jettisoned from the ship during the battle, but that no lifeforms had been detected aboard the pod. Vader ordered Praji to personally search for the plans on the surface of Tatooine, but he took the orders lightly and delegated the mission to his subordinates. He ordered Captain Kosh's local garrison, Captain Terrik's Desert Sands, and Vader's 501st Legion to search for the escape pod. The spaceports on the planet were quarantined, but with the help of Corellian smuggler Han Solo, moisture farmer Luke Skywalker and Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, the two droids evaded the blockades and escaped into hyperspace aboard Solo's freighter, heading to Alderaan, the homeworld of Senator Organa. After the Battle of Endor four years later, Praji joined the forces of several Imperial warlords, and eventually served under the resurrected Galactic Emperor, His Immortal Majesty Palpatine. With his actions in the battle of Kaikielius, Praji earned the governorship of the planet.
- "Self-respect is the first casualty of politics, the final casualty of business, and the first benefit of a military career—your choice should be obvious."
- ―A recruiter's pragmatic advice to Praji
The Human male Nahdonnis Praji was born to the wealthy and influential House Praji of the capital planet Coruscant after the first quarter of the year 37 BBY. His father was Griff Praji, a brother of Tannon Praji, the First Minister of the Coruscant Ministry of Ingress. Nahdonnis Praji was interested in military history throughout his childhood. He often studied HoloNet News reports on the tactics of Jedi Generals and starfighter aces during the Clone Wars. Prior to the dissolution of the Galactic Republic in 19 BBY, the Prajii were traditionally idle rich or career bureaucrats, but some of the Coruscanti Prajii entered military service: Collin Praji became a Colonel in the Grand Army of the Republic, while another Praji became the commanding Moff of the Fourth Outer Rim Army. Months after the war's end, Praji came to the age of eighteen and enlisted to the newly established Galactic Empire's navy. He gained his basic training and graduated with honors from the Academy on Carida. The Praji family donated genetic templates for Imperial stormtrooper development programs. Nahdonnis Praji himself had a child, a daughter named Tyla.
Praji participated in the subjugation of the native Leffingites on the planet Almak, and he had to admit that the Empire's All Terrain walkers, which he viewed as graceless brutes, were indeed effective. In 1 BBY, early in the Galactic Civil War, Praji was assigned to the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Vengeance and was dispatched to look for Rebel supply networks. Later, he served under Vice Admiral Slenn, who ordered his troops into an unwinnable scenario against the Rebels on the planet Datar. After the botched attack, the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Vader killed Slenn and took command of the operation.
Vader's next target was the Rebel base on Nar Shaddaa, the moon of the Hutt planet Nal Hutta. Praji led the troops personally to the 88th Level of the moon's Corellian Sector, and reached a very high collateral kill count. He used a flanking tactic once favored by Jedi General Anakin Skywalker, who had utilized it during the Clone Wars. Praji's action and previous records impressed Vader, who assigned him into a staff position with greater responsibility. He became Vader's aide on board the Imperial I-class Star Destroyer Devastator, but lost his permanent command post, for most of the Devastator's troop complement was filled with the elite stormtroopers of the 501st Legion, under the command of Commander Daine Jir.
Blockade of Toprawa
- "Tantive IV, this is the Devastator. Our sensors indicate you have intercepted illegal transmissions in this solar system. Heave to or we'll open fire!"
- ―Commander Praji, to Captain Antilles
In 0 BBY, on the planet Toprawa, the Rebel Alliance obtained the plans of the first Death Star, a new Imperial superweapon. The Toprawa system was declared restricted, and Darth Vader, who realized the plans were now in the hands of the Rebellion, took the Devastator to the world. The Rebels planned to smuggle out the plans from the planet aboard the Alderaanian consular ship Tantive IV. As the vessel leapt into the Toprawa system, it began receiving a transmission from the surface of the planet. Commander Praji stood beside Vader on the bridge of the Devastator when the sensors detected the consular ship. As the data was transmitting, an Imperial communications officer detected the signal, and Praji contacted the Tantive IV, ordering it to heave to and prepare to be searched. Scrambling for more time, the Rebel Captain Raymus Antilles told the Devastator of their "malfunction" and attempted to use the vessel's diplomatic immunity. Praji acknowledged the message and ordered the Tantive IV to hold its course and prepare for boarding.
Seconds later the transmission ended, and Antilles replied to the Devastator, insisting that as they were on a diplomatic mission they could not be detained. He also ordered his crew to accelerate the ship to full speed and get into hyperspace. Praji announced that they had detected the transmission of the plans, and again ordered the Tantive IV to heave to or prepare to be fired on. Vader ordered the Star Destroyer to shoot for minimum damage, and only moments after it began firing, the Tantive IV finally jumped to lightspeed. It was impossible to track a ship through hyperspace; however, the Tantive IV carried an Imperial homing device, which had been installed on a previous trip to the planet Ralltiir. Praji consulted a sensor screen and reported that the Tantive IV was heading to the planet Tatooine.
Battle above Tatooine
- "Lord Vader, the battle station plans are not aboard this ship and no transmissions were made. An escape pod was jettisoned during the fighting but no life forms were aboard."
- ―Commander Praji, to Darth Vader
The Devastator followed and captured the Rebel vessel in the Tatoo system, where the troopers of the 501st legion besieged the crippled consular ship. After the first wave of troops, under the command of an assault leader, broke the defenses of the Rebel vessel, Lord Vader, accompanied by Praji and Commander Jir, boarded the ship. Praji led a cluster of troops to the ship's main computer room to search for the stolen plans. He was tasked to check the computers for the plans and any other useful information.
Praji used the modified R4-series agromech droid, R4-M9, to pull all data from the memory banks before the Rebels could destroy it, but he did not find any valuable information or evidence of bank erasure. When Vader and Commander Jir arrived at the main computer room, Praji delivered an update of the search to the Dark Lord by reporting that the plans were not aboard the ship and that no transmissions had been made. He added that an escape pod had left the ship, but that no life forms had been detected aboard it. Vader ordered him to personally lead a detachment of stormtroopers to Tatooine and search for the escape pod used by protocol droid C-3PO and astromech droid R2-D2, the latter of whom carried the stolen plans. Vader also ordered Praji to send detachments to every spaceport and quarantine the planet.
Search for the droids
- "She must have hidden the plans in the escape pod. Send a detachment down to retrieve them… See to it personally Commander."
- ―Darth Vader, to Commanders Jir and Praji
By Vader's order, Commander Praji supervised the search for the Death Star's missing plans on Tatooine. His first order was to assign Captain Kosh's local garrison to the task, while the 501st was readied. The Desert Sands sandtrooper detachment, which arrived to relieve the troopers garrisoned in the city of Mos Eisley, were also ordered by Praji to begin searching for the escape pod immediately. After a brief landfall, Praji delegated the overall command of the situation to Captain Kosh.
After a few days' searching, Captain Mod Terrik of the Desert Sands reported to Praji that a young moisture farmer, possibly a Rebel sympathizer if not a Rebel agent, had taken the droids and was presumably heading to the nearest spaceport, Mos Eisley. In reality, the actions of the Desert Sands—murdering his uncle Owen Lars and aunt Beru Whitesun Lars—had caused the farmer, Luke Skywalker, to accompany Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi in his quest of returning the stolen plans to the Rebellion. Praji concurred with Terrik and ordered him to quarantine Mos Eisley.
However, the delay in coordinating the units of Kosh's troops, Terrik's troops and the 501st enabled the droids to bypass the blockade and escape from Tatooine aboard the light freighter Millennium Falcon. A stormtrooper officer saw the freighter lift into the sky and reported to Commander Praji, who alerted the orbiting Star Destroyers. Han Solo, the Falcon's captain, slipped past the blockade, leaving the Commander in the uncomfortable situation of reporting his failure to Vader. Praji also reported the description of the fugitives and their escape vessel to all Imperial outposts. He personally reported the bad news to Vader, who spared his life.
- "Delusions of grandeur, hah! […] But now the physical incarnation of the phrase was staring me in the face, and I don't mind telling you I didn't care for it at all."
- ―Praji, to Voren Na'al about Emperor Palpatine
After the Battle of Yavin, which saw the Rebels destroy the Death Star based on information they had found in the stolen plans, Vader formed Death Squadron, a squadron of Star Destroyers that included the Devastator. Vader brought his staff to his new flagship, the first ship of the Executor-class Star Dreadnought line, but General Maximilian Veers blocked Praji from the appointment, and Vader did not overrule him.
In 4 ABY during the Battle of Endor, Emperor Palpatine was killed, which led to the splintering of Empire into various warring factions. Praji served under several different Imperial warlords and ascended to the rank of General. He chose his allies by searching for the best way to carry on the New Order's mission. When the Galactic Emperor, His Immortal Majesty Palpatine returned from the Deep Core of the galaxy, Praji joined his forces and met him personally for the first and only time.
In 10 ABY, Praji led the portion of the Shadow Hand Fleet that conquered the planet Kaikielius prior to the push towards Coruscant at the onset of Operation Shadow Hand. Praji enjoyed destroying the skyhooks of the House Vahali, an old rival of his family, and placed the planet under martial law. His higher position led him to realize that the Emperor's theocracy was not the Empire he had joined decades earlier, so he requested Kaikielius as a fief in order to leave the military. Emperor Palpatine then made him the Governor-General of the world, re-establishing the old connection between Kaikielius and House Praji. After the Battle of Coruscant during the Yuuzhan Vong War, the Coruscanti Praji regrouped on Kaikielius. Praji later retired from governorship and met historian Voren Na'al, who asked him about his encounter with Emperor Palpatine in an interview.
Personality and traits
- "Surrender in the name of the Emperor! We have you under our guns!"
- ―Praji, to the Tantive IV
Praji was all business when dealing with his superiors, and he often delegated assignments to a subordinate, such as Captain Kosh. His subordinates knew him for intolerance and level-headed professionalism, although Praji was not a man quick to anger. His businesslike professionalism impressed Lord Vader, too. As a member of the capital's aristocracy, Praji disrespected the Rimmers, people hailing from the Outer Rim region of the galaxy, even his superiors. He was an old-fashioned military man who disdained foot-soldiers partly due to Imperial officer training, which disregarded the clones, who were "made to be killed." He became so committed to the orderly despotism of the Galactic Empire, that during the Imperial Civil War, he served under several warlords looking for the best way to carry on the New Order's mission. Praji chose to wear the prominent sideburns that were popular among the Imperial officers around the time of the Battle of Yavin. Praji graduated with honors from the Imperial naval academy and became a good pilot and navigator. Under able officers like him, stormtroopers learned to adapt to their environment.
During the search for the Death Star plans, Praji recited to Vader mechanically that the plans of the Death Star were not aboard the Tantive IV, but hurriedly added that the supposedly empty escape pod had been released during the fight. He waited attentively for the orders of the Sith Lord, who deemed him highly loyal and too capable to waste and spared the Commander's life when Praji disobeyed his direct order by not searching personally for the missing plans. Praji never put much stock in his family's old vendetta against House Vahali, but it was tremendous personal pleasure for him to break their power by knocking their skyhook headquarters during the Imperial Civil War.
He also held a lot of loyalty to the Emperor up until Operation Shadow Hand, when he learned about the Emperor's plans of creating a theocracy of Dark Side Mages. Although he had heard throughout his career that the Emperor possessed delusions of grandeur, he dismissed the statements due to believing that they were simply figures of speeches and pejorative from lesser individuals who couldn't comprehend truly great men. However, upon learning of the Emperor's plans for a theocracy, and being in direct conflict with the New Order he had served, he was forced to reassess his earlier beliefs on the Emperor possessing such.
Behind the scenes
- "Do you remember your initial impressions of the movie?"
"Absolutely. "What is this all about?" I don't think anyone knew [what Star Wars was], except maybe George Lucas, and I'm not sure he knew all the time!"
- ―Scott Chernoff and George Roubicek on Celebration IV
The Praji character first appeared in the December 1976 novelization of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster. Although he was not credited, actor George Roubicek played the character in the 1977 film. However, his lines were dubbed by an American actor, so the character's voice did not at all resemble that of Roubicek. The one sequence in which he is seen was shot over three days in July 1976 at the virtual end of principal photography, on the Tantive IV main corridor set erected on Stage 9 at Elstree Studios, just north of London. In the revised fourth draft script of A New Hope, as presented in Star Wars: Behind the Magic and Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays, Praji is addressed as "Second Officer," and Vader orders Jir instead of Praji to "send a detachment down."
In 1995, the Star Wars Customizable Card Game's Premiere Limited base set was the first to identify the character as Praji, and the 2007 article The Empire's Finest: Who's Who in the Imperial Military, published in Star Wars Insider 96, was the first to name him Nahdonnis. When the character of Tannon Praji was created in 2005, he was intended to be the uncle of Commander Praji. However, this information was not published until 2009 in Nathan O'Keefe's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Praji, which established Nahdonnis as the son of Tannon's brother Griff, as well as naming many other members of the Praji family.
In May 2007, during Celebration IV, Roubicek took part in a round-table discussion chaired by Scott Chernoff, in which he reminisced about his role as Praji. His fellow participants, all of whom portrayed Imperial characters, were actors Kenneth Colley (Admiral Firmus Piett), David Prowse (Darth Vader), Barrie Holland (Lieutenant Renz), Richard LeParmentier (Admiral Conan Antonio Motti), and Julian Glover (General Maximilian Veers). The conversation was later published in Star Wars Insider 96.
- "The data tapes in question are not aboard the ship. There is no valuable information in the ship's storage banks and no evidence of bank erasure, nor were any transmissions directed outward from the ship from the time we made contact. A malfunctioning lifeboat pod was ejected during the fighting, but it was confirmed at the time that no life forms were on board."
- ―Praji, to Vader in the novelization of A New Hope
Praji appears in various adaptations of A New Hope, but his line and look differ sometimes. In the 1976 novelization, he speaks a different line and appears as the "officer in charge" of "a cluster of tired-looking troops." In the 1978 Contemporary Motivators: Star Wars comic book, he is depicted as a stormtrooper and his line is slightly different than in the film. In 1978's The Story of Star Wars, he is identified as an Imperial trooper.
In the 1981 Star Wars radio drama's script, as presented in the Star Wars: The National Public Radio Dramatization, Praji is addressed as 'Trooper'. However, there is also an unidentified Imperial commander who the 2007 young reader novel The Rise and Fall of Darth Vader identifies to be Commander Praji. In the 1987 Star Wars Droids 6: Star Wars According to the Droids, Book I comic, he speaks a slightly different line and is wearing a gray uniform.
In the 1997 young reader book Darth Vader's Mission: The Search for the Secret Plans, Praji is blond and he is wearing a gray uniform. In the 1998 reference book Anakin Skywalker: The Story of Darth Vader, the captain of the Devastator calls the Tantive IV above Toprawa, but The Rise and Fall of Darth Vader attributes the lines to Praji.
- "Get back to the Devastator. She's leaving orbit."
- ―Praji and Tag Greenley
The non-canon comic book Tag & Bink Are Dead 1 depicts a scene where the protagonists, Tag Greenley and Bink Otauna, disguised as stormtroopers to escape Imperial custody, run into Praji, who orders them to return to the Devastator. Although The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia canonized the existence of Greenley and Otauna, their stories in the comic remain non-canon.
- The Rise and Fall of Darth Vader
- Death Star
- Star Wars radio drama
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope novelization (First appearance)
- Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
- Contemporary Motivators: Star Wars
- The Star Wars Storybook
- Star Wars Droids 6: Star Wars According to the Droids, Book I
- Star Wars: A New Hope - The Special Edition 1
- Tag & Bink Are Dead 1 (Non-canonical appearance)
- Darth Vader's Mission: The Search for the Secret Plans
- Star Wars Manga: A New Hope 1
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope junior novelization
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope PhotoComic