- "Ah, the beautiful stench and decay of desperate living."
- ―Atton Rand
Nar Shaddaa was the largest moon of Nal Hutta. More commonly known as the Vertical City, the Smugglers' Moon, Little Coruscant, or derisively as Little Slugland, and in shorthand slang as Narsh, Nar Shaddaa was similar to Coruscant in that its surface was entirely overgrown with city sprawl for millennia. But unlike Coruscant—which was only relatively rundown and dangerous on the lower and under levels of the world city—Nar Shaddaa was filthy, polluted, and infested with crime everywhere. Nevertheless Nar Shaddaa remained the most important financial and trading center of Hutt Space.
- "Never have I been to a place so alive with the Force, yet so dead to it. The contrast is like a blade."
- ―Visas Marr
Nar Shaddaa was tidally-locked to Nal Hutta, which resulted in the fact that only one side of the moon always faced the parent planet, while the other side was faced towards the empty space.
Ancient refueling spires and loading docks reached out from the native soil and some built in the upper atmosphere. In between these ports, massive vertical cities grew. The urban areas on Nar Shaddaa were known as vertical cities since new layers of housing and entertainment buildings were built on top of older layers, like Coruscant and Taris.
While much of Coruscant was filled with gleaming apartments and well-maintained skywalks, the entire moon that was Nar Shaddaa was dominated by decaying urban landscape and congested, polluted cities. The moon was protected by planetary shields. Anything illegal elsewhere could be bought and sold on Nar Shaddaa, and many young smugglers, pirates and criminals started their careers on the Smugglers' Moon. Various sections of Nar Shaddaa were controlled by the Hutts and other criminal organizations.
Despite the criminal activities on the Smugglers' Moon, it was known that many of the galaxy's most advanced technologies were actually developed on Nar Shaddaa. Corporations that wanted to avoid regulations that prohibited testing often developed such dangerous and even valuable technology within the lower levels of the city of the moon.
When the Hutts left their homeworld of Varl, they displaced the Evocii, native to Nal Hutta, to Nar Shaddaa in 15,000 BBY and immediately destroyed the remaining Evocii agriculture. Eventually the moon was annexed by the Hutts, who started to force the Evocii into slave labor, completely changing the moon's unknown original natural terrain, by building spaceports and docking bays across its surface - some stretching out into orbit. Although the moon's urbanized construction had just started, it quickly began to prosper, along with Nal Hutta.
By 14,500 BBY, the moon was completely urbanized, and the Evocii were finally free since their work was complete. However most had died off during the construction and the few that remained, took refuge in the Undercity. Unfortunately the Evocii began to mutate into unwholesome savages due to various technologies practiced in the moon's undercity. For about eleven thousand years, it rivaled the galactic capital Coruscant as an important center of interstellar trade and continued to grow. In 4000 BBY when the trade lanes shifted, Nar Shaddaa and its planet became obsolete and were eventually abandoned by the Republic.
Nar Shaddaa became a criminal haven and gained a reputation of being the center of illegal operations in the galaxy, earning the moniker "The Smugglers' Moon". Now distant from most galactic trade centers, the moon was allowed to run its own affairs with little outside interference.
Sections of the urbanized moon's vertical city included the Duros Sector and the Corellian sector, which contained three bars popular with bounty hunters — The Burning Deck, The Slag Pit, and the Meltdown Café—as well as another corner tavern called the Orange Lady.
First Jedi Purge
In 3951 BBY, the moon was visited by the Jedi Exile in her search for Zez-Kai Ell, a Jedi Master who cast her out of the Jedi Order. After the Jedi Civil War ended, Nar Shaddaa became swarmed by thousands—if not millions—of refugees from destroyed worlds across the Galaxy, and still more ex-soldiers from both sides in the conflict choking up its spaces looking for work and / or new homes. Its refugee sector was one of the most crowded in the entire galaxy, and tightly controlled by the Exchange. The Exchange was exploiting the refugees to lure any remaining Jedi into their hands. The Exile attracted the Exchange's attention by persuading Saquesh, the "Overseer", to loosen his grip on the Refugee Sector, and rescuing locals from Exchange thugs. After she went to the Jekk'Jekk Tarr to meet with the Exchange member Visquis, G0-T0 intervened in Visquis' attempts to kill the Jedi and collected a misinterpreted "bounty". However, her companions rescued her and they succeeded in destroying G0-T0's yacht, the Visionary, destabilizing the Exchange and other criminal organizations throughout the entire sector for many years.
During the Cold War, both Republic and the reconstituted Sith Empire were vying for alliances with the Hutt Cartel. Several criminal organizations, including the Exchange, continued to be active on the moon in this period, struggling against one another for control of the criminal underworld.
New Sith Wars
Around 1002 BBY, the Brotherhood of Darkness operated a Sith academy on the world that specialized in the training of Sith assassins. In 1000 BBY, after the Ruusan campaign, Set Harth and Bal Serinus dueled on the moon, but were both imprisoned by a Hutt crimelord.
The decline of the Republic
In 28 BBY, the Colicoids took over the spice processing on Nar Shaddaa, thanks to the efforts of Jedi Siri Tachi. Han Solo spent part of his early career as a smuggler on Nar Shaddaa. There, he learned the tricks of the smuggling trade from some of the galaxy's best smugglers such as Salla Zend, Shug Ninx and Roa. He had an apartment on the Smugglers' Moon, which was maintained by his old house-keeping droid ZeeZee, but after he decided to leave the moon for the Corporate Sector, it was left unused.
- "Ah, the big city. Too bad there's no time to catch some night life. At least I'll blend in. Everyone's an alien in this place, and everyone's got something to hide. Me, I've got something to find."
- ―Kyle Katarn
After the rise of the Galactic Empire, Nar Shaddaa's citizenry celebrated for an entire month. They were overjoyed by the regime change not because of what it meant for the galaxy, but because the Empire was turning its attention inward and they hoped that that would give them more leeway for their illegal activities.
In 3 BBY, Galen Marek journeyed to Nar Shaddaa under the orders of Darth Vader to execute the Jedi Rahm Kota, who was attacking the critical Imperial shipyard in Nar Shaddaa's orbit. During the duel between the two Force-adepts in the control room, the controls were destroyed, causing the facility to fall toward the moon.
While it was falling, a blinded Kota fell out of a window, but was protected by the Force and made his way to the undercity of Nar Shaddaa and became an alcoholic. Rahm Kota was rescued by Bail Organa and Marek by Juno Eclipse. In 2 BBY, Marek returned to Nar Shaddaa, hoping to find Kota, whom he knew had not died in their duel. Although the Jedi had left Nar Shaddaa by the time Marek arrived, Marek was able to pick up Kota's trail, eventually tracking him to Bespin.
Jaxxon and Amaiza Foxtrain teamed up as smugglers, headquartered on the moon. Lando Calrissian also spent his early career on Nar Shaddaa. Prior to serving Raymus Antilles, C-3PO and R2-D2 traveled to the Smugglers' Moon in an attempt to apprehend the criminal, Olag Greck. The bounty hunter Greedo and his family lived in the moon's Corellian sector for several years, until an Imperial attack on a Rebel hideout resulted in the destruction and collapse of nearly twenty sector levels. Following the Battle of Yavin, Rebel agent Kyle Katarn traveled to Nar Shaddaa in order to find Imperial navigational charts related to the Dark Trooper Project; the Imperials had already put a bounty on his head which resulted in a skirmish in the streets.
- "All right, say good-bye to this wretched hive of scum and villany."
- ―Lando Calrissian to Kyle Katarn
In 5 ABY Katarn caused havoc once more while chasing the information broker droid 8t88 that had his father's holodisc. When he found him, Kyle shot and severed the droid's arm, and had to descend into the sewers to find the disc before ascending and being picked up by Jan Ors.
In 10 ABY, Han Solo returned with his wife, Leia Organa Solo. During the trip, Leia met Purge survivor named Vima-Da-Boda, who gave her an ancient lightsaber. When he returned to his apartment, it was still being maintained by ZeeZee. Unfortunately, there was yet another surprise for him—the dreaded bounty hunter Boba Fett, waiting on Nar Shaddaa to capture Solo. After a chase through the streets of Nar Shaddaa, they escaped along with Solo's former comrades Salla Zend and Shug Ninx on the Millennium Falcon and the Starlight Intruder to Byss.
Later that year, while en route to New Alderaan, Han and Leia along with his smuggler friends returned to Nar Shaddaa. Upon arriving at the city moon, they discovered an Imperial presence in the form of the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Invincible, which was under the command of the Dark Jedi Zasm Katth and Baddon Fass. During an adventure through Nar Shaddaa's broken-down cities, they encountered Gank bounty hunters, Boba Fett, Imperial troops, and deadly vrblthers. The Solos also met Vima again, and this time, took her with them. As they were leaving Nar Shaddaa, they were met with resistance from Mako Spince and the Invincible, though they also managed to escape. During the escape, the Invincible attempted to capture the Falcon, though unfortunately it dragged the skyscraper where Mako Spince was located. As a result, the Invincible crashed onto the surrounding cityscape, causing heavy damage to lives and property.
In 12 ABY while looking for Desann, Kyle Katarn once more returned to the city and looked for a Rodian crimelord Reelo Baruk. He freed Lando Calrissian from Baruk's hold and eventually found him; however the gangster managed to entrap him in a room full of turrets, but the Jedi escaped. Katarn and Calrissian managed to find Lady Luck and refuel her, using pipelines. When they were about to make their escape from Nar Shaddaa, Reelo attacked them with a handful of mercenaries. The criminal used a gun platform to hit the ship while his thugs boarded it, but Katarn leapt into the laser turret of the Lady Luck and shot down the gangster.
In 14 ABY, it was discovered that Lannik Racto was manufacturing assassin droids in a hidden facility on the moon and selling them on the Invisible Market, until Jaden Korr captured him at his headquarters on Coruscant, where Racto revealed the location of the factory. Shortly after that, New Republic Intelligence raided the facility and thwarted its operations.
Yuuzhan Vong Empire
- "I'm quite mad and even I know that you don't want to lie down in an alley on Nar Shaddaa. The sort of diseases we have here won't bother killing you slowly. They'll just punch you in the face and steal your arms. Do you have any idea what price a disease can get for arms?"
- ―Dray, to Finn Galfridian
In 26 ABY, the cities of the Smugglers' Moon were destroyed in an orbital bombardment by the extragalactic Yuuzhan Vong. Most of the inhabitants were killed and the entire urban moon was reduced to rubble.
The mutant Evocii had been among the few survivors since they were living at the very moon surface itself and were not caught in the orbital bombardment.
The entire Y'Toub system was surrounded by some of the Yuuzhan Vong's deadliest warships. Nar Shaddaa had several organic creations sent down to the remains of the surface for multiple purposes.
Different types of bacteria killed off all of the remaining inhabitants. All the Evocii among them thus the Evocii on Nar Shaddaa became extinct, living in the undercity since their civilized ancestors had taken refuge down there in 15,000 BBY. Then all the carcasses, Evocii or not, were buried and dissolved into the soil of the original surface of Ground Zero.
Next, all the rubble on the moon was broken down and absorbed into the soil. Thus Nar Shaddaa became a lifeless, barren world with no inhabitants. The surface of Nar Shaddaa was then Vongformed to suit the invaders.
Nar Shaddaa, along with Nal Hutta itself—and indeed all of the Y'Toub system—in the Yuuzhan Vong's grasps was used as a stronghold in Hutt Space. The entire Hutt Oversector was swallowed up by the Yuuzhan Vong empire and began to desolate Hutt Space.
In 29 ABY when the Yuuzhan Vong were defeated they abandoned the moon and Nal Hutta. Since Nar Shaddaa was Vongformed during the Yuuzhan Vong War, it did not yet return to the state of an ecumenopolis, though many small cities were built across the moon. It became a haven for smugglers once more in 29 ABY, and the Hutts eventually reclaimed Nar Shaddaa, rebuilding that which was destroyed. The moon, along with the planet, joined the Confederation in 40 ABY, although the Hutts themselves were relatively neutral during the Second Galactic Civil War. Later in the war, however, the Hutts eventually joined their fellow non-Hutt criminals in the great conflict.
By 43 ABY, much of the world's surface had been built over once more which again began to glimmer. Tobb Jadak, a former smuggler from the last days of the Galactic Republic, reflected on how similar Nar Shaddaa was to its original state years before the Vongforming. He also noticed that security on the world was much tighter than in the days of the Republic. The place where people went to quickly and easily disappear now required retinal and body scans to enter the moon's spaceport.
Behind the scenes
Notes and references
- The Essential Guide to Planets and Moons
- The Essential Atlas
- Lords of Nal Hutta
- "Galaxywide NewsNets"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 7
- Dark Empire (audio), at 1:08:20
- Star Wars: The Old Republic—Regards from the Shadow Syndicate from Godoba the Hutt
- Star Wars: The Old Republic—Mission: "Battle for the Stars" on Odessen
- The Dark Side Sourcebook
- Jedi Quest: Path to Truth
- Millennium Falcon
- Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
- Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
- Legacy Era Campaign Guide
- Darth Bane: Path of Destruction