- "Only you could have smuggled an entire rescue craft under the Empire's noses."
- ―Princess Leia Organa, to Nien Nunb
Nien Nunb was a Sullustan male arms dealer and smuggler who joined the Alliance to Restore the Republic during the Galactic Civil War. Shortly after the Battle of Yavin, Nunb answered the call from his friend, Rebel pilot Evaan Verlaine, to help smuggle a group of Alderaanians off Sullust while avoiding detection from the Galactic Empire; the Empire was searching for surviving Alderaanians after the First Death Star blew up its first planet, Alderaan. He went on to further assist Verlaine and Princess Leia Organa in their mission to unite the surviving Alderaanians, during which time he helped Organa escape from potential Imperial captivity.
Only a few years later, Nunb became part of the Alliance Fleet and flew as the co-pilot for General Lando Calrissian aboard the Millennium Falcon during the Battle of Endor. Together, they fought against Imperial forces while attempting to destroy the DS-2 Death Star II Mobile Battle Station in orbit of the forest moon of Endor. Their battle was a success, and the Millennium Falcon fired the shot that destroyed the second Death Star and delivered a devastating blow to the Galactic Empire.
Three decades later, Nunb was a starfighter pilot with the military rank of Lieutenant Commander in the Resistance and fought in the Cold War, including the Battle of Starkiller Base. After the Battle of Crait Nunb was left as one of the few surviving Resistance members and successfully escaped with the remainder of the Resistance. One year later, in 35 ABY Nunb fought in the decisive battle against the Sith Eternal piloting the Tantive IV alongside Urcos Furdam. However, during the battle, the Tantive IV was disabled by Darth Sidious' massive burst of Force lightning and Nunb perished.
Nien Nunb hailed from the planet Sullust. He would learn his early piloting skills flying a freighter for the local Sullustan SoroSuub Corporation, however, once the company became friendly with the Empire, he displayed his opposition by stealing from it on the behalf of the Rebellion. He soon thereafter became an independent ace pilot and an able arms dealer and smuggler who owned and operated the starship Mellcrawler. He became friends with fellow smuggler Lando Calrissian, as well as Rebel pilot Evaan Verlaine.
Galactic Civil War
- "Nien Nunb, with stealth and courage you led the Alderaanian survivors off Sullust at great risk of Imperial interception. Thanks to you, we are now in command of a small fleet. Were these not lean days for the throne, a precious medal would have been struck in your honor. As it stands, I am pleased to award you the chalcedony waves from my late mother."
- ―Princess Leia Organa
Shortly after the destruction of Alderaan and the Battle of Yavin, Alderaanian Princess Leia Organa set out with Verlaine on a mission to unite the few Alderaanians who remained alive in the galaxy. Their mission brought them to Sullust, where a group of Alderaanians lived in an enclave beneath the world's volcanic surface. The Galactic Empire, which used its military might to hunt the surviving Alderaanians across the galaxy, discovered Organa and her united forces on Sullust. Nunb answered Verlaine's call for help and smuggled the Alderaanians off of Sullust and into space, without detection from Imperial forces. He also provided the arms in his ship to Organa and her people, so they could be used against the Empire. Organa was grateful for Nunb's assistance and presented him with the chalcedony waves necklace that once belonged to her adoptive mother, Queen Breha Organa of Alderaan, as a token of her gratitude.
Later in the mission, Organa turned herself over to Imperial Commander Dreed on the desert world of Skaradosh in exchange for the release of Tula, an Imperial officer from Alderaan; Tula's sister, Tace, was part of Organa's group of refugees and Tula secretly manipulated her sister for information about Organa's whereabouts. Before Organa could be taken captive, the Mellcrawler arrived to rescue her, with Nunb having slipped the ship onto the planet without the orbiting Imperial forces noticing. Verlaine fired on Dreed and his Imperial stormtroopers, killing the commander while Organa and Tula were able to make their way on board. Though Organa thanked him for his efforts, Nunb said that the real test would be making it past the Imperial forces alive.
The Star Destroyer in orbit detected the Mellcrawler once they received word that Dreed had been killed. Nunb launched a decoy to fool the Imperial vessels, leaving them to follow the sensor decoy as the Mellcrawler avoided their detection. The trick was successful and the Star Destroyer crew believed the Mellcrawler had been destroyed, and Organa with it. It was at that moment that a fleet of Alderaanians from Espirion arrived to assist Organa and her people. The arrival of the fleet allowed the Alderaanians to destroy the Star Destroyer, and the Alderaanian fleet escaped the wrath of the Empire. Nunb later attended a celebration in which Organa, Verlaine, and their people celebrated the success of the mission to unite them.
- "Memorize the names on display. Nien Nunb, Sian Tevv, Corjentain Malaqua…these are rebels with known ties to Sullust. They are potential infiltrators. They may be smuggling in arms and equipment for a full-on revolution."
- ―An Imperial lieutenant
About three years later, Nunb returned to Sullust on a mission for the Rebel Alliance, in which he led the Sullustan resistance as they supplied items to members of the Cobalt Laborers' Reformation Front at Pinyumb. Shortly after, a battle broke out between Imperial and Alliance's 61st Mobile Infantry as they took the factory of Inyusu Tor. As the Sixty-First attempted to leave for the next target in their operation, their CR90 corvette the Thunderstrike was shot down and its escort, the Braha'tok-class gunship Apailana's Promise, was forced to flee. The Sixty-First was stranded and faced an inevitable attack so its Captain, Hazram Namir, went to Pinyumb to find Nunb and the Sullustan resistance. Namir and his soldiers were attacked and Namir was apprehended by stormtroopers, but Nunb came to the rescue and took Namir to the Sullustan resistance safe house to meet the others. He asked Nunb for support but Nunb and the others could not help them. The Imperial-class Star Destroyer Herald soon arrived to finish the Sixty-First and the Apailana's Promise came back too to fight it off. The battle went on in the sky and on the ground but the Herald was forced to retreat due to internal sabotage turning the tide of the battle. Nunb rallied the Sullustan resistance Cobalt Laborers to take Pinyumb as the ground forces began to dwindle at Inyusu Tor. The joint effort caused a planet-wide uprising on Sullust, taking it for the alliance.
Operation Yellow Moon
- "It's good to be wanted."
- ―Nien Nunb on his bounty from the Empire
Shortly after the Battle of Hoth, Nunb was tasked with transporting Organa to a meeting on Zastiga. On Zastiga, Nunb met with Wedge Antilles and Luke Skywalker to discuss reconnaissance tactics. Once Operation Yellow Moon was approved, Nunb transported the team to the Corva sector. Upon reaching Basteel, Nunb flew his ship to Eladro City. His casual piloting through the turbulent atmosphere unnerved Kidi Aleri but he was able to safely land his ship. Once on the ground, Nunb was given some credits by Organa and he headed to a bar to get a drink and some local intel. On the way to the bar, Nunb, Aleri, and Antrot stopped at a bazaar. While the rest of the team climbed out of the mountain in the tunnels above the city, Nunb returned to his ship so he could pick them up once they were clear. He was detained when the Empire arrived on Basteel and checked out the credentials for all the ships that were present. Once he was cleared, he flew to the top of the mountain and picked up the team. When they were all on-board and safely away from Basteel, Nunb got them hot beverages and blankets to help them warm up from the exposure to Basteel's harsh environment.
Nunb then flew the team to Sesid. Once they landed at Thrinaka, he suggested that they purchase tourist clothes to better blend in. After they completed their mission to place a beacon, he warned them not to return to Thrinaka, as stormtroopers were present in the city. He rendezvoused with the team above the planet and flew them to their next destination.
After they arrived at Jaresh, Nunb went to see if he could swing a deal with any local merchants for a load of the planet's main export, fertilizer. As they were leaving the planet, Nunb was ambushed by the Shieldmaiden, which snuck up on his ship from the dark side of the planet. He was able to avoid being snared by a tractor beam by skimming under a massive commercial freighter that happened to be passing through the system. Once clear of the tractor beams, he made the jump to hyperspace. When they were safe in hyperspace, Organa had a meeting with the team and left them to decide if they wanted to continue with the operation. Nunb found it humorous that if he quit, they wouldn't have a ship to finish the mission, but agreed to stay to the end.
Nunb flew the team to the rendezvous at Galaan and when other starships arrived, he made sure his ship was in position to transmit the tightbeam encryption code directly to them so Organa could contact them. During Organa's speech to the assembled ships, Nunb detected the Shieldmaiden incoming. He attempted to flee, but was unable to avoid the Star Destroyer's tractor beams and was forced to shut down his engines to prevent damage to the Mellcrawler. As the yacht was drawn into the belly of the Star Destroyer, Organa prepared to destroy the Mellcrawler using the volatile fertilizer Nunb had picked up on Jaresh, which he was hoping to sell elsewhere at a profit. However, when Lokmarcha stopped her, Nunb instead purged the logs of his ship to prevent any data from falling into Imperial hands. Nunb was captured and imprisoned onboard the Shieldmaiden. He was able to free himself when Lokmarcha set off an electromagnetic pulse that disabled part of the Star Destroyer.
He gave directions to Organa so she could lead the surviving members of the team from the detention center to the docking bay. Once in the bay, they were discovered by a squad of stormtroopers and Nunb quickly entered the Tydirium, an Imperial shuttle. He powered it up and was able to safely escape the Shieldmaiden with the surviving members of the team.
Look before you leap
- "Those two TIE fighters definitely landed here, right? We tracked them."
"We did, Nien Nunb. To this exact spot. Which is why I told you it's dangerous for us to land here."
- ―Nien Nunb and Shriv Suurgav before discovering the TIEs were destroyed
Nunb and the Duros Shriv Suurgav tracked two TIE fighters to a dangerous planet, but they lost sight of the TIEs while entering the atmosphere. After landing Suurgav insisted that they should first have done a full scan for dangerous life forms. Shortly after, the ground moved and sucked them and the Mellcrawler II and droped them into a cave covered in green gunk which clogged the starship. They discovered one of the TIE fighters; which was being eaten by blue worm creatures. Suurgav managed to unclog the starship and later escaped.
Battle of Endor
- "Don't worry. My friend's down there. He'll have that shield down on time. Or this'll be the shortest offensive of all time."
- ―Lando Calrissian, assuaging Nunb's concerns about the Battle of Endor
Shortly thereafter, Nunb was a member of the Alliance Fleet and was selected to fly as co-pilot to General Calrissian aboard the Millennium Falcon during the Battle of Endor, where he piloted the Falcon and led the fighter assault to destroy the second Death Star. Before the battle, when the Alliance Fleet was gathered near Sullust, Nunb expressed concern about the plan of attack and whether General Han Solo, Organa, and their team would be able to successfully destroy the Death Star's shield generator on the moon of Endor before the fleet arrived. Owing to Lando's understanding of the Sullustan language, he personally picked Nunb for the mission, impressed by his exploits aboard the Mellcrawler. Worried about the mission, Calrissian assured Nunb that Solo would have the shield down on schedule.
The Alliance Fleet arrived over Endor to find that the shield generator was still active, and they realized that the battle was a trap set by Emperor Palpatine to destroy the Rebel Alliance once and for all. The fleet remained over Endor and engaged Imperial forces in the hopes that Solo and his team would be able to destroy the generator. The fleet kept to fighting TIE/ln space superiority starfighters and Star Destroyers, particularly once they learned that the Death Star was operational, after previously believing that it did not yet have the use of its primary, planet-destroying superlaser. Once Solo's team destroyed the shield generator, the Millennium Falcon entered the Death Star's superstructure and fired the shot that began a chain reaction that led to the battle station's destruction. Calrissian and Nunb were in a race against time as they outran the fireball that their attack created, and they escaped the Death Star just before it was consumed in a massive explosion. The Alliance was victorious, the Emperor was dead, and the Empire was shattered. On the surface of Endor, the Rebels held a celebration along with the native Ewoks, who helped Solo's team destroy the shield.
Twenty days after the Battle of Endor, Imperial Captain Lerr Duvat began Operation: Cinder, a contingency plan issued posthumously by the late Emperor. Operation: Cinder called for the scouring of Palpatine's homeworld, Naboo, with the use of a climate disruption array. The Rebel Alliance, currently transitioning into the New Republic, quickly deployed a portion of its fleet to defend the planet. Nunb accompanied the fleet aboard his new yacht, the Mellcrawler II. The fleet soon destroyed the Imperial forces, succeeding in the planet's defense.
Following the revelations of Senator Organa's parentage as the daughter of Darth Vader in the New Republic's Galactic Senate, Nunb sent a message expressing support for his former rebel colleague. Later, he along with several former rebel veterans and New Republic personnel were present at a meeting in the New Republic senatorial complex's hangar bay where Leia established the Resistance, a paramilitary organization to protect the Republic. Nunb was among the earliest Rebel Alliance veterans who joined the Resistance, having been stirred by Organa's words.
Service under the Resistance
After joining the Resistance, Nunb offered his support and provided his skills by piloting a T-70 X-wing starfighter in the Resistance Starfighter Corps having the naval rank of Lieutenant Commander. He wore flight gauntlets, a pressurized interstellar orange g-suit, and a gear harness, along with a specialized flight helmet to fit his unique head. His helmet also featured older Coalstreak Squadron stripes on the upper right-hand side of his helmet, appearing as two, parallel black lines.
Nunb was the pilot on a mission led by Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo to steal the head of Admiral Mathieson's protocol droid, which held recordings of every conversation the New Republic Admiral had had for the last five years, from the space station Brooksdion as proof of New Republic High Command's inaction against the growing threat of the First Order. After the theft, Nunb evaded the New Republic Defense Force's Rapier Squadron, led by Commander Poe Dameron.
Battle of Starkiller Base
When the First Order destroyed the Hosnian system with the use of the Starkiller, the Resistance base became the next target. Quickly establishing a plan to destroy Starkiller Base, Nunb, along with the rest of the Starfighter Corps, flew to the planet in an attempt to destroy its thermal oscillator and disable the weapon. During the assault, many Resistance pilots were lost before the oscillator was destroyed by Dameron. Nunb was one of seven surviving X-wing pilots, and he celebrated with the rest of the Resistance upon returning to D'Qar.
Funeral of Han Solo
Evacuation of D'Qar
At the Battle of Crait, Nunb was one of the members of "Reb" Squadron, the group of pilots that flew V-4X-D ski speeders along the salt plains of Crait. He, Rose Tico, Finn, C'ai Threnalli, and squadron leader Poe Dameron were the only members of Reb squadron to survive the assault on the First Order's Superlaser siege cannon. When their lines were broken, an evacuation of the whole of the Resistance took place. After taking heavy losses, Nunb was one of the few remaining Resistance members to escape onboard the Millennium Falcon.
Aboard the Falcon
- "Oh. Hello, Nien."
"Eetuu achaa doo ahmtee vee an…?"
"No, no. Be my guest. I have other work to do. And from what I recall, you have as much right to the co-pilots seat on the Falcon as anyone."
- ―Leia Organa and Nien Nunb
Having escaped from the First Order, Nunb met Organa and Chewbacca in the ship's cockpit while the Falcon traveled into hyperspace. Organa invited Nunb to sit in the co-pilots seat and left the cockpit to him and Chewie, assuring him that as she recalled, he had as much right to seat in the co-pilot's seat as anyone. Chewie and Numb shared a mutual look of approval with each other before bumping fists.
Sometime later Nunb was positioned at the Resistance base on Batuu. In his time on Batuu, he was tasked with flying the Intersystem Transport Ship that flew Lieutenant Bek and his recruits to General Organa's secret location. However, the ship did not make it as they were intercepted by the First Order. Nunb and the rest of the Resistance crew were captured and taken on board the Finalizer to be interrogated. However, Poe Dameron arrived with reinforcements, and a space battle between Resistance starfighters and First Order TIE fighters ensued. The battle helped give Nunb and his crew mates enough time to reach the escape pods of the Star Destroyer and launch safely back to the Resistance base on Batuu.
- "There aren't enough of us!"
- ―Nien Nunb
A year later, Nien Nunb continued his allegiance with the Resistance and joined them in their relocation to Ajan Kloss. Nunb was appointed as the pilot of General Organa's command ship, the recovered blockade runner, Tantive IV, her former consular vessel, an accolade which he was honoured to be the recipient of. Upon receiving the news from a spy within the First Order that Emperor Palpatine had indeed returned, the Resistance sought to plan their decisive offensive against the Sith Eternal. Following the passing of Organa, Nunb attended and spoke at a briefing held beneath Tantive IV. Nunb, alongside his co-pilot, Urcos Furdam, departed from Ajan Kloss in the Tantive IV with an assortment of fighters to Exegol. As the legions of Xyston-class Star Destroyers immediately engaged the comparatively minute collection of Resistance craft, Nunb and Furdam successfully maneuvered their vessel and were able to slug it out against adversaries multiple times their size while many of their comrades fell to concentrated fire from enemy ships. Shortly following the arrival of reinforcements led by Nunb's old friend and former co-pilot, Calrissian, as well as Solo's partner Chewbacca on the Falcon, the mass of Force lightning hurled into the sky by Palpatine disabled the bulk of the Resistance forces, the Tantive IV included. The lightning kicked off explosions in the vessel, leading to the loss of the ship and Nunb himself, but his sacrifice wasn't in vain as it led to the final defeat of the Emperor and the Sith and prevented the First Order from combining forces with the Final Order so they could restore the Empire as well as a massive uprising across the galaxy.
Personality and traits
- "Nien Nunb is the bravest Sullustan I know."
Nien Nunb was a Sullustan male. He had large black eyes, as well as large ears and jowl, and had light skin. He spoke in the liquid-like tongue of the Sullustan language but was able to speak Galactic Basic Standard with difficulty. He was considered upbeat and optimistic, and frequently cracked sarcastic, if not anti-climactic jokes. Known for celebrating little victories, his comrades were always upbeat with Nunb's laugh and jokes. Despite his outward appearance of wisecracking jollity, he was extremely dedicated to whatever mission or cause he served, and displayed a loyalty and courage heralded by many of his closest friends. Caring deeply about others, he would go out of his way to provide for those less fortunate than him, and would help his people during the Imperial occupation of his planet as a resistance fighter.
Skills and abilities
- "Nunb can fly anything, in any conditions."
- ―Gial Ackbar
Nunb was an able pilot and smuggler, one who had the skills necessary to often avoid Imperial detection. His piloting abilities led to Calrissian personally selecting him to co-pilot the Millennium Falcon during the Battle of Endor.
Behind the scenes
- "Nien Nunb is a Muppet, a guy under the deck does his thing. He's got some dialogue to do. He's got this funny, twitchy face. He's a terrific character in my mind."
- ―Richard Marquand, director of Return of the Jedi
Nien Nunb made his first appearance in the 1983 film Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi. He was brought to life as both a puppet and as a costumed-actor during the film. For scenes in the Millennium Falcon, Nunb was puppeteered by Mike Quinn. Nien Nunb's mask wasn't going to be articulated until Quinn suggested that Nunb would be used as a puppet. In the shots with Nunb in the Millenium Falcon, Quinn was wedged underneath the puppet. He layed flat on his back with only a small TV monitor to see what the camera was shooting. He was portrayed by Richard Bonehill in wide shots. Nunb's name originated from the fact that he was referred to as "Number Nine" on creature packaging. The character was voiced by Kipsang Rotich, a Kenyan student who spoke in his native Kalenjin language, as well as in Kikuyu.Rotich was uncredited in Return of the Jedi. Quinn and Rotich returned to the role for the 2015 film Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens. The character later appeared as an animatronic on the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge ride Rise of the Resistance.
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