- "All I know is I never risk my own skin if I don't have to."
- ―Nute Gunray, to Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano
Nute Gunray was a Neimoidian male who served as the Viceroy of the Trade Federation and a high-ranking member of the Separatist Confederacy of Independent Systems and chairman of the Separatist Council. Gunray led the Trade Federation through its invasion of the planet Naboo, at the behest of the Sith Lord Darth Sidious—who was secretly Sheev Palpatine, the Senator of Naboo, and who had engineered the conflict to be elected Supreme Chancellor. The Federation invasion was repelled and Gunray was arrested, but he avoided punishment after four trials in the Supreme Court.
Ten years later, Gunray had become a member of the Separatist Alliance, pledging Federation military support for the impending war against the Galactic Republic. After the outbreak of the Clone Wars, Gunray was an important member of the Separatist leadership, and attempted to bring the world of Rodia into the Separatist cause. By the end of the Clone Wars, which had been manipulated by Darth Sidious from both sides, the Separatists were in disarray following the death of their political leader, the Sith Lord Count Dooku, and the death of the cyborg Supreme Commander of the Droid Army, General Grievous. The surviving Separatist council members, lead by Gunray, sought protection on Mustafar, where they and Gunray were killed by Darth Vader at the behest of Darth Sidious. Gunray was the last council member to be killed by Vader's lightsaber, which ultimately brought an end to the Clone Wars and fragmented the CIS into various Separatist holdouts, in which they were represented by various ununited warlords across the galaxy.
Nute Gunray's rise to the position of Viceroy of the Trade Federation was engineered by the Sith Lord Darth Sidious. During his tenure as Viceroy, Gunray authored a Trade Federation advertisement known as Safe In Our Hands which was created by the Federation's public relations agency, Eleven Star Marketing. The advertisement featured a Neimoidian hand holding Coruscant in its palm, and some feared that it represented Gunray's ambitions to own Coruscant itself and extend his growing influence. Under Gunray's direction, these claims were dismissed as anti Neimoidian-prejudice.
The Naboo CrisisEdit
The Naboo Crisis arose as a result of a dispute between the Trade Federation and the Galactic Republic relating to the taxation of trade routes to outlying systems. At the instigation of the Sidious—secretly Naboo Senator Palpatine—the Trade Federation decided to force a resolution to the dispute by blockading the planet Naboo with a fleet of modified battleships, cutting off all shipping to the planet. Gunray commanded the blockade itself from his flagship Saak'ak, a Droid Control Ship. In response to the Naboo Crisis, Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum dispatched two Jedi, the Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi, to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the dispute.
Viceroy Gunray allowed the Jedi emissaries to land their ship Radiant VII in the Saak'ak's hangar bay. After learning that the emissaries were Jedi, Gunray and the ship's captain Daultay Dofine panicked and contacted Darth Sidious via hologram. Sidious ordered Gunray to kill the two Jedi and to invade the planet Naboo, telling to them that he would "make it legal" in the Galactic Senate. Under Gunray's orders, the emissary's ship Radiant VII was destroyed and poison gas was released into the reception room hosting the two Jedi. Gunray also dispatched a group of security battle droids to finish off the Jedi. However, the two Jedi managed to survive the attempted poisoning and quickly dispatched the battle droids. Shortly later, Gunray was contacted by the Naboo Queen Padmé Amidala, who refused to sign a treaty with the Trade Federation.
The two Jedi emissaries then attempted to breach the Saak'ak's command bridge but were driven away by droidekas. Despite the threat posed by the Jedi, Gunray still proceeded with the invasion. C-9979 landing craft were used to land the Trade Federation's droid army on Naboo, and OOM command battle droid OOM-9 was ordered to look out for the Jedi. The army then proceeded to capture the capital city of Theed and other major centers. The Trade Federation's droid army succeeded in occupying Naboo with little resistance and managed to capture Queen Amidala and her entourage. Following the occupation of Theed, Gunray visited the captured Queen herself and reiterated his demand that she sign a treaty with the Federation. She refused, and so she and the others were to be taken to Camp Four.
Gunray suffered a setback when the two Jedi and a local Gungan guide named Jar Jar Binks managed to free the Queen and her entourage, and escape offworld. Meanwhile, Viceroy Gunray an some Settlement Officer Rune Haako presided over the occupation of Naboo from the Theed Royal Palace. Naboo's population was forced into camps where they experienced starvation and hardship. In Amidala's absence, Gunray assumed her throne and attempted to force Governor Sio Bibble to sign the treaty with the Trade Federation, and delighted in taunting the captive Bibble, but the Governor refused to back down. In the Senate on Coruscant, the Trade Federation's Senator Lott Dod managed to block Queen Amidala and Senator Palpatine's efforts to request Republic intervention in Naboo. However, Queen Amidala, at the instigation of Palpatine, managed to outmanoeuvre the Trade Federation by calling for a Vote of No Confidence against Chancellor Valorum.
As the occupation deepened, the droid army began to move against the Gungans, Naboo's amphibious indigenous civilization, who lived in underwater cities like Otoh Gunga. Facing little resistance, the Trade Federation removed most of their fleet from Naboo with the exception of the Droid Control Ship Vuutun Palaa. The diminished Trade Federation naval presence enabled Queen Amidala, her entourage, her Jedi allies, and Binks to land their starship on Naboo. Queen Amidala managed to rally the Naboo resistance and to forge an alliance with the Gungan leader Boss Rugor Nass. Seeking to drive out the Trade Federation, Amidala devised a three-pronged battle plan which involved the Gungan Grand Army marching on Theed to draw away the droid army. Meanwhile, Naboo forces under Amidala and her Jedi allies would infiltrate Theed and capture the Viceroy. Naboo forces would also capture the hangar bay at the royal palace and use their N-1 starfighters to destroy the Droid Control Ship, incapacitating the droid army.
In response to this renewed threat from Amidala and the Jedi, Darth Sidious dispatched his Sith apprentice Darth Maul to reinforce Viceroy Gunray. After receiving reports that the Gungan Grand Army was marshalling outside Theed, Gunray dismissed them as primitives and asked for Lord Sidious' permission to wipe them out. At Sidious's urging, Gunray sent Federation sent the majority of his droid army to wipe out the Gungan forces. During the Battle of Naboo, Gunray believed himself to be away from the fighting the within the Theed Royal Palace. With the bulk of the droid army preoccupied with the Gungans, Queen Amidala and her Jedi allies were able to infiltrate the Royal Palace and secure the N-1 starfighters, which proceeded to launch a starfighter strike on the Vuutun Palaa. While Master Qui-Gon and his Padawan Kenobi took on Darth Maul in a lightsaber duel, Queen Amidala's forces fought their way through the Royal Palace.
Gunray's droidekas managed to capture Queen Amidala and some her party and brought them into the throne room, where Gunray reiterated his demand that she sign a treaty with the Trade Federation. However, the Queen's disguised handmaiden arrived in the throne room with reinforcements, confusing Gunray and his battle droids. The Naboo managed to disable Gunray's droids and take the Viceroy and Haako captive. Meanwhile in space, Anakin Skywalker destroyed the Droid Control Ship with a missile fired from his starfighter. This effectively disabled the entire Federation droid army; turning the tide of the battle decisively in favor of the Naboo and their Gungan allies. Meanwhile, Kenobi managed to seemingly kill Darth Maul but lost his Master Qui-Gon, who succumbed to injuries inflicted by Darth Maul. With the defeat of the Federation's droid army, Viceroy Gunray and Rune Haako were taken captive. They were then transported to Coruscant to face trial for their crimes on Naboo.
Supreme Court trialsEdit
- "It's outrageous that, after four trials in the Supreme Court, Nute Gunray is still the Viceroy of the Trade Federation."
- ―Sio Bibble
Gunray spent the next four years undergoing trials in the Senate Courts. Gunray's lawyers worked feverishly to ensure that nothing ever came of these trials, and though they cost the Viceroy a fortune in legal fees, no charges were ever brought against him. Gunray's third trial ended in a hung jury, and his fourth found him not guilty, allowing him to retain his assets and titles.
Bitter over his defeat at Naboo, Gunray developed a deep seated grudge against the one person he blamed for his subsequent legal troubles; Padmé Amidala, now a senator for Naboo in the Galactic Senate. At Gunray's direction, the Trade Federation covertly used TriNebulon News to spread rumours about Amidala, attempting to discredit her early Senate career by running negative stories on her youth and inexperience. After the conclusion of Gunray's fourth trial, rumours circulated that he had gone as far as to put a price on Amidala's head.
The Clone WarsEdit
The Separatist CrisisEdit
- "What about the Senator from Naboo? Is she dead yet? I'm not signing your treaty until I have her head on my desk."
"I am a man of my word, Viceroy."
- ―Nute Gunray and Dooku
Ten years after the events of the Naboo Crisis, Nute Gunray remained Viceroy of the Trade Federation. After his many trials, Gunray remained bitter at the Republic, and joined the growing Secessionist Movement under the leadership of Count Dooku; a former Jedi who had become Darth Tyranus, Darth Sidious' new Sith apprentice. The Secessionist Movement was a confederation of a thousand star systems and corporations that were dissatisfied with the rampant taxation and excessive corruption within the Galactic Republic. This movement later developed into the Confederacy of Independent Systems.
Nute Gunray agreed to join the Separatists in return for one concession: that his old adversary, Senator Amidala, be killed as revenge for his loss during the Naboo Crisis. Count Dooku agreed and arranged for the bounty hunters Jango Fett and Zam Wesell to assassinate the senator. The bounty hunters launched two unsuccessful attempts which only drew the Jedi Order's attention to the existence of a clone army being created on the planet Kamino. While pursuing Jango Fett Obi-Wan Kenobi, now a Jedi Knight, discovered that a droid army was being constructed for the Separatists on the desert planet Geonosis.
On Geonosis, Viceroy Gunray, Rune Haako, and the leaders of several powerful commerce guilds attended a secret meeting with Count Dooku where they pledged their support for the Separatist Movement. With their new droid army, the Separatists hoped they could mount a successful challenge against the Republic and their Jedi defenders. Shortly later, Kenobi along with Senator Amidala and Anakin Skywalker were captured by Geonosians following a skirmish in the Geonosian droid factory. After Amidala and her companions were sentenced to death and forced to fight in the Petranaki arena, Gunray attended the proceedings, accompanied by Haako, Count Dooku, the Geonosian leader Poggle the Lesser, Jango Fett, and his "son" Boba Fett. Gunray watched with great amusement as Amidala was savagely attacked by the nexu in the arena, but Gunray's hopes for revenge against the Senator were dashed when she and her Jedi allies managed to fight off the arena creatures—a reek, and an acklay—and the Geonosian picadors.
Gunray and his Separatist allies suffered another blow when a Jedi strike force lead by Jedi Master Mace Windu, and later clone trooper forces under Grand Master Yoda, attacked the Petranaki arena. Gunray remained close to Dooku during the ensuing battle, and retreated to the Geonosian war room during the ensuing Battle of Geonosis. Gunray suggested sending all available droids into battle immediately, but the Separatist Droid Army proved inferior to the Republic's clone troopers. With the battle turning in favor of the Grand Army of the Republic and their Jedi commanders, Gunray retreated from Geonosis to supervise the evacuation of the Trade Federation Core Ships. This battle marked the spark of the Clone Wars, a galactic-wide conflict between the Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems.
Capture on RodiaEdit
- "The Separatist leader Nute Gunray has promised to support us with a very generous relief effort. Neh-soo-bo-wah. He is giving us food, ships, and protection."
"Nute Gunray cannot be trusted. He will bring war to your system just as he did to mine many years ago."
"I am afraid I have already done what I must for my people."
- ―Onaconda Farr and Padmé Amidala
At some point following the Battle of Geonosis, Nute Gunray turned his attention to the Mid Rim world of Rodia. The planet had been attacked by pirates and Rodia's Republic Senator Onaconda Farr had appealed to Viceroy Gunray for help. The Viceroy agreed to send relief supplies to Rodia in return for one small favor: kidnapping his long-time foe Senator Amidala. Farr was a close friend of the Naboo Senator and called her to Rodia under the pretext of seeking aid from the Republic for the Rodian people. Senator Amidala was escorted by her long-time friend Representative Jar Jar Binks and her protocol droid C-3PO.
Upon arriving, Senator Amidala and C-3PO were captured. After learning of her capture, Gunray ordered that she be manacled as a precaution before he traveled to Rodia to meet her. However, Gunray's plans encountered an unexpected obstacle in the form of Binks, who managed to elude the Viceroy's battle droids and trick them into believing that he was a Jedi. In the midst of the commotion, Amidala and C-3PO managed to escape and contact the Republic for assistance before they were recaptured by Gunray's battle droids. After arriving on Rodia, Gunray applied pressure on Farr by withholding relief supplies until Senator Amidala was executed. When Senator Farr protested, Gunray responded that the planet was now under his protection.
After Gunray's droid forces had recaptured Senator Amidala and C-3PO, he assembled a trio of droidekas to execute them. Before Gunray could carry out the sentence, Binks and a Kwazel Maw monster that he had befriended named "Bogey" burst out from the swamp and overwhelmed the droidekas. The Viceroy attempted to flee aboard his Sheathipede-class transport shuttle but "Bogey" knocked it into the swamp. He was then held by Senator Amidala at gunpoint. Shortly later, Farr arrived and revealed that he and Amidala had planned to trap Gunray all along. Shortly later, Republic forces of the 41st Elite Corps arrived and took Gunray into custody.
Escape from Republic custodyEdit
- "I am a man of great wealth, and I can be very generous to my allies."
"That is a very tempting offer, Viceroy. In the meantime, I have a gift for you."
- ―Viceroy Nute Gunray is presented with handcuffs from Gree
Following the events on Rodia, the captive Gunray was transferred aboard the Venator-class Star Destroyer Tranquility for trial on Coruscant. Due to his high status in the Confederacy, the Jedi Council dispatched the Jedi Master Luminara Unduli and Anakin Skywalker's Padawan Ahsoka Tano to guard Gunray. The two Jedi were reinforced by a group of Senate Guards led by Captain Argyus and a squad of Clone troopers led by Clone Commander Gree. In response to Gunray's capture, Sidious and Dooku dispatched the Dathomirian dark side assassin Asajj Ventress to infiltrate the Tranquility and rescue or kill the Trade Federation Viceroy.
While in captivity, Gunray was interrogated by Unduli and Tano but refused to cooperate. When a frustrated Tano threatened the Viceroy, Unduli chastised the younger Jedi. Their interrogation was interrupted by the arrival of Separatist attack force consisting of Separatist Vulture droids and three Droch-class boarding ships. While Separatist droids boarded the Tranquility, Ventress took advantage of the chaos to sabotage the ship's power generators. After Unduli departed with several Clone troopers to fight the intruders, Ventress managed to overpower Ahsoka and free Gunray. Before Gunray could escape with the dark side warrior, Master Luminara returned to the cell and fought with Ventress in the ship's elevator shaft and generator room.
While Luminara was dueling with Ventress, Gunray was locked in his cell with Tano and Argyus standing guard. Unknown to the Republic and Jedi, Argyus was a traitor who was secretly working for Dooku. When Ahsoka departed the brig to help Luminara, Argyus took the opportunity to overpower his fellow Senate Commandos and freed Gunray. Gree managed to overpower Argyus, but Gunray, unnoticed by the clone Commander, picked up a fallen blaster and knocked him unconscious. The Viceroy and his rescuer then escaped on a Republic Consular-class cruiser in the lower hangar and were joined by Ventress, who had escaped her Jedi foes in a Republic escape pod. Gunray was present when Ventress killed Argyus by impaling him through the chest with lightsaber, and after the death Gunray told Ventress he had "always had a good feeling about" her, which was what he had told Argyus as well.
Assisting Count DookuEdit
Following his escape, Gunray assisted Dooku in luring Jedi Master Kit Fisto, Jedi Knight Nahdar Vebb and several clone troopers into a trap at General Grievous's fortress on Vassek. Count Dooku wanted General Grievous to prove his worth by killing the intruders. As part of the plot, a hologram of Gunray was used to taunt his Jedi and Republic pursuers. Gunray took great pleasure in deceiving the Jedi and laughed as he welcomed them to their doom. Shortly later, the Jedi and clone troopers were attacked by Grievous. Vebb and all the Republic clones present on the mission, with the exception of Fisto, were killed.
Working with Cad BaneEdit
- "When Darth Sidious asked me to loan you the Federation fleet, he didn't say you were going to war! Bane, you've already lost four of my ships! I hope you can pay for all of this!"
"One authentic Jedi holocron and the memory crystal I was after. When my benefactor gets this, he will compensate you for your puny fleet."
- ―Gunray and Cad Bane
Under Sidious' orders, Gunray dispatched several ships of the Federation fleet including Munificent-class star frigates to assist the bounty hunter Cad Bane on the planet Devaron. Bane had stolen a Jedi Kyber memory crystal, which contained information of value to Sidious, and kidnapped the Jedi Master Bolla Ropal. Despite Bane's successes, Gunray was furious to learn that Bane had lost four ships to Republic forces during the Battle of Devaron. When the Neimoidian demanded compensation, Bane promised that Darth Sidious would compensate the Viceroy once the crystal had been opened.
After Bane killed Ropal for refusing to open the crystal, the bounty hunter managed to kidnap Anakin's apprentice Ahsoka Tano during a skirmish aboard his Munificent frigate. Taking Ahsoka hostage, Bane was able to force Anakin to open the memory crystal. After extracting the desired information from the memory crystal, Bane escaped and reported his success to Gunray, who offered to send him a rescue ship if he disclosed the data from the crystal. However, Bane refused and insisted on sending the information directly to Darth Sidious. Bane escaped into space as the last ship in Gunray's fleet was destroyed.
Last Days of the Clone WarsEdit
- "It won't be long before the armies of the Republic track us here. I'm sending you to the Mustafar system, in the Outer Rim. It is a volcanic planet. You will be safe there.
Safe? Chancellor Palpatine managed to escape your grip, General. Without Count Dooku, I have doubts about your ability to keep us safe.
Be thankful, Viceroy, you have not found yourself in my grip...Your ship is waiting."
- ―Grievous and Gunray exchange words over Grievous's ability to protect them properly
Following the death of Count Dooku and the defeat of the Separatist fleet during the Battle of Coruscant, Nute Gunray and the other leaders of the Separatist Council met with General Grievous on the planet Utapau. With the Republic closing in on the Separatist leadership, Grievous informed the Council that he was transferring them to the volcanic planet of Mustafar for their safety. Gunray responded by questioning the cyborg General's abilities, citing Grievous' failure to capture Supreme Chancellor Palpatine on Coruscant. In the light of Dooku's death, Gunray doubted the General's ability to protect him and the other Separatist leaders. Angered by Gunray's complaints, Grievous remarked that the Viceroy should be thankful not to find himself in his grip before dismissing the Council, telling them that their ship was waiting.
- "The war is over! Lord Sidious promised us peace! We only want—AAAAAAAAAAAUGH!!!"
- ―Nute Gunray's last words, to Darth Vader
After seducing Anakin Skywalker to the dark side and initiating the Jedi Purge, Darth Sidious dispatched his new apprentice, now called Darth Vader, to Mustafar to kill Gunray and the other Separatist leaders. Sidious also informed the Separatist leaders of Darth Vader's arrival but claimed that he had come to make peace with them. After Vader landed, Gunray greeted the Sith apprentice, who then proceeded to shut the blast doors and execute the Separatist Council with his lightsaber. The Trade Federation Viceroy was the last to be slain.[source?] As Vader cornered Gunray, he attempted to reason with Vader, telling the Sith apprentice that the war was over and that Sidious had promised them peace. However, Darth Vader ignored Gunray's pleas and proceeded to slash him across the chest with his lightsaber, killing him. The end of the Clone Wars also coincided with the transformation of the Galactic Republic into the first Galactic Empire. Following Gunray's death, the Trade Federation and its assets were dissolved by the Empire.
Personality and traitsEdit
- "Don't shoot! I am an innocent pawn!"
- ―Nute Gunray, showing his cowardice
As Viceroy of the Trade Federation, Nute Gunray was powerful, deceitful and willing to kill for his financial benefit. An avaricious and calculating business leader who was primarily concerned with maximizing profits and his own well-being. His opposition to the Galactic Senate's taxation of trade routes led him to impose a military blockade of the planet Naboo. Gunray wanted to force the-then Naboo Queen Padmé Amidala to sign a favorable treaty with the Trade Federation. His desire to achieve these goals led him to blockade and subsequently occupy Naboo, which generated much hostility towards both Gunray and the Federation. While the wider galactic public thought that the Viceroy's Invasion of Naboo was solely motivated by greed, few were aware that Gunray was being manipulated from behind the scenes by the Sith Lord Darth Sidious.
Due to Amidala's role in his defeat on Naboo, Gunray harbored a deep grudge towards the Naboo politician and made several attempts on her life in the years following the Invasion of Naboo. Gunray's vindictiveness towards Senator Amidala led him to pledge the Trade Federation's support to Count Dooku's emerging Confederacy of Independent Systems. As an opportunistic bully, Gunray used the Trade Federation's wealth to manipulate the Rodian Senator Onaconda Farr into luring Senator Amidala into a trap in return for sending much-needed aid to the planet Rodia. However, Farr and Amidala took advantage of Gunray's vindictiveness and opportunism to capture the Viceroy.
While Gunray preferred to leave most of the fighting to his battle droids, he was still capable of physical action when push came to shove. During an escape hatched by the traitorous Senate Commando Argyus, Gunray assisted his rescuer by knocking out the Clone Commander Gree.
Behind the scenesEdit
Nute Gunray was played by Silas Carson in all of the prequel trilogy films. Carson also acted as Lott Dod, Jedi Master Ki-Adi-Mundi, and Antidar Williams in The Phantom Menace. In The Clone Wars television series, Gunray was voiced by Tom Kenny.
In a deleted scene of Attack of the Clones, Gunray was going to assist in the judgement of Padmé Amidala and Anakin Skywalker. In the Revenge of the Sith original script, Gunray was set to hide under the table with Rune Haako. After Haako is killed by Skywalker in an escape attempt, Gunray was going to call the droidekas and would try to escape, but finally, he would be decapitated by Anakin, who would have destroyed the droidekas at that time. Although this scene was apparently deleted from the movie's script, it's possible that the scene was filmed but was cut.[source?]
Nute Gunray's name had two sources from real life: The first was the Republican congressman Newt Gingrich, and the second was former President of the United States Ronald Reagan. The former source was because George Lucas primarily wrote the Trade Federation members in terms of motives and characterizations in response to the 1994 Republican Revolution (which occurred eight days into Lucas's draft-writing the film), specifically then-Speaker of the House Gingrich's Contract with America, and the latter source was as a response to Reagan's SDI program being labeled "Star Wars" without Lucas' permission.
- William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace: Star Wars Part the First
- LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales – "Exit from Endor" (Appears in flashback(s))
- LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales – "Crisis on Coruscant" (Appears in flashback(s))
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ Star Wars Journeys: The Phantom Menace
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3
- ↑ Star Wars Journeys: Beginnings
- ↑ 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
- ↑ Star Wars: On the Front Lines
- ↑ Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Queen's Shadow
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Bombad Jedi"
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Cloak of Darkness"
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Lair of Grievous"
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Cargo of Doom"
- ↑ Aftermath
- ↑ Star Wars: Force Collection (Card: Nute Gunray (★★★) (link))
- ↑ Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary, New Edition
- ↑ Chris Taylor. How Star Wars Conquered the Universe: The Past, Present Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise. New York, New York, USA: Basic Books, 2014–2015. Pp. 300–301. "Anyone sitting down to write a screenplay on November 1, 1994, as Lucas apparently did, would have been interrupted eight days into the writing process by one of the most seismic midterm in postwar American history. Republicans took the House and the Senate for the first time in 40 years. A resurgent GOP under House Speaker Newt Gingrich started pushing its tax-cutting, regulation-slashing 'Contract with America.' Democrats, whose messaging had improved since Ted Kennedy's 'Star Wars' flub, started calling it a 'Contract On America.
"It was perhaps no coincidence, then, that Lucas started writing about a 'Trade Federation,' aided and emboldened by corrupt politicians, embroiled in some sort of dispute over the taxing of trade to the outlying star systems. We never learn what the dispute is about -- whether the Trade Federation was pro- or anti-tax. But what we know is that the name of the leader of the Trade Federation -- never actually spoken in the movie, but noted in the script from the start -- was Nute Gunray. By 1997, when the GOP Senate leader was Trent Lott, Lucas named the Trade Federation's representative in the Galactic Senate: Lott Dodd. We're a long way from the subtlety of [George Lucas's] [North] Vietnam metaphor here."
- ↑ Film in American Popular Culture (October 2001).