Nute Gunray was a Neimoidian male who served as a stint Minister of the Trade Federation until he rose in power after the Stark Hyperspace War in 44 BBY, eventually becoming Viceroy of the Trade Federation. In 32 BBY, Gunray participated in the occupation of Naboo with the Federation Army to settle a trade dispute that began in the Galactic Senate. With the help of Darth Sidious, Gunray invaded the planet to end the trade dispute and secured all facilities in the capital of Theed. He attempted to force the incumbent Queen of Naboo Padmé Amidala to sign a treaty to make his invasion legal, however she refused and the Siege of Naboo continued. The Trade Federation soon surrendered to Naboo forces following the Battle of Naboo. Gunray was taken to the Galactic Republic capital on Coruscant to be charged with acts of war.
During the Separatist Crisis that following the Invasion of Naboo, Gunray confronted former Jedi Master, Count Dooku, who began a separatist movement that opposed the Republic. Dooku, who secretly was Sidious's Sith apprentice under the name of Darth Tyranus, helped him through his four trials in the Supreme Court, and soon after the trials, Gunray retained his position as Viceroy. The Trade Federation, under Gunray's command, joined Dooku's separatist movement and Gunray was named Head of the newly formed Separatist Council and so formed the Separatist Army. Gunray, along with Dooku and his master, Sidious, formed the Confederacy of Independent Systems which opposed the Galactic Republic in a three-year war known as the Clone Wars that followed after two years of the Separatist Crisis.
During the Clone Wars, Gunray tempted Onaconda Farr, the senator of Rodia, with an offer to join the Separatists and receive the aid and protection for Rodia that the Republic had failed to provide, in exchange for Farr luring Senator Amidala to the planet and handing her over to him. Gunray's plan ultimately failed and he was captured by the Republic and given to Jedi Master Luminara Unduli and Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano. Dooku sent his Dark Jedi apprentice, Asajj Ventress, to rescue the Viceroy from the Republic forces. Stationed inside the Republic Star Destroyer, Senate Commando Faro Argyus released the Viceroy and met up with Ventress in Argyus's cruiser. Argyus was betrayed and murdered by Ventress, however, in a fit of rage over his arrogance.
In 19 BBY, the Separatist Council was moved to the volcanic planet of Mustafar from the sink hole planet of Utapau, after Separatist General Grievous became leader of the CIS after the death of Dooku. Following the death of Grievous at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi Nute Gunray became the new leader of the separatists. Gunray along with the other Separatist leaders were betrayed by Darth Sidious after he sent his new apprentice, Darth Vader, to Mustafar to end the war. Gunray was the last council member to be killed by Vader's lightsaber, which had 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.
- "I realize that your voracious desires stem from the cruel conditions of your upbringing—you and your fellow grubs in ruthless competition for limited supplies of fungus. But I understand. We are all shaped by our infantile desires, our longing for affection and attention, our fears of death. And judging by how far you have come, it's clear that you were unrivaled and continue to be."
- ―Darth Sidious on Gunray's early life
Nute Gunray was born on Neimoidia, and like all Neimoidians, was brought up in the communal hive until the age of seven. At which point, he and the other grubs were deliberately forced to compete for limited supplies of food, a system designed to weed out the weak while the most acquisitive thrived by hoarding more than they could eat. Of them, Gunray was one of the most successful. When he declared himself to Gunray in 33 BBY, Darth Sidious attributed Gunray's voracious desires and ambition to the conditions of his early life.
- "As I told you once before, Viceroy, you serve yourselves best when you serve me."
- ―Darth Sidious
Gunray joined the Trade Federation as a junior trade officer, and soon enough, saw an opportunity for promotion. The Pulsar Supertanker corporation was being reviewed by the Federation for expulsion, and the verdict happened to depend on the testimonial of Gunray. Gunray supported the expulsion, citing "malicious disregard of profit" and "charitable donations lacking discernible reward". The resulting expulsion of Pulsar voided its CEO's position in the Trade Federation Directorate, and was in need of replacement. Gunray quickly filled the role.
By 44 BBY, Gunray served as the Trade Federation's senator in the Galactic Senate. He implored the Senate to intervene when the Stark Commercial Combine began attacking Federation transports carrying precious bacta. Gunray demanded the Federation be allowed to increase its Droid Army, though he secretly met with Senator Ranulph Tarkin to bring a more decisive end to the Combine. Gunray was pressured into giving Tarkin the name of the planet on which a conference was to be held between Iaco Stark and Republic representatives.
Gunray himself joined the negotiating team on Troiken, though Stark, aware of Tarkin's plan to attack his forces, sabotaged the senator's fleet. Aggressive negotiations broke out on Troiken, during which Gunray commanded his battle droid bodyguards to open fire—without specifying the enemy. Jedi Master Tyvokka was gunned down by Gunray's droids, though the cowardly Neimoidian demanded the surviving Jedi help him to his ship.
Unfortunately for Nute, his transport was destroyed, forcing him to tag along with the Jedi as they battled Stark's forces in what became known as the Stark Hyperspace War. Nute Gunray was eventually escorted back to Coruscant in the company of Senator Finis Valorum prior to Stark's defeat. Despite this encounter, Gunray would afterwards deny he had ever seen Jedi in action.
- "I knew Gunray slightly when he served as a Senator. He is acquisitive and ambitious, but oddly immune to intimidation."
- ―Darth Sidious
For his dubious role in the conflict, Nute Gunray became Viceroy of the Trade Federation, though he was still restrained by the Trade Federation Directorate. This frustrated him to no end, and he came to feel that the Directorate would never accept a Neimoidian Viceroy. In this time, Gunray was involved in a number of underhanded dealings, including clandestine meetings in the Claus Building and in the Follin Restaurant in the Crimson Corridor, the diversion of funds to Malastare representatives Pax Teem and Aks Moe, and secret negotiations with Damask Holdings.
Some time between 39 and 36 BBY, Nute Gunray sent part of the Trade Federation Droid Army to colonize Alaris Prime, a rediscovered moon in the Kashyyyk system. Rights to colonize the moon had been granted by the Senate to the Wookiees from Kashyyyk who had discovered it. The Trade Federation desired control of the moon for its bountiful resources its capacity as a potential trade center for planets such as Kashyyyk, Bimmisaari and Kessel.
When the Wookiees settled on Alaris Prime, they discovered one of the Trade Federation's power cores that was suffering heavy damage after being attacked by gundarks, a predatory . The Wookiees Chewbacca and Shoran destroyed the power core and moved on, however Gunray noticed the loss of the core and sent a B1-Series battle droid, OOL-2 to investigate. OOL-2 mistakenly reported to Nute Gunray that Gundarks had destroyed the power core and the Viceroy ordered that the gundarks be exterminated and their pelts sold to their Trandoshan ally Pekt. The droid army attacked the gundark nest, but there encountered Chewbacca and a group of Wookiee bowcaster troopers, who were also prepared to kill the gundarks. The battle droids attacked the Wookiees but were all destroyed, beginning a war for control of Alaris Prime that led to the destruction of every Trade Federation base and their ultimate expulsion from the moon in the Battle for Alaris Prime.
Association with Darth Sidious
- "Let me surprise you by arranging a promotion."
"You would do that and ask nothing in return?"
"For the time being. If and when I've earned your full trust, I will expect you to take my suggestions to heart."
"I will. Darth Sidious."
- ―Sidious and Gunray seal their fateful agreement
In 33 BBY, Gunray received an anonymous gift: a red-spotted pylat bird. Though he was suspicious of the gift's provenance, the pylot was a sign of power and wealth in Neimoidian society, and the red-spotted bird was a particularly rare specimen. It soon occupied pride of place in Gunray's office, and Gunray savored the envy his colleagues had for the bird.
Shortly afterwards, Gunray received an unexpected holo-call on his secure address from a mysterious cloaked figure. Outraged by the intrusion, Gunray attempted to trace the call until the figure calmly introduced himself as the sender of the pylat, the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Sidious. Sceptical but curious, Gunray declared that he would have no part in covert schemes, but Sidious offered to enhance his position in the Trade Federation, both flattering and blackmailing the Viceroy with knowledge of his childhood and of his meetings across Coruscant. Sidious went as far as to accuse Gunray of being complicit in the death of the anti-Trade Federation Senator Vidar Kim, whose death had actually been arranged by Sidious so that his public identity of Palpatine could become Naboo's senator.
Intimidated, Gunray demanded to know what Sidious wanted. Sidious repeated his offer of a partnership, offering to demonstrate his power by choking the pylat over the call. Aghast, Gunray grudgingly accepted cooperation with Sidious, who told him that Naboo and the Republic were planning to betray the Trade Federation: Sidious' public identity of Palpatine was advocating for renewed taxation of the Free Trade Zones that had made the Federation wealthy, while King Ars Veruna of Naboo was planning to abandon the planet's export agreement with the Trade Federation. Sidious flattered Gunray by saying that only he could provide the leadership the Federation needed. Promising Gunray a "surprise promotion", Sidious dispatched his apprentice Darth Maul to the mining world of Dorvalla, where Maul pit the rival companies Lommite Limited and InterGalactic Ore against one another. The Trade Federation had long sought to control the planet's lommite trade, and owing to Maul's actions the two companies merged to form Dorvalla Mining, which soon agreed to allow the Trade Federation to export lommite ore, and to accept Trade Federation representation in the Senate. As a result, Gunray's power was solidified, and so was the hold Sidious had over the Viceroy.
Shortly afterwards, Gunray was again contacted by Sidious, who promised to make him the sole leader of the Federation, and would also be able to grant his forces a much larger and improved battle droid army. These new battle droids figured in Sidious's plan to rid Gunray of the Directorate: during a summit on Eriadu, the droids unexpectedly opened fire on the Directorate, killing all but the absent Nute and the new Federation senator, Lott Dod. Under the guidance of the enigmatic Darth Sidious, Gunray filled the remaining positions with his associates, Daultay Dofine, Rune Haako, and Hath Monchar, making the Trade Federation a Neimoidian monopoly.
Hath Monchar's betrayal
- "To be sure, desperate times call for desperate measures. Though I regret having to ask this of a person of your stature, I hope you can find it within yourself to once again contact this Mahwi Lihnn, in order that we may satisfactorily resolve the Monchar situation."
- ―Nute Gunray
During the final stages of plotting the blockade of Naboo, Hath Monchar—deeply involved in Gunray and Sidious's plot—went missing. Gunray correctly concluded that Monchar had gone into business for himself, and planned to sell information regarding the upcoming blockade to the highest bidder. Fearing the repercussions of Darth Sidious were to discover Monchar's treachery, Gunray told Sidious that Monchar had simply been taken ill from too much rich food. Believing that Sidious would easily see through the lie, he was astonished when the Sith Lord seemed to accept his excuse, and began to make plans to locate Monchar before the situation could escalate any further.
On Rune Haako's suggestion, Gunray engaged the services of a bounty hunter named Mahwi Lihnn to track Monchar down and bring him back before the next meeting with Sidious. Although Lihnn managed to track down the errant deputy Viceroy, word soon reached Gunray that both she and Monchar had been killed in an altercation. While Gunray was consumed with dread over inevitably having to report the incident to Sidious, the Sith Lord had in fact dealt with the situation himself by dispatching his apprentice, Darth Maul, to kill Monchar and anyone he had spoken with, neutralizing the threat.
The Battle of Naboo (32 BBY)
Under Sidious's command, Gunray blockaded Naboo from trade routes, with the official reason being that the Trade Federation was disgruntled by Outer Rim trade route taxation. Chancellor Valorum dispatched two ambassadors to talk with Gunray aboard the Saak'ak, and he was shocked to discover that the ambassadors were in fact Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his Padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi. He swiftly contacted Sidious, at which point Daultay Dofine expressed his concerns about the plan. Sidious angrily ordered that Dofine be kept out of his sight. Dofine hurried away, frightened by the Sith Lord.
After Sidious ordered Gunray to begin the invasion of Naboo, Gunray was skeptical, as he was concerned over the legality of actually invading Naboo. Sidious assured the Viceroy he would "make it legal." Sidious then told Gunray, upon being inquired as to what to do with the Jedi, to kill them, and Gunray destroyed their ship and released toxic gas into the conference chamber. However, the two Jedi managed to escape, but Gunray decided to keep this secret from Sidious for the time being. Gunray was smug when talking with Queen Amidala, telling her he knew nothing of any ambassadors. Amidala told Gunray he had gone too far before ending the transmission. Gunray secretly knew she was right, but insisted it was too late to back out, and then promptly ordered that they immediately black out all communication arrays on the planet.
The invasion was well-organized, and the planet fully conquered within the day. Gunray ordered OOM-9 to find the Jedi, but the droids were unable to. Viceroy Gunray and Rune Haako entered Theed with their troops and Gunray received word from OOM-9 that they had captured Queen Amidala. Gunray proudly proclaimed victory and marched into the palace.
The outraged Governor Sio Bibble demanded how Gunray planned to explain this invasion to the Galactic Senate, to which Gunray replied he and the Queen would a sign a treaty to legitimize the occupation. The Queen quickly told the Viceroy she would not cooperate, but Gunray was not impressed, informing her that the suffering of her people would persuade her to see his point of view. The Queen was marched off to a detention camp, but on her way there was rescued by Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon, who managed to get her off the planet and past the blockade. Gunray was now forced to inform Sidious, who was not pleased with this latest turn of events. Sidious revealed his apprentice to the shocked Gunray and Haako, and told him that Darth Maul would find the Queen.
Gunray quickly secured the planet, with only the "primitive" Gungans eluding him. He set himself up in the Queen's palace in Theed, taunting Governor Bibble from his mechno-chair. He soon grew tired of the Governor's protests however, and informed him he would die much sooner than his people. After unsuccessfully pleading for intervention by the Old Republic Senate, Amidala called for the expulsion of Chancellor Valorum, who was unable to out-talk Senator Lott Dod. A new chancery election was called for, and Naboo's own Senator Palpatine was ultimately elected the new Chancellor.
Despite the ouster of Valorum, the Galactic Senate still would not take action, and Amidala returned home, vowing to liberate her planet or die trying. Gunray reported his success to Sidious, who was pleased, he told the Viceroy that his apprentice Darth Maul was coming to join him. As Maul arrived, Gunray detected the Queen's ship and tracked it to the swamps on Naboo. He reported this to Sidious, who was wary of the Queen's more aggressive motives. Gunray next detected the assembled army of Gungans in the swamps and dispatched OOM-9 and a large majority of his army to crush them, dismissing them as primitives.
Gunray remained in the throne room with Rune Haako and Darth Maul. Maul left to deal with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn as Gunray became concerned the battle was taking place far too close to him. The Queen was able to work her way into the palace, before being captured and marched before the Viceroy. Gunray ordered her to sign the treaty, but the Queen's disguised handmaiden appeared, confusing him. He ordered his droids after Sabé, the Queen's decoy, believing her to be the real Queen. This was Gunray's fatal mistake. The real Queen used the distraction to take out Gunray's guards and held him and Haako at gunpoint. Gunray was not worried at first, because he thought his droids would break through to rescue him. But his hopes of rescue were shattered when a young boy named Anakin Skywalker destroyed the Droid Control Ship, deactivating his army. With his forces destroyed and Darth Maul believed to be killed by Obi-Wan Kenobi, Gunray and Haako were captured and sent back to Coruscant to stand trial for their crimes.
After four trials in the Republic Supreme Court, Gunray still maintained control over the Trade Federation, although several of his associates were killed in the Battle of Naboo. Gunray never publicly revealed the involvement of Darth Sidious in the blockade of Naboo, partly out of fear, but also because Gunray felt that Sidious had not abandoned him completely, and was working to ensure nothing ever came of the many trials that Gunray and his chief officer's went through.
During this time, Gunray was alleged to be having an affair with Lora Besh, who, in 22 BBY, just before the start of the Clone Wars, released an unauthorized biography of Gunray, entitled Gunray On Top. It spent at least several months as a top-ten bestseller, and its sales may have increased due to its subject's involvement in the war.
During his final trial by the Republic, Viceroy Gunray was approached by Count Dooku, and, in a moment of weakness, he revealed the existence of Sidious to the former Jedi—who promised to bring the matter before the Jedi Council. Gunray decided to join the Confederacy of Independent Systems, which wished to secede from the Galactic Republic, although he had one demand: that Senator Amidala be killed as revenge for his capture ten years prior. The leader of the Confederacy, Count Dooku, had promised him this, so he hired a bounty hunter named Jango Fett to kill the senator with his bounty hunter companion, Zam Wesell. Much to Gunray's dismay, they both failed, and Jango silenced Zam's attempt to name her client by shooting her with a saberdart.
Beginnings on Geonosis
- "She can't do that! Shoot her or…or something!"
- ―Nute Gunray, frustrated at Padme Amidala's survival in the Petranaki arena
Obi-Wan Kenobi tracked Jango through the saberdart to the droid factory on Geonosis and overheard Gunray's ongoing negotiations with Dooku. Though he was captured by the Geonosians, Padmé Amidala and Anakin Skywalker attempted to rescue him, getting themselves captured in the process. Gunray saw his chance for revenge and was delighted when the former Queen was sentenced to death and he would be there to witness it. To his fury, she escaped being killed by the nexu unleashed on her, and left the planet with the aid of over 200 Jedi and the Republic's new clone army. Gunray was barely able to flee for his own life in the melee between battle droids, Geonosians, Jedi Knights, and clone troopers.
The Clone Wars had begun, and Gunray suddenly found himself preparing his droids for war. Gunray was a businessperson, not a commander, but there was no way he could break his ties with the CIS without losing his life. He soon ended up providing the bulk of CIS funding.
Gunray soon found himself at odds with the Confederacy's new Supreme Commander, General Grievous. When he was first introduced to the General on Geonosis, he thought of the cyborg General as nothing more than a droid—greatly angering Grievous, who might have killed Gunray had Count Dooku not intervened. Gunray's attitude quickly changed when he witnessed the General's capabilities, and Grievous's actions in the catacombs on Geonosis helped Gunray and the other Separatist leaders escape the planet alive. However, the two would share a mutual enmity of one another throughout the rest of the war.
Soon after the war had begun, Count Dooku revealed himself as a Sith, with his master as none other than Darth Sidious. Nute Gunray was frustrated that he had once again found himself in service to forces over which he had no control whatsoever.[source?]
Due to the stress of war, the wrinkles on Gunray's face became more severe than most Neimoidians.
Rodia and capture
- "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."
- ―Commander Gree presents handcuffs to Viceroy Gunray
A short time after the Battle of Geonosis, the swamp planet of Rodia was attacked by pirates. Desperate, Rodia's senator, Onaconda Farr, looked to Nute Gunray for help. He agreed to supply Rodia's citizens with the needed food, shelter and other everyday materials in return for one small favor: to kidnap fellow Senator Padmé Amidala, with whom the Viceroy still held a grudge. Farr was a close family friend of Naboo's former Queen, and called her to Rodia under the pretext of aiding the Rodian people.
Amidala came with her personal protocol droid, C-3PO and incumbent Gungan representative from Naboo, Jar Jar Binks. Eventually, she and C-3PO were captured and imprisoned by Gunray and his battle droids, but Jar Jar interrupted his plans by disguising himself in Anakin Skywalker's Jedi cloak and running into the battle, along with the help of a Kwazel Maw he had nicknamed "Bogey". Gunray attempted to flee the ensuing chaos, but found his battle droids being destroyed one by one. Eventually, Farr turned against the Viceroy, and Gunray found himself held at gunpoint by both Amidala and Farr. Soon, clone troopers arrived on Rodia and arrested the Viceroy.
Gunray was whisked upon the Tranquility, a Jedi Cruiser with Luminara Unduli, Ahsoka Tano, Commander Gree, Captain Faro Argyus, and the latter's squadron of Senate Commandos. He was to be taken to Coruscant, where he would stand trial for the fifth time in his life. Gunray attempted to hold out under Jedi interrogation, but after being threatened by Tano, he reconsidered and offered to negotiate a bargain. He soon withdrew the offer when Separatist droids boarded the ship, and Asajj Ventress arrived in the detention area and set him free—once free, Gunray locked Tano in her cell and gloated over her predicament. His victory, however, was short-lived when Ventress was forced to flee after reinforcements arrived led by Unduli, and Gunray found himself back inside his own cell.
After diverting Tano, and making sure she joined Unduli in battling Ventress, Captain Argyus revealed to Gree he was with the Separatists and killed the commandos—letting Gunray out of his cell once again. As Argyus faced off with Gree, Nute saw that Gree had the upper hand, sneaked up behind the clone and knocked him unconscious with a blaster rifle. Gunray, Argyus, and Ventress managed to escape the crippled vessel, but when Argyus stated he had done the most work in saving Gunray, intending to claim credit for the rescue to Count Dooku, Ventress promptly murdered the boastful Commando for the insult, after which Gunray told Ventress he had always had a 'good feeling' about her. Gunray later assisted Count Dooku in a plot to lure Jedi Master Kit Fisto and his former Padawan, Jedi Knight Nahdar Vebb, to the droid leader General Grievous's castle on the moon of Vassek; they arrived under the pretense that Gunray was there, but instead engaged the cyborg general himself.
Assisting Cad Bane
- "You had better live through this! I want my money, Bane!"
"You can count on it."
- ―Nute Gunray and Cad Bane
Darth Sidious later ordered Gunray to dispatch reinforcements to assist bounty hunter Cad Bane at Devaron. Bane had stolen a Jedi Holocron which contained vital information which Sidious desired. Gunray sent a Trade Federation escort of Munificent-class frigates to safeguard Bane's escape from Devaron, but was furious when he discovered that Bane had lost four of his ships in battle with the Republic. Though Bane assured Gunray that Sidious would compensate him for the loss of his fleet, Gunray demanded that Bane transmit him the data from the Holocron, but Bane had been unable to open it thus far.
Much to Gunray's shock, Bane let Jedi board his ship, and then successfully forced Jedi Anakin Skywalker to open the Holocron in exchange for his Padawan's life. Bane reported his success to Gunray, and the Viceroy offered to send him a rescue ship in exchange for the data from the Holocron—but Bane remained far too cagey to accept Gunray's offer, and made his own escape as the last ship in Gunray's borrowed fleet was destroyed.
Invasion of Kashyyyk
In 19 BBY, near the end of the Clone Wars, Gunray attempted to convince the Wookiee royal families of Kashyyyk to join the Confederacy. The royal families, acting through a council dominated by King Grakchawwaa, were on the verge of agreeing to join the Confederacy out of self preservation—but General Grievous, having grown impatient, ordered Gunray to deploy droids to "persuade" the Wookiees to join the Separatists. Gunray did not agree with this move, but deployed the droids anyway. Unfortunately, this resulted in the death of Grakchawwaa's son, Prince Rikummee. In anger, Grakchawwaa allied himself with the Republic, forcing the Separatists to launch a massive invasion of Kashyyyk in the closing days of the war.
The Fall of Cato Neimoidia
- "Lord Sidious's alloy puppet. If not for the Trade Federation, you would have no army to command."
- ―Nute Gunray to General Grievous
As the Republic launched an offensive to reclaim the Core Worlds from Separatist control, General Grievous ordered the members of the Separatist Council to rendezvous with him in the Outer Rim Territories. Gunray, however, was determined to return to his private citadel on Cato Neimoidia and evacuate his many treasures and keepsakes before they fell into the hands of the Republic. After being pursued by Jedi Knights Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, Gunray narrowly escaped the planet, but did not have time to load all of his belongings onto his shuttle.
After safely escaping, Gunray suddenly realized his Mechno-Chair was not aboard his ship. The chair contained a hyperwave transceiver given to him fourteen years ago by Darth Sidious, and Gunray worried that the Republic might tamper with the chair. Unable to set the self-destruct, he and Rune Haako hastily sent a signal for the chair to arm itself, hoping it would force Republic forces to destroy the chair before they could learn anything from it. Gunray reflected upon the loss of Cato Neimoidia soon after, fearing it was a tragedy not just for the Trade Federation, but for the entire Neimoidian species. By this point, Gunray had began to grow weary of the war, and privately feared that all was lost as he and his allies were driven from the Core.
In order to give General Grievous the impression that he had been chased from the core, Gunray opted to use standard Hyperspace lanes, rather than the secret Trade Federation hyperlanes. Grievous saw through the deception, and castigated the Viceroy by deliberately firing upon his Droid escort. Gunray realized the General had seen through his ruse, but elected not to raise the matter with Count Dooku, fearing he would stand by Grievous's actions.
After meeting with Grievous and the rest of the council, Gunray learned that Grievous planned to keep the council together for the foreseeable future and find them a new safe harbour in the Outer Rim. Grievous informed the Council that he would contact them in the usual manner; which, for Gunray, meant via his Mechno-Chair. Fearing the consequences if he told Grievous he had let the chair fall into the hands of the Republic, Gunray decided to remain quiet.
Sometime later, Gunray was contacted by Shu Mai, who asked if he wished to join her in a convoy while they travelled to Belderone, the safe harbour Grievous had promised the Council. Gunray declined her request, but played along, pretending he had been informed of this already and could waste no time in travelling to Belderone himself. In an attempt to cover his tracks, Gunray contacted Grievous and angrily demanded to know why he had not been informed of this personally, though Grievous maintained that he had tried contacting the Viceroy several times.
In fact, Republic forces had used Gunray's captured Mechno-Chair to intercept Grievous's transmission, alerting them to the General's plan to attack Belderone and allowing them to stage a surprise attack. Gunray was soon confronted by Grievous, who stormed into his private chambers. The Viceroy stood his ground, but the General seized him by the throat, quickly learning the truth of what had happened from the terrified Gunray. Ultimately Dooku and Darth Sidious found a way to use Gunray's blunder as means to accelerate the final stages of the Grand Plan and Gunray was spared the wrath of Grievous and his Sith masters.
Exile on Utapau
- "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, telling Gunray and the Separatist Council to leave for Mustafar
Gunray and the Separatist Council were later relocated to the outer rim world of Utapau, where Gunray and the others watched Grievous's attack on Coruscant via the HoloNet, for the first time, Gunray began to believe that he had underestimated the Cyborg General, and joined the rest of the council in celebration.
Gunray's celebration was short-lived, as news soon reached the Council that Count Dooku had been killed and the Separatist forces defeated. Following this devastating loss, the Council bemoaned their current situation as many came to believe the war was lost. Gunray told his fellow Council members that, as the leadership council, they should be the ones giving the orders now, not Grievous.
When the General arrived to meet with them, Gunray openly challenged Grievous before the council, noting the General's failure at Coruscant, the escape of Chancellor Palpatine and the death of Count Dooku, but he was dismissed by the General.
Death and legacy
- "The plan has gone as you had promised, my lord."
"You have done well, Viceroy. When my new apprentice, Darth Vader, arrives, he will take care of you."
- ―Nute Gunray and Darth Sidious
Shortly after, he and the rest of the Separatist Council were moved to Mustafar by General Grievous at Darth Sidious's command, and Grievous himself was killed a short time later. As the head of the Council, Nute Gunray now found himself the leader of the remaining Confederate forces. He and the Council were contacted once more by Darth Sidious, who told the Viceroy he had done well, and promised that his new apprentice, Darth Vader, would arrive on Mustafar to "take care" of him. However, Gunray and the other Separatists were unaware that Sidious had betrayed them and sent Vader to kill them.
- "The war is over. Lord Sidious promised us peace! We only want—"
- ―Nute Gunray's last words
When Vader arrived, Gunray welcomed him, but Vader mercilessly cut down all of the council members, saving Gunray for last. Nute Gunray begged before Vader, pleading desperately and trying to tell Vader that all the Confederacy wanted was peace, but he was cut down by the Dark Lord. Afterwards, the Confederacy's droid armies were deactivated and the Clone Wars came to an official close. His body was found shortly thereafter by salvage crews who investigated the mining facility after its destruction.
He was briefly succeeded as Viceroy of the Trade Federation by fellow Neimoidian Sentepeth Findos, the final holder of the position, who reluctantly surrendered the Federation's assets to the new Galactic Empire.
Personality and traits
- "I never risk my own skin if I don't have to."
- ―Nute Gunray, to Ahsoka Tano
As Viceroy of the Trade Federation, Nute Gunray was cunning, deceitful, greedy and willing to kill for his financial benefit. He was an avaricious and calculating business leader who was primarily concerned with maximizing profits and his own well-being. He had no qualms about exploiting innocent people for the love of money—rather, he encouraged it. Gunray was skilled in the political arena, often discouraging an opponent with a series of baseless, condescending assurances. These skills carried over to his role as Federation Viceroy, where he was constantly in the position of having to pacify an employee, client or opponent. Gunray was also a highly successful businessman, his talents in this field catching the attention of Darth Sidious.
Gunray was openly fearful of Darth Sidious, but was frequently forced to place his fate in the Sith's hands. Early in their relationship, working with Sidious yielded great rewards for Gunray, though by the end of the Clone Wars, he had come to regret ever allying with the Sith and placing himself under their control. His personality grated against General Grievous, who, unlike Gunray, was a vicious, strategically-minded military commander with a sense of authority. Gunray, in turn, despised Grievous, and believed the General to be unstable and arrogant.
Although frequently perceived as a coward, Gunray was willing to get his own hands dirty if he was threatened, and delighted in exacting revenge upon those he felt had wronged him in some way; this was especially true in the case of his unhealthy obsession with killing Padmé Amidala. While often perceived as villainous, Gunray was not any different from his Neimoidian peers, whose culture was entirely devoid of the notion of morality that motivated other species. However, he was at least pragmatic enough to realize if he broke the law, he would suffer for it, as evidenced by his skepticism towards Darth Sidious's order that he have the Trade Federation invade Naboo due to the likelihood of such an action being illegal.
Gunray wore a large headdress as a symbol of his power, and forbade his colleagues from wearing a taller piece, even instituting regular measuring contests to enforce his own ego. Gunray was highly acquisitive, and kept a vast trove of treasures and keepsakes in the vaults of his private redoubt on Cato Neimoidia. Amongst his collection were robes and miters, resplendent jewelry, priceless works of art. Gunray was particularly fond of Hutt artwork, as he greatly admired the species for their business skill,[source?] power, and success. He also purchased his personal mecho-chair to emulate their repulsor-thrones.
Behind the scenes
Nute Gunray was played by Silas Carson, who also played Ki-Adi-Mundi, Neimoidian Senator Lott Dod, and Republic Lieutenant Williams in all three episodes of the prequel trilogy. Carson, when portraying the character, voiced him with a Thai accent. He was played by voice-actor Phil Proctor in the game Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds, by Tom Kenny in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series, by David W. Collins in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith video game, and by Scott Cleverdon in Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace video game. Besides Palpatine, he is the only villain to appear in all three episodes of the prequel trilogy.
A scene cut from Attack of the Clones shows Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala put on trial by the Geonosians. Nute Gunray watches from the side and, when the trial goes on too long, he shouts to Poggle the Lesser: "Get on with it, carry out the sentence. I want to see her suffer!". Poggle the Lesser quickly wraps up the trial and orders his guards to take Anakin and Padmé to the execution arena.
A scene in the script for Revenge of the Sith, which did not make it into the film but was probably filmed, featured Nute Gunray and Rune Haako hiding under a table as Darth Vader slaughtered the Separatist Council. Rune Haako panicked and tried to escape, but was quickly killed by Vader (seen in the film), but Nute stayed hidden. As Vader killed the others, Nute quickly got out from under the table and activated the control panel for the doors to open. As the other council members were all killed, droidekas entered and opened fire on Vader. Gunray watched as the smoke cleared and found Vader gone. Vader then drops down from the roof and destroys the droids, after which he jumps over to Gunray and cuts off his head. This explains why Nute is so surprised when Vader jumps at him—he thought he had been killed off by the droids.
Various adaptations of The Phantom Menace and Revenge of the Sith had minor differences. In the The Phantom Menace video game, Gunray can be killed while playing as Queen Amidala in her final level (this will lead to the next phase of the level regardless if the final droids he summons are disposed of, this also does not affect the final outcome of the game). In the Revenge of the Sith video game, Gunray escaped Vader in the Separatist control center on Mustafar and attempted to flee in his ship, which was destroyed by the vengeful former Jedi and then plunged into the lava river beneath. In the Revenge of the Sith novelization, Vader responded to Gunray's remark of the promise of peace by saying that Sidious's transmission had been garbled, and that the Sith had actually said they would be "left in pieces" (though Gunray's body was relatively intact when compared to most of the other Separatist leaders). In the Revenge of the Sith comic adaptation, Gunray appears in his Attack of the Clones costume on Utapau, unlike in the film.
Gunray's Revenge of the Sith head piece is the only one without three points.
Nute Gunray's name had two sources from real life: The first was the Republican congressman Newt Gingrich, and the second was former president Ronald Reagan. The former source was because 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 as "Star Wars" without Lucas' permission.
- LEGO Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
- LEGO Star Wars: Darth Maul's Mission
- LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
- Clones are famous all across the galaxy
- Path of the Jedi
- Menace of the Sith
Notes and references