- «Let the executions begin.»
- ―Archduke Poggle the Lesser[src]
The Petranaki Arena, also known as the Arena of Justice and commonly referred to as the Geonosis execution arena, was a large structure on the planet Geonosis. It was used for Petranaki gladiatorial battles between creatures and sentient beings. Ten years after the Invasion of Naboo by the Trade Federation, the arena was the site of the attempted execution of Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker and senator Padmé Amidala. A team of 212 Jedi led by Jedi Master Mace Windu was sent to the arena to rescue the trio, but were attacked by battle droids belonging to the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Most of the Jedi were killed before being rescued by the newly formed Grand Army of the Republic, marking the beginning of the Clone Wars.
Located on the planet Geonosis in the desert plains near the battle droid foundries and Archduke Poggle the Lesser's seat of power, the Petranaki arena was a circular structure comprised of large spires built out of a natural rock hollow. The center of the arena was a flat, circular, sand floor with three columns near the edge. On the columns were chains used to keep prisoners in place during executions. It contained seating for over 100,000 spectators while certain viewers were able to watch the gladiatorial duels from a balcony. The arena served as a form of execution for prisoners rather than maintaining costly detention centers, and also doubled as a distraction for the native Geonosians, who often had to pay a fortune to sit in the front while enjoying lightly grilled arch grubs as a snack food. Along the base of the inside of the structure were gates that would open to release vicious creatures which either fought other creatures such as reeks, nexus or acklays in brutal sporting contests, or pitted beings against the fierce creatures. The arena also served as a means of displaying new military droids and weapons, and could be flooded for water battles. Visiting nobles from other hives and off world often brought fierce animals as gifts. Keeping order in the arena were the picadors, orray-mounted Geonosians with stun poles who pulled carts of criminals into the arena, and re-established order when things got out of hand.
Ancient Geonosian times
The arena was a natural geological foundation that was adapted by the Geonosians with tunnels and towers. The first overlords of Geonosis were expected to prove their fitness by battling their rivals to the death.
Ten years after the Invasion of Naboo by the Trade Federation, Geonosis was the location of massive battle droid foundries operated by the Geonosians for use by the Confederacy of Independent Systems, a political alliance of star systems that had left the Galactic Republic. When Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi was taken prisoner after discovering the foundries and the status of former Jedi Count Dooku as the leader of the Separatist movement, Jedi Anakin Skywalker and senator Padmé Amidala arrived on Geonosis and attempted to rescue him. The two were captured and sentenced to be executed in the arena along with Kenobi. The Geonosians, under the leadership of Poggle the Lesser, deployed an acklay, a reek, and a nexu to kill the trio, but the three managed to escape their chains and last long enough for a team of 212 Jedi, led by Master Mace Windu, to come to their rescue. The Jedi were attacked by battle droids belonging to the Separatists, and the majority of them perished in the battle. However, just as Dooku was ordering the droids to finish off the remaining survivors, the newly-formed Grand Army of the Republic rescued the Jedi. This began the First Battle of Geonosis, the first battle in the Clone Wars.
In the years following Galactic Empire's rise to power, the Empire would spin the tale of Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker and Senator Padmé Amidala's execution as being lawful and interrupted by Mace Windu and his "criminal gang," thus sparking the Clone Wars.
Behind the scenes
Obi-Wan Kenobi's fight with the acklay in the 2002 film Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones was inspired by the 1961 movie Mysterious Island, where a shipwrecked sailer battled a giant crab.
The Geonosis execution arena made an appearance in the 2002 film Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones. It was referred to as the "Petranaki arena" for the first time in Ultimate Star Wars published in 2015.
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