- "When they glow like that..."
"They're about to jump into hyperspace!"
- ―Hera Syndulla and Sabine Wren
Purrgil were a semi-sentient species of massive, whale-like creatures that lived in deep space, traveling from star system to star system. Some of them were only as large as a small starship while others were much larger. They had streamlined bodies with a smooth-looking bluish-purple skin, four large hind tentacles, a single dorsal fin, and two side fins. Their heads had a characteristic horizontally flattened shape with one eye on each side. Living in groups consisting of up to dozens of individuals, they were able to fly through hyperspace by creating simu-tunnels. It was the natural ability of the purrgil that inspired sentients to develop hyperdrive technology and wayfinders, which were used for hyperspace navigation.
According to Hera Syndulla, leader of the Spectres, most spacers considered purrgil to be pests due to their habit of approaching and flying into starships near their flight paths, and for ships crashing into their swarms during hyperspace travel. Numerous spacer deaths could be attributed to purrgil-related incidents, leading most spacers to fire upon them on sight. However, Jedi Padawan Ezra Bridger, another member of the Spectres, was able to establish a connection to the space whales when he encountered a group of them together with the rest of his crew at a gas refinery. He later used that bond to ally with a group of purrgil against Imperial Grand Admiral Thrawn's 7th Fleet during the liberation of the Outer Rim planet Lothal, ultimately removing the fleet from the planet.
Biology and appearance
While some purrgil were only as large as a small starship, others were much larger, averaging a height of 5.5 meters, or 18 feet, and a length of 30 meters, or 98 feet. They had streamlined, torpedo-shaped bodies and a horizontally flattened head with two cloudy, blue and gray eyes placed on the sides of it. They had four large hind tentacles, a single dorsal fin, and two side fins, all of which allowed them to move gracefully across the vacuum of space. The skin of purrgil was smooth-looking, and a bluish-purple color with gray and yellow portions. Their large mouths were filled with egg-shaped, irregularly implanted teeth. Some specimens had slender, whisker-like organs near the mouth.
In order to breathe, purrgil needed to inhale stores of a specific green gas, Clouzon-36. When they were not provided with enough of the gas, their skin turned to a gray to brownish color. Once sufficiently provided with the Clouzon-36, they metabolized it into hypermatter fuel and therefore were able to jump into hyperspace, an alternate dimension that could only be entered by traveling at lightspeed or faster, by creating simu-tunnels.
- "The purrgil are dangerous. They wander into hyperspace lanes, crash into ships. I lost more than one friend that way."
"Well, maybe they don't realize they're putting people in danger. Maybe it's like Kanan says, you know. They just do what they do."
- ―Hera Syndulla and Ezra Bridger
Purrgil lived in groups called flocks, pods, or swarms that could count up to dozens of individuals. Such groups were led by a bigger specimen. One of those leaders was referred to as the Purrgil King; another one was called Purrgil Ultra. As a semi-sentient species, they showed a certain degree of intelligence but could unintentionally cause harm by crashing into starships, killing their occupants in the process.
- "When I was young, I was told amazing stories of creatures that lived in the stars, traveled between the worlds. Old pilots said it was the purrgil who inspired us to jump from system to system. But I don't believe it."
- ―Hera Syndulla
Several millennia before the Cold War, the purrgil's ability to travel through hyperspace inspired sentients to find their own way of entering that alternate dimension. After studying purrgil, sentient beings ended up inventing the hyperdrive. According to Peko-Peko Munzati, the first hyperspace scouts used to follow purrgil. Their knowledge about purrgil and the gas Clouzon-36 helped scientists find out that coaxium could form at places subject to intense interstellar energy and therefore helped them locate natural reservoirs of the expensive starship fuel, such as those on the Mid Rim planet Kessel or in the Redhurne system. Studies of purrgil brains and carcasses also inspired both the Jedi and the Sith to create wayfinders, ancient devices used to navigate challenging stretches of space.
Although few people actually witnessed their special ability to attain lightspeed, the purrgil became legendary for smugglers and pilots across the galaxy. However, due to their habit of unwittingly crashing into starships, the legendary space-whales came to be regarded as "a big, lumbering menace." Many purrgil were thus killed, with spacers puncturing them with hook-lashes while they bled to death, before bringing them up on deck. During the Clone Wars, clone commando Tech of Clone Force 99, an experimental squad, acquired a recording of purrgil as part of his collection of various creature sounds.
Age of the Empire
- "Whatever happens next happens to both of us."
"That's the idea."
- ―Grand Admiral Thrawn and Ezra Bridger before being pulled into hyperspace by purrgil
After Han Solo, a male smuggler from Corellia, had made the Kessel Run in just a little bit more than twelve parsecs in 10 BBY, Peko-Peko Munzati claimed in the journal of the Corellian bartender Tivoche Bilure that the route Solo took was inspired by an ancient purrgil migration trail. It was also rumored that Munzati studied purrgil for months at one point. At one point, the Mining Guild pilot Ahhav encountered a group of purrgil in a TIE/mg Mining Guild starfighter and fired upon them in vengeance after having survived a previous encounter.
In 3 BBY, the crew of the Ghost encountered a purrgil swarm on a mission to steal fuel from the Mining Guild. At first, the captain of the Ghost, Hera Syndulla, wanted to fire on them but the Jedi Ezra Bridger and Kanan Jarrus stopped her from doing so, ultimately convincing her to follow the purrgil, which calmed the whale-like creatures. Following them, soon the Spectres arrived at a gas refinery of the Mining Guild where the Guild was refining Clouzon-36 fuel. That process prevented the purrgil from accessing the gas which they needed to breathe, leading to conflicts between them and the Mining Guild.
Bridger wanted to explore the connection between the purrgil and the gas deeper but was cut off by Hera, who told him to focus on the mission. Yushyn, the boss of the gas refinery, ordered his guards to keep the space creatures from feeding the Clouzon-36. Pursuing their plan, Sabine Wren, a Mandalorian member of the Spectres, was about to use explosives to ignite the volatile Clouzon-36 gas when she was stopped by Bridger in order to save the purrgil. That forced the Spectres to change up their plan and Bridger was knocked off his gun emplacement by a laser blast. He fell into the gas-covered crater below the asteroid but was saved by a purrgil known as the Purrgil King. The Purrgil King also saved Bridger from asphyxiation by finding his helmet.
Starring into the creature's eye, Bridger was able to create a bond with the creature through the Force. That connection enabled him to team up with the group of purrgil in their fight against the Mining Guild. The purrgil helped the Rebels by destroying one of the TIE fighters and dragging Yushyn into the crater, ultimately enabling them to steal the needed fuel. After the mission, the Spectres witnessed the purrgil's ability to jump through hyperspace first-hand and followed their new-gained allies through hyperspace.
In 0 BBY, during the Liberation of Lothal, Mart Mattin, a young Rebel pilot, Wolffe, a former Clone Commander, and Cikatro Vizago, a Devaronian crime lord, sent a signal on Frequency Zero to call upon a group of purrgil led by an individual known as the Purrgil Ultra. Upon their arrival, they were lead by the Ghost and completely wiped out Imperial Grand Admiral Thrawn's Seventh Fleet blockade of the Outer Rim planet Lothal. They also damaged the three Star Destroyers hovering in the planet's lower atmosphere above Capital City, including the Chimaera, Thrawn's flagship. Ezra Bridger then used the force to control the purrgil, which then wrapped their tentacles around the Star Destroyers, trapping Thrawn in a cold embrace, and jumped to hyperspace, removing the Imperial threat from Lothal.
- "Used to hear stories about purrgil. Living creatures that roam hyperspace."
- ―Nath Tensent
Purrgil were also often mentioned in journals or referenced by pilots, for example by Paige Tico and Nath Tensent. At some point, an artist encountered a group of purrgil. He later drew one of them in his journal and commented that he was surprised by their sudden appearance around his ship. Sometime after 34 ABY, the document with the artist's drawing and comment was restored and published by the Graf Archive, a vast depository of documents and other materials of public or historical importance.
Behind the scenes
- "Purrgils. They'll rip the hull apart."
- ―Hera Syndulla erroneously uses "purrgils" as the plural form of the creature's name
Purrgil first appeared in the 2016 Star Wars Rebels episode "The Call." In the script of that episode, the leader of the involved group of purrgil was referred to as the "Purrgil King." The correct plural form of purrgil is "purrgil," despite the fact that Syndulla says "purrgils" in the episode. Purrgil concept art for this episode was drawn by JP Balmet. In the 2020 artbook The Art of Star Wars Rebels, they were described as biological splices of whales and squids that could swim lazily through the vacuum of space and with their ability to jump into hyperspace cross lightyears in a moment. The book also states that purrgil had gone through some remarkable evolutionary adaptions. Purrgil can also be seen flying next to the Black One in the side mission "Poe to the Rescue" of the 2016 non-canon video game LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
- Dooku: Jedi Lost (Mentioned only)
- Dooku: Jedi Lost script (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "On the Wings of Keeradaks" (Mentioned on translation visor) (as purgill)
- Star Wars Rebels – "The Call" (First appearance)
- Star Wars Rebels – "Trials of the Darksaber" (Art only)
- Star Wars Rebels – "Zero Hour" (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars Rebels – "Family Reunion – and Farewell"
- Alphabet Squadron (Mentioned only)
- Alphabet Squadron audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Squadrons (Appears in hologram) (DLC)
- Aftermath: Life Debt (Mentioned only)
- Aftermath: Life Debt audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Poe Dameron: Free Fall (Mentioned only)
- Poe Dameron: Free Fall audiobook (Mentioned only)