- "Ah, our old friend. Skelly, no surname. Human, born Corellia, forty standard years ago. Demolitions expert, Dalborg Mining, Cyndan operation. Last known address, Crispus Commons on Gorse. Clone Wars veteran. Injured, hand replaced. Two teeth missing."
- ―Zaluna reading Skelly's security file
Skelly was a human male explosives expert who lived on the planet Gorse. A veteran of the Clone Wars, Skelly worked as an explosives expert in the thorilide mines of Cynda during the time of the Galactic Empire. While working as a miner, Skelly conducted research which found that mining activities on Cynda weakened the moon's structure. Skelly tried to warn the mining companies to halt mining operations on Cynda. The companies' continued dismissals of his warnings led him to conduct an unauthorized test bombing in Cynda's Zone Forty-Two, intended as a demonstration of the danger.
Skelly's criticism of the Empire drew him to the attention of the Imperial authorities. However, Skelly managed to evade capture and conduct his test bombing on Zone Forty-Two. From his test, Skelly concluded that prolonged mining would eventually destroy Cynda. Shortly later, he was apprehended by the freighter pilot and Great Jedi Purge survivor Kanan Jarrus, who was angry that Skelly had endangered the lives of his recovery team. Kanan handed him over to the mining company Moonglow Polychemical, which planned to hand him over to the Imperial authorities.
However, Skelly was rescued by the rebel operative Hera Syndulla, who planned to recruit him to the rebellion. Skelly however was solely interesting in saving Cynda and not interested in the wider rebellion against the Empire. After learning that the prominent Imperial industrialist Count Denetrius Vidian was inspecting Moonglow, Skelly infiltrated the refinery and tried to convince the industrialist to end all mining operations on Cynda. However, Vidian attacked him and Skelly then made two attempts to assassinate the Count by bombing two of his shuttles. Skelly managed to escape with the help of Hera and Kanan.
After escaping Count Vidian and the Empire, Skelly joined Hera's informal rebel cell which also included Kanan and Zaluna Myder, a disgruntled surveillance operator. The rebels soon learned that Vidian had used Skelly's research to embark on a plot to detonate Cynda. Working together, Skelly and the rebels managed to infiltrate Vidian's headquarters in the Calcoraan system and learned that Vidian planned to use Cynda's destruction to advance his own political career. Using this information, the rebels managed to convince the Empire to end its support for Vidian's planned detonation. Skelly and his rebel comrades then returned to the Gorse system where Skelly was killed during a final showdown that killed Vidian and ended his conspiracy to destroy Cynda.
Skelly was a Corellian human man who had fought as a demolitions expert during the Clone Wars. At the end of the war, Skelly lost his right hand and had it replaced by a prosthetic one after the Battle of Slag's Pit. Thanks to shortages, he received a Klatooinian prosthetic hand instead of a human-compatible one, which due to the incompatibility didn't work properly. Due to his experiences, Skelly came to believe that the Clone Wars had been manipulated by powerful corporations and political figures as a pretext for creating the Galactic Empire. Following the Clone Wars, Skelly eventually settled down in Crispus Commons, a run-down housing project created by the Galactic Republic on the planet Gorse to house homeless Clone Wars veterans. Under the Empire, Crispus Commons fell into a state of disrepair.
A troublesome employee
- "He's all yours. Skelly's always been trouble—and Dalborg Mining doesn't want anyone around that'll [sic] upset Count Vidian. Please tell him we cooperated fully. Looks like I just won the pool. You're fired!"
- ―Tarlor Choh; Skelly had a difficult relationship with his employers
Following the Clone Wars, the Empire opened Gorse's moon Cynda up to thorilide mining after a report produced by the mining consultant Lemuel Tharsa claimed that Gorse had exhausted all its thorilide reserves. In the five years before the Gorse Conflict, Skelly worked as a demolitions expert for several mining firms, but was dismissed due to his argumentative personality. Shortly before the Gorse conflict, Skelly was working as a demolitions expert for Dalborg Mining. He used his mining work to conduct research on the effects of blasting on Cynda's surface and structure.
In 11 BBY, the Imperial efficiency expert Count Denetrius Vidian visited the Gorse system to speed up thorilide production. Meanwhile on Cynda, Skelly tried to convince Moonglow Polychemical's chief operations officer Lal Grallik to temporarily suspend blasting operations beyond Zone Forty-Two while he conducted testing there. However, Lal merely brushed aside Skelly's concerns. Shortly later, Kanan Jarrus, a secret Great Jedi Purge survivor who worked as a freighter pilot, arrived with a shipment of baradium bisulfate for Moonglow. When Skelly objected to the use of baradium bisulfate, Kanan ignored his concerns and claimed that he was only interested in meeting a deadline.
While traveling with Kanan in an elevator, Skelly also tried to warn Kanan that the prolonged usage of baradium bisulfate would undermine Cynda's crystalline structure; which in his view would have catastrophic ramifications for Gorse. He presented a holodisk containing his research to Kanan but the freighter pilot was unwilling to listen. When Kanan told him to leave him alone, a frustrated Skelly remarked that the Empire had better watch out or it would have a real disaster on his hand. An annoyed Kanan then punched Skelly in the face before exiting the elevator.
Unfortunately, Skelly's remarks were recorded by a Myder's Mynocks operator, a surveillance division of the media company Transcept Media Solutions. The operator on duty informed her supervisor, Zaluna Myder, who promptly contacted the local Imperial authorities. Meanwhile, Skelly headed to his workplace at Dalborg Mining's claim in Zone Thirty-Nine. Dalborg's foreman, Tarlor Choh, was hurrying the miners to prepare for an upcoming inspection by Count Vidian. While Skelly was attaching some baradium charges to a large thorilide diamond column, four stormtroopers arrived with orders to arrest Skelly for the charge of "speaking to the detriment of the Empire."
- "Yeah, that's right. I forgot. You're [Kanan Jarrus] paid by the shipload, right? And now you're all going to be running like eskrats, because the Empire's dropped by. Well, the Empire had better watch out, or it's going to have a real disaster on its hands!"
- ―Skelly's remark that landed him in trouble with the Empire
Tarlor saw this as an opportunity to dismiss Skelly, whom he regarded as a troublesome employee. Before the stormtroopers could take him into Imperial custody, Skelly used a remote control to detonate the charges he had been working on. The stormtroopers were crushed by the diamond cluster and the debris from the cave, as Skelly fled into a service shaft connected to a series of ventilation tunnels and routes which led to Cynda's Zone Forty-Two. Despite falling into trouble with the Empire, Skelly was still determined to carry out his test bombing, and detonated a time bomb in Zone Forty-Two.
Skelly's unauthorized test bombing caused Zone Forty-Two's ceiling to cave in, producing tremors that caused dangerous seams to open in some of the floors higher up. As a result, Count Vidian issued orders to arrest Skelly for endangering mining operations on Cynda. Meanwhile, Kanan, the freighter pilot, who had earlier assaulted Skelly, and another miner named Yelkin, were caught up in the test bombing but managed to survive due to Kanan's Force powers. Skelly survived the cave-in, hiding away aboard Kanan's freight hauler, Expedient.
Kanan, shaken by both the explosion and his use of the Force to survive it, decided to return to the ship, and was surprised by Skelly while flying back to Gorse. Unwilling to get into trouble with the Empire due to his status as a Jedi fugitive, Kanan decided to hand Skelly over to Moonglow security. Skelly tried to plead with Kanan that he had saved his life, but Kanan was unmoved. When Skelly argued that he had carried out the test-bombing in Zone Forty-Two because Moonglow was not supposed to be working there until the following day, Kanan pointed out that the Empire had doubled their quota; forcing them to change their schedule.
In an attempt to alert the Empire to his research, Skelly tried to hail the nearby Imperial Star Destroyer Ultimatum. Skelly believed that Count Vidian was a fixer who would suspend all mining operations on Cynda and embark on an investigation. However, Kanan did not share his idealistic sentiments and instead pulled out his blaster, securing Skelly into his seat. Kanan informed Skelly that he was taking the Expedient back to Moonglow's shipyard on Gorse, where he planned to turn Skelly over to Moonglow's security chief Gord Grallik, who was Lal's husband.
An unlikely escape
- "Wait! Listen—"
"I will listen. But you have to go. I paid Charko for a distraction. But it won't last."
- ―Skelly's first encounter with the rebel Hera
Upon arriving at Moonglow's shipyard, Kanan handed a gagged and bound Skelly over to Gord. Lal and Gord then contacted Count Vidian via hologram to inform him that they had captured the fugitive. While pleased, Vidian informed the Gralliks that he would be coming to inspect Moonglow Polychemical as part of his planned tour of Gorse. After the hologram conversation, Skelly asked his captors why they had not allowed him to speak to Vidian. When Skelly warned them that he would tell Vidian about the mining firms' use of baradium bisulfate on Cynda, Gord told his wife to ignore Skelly's threats.
Before the Empire could pick up Skelly, the rebel operative Hera Syndulla hired a local criminal gang called the Sarlaccs to attack the Moonglow refinery and harass the company's security forces. While the Gralliks were distracted, Hera infiltrated the courtyard and freed Skelly from his restraints. Skelly was initially disappointed because he hoped that Vidian would listen to his concerns. However, Hera told him to flee and promised him that she would find him. Unbeknownst to Skelly, Hera slipped a tracking device into the utility pocket on his left shoulder.
Despite his misgivings, Skelly took the opportunity to return to Crispus Commons. His apartment had been ransacked by Imperial stormtroopers, but Skelly had a different hideout: an old bomb shelter accessible though a sewer grate behind the garbage bin at one end of the apartment complex's courtyard, which Skelly had appropriated for his own use some time before. After eating a meager meal of tinned foot paste, Skelly prepared to go to bed on a floor mat. This was when Hera, who had come to recruit him into the rebellion, arrived. However, she found that Skelly was only interested in saving Cynda from destruction. Based on his research, Skelly claimed that prolonged mining would eventually destroy Cynda due to its fragile structure. He alleged that a "thorilide triangle" consisting of the mining companies, shipwrights, and the Galactic Empire were conspiring to suppress this information due to their shared interests in profit. Skelly then went on to allege that corporate interests had started the Clone Wars.
Despite her antipathy towards the Empire, Hera dismissed Skelly as a conspiracy theorist and left to meet with her local contact Hetto at The Asteroid Belt cantina in Gorse City. Instead, Hera met Kanan and Zaluna, who informed the former that Hetto had been arrested by the Empire. However, she had in her possession a datacube containing information that Hetto had accumulated about the Empire. Later, Skelly headed to The Asteroid Belt, from which he had previously been banned by Okadiah Garson, where he attempted to convince Kanan to lend him his Moonglow ID. Believing that he could relate to Count Vidian because he was a cyborg, Skelly wanted to convince Vidian to end all thorilide operations on Cynda in order to save the moon from further damage.
However, Kanan and Hera refused to support Skelly's plan, which they regarded as naïve, idealistic and reckless. Despite their differences with Skelly, Kanan and Hera still hid the dissident explosives expert from a stormtrooper patrol. Skelly managed to mislead the stormtroopers by pretending to be an inebriated Wookiee who had been locked in a closet after getting drunk on Trandoshan ale. Despite being unable to convince Kanan to lend him his Moonglow ID, Skelly was still determined to see Count Vidian. With the help of a disgruntled restaurateur named Drakka, Skelly managed to infiltrate the Moonglow refinery through the sewers.
Dealing with Count Vidian
- "I'm trying to help you!"
"Help by dying."
- ―Skelly's unsuccessful meeting with Vidian
After infiltrating the Moonglow refinery, Skelly managed to corner Count Vidian, who was waiting outside a heavy-duty bulk-loader transport while Lal was showing Captain Sloane the vehicle's cab interior. The cyborg Vidian managed to sense the dissident miner due to his advanced in-built sensors. Skelly gave Vidian the holodisk containing his research that showed that Cynda would be torn apart by the extreme gravitational pull from Gorse if thorilide mining on the moon continued. Vidian swatted it away and then used his mechanically enhanced strength to badly injure Skelly by throwing and punching the miner.
Despite being badly bruised and wounded, Skelly managed to escape into the refinery's conveyor belt system before Sloane and her stormtroopers could apprehend him. He managed to return to the sewer. Realizing that Vidian's reputation as a rational-minded management expert who listened to everyone and everything was a lie, Skelly resolved to kill Vidian after attending to his own wounds with a medpac. Before Vidian could leave the Moonglow refinery, Skelly bombed his Imperial shuttle Truncheon, which was parked outside Moonglow. While several stormtroopers were killed, Vidian survived due to his cybernetic body.
After failing to kill Vidian, Skelly fled on a stolen Imperial speeder bike to a nearby Imperial spaceport at Highground, where Vidian had arranged for a second shuttle called Cudgel to pick him up. Vidian, Sloane, and the remaining stormtroopers soon arrived on a hoverbus, as did Kanan and Hera, who were tailing the Count. Despite his serious injuries and great pain, Skelly managed to hurl a bomb at the Cudgel and destroy the shuttle. However, Vidian, Sloane, and their men managed to escape before the shuttle exploded. Skelly also lost control of his bike and crashed into the hoverbus.
Before Vidian could finish off Skelly, Hera, and Kanan, the Count was accosted by Gord Grallik, the husband of Lal. Vidian had earlier murdered Lal after she informed him that Moonglow could not meet the Emperor's newly tripled quota. Gord attempted to arrest Vidian, but the Count ordered his stormtroopers to kill the security chief. Gord managed to kill several stormtroopers with his blasters and sonic grenade before being killed by the Count himself. With Vidian preoccupied, Skelly and his companions took the opportunity to flee the spaceport in the hoverbus.
With Hera manning the hoverbus, the rebels fled the spaceport. Despite being pursued by several Imperial Troop Transports and two TIE fighters, the rebels managed to outmaneuver their pursuers and reach a quarry on the outskirts of Gorse City. Upon disembarking, they realized that the Sullustan Zaluna had accidentally stowed along, having been locked inside the hoverbus' toilet while trying to hide from some stormtroopers the night before. Zaluna quickly recognized Skelly as the bomber, as she had processed the surveillance that got him arrested. Fearful of retribution, Zaluna pulled out a blaster and told Kanan and Hera to keep Skelly away from her. However, Kanan assured Zaluna that Skelly posed no harm since he was in bad shape due to his injuries.
Joining a rebel cell
- "Rebellion? Who's talking about rebellion?"
- ―Skelly responding to Hera's plan to form a rebel cell
Following their escape from Count Vidian, Skelly and his rebel companions sought refuge in the attic above Okadiah's cantina, The Asteroid Belt. While Skelly attended to his wounds at a wash basin, Hera established an informal cell consisting of herself, Kanan, and Skelly. They were joined by Zaluna, who had been distraught to learn that she had been suspended due to her friendship with Hetto. After downloading the contents of the recording device from the hoverbus, the rebels discovered that Count Vidian was planning to destroy Cynda so that his comet-chasers could directly harvest the thorilide in space.
Skelly was horrified that Vidian had stolen his research and was intending to use it to destroy Cynda. While Kanan and Hera were skeptical, Skelly was backed-up by Zaluna, who recalled that her mother had told her that the moon was brittle and could one day break up. Despite his poor physical shape, Skelly was still determined to stop the Empire and toyed with the idea of blowing up the baradium explosives plant near the spaceport. However, Hera counselled against this idea and pointed out that the Empire had other sources of explosives besides Gorse. While Skelly and his friends were watching the Gorse skyline, they witnessed an explosion on Cynda, which was followed by a ground quake
The rebels quickly realized that the Empire had been responsible for the explosion and departed on Kanan's ship Expedient for Cynda. The explosion had originated at the site of the thorilide mining facility on the moon. Kanan's friend Okadiah had been part of a shift that had traveled to Cynda shortly before the explosion. Upon landing on the moon, the rebels found a dying Okadiah, who informed them that the Empire had planted explosives in the moon's Zone Sixty-Six. Meanwhile, Count Vidian and Captain Sloane decided that the test was a success. Vidian's mining consultant Lemuel Tharsa had produced a report claiming that the planet's thorilide crystals would not be damaged by the detonation. Unknown to Sloane, Tharsa was a pseudonym for Vidian, who had fabricated the results as part of a conspiracy to discredit his rival Baron Danthe and curry the Emperor's favor.
Based on these fake results, Captain Sloane decided to support Vidian's plans. Vidian ordered all empty mining cargo ships in the Gorse system to follow Sloane's Star Destroyer Ultimatum to the Calcoraan system, where Vidian owned a depot full of baradium-357 explosives. To cover up Vidian's planned detonation, the Empire claimed that the Count was leading the Mining Guild in a "heroic" effort to stabilize Cynda. The explosion was also blamed on Moonglow's incompetence, giving the Empire the pretext to nationalize the company and its assets. After hearing Vidian's orders on the intercom, the rebels made a collective decision to take the Expedient to Count Vidian's depot in an attempt to foil his plot to blow up the moon.
After Skelly and his companions infiltrated the space station, the group sought out Vidian's personal quarters. Hera and Kanan went up to confront Vidian while Zaluna and Skelly waited. Kanan and Hera fought the cyborg, but lost. However, Skelly and Zaluna used one of the Count's interrogator droids to inject him with a sleeping serum. After he passed out, the rebels bound him to a table, downloading his memory from the data chips in his brain onto a terminal and holoprojector where they could view them. They then discovered Count Vidian's deception and double life. The group proceeded to trick and capture Captain Sloane. Posing as an agent of the Emperor, Kanan told Sloane about Vidian's deception and convinced her to send the original test results to the Emperor
- "I saved you, sweetheart!"
- ―Skelly's final words towards the moon of Cynda
Racing back to the Gorse system aboard the Expedient, the rebels decided to disrupt Count Vidian's ships by harrying the mining ships delivering the baradium-357 to Cynda's surface. After Kanan engaged several TIE fighters in a dogfight, he managed to land the Expedient in the rear hangar of Vidian's ship Forager. The Forager was a comet-chaser mining vessel which Vidian had brought to Cynda with the intention of harvesting the moon's thorilide following the detonation. He knew that the thorilide crystals would deteriorate and wanted the comet-chaser industry, which he controlled, to capitalize on this temporary boom. Vidian hoped to blame the ensuing fallout on Baron Danthe and Captain Sloane in order to boost his own political career.
After their forced landing, Skelly and his rebel companions fought their way through the factory floor of the ship and began to climb a ladder. The badly wounded Skelly began to slow down. When stormtroopers below opened fire, he lost his grip and fell towards the factory floor, out of sight. The rest of the group thought that their comrade was dead and continued on their mission. They battled Vidian until Captain Sloane ordered her men to sever the detonation link and arrest Vidian for crimes against the Empire. With the help of Baron Danthe, Sloane had managed to forward the results to the Emperor; who withdrew his approval for Vidian's project. When Vidian defied her and ordered his crew to go ahead with the detonation, Sloane ordered the Imperial fleet to bombard the Forager; effectively leaving Vidian's plans in tatters. In the midst of the chaos, Skelly's companions Kanan, Hera, and Zaluna managed to flee in an escape pod.
Meanwhile, Skelly survived his fall and the subsequent bombardment that engulfed the Forager. On board the Expedient, Skelly encountered a weakened and battered Vidian crawling up the freighter's ramp. Despite his setback, Vidian was still determined to proceed with his plan to destroy Cynda by using the Expedient's load of baradium-357. Despite his serious injuries, Skelly managed to grab onto Vidian's leg with his prosthetic hand. After looking out the magnetic seal to see Cynda, he hit the button on a detonator that ran via wire to the explosives in the ship. Skelly, along with Vidian, were killed in the ensuing explosion that destroyed the Forager. Through the Force, Kanan immediately knew that Skelly had detonated the explosives on the Expedient, destroying it and the Forager, and perished during the explosion.
Personality and traits
- "But he's a red-stamp."
"Which counts for nothing today. Whatever his condition, Master Skelly's mouth is going to earn him some time with our friends in white."
- ―Hetto and Zaluna Myder arguing about Skelly, whose argumentative nature frequently got him into trouble
Skelly was a human male with red hair, light skin, and a scarred, pockmarked face. At the end of the Clone Wars, he lost his right hand and had it replaced with a prosthetic intended for Klatooinians. Nerve damage from the botched operation prevented the replacement of a human-compatible prosthetic. Since the hand was intended for a very different species, it did not work properly, having a tendency to not loosen its grip when latched on to something. Skelly was also known to have two missing teeth. Following the Clone Wars, Skelly worked as a demolitions expert for several mining companies in the Gorse system. Due to his work, he frequently traveled between his home on Gorse and the Cynda mines. Skelly also had an argumentative personality that created tensions with his employers and caused him to move between several jobs.
In his free time, Skelly used his knowledge of explosives to undertake research on the effects of blasting operations on Cynda. Based on these results, he concluded that mining endangered Cynda's existence and had to stop. After the mining companies ignored his warnings, Skelly came to believe that there was a "thorilide triangle" consisting of the mining companies, shipwrights, and the Imperial Navy, who placed profits above the environment. Skelly compiled his research in a holodisk and a series of notes that festooned the walls of his hideout in Crispus Commons' old bomb shelter. In addition, Skelly claimed that the corporations had engineered the Clone Wars in order to sell off surplus stock. He also naively believed that the Imperial Count Vidian would be willing to listen to his research about Cynda due to the latter's exaggerated reputation as a fixer and rational thinker. As a cyborg, he believed that he could relate to the cyborg Count.
While trying to reason with Count Vidian, Skelly sustained serious damage to his face and chest. In addition, Skelly also lost several more teeth, dislocated his jaw, and sustained several broken ribs. Despite his battered and bruised conditions, Skelly was still determined to fight Vidian and made three attempts to kill the Imperial industrialist. On the third occasion, he managed to kill Vidian with a bomb that destroyed the Forager. Skelly himself was killed during the explosion, but died knowing that he had saved Cynda and many lives on Gorse from destruction.
Skills and abilities
Skelly was a demolitions expert who was skilled with handling explosives. Due to his line of work, he was aware of the destructive effects of explosives like baradium bisulfate and baradium-357. In addition, Skelly could ride a speeder bike despite suffering serious injuries at the hands of Count Vidian. Skelly also knew how to treat his own wounds with a medpac and also used injections to increase his adrenaline. Despite his lack of formal education, Skelly accurately identified the damaging effects of mining on the moon Cynda.
Behind the scenes
Skelly was first introduced in A New Dawn, a novel written by John Jackson Miller; the novel, released on September 2, 2014, was the first novel of the official Star Wars canon first announced on April 25, 2014. Skelly was a member of the Republic military service during the Clone Wars but was not a clone trooper, instead written as a character who functioned as a combat engineer who supported clone troopers. He was originally conceived as a Klatooinian. Despite this, Miller felt that he had an appearance that was somewhat Klatooinian. Miller compared to the character to a "sapper or miner" who performed a "Dangerous, messy job."
Notes and references
- A New Dawn
- Star Wars Rebels: The Visual Guide states that Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla met on Gorse, as depicted in the novel A New Dawn, six years prior to the events of Star Wars Rebels. Star Wars: Galactic Atlas states that Star Wars Rebels begins in the year 5 BBY, thereby dating the events of A New Dawn to 11 BBY.
- Miller, John Jackson: A New Dawn production notes on Farawaypress.com on Farawaypress.com (archived from the original on February 24, 2019)