- "You'll never be able to dock with our ship in the middle of this battle."
"We have no choice, Admiral. General Skywalker's condition may be critical. We must get him on board the Resolute."
"Are all Jedi so reckless?"
"Just the good ones."
- ―Wullf Yularen and Aayla Secura
The Sky Battle of Quell took place in the first year of the Clone Wars in the skies over the contested world of Quell when Jedi General Aayla Secura and her Republic fleet were ambushed by a Confederate Navy flotilla. Meeting in Quell's upper atmosphere, each faction launched starfighter squadrons that engaged their enemies in combat. Although both sides took losses, it was Secura's forces from the 327th Star Corps that suffered greater casualties when two of their three Star Destroyers fell to the Confederate frigates' heavy turbolaser fire. As the Separatist tactical droid commander, TF-1726, dispatched B2-RP battle droids to board Secura's crippled command ship, the Liberty, Jedi General Anakin Skywalker arrived with reinforcements aboard his own flagship, the Resolute. Launching in LAAT/i gunships, Skywalker boarded the Liberty with his Padawan, Ahsoka Tano, and troops of the 501st Legion led by Clone Captain CT-7567 to evacuate the cruiser before it could be destroyed.
Skywalker, Tano, and CT-7567 were able to catch up with Secura and her clone commander, CC-5052, during the fight to repel the Confederate battle droid invaders from the Liberty. Although Skywalker was seriously wounded while attempting to help his comrades evacuate the Star Destroyer, he, Secura, Tano, and several clone troopers successfully escaped from the Liberty aboard a Consular-class cruiser. Yet, when the frigate attempted to dock to the Resolute so that Skywalker could receive proper medical attention, the small vessel's hyperdrive was inadvertently activated from an attack by a vulture droid starfighter squadron. The three Jedi and the clones were unable to prevent their ship from jumping to hyperspace, leaving Admiral Wullf Yularen and the Resolute to continue the battle against the Separatist armada with the remaining Republic forces, which were eventually defeated.
By 22 BBY, the first year of the Clone Wars, the Outer Rim world of Quell—the principal planet of the Quell system—had become a contested site between the Galactic Republic and the opposing Confederacy of Independent Systems. However, Quell's state of contention soon escalated when capital ship forces from both sides of the ongoing war met in the highest levels of the planet's atmosphere to engage in battle.
- "Nice entrance, Skywalker. How do you plan to get us out of this mess?"
"Well, I have a ship docking in the lower hangar as we speak."
- ―Aayla Secura confers with Anakin Skywalker while rushing the Separatist battle droids
While on a mission to Quell, Jedi General Aayla Secura and her flotilla of three Republic Navy Venator-class Star Destroyers were ambushed in the planet's upper atmosphere by a Confederate Navy fleet of seven Munificent-class star frigates. Both sides launched starfighter units in opposition to the other, with Secura deploying groups of V-19 Torrent starfighters and the Confederates—led by the T-series tactical droid TF-1726 from his command ship—sending out vulture droid fighters in retaliation. While the Separatists lost only one Munificent-class frigate, those remaining concentrated intense turbolaser fire on the trio of Republic Star Destroyers. Heavily outnumbered, Secura's cruisers began to take heavy losses. Eventually, only Secura's own command ship, the Liberty, was left maintaining altitude as the other two ships flanking it were ripped apart and pulled down through the atmosphere by gravity. The Liberty attempted to return the enemy ships' fire but remained largely unsuccessful, eventually losing its deflector shields.
Soon, TF-1726 dispatched a force of several hundred rocket pack–equipped B2-RP battle droids through the continuing starfighter dogfights to board the Liberty. The super battle droids landed on the Liberty's battered hull and exploited the craters caused by the intense fire to enter the perforated warship. B1 battle droids were also sent to aid in storming the Liberty. Catching sight of the incoming battle droids, Secura ordered her clone officer, Marshal Commander CC-5052, nicknamed "Bly," to repel the invaders. Commander Bly complied and led groups of clone troopers from the 327th Star Corps to fight the droids. At the same time, Jedi General Anakin Skywalker—having received word of Secura's plight—arrived out of hyperspace aboard his own flagship, the Resolute, with troops under his command to reinforce those already fighting. While Admiral Wullf Yularen stayed with the Resolute as its acting commander, Skywalker departed with his Padawan, Jedi Commander Ahsoka Tano; Clone Captain CT-7567, nicknamed "Rex;" and troopers of the Grand Army of the Republic's 501st Legion aboard several LAAT/i gunships to board the heavily damaged Liberty and evacuate its crew before the ship could be destroyed. Skywalker also dispatched a Consular-class cruiser to assist in the evacuation.
The Resolute moved into place and deployed its gunship reinforcements just as the Liberty began to list and enter further into Quell's atmosphere. The heavily armed gunships were soon met by the B2-RP battle droids, which launched from the Liberty to intercept the new arrivals and targeted their fire at the gunships. The Republic craft returned the droids' fire, using both their laser cannons and rocket armaments to cut through the attacking Separatist forces, and numerous Delta-7B interceptors—one piloted by a Jedi Knight—also fought the rocket droids and Vulture droid starfighters that were attacking the Liberty. A rocket droid landed on the gunship carrying Skywalker, Tano, and Captain Rex, tearing off the craft's cockpit canopy and exposing the craft's clone pilot. Ordering Tano and Rex to take care of their adversary, Skywalker himself chose to go ahead of the rest of his forces. He jumped out of the gunship and used a rocket droid to land on the Liberty, focusing the droid's fire at its airborne comrades along the way. Upon penetrating the Liberty's hull and landing in one of the cruiser's corridors, Skywalker began to cut through the droids with his lightsaber. Meanwhile, the rocket droid aboard Tano's gunship attacked the craft's clone pilot and forced him out of the cockpit. Although Rex and Tano were able to catch the pilot and pull him into the troop bay, the damage to the gunship that the droid had inflicted caused the craft to soar downward and slam straight into the Liberty's already damaged hull. Once the gunship had lodged itself in the Liberty, Rex, Tano, and their clone squad disembarked their flaming craft without pause and began to fight their way through the cruiser's hallways and join the rest of the Republic forces on board the Star Destroyer.
Meanwhile, TF-1726, calculating that his forces should have won four minutes prior, had grown increasingly impatient with the battle's prolonged span. He changed plans and ordered his gunners to target all of their fire at the Liberty, despite the hundreds of battle droids aboard that would be destroyed with the Republic cruiser. Rex and Tano eventually caught up with Skywalker and found Secura and Bly. The group continued to charge through the Liberty's walkways while cutting down all of the battle droids in their path. At Secura's inquiry, Skywalker reported his plan of gathering all evacuees aboard the Consular-class cruiser, which was in the process of docking at the Liberty's lower hangar bay. Halting their fight against the droids, the Jedi and clones headed for the Star Destroyer's lower hold. Once the group had arrived there and had extended the gangway to the escape frigate, however, a raging inferno caused by the Separatists' increasing fire tore through the ship's corridors, consuming all clone troopers and battle droids in its path. Catching sight of the wall of fire, Skywalker sacrificed himself and used the Force to push Secura, Tano, Bly, Rex, and troopers Lucky, Flash, and Cameron into the gangway airlock before closing the blast doors behind them. Skywalker then turned around to see the corridor's blast doors behind him seal shut but knew that the bulkheads would not be enough to contain the blast.
Offering whatever reinforcement he was able to provide with the Force, Skywalker found that he was unable to hold back the inferno. The blast doors buckled, and the force from the blast slammed him against the airlock, gravely wounding the Jedi and knocking him unconscious. Unwilling to leave her Master behind, Tano ordered the Consular-class cruiser's clone pilots via comlink to hold their position and opened the airlock's doors, which budged only enough for her to catch sight of the injured Skywalker. Using her lightsaber to cut a hole through the doors, Tano pulled Skywalker's inert form onto the small transport with assistance from Secura. Bly then closed the gangway's doors behind them and ran to the cockpit to activate the frigate's deflector shields. With explosions continuing to rock the Liberty and sending unavoidable fires raging through the Star Destroyer, the Consular-class cruiser detached from the ventral hold and rocketed away, heading through the ongoing starfighter engagements for the Resolute.
While Skywalker was taken to the frigate's medical bay, Secura and Bly went to the ship's bridge, from where Secura contacted Admiral Yularen on board the Resolute. Yularen advised against docking in the middle of the battle, but Secura insisted on doing so, as Skywalker required medical attention beyond what their frigate could provide. At Yularen's behest, the Jedi Knight who was with the Republic's starfighter forces cut a path through the opposing rocket droids and Vulture droid starfighters, allowing Skywalker's evacuation ship to safely approach the Resolute. As the craft maneuvered around to dock with the Resolute, a squadron of Vulture droid starfighters approached and released a barrage of fire at the frigate's cockpit. The attack slammed one of the pilots into the ship's controls, inadvertently activating the frigate's hyperdrive, which Bly was unable to shut down. Through the still-open connection to Yularen, Secura hurriedly told the admiral that their frigate was going into hyperspace. With the uncontrollable frigate gearing up for a hyperspace jump while still in the Resolute's hold and therefore presenting a danger to the Star Destroyer, Yularen ordered the Resolute to be maneuvered out of the way. The Resolute did just in time as the frigate jumped to hyperspace. Despite knowing that the Jedi's odds for survival were slim, as a jump through a gravity well like the one that the Jedi had executed was extremely dangerous, Yularen ordered his crew to plot every course along their last known trajectory, as the Republic forces needed to finish the battle and find the Jedi. The battle did not end well for the Republic and resulted in a Separatist victory.
- "Plot every course along their last known trajectory! We need to finish this battle and find them!"
- ―Wullf Yularen, to his clone trooper crew, on the Jedi
With their crippled ship soaring through hyperspace, Bly met with Tano and Secura in the ship's medbay, where Skywalker's condition was being monitored by the craft's resident 2-1B medical droid. Bly reported that the coordinates for the hyperspace jump had been input incorrectly into the frigate's navigation computer and stated that they were heading on a direct collision course with a star. In order to reset the navicomputer's coordinates, the Jedi restarted the frigate's power, bringing the ship out of hyperspace into the Maridun system in time for Tano to pilot the craft out of its path into the star. Nevertheless, Tano was unable to prevent the frigate from crash-landing on the nearby grassy world of Maridun. Stranded on the little-known world, Tano and Secura went to find medical attention for the wounded and still unconscious Skywalker from the world's natives. Yularen eventually found the Jedi on Maridun in the wake of a battle there against Separatist forces, arriving with a fleet of three Venator-class Star Destroyers to rescue the Jedi.
Behind the scenes
- "Unlike the beginning of Revenge of the Sith, where they're in space looking down on the planet, we're in that middle ground, so there are all these contrails everywhere."
- ―Series Development Artist Matt Gaser, who created a series of concept paintings for the battle
The Sky Battle of Quell was featured as the opening act of "Jedi Crash," the thirteenth episode in the 2009 Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series' first season. It highlighted the series' debut of Aayla Secura, an already well-known character from Star Wars canon, as well as the introduction of the planet Quell. The T-series tactical droid and B2-RP battle droid models were additionally debuted in the battle. The battle itself set the groundwork for a story that tested the bond between Master-and-Padawan team Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano by putting the former in a near-death situation.
The battle received numerous mentions and entries in various sources, including the StarWars.com Databank, Visual Guide: Ultimate Battles, The Essential Atlas, The Official Episode Guide: Season 1, and The Art of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which finally gave it an official name. In 2010, the battle was featured in the "Starfighter" mini-game of the Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures video game, and in 2011, it was one of the playable missions in the non-canonical LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars video game. The main versions of the game mostly follow the storyline of "Jedi Crash," but the Nintendo DS version of the game features several changes to the storyline. In this edition, the Confederacy uses Hyena-class bombers against Aayla Secura's fleet, and Anakin Skywalker—instead of his Padawan, Ahsoka Tano—is the one who crashes on the Liberty via the LAAT/i gunship.
Because of a lack of evidence presented in "Jedi Crash," no result beyond the destruction of Secura's fleet could be drawn from the episode. However, the young readers' book The Clone Wars: Planets in Peril stated that the battle did not "end well" for the Republic forces, which is assumed to be a Separatist victory. Chronologically, the Sky Battle of Quell takes place some time after the battle featured in The Clone Wars: Headgames, the webcomic leading into the episode. Originally planned as a space battle like the Battle of Coruscant that served as the opening of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, the engagement was moved to Quell's upper atmosphere during the episode's pre-production for a more dramatic effect. Series Development Artist Matt Gaser consequently painted a series of concepts for the battle. The shift created some canonical issues with the hyperdrive jump that was performed during the battle, as Star Wars canon had already dictated that hyperdrives encountered problems while operating close to planets.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Jedi Crash" (First appearance)
- Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures – "Starfighter"
- LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (Non-canonical appearance)
- The Clone Wars: Forces of Darkness (Picture only)
- The Clone Wars: Planets in Peril
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Defenders of Peace" (Appears in flashback(s))
- Clone Wars Gambit: Stealth (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Deserter" (Appears in flashback(s))
Notes and references
- Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide: Updated and Expanded
- "Republic HoloNet News Core Edition 14:4:14"—Star Wars Insider 67
- The New Essential Chronology
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Defenders of Peace"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Jedi Crash"
- The Essential Reader's Companion dates the Star Wars: The Clone Wars film to 22 BBY, while The Official Star Wars Fact File Part 8 (22 BBY 101–102, Spying for the Senate) dates "Senate Spy" to late 22 BBY. Since places "Jedi Crash" between The Clone Wars film and "Senate Spy," it can be concluded that "Jedi Crash" also takes place in 22 BBY.
- The Clone Wars: Planets in Peril
- Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures – "Starfighter"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Jedi Crash" (Decoded)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – The Official Episode Guide: Season 1
- The Official Star Wars Fact File Part 36 (BLY1, Clone Commander Bly)
- The Art of Star Wars: The Clone Wars
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Visual Guide Ultimate Battles
- The Essential Atlas
- LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
- LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars Nintendo DS edition
- The Clone Wars: Headgames