- "The transit tax made it difficult for refugees to go to the capital. These new ventures may make it altogether impossible, but I guess that's Coruscant's intent, isn't it?"
- ―Bronwynn Koft, on measures which Tannon Praji helped institute
Tannon Praji, a Human male, was the First Minister of the Coruscant Ministry of Ingress during the final years of the Galactic Republic. Born in 60 BBY to the wealthy House Praji, he developed a love of art at an early age, built his own private fortune, married a woman named Maree, and sired a daughter. He ascended to the position of First Minister at a difficult time; responsible for overseeing immigrants and emigrants to and from Coruscant, Praji's directives began to clash with those of the Republic, and so he had to invalidate his organization's core ideals for the sake of Republic security. During the Clone Wars, he closed the borders of Coruscant to all but those known to be loyal to the Republic. Later, he called for the deportation of all those hailing from Confederate worlds.
Praji received much criticism for his hardliner policies; was labeled as a rich, uncaring maniac; and became the subject of several assassination attempts. In reality, he resented the decisions he had to make, but he was under a great deal of pressure from other governmental factions. In order to relieve his stress, Praji spent a great deal of time at the Galaxies Opera House, where he would commune with political entities and industry tycoons. He enlisted the help of a bodyguard, Ottegru Grey, who secretly drew funds from Praji and donated them to the Republic's Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. This wound up working to Praji's advantage, however, as he crept into favor with Palpatine, who would soon ascend to the position of Galactic Emperor. Under Palpatine's New Order, Praji worked as a bureaucrat in an organization that was now a puppet of Coruscant's military police.
Early life and ascension
The Human male Tannon Praji was born in 60 BBY to the influential House Praji on Coruscant, capital world of the Galactic Republic. He had two siblings: Griff and another brother. Praji's mother wanted to instill in her sons an appreciation for fine arts and culture, but did not want to limit them to what the capital had to offer. As a result, the family took repeated vacations offworld to such places as the museums of Porus Vida, and the Sharu ruins of the Rafa system. The trips had a great effect on Praji, and he grew to be an armchair aesthete. Eventually, he married a woman named Maree, and sired a daughter, Onnelly. Griff also had a child, a boy named Nahdonnis.
Through his inheritance, Praji was able to build a private fortune for himself separate from the coffers of House Praji, although he continued his family's long-standing investment in the Bank of the Core. The investment bought him a variety of friends and assets in high places. Praji himself, however, had nothing to do with the Bank's day to day operations. When Supreme Chancellor Palpatine came to power in 32 BBY, one of the first appointments in his administration was Praji's ascension to the position of Second Minister of the Coruscant Ministry of Ingress, under First Minister Zelebitha Effhod.
At first, the bureaucratic job was uneventful, and Praji was able to carry out his work with a minimum of fuss, until the advent of the Separatist Crisis. Paranoia struck the galaxy as the Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems teetered toward warfare. Billions of immigrants wanted to get into Coruscant, but Praji felt that the Ministry's obligation to provide unlimited opportunity to offworlders and foreigners would clash with the well-being of the Republic, as he saw the influx of immigrants as a threat to Coruscant's security. As a result, Praji reorganized the Ministry's operations to better operate under the extraordinary circumstances.
He was able to convince Effhod to close Coruscant's borders to the immigrants indefinitely. In turn, the spaceports were overburdened, and transports were forced to wait for clearance that they would not get. The immigrants that did get through the cordons found themselves exploited in roles such as that of a menial servant. Those suspected of treason by the government could and would be deported. That caused a great amount of dissent, and in a knee-jerk reaction, movements such as the Refugee Relief Movement decried Praji and his actions, labeling him as a distant, cold trillionaire who cared little for the plight of those in need. The accusations stung Praji, who found his own position morally taxing. In 22 BBY, Effhod succumbed to Quannot's Syndrome, and Praji succeeded as First Minister of the Coruscant Ministry of Ingress.
The day after, the Battle of Geonosis took place, and the Clone Wars broke out. Praji considered the greatest tragedy of the conflict to be the destruction of the Museum of Light on Tandis Four, which had been spearheaded by Confederate Count Dooku to demoralize Loyalists in the area. Dooku was a member of the aristocracy of Serenno, as several members of House Praji had been in the past, and so Praji himself was appalled to see a distant relative commit such acts. He publicly decried Dooku for his actions, but Praji's words had no effect whatsoever, nor did they reduce the image of him created by the Refugee Relief Movement as an uncaring elitist.
In short order, the Commission for the Protection of the Republic was formed in order to secure the survival of the Republic in testing times. The committee, however, would bully government officials into leaning their way, and Praji was no exception. COMPOR forced Praji to deport those whose homeworlds had sided with the Confederacy, such as the Aqualish and the Gossam. The goal was never fully enforceable, but Praji's efforts were enough to make an impact, the results of which for the First Minister were twofold. Chancellor Palpatine praised Praji's efforts and movements, claiming that they were instrumental in securing peace and security on the capital. However, many of Praji's critics were pushed to extreme measures, and several assassination and kidnapping attempts were made on the First Minister by both dissidents and agents of the Confederacy.
Following one particular attempt by Aqualish Separatists, Praji was offered the protection services of Ottegru Grey by the Bank of the Core, at a nominal fee. Grey was a family friend, and Praji accepted. Grey served as Praji's bodyguard, assistant and, more covertly, as his accountant, although in reality he was acting as an agent for the Bank of the Core. He secretly siphoned funds from Praji's coffers and leaked them into Palpatine's war chest, which allowed Palpatine to pay off the debts of Romeo Treblanc, owner of the Galaxies Opera House. Grey's actions secured both him and Praji a lifetime pass to the Galaxies Opera House, which Praji frequented whenever his work schedule allowed.
Grey did continue to serve faithfully as a bodyguard however, foiling an attempt by Confederate-backed Zarracine terrorists to board Praji's repulsorlimo. Praji thoroughly enjoyed the opera and ballet, and he had the added advantage of access to Treblanc's private box. There, he would meet with lofty industrialists such as Onara Kuat, whom he introduced to Ottegru Grey. Praji was present in the box in 19 BBY during a performance of the opera Squid Lake. Several days later, Palpatine declared himself Galactic Emperor and transformed the Republic into the Galactic Empire. In the wake of Imperialization, the Ministry of Ingress was made into nothing more than a puppet of the Coruscant—Imperial Center—military police.
Despite his reservations, Praji secured a position for himself in Palpatine's New Order, and took leave to relocate Maree and Onnelly to "Emerald Splendor," which was apparently a hidden paradise located in the Deep Core. In reality, the world was Palpatine's own private retreat, where he would go to drain the Force energy out of immigrants like Praji's wife and daughter to sustain himself. Praji's life on Coruscant, however, continued without incident, and his nephew Nahdonnis eventually came to serve in the Imperial Army.
Personality and traits
- "Look after the credits and the billions will look after themselves."
- ―Ralltiiri aphorism, Praji's favorite saying
Praji, though rich and privileged, did not seek to oppress the poor and disadvantaged as his detractors asserted during the Separatist crisis. In fact, he lamented his choices, despite finding himself in a situation in which neither of the two possible courses of action were particularly attractive. However, Praji's favorite saying was a Ralltiiri aphorism about looking after credits. He also looked after his family, and took care to keep his wife and daughter safe after the Declaration of a New Order.
Praji was ignorant of the actions of his bodyguard, Grey, who committed a wide array of shady deals behind his back. Praji was aware, however, of the fact that Palpatine would make a grab for power in 19 BBY, and he was known to share his knowledge with celebrities such as Romeo Treblanc and Onara Kuat. Praji had an appreciation for fine arts and culture, instilled into him by his mother at an early age. Due to that, he was outraged to see any work of art destroyed. Praji had fair skin and black hair, as well as a goatee.
Behind the scenes
- "As Praji's creator, let me say that he's not necessarily a good guy. He's one of those business first kinda guys. Elitist due to his family life (the Praji's [sic] were were a multi-trillionare [sic] family invested in big buiness [sic] and government), and while he may have not relished his decisions, he's not exactly a Saint, or even a philanthropist for that matter."
- ―Zack Bossan
Tannon Praji first appeared in George Lucas's Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, in which he was portrayed by visual effects supervisor John Knoll, who also played an emergency firespeeder pilot. Knoll had previously appeared in Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace as starfighter pilot Rya Kirsch. The other opera patrons who shared the box with Knoll in Revenge of the Sith were all played by crew from the film in cameo roles. A throwaway comment by Knoll about their character's motivations would later be adopted by "What's The Story?" authors.
Zack Bossan created Praji's backstory with a StarWars.com Databank article written through the website's "What's The Story?" feature, and intended to make him the uncle of Commander Nahdonnis Praji, a character first seen in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. This element was left out of the published entry, but later became canon when Nathan O'Keefe confirmed the relation in the short story Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Praji, published online through Hyperspace in 2009.
Bossan did not see Praji as necessarily a "good guy," but rather an elitist businessman who, although not fond of his questionable decisions, is not a philanthropist either. In Praji's Databank article, Bossan established that he was the father of Onnelly Praji, a supporting character from Paul Ens' Evasive Action: Recruitment webcomic. Later in the "What's the Story?" cycle, Tannon Praji's story was interwoven with those of Onara Kuat and Ottegru Grey by Aidan Hennessy (for Kuat) and Bossan with "magicofmyth2" (for Grey).
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith (First appearance)
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 13
- (First identified as Tannon Praji)
- "Immersive Menace!" – Star Wars Insider 131