- "Only a complete idiot would go into a place like that."
- ―Lando Calrissian
The Maw, or the Maw Cluster as it was sometimes called, was an unstable and mostly unnavigable cluster of black holes located near the planet Kessel. The only reason the Maw was visible was due to the ionizing gases being drawn into it.
The stability of the cluster itself was something of a mystery, with some believing that an advanced civilization might have constructed it, rather than it merging together like a normal cluster would. Theories included creation by an unknown people (possibly the Celestials) in 1,000,000 BBY and an enormous explosion in space. The Killiks claimed to have placed the Maw Cluster around Kessel, but their collective memory made this disputable; it was more likely that a member of the real makers joined one of their hives.
The Maw was the site of Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin's Maw Installation to build the first Death Star prototype, and most of the first Death Star (although it was completed at Despayre). Tarkin knew that the Maw's near-inaccessibility and remoteness made it easy for him to hide the project.
The installation was actually located within a safe zone inside the cluster discovered just prior to the start of the project. The remaining area of the Maw was saturated in radiation, plasma, and strong gravitational forces. Anything that neared the edge of the Maw would notice pieces of their ships being pulled apart, and some smugglers and criminals used it as a shortcut past the Kessel Run.
A large asteroid in the Maw was also the site of an Imperial detention base which was attacked by Rogue Squadron in year 3 ABY. During the battle, numerous prisoners escaped and the prison was destroyed.
The Maw was also the location of the creation and destruction of the Sun Crusher; it was constructed at the Maw Installation and destroyed when it was sent into one of the black holes within the Maw. Other superweapons designed and built there include the World Devastators, the Tarkin, the Ion Ring, and the Galaxy Gun.
During the Yuuzhan Vong War, Lando Calrissian sponsored the construction of a space station called Shelter, which was built with the remains of Maw Installation as a refuge for fugitive Jedi Knights. Shelter was located at the very heart of the Maw and at one point housed the wartime generation of Jedi apprentices and surviving Jedi Praxeum students.
In 43 ABY, Luke Skywalker and his son Ben visited the Maw during their journey to discover the reasons for Jacen Solo's fall to the dark side. Within The Maw, they discovered Sinkhole Station and the Mind Walkers.
- The Jedi Academy Sourcebook
- "Corellian Smuggler"—Shadis 27
- "The Unseen Planets of Star Wars"—Star Wars Insider 36
- "Feature Planet: Kessel"—Star Wars Kids 12
- The New Essential Chronology
- Scum and Villainy
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Essential Atlas
- Scavenger's Guide to Droids
- (Indirect mention only)
- The Unknown Regions