- "Its size makes it appear closer than it is. But the Wheel's reputation does not rest on its size. There are other constructions in the galaxy larger, more awesome... The Wheel is a monument. A monument to pleasure, to risk, to greed. And, to those with the need or the desperation... It is also a monument to life and death."
- ―Statement on the Wheel's importance
Well-known for its casinos, this space station resembled a huge wheel, with a central axis consisting of the main fuselage of the station. This axis was an immense cylinder, and at its midpoint there were two main spokes leading out to the circular promenade and inner-rim city. At the main axis's top was the Executive Tower, where Simon Greyshade and later administrators lived and worked.
From the tower, people could access the main transport tube and travel through the entire installation in airflow cars. There were several other transport tubes besides the main one, but it had access to the Imperial dock, reserved for military personnel during the time of the Galactic Empire. All parts of the station were equipped with containment doors that could seal off damaged sections during an emergency. These walls were blast-shielded.
Sprouting from the circular section were nearly 100 docking piers, allowing any size of ship to safely approach and dock with the Wheel. Beyond these luxury docks, thousands of buoys were placed to allow for less expensive docking, with shuttles providing guests with transport to the station.
The outer section of the Wheel, which gave the station its name, was a sprawling city with an untold number of casinos, including the Crimson Casino and the Grand Casino, which were two of the Wheel's star attractions. Deep in the central axis was also a gladiator arena, where all manner of beings were forced to fight to the death for the entertainment and wagering of the Wheel's visitors.
The security and main systems of the Wheel were run by Master-Com, a super computer capable of projecting his consciousness into several droid bodies provided for him, in an unusual gesture of friendship between Human and droid, by Senator Simon Greyshade so he could move around the casino and to make him seem more Human.
Security was provided by a heavily-armed and well-trained organization known as the Wheel Security Force which helped enforce the law aboard the Wheel, as well as provide armed escort for winners of large jackpots at the casinos. In space, a fleet of ten Guardian-class light cruisers provided traffic control during the Galactic Civil War. By the Sith–Imperial War, the space force included frigates and gunships.
- "Space may be freezing, but here the action's hot, so book your trip today — at the Wheel, where no one gets left out in the cold!"
- ―The Wheel's popular slogan
Origins and early history
The Wheel was constructed in 84 BBY by Doffen Gaitag of Qiraash and enjoyed immediate success and galactic fame as a gambling den. Gaitag eventually sold his station to Skijid Vrescot, a J'feh crime lord and the appointed Count of Cheelit, who succeeded Gaitag as the Wheel's administrator. Vrescot used his acquisition to establish a network of Tirefin spice distribution to the Outer Rim Territories and renovated the station's recycling systems, which were then utilized to refine Tirefin for increased potency.
The Clone Wars
Shortly after the First Battle of Geonosis, Jedi Master Tholme sent Aayla Secura to the Wheel to try and make contact with undercover Quinlan Vos. Vos had been working undercover to collect intelligence about the Separatists, however, the Jedi had lost contact with him. There, Vos and Secura, with the help of Khaleen Hentz, obtained a hologram informing the Separatist leaders of an imminent attack on Kamino in an attempt to cut off the Galactic Republic's army.
The Galactic Civil War
During the height of the New Order, the Wheel was situated inside an "immunity sphere," which meant that Imperial ships were not allowed to come to the station and all within could enjoy themselves while they were aboard. Only "financially worthy" customers were allowed to land. Those wishing to dock needed to have accounts totaling at least 10000 credits. The Empire had a space landing platform just outside the immunity sphere with two system patrol craft.
However, Senator Simon Greyshade, the station's administrator at the time, paid his taxes regularly and often to appease the Empire. He also adhered to the Empire's anti-alien biases, and while the station catered to Humans and near-Humans equally, any disputes that arose on the Wheel between alien and Human clients would be handled under the assumption that all alien species were "guilty until proven innocent."
The Wheel managed to retain its independence following Greyshade's death and the end of Palpatine's Empire, with no subsequent government managing to gather enough political will to bring it under control. The station was used during the Yuuzhan Vong War, as it served as a transfer point for refugee vessels. It was eventually conquered by the Yuuzhan Vong, but escaped the war without damage.
The Sith–Imperial War and beyond
During the Sith–Imperial War, the administrator of the station was killed by vengeful pirates. Her friend and second-in-command, Pol Temm, took control of the station and transferred its ownership to himself. He ran the station with its best interests in mind, having lived most of his life aboard the station and having held many different occupations there. The station remained neutral since the Galactic Civil War, and Temm banned all weapons and fighting within the station. If anyone was found to disobey his rules, the offender was cast off the Wheel—with or without a ship.
In 137 ABY, it was the location of a meeting between Galactic Alliance Admiral Gar Stazi and Imperial Captain Mingo Bovark. Following sabotage by Jor Torlin of the One Sith, the potential alliance between the Empire-in-exile and the Galactic Alliance Remnant was thwarted.
Pol Temm believed that the event had been a trap set up by the Empire, thus banning its personnel from entering the Wheel. The Galactic Alliance Remnant, however, was allowed to come and go as they pleased, thus the Wheel became one of the few safe ports of the Alliance Remnant.
In 138 ABY, Temm reportedly went out in a blaze of glory, defending the station in a waspish, aging Defender-class Star Destroyer against the Mandalorian Supremacists, making way for the station's twelfth administrator, Attatag Gosem. A beefy Gotal with suspected Sith affiliations, Gosem was the reigning champion of the Big Game three-years running — before turning to crime when Temm abolished the gladiatorial arenas. His triumphant return to the Wheel was viewed with marked suspicion, and the station fell into squalor and rust under his supervision, but many thanked the Maker that the ban on the infamous Big Game was revoked by Gosem.
Behind the scenes
In an online forum for The New Essential Guide to Droids, Daniel Wallace attempted to hint that the Wheel and the Jubilee Wheel were the same station, acknowledging that they have been drawn as looking similar. However, its appearance in Star Wars: Legacy: Trust Issues makes the connection impossible. The issue was resolved with the publishing of the article series Viva Space Vegas! The History of the Marvelous Wheel, which made references to rivalry and copycat accusations between the two ring-shaped stations.
- Republic 49
- Jedi: Count Dooku (Mentioned only)
- Agent of the Empire – Hard Targets 5 (Mentioned only)
- Beyond the Rim
- Star Wars (1977) 18 (First appearance)
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- Star Wars (1977) 26 (Mentioned only)
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- (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars (1977) 69
- Star Wars 79 (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Legacy: Trust Issues
- Star Wars: Legacy: Ghosts (Mentioned only)
- Legacy (2006) 15 (Mentioned only)
- Legacy—War 2 (Mentioned only)
- Legacy—War 3
- Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, Second Edition, Revised and Expanded
- "ComicScan: 20 Tales To Tantilize" – Star Wars Galaxy Collector 5
- Wretched Hives of Scum & Villainy
- The New Essential Guide to Droids
- No Disintegrations
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
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- Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook
- "Blaster" – Star Wars Insider 145
- Star Wars: Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook
- The Bounty Hunter Code: From the Files of Boba Fett
- "Red Five" – Star Wars Insider 157