- "I am a simple merchant, my Queen. A Jedi released me from the prison after I tried to organize a group of freedom fighters."
- ―The merchant, upon meeting Queen Padmé Amidala
A citizen of the planet Naboo, a Human male merchant was imprisoned by the Trade Federation during its invasion of the planet in 32 BBY. According to the merchant, the arrest was a result of him attempting to organize a resistance group against the invaders.
While inside his cell, the merchant was found by the Jedi Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi, who was on a mission to rescue Naboo's Queen Padmé Amidala. The merchant was released by the Jedi, and he later assisted Amidala in the liberation of the planet by giving her a stash of stockpiled weapons.
Prisoner of the Trade Federation
- "Um, ya… you see, the Trade Federation, th… they captured me when I tried to organize resistance against this… this terrible invasion!"
- ―The merchant, explaining his predicament to Obi-Wan Kenobi
A Human merchant was a resident of the planet Naboo and was present on the planet when it was invaded by the droid forces of the Trade Federation in 32 BBY. The man was captured by the Trade Federation and was put in a prison in the capital city of Theed, although he managed to sneak in a thermal detonator.
A short time later, Jedi Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi—who was on a mission to escort Queen Padmé Amidala of the Naboo to her starship in order to escape the invading forces—stumbled upon the imprisoned merchant. The merchant pleaded for Kenobi to set him free, claiming that he had been incarcerated for trying to organize a resistance cell against the invaders.
Although Kenobi initially suspected that the prisoner may have been a criminal, he believed the merchant's words and released him. The merchant then gave Kenobi his thermal detonator as a reward and advised him to use it on the Federation Armored Assault Tank that was blocking the way to the hangar housing the queen's ship. As the Jedi departed, the merchant promised Kenobi that he would seek people to fight the Trade Federation battle droids.
- "Good luck, my Queen!"
- ―The merchant, to Queen Padmé Amidala
After Kenobi and the queen fled the planet, the merchant began stockpiling weapons to combat the Trade Federation. During this time, he heard the news that Amidala had supposedly been killed offworld by agents of the Federation, and he was saddened by the loss of his queen. Eventually, the Naboo and their allies, the Gungan species, launched a joint attack to liberate their homeworld.
As a battle was raging throughout Theed, the merchant stood on a balcony near the same cell in which he had previously been imprisoned. There, he encountered Amidala herself, who was alive and had returned to the planet, personally leading the assault on Theed. The merchant informed Amidala of his earlier encounter with Kenobi and provided the queen with a stash of stockpiled weapons, including a proton missile launcher and ten flash-bang grenades. As Amidala turned to leave, he wished her luck in the liberation of the planet, which soon proved successful.
Personality and traits
- "Oh, help me! You gotta let me out! I've been wrongfully imprisoned!"
- ―The merchant begs Obi-Wan Kenobi to release him
Upon his meeting with Obi-Wan Kenobi, the merchant was very nervous, pausing between phrases and requiring time to find needed words. At first, Kenobi did not believe his story and suspected that the man may have lied and could actually be a criminal. Even after Kenobi had released him, the merchant still continued to insist on his innocence, claiming that he should be viewed as a hero and urging Kenobi to "sense the truth."
However, by giving Queen Amidala his stockpiled weapons, the merchant proved that he was at least truthful about working toward the liberation of Naboo. He was delighted to see the queen alive, after hearing rumors that she had been killed. The merchant had light skin, gray hair, a gray-white beard, and brown eyes.
- "What are you doing?"
"I've been stockpiling weapons in preparation for a revolution against the Trade Federation!"
- ―Queen Padmé Amidala and the merchant
During the Invasion of Naboo, the merchant wore an outfit consisting of a brown coat, brown pants, and black boots. While imprisoned, he was able to keep a thermal detonator on him, which he later gave to Kenobi as a reward. After being liberated, the man began stockpiling weapons to fight the Trade Federation, amassing an arsenal that included at least ten flash-bang grenades and a proton missile launcher. The merchant readily supplied those weapons to Queen Amidala, hoping that they would help her in the struggle to liberate the planet.
Behind the scenes
The Naboo merchant appeared in the 1999 video game Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace video game, developed by Big Ape Productions and published by LucasArts. He was credited as "Prisoner" and was voiced by Tom Kane, one of the most prolific Star Wars voice actors.
As in-game Easter eggs, the game's development team made several NPCs look like real-world celebrities. This particular merchant was given the appearance of actor Sean Connery, famous for his roles in the James Bond film series and the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Following the release of the game, this Easter egg was confirmed during a Q&A session with Big Ape Productions' 3D Modeler/Animator, Ray West, going under the alias "Zanzibar," on a fan forum dedicated to LucasArts video games.
There are a number of alternate ways that the fate of the merchant can unfold in the game. The individual can first be encountered as a non-playable character in the fifth level of the game, titled "Escape from Theed," in which the player controls Obi-Wan Kenobi. Since the encounter does not affect the game's storyline, the meeting with the merchant can be avoided entirely. If the merchant is encountered, the player can either leave him inside his cell or release him. In the latter scenario, it is also possible to kill the man right afterward.
Unless the prisoner has been killed by Kenobi, the player—this time controlling Queen Amidala—can once again encounter him in the tenth level, titled "Assault on Theed." If Kenobi did not encounter him previously or chose to keep him locked up, then the prisoner will still be located inside his cell. Amidala will then have the same options available to her, and she can either ignore his pleas and leave him imprisoned, can release and then kill him, or she can release him and let him live. However, if the prisoner has already been released by Kenobi, then Amidala will encounter him on a balcony outside his cell, and he will provide her with weapons. This article currently follows the latter version of events.
Due to a glitch in the game, if Amidala releases the merchant, lets him run to his waiting spot at the balcony, and then kills him, a new version of the merchant will respawn right next to his dead body. This copy will then act out the dialogue corresponding to the scenario in which he was released by Kenobi.
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace video game (First appearance)
Notes and references
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace video game
- The New Essential Chronology dates the events of the film Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace to 32 BBY. The same timeline placement applies to the film's video game adaptation, which features the merchant.
- (In response to: "Sean Connery - Escape from Theed level. He's the one in that is locked in the room. You have to walk down some stairs to reach his cell. When you free him he offers you a detonator.")
- (In response to: "I'm Ray West, the 3d artist/animator for Big Ape Productions, the team that produced Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace for Lucasarts. […] Zanzibar, is this real or another kid playing a prank?")