Watto was a male Toydarian junk dealer/Human trafficker, who owned a shop in Mos Espa, Tatooine. In his youth, he served as a soldier in the Ossiki Confederacy Army on his homeworld of Toydaria, but later left after sustaining permanently damaging injuries. Making his way to Tatooine, he fell in with the Jawa natives of the planet, and learned how to trade from them. Once he felt he had learned all he could, he abandoned the Jawas, and set up Watto's Shop in Mos Espa. He became one of Tatooine's many slave owners, and made a lucrative business for himself. Eventually, he came into possession of a young slave, Anakin Skywalker, who proved to be a gifted mechanic, and an invaluable asset to the running of the store. Soon enough, Watto discovered that the boy had an affinity for podracing.
Watto would often bet on the podraces, and was an avid fan, so he had Anakin race for him in several tournaments. Although the boy never won, he was clearly gifted. During one particular race, Anakin destroyed Watto's own podracer, which incurred the Toydarian's wrath. Shortly thereafter, a stranger to Mos Espa, Qui-Gon Jinn, claimed that he had his own podracer, and that he wanted Anakin to fly it in the Boonta Eve Classic. Watto conceded to the deal, but decided to bet against Anakin, instead investing in the Dug Sebulba. Jinn took the bet, wagering his ship against Anakin's freedom. Ultimately, Anakin won the race, and Watto was left with very little. His business declined, and he eventually had to sell Anakin's mother, Shmi Skywalker. Watto stayed in business until the Galactic Civil War, when he handed over ownership of his shop to his assistant, W. Wald.
Watto was a Toydarian who grew up on his species' homeworld of Toydaria. While Watto was still a youth, Toydaria suffered one of its frequent famines. During the famines, certain groups of Toydarians would seize upon the opportunity to strike at their neighbors, and wage war. Watto joined one such group: the Ossiki Confederacy Army. Soldiers such as Watto in the Ossiki Confederacy Army would utilize chemical warfare to poison and render useless the food stocks of their rivals. When the drought ended, the war followed suit. Watto survived, but his left tusk was broken, and one of his legs was rendered lame. With nothing left to fight for, Watto mustered out and left Toydaria.
Coming to Tatooine
Watto later came to the world of Tatooine, and at first he spent time with the native Jawas, listening to their stories and legends of scrap finds in the desert, as well as sales techniques. He also learned the secrets of Tatooine's hidden economy. To sustain himself on his new world of residence, he had to eat concentrated foods and imported egg-seeds. When he had learned all he could from the Jawas, he either abandoned or reported his friends among them. The Toydarian eventually set up a junk shop in Mos Espa, borrowing money to pay for the building. To help him tend the shop and his stock, the Toydarian acquired several slaves, among them Amee. After making his first successful deal, Watto added a bell shaped dome to the apex of the shop's dome to serve as a comfortable perch, a homage to the muck nests of Toydaria. He also purchased a Toydarian clan bell, which would normally be in the possession of a noble family, and hung it above his perch. Although he insisted that his shop was a parts dealership, almost everyone dismissed it as a junk shop. In his stock, the Toydarian possessed both items of extreme value and quality, and scraps that not even the local Jawas would take. Watto would utilize his droids and slaves in a variety of roles, having them repair items, or fetch certain pieces of merchandise for customers. To guard his junkyard at the rear of the shop, he modified two agricultural droids to serve as security. Like the Jawas, the Toydarian preferred to do business with offworlders, rather than seasoned locals, as they were easier to con out of their hard-earned money. To boost his stock, Watto purchased a military surplus lot from crime lord Dreddon.
Among Watto's staff was an R1-type shopkeeping drone, which assisted with the shopkeeping. He also possessed a datapad, on which he would maintain his accounting records. Watto rarely used an inventory, however, as he had a great memory for what stock he did and did not have. Also in Watto's arsenal were several loaded chance cubes, which he would use to swindle others in games of chance. As a diversion, Watto owned a shisha, which would, for him, replicate the climate of Toydaria. Another of Watto's personal effects was his swagger stick. Although he had left family behind on Toydaria, he cut off contact with them, as he feared that they would try and exploit his newfound success. Within a standard year, he had earned enough to pay off his debts. Despite his initial success, however, he was not satisfied, and was convinced that either his slaves were lazy, or Jawas were sneaking into his yard and stealing merchandise.
In time, he began betting on the podraces with Gardulla the Elder. Watto was a great fan of the sport, and would often service the pods of the various pilots. He had his own seating box at the Mos Espa Grand Arena, which he shared with several non-Human friends and acquaintances. Podracing was such a lure for Watto, that it was what kept him on Tatooine. He began accumulating all manner of memorabilia from the races, including the Grand Trophy from a tournament on Ando Prime. He dedicated an entire wall of his nest to storing and displaying his collected trophies and trinkets. In time, he became particularly adept at retrieving his money from those who owed him. One day, while visiting the Gardulla, Watto noticed a young boy, aged approximately three years old, repairing a portable vaporator in Gardulla's courtyard. The Toydarian pointed out to the boy that he was installing the water pump unit the wrong way, but the child claimed that he had modified it to make it work better, and he demonstrated the improvement. Watto was impressed, but he did not linger, as he owed money to Gardulla following the most recent podrace. Meeting the Hutt in the entrance of her residence, Watto noted that there would be another podrace the next day, and he had an idea as to what the wager would be: ownership of the talented boy, Anakin Skywalker, and his mother, Shmi. Gardulla lost the bet, and within two days, Watto owned both slaves.
He provided his slaves with their own hovel on Slave Quarters Row, which the Skywalkers appreciated greatly. To ensured that his slaves did not try to escape, Watto had an explosive chip installed in each of them, that would detonate should they make any attempt to free themselves. Watto made a habit of scolding his slaves—so much so that it became a daily part of their lives. Anakin in particular was exceedingly valuable to Watto for his considerable mechanical talent, although Watto boasted that he had taught him about the machinery himself. Nevertheless, he did beat the boy repeatedly, even when Anakin was only four years old. The boy, however, would take the beatings without so much as a sound. In time, Anakin became Watto's favorite slave. As the years passed, Watto's Shop thrived, and the Toydarian even gave Shmi an aeromagnifier, with which she could clean computer memory devices and earn some money for herself. With Anakin's help, Watto made a business out of fixing droids. When Sebulba blasted a DUM-series pit droid because it was not moving quick enough, Watto repaired it. At the time, he was also repairing an explorer droid and a protocol droid scavenged by Jawas; Watto noticed that Anakin was especially skilled at fixing the latter type. He also acquired a number of GNK power droids to power up machinery in the shop, as well as some welding droids and ASP droids to help him in simple tasks. At one point, Watto discarded a pair of 620C racing engines that were too burned out for and proper use, but Anakin took a particular interest in them nonetheless.
One day, Watto heard that there had been a substantial crash involving a space frigate, and two sandskimmers. The parts from the vehicles were to be sold off in Anchorhead, and the Toydarian was eager to bid for them. However, he would have to make a day-long journey to Anchorhead in order to do so, and that meant closing the shop—not an attractive prospect for the Toydarian in any circumstance. He decided that he would make the journey to Anchorhead and close the shop, but he refused to give his slaves a day off, and so he gave Anakin a long list of chores to complete, which would take the boy the entire day to complete.
Wagers, podracing, and Anakin
Watto eventually fell into Jabba Desilijic Tiure's debt, and was unable to pay it off. At some stage, the Toydarian purchased a lightsaber from a peddler. Shortly afterwards, two of Anakin's friends, W. Wald and a sentient feline started snooping around the shop, prompting Watto to chase them off. He then departed to see Jabba before that day's podraces began. Anakin was left behind to tend to the shop. Jabba, however, threatened to take away Watto's shop if he did not pay off the debt. On his way back to the shop, Watto realized that the only way he would raise enough money would be to bet against Sebulba in the upcoming race—not an attractive prospect for the Toydarian, as Sebulba never lost a race. When he arrived at the shop, Wald and the feline had returned, forcing him to chase them off again. As he watched the race later that day, Watto was mortified when Sebulba pulled into the lead, but, fortunately for the Toydarian, the Dug's podracer inexplicably disentegrated, causing him to lose the race. With his winnings, Watto was able to pay off all debts, but his joy was short-lived, as he found Wald and the feline once again snooping around his shop. Once more, the Toydarian chased them off. Wald was later credited with some derogatory graffiti on Mos Espa Way that attacked Watto's handling of currency and his odor. Watto would continue to attend the podraces with Jabba, however, and made the acquaintance of one of the crime lord's slaves, Diva Shaliqua.
When Watto learned that Sebulba was bringing something new into Mos Espa, he sent Anakin to investigate. The boy discovered that it was the Dug's new Plug-F Mammoth. During this time, Watto's Shop became a popular outlet for podracers, who were able to buy all kinds of upgrades for their vehicles in between the various races. When a customer was not able to buy a new part for their podracer, Watto would take them out back to his junkyard, and would sell them used parts. The Toydarian also sold DUM-series pit droids to the customers. One of his frequent customers was the podracer Mawhonic, who would frequently purchase spare parts for his GPE-3130. When Watto began having trouble with womp rats in his junkyard, he set snares for them. The Toydarian would never check the snares, however, instead opting to let the rats starve and die.
Watto had known that Anakin was adept at piloting speeders, as Gardulla had informed him. What the Toydarian did not expect was the boy's affinity for podracing. One day, while enjoying a drink at a local cantina, Watto watched on as Anakin approached him, carrying a datapad he was to deliver. A bar brawl broke out at that moment, but the boy was able to navigate through it without sustaining so much as a scratch. Although Shmi objected, Watto introduced Anakin to podracing the next day. Further evidence of the boy's skill when Watto caught him testing a newly refurbished pod by flying it around the junkyard. The Toydarian was furious, but could not deny that the boy had skill. Since Watto was still addicted to gambling on the podracing, he saw an opportunity to generate a little more revenue for himself, and so he began sponsoring Anakin as a podracer. Watto bought a pod for himself, and had the boy repair and test it, although he earned the wrath of Shmi, who was appalled to see her child getting involved in such a dangerous and turbulent sport. Although Anakin was not particularly successful in his racing, Watto would con others into thinking that his slave would win. To keep up the charade, the Toydarian would make small bets on Anakin, but would secretly make his proper bets on Sebulba.
In 32 BBY, Watto entered him in one of the many races, allowing the young Human to pilot the Toydarian's own vehicle. To Watto's horror, Anakin was sidelined by Sebulba in the race, and the pod was severely damaged. Following the race, Watto lambasted the child, lamenting the cost it would take to repair the damage. Anakin protested, claiming that Sebulba had cheated, but the Toydarian simply suggested that his slave should cheat more often, in order to adequately compete. In a fit of rage, Watto suggested that he should find a new driver, and Shmi agreed. The Toydarian then had Anakin begin work on repairing the pod immediately. Despite his harshness, Watto had begun to take a liking to Anakin, placing more trust in him than most other Humans.
One day, Skywalker was tasked with repairing a DUM-series pit droid. He had almost finished the task when Watto, not satisfied with the amount of time Skywalker had spent fixing it, decided to try and finish the repairs himself. However, he accidentally hit the pit droid's high-output power source, activating the droid, which began to run amok in the shop and ultimately ran away to the streets of Mos Espa. Watto and Anakin followed the droid to the marketplace, and later, to the Mos Espa Arena, where a test drive before the Boonta Eve Classic was underway. The droid ran into the hangar and crashed into Sebulba's pod, damaging it; the angry Dug threatened that Watto would pay for the damage. The chase continued in the Arena itself; the amused spectators began to make bets on who would capture the droid, Skywalker or Watto. Eventually, Skywalker climbed on the edge of the arena and jumped onto the droid, hitting its nose and deactivating it. When they were returning to the shop with the deactivated pit droid, Watto commended Anakin on his quick-thinking.
A week after Skywalker's participation in the race, Watto dispatched Anakin to the Dune Sea in a speeder. Out there, he was to make contact with the Jawa traders, to purchase some droids. Anakin was skilled at bartering, making him a suitable candidate for the task. To trade with, the Toydarian gave Anakin a series of rare engine and guidance system parts. Watto also ordered the boy to buy a float sled, or, if he could not obtain one, have the droids march back to Mos Espa. The boy later returned with the droids, safely, but much later than expected. Watto was livid, but eased back on his lambasting of the boy when he noticed the quality of the droids purchased.
The next day, Watto began preparing for Boonta's Eve, when the Jawas came into Mos Espa. Watto, hoping to get replacement parts for his podracer, dispatched Anakin to meet with the Jawas from Mochot Steep. The boy was unable to retrieve the parts, however, and Watto scolded him, ordering him to clean the junkyard bins. The young Human protested, insisting that he had already done so that day, but the Toydarian cared little, ordering him to do as he was told.
- Qui-Gon Jinn: "I don't have anything else. But credits will do fine."
- Watto: "No, they won'ta."
- Qui-Gon Jinn: "Credits will do fine."
- Watto: "No, they won'ta. What, you think you're some kinda of Jedi, waving your hand around like that? I'm a Toydarian. Mind tricks don't work on me–only money. No money, no parts! No deal! And no one else has a T-14 hyperdrive, I promise you that."
- ―Qui-Gon Jinn and Watto[src]
Later that day, two Humans—Qui-Gon Jinn and Padmé Naberrie, a Gungan, Jar Jar Binks, and a droid, R2-D2, entered Watto's Shop. Qui-Gon immediately requested parts for a J-type 327 Nubian craft, and, since Watto was familiar with the Nubian make, he was all too happy to oblige. Summoning Anakin to watch over the shop, the Toydarian took Jinn out back to peruse the junkyard. Jinn needed a T-14 hyperdrive generator, one of which Watto had in stock, but advised the Human to purchase a new ship instead—a far cheaper prospect, by the Toydarian's reckoning. When Watto inquired as to how Jinn planned to pay for the T-14, the Human announced that he had 20,000 credits. The currency, however, was worthless on Tatooine, as the effort it would take to convert it to local currency would be more than it was worth, and so Watto demanded more suitable payment.
Jinn insisted that his credits would be suitable, and simultaneously waved his hand in front of Watto. The Toydarian disagreed, and so Jinn repeated the gesture and the statement. Watto, realizing what was going on, inquired as to whether or not Jinn was a Jedi. He received no reply, but the Toydarian saw fit to inform his prospective customer that his species could not be affected by the Jedi mind trick. Watto was unmovable on the subject of payment, and, realizing his predicament, Jinn decided to depart. Weary, Watto commented about Jinn derisively to Anakin, who didn't share his sentiments. The day's work all but done, the Toydarian ordered Anakin to clean the racks before going home.
Later that day, Anakin returned to the shop, and informed Watto that Jinn was going to sponsor him to race in the Boonta Eve Classic. Shortly afterwards, Jinn himself entered, and claimed that he would use his ship, the Nubian, as an entry fee. When Watto inquired as to what Anakin would be piloting in the race, Jinn informed him that he had acquired a podracer of his own in a game of chance. Satisfied, the Toydarian agreed to lend Anakin to Jinn for the race, and they would split the winnings 50/50. Jinn baulked at the suggestion, however, instead suggesting that Watto would keep the prize money if Anakin won, minus the parts needed to repair the Nubian ship, whereas if the boy were to lose, the Toydarian would be given the ship. Deciding quickly, Watto agreed to Jinn's proposal.
Boonta Eve Podrace, 32 BBY
- "No, no! I want no more of your tricks! Take him!"
Watto, however, chose to bet not on his own slave, but on Sebulba, who had a far better track record. The next morning, Watto met with Jinn in the podracer hangar just near the Mos Espa Grand Arena. When the Toydarian announced that he was betting on Sebulba, he was surprised when Jinn claimed that he would take up the bet, hoping to wager his pod against Anakin and Shmi. Watto objected, as the value of no podracer was equal to that of two slaves. Pressing on, Jinn suggested that Anakin alone be wagered. The Toydarian was hesitant, and so he produced his chance cube, letting red denote Shmi, and blue denote Anakin. He rolled the cube, but, to Watto's surprise and anger, it landed on blue. Frustrated, he departed Jinn's company, confident that Anakin would not win the race anyway.
Watto then went to spectate from a box with Weazel and Graxol Kelvyyn. When the race started, Anakin's podracer stalled, much to the Toydarian's mirth. He was eventually able to get off the starting line though, and join the race. Weazel found it peculiar that Watto would bet against his own slave, but the Toydarian explained that the odds were clearly in Sebulba's favor. Kelvyyn, impressed with Anakin, decided to bet ten wupiupi on the boy. Watto was amused, and raised the stakes to twenty wupiupi, which the Anx agreed to. Weazel decided that he would bet against Sebulba as well. When Sebulba finished the first lap in record time, Watto decided he would make a new bet with Kelvyyn—ten wupiupi on Sebulba setting a new record for the overall race. This time Kelvyyn upped the ante, bringing the bet to fifteen wupiupi.
Anakin eventually moved up to sixth place—the Anx began to gloat, but Watto was sure that his slave would advance no further. When the third lap began, Sebulba was still in the lead, but he was followed closely by Anakin, to Watto's shock and surprise. Even more shocking to the Toydarian was Sebulba's crash towards the end of the final lap, allowing Anakin to take the lead and win the race. Watto paid out what was owed to Kelvyyn and Weazel, before Jinn entered the box. The Toydarian accused the Jedi of fraud, but Jinn suggested that Watto, being a gambler, should have been prepared for loss. The Jedi then asked Watto to bring the hyperdrive parts to main podracer hangar, and then promised to come by the shop afterwards to take custody of the boy. The Toydarian baulked, and told the Jedi that he couldn't take Anakin, as the bet had not been fair. Jinn, un-fazed, threatened to take the matter up with the Hutts, and Watto realized he was defeated. He resignedly agreed to transfer custody of Anakin, but as soon as Jinn was gone, he began plotting vengeance against the Jedi.
Almost immediately afterwards, Watto was approached by Gardulla, who congratulated the Toydarian on having his podracer win. The Hutt then offered to buy Anakin back from Watto at a price of 50,000 peggats. Claiming the need to have time to think about such a transaction, Watto bade Gardulla goodbye, and immediately began plotting to get Anakin back. Before he left the arena, he spied one of Jabba's thugs. Approaching the thug, Watto offered him with a freelance job—to "convince" Jinn to leave Anakin behind on Tatooine. The thug accepted the deal. Watto also enlisted the services of an Vomak, in cornering Jinn, but he was unsuccessful. Bringing the hyperdrive parts to the hangar, Watto met with Jinn again, and inquired as to whether or not Anakin would be staying on Tatooine. Jinn responded by claiming that it was the boy's choice, and the Toydarian capitalized on the claim, suggesting that the boy and his mother should not be separated. The Jedi retorted by asking Watto once more to free Shmi. Realizing that Jinn was trying to trick him, the Toydarian demanded that the Jedi bring the eopies and sleds used to carry the hyperdrive be returned to his shop.
As he left the hangar, Watto met with Jabba's thug in an alleyway, and the Toydarian reminded his employee of his job. Satisfied that Jinn would be dealt with, Watto returned to his shop. Later, Sebulba entered, hoping to purchase new engines to replace the ones lost in that day's race. The Toydarian, however, was aghast when Jinn strode through the door to his shop, unharmed. The Jedi used one of his mind tricks to dismiss Sebulba, and then demanded that the Toydarian retrieve and deactivate the transmitter that would allow Anakin to leave Tatooine. Watto went to his safe to retrieve the device, but the safe also contained a blaster. Jinn, however, implied that he had already dispatched Watto's hired thugs, and that he was "in no mood for games." Taking the hint, the Toydarian retrieved the transmitter, and deactivated it. As he was doing so, Jinn warned Watto to not harm Shmi in any way, shape or form. As Jinn left the shop, he sold Anakin's podracer to Sebulba, much to the Toydarian's dismay. Jinn later returned with Anakin to have the transmitter permanently deactivated, although Watto was unable to surgically remove the chip embedded in the boy himself. While the Toydarian continued to complain about his situation, the Jedi and the now-former slave departed his shop.
- "Maybe you could help with some deadbeats who owe me a lot of money."
Watto took a considerable time to move on from his loss to Jinn. He had neglected to collect his weighted chance cube from the floor of the podracer hangar, and would ask each customer who ventured into his shop if they had seen it. The Toydarian then took to flying through the streets of Mos Espa, on a search for the cube. The loss had not only affected him emotionally—it had severely damaged him financially, and had left his business in jeopardy. Without Anakin to help, the Toydarian found it difficult to turn a profit on his new stock, and he found the pit droids he had enlisted to replace the boy unsatisfactory. As a result, he would often have to repair and tinker with items himself, although he was no mechanic. The news that Watto had been bested by an outlander quickly spread throughout Mos Espa, and the citizens began to believe that they could exploit the Toydarian. In no time at all, Watto was owed a considerable amount of money that he had no way of collecting. Despite his financial setbacks, he purchased parts of the properties adjacent to his, in order to enlarge his premises.
Some time after Anakin had left, Shmi purchased a journal for herself with the money from her aeromagnifier work. When Watto caught her recording an entry while she was supposed to be working in the shop, he ordered her to resume her previous work, lest he sell the journal itself. Several days later, Watto made a trip to Mos Eisley, where he learned that Jinn had been killed in a battle on Naboo. Returning to his shop, Watto told Shmi of the development, and lamented Anakin's departure, suggesting that the boy would have been better off staying on Tatooine. Shmi spent 100 credits sending a message to the Jedi Council on Coruscant, a total to which Watto contributed 10%. Shmi was inquiring as to what had happened to Anakin in the wake of the battle on Naboo, but she received no reply, to Watto's chagrin and outrage. The Toydarian grew increasingly melancholy in the wake of Anakin's departure, and Shmi began to suspect that he missed Anakin's presence. Shmi too had become increasingly depressed in the absence of her son, and, fearing that she would try to escape and would kill herself in the process, Watto secretly deactivated her transmitter chip.
At some point after Anakin's departure, Watto enlisted the services of the droid Z-P70, nicknamed "Zeppo," to help him run the shop. Later, a spacer collided with an asteroid near Tatooine and crash-landed on the planet. Looking for parts to repair his ship, the spacer came to Watto. The individual, however, did not possess the money needed to buy the parts, and so Watto told Zeppo to inform him of the ways to earn the necessary sum. Using Zeppo's advices, the spacer gambled against Jabba the Hutt, Sebulba, Teemto Pagalies and Ratts Tyerell in a variety of games and was able to earn the money. He then bought the parts from Watto, repaired his ship, and left the planet.
When a Kadas'sa'Nikto, Vorkeesk, killed someone that owed Watto money, the Toydarian posted a bounty on his head, 3000 credits alive, 1500 dead. Watto also placed a bounty on the Jawa Biktha—100 credits alive, 50 dead—who stole one of his pit droids. Both bounties were claimed by the bounty hunter Jango Fett. Watto later pitted himself against the bounty hunter Vilmarh Grahrk in a game of sabacc—a game that the Toydarian lost. Instead of paying his debt to Grahrk, Watto offered the Devaronian any item from his shop of the same value, within reason. Touring Watto's junkyard, the Devaronian pointed out a trio of faulty pit droids, and suggested that he take those, but Watto warned him that they were faulty. Grahrk was not convinced, however, and he believed that Watto was deliberately trying to keep him from taking them. As a result, the Devaronian selected the droids as his payment, to Watto's feigned displeasure. Once Grahrk had left, the Toydarian afforded himself a moment of amusement, as he had been unable to sell the droids up to that point. He then had Shmi take the droids to the bounty hunter's ship, the Inferno. Around this time, Watto counted the smuggler Havor among his customers, to whom the Toydarian sold a faulty shield generator.
The Toydarian grew to be less harsh on Shmi than he had before, although he continued to feel the effects of losing Anakin. He became embittered, and blamed his bad luck on everyone but himself. When he learned that his slave had been visited by a Falleen from Coruscant, he sent Shmi out to purchase some nectarot. While doing so, Watto had her purchase some expensive Pallie wine from Naduarr, for them to share. Assuming that Shmi had received news about Anakin, he inquired as to whether he had won any podraces, but his slave informed him that Anakin was being trained as a Jedi, and that the Jedi did not allow podracing. At some stage, Shmi obtained a set of protocol droid plating from Watto for the droid Anakin had made years ago—C-3PO.
Some time later, a moisture farmer named Cliegg Lars entered Watto's Shop, requesting booster coils for a V-24 landspeeder. Lars knew Watto's reputation, and made it clear that he did not want to be swindled by the Toydarian. Feigning ignorance, Watto claimed that the parts would be expensive, if he had any of them in stock. Shmi piped up and claimed that she had just cleaned a whole stack of them that morning, and so Lars purchased a pair. Watto was less than pleased with the development, but he decided not to reprimand Shmi, instead opting to have her clean the memory chips of a used navicomputer. Lars later returned, looking for fifty vaporator condensers, but Watto was still upset about the booster coils, and so the moisture farmer left, displeased. Following Lars' visits, Shmi's mood became more favorable, and she acquitted herself in her tasks well, and without question.
Lars later returned to the shop again, this time hoping to trade ownership of Shmi for a landspeeder. Watto thought that the trade was insulting to Shmi, and refused. Over several months, Lars made repeated attempts to purchase Shmi from Watto, all unsuccessful. It got to such a stage that the moisture farmer was offering far more than Shmi herself was worth, and Watto reacted by keeping Shmi closer to him. He would even close the shop on some days and take her with him to bid on wrecks. The Toydarian even took her on two tours, one to Mos Eisley, and another to the pinnacles of the Rock Palace. He also showed Shmi several moisture farms, and explained to her how hard life was living on one of them. Eventually, Shmi requested that Watto sell her to Lars for a reasonable price, but the Toydarian wouldn't allow it, and forbade her from seeing him ever again.
Not long afterwards, a well dressed young man came to Watto's Shop, and wanted to know if the Toydarian had in stock a Needle ship. Watto did, and prepared to show the young man the merchandise. He had Shmi prepare drinks as he took the young patron out to inspect the ship. The man wanted to take the ship for a test flight, but Watto informed him that it was impossible, as it did not have its Tobal lens. The young man was dissatisfied, as the ship was worthless, and he prepared to leave. Shmi then approached Watto, and mentioned that she had seen a Tobal lens in the possession of Lars. The Toydarian quickly left to meet with Lars, hoping to negotiate for the lens. All Lars wanted in exchange was Shmi, who was worth far less than the lens itself. Watto offered him both Shmi and a quarter interest in the ship itself, which Lars accepted. The Toydarian revealed that he had already deactivated her transmitter, before opening the box in which Lars had kept the lens. The powerful Tobal lens blinded Watto, but the effect was not permanent. Following Shmi's departure, Watto no longer retained any slaves.
Watto later heard that Lars freed and married Shmi. He took on Anakin's childhood friend, Wald, as an assistant, and later visited the Lars homestead to offer Lars himself discounts on his merchandise. There, he saw that the well dressed young man who wanted the needle ship was in fact Owen Lars, Cliegg's son. Several years passed, and Watto found himself again servicing the vehicles of several podracers, such as Shrivel Braittrand, Kraid Nemmeso, and Tzidik Wrantojo.
One day in 22 BBY, while Watto was sitting outside his shop, he was approached by a tall young man, who was accompanied by a young woman. The man picked up the broken head of a pit droid and began tinkering with it, and the Toydarian realized that the newcomer was a Jedi. Immediately worried, Watto reacted by denying that he had done anything wrong at all, but the man was not interested, and instead stated in Huttese that he was looking for Shmi Skywalker. Watto began to realize that the man was in fact his old slave, Anakin, but he was unsure until the man replaced the pit droid's head, now repaired. Now sure that the man before him was Anakin, Watto asked if the Jedi could help him collect debts, but Anakin shrugged him off, asking again about where his mother was. Watto told his former slave about Lars, and then looked into his records, directing Anakin towards the moisture farmer's homestead. When he had given Anakin the records, the Toydarian requested that the young Jedi stay for a while at his shop, but the man simply departed without a word. Despite Anakin's attitude, seeing his former slave had reminded Watto of his earlier, happier days.
Wars and retirement
- A spacer: "I am looking to purchase a droid."
- Watto: "Ahh...thee has come to the right place, I think. I have many droids."
- A spacer: "This is a special droid."
- Watto: "Then thee must be willing to pay a special price, no?"
- ―A spacer and Watto[src]
The Clone Wars broke out not long afterwards, and one year into the conflict Anakin returned to Mos Espa, this time in the service of the Galactic Republic. He had been searching for the informant Raala Ponchar, who apparently had information pertaining to the Confederacy of Independent Systems' new cortosis battle droids. Anakin was referred onto Watto by the citizens of Mos Espa, and the Toydarian in turn had learned that Ponchar was working for a man named Bellek near the local moisture farms. Upon gathering the information from Watto, Anakin departed once more.
Over nineteen years later, in 0 ABY, Watto was occasionally summoned to a newly-built Imperial Garrison Base on Tatooine to do business, often from being pressured by the Galactic Empire into doing so..
About a year later, by 1 ABY, Watto was approached by some spacers who had been tasked with re-assembling an R2-series astromech droid. The Toydarian agreed to help them, but first he wanted them to retrieve some speeder parts that had never been paid for. The people who had taken the parts were to be killed, as well. Once the spacers had completed their task, Watto began aiding them in recovering the droid. He had sold the main casing to a man named Peggin Dulin, and so the spacers set off to retrieve that first. Once they returned, Watto dispatched them to get the legs, which had been sold to a woman named Syndil Na'Marr. Before the spacers reached Na'Marr, however, she contacted Watto and informed him that an Imperial officer had taken the legs away from her already. Acting quickly, the Toydarian had a landspeeder sent out to Na'Marr's location for the convenience of the spacers. Sure enough, the spacers returned to Watto's Shop with the legs. They were now in need of a motivator, and the Toydarian knew exactly where they could find one: a Human had attempted to run the Boonta Eve podrace track several years after its closure, believing that his droid's navigational skills would be able to guide him. They were not, and the Human crashed and died. Watto had initially sold the droid's motivator to a Twi'lek podracer named An'Kwee, and so the Toydarian sent the spacers out once more to investigate. They returned successfully with the motivator, and extra salvage from the crashed pod. A second motivator part was needed, however, so Watto continued his long string of missions for the spacers. He dispatched them to retrieve a booster controller from a speeder belonging to a being named Pah, which they were able to complete successfully. The next part required was a diagnostic controller, one of which Watto believed could be found in a nearby squill cave. The spacers returned victorious, the diagnostic controller in their possession. The last piece required, the head, was located at the Jabba's Palace, and so the spacers made that their new destination. After some time, they returned with the head, and Watto finally helped the spacers re-assemble the droid.
Some time later, Wald took over the establishment, and re-named the shop "Wald's Parts."
Personality and traits
- «Outlanders. They think we know nothing.»
When he was in a particularly foul mood, Watto would hurl abuse at his slaves, and would get them to repeat tasks, even if they were redundant. He would also threaten his slaves with beatings. Despite this, Watto was considered to be a comparatively fair master in Mos Espa, and was neither particularly violent nor cruel. He despised insolence though, and would react to displays of it with rage. Anakin, in time, became Watto's favorite slave, and the Toydarian even allowed Shmi to earn money for herself with a small home business. When Anakin left, Watto decided to treat Shmi better than he had before, and would often grant her reprieves from her duties as a slave.
Watto understood that he was not a popular figure in Mos Espa—popularity itself mattered little to him. As a result, Watto was unapologetically abrasive. He had been a bitter individual ever since his youth. Another side effect of his total lack of vanity was his tendency to not maintain his appearance, as he left his face unshaven. Watto also loathed to display any semblance of loyalty, affection or gratitude—he deftly sold out or abandoned the Jawas that had helped him adapt to Tatooine as soon as he had learned all he could from them, and the fact that he denies even to himself that he cares for and is even fond of the Skywalker family, treating them alone with warmth and kindness in spite of his greedy and self-centered nature.
One of the Toydarian's favorite pastimes was complaining. He would often shift blame, and fully believed that each one of his complaints about any given subject was justified. Watto was plagued by nightmares, in which two heavy weights prevented him from flying up to the top of the heap. The two weights were labelled "other people's incompetence," and "my own rotten luck." He refused to accept responsibility for any of his own setbacks, instead using his slaves and the native Jawas as scapegoats. He was shrewd, and only bet when he was sure of the outcome. He also aspired to become the next Jabba. When Watto lost Anakin to Qui-Gon Jinn, he refused to accept the outcome, and sunk into depression. He was also ridiculed throughout the community for having let an outlander get the better of him.
Behind the scenes
Watto was originally conceived for George Lucas' 1999 film, Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace. Originally, the design of Watto was more avian in nature, featuring plumage and a beak. Later incarnations of the Toydarian featured tentacles, and a cigar. When artist Terryl Whitlatch began designing the character, she began with an ugly, "cherub-like" design. George Lucas suggested that he be given webbed, duck-like feet. Eventually, the basis for Watto's face was derived from an early concept painting of a Neimoidian by Doug Chiang, particularly the hooked trunk and the crooked teeth. As the character spoke frequently, animator Rob Coleman found lip-syncing the character's lines with Secome's delivery of the dialog to be difficult. To overcome the problem, Coleman had part of Watto's teeth chipped away, so the character could speak out the side of his mouth, making the syncing process much easier. The sound of his wings flapping is a looped recording of sound designer Ben Burtt opening and closing an umbrella.
The character was also alluded to in the two video games: In Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter, the character of Reti mentions that a Toydarian on Tatooine would love to acquire the wreckage from a recent space battle. In Star Wars: Bounty Hunter, the character of Roz mentions a "poor sap," who "Lost everything in a podrace last season."
In the short comic "Old Wounds", published in the Star Wars: Visionaries collection, Watto is shown to have been beheaded by a resurrected Darth Maul, who is searching for Obi-Wan Kenobi. This conflicts with several elements of established canon, such as Watto's survival into Star Wars Galaxies, and is non-canon.
Watto was played by voice-actor Andrew Secombe, who also played the character on set, to give animators a reference for lighting and eye-line. Secombe adopted an Italian accent for the role. Secombe reprised the role for Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones, and the games Star Wars Episode I: Racer, Star Wars: Racer Revenge, Star Wars: Pit Droids, as well as the video game adaptation of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. In the video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, Secombe also provided the voice of other Toydarians on the moon of Nar Shaddaa.
- Crazy Watto
- LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game (Appears in cutscene(s))
- LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
- Old Wounds (In flashback(s))
- Star Wars: Yoda's Challenge Activity Center (Picture only)
- Star Wars: Jar Jar's Journey Adventure Book
- LEGO Star Wars: The Quest for R2-D2
- LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles – "video game"
- LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles – "Race for the Holocrons"
- LEGO Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out
- Star Wars: Tiny Death Star (Non-canonical mention)