- Leia Organa: "An Imperial probe droid."
- Han Solo: "It's a good bet the Empire knows we're here."
- Carlist Rieekan: "We'd better start the evacuation."
- ―Rebel Alliance personnel Leia Organa, Han Solo, and Carlist Rieekan discuss the discovery of XJ9-CS14[src]
XJ9-CS14 was a Viper probe droid in service to the Galactic Empire during the Galactic Civil War. In 3 ABY, the droid was deployed as part of Project Swarm to the planet Hoth, where it relayed its discovery of the Rebel Alliance's hidden base to the Imperial Navy's Death Squadron. After transmitting its signal, XJ9-CS14 engaged in a small fire fight with the rebels Han Solo and Chewbacca before activating its self-destruct mechanism. The droid's message successfully alerted the Empire to the Rebellion's presence, however, leading to Imperial forces engaging the Alliance in the Battle of Hoth.
Investigation on HothEdit
- "There's a meteorite that hit the ground near here. I want to check it out. It won't take long."
- ―Luke Skywalker, to Han Solo, witnessing XJ9-CS14's crash
As a Viper probe droid, XJ9-CS14 was manufactured by Arakyd Industries for use by the Galactic Empire. In 3 ABY, the droid was stationed aboard the Imperial II-class Star Destroyer Stalker as a part of Project Swarm, a massive initiative of the Empire focused on locating the hidden base of the Rebel Alliance through the use of probe droids during the Galactic Civil War. The initial findings of the project yielded no results, however, prompting the Imperial leader Darth Vader to order for a new wave of droids to be sent out.
As one of thousands of probes deployed across the galaxy, XJ9-CS14 was jettisoned from the Stalker in a hyperdrive pod and sent to the Hoth system, an area known to have been used by pirates and smugglers. Arriving in the orbit of the planet also known as Hoth, the droid's pod automatically applied emergency braking thrusters that allowed the planet's gravity to carry it to the surface, crashing near the Nev Ice Flow. Unbeknownst to the droid, the rebels had made the planet their home only a month earlier. The crash was witnessed by Alliance Commander Luke Skywalker, who assumed the droid's pod was a plummeting meteorite, a common sight on Hoth. Skywalker was unable to investigate further, however, as he was attacked by a wampa, an ambush predator native to the icy world.
XJ9-CS14 cautiously emerged from its pod, scanning its initial surroundings before heading west from the crash site and beginning its full survey of the snowy planet. After being diverted from its course by a large meteorite crater, the droid began to pick up energy readings from Echo Base, the rebel's secret hideout. The probot was then attacked by its own wampa, hiding beneath a snow dune. XJ9-CS14 engaged the creature in combat before heading southeast along Clabburn Range. After traveling for several kilometers, it entered Zone Twelve of the planet and came across a deflector shield generator utilized by the Alliance, though the droid's programming did not deem the findings to fulfill the requirements of "rebel activity," with the probe coming to the conclusion that the barren planet was too inhospitable to sustain life forms. Regardless, the probe transmitted visuals of the generator to the Super Star Destroyer Executor, Darth Vader's flagship.
Discovered by the RebellionEdit
- Rieekan: "Princess, we have a visitor. Picked up something outside the base's Zone 12 moving east."
- Serper: "It's metal."
- Organa: "Then it couldn't be one of those creatures."
- ―The Alliance, after discovering the probe[src]
XJ9-CS14's signal was intercepted by the Rebellion's senior controller Wyron Serper, who alerted General Carlist Rieekan of Alliance High Command. Summoning headquarters personnel Leia Organa and Han Solo, Rieekan and Serper discussed the information with their fellow rebels, who were unfamiliar with the code language that the probe communicated in. After the protocol droid C-3PO alerted the Alliance leaders that the code was potentially Imperial in origin, Captain Solo and his first mate Chewbacca left Echo Base to engage the probe. Believing that the two may require backup, Rieekan ordered Rogue Squadron pilots Ten and Eleven to rendezvous at Station 3-8.
As the probot traveled through an area just north of Ceyan Range, it was in the midst of informing its masters that there was no life on the planet when it detected movement by a nearby snowbank. Investigating more closely, the droid discovered the Wookiee Chewbacca and fired three volleys of blaster fire at the furry assailant. Solo emerged from a cluster of rocks behind the probe, striking it with his own blaster. In the midst of the skirmish, XJ9-CS14 began to transmit a signal alerting the Empire to send all available units to its coordinates, but the message was cut short when Captain Solo fired another shot at the droid, causing it to initiate its self-destruct sequence. XJ9-CS14 erupted in an explosion, coating the white dunes in black-metal dust.
- "I think we've got something, sir. The report is only a fragment from a probe droid in the Hoth system, but it's the best lead we've had."
"We have thousands of probe droids searching the galaxy. I want proof, not leads!"
- ―Captain Piett and Admiral Ozzel
Although the droid was damaged beyond repair in the explosion, Alliance Major and materials analyst Capin Harinar was able to determine from the wreckage that the droid was indeed a Viper probe and speculated that Echo Base was compromised. Following the droid's discovery, Rieekan and Organa gave the order to begin the evacuation of the base, believing that Imperial forces would soon come to the planet. During the procedure, the Imperial defector Thane Kyrell was tasked with setting the Alliance's tauntaun mounts loose; the rebel recruit lamented the necessity of the evacuation in the wake of the probe's swift discovery.
Despite the interruption in XJ9-CS14's transmission, a small fragment of its report—the visual of the deflector shield generator—reached the Imperial Navy's Death Squadron. Captain Firmus Piett relayed the report to Admiral Kendal Ozzel, who dismissed the information, believing the generator could have belonged to the simple smugglers the planet was known for instead of the rebels they pursued. Upon the insistence of Lord Vader, however, Death Squadron was ordered to move out to the Hoth system. Word of the impending attack made its way through the Executor, with Lieutenant Nash Windrider informing Lieutenant Commander Ciena Ree of the probe's work in uncovering the base. The military engagement that followed would come to be known as the Battle of Hoth, one of the most devastating losses for the Rebellion in the war.
Although the probot had initially failed to realize the scale of the rebels' presence on Hoth, it would go on to become famed for the part it played in the Galactic Civil War in the following years. During his service with the Resistance decades after the war, Admiral Gial Ackbar resolved to blame Rieekan for the droid's discovery of the base; writing within a collection of Rebellion Era documents known as The Rebel Files, he pondered how the probe had managed to land on Hoth without the Alliance noticing. Fellow Resistance admiral Ushos O. Statura later answered this question, correctly speculating that the droid had masked itself as an impacting asteroid. The successful tactics of the Galactic Empire demonstrated by XJ9-CS14 would later go on to be used by the First Order, whose utilization of probe droids became a steady nuisance to the Resistance navy during their conflict.
- "GLORY TO THE EMP-KZZZSHHSHHHHH."
- ―XJ9-CS14's final transmission before exploding
XJ9-CS14 was a Viper probe droid with black plating and black sensors with a full height of 1.6 meters. Major Harinar speculated that its model number was between X0037 and X0172. Although programmed specifically to be a tenacious hunter, it did not consider much of the evidence on Hoth to be indicative of what the analysis subroutine of its droid brain would identify as "rebel activity." Even after the droid detected Echo Base's energy output and discovered its shield generator, the probot felt that the planet's temperature was too low to allow for life to exist. It was not until the droid came into contact with the Wookiee Chewbacca that it realized Hoth was home to rebels. In its final transmission, XJ9-CS14 proclaimed its allegiance to the Empire before self-destructing.
- "'Fraid there's not much left."
"What was it?"
"A droid of some kind. I didn't hit it that hard. It must've had a self-destruct."
- ―Solo and Organa, after XJ9-CS14's destruction
XJ9-CS14 came equipped with a powerful blaster and a self-destruct mechanism that could activate a set of charges surrounding its circular base. Although the droid was equipped with only light armor, it was capable of withstanding multiple blasts from Han Solo's DL-44 heavy blaster pistol. The probe had five arachnid-like manipulator arms that it used to gather information. The droid traveled using a repulsorlift and silenced thrusters, enabling it to stealthily hover within meters of an enemy without being heard.
The probe also possessed a data recorder, a central processor, and a transmitter dome, all of which were severely damaged during the probe's self-destruct, preventing Alliance Major Harinar from recovering any information the droid had learned. Within its transmitter dome, the droid was equipped with a powerful HoloNet transceiver, a device located at the top of its sensor-laden head. Linked to two high-frequency transmission antenna, the transceiver allowed XJ9-CS14 to transmit data of the shield generator to the Empire.
Behind the scenesEdit
Conception and designEdit
XJ9-CS14 first appeared in the 1980 film Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, though it remained unidentified until the 2018 reference book Star Wars: Droidography revealed its designation in an Aurebesh message included in the text.
The scene in which Han and Chewbacca encounter XJ9-CS14 was shot in Finse, Norway on March 10, 1979. To achieve the effect of the droid floating over the ground, the filmmakers planted the probe on tracks hidden in the snow.
The book Star Wars: Complete Locations identifies the Star Destroyer that deployed XJ9-CS14 as the Stalker, whereas the book Star Wars Character Encyclopedia: Updated and Expanded names the ship as the Avenger. This article assumes that Complete Locations supplies the correct name, being the more recent source. Additionally, the height of the droid in Character Encyclopedia is listed as 1.6 meters. This is contradicted by the model-making book Star Wars: Droid Factory, which lists the much different height of 0.3 meters, or just 0.93 feet. As this number is much smaller than the size of the droid seen in the film, this article disregards the Droid Factory number as an error.
In a 2017 issue of the magazine Star Wars: Build Your Own R2-D2, the probot is incorrectly stated to have six manipulator arms. This is contradicted by the model used in The Empire Strikes Back, as well as by the illustrations in the magazine itself, which depict the droid with five arms. The film's junior novelization also erroneously describes the probe as having only four arms. This article recognizes the five manipulators seen in The Empire Strikes Back as the canonical number.
- Lost Stars (Mentioned only)
- Lost Stars audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures – "Han and Chewie - A Lifelong Partnership"
- Star Wars: The Original Trilogy – A Graphic Novel
- Battlefront: Twilight Company (Mentioned only)
- Battlefront: Twilight Company audiobook (Mentioned only)
- The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight
- Star Wars: Forces of Destiny—Leia
- Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back (First appearance)
- Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures – "Darth Vader vs. Hoth Rebels - Crushing the Rebellion"
- The Empire Strikes Back: So You Want to Be a Jedi? (Mentioned only)
- The Empire Strikes Back: So You Want to Be a Jedi? audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back junior novelization
- Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back Read-Along Storybook and CD
- Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Graphic Novel Adaptation
- The Empire Strikes Back Golden Book
- AT-AT Attack!
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Star Wars: Galactic Atlas notes that the discovery of Echo Base and the subsequent Battle of Hoth occurred in 3 ABY. Since XJ9-CS14 self-destructs in between these two events, it must be destroyed in that year.
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Star Wars: The Rebel Files
- ↑ 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 Star Wars: Droidography
- ↑ Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 Star Wars Character Encyclopedia: Updated and Expanded
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 Star Wars Helmet Collection 9 (Weapons & Uniforms: Imperial Droids)
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 Star Wars: Complete Locations
- ↑ Doctor Aphra 37
- ↑ Star Wars: Forces of Destiny—Leia
- ↑ 12.00 12.01 12.02 12.03 12.04 12.05 12.06 12.07 12.08 12.09 12.10 Star Wars: Build Your Own R2-D2 15 (Droid Directory: Viper Probe Droids)
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 13.7 13.8 13.9 Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back junior novelization
- ↑ 16.0 16.1
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 Lost Stars
- ↑ Star Wars Helmet Collection 9 (Highlights of the Saga: Highlights of the Saga: Ground Assault on Hoth)
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 Star Wars: Droid Factory
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 The Making of The Empire Strikes Back