- "[Royal Guard] armor is derived from a pair of similar designs, the uniforms of the Death Watch of the Mandalore system and the Sun Guards of the Thyrsus system. That the armor resembles those of units with such ferocious reputations is no accident…"
- ―Arhul Hextrophon
The Sun Guard was a Sith cult and mercenary group, and one of the most feared military units in the galaxy, centered on the planet Thyrsus in the Thyrsus system. Formed by a rebel group of Echani from Thyrsus, the Sun Guard became foes of the Echani and Mandalorians in turn, before evolving into a cult of the Sith under the influence of the Order of the Sith Lords, and eventually brought under the command of Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Sidious. Sidious used the Sun Guard in his plans surrounding his ascension to the seat of the Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic, assassinating key Senators, guarding his Coruscant stronghold, and even abducting Queen Padmé Amidala after the invasion of Naboo. Sidious sent a Sun Guard to retrieve the holocron of the ancient Sith king Adas, bringing him into combat against the Jedi, but when the holocron fell into their hands Sidious executed the man for his failure. Other Sun Guards were considered for the position of prime clone in the Grand Army of the Republic. The 2nd Regiment of the Sun Guard fought in the Clone Wars, but were crushed by Republic general Solomahal. When Sidious needed the Sun Guard no longer, his apprentice Dooku ordered his own minion Asajj Ventress to eliminate them. Some of the few surviving Sun Guards went on to join Supreme Chancellor Palpatine's Red Guard, Royal Guard, and for those few Force-sensitive individuals, the Shadow Guard.
Though most were not Force-sensitive, the Sun Guard were adept melee fighters, equipped with a variety of weapons built into their recognizable black armor. Greatly prizing hand-to-hand combat, the Sun Guard were skilled in personal gladiatorial fighting, urban warfare, and a variety of other techniques; they were unmatched by any opponents but the Mandalorians. The Sun Guards' chief weapon was the pike, a two-handed bladed instrument that could be built in a number of variations for specific tasks. Sun Guard armor proved to be an inspiration for many other armor designs in the Galactic Empire: the uniforms of the Imperial Royal Guard; the specialized stormtrooper armors designed by Doctor Nashiak Llalik; the outfit of Carnor Jax, son of a Sun Guard; and the Sun Guard replica armor of the bounty hunter Moxin Tark.
Organization and philosophy
Initially, the Sun Guard served as a special-forces unit of the Thyrsus military, incorporated into its rank structure. In opposition to their Echani forebears, the Thyrsians were male-dominated, with an emphasis on armor and bladed combat. A strongly religious group in its infancy, the Sun Guard drew spiritual significance from the sun. As they spread into the galaxy from Thyrsus, the unit used its near-unmatched skills in combat to its advantage, reorganizing itself into a mercenary group along the lines of the Mandalorians and forgoing religion as its primary motivation. The influence of religion returned to the forefront when the Sun Guard became a Sith cult, though this new allegiance did not prevent them from continuing their mercenary ways and demanding payment for their services. Fierce warriors, the Sun Guard were a devoted and fanatical group, with a reputation for ferocity that made even the appearance of their uniforms an object of fear. They charged high prices for their services, which included sabotage, kidnapping, rescue, warfare, and many other kinds of jobs; the one thing Sun Guard missions had in common was that others had tried to accomplish them and failed.
As a military unit, the Guard was organized into regiments, legions, and other levels of hierarchy; they often operated in teams of four. The lowest rank, taken by initiates into the group, was Stellar Legionnaire. They served a provisional term of one year, during which time they could be expelled at any point for breaches of Sun Guard etiquette, such as cowardice or undisciplined drunkenness. Legionnaires who passed were promoted to Stellar Tribune and made responsible for a legion of the Sun Guard, consisting of twenty to forty soldiers. Officers were rarer among the Sun Guard; officer ranks ranged from Twisuns Legate, who commanded two to four legions, Twisuns Praetor, Thychani Commander, Thychani Dictator and finally Supreme Sun Guard, a rank comparable to general in other militaries. Promotion was obtained through military heroism, while cowardice was cause for expulsion at any rank.
The Sun Guard originated on the planet Thyrsus, inhabited by the near-Human Echani species. During the Bengali Uprising, the Thyrsus Echani rebelled against the leadership of the Echani Command, who ruled over the six worlds known as the Six Sisters. Thyrsus seceded, and their military units took on a sigil of Thyrsus' red suns. The special forces of Thyrsus, in time, evolved into the Sun Guard. As centuries passed, they would become more independent, largely abandoning Thyrsus to adopt a semi-nomadic way of life. In their early days, the Sun Guard fought the Echani in a series of violent crusades; eventually, alarmed by the expansion of the Mandalorians, they set their sights on that group, often fighting them in small duels to the death rather than military engagements. The Sun Guard developed new tactics to counter the Mandalorians' reliance on jetpacks in air combat, which the Sun Guards held in contempt. The Mandalorians and Sun Guard engaged in combat for centuries, notably at the Battle of Sintheti where the two were hired by opposing sides; nonetheless, neither group gained an advantage in their feud.
The Sun Guard began with a strong focus on religion, and though they eventually turned to a mercenary outlook upon realizing that warfare led only to poverty, religion retained its influence on them. Over a century before the time of the Galactic Empire, the culture of Thyrsus developed a fixation on matters of the Force, especially a prophecy of a galactic savior known as "the son of suns". The Order of the Sith Lords, in hiding during this time, played up the Thyrsian belief that they were the ones spoken of in the prophecy, encouraging the spread of Sith interpretations of Jedi belief. The Sun Guards were transformed into a Sith cult.
In the service of Darth Plagueis
Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Plagueis employed a contingent of Echani Sun Guards in silver uniforms, replacing the Iotran Brandsmen previously employed to provide security on Sojourn. A contingent of Echani also provided security for members of Damask Holdings on Muunilinst. In 67 BBY, they accompanied Larsh Hill and other Damask Holdings members to High Port Space Center to meet, at the customs control section, with Hego Damask, who had just arrived from Deep Space Demolition station.
After Pax Teem's attack during Larsh Hill's initiation into the Order of the Canted Circle that almost cost Plagueis his life in 52 BBY, the Dark Lord retreated to Sojourn with a small company of Sun Guards. Damask rarely summoned them, and when he did, relayed his orders through 11-4D; their duties during their master's self-imposed exile were limited to escorting visitors to the surface and keeping the ground-based turbolasers in good working order. Plagueis's Sith apprentice, Darth Sidious, left to progress on his own, heard of his master's obsession and erratic behavior from the Sun Guards.
The Sun Guards stationed on Sojourn perished during King Veruna's nuclear attack on Sojourn in 33 BBY. Only Plagueis and 11-4D escaped the moon, and the Sith Lord considered this fair, as his Echani guards had failed to learn of the attack in time by checking with the few nuclear weapons suppliers in the galaxy. Plagueis contacted the Sun Guards on Thyrsus after the attack, and at least four of them protected Damask in his Coruscant penthouse after Veruna drove him off Sojourn. In 32 BBY, prior to the Chancery election, Damask gave the Sun Guards the night off. It was that same night that he was murdered by Sidious, who was elected to the position of Supreme Chancellor of the Republic the next day.
In the service of Darth Sidious
Sidious used his influence as a Sith to consolidate the Sun Guard in the Thyrsus system under his command sometime before 32 BBY. Sidious assigned a number of them to guard his stronghold on Coruscant, where they would eliminate any underdweller who approached too closely. The Sun Guard proved essential in Sidious' plans regarding the Battle of Naboo, as he used them to assassinate reluctant businessmen, as well as several pivotal Senators before his election to the position of Supreme Chancellor as Palpatine of Naboo. Sidious' apprentice Darth Maul used the Sun Guard as opponents in his practice duels. Shortly after the invasion of Naboo, a group of mercenaries led by a Sun Guard kidnapped Queen Padmé Amidala on Coruscant and imprisoned her in the Restricted Area of the Coruscant Underworld. The captain of her guard, Panaka, rescued the Queen and killed the Sun Guard.
During the Sith Lords' search for a prime clone for the Grand Army of the Republic, Sun Guards from the rank of Thychani Commander on up were among the candidates considered by the Kaminoans. In 29 BBY, the holocron of the ancient Sith king Adas was recovered by the student Norval, and Sidious dispatched a Sun Guard to retrieve it. The Guard intercepted Norval's vessel over the world of Ploo II. Jedi Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi arrived in pursuit; the Guard opened fire on them and, when Kenobi left for Norval's vessel, turned his weapons on that ship. Though Norval was confident the Sun Guard would save him, the Jedi retrieved the holocron, and the Guard destroyed Norval when it became apparent he no longer had the prize, in a failed attempt to prevent the Jedi from escaping with it. Sidious later executed the man for his failure.
The Sun Guard fought in the Clone Wars, where their 2nd Regiment was crushed by Republic General Solomahal. During the conflict, rogue factions of the Sun Guard led a mercenary army in a campaign against the Mistryl Shadow Guard and carried out an orbital bombardment of the Shadow Guard's homeworld, Emberlene. Near the end of the war, when Sidious' plans for the Sun Guard were at last fulfilled, his apprentice Count Dooku ordered his own minion Asajj Ventress to execute most of the organization. Several of the more devoted Sun Guards, however, were placed in Palpatine's Red Guard, later to join his Royal Guard. Those who were Force-sensitive were selected as candidates for the Emperor's Shadow Guard, while others like Kenix Jir became cloning templates.
Equipment and techniques
Members of the Sun Guard wore helmets similar to those of the Republic's Senate Guard, which were likely inspired by them. The visor of the Sun Guard helmet could image thermal data, as well as infrared and ultraviolet wavelengths. A macrobinocular scope in the helmet aided in surveillance and sniping. The Guard covered themselves with heavy, characteristically black armor, although other color variants such as yellow existed. While resistant to damage, Sun Guard armor did little to restrict movement. Sun Guards also donned belt-spats around their waists, which later inspired the kama worn by the Grand Army of the Republic.
Worn by one of the most feared military organizations in history, the Sun Guard uniform was instantly recognizable and widely considered terrifying. Along with the uniform of the Death Watch, it was the inspiration for the Galactic Empire in designing the armor of its feared Imperial Royal Guard. Before his death, the Sun Guard who failed to retrieve Adas's holocron fathered a Royal Guard of his own, Carnor Jax; when Jax took up a leadership role in the Empire, he donned a black guardsman's uniform inspired by the coloration of his father's Sun Guard armor. The bounty hunter Moxin Tark was one of several hunters to obtain Sun Guard armor and weapons, and he outfitted himself in a replica version of their armor. Doctor Nashiak Llalik, an Imperial armor designer, found inspiration in the armor of the Sun Guard, spurring him when he grew up to design the suits of armor used by many of the Empire's specialized stormtrooper units. Luskin Exovar, a onetime scout, owned a pair of scarred Sun Guard battle helmets, part of his private collection amassed during his travels.
Though Sith cultists, the Sun Guard generally lacked Force-sensitivity—although exceptions existed. They were, however, trained in stealth and melee combat, and preferred to face their opponents at close range. The echani martial art was thought to have originated with their techniques, modified by Palpatine's experts to be more brutal and deadly. Sun Guard armor was designed to aid in up-close combat; vibroblades in the gauntlets and spikes in the boots and kneepads were common, and the forearm gauntlets and fist plates could be quickly heated to temperatures capable of burning flesh. Many Sun Guards augmented their array of offensive capabilities with flamethrowers and dart launchers under their arms.
The common weapon of the Sun Guard was the pike, which they held in near-sacred reverence. Thought this weapon had many variants, most were about a meter in length, wielded two-handed, and equipped with blades on either end. These blades tended to be double-edged vibroblades, often with cortosis ore in them to resist lightsabers. Ritual pikes, which the Sun Guard inherited from the Echani, could be activated by a control in the grip to heat the tips to red-hot temperatures. Force pikes had stun modules in either end to shock the wielder's enemies into paralysis. In their battles against the Mandalorians, the Sun Guard developed ways to use pikes as anti-air weapons, disabling or overloading the jetpacks that their opponents relied on and they held in contempt. The Sun Guard used other weapons as well; at least one Guard armed himself with a vibro-ax.
Sun Guard were almost unmatched in combat skills; only Mandalorians could stand against them. Like the Echani, they could read body language to predict the moves of their opponents. They could match any opponent in personal combat, and those who fought in gladiatorial pits sometimes got extra credits for their skills. Sun Guards had skill in urban warfare as well, trained in tactics of sweeping buildings and eliminating enemies block by block. Some Sun Guards participated in space combat too; for his mission to retrieve Adas' holocron, one of the Sun Guards piloted a sleek gray ship, in which he attempted to fight off a Jedi vessel.
Behind the scenes
- "The Sun Guards? Drop-dead scariest fighters I ever saw. Fools should have remembered one thing, though - never trust a Sith."
- ―A holorecording of Solomahal (cut from Galaxy at War)
The Sun Guard were created as a brief mention in the first edition of the Imperial Sourcebook by Greg Gorden. There it was stated that they provided the inspiration for the design of Imperial Royal Guard armor, a fact that would later be used in illustrating Moxin Tark—and his Sun Guard lookalike armor—for Wanted by Cracken. Most of the Sun Guard's appearances in the canon were these sorts of brief mentions, until Abel G. Peña greatly expanded on their history in Evil Never Dies: The Sith Dynasties. In addition to tying the Sun Guard into various existing aspects of the Expanded Universe—including Carnor Jax of the Crimson Empire comic series—Evil Never Dies retconned the group into two previous works. The Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace video game included a mercenary boss dressed like a black-colored Royal Guard, which Evil Never Dies made the first true appearance of a Sun Guard. Jedi Apprentice Special Edition: The Followers, meanwhile, included a scene where a mysterious servant of the Sith kills the antagonist Norval; this was revealed in Evil Never Dies to be a Sun Guard as well.
Working alongside Peña, Daniel Wallace significantly expanded further on the Sun Guard in the 2009 roleplaying game sourcebook Galaxy at War. Having just written the entry on Mandalorian Protectors, and seeing a connection with the Sun Guards' focus on armor, Wallace decided to make the Sun Guards and Mandalorians enemies. He also built upon the Echani connection mentioned in earlier sources, creating a "male-dominant, hot, and angry" group to contrast with the Echani's "female-dominant, cold, and controlled" nature. For the ranks of the Sun Guard, Wallace used names reminiscent of the Roman Empire. Among his references to earlier works, Wallace called upon a line from the second draft of George Lucas' script for Star Wars, which told a prophecy of a savior known as "the son of the suns". Though a previous reference to the cut line in another work of Wallace's had been removed by Lucasfilm Ltd., the one in Galaxy at War passed editing, much to his surprise.
- Star Wars: Darth Plagueis
- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace video game (First appearance) (Retcon)
- Kinect Star Wars (Ambiguously canonical source)
- Jedi Apprentice Special Edition: The Followers (Retcon)
- Imperial Sourcebook, First Edition (First mentioned)
- Galaxy Guide 5: Return of the Jedi, First Edition
- Wanted by Cracken
- The Movie Trilogy Sourcebook
- Galaxy Guide 10: Bounty Hunters
- Alliance Intelligence Reports
- Imperial Sourcebook, Second Edition
- Galaxy Guide 5: Return of the Jedi, Second Edition
- Rules of Engagement: The Rebel SpecForce Handbook
- The Essential Guide to Characters
- Wretched Hives of Scum & Villainy
- Episode I: The Phantom Menace: Prima's Official Strategy Guide (Retcon)
- Hero's Guide
- Geonosis and the Outer Rim Worlds
- "Guide to the Grand Army of the Republic"—Star Wars Insider 84
- Evil Never Dies: The Sith Dynasties
- Scum and Villainy
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Jedi Academy Training Manual (Picture only)
- Galaxy at War
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Evil Never Dies: The Sith Dynasties
- ↑ 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 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 Galaxy at War
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Wanted by Cracken
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Imperial Sourcebook, First Edition
- ↑ 5.0 5.1
- ↑ Star Wars: Darth Plagueis
- ↑ Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace video game
- ↑ Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Jedi Apprentice Special Edition: The Followers
- ↑ Scum and Villainy
- ↑ "Guide to the Grand Army of the Republic"—Star Wars Insider 84
- ↑ Alliance Intelligence Reports
- ↑ Wretched Hives of Scum & Villainy
- ↑ Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace video game manual
- ↑ Hero's Guide
- ↑ Evil Never Dies: The Sith Dynasties on the Jedi Council Forums (Literature board; posted by Halagad_Ventor on 6/28/06 2:50am)
- ↑ Daniel Wallace's StarWars.com Blog (content now obsolete; backup link on WebCite)