- "If it isn't BL-17, the lowest form of synthetic life to ever crawl across a planet."
- ―Proto One
BL-17 was a BL-series Battle Legionnaire, created to serve the Confederacy of Independent Systems during the Clone Wars. One of the few Battle Legionnaires to survive the Mission to Norval II, which saw the Galactic Republic defeat the Confederate-allied Mandalorian Protectors, BL-17 later came into the possession of the bounty hunter Boba Fett sometime after the Declaration of a New Order in 19 BBY.
When Fett was approached by Sise Fromm to hunt the speeder racing team of Thall Joben, Jord Dusat, and Kea Moll on Boonta, the bounty hunter decided to use BL-17 to infiltrate the group by befriending their protocol droid, C-3PO. BL-17 succeeded in leading the group into a trap, but before Fett could attack, his true intentions were revealed in a chance encounter with a former acquaintance, the droid Proto One. In the ensuing skirmish, BL-17 was knocked into a pile of scrap machinery, causing it to fall and crush him.
BL-17 was a BL-series Battle Legionnaire, one of only 1,000 of the droids to be manufactured by Baktoid Combat Automata after the Mandalorian Protectors, led by Alpha-Ø2, allied themselves with the Confederacy of Independent Systems during the Clone Wars. The Battle Legionnaires were deployed successfully during the Second Battle of Kamino and the Battle of New Bornalex, but during the failed Mission to Norval II, they suffered heavy losses at the hands of Galactic Republic forces, along with their Mandalorian masters.
BL-17 was one of the few Battle Legionnaires to survive the Republic victory at Norval II. Run down but still functional, the droid was later found by the bounty hunter Boba Fett during the early years of the Galactic Empire. Fett, who also had a Mandalorian heritage, recognized the battle droid's potential and made BL-17 his aide.
Mission to BoontaEdit
- "It's a pleasure to associate with a droid of comparable intellect…for a change."
- ―C-3PO, on BL-17
In 15 BBY, Fett was approached by the gangster Sise Fromm on Boonta to hunt the young racing team of Thall Joben and Jord Dusat, along with their rebel associate Kea Moll, after the group destroyed Fromm's Trigon One weapons satellite, leaving the Fromm Gang powerless against their rivals. Though Jabba the Hutt had placed a bounty on Fromm and his son Tig, Fett agreed to take the job in return for a previous favor provided by the Fromm Gang.
Fett's plan was to work against the group from within, so he dispatched BL-17 to locate and befriend the group's protocol droid, C-3PO. BL-17 soon achieved his goal by pretending to have graduated from the same production facility as the protocol droid. When C-3PO mentioned that Joben and Dusat needed somewhere to conduct repairs on their racing landspeeder, the White Witch, ahead of the Boonta Speeder Race, BL-17 offered him the use of a garage supposedly owned by his master, who, he explained, was away on business. C-3PO relayed the message to Joben, who gladly accepted and moved the speeder to the garage.
BL-17 soon began using his friendship with C-3PO to keep the other droid away from his masters, leaving them vulnerable. Though he suggested that C-3PO's counterpart, R2-D2, might like to join the two droids, C-3PO resisted, stating that R2-D2 was not one for conversation. BL-17 soon saw an opportunity to make his move when Moll was the only sentient present in the garage. As he and C-3PO left the garage together, BL-17 smashed the door controls to seal Moll inside and remotely triggered a gas leak in the welding tanks to kill the Human. However, BL-17's failure to persuade C-3PO to let R2-D2 accompany them caused the plan to fail when the astromech droid, unaffected by the gas, used a heavy lifter to smash open the door and pulled Moll clear of the building.
- "I thought you were deactivated ages ago, old-timer. But I see you've saved that privilege for me."
"Really now, BL-17, I don't care for this rustic any more than you, but I really don't think…"
"Put a clamp on it, chrome dome. I've been waiting for this moment."
- ―BL-17 turns on C-3PO and Proto One
By the time BL-17 and C-3PO returned to the garage, Joben had taken Moll for medical treatment and only R2-D2 remained, keeping watch over the White Witch. BL-17 suggested that the speeder was not safe in the now-doorless garage and that he knew of somewhere they could store it. C-3PO agreed and helped BL-17 move the White Witch to an isolated processing plant; blaming R2-D2 for the apparent accident with the welding tank, C-3PO refused to let the astromech droid go with them.
BL-17 took advantage of the situation by sending a signal to R2-D2, supposedly from C-3PO, to tell the other droid where to find them. The Battle Legionnaire knew that R2-D2 would lead his masters to the processing plant, where Boba Fett would be waiting for them. With C-3PO no longer needed, BL-17 prepared to eliminate the droid. However, he was interrupted by the arrival of Proto One, an aging droid who disliked BL-17 from a prior encounter. Seeing the opportunity to eliminate two of his enemies at once, BL-17 produced his blaster and pointed it at Proto One.
Still oblivious as to BL-17's true purpose, C-3PO tried to persuade him to stop, providing enough of a distraction for Proto One to charge at the battle droid. However, BL-17 acted quickly, grabbing the oncoming droid and throwing him aside before turning his attention back to C-3PO. Only the arrival of R2-D2, along with Joben and Moll, saved the protocol droid—as BL-17 turned his weapon to the new threats, C-3PO charged him, knocking the battle droid into a nearby pile of scrap machinery. BL-17 quickly righted himself, but the unstable junk heap collapsed, crushing the droid.
Joben was able to escape the trap in the White Witch, leading Fett away from the processing plant and Moll. Fett pursued his target even as he participated in the Boonta Speeder Race but, when the bounty hunter's Silver Speeder was destroyed, he decided to instead capture the Fromms and their assistant, Vlix Oncard, turning the group over to Jabba the Hutt and using the reward to cover the loss of BL-17 and the Silver Speeder.
Like all BL-series Battle Legionnaires, BL-17 was designed for combat. He had an internal first-aid kit, an inbuilt signal jammer, photoreceptors that could double as spotlights and military-grade balance gyros that, when coupled with joints calibrated for maximum torque, allowed him to lift thousands of kilograms and run at thirty kilometers per hour for extended periods without recharging. He was armed with a Briletto AAP-11 "blaster box", which could be attached to his chest, and was finished with an olive-drab military camouflage to match the Mandalorian Protectors' armor. His appearance was similar to the Cybot Galactica 3PO-series protocol droid, a similarity that aided him in befriending C-3PO.
The droid was a cold and efficient killer—traits that were recognized by Boba Fett—and even enjoyed killing, expressing his eagerness to destroy both C-3PO and Proto One. BL-17 could be deceptive, a skill that assisted in his work with Fett, and proved successful at manipulating C-3PO and turning the apparent animosity between C-3PO and R2-D2 to his advantage.
Behind the scenesEdit
BL-17 was created by Peter Sauder and Steven Wright for the 1985 animated series Star Wars: Droids and made his only appearance in the final episode of the first story arc, "A Race to the Finish," and its picture book adaptation. The Star Wars: Droids opening credits depicted a scene in which BL-17, alongside another droid and Boba Fett, rode a skiff through a desert canyon in search of R2-D2 and C-3PO. This scene is not taken from any episode of the series.
BL-17's involvement in the events of "A Race to the Finish" has since been referenced in several sources, though there are some discrepancies between these sources and the episode. The second edition of A Guide to the Star Wars Universe by Bill Slavicsek says that it is unknown whether Fett was still in possession of the droid following the episode. This contradicts Fett's desire to cover the cost of BL-17's loss as depicted in "A Race to the Finish" and sources including The New Essential Guide to Droids, which confirm his destruction. The Essential Guide to Characters by Andy Mangels mentions the character in Boba Fett's entry, though it erroneously refers to him as "BR-17". The 2004 Polyhedron 170 article Star Wars Droids: The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO by Abel G. Peña and Rich Handley also recaps the episode, stating that BL-17 planted a thermal detonator in the White Witch while it was in the processing center. In the episode, however, it is Tig Fromm and Vlix Oncard who plant the detonator.
BL-17's model went unidentified until 2005, when Peña wrote the article The History of the Mandalorians for Star Wars Insider 80. In the article, Peña describes the origins of the Battle Legionnaires, identifying them with the BL prefix. Daniel Wallace later expanded on the Battle Legionnaires and BL-17 in The New Essential Guide to Droids.
- A Guide to the Star Wars Universe, Second Edition
- The Essential Guide to Characters
- Star Wars Encyclopedia
- "Star Wars Droids: The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO"—Polyhedron 170
- The New Essential Guide to Droids
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- (Picture only)
- The Bounty Hunter Code: From the Files of Boba Fett
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ The BL-series Battle Legionnaires were created after the founding of the Mandalorian Protectors, which The New Essential Chronology places in 19 BBY.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Star Wars Droids: The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO"—Polyhedron 170
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 Star Wars: Droids—"A Race to the Finish"
- ↑ 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 The New Essential Guide to Droids
- ↑ Star Wars: Droids—"The Trigon Unleashed"
- ↑ The Bounty Hunter Code: From the Files of Boba Fett
- ↑ A Race to the Finish
- ↑ Star Wars: Droids: The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO
- ↑ A Guide to the Star Wars Universe, Second Edition, p. 55 ("BL-17")
- ↑ The Essential Guide to Characters
- ↑ "The History of the Mandalorians"—Star Wars Insider 80