The Arakyd Industries chameleon droid was a mine-laying sabotage probe droid used by the Confederacy of Independent Systems during the Clone Wars. Originally mining exploration droids known as Spelunker probe droids, they were outfitted with laser cannons, military grade mines, and a holographic array for military service. The array worked by scanning the background and the angle of the viewer's sight, then projecting a hologram of the background behind the droid, camouflaging it.
Chameleon droids were used throughout the Clone Wars. First deployed at the Ambush on Ilum, the droids mined and heavily damaged the Crystal Caves, albeit taking many casualties. The droids also saw use during the Confederacy's subjugation of Ryloth, as well as in the Battle of Felucia during the Outer Rim Sieges. Eventually, all chameleon droids were deactivated after the execution of the Separatist Council at the close of the Clone Wars.
The class four chameleon droid was two meters tall and had four articulated pincer legs for traveling, as well as a repulsorlift to further support the weight of its cylindrical body. The legs could generate traction fields, allowing it to walk vertically and even upside down. The droids, which were able to survive in a wide range of climates, were dispatched to planets via hyperspace pods.
Shortly before the outbreak of the Clone Wars, they were redesigned to serve in the Separatist Droid Army. The chest sensors of the droid were removed and replaced with three laser cannons. The storage bay that contained its blasting charges for mining duty was left unchanged, but the less potent explosives were replaced with twenty-four military grade fragmentation mines. It was also fitted with a holographic array that could be used to camouflage the droid. The array worked by scanning its surroundings and computing the location of viewers. After finishing these two tasks, it displayed a holographic screen of the backdrop behind it. However, if the viewer's angle was changed even slightly, the droid would be seen before it could correct itself. While not a true cloaking device, it was nonetheless effective at fooling stationary visual sensor scans.
The chameleon droid's primary job was not as a front line combat unit but rather as a covert droid designed to sneak into enemy lines, lay mines, and assassinate or sabotage Republic targets. A common tactic used by them was to lay down a large number of mines around the intended target while invisible and then open fire, with the intent to herd the enemy targets into the mined area.
Manufacture and conversionEdit
The chameleon droid was originally the Spelunker probe droid, a mining droid designed and built by Arakyd Industries, a major manufacturer of droids, heavy weapons, and starships. Shu Mai, the Presidente of the Commerce Guild, a powerful galactic trade organization, bought thousands of them for exploration. However, towards the end of the Separatist Crisis, the Commerce Guild joined the newly formed Confederacy of Independent Systems under the leadership of Count Dooku. Shu Mai brought the Spelunker design along with several others to be converted for military service, as she thought that the droids would become valuable mine layers. The Spelunker was overhauled and renamed the chameleon droid by several designers employed by the Techno Union, another guild within the Confederacy. These conversions were in violation of the original production contract between Arakyd Industries and the Commerce Guild, which stated that the droids were not to be used for military purposes.
The Clone WarsEdit
The newly redesigned chameleon droids were ready for service approximately four months after the beginning of the Clone Wars, and the first opportunity for deployment presented itself when Dooku ordered the droids to the ice planet Ilum, the location of the Crystal Caves, which was one of the only sources of Adegan crystals vital to the construction of lightsabers. The chameleon droids were ordered to destroy the caves in order to halt the Jedi Order's production of lightsabers. They descended to the planet in hyperspace pods and found the caves almost immediately. The droids began their assault just as Jedi Master Luminara Unduli was helping her Padawan, Barriss Offee, construct her lightsaber. After sensing the presence of the intruders, the two Jedi counter-attacked, but were unable to prevent the droids from laying enough mines to heavily damage the caves. Nearby in space, Jedi Grand Master Yoda sensed the two Jedi's peril at the Crystal Caves through the Force, predicting that they would die if not rescued soon. He and his companions, Senator Padmé Amidala, her Head of Security Gregar Typho, protocol droid C-3PO, and his counterpart R2-D2, plotted the most direct course for Ilum.
After arriving on Ilum, Yoda left to rescue the Jedi, while Typho, Amidala, and the droids, guarded the ship. During his short journey to the caves, Yoda crushed a large number of chameleon droids in a Force-assisted avalanche. Amidala became worried about Yoda when he failed to contact the group at a time which they had planned prior to their landing, and when Typho temporarily left her to check on the ship's communications array, Amidala took her two droids and fled in pursuit of Yoda. She destroyed several chameleon droids with her blaster and grenades on the way, using C-3PO and R2-D2 as distractions to reveal the locations of the cloaked droids. Yoda eventually returned to the ship with Amidala, the two rescued Jedi, and the droids. R2-D2 managed to recover a recording of the droids' orders, and the group learned that it was Dooku who had been behind the attack.
Chameleon droids were among the forces of the remaining Separatist presence on Ryloth and were employed against the Republic in the aftermath of the planet's liberation. The Confederate scientist Kul Teska used the last of the droid forces to distract the Republic in the ruined city of Resdin while he retrieved the core of his newly-developed gravity weapon, which had been stolen by the bounty hunter Cad Bane. Some time later, in an effort to organize their increasingly large army, the Commerce Guild Punitive Security Forces began to deploy chameleon droids in units of five, although sometimes up to twenty such units would be sent to deal with a particularly tough target. The Techno Union Droid Army also grouped the droids in a similar fashion, but the maximum amount of units they would use in a single engagement was twelve.
At some stage, three chameleon droids operated their holographic projectors on a desert planet. They were also deployed on the vegetation-covered planet of Felucia, where three of them traveled cloaked in front of several OG-9 homing spider droids. Eventually, the entire Separatist Droid Army, which included all chameleon droids, was deactivated after the execution of the Separatist Council by Darth Vader, bringing an end to the Clone Wars.
Behind the scenesEdit
The chameleon droid was first seen in Clone Wars Chapter 14, but no backstory was given for the droids, although it was revealed they had blasters, mines, and a cloaking device. Later, The New Essential Guide to Droids expanded on the droid and gave them a history. The New Essential Guide also provided images of the droids on two planets, one on Felucia, and the other on an unidentified desert planet. Since these images were not explained or captioned in any way, it is unknown at what time these events occurred.
- Star Wars: Clone Wars – "Chapter 14" (First appearance)
- Star Wars: Clone Wars – "Chapter 15"
- Star Wars: Clone Wars – "Chapter 16"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes
- The Clone Wars: Decide Your Destiny: The Way of the Jedi
- The New Essential Guide to Droids
- Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 8
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Clone Wars Campaign Guide
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes: Prima Official Game Guide
- The Official Star Wars Fact File Part 78 (ILU3, Ilum)
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 The New Essential Guide to Droids
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Star Wars: Clone Wars – "Chapter 14"
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 The Clone Wars Campaign Guide
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Star Wars: Clone Wars – "Chapter 16"
- ↑ Star Wars: Clone Wars: Volume I director commentary, spoken by Genndy Tartakovsky.
- ↑ Star Wars: Clone Wars – "Chapter 15"
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes
- ↑ Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- Chameleon on Wikipedia