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- "I decided the only way we can break the blockade is if I pilot the Defender right into their battleship and take out their commander."
"This way, I'm the only one at risk. Besides, the Defender is damaged already."
- ―Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano
The Defender was a Venator-class Star Destroyer that served in the Grand Army of the Republic's navy during the Clone Wars. In 22 BBY, the planet of Ryloth was seized by the Separatists, and a large Confederate fleet, under the command of the Neimoidian Captain Mar Tuuk, blockaded the world. The Defender was dispatched in a Republic task force under the command of Jedi General Anakin Skywalker and his Padawan, Jedi Commander Ahsoka Tano, to eliminate the Confederate blockade.
Upon the arrival of the Defender and its fellow Star Destroyers, the Resolute and the Redeemer, in the Ryloth system, Tuuk was able to lure the Republic forces into a trap. The Confederate captain's summoning of reinforcements forced the cruisers to retreat, but not before the Resolute and the Defender had sustained damage and the Redeemer was destroyed altogether. Regrouping, Skywalker devised a plan to pilot the heavily damaged Defender into Tuuk's lead ship, leaving Tano to command the Resolute and eliminate the remaining frigates in the blockade. Skywalker and his astromech droid, R2-D2, piloted the Defender into the system and put it on course before fleeing in an escape pod, and the cruiser destroyed Tuuk's flagship when it collided with the bridge.
At 1,137 meters long, the Defender was a Venator-class Star Destroyer manufactured by Kuat Drive Yards that served in the Grand Army of the Republic's navy during the Clone Wars. The Defender had an armament of fifty-two laser cannons, eight DBY-827 heavy dual turbolaser turrets, two medium dual turbolaser cannons, four proton torpedos tubes, and six tractor beam projectors. The Defender had a hyperdrive, and was equipped with at least one shield generator. It also featured a pair of command towers and eight engines, and was outfitted with escape pods.
- "Our blockade is impenetrable. When the Republic attacks, they will get quite a surprise."
- ―Captain Mar Tuuk, on his trap for Skywalker's task force
In 22 BBY, the planet of Ryloth was invaded by Techno Union Foreman Wat Tambor and the Confederacy of Independent Systems, and the world's Twi'lek inhabitants were subjugated to a harsh rule. Tambor also blockaded the planet and placed Mar Tuuk, a Neimoidian captain, in charge of the Confederate fleet. In response, the Republic dispatched Jedi General Anakin Skywalker and his Padawan, Jedi Commander Ahsoka Tano, to breach the Confederate blockade and make way for Republic invasion forces—under the command of High Jedi Generals Obi-Wan Kenobi and Mace Windu—to land and liberate the planet. The Star Destroyer Defender, along with the Resolute and the Redeemer, was assigned to Skywalker's task force, while Admiral Wullf Yularen accompanied Skywalker and Tano aboard the Resolute.
When Skywalker's battle group arrived out of hyperspace in the Ryloth system, the cruisers immediately engaged the Confederate fleet. Tano led a starfighter squadron on an attack run against Tuuk's Lucrehulk-class Droid Control Ship and the two Munificent-class star frigates flanking it. The three Republic Star Destroyers remained behind and provided heavy support fire. Tano's squadron managed to cut a path through the Confederate Vulture droid starfighters to Tuuk's command ship, but Tuuk summoned reinforcements in the form of four more Munificent-class frigates. The Confederate ships began to fire upon the Republic fleet, causing heavy damage to all three of the Star Destroyers.
With the Republic fleet outgunned and outmaneuvered, Admiral Yularen ordered a full retreat from the system, and called Tano and her squadron back to the Resolute to give fighter cover. However, Tano disobeyed orders, believing that she could reach Tuuk's flagship and destroy it. Without Tano's assistance, the Defender and the other two Star Destroyers were heavily damaged by Vulture droid suicide attacks. After losing most of her squadron, Tano returned to the Republic fleet, and the Defender and the Resolute were able to retreat to hyperspace. However, the Redeemer had taken heavy damage and broke apart in space.
- "All cannons, fire! Fire!"
"We can't stop it. What should we do?"
- ―Captain Mar Tuuk and an OOM command battle droid, before the Defender rams into their ship
The remainder of Skywalker's fleet retreated from the battlefield to consolidate their forces and treat the injured. The Defender itself had lost one of its command towers, and large fires had sprouted along its hull. After conferring with Generals Kenobi and Windu via hologram, Skywalker was given one planetary rotation to breach the blockade, even though only half of his original forces remained. General Skywalker devised a plan to evacuate the heavily damaged Defender and pilot the Star Destroyer with his astromech droid, R2-D2, into Tuuk's lead ship. Skywalker and R2-D2 would escape the collision in an escape pod, while Tano—in command of the Resolute—would engage and destroy the six remaining Confederate frigates.
After the Defender's personnel were transferred to the Resolute, Skywalker and R2-D2 piloted the Defender back to the system. The Jedi opened a hololink to Captain Tuuk and lied to the Neimoidian, stating that he would surrender himself, his crew, and the Defender in exchange for the safe passage of food and medical supplies to Ryloth. At first, Tuuk believed the Jedi's deception, but Skywalker's lie was uncovered when a complete scan of the Defender discovered that the Jedi was the only life-form aboard. Skywalker leveled the Defender at the control ship and gunned the cruiser's engines before he and R2-D2 made their way to an escape pod.
Tuuk's battleship opened fire at the Defender, but could not stop the vessel or force it to change its course. When it became clear that his flagship would be destroyed, Captain Tuuk fled in an escape pod, leaving the droids in control of the remaining ships in the blockade. The Defender smashed into the center sphere of Tuuk's control ship, and the Resolute arrived out of hyperspace to engage what remained of the Confederate blockade. Tano's forces were able to defeat the frigates, and Generals Windu and Kenobi arrived with three Acclamator-class assault ships out of hyperspace, ready to land with the Republic invasion forces. Tano dispatched a Nu-class attack shuttle to pick up General Skywalker's escape pod. The destruction of the Confederate blockade, due in part to the sacrifice of the Defender, allowed Kenobi and Windu's ground forces to land on the planet and eventually liberate Ryloth.
Commanders and crewEdit
During the first assault on the Confederate blockade over Ryloth, the Defender sustained heavy damage, and its remaining starfighters, supplies, and crew were later transferred to the Resolute for Skywalker's plan to pilot the cruiser into Tuuk's command ship. Skywalker assumed control of the Defender when he and R2-D2 took the Star Destroyer back to the Ryloth system.
Behind the scenesEdit
The Defender was first mentioned in the reference book The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, released on December 9, 2008. The Star Destroyer made its first appearance in "Storm Over Ryloth," an episode in the first season of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series.
An animation error in "Storm Over Ryloth" showed the Defender with both of its command towers intact, just moments after showing the ship with the starboard tower destroyed.
- Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures video game (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Jedi Crash" (Appears in flashback(s))
- The Clone Wars: The Battle for Ryloth
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Storm Over Ryloth" (First appearance)
- LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (Non-canonical appearance)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Landing at Point Rain" (Appears in flashback(s))
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia (First mentioned)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Visual Guide Ultimate Battles
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Official Episode Guide: Season 1
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars Comic UK 6.4
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars Character Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: What Is a Sith Warrior? (Picture only)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Episode Guide
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Venator-class Star Destroyer technical specifics — Based on standard
- ↑ 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 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Storm Over Ryloth"
- ↑ 3.0 3.1
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 The Official Star Wars Fact File Part 24 (22 BBY 85–86, The Struggle for Toydaria)
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Innocents of Ryloth"
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Liberty on Ryloth"