- "Do you know why Valorum loves to attend the opera? Because it's the only place on Coruscant where an entire audience will applaud him."
- ―Orn Free Taa
Finis Valorum was a Human male who served as the Chancellor of the Galactic Republic, holding office from 40 BBY until Queen Padmé Amidala introduced a Vote of No Confidence against him in the Galactic Senate in 32 BBY (after being tricked into doing this by Senator Palpatine). He was subsequently replaced by Palpatine of Naboo.
Finis Valorum was born into a renowned political dynasty. As a young man, he received dozens of job offers from wealthy friends of his family, but he instead chose challenging assignments that would test his character. He would eventually serve under frontier conditions as a judge on the recently-discovered Republic protectorate of Veccacopia. Unlike his predecessors in the post, he worked hard to affect change; upon learning that the native Cacops were hiring stand-ins to serve their sentences, as his bailiffs were unable to distinguish between individuals of the species, he instituted mandatory retinal scanning. In doing so, Valorum broke a corruption ring within Veccacopia's judicial office.
After leaving Veccacopia, Valorum served with Republic police forces as a troop transport driver in the outlying regions before attaining a post in the military advisory office of Supreme Chancellor Kalpana. Valorum held elective office for the first time when he was in his late thirties, moving his residence from his homeworld of Coruscant to Spira and, based in part on his family's reputation and political contacts, winning an election to become the Senator of the Lytton sector. Valorum rose through the unseen pecking order of the Galactic Senate quickly, making short-term allies and lasting enemies. As a Senator, Valorum was the leading opponent of the movement he dubbed the Militarists and harbored deep suspicions regarding the motives of their leader, Seswenna Senator Ranulph Tarkin. He was a member of the Core faction and had been involved with negotiations to end the Stark Hyperspace War.
Senator Valorum became a prominent political figure in the aftermath of the Stark Hyperspace War and entered his first term as Supreme Chancellor of the Republic in 40 BBY, following an election which the Tarkin family helped to push in his favor on the condition that he posthumously decorate Ranulph Tarkin for his role in the resolution of the conflict. As Chancellor, Valorum declared Ranulph Tarkin the "Hero of Troiken," resulting in an increase in support for Militarism. Valorum's election was perceived as hollow and cynical; his enemies believed he would be easy to control, his allies supported him only because they felt that he was the best prospect in an unremarkable group of candidates, and the public knew nothing about him other than his famous surname.
Despite the aforementioned disadvantages, combined with his apparent lack of charisma, Valorum won a second four-year term in office in 36 BBY, albeit by a very slim margin. What little support Valorum still enjoyed vanished as he failed to overcome the apathy and dishonesty that afflicted the Republic, and opposing parties began to consider possible replacements for him, often considering Senator Palpatine of Naboo, who was one of Valorum's oldest political friends and had become a member of his inner circle.
Valorum had become embattled by 34 BBY, when the Corporate Alliance launched a blockade of the Malastare Narrows during a dispute over fuel allocations from Malastare, which appealed to the Chancellor to intervene after efforts to reach a diplomatic solution failed. Valorum feared that the Alliance could achieve victory, as the Dustig Sector Forces were weakened by corruption and neglect, so he demurred publicly while covertly convincing the neighboring Tyus and Var Hagen sectors to support Malastare. He also diverted credits to the Dugs to hire privateers and dispatched the Jedi Kep-She and an officer named Wullf Yularen to the area, ostensibly as military observers. Although the subsequent Battle of Malastare Narrows forced the Corporate Alliance to retreat, scandal ensued, embarrassing the already-troubled Valorum.
After the Dorvalla Incident in 33 BBY, on the initiative of Senator Palpatine, Valorum suggested for the taxation of Free-Trade routes to make peace with the Nebula Front who had been terrorizing the Trade Federation. The Front did not think this would make any difference and attempted to murder the Chancellor. The terrorists made two assassination attempts, both of which were foiled by the Jedi.
Shortly afterwards, Palpatine secretly funneled several million credits, believed to have been stolen by the Nebula Front, through the Bank of Aargau, and into the accounts of the Valorum family. Palpatine's aide, Sate Pestage, ensured that the exchange was uncovered by Valorum's political enemy, Senator Orn Free Taa, who revealed it to the Internal Activities Committee, thus critically weakening the Chancellor's already tenuous hold on power.
Although Valorum denied the accusations and his supporters rallied to his side, his influence and reputation languished. Correctly thinking that he could be ousted from his charge in a near future, Valorum then decided to perform one last good deed while he could, and he gathered the Coruscant security forces to fight a subversive organization known as the Flail. The Flail, who believed the Senate was corrupt, had performed several attacks, disrupting public services with no care for the lives or property lost. The Flail's members dwindled thanks to Valorum's efforts, and the main leaders of the conspiracy died in a shooting with the police. Valorum publicly promised that the remnants of the Flail would be taken to justice before the following Senate conference, which prompted the new terrorist leader, Zegmon Pent, to send Valorum death threats and vainly assault his Staff Aide Sei Taria.
During this time, Valorum had strengthened his ties with the Jedi, and he asked Jedi Master and Council member Mace Windu for advice. Windu and Valorum had deduced that the Flail would attack Valorum during his next public speech. Windu noticed that the Flail tended to flee when noticing a known member of the Senate Guard or the Council; he thus suggested Valorum to create a strike force of relatively unknown but well-recommended agents. Valorum agreed and, again with Windu's help, compiled some candidates and called them for a meeting. While Valorum and Windu were to meet this new secret police in person soon afterwards, Valorum himself was delayed and arrived shamefully late.
Windu explained that the Flail would probably attack Valorum from the Weather Modulation Control Center and/or from the Air Traffic Control. The new team went to the Weather Center and fought with several anarchists who wanted to reprogram the weather and cause a threatening thunderstorm that could damage the buildings in the speech area. As soon as the combat was over, Valorum personally contacted them, to be know whether any of them had died or not and to offer his help. The Flail, including Pent himself, then tried to attack Valorum from the Air Traffic Control by sending a remote-piloted vehicle to crash in the meeting area. While Valorum was giving his conference, his new agents ended with the threat of the Flail.
The Naboo crisisEdit
In 32 BBY, the Trade Federation made use of their battleships in a practically impenetrable blockade orbiting Naboo. It was a bold move for the usually cowardly Federation, triggering the Naboo crisis.
For the next month, the Senate debated fiercely, but did not act to aid the people of Naboo. The Federation's representative, Lott Dod, successfully argued his case: they had not violated any Republic laws; they had attacked no ships, nor had they moved against Naboo itself. And if no outright crime had been committed, the Judicial Department could not be sent. The stalling further weakened the Valorum administration; their defiance of his measures was in itself damaging to the Chancellor's already dwindling support.
Queen Amidala of Naboo contacted Valorum and held him personally responsible for the suffering on her world. Every day he delayed, she stated, he took bread out of the mouths of the starving children of Naboo. Pressed against the wall by his conscience, and desperate to shore up his crumbling support, he decided to act. He would call for a special session of the Senate to discuss the blockade, but to have a strong bargaining position, he needed the battleships sent home from Naboo. He would use the Jedi as ambassadors and send them to Naboo. Their presence would shake the Neimoidians' confidence and show them he meant business. But this came to nothing as the Federation occupied Naboo and detained Amidala. In a daring raid, she was rescued by the two Jedi Valorum had sent; Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Valorum met the Queen when she arrived on Coruscant to assure her that necessary steps were being taken to end the crisis.
Removal from officeEdit
- "I will not defer. I have come before you to resolve this attack on our sovereignty now! I was not elected to watch my people suffer and die while you discuss this invasion in a committee. If this body is not capable of action, I suggest new leadership is needed. I move for a Vote of No Confidence in Chancellor Valorum's leadership."
"Now they will elect a new Chancellor.. .a strong Chancellor. One who will not let this tragedy continue."
- ―Queen Amidala and Senator Palpatine
The long-anticipated special session of the Senate—the last under the Valorum government—had only two items on its agenda: a hearing of the Naboo delegation's case, and a debate on the Trade Federation's continued opposition to Senate Resolution BR-0371. Few expected it to be anything other than routine. Lott Dod, the Federation's representative, stalled the proceedings with every procedural tool at his command.
Dod and his allies threw up objection after objection; Amidala, unable to even finish her plea, grew more and more frustrated. Finally, Dod moved that a Senate committee be created to go to Naboo to determine if her "accusations" were valid, citing senatorial procedures that Amidala had no hope of understanding. Then, Mas Amedda—as expected—pulled Valorum aside, subtly forcing Valorum to concede that Dod was within his rights according to Section 523A. "Enter the bureaucrats," Palpatine whispered into the queen's ear, "the true rulers of the Republic, and on the payroll of the Trade Federation, I might add. This is where Chancellor Valorum's strength will disappear." When Valorum turned back from Amedda and asked the queen if she would defer her motion to allow the committee to do its work, it was the last straw. She had seen with her own eyes that Palpatine had been right–Valorum was ineffective–and she had nowhere left to go. Amidala delivered the words that sealed Finis Valorum's fate: a Vote of No Confidence.
Valorum was surprised by the motion, never anticipating the betrayal - events had moved past him. Senator Edcel Bar Gane of Roona seconded Amidala's motion, and the vote was on the floor. The Senate had waited for this for months, perhaps years, and so unpopular was Valorum that there was little resistance to removing him from office. The senators erupted into a frenzied uproar, calling out, "Vote now! Vote now! Vote now!" All the Chancellor could do was to postpone the vote until the following day. When the Senate convened the following day to vote on the no confidence motion, the outcome was decisive. Valorum had few friends left, and the Senate so badly wanted him gone that they did not hesitate. Finis Valorum was swiftly voted out and with his political career in ruins, he was left to start his life over from scratch.
- "It's been a long time, my friend."
- ―Valorum, to Yoda, during the Clone Wars
After his resignation, Valorum spent the next two years in seclusion, waiting for the public's distaste for him to wear off. He contributed where he could and received no thanks for his trouble. After he returned to public life, he spent his retirement working with the Refugee Relief Movement. He also became friends with Senator Bail Organa and wrote an autobiography, Holding Back the Tide, which was released in 23 BBY to poor sales and little interest. In 22 BBY, he participated in a Refugee Relief Movement project to construct housing for refugees from Separatist worlds on Alderaan, using a power-shovel to dig postholes for the prefabricated structures. Later that year, he attended a Refugee Relief Movement fundraiser at the Xenvaer Civic Auditorium on Alsakan.
Upon realizing just what role his removal had played in Palpatine's grander scheme, Valorum made one last small attempt to hold back the avalanche, but by then it would be too little, too late.
During the Clone Wars, Valorum was visited at his estate by Master Yoda, who was on a quest to discover the fate of Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas. Valorum provided Yoda information about a meeting he set up between Sifo-Dyas, his personal aide Silman, an unknown Jedi, and the Pyke Syndicate prior to Sifo-Dyas's disappearance.
Personality and traitsEdit
- "It's the spirit of helping one another that has made this Republic great, and will see it through its darker hours."
- ―Finis Valorum
Valorum came from an antediluvian line of distinguished aristocrats, two of whom having served as Chancellor in the past (one of them, Tarsus Valorum, being the first elected Chancellor for four hundred years prior to his administration that was not a Jedi). This background, ironically, worked against him, as many came to believe he had been elected solely by means of hereditary inheritance rather than by means of the electorate.
Valorum was the one who instituted the fashion among the Coruscanti elite of going to operas; it was joked among his political enemies that he enjoyed them because they were the only places where he could get any applause. He had a taste for exotic and expensive things, and his office during his Chancellorship was furnished with many antique and rare items.
Amidst all of his faults, he did have some redeeming graces. During the Naboo invasion, he was, as quoted by Queen Amidala, their strongest supporter. He also called an emergency conference of the Senate to either relegate the Trade Federation's movements, or punish them outright. Unfortunately, his more political characteristics were during the conference when in a hushed conversation with his Vice Chairman Mas Amedda and Staff Aide Sei Taria. During this time, Senator Palpatine revealed to Queen Amidala that the leadership of the Galactic Republic was also, aside from their substantial government stipends, on an additional payroll of none other than the Trade Federation. This revelation alone was proof enough of the Chancellor's corruption, which ultimately led to Amidala's plea for a Vote of No Confidence in place of Valorum. Taken off guard by this, the Supreme Chancellor could do little more than sit down in his seat and await the coming chaos. It was known only to Valorum and Palpatine whether or not Palpatine's revelation was truth, a fabrication, or a manipulative half-truth, which may also have led others to see Valorum as a secretive individual as well.
Valorum was also known for his connections with various women. He had close ties with Jedi Master Adi Gallia; was rumored to be having an affair with his Staff Aide, Sei Taria, during his chancellorship; and after his retirement from politics, was sighted in the companionship of a "doe-eyed blonde number."
Behind the scenesEdit
Valorum was portrayed by actor Terence Stamp in Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace, and was voiced by Ian Ruskin in the TV series Star Wars: The Clone Wars.Stamp, who filmed all of Valorum's scenes against a blue screen, took the role of Valorum because he felt that the character was not a one-dimensional cameo, and he wanted to work with George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars and the writer and director of The Phantom Menace. Stamp did not have much time to prepare for the role and was unable to read the full script, so he felt he did not have much to base his character on. To understand what Valorum was like, Lucas told Stamp that Valorum was similar to then-United States President Bill Clinton, describing Valorum as "a good man but he's beleaguered," though Stamp noted that this was prior to Clinton's impeachment trial.
In the rough draft of Star Wars, Prince Valorum (a Knight of the Sith) was intended to be a dark, masked prince—a role similar to the Darth Vader known today, even to the extent of changing sides at the end of the film and siding with the heroes.
- "The Senate barters away fundamental rights upon which the Republic was built! You trust that the tyrant you are creating will give them back to you when the crisis is over? Palpatine will give back nothing! No one who seeks power the way that he does ever surrenders it willingly!… Palpatine will make sure that any individual or group that opposes him or is in his way is removed! Look what happened to King Veruna! Look what happened to me! I know it was Palpatine who had me framed. I was forced to resign as Chancellor so he could ascend to it! Just as I am certain he arranged for those pirates to attack your transport!… I have no more proof of that than I do that he masterminded my fall. If I did have it, Palpatine would be in chains this moment."
- ―Finis Valorum, to Bail Organa
In Republic 61: Dead Ends, around 21 BBY, Finis Valorum reappeared in politics. Valorum had observed Palpatine's activities, both public and private, from a distance, especially how the Chancellor's opponents, like Seti Ashgad, had a habit of disappearing. Possibly the Enforcement Act had been the last straw in a string of offenses which forced Valorum into action. But Palpatine had ears everywhere, even in custodial droids working in Bail Organa's residence at Cantham House, so when Valorum came to visit Organa there, it was not long before comments like this reached the Chancellor's desk.
What Palpatine thought of Valorum's words is unknown, but they clearly buttressed Organa's courage, so the next morning he appeared at the Chancellor's Suite to insist that under no circumstances would he support the Enforcement Act, and that in fact he would oppose Palpatine on it. The Chancellor said nothing about it, but told Organa that it was in his best interest not to see Valorum again.
Valorum was murdered in a terrorist attack shortly after the Battle of Jabiim, when his freighter, Star of Iskin, exploded on takeoff. The attack was secretly orchestrated by Darth Sidious, but publicly attributed to the Confederacy of Independent Systems, in an attempt to get rid of Valorum because he had been talking to Senator Organa about Palpatine's political maneuverings. In truth, apparently upon the machinations of Darth Sidious, Finis Valorum was murdered by Anzati assassin Saljé Tasha, upon the behest of the corrupt Senator Viento upon orders by Sora Bulq. This information would later be used by Quinlan Vos in his hunt for the Sith, though it would lead him to believe that Viento, and later Bulq, was the elusive "Second Sith" whom Dooku had mentioned to Obi-Wan Kenobi on Geonosis three years before.
The Finis Valorum Memorial was constructed on Coruscant to honor the last being who served as Chancellor before Palpatine's rise to power. Only 200 people attended the opening ceremony. Future generations, however, would look more kindly on him.
This article assumes that the parts of the comic in 22 BBY are still canon, though the above information surrounding Valorum's death has been since overwritten by the Clone Wars episode "The Lost One," which shows him alive in 20 BBY, about a year after his death depicted in Dead Ends.
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 Characters, p. 188
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Star Wars: Republic: The Stark Hyperspace War
- ↑ 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 Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Cloak of Deception
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Republic 61: Dead Ends
- ↑ The Essential Guide to Warfare p. 55
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Darth Plagueis
- ↑ The New Essential Chronology, p. 33
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 The New Essential Chronology, p. 35
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 The Essential Atlas, p. 140
- ↑ The Essential Guide to Warfare, p. 91
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 "Shadows of Coruscant"—Star Wars Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace novel
- ↑ 16.0 16.1
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Lost One"
- ↑ "Stamp of Approval"—Star Wars Insider 41
- ↑ http://www.economicexpert.com/a/Supreme:Chancellor:Valorum.html
- ↑ Star Wars: Republic: Trackdown