- "Without Admiral Ackbar and his people, we would all be the Emperor's slaves."
- ―Mon Mothma
Gial Ackbar was a male Mon Calamari who became the foremost military commander of the Alliance to Restore the Republic and its successor government the New Republic. During the Clone Wars, he was in charge of the Mon Calamari Guard and fought in the battle that had secured Prince Lee-Char's way to the throne as King of Dac. Having previously been an Imperial slave to Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, he was freed by Captain Juno Eclipse and was recruited to join the Rebellion. Later, he fought alongside Renegade Squadron and was once captured by bounty hunter Boba Fett. During the Battle of Endor, later revealed to be a trap for him and the Alliance, he led Alliance naval forces against the Death Star II. He held the distinction of having been the Supreme Commander of the New Republic Defense Force for nearly two decades and defeating two Imperial Grand Admirals, Osvald Teshik and Peccati Syn, along with numerous other threats. He wrote the manual for the New Republic Fleet Academy, titled Fleet Tactics and Combat Methodology.
After the Pellaeon–Gavrisom Treaty, Ackbar retired to a quiet life of writing his memoirs and advising. However, although old and infirm, he would plan the decisive Battle of Ebaq 9 that brought about the end of Tsavong Lah and much of the Yuuzhan Vong fleet. He would die of old age in 29 ABY and be remembered as a great military leader.
Born no later than 41 BBY in Coral Depths City on the water world of Dac, Gial Ackbar was raised in a prominent merchant clan in Foamwander City where he grew interested in science and the sea. Ackbar was selected as Coral City's representative on the Calamarian Council after finishing school, and became a proponent of Mon Calamari space exploration during the Clone Wars.
The Second Battle of Mon Calamari
Ackbar was one of the leaders that participated in the Second Battle of Mon Calamari. During that time, he held the rank of Captain in charge of the Mon Calamari Guard and was the chief military adviser to King Yos Kolina and then to the young and inexperienced Prince Lee-Char. When Separatist troublemaker Riff Tamson began advising the Quarren to take up arms, Ackbar requested an envoy from the Republic come to Dac to help steer the troubled planet away from an inevitable war. His duty then was to bring peace with the Quarren, and after the attack, protect Prince Lee-Char. During the battle, Ackbar at the behest Mon Calamari Senator Meena Tills protected the prince during the first attack of the Quarren and Separatist Commander Riff Tamson's droids. Ackbar was successful in his defense of the capital, but Tamson brought in reinforcements in the form of Hydroid Medusas. Though the prince said that they should stay, Ackbar told him that there are times to fight, and times to retreat, with this battle being a time to retreat. Then Ackbar, the Jedi, and the remainder of their troops made way to caves on the sea floor. Ackbar told the prince that his father would of been proud him, though the prince doubted it.
Ackbar was then sent to a prison camp, and was held there, until the public execution of Prince Lee-Char was held. Before the execution, Prince Lee-Char visited him and the prisoners to try and give them hope which eventually led to the prince's capture. Right before the execution, Quarren Nossor Ri teamed up with him at last minute, and together, they defeated the droids and killed Riff Tamson. The prince also survived, and finally became king of Mon Calamari, to claim his rightful place.
- "I am with you!"
- ―Commander Ackbar
Following the formation of the Galactic Empire, Ackbar became the leader of the Calamarian Council. Ackbar initially believed that the establishment of the New Order would lead to a restoration of law and justice, but he was soon dispelled of this illusion when the Empire dispatched a fleet to invade Mon Calamari; Dac's peaceful scientific and cultural achievements rendered it a target that had to be suppressed to preserve the idea of Human superiority. Ackbar attempted to negotiate with the hostile Imperial forces to no avail, and the Empire forced both the Mon Calamari and the Quarren into slavery. Ackbar subsequently contributed to the formation of a resistance movement, which successfully drove the Empire offworld. The resistance's victory proved to be only temporary, however, and Ackbar was captured following the Empire's counterattack.
Ackbar was initially to serve as an interpreter for the Imperial fleet officer who commanded the subjugation of Mon Calamari, but the officer offered Ackbar to his superior, Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, in an attempt to win Tarkin's favor. Tarkin accepted the gift, and in 5 BBY, Ackbar was assigned to Tarkin as a valet–a slave in all but name. During his service to Tarkin, Ackbar observed and absorbed whatever information he could about the Empire, taking a particular interest in military data. Cultivating a placid appearance, Ackbar gained knowledge of Imperial theories of war and became aware of a growing rebellion against the Empire. By observing Tarkin, who found enjoyment in explaining to Ackbar his plans to enslave more worlds, Ackbar also acquired knowledge of space warfare tactics, including Tarkin's own preferred strategies.
The existence of a broader resistance movement appealed to Ackbar–although Tarkin's confidence in the Empire's invulnerability unnerved him–and he eventually made contact with the Alliance to Restore the Republic. Ackbar's position made him an ideal spy, with his circumstances occasionally allowing him to examine secret documents, and he sought to learn everything he could about Imperial strategy and tactics. Over a period of many months, Ackbar provided the Alliance with valuable intelligence regarding the Death Star project. However, the information Ackbar could find regarding the weapon was meager, and he learned nothing of it other than its supposed capability of destroying entire worlds. Ackbar later discovered that he was to accompany Tarkin to the site of the very project he had been investigating, and piloted Tarkin and chief engineer Bevel Lemelisk, who found Tarkin's attachment to the Calamarian slave baffling, to the Death Star construction site in a Lambda-class shuttle.
- "I've been hearing about a Mon Calamari called Ackbar, a slave we rescued from the Eriadu system—"
"Captain Ackbar has pledged his support of the Alliance. We already have him on our side."
- ―Juno Eclipse and Mon Mothma
After the Death Star's completion, Ackbar was compelled to pilot Tarkin and Lemelisk again to the superweapon's location in the Horuz system. Ackbar and his passengers departed from Eriadu in an unmarked Lambda-class shuttle. When word that Tarkin would be traveling with Lemelisk to the Death Star reached the Rebel Alliance, they launched an operation to capture the pair. The Alliance struck Tarkin's shuttle en route to the Nebulon-B frigate Vehemence in the Eriadu system, but their Y-wings were only able to disable a shuttle carrying Ackbar before an Imperial-class Star Destroyer arrived to rescue the Grand Moff.
Although the Rebel strike team had failed to assassinate Tarkin, Ackbar's liberation meant that they had accomplished their secondary objective. Freed from the Empire, Ackbar, now a captain, declared his support for the Alliance and returned to Dac with the intention of stirring its people into a new revolt. However, his efforts were hindered by their lack of morale, and his attempts to create an air force were thwarted by the 181st Imperial Fighter Wing, which shot down and destroyed his equipment. Ackbar led Alliance forces in their first victory against the Imperial Navy at the Battle of Turkana, in which his knowledge of Imperial tactics was a crucial factor; this advantage also proved useful to the Alliance in other early victories. Ackbar was granted the rank of Commander of the Alliance Fleet following the Battle of Turkana.
The Empire frequently used Nebulon-B escort frigates to defend its supply convoys–a tactic that threatened to cripple the Alliance by degrading its ability to raid Imperial ships for supplies–and Ackbar decided that the Alliance's options were to dispatch its few capital ships or to design a new starfighter for the specific purpose of combat with Nebulon-B's. Ackbar elected to pursue the construction of a new starfighter, gathering a team of engineers and attempting to enlist the aid of the insectoid Verpine, who were renowned shipbuilders from the Roche system. As an Alliance Commander, Ackbar became a supervisor of Project Shantipole, a secret effort to produce the B-wing starfighter, which he designed himself. Ackbar failed to persuade the Verpine to join the Alliance, but he did secure their commitment to the B-wing project.
Ackbar returned to Dac with Senator Bail Organa and the former Imperial Juno Eclipse to help unite the Mon Calamari and the Quarren and galvanize the resistance movement. Ackbar also invited Seggor Tels, the infamous Quarren responsible for disarming the planetary shields causing the first Imperial occupation of Dac, to join in his strategy. United, the group entered Heurkea, one of the floating cities. Once there, PROXY, an Imperial droid designed with Hologram technology, disguised himself as Evir Derricote, commander of the 181st Imperial Fighter Wing. As Derricote, Proxy was able to throw off suspicion while the others planted explosives. As Juno counted off the minutes, Organa and Tels confronted the real Derricote. As Ackbar charged the officer with delivering a message from the resistance to the Emperor, two dozen stormtroopers encircled the conspirators. To Ackbar's horror, the commanding officer was none other than Tarkin.
Tarkin gloated that Tels had betrayed the Mon Calamari once again, offering Ackbar to Tarkin in return for more freedoms for the Quarren people; Tarkin noted he had no intention of honoring the agreement. Ackbar angrily replied he would never be his slave again. The timers expired, triggering explosions throughout the city and causing the Grand Moff to think the 181st Wing was responsible. As the Rebels proceeded to open fire at the retreating stormtroopers, PROXY took Tarkin's figure and led the stormtroopers away from the real Moff. Despite Ackbar's disappointment at not being able to capture Tarkin, the plan was a success. It was soon revealed that Tels had not truly betrayed them again, and that he had sought to use the opportunity before the timed detonations expired in order to capture Tarkin. Upon seeing what could be accomplished when their species worked together, Ackbar and Tels pledged their combined peoples to the Alliance.
Admiral of the Fleet
The impressive performance of Commander Ackbar's B-wing starfighter helped him rise to the rank of admiral. As the senior admiral of the small Rebel fleet, Ackbar led a battle line of escaped Mon Calamari cruisers that fell within the overall command of General Jan Dodonna. It was Ackbar who informed the Rebels that the schematics for the Mon Calamari fleet, which had been destroyed by the Empire, were stored at Carida, giving them the opportunity to retrieve them and rebuild the impressive Mon Calamari Star Cruisers.
In 1 BBY, however, a revolt ejected the Imperial garrison from Mon Calamari, and Ackbar was invited to return to his homeworld and lead their rebuilt fleet. Ackbar resigned from the Alliance, but continued his role in Project Shantipole and worked to secure Mon Calamari's commitment to the cause of the Rebellion. Many of Ackbar's people followed his example, contributing their star cruisers to the Alliance's forces.
Like many planetary resistance groups, the Mon Calamari were initially cautious towards commitment to the Alliance to Restore the Republic, but Ackbar provided unofficial support and gave tacit approval of the decision by some Mon Calamari to pledge their starships to Mon Mothma's cause.
The Mon Calamari join the Rebellion
- "May the Force be with us."
- ―Admiral Ackbar
After the destruction of the Rebel base on Yavin 4, Ackbar personally led scouting parties to other planets to investigate potential bases. He investigated Boz Pity and was on his way to Saleucami when he was boarded by Boba Fett. Fett handed over Ackbar to Imperials. Ackbar was on his way to the prisons on Kessel when he was rescued by Renegade Squadron. During the Battle of Boz Pity, Ackbar, a commander of the Rebel forces, was injured. Renegade Squadron saved his life by bringing him a bacta tank.
Six months after the Battle of Yavin, Ackbar return to Dac aboard his modified bulk freighter to meet with the Mon Calamari Council and convince them to back the Rebellion. On their return from Dac, however, they suffered an Imperial attack and crash-landed on the muddy planet Daluuj. Ackbar and his crew were soon rescued by Han Solo, Leia Organa, and Luke Skywalker, fellow members of the Rebellion with whom he would later collaborate. After the Calamarian Council was rescued by the crew of the Millennium Falcon, they backed Ackbar's proposal to formally join the Alliance in 0 ABY. As the Imperial Navy blockaded Massassi Base, Ackbar led the Mon Calamari fleet in a feint at the Vallusk Cluster, creating the distraction needed by the Rebels at Massassi Station to run the blockade and evacuate the Yavin system.
With the full entry of Dac into the Alliance, Mon Mothma, noticing the skills of Ackbar, named him Supreme Commander of the Rebel Fleet and head of all Rebellion military operations. Ackbar, leading the Alliance Fleet from his flagship, the Independence, became known as the "Father of the Alliance Navy" as he organized and trained the ragtag group of ships and crews into a fighting force capable of facing the Empire. Ackbar shared with Mon Mothma an unease towards the Alliance's excessive reliance on raids by the Special Forces and Starfighter Corps, while at the same time rejecting the insistence of traditional strategists in the Alliance that the Rebellion should seek to seize territory.
Ackbar and Mothma drafted a new "fleet-first" strategy for the Rebellion. The traditionalists in the Alliance hailed Ackbar's reorganization of the fleet into a single armada powerful enough to challenge any battle squadron of the Imperial Navy, but Ackbar looked at the fleet beyond its tactical role: his strategic thinking was cautious, conservative, and perfectly suited for the Alliance's guerilla operations. He saw capital ships as the decisive force of space warfare, which, like the mighty ocean predators of his homeworld, would hide in the deeps and strike when the enemy showed weakness. The Alliance Fleet would roam the galaxy, holding back from combat and building up its strength, becoming an ever-greater psychological threat to the New Order and undermining its authority merely by continuing to exist.
The main subdivision of the Alliance Fleet for both raids and fleet maneuvers under Ackbar's reorganization became the battle line, a group of two or more cruisers with a subordinate close support line of escorts and a picket line of starfighters. Never more than 25 percent of the Fleet was detached for raiding at any one time. In terms of tactics, Ackbar became known his audacious, close-range assaults first seen at the Battle of Endor, and codified in Alliance and New Republic tactics as the "Ackbar Slash."
While the Supreme Commander of the Alliance Fleet, Ackbar loathed the aspects of the Alliance he could not changed. He detested the Alliance's reliance on privateers for commerce raiding and smugglers for supplies, seeing both as little more than criminals. He also chafed against Alliance High Command's practice of detaching subdivisions of the Fleet on an ad hoc basis and handing command of them to an Allied Command or Sector Force.
Victory at Endor
- "It's a trap!"
- ―Admiral Ackbar
Ackbar commanded the Alliance Fleet personally at the Battle of Endor in 4 ABY. When it was discovered that his fleet had been led into a trap, Ackbar planned to retreat, lacking a contingency plan. His caution was due to the belief that the loss of the Rebel fleet would sound the death knell of the Alliance. Already hit hard after the loss of their main base on Hoth, the fleet was the last major Rebel asset. However, Ackbar opted to take the advice of Lando Calrissian and engage the Imperial fleet at close range. As Calrissian helped coordinate the fighters, Ackbar's large capital warships began a deadly point blank range fight with the Imperial fleet. Ackbar also defended the core of the Home One with the help of X2.
When the shields on the second Death Star finally fell, Ackbar's forces moved into close range, bombarding the station's surface while still fighting Admiral Firmus Piett's fleet. Several Star Destroyers fell to Rebel attack, though it was the loss of the flagship Executor that turned the tides of the battle to the Alliance. Ackbar ordered a concentrated hail of fire on the Executor, crashing its shields and making it vulnerable to a kamikaze run by an RZ-1 A-wing interceptor, piloted by Arvel Crynyd. Shortly after Lando Calrissian and Wedge Antilles destroyed the Death Star II's main reactor, Ackbar ordered for the Alliance Fleet to steer clear of the doomed battle station. In the aftermath of the battle, following the destruction of the Death Star II, Ackbar continued to direct his forces against the remains of the Imperial fleet. They successfully captured several Star Destroyers. Ackbar made use of his refined version of the Kenobi Offensive, which further aided the Alliance to victory.
With the Imperial fleet's retreat, the Rebel Alliance scored a major victory. Ackbar's forces accomplished what was previously thought impossible—the defeat of an Imperial fleet.
The journey to Coruscant
Following the Rebel victory at Endor, Ackbar was a signer of the Declaration of a New Republic. He fought numerous campaigns against the Galactic Empire and splinter warlord groups, as well as the Nagai and Tofs, and developed cunning military tactics such as the "Ackbar Slash" and "Thrawn Pincer." Given a seat on the Inner Council, Ackbar was named Supreme Commander of the New Republic Defense Force, making him the highest officer in the Republic's military.
Ackbar shaped the military strategy of the fledgling New Republic, beginning within days of the victory at Endor. For the first few months following the battle, Ackbar rebuilt and expanded his fleet, preparing it for the eventual wresting of most Galactic territory from the Empire. Consolidating its holdings, the New Republic expanded through diplomacy, buying time as new warships like the MC80B Star Cruiser came off the lines at Mon Calamari and found their way into the fleet. These new Star Cruisers, coupled with several captured and repaired Star Destroyers, gave his fleet some added muscle. Once the fleet was ready, Ackbar began the long trek Coreward. Meanwhile, the Empire fell into warlordism, with several of the most powerful Moffs de facto splitting with the Imperial Ruling Council on Coruscant and weakening the Empire further.
One month after Endor, Ackbar and his staff met on Dac to plan the invasion of the Galactic Empire. Swelled by the new Mon Cal capital ships and Planetary Security Forces that had defected from the Empire after the Defense Declarations, the New Republic Defense Fleet was split into four fleets. To avoid re-unifying the Empire against a common enemy, Admiral Ackbar planned to isolate and marginalise the weaker Imperial warlords while Mon Mothma continued the campaign of diplomacy. Operating under Ackbar's overall strategy, Firmus Nantz's First Fleet cleared the Western Reaches; the Second Fleet under Hiram Drayson defended the New Republic's redoubt in the Calamari sector; the Third Fleet operated out of Bothan Space into the Slice under Ackbar's personal command; and the Fouth Fleet under Admiral Voon Massa operated from Bothawui as a mobile reserve for the First and Third Fleets.
After Massa and Nantz secured the rimward Corellian Run up to Kalarba, Ackbar invaded the Mid and Inner Rims in force, securing numerous planets to use as bases for the eventual capture of the Core. He personally led the Third Fleet in the capture of Kashyyyk, securing a major victory over Grand Admiral Peccati Syn, vaporizing his flagship and securing the crossroads of six major hyperlanes between the Perlemian Trade Route and the Corellian Run, paving the way for numerous other successes in the Mid Rim.
Using the Kashyyyk routes, Ackbar made early gains in the Core before the main invasion began. Ackbar approved Wedge Antilles' request to re-form Rogue Squadron, which was responsible for the Republic's major victory at the Battle of Brentaal IV and the subsequent defection of Recopia to the New Republic. Still, the majority of the Core remained in Imperial hands until the main fleets of the New Republic had a secure line of supply along the Perlemian. A massive campaign was launched to capture the Mid and Inner Rim worlds.
After securing the Mid Rim, a brutal campaign began in the Inner Rim. Ackbar's fleets were involved, supporting ground campaigns on worlds like Mindor, led by General Luke Skywalker. Despite the growing stresses placed on Ackbar as the Supreme Commander of the New Republic military, he continued to lead major engagements personally.
By 6 ABY, Ackbar's fleets had encircled the Core Worlds, opened the Perlemian Trade Route from Lantillies to the Republic's salient in the Core at Brentaal IV, and were in a position to contemplate the conquest of Coruscant. Wedge Antilles and Rogue Squadron destroyed several Imperial starships and a base on Vladet as a feint, and when Laryn Kre'fey proposed the taking of Borleias as a stepping stone to seizing Coruscant, Ackbar tried to ensure proper intelligence was gathered about the world before taking it. Thanks largely to the efforts of the Rogues, Borleias was eventually taken. As the New Republic fleet began to gain a foothold in the Colonies region, the main objective of the New Republic finally seemed within reach.
After a probe of Borleias by Warlord Zsinj, pressure was placed on Ackbar to find a way to quickly take Coruscant in order to cement the New Republic's gains. Ackbar informed the Council that a direct assault on the planet would seriously deplete the strength of the fleet and the only other viable option, a blockade, would take a long time and cause much suffering on the surface of the planet. Although Ackbar and Borsk Fey'lya had clashed before over strategy and Fey'lya's perceived rivalry for political power, they jointly developed a plan to insert Rogue Squadron into Coruscant to gather intelligence. However, Fey'lya inserted a controversial piece of his own into the plan. He freed Black Sun members such as Zekka Thyne from Kessel and planted them on Coruscant to sow chaos, over Ackbar's strident objections. After a raid on Noquivzor by Zsinj the timetable for taking Coruscant accelerated. Ackbar sent a message to the Rogues on Coruscant instructing them to attempt to bring down the planetary shields protecting the planet. As the shields were brought down, Ackbar led the fleet to capture Coruscant from the Galactic Empire. The Empire's forces were easily defeated, and the defenses left by Ysanne Isard were overcome.
Expanding the New Republic
Besides commanding the New Republic fleet and serving on the governing Council, Ackbar, Crix Madine, and Horton Salm presided over the Tycho Celchu trial, in which Celchu was charged with treason and the murder of Corran Horn. However, the deadly Krytos virus was also killing numerous nonhumans on Coruscant, placing additional pressure on the court to convict Celchu in order to prove that the New Republic was not biased towards Humans. At the same time, Ackbar also helped the New Republic counter the threat posed by Imperial insurgents left on Coruscant by Isard and acquire a shipment of bacta stolen by Zsinj. With the escape of Horn from Isard's Lusankya prison, along with the subsequent escape of Isard and the death of the insurgent leader, Kirtan Loor, Ackbar and the other judges declared Celchu acquitted.
Ackbar continued to lead the New Republic fleet and later approved a new squadron proposal by Antilles, which became Wraith Squadron, under the condition that if the squadron did not perform satisfactorily that Wedge would accept promotion to General. Of particular interest to Ackbar was that his niece, Jesmin Ackbar, served in Wraith Squadron, despite it having a reputation as a unit of misfits. Tragically, Jesmin was killed during a mission. Ackbar was deeply grieved by her death, but did not blame Wedge or his pilots. Surviving an assassination attempt at the hands of a brainwashed aide, Ackbar observed the Wraith's considerable success against Zsinj and declared that Wedge had won the bet.
The major symbolic and military victory of Coruscant did not bring Ackbar's offensive to an end. During much of the third and fourth year after Endor, Ackbar's forces took other key Core worlds, including Chandrila and Esseles. Some notable Colonies worlds, such as Commenor and Balmorra, declared their neutrality, but eventually joined the new government. Following the defeat of Zsinj at Dathomir, Ackbar led a campaign into the regions held by the former warlord. After securing those planets for the New Republic, Ackbar's forces succeeded in capturing the shipbuilding world of Kuat. Despite the fierce fighting and damage sustained to Kuat Drive Yards, the battle was a major victory. Now entering the fifth year after the victory at Endor, three quarters of the Galaxy, including the Core Worlds, were in the hands of the New Republic.
Despite these great successes, further strife and conflict was brewing both internally and from the Empire. Due to a shortage of cargo ships, Ackbar converted about sixty military vessels to cargo ships and was unprepared for what was to come. Additionally, increasing suspicion and criticism was heaped on him by Borsk Fey'lya as the Bothan tried to discredit him.
Just as the conflict with the Empire seemed to be winding down, the Chiss Grand Admiral Thrawn took over a significant portion of the remaining Imperial forces and masterminded a whirlwind campaign of strategy and manipulation. The battle against Thrawn was a costly one for the New Republic, weakening their forces and nearly bringing them to the brink of defeat. Ackbar's reputation also ensured that few smugglers were willing to join the New Republic. Ackbar weathered the political manipulations of Borsk Fey'lya, who was long jealous of Ackbar's prestige and power, and an attempt at framing him for treason masterminded by Thrawn that kept from him from commanding the fleet effectively due to him being under arrest during the initial stages of the campaign. Despite these hardships, Ackbar led his fleet in the Battle of Bilbringi to retrieve a crystal gravfield trap to combat the cloaked asteroids Thrawn had placed over Coruscant. While the battle was a trap planned by Thrawn, help from fringe groups and the sudden death of Thrawn at the hands of his Noghri bodyguard allowed the New Republic to defeat the Imperial navy soundly.
Following the end of Thrawn's campaign, Ackbar led the campaign against Prince-Admiral Delak Krennel. During this time, Ackbar also was finally able to convince Wedge Antilles to accept promotion to General. In the Battle of Ciutric, Ackbar's fleet was initially outgunned by Krennel's forces, but the use of the Thrawn Pincer tactic brought in additional New Republic forces that helped defeat Krennel once and for all. At the same time, Rogue Squadron successfully rescued the Lusankya prisoners, including an aged Jan Dodonna. However, by this time, New Republic forces were spread around the Rim. This left the vital Core worlds, and Coruscant in particular, open to an attack by reunified Imperial forces. Coruscant and the Core were retaken by the Empire in lightning speed.
As Supreme Commander, Ackbar was an appealing target for opponents of the New Republic. At one point a group of terrorists managed to capture him. It was only the timely intervention of Jedi Knight Fahjay that saved the Admiral's life. Bursting into the room where he was held captive Fahjay used the Force to kill both terrorists. Though the act saved Ackbar, the aggressive use of the Force haunted Fahjay for a period afterwards.
Tragedy and triumph
At the time of the reborn Emperor's attacks in 10 ABY, Ackbar was at his home on Coruscant, known as Victory Lake. He was soon called back into service fending off the seemingly endless resources of the Emperor reborn. The campaign of the reborn Palpatine was the most costly struggle in the history of the New Republic up until the Yuuzhan Vong invasion. Countless regions were lost as the government went into hiding. One of the greatest tragedies for Ackbar was when the Emperor's World Devastators attacked his home planet of Mon Calamari, devastating the surface and proving impervious to New Republic attacks. While he kept the majority of the New Republic fleets intact by moving them across the Galaxy much in the same way he had during the Rebellion and successfully reclaimed numerous lost worlds after the Emperor was defeated again, Ackbar blamed himself for the great damage done to his planet and people.
Ackbar faced another personal crisis shortly after his fleets reclaimed Coruscant from the forces of the reborn Emperor. During a mission with Leia Organa Solo in 11 ABY, Ackbar's personal B-wing shuttle crashed on the planet Vortex, destroying the Cathedral of Winds and killing numerous Vors. Believing that his piloting was the cause of the accident, Ackbar went into self imposed exile on Mon Calamari, retreating to his secluded seapod in the Mkbuto Seatree Preserve. Ridden with guilt, he devoted himself to repairing the damage done to his homeworld. When Mon Mothma suddenly became ill from a poisoning orchestrated by Caridan ambassador Furgan, Leia traveled to Mon Calamari to persuade Ackbar to come back to the New Republic. While Leia was working to persuade Ackbar to reclaim his post as Supreme Commander, rogue Imperial Admiral Daala attacked Mon Calamari with her Imperial Star Destroyers. Coming momentarily out of his depression, Ackbar rallied local Calamarian forces against Daala, holding off the worst of her attacks until a New Republic fleet arrived. During the fighting, Ackbar recognized a Tarkin strategy and commanded a Mon Cal cruiser under construction in the shipyard to ram and destroy her third star destroyer lying in wait behind the moon. At the same time, Leia realized that Ackbar's niece Cilghal was Force-sensitive and a natural healer. Cilghal went on to become a Jedi Knight and healed Mon Mothma.
In spite of this, Ackbar still refused to return to the New Republic. When his friend Leia once again requested his help, this time to rescue her son Anakin Solo from capture, Ackbar got into action. While on a mission to Anoth, Ackbar learned the truth behind his accident—his shuttle had been sabotaged by his personal starship mechanic, Terpfen. The victim of Imperial brainwashing, Terpfen had finally overcome the chips planted in his brain by Imperial scientists. The mechanic aided Ackbar, Leia, and Winter Celchu in saving young Anakin from Ambassador Furgan. Ackbar pursued the Dreadnaught that Furgan had used to reach Anoth, but it was destroyed by the unstable moon. After defeating Furgan's MT-AT walker, Terpfen tried to send his own walker off the cliff in a suicidal plunge. Quick thinking by Ackbar prevented this: he told Terpfen that he had a great many things to still offer the New Republic and the Galaxy. Realizing that those words applied to him as well, Ackbar returned with Leia to Coruscant, resuming his duties as Supreme Commander. No longer guilt-ridden, Ackbar vowed to remain at his post until the Empire was defeated.
Daala, however, was not through. After killing most of the Imperial warlords and reunifying their forces, she planned a massive assault on the New Republic. At the time, Ackbar and Wedge Antilles were conducting war games near Nal Hutta as a show of force while Leia Organa Solo and Han Solo investigated rumors of the development of a Hutt superweapon. Upon receiving near-simultaneous reports of Daala's attack and the existence of the Darksaber in the Hoth asteroid field, Ackbar and Wedge split up, with Ackbar taking the Galactic Voyager and a small escort to Yavin 4 to defend the Jedi Praxeum. Arriving in the Yavin system, the Galactic Voyager was outmatched against Daala's Knight Hammer, which was compounded by the arrival of numerous Victory-class Star Destroyers. Holding off the Imperials despite heavy damage, the Galactic Voyager was nearly destroyed when Callista Ming sabotaged the Knight Hammer and New Republic reinforcements arrived, dramatically turning the tide of the battle. At the same time, Antilles had been successful in destroying the Darksaber, though Crix Madine was killed by Durga in the process.
During the period of peace that followed the threat of Admiral Daala, Ackbar oversaw development of the New Class standardization project and its manifestation in the Fifth Fleet. Also during this period, he helped provide a fleet to escort Leia Organa Solo in her mission to Almania to rescue her brother Luke from Kueller. Leading the Joint Defense Operations Staff, Ackbar was charged by the Senate with the creation of a fleet capable of providing common defense for member worlds and against wealthy, Imperial-controlled Core worlds. As the New Republic's diplomatic talks with the Duskhan League unraveled into a major conflict in the Koornacht Cluster, Ackbar remained on Coruscant, leaving field command in the hands of Defense Force commanders.
During the Black Fleet Crisis in 16 ABY, he took young Plat Mallar, sole survivor of the Yevethan strike on Polneye, under his fin, acting as his primary flight instructor. Ackbar's efforts afforded the Grannan the opportunity to serve in the Defense Force and fight against the Yevetha, although the personal nature of their relationship brought Mallar under scrutiny following the capture of Han Solo.
The crisis also afforded Ackbar the opportunity to meet Ayddar Nylykerka, who risked his life entering Ackbar's residence at Victory Lake to inform him of his discovery of the Black Fleet. Nylykerka was promoted by Ackbar for his work, setting him on a course to eventually serve in the post of Director of Fleet Intelligence.
Following the defeat of the Yevetha and the incident at Almania, the Imperial Remnant decided to launch a major offensive against the New Republic, hoping that the problems of the past few years had weakened it. They were mistaken, as the New Republic always rallied in the face of threats from the Empire. Taking personal command in the field once again, Ackbar commanded the Third and Fifth fleets in a series of major battles with Gilad Pellaeon.
When Ackbar was alerted to intentions of the Sacorrian Triad and the full extent of the First Corellian Insurrection in 18 ABY, he immediately began assembling a fleet of warships to challenge the Triad, stop the Starbuster Plot, and restore order to the Corellian system. However, this task was hindered as many of the New Republic's ships were still recovering from the Black Fleet Crisis or were otherwise unavailable. Nevertheless, while Ackbar assembled his forces he kept in communication with the commander of the Bakuran fleet, Admiral Hortel Ossilege, who was aiding the New Republic and providing vital support in the Corellian system. As the Bakuran fleet came under heavy attack from the Triad fleet, Ackbar and his fleet arrived in system and immediately put down the Triad vessels that survived the heavy Bakuran defense.
In further campaigns against the Empire, Ackbar's forces finally managed to trounce the Imperial forces. The victory was secured during the climactic Battle of Anx Minor. Ackbar ordered a barrage of concentrated fire on the experimental Imperial warship EX-F. Igniting its volatile antimatter reservoir, the subsequent explosion vaporized six nearby Star Destroyers. This massive, sudden loss sapped the morale of the Imperial forces. Pellaeon, hoping to save what he had left, retreated. By the time the campaign was over, the Imperial Remnant had been reduced to a mere eight sectors of the Outer Rim and a fleet of 200 Star Destroyers and a few thousand lesser vessels. Ackbar's victory was a major factor in Pellaeon deciding to make peace with the New Republic and signing the Pellaeon–Gavrisom Treaty.
Ackbar retired four years after peace was signed with the Imperial Remnant, when his old rival Fey'lya was elected Chief of State, and moved to Heurkea Floating City. However, senior members of the Defense Force—including Dif Scaur, Etahn A'baht, Traest Kre'fey, and Sien Sovv, Ackbar's replacement—managed to ensure that Ackbar received a number of important analyses. This would prove useful in the future.
When the Yuuzhan Vong War came, Ackbar was in very poor health. He explained that there was nothing specifically wrong with him, just age and the strain he had put on himself during the Galactic Civil War.
When the New Republic capital was relocated to Mon Calamari, he pulled himself out of retirement to plan a trap against Yuuzhan Vong forces in the Deep Core. The plan, which culminated in the Battle of Ebaq 9, was highly successful. They used the Solo Twins and other Jedi to bait the Yuuzhan Vong to the moon. After they came, the New Republic fleet ambushed and destroyed virtually the entire enemy fleet. In addition to being a legitimate strategic and tactical victory, it was crucial in restoring morale after the losses suffered in the invasion. When news of Ackbar's return was broadcast to the entire Defense Force with the simple message "ACKBAR IS BACK", the elation that many members of the military felt was so great that actual celebrations broke out on various New Republic fleet units. However his age and condition were still factors he had to deal with. Despite being offered by then current Supreme Commander Sien Sovv to retake control of the military, Ackbar declined, choosing to take on a consultative role. He was given the title of Fleet Director of Strategy.
Death and Legacy (29 ABY—)
- "It is, as some admiral once said, a trap."
- ―Mara Jade Skywalker
Near the very end of the Yuuzhan Vong invasion, shortly before the final climactic Battle of Yuuzhan'tar, Ackbar died. His death caused great grief to the Mon Calamari, the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances, and the galaxy at large. A grand memorial service was held on both the newly reclaimed Coruscant and his homeworld, attended by countless Mon Calamari and numerous dignitaries from across the Galactic Alliance.
As the Supreme Commander of both the Rebel and New Republic militaries, Ackbar regularly took to the field commanding forces in combat. As a result, the warship chosen as the flagship of the admiral tended to see much action. His first flagship was the Independence. His second was perhaps his most famous—Home One. The Mon Calamari cruiser was his command cruiser for nearly a decade, participating in some of the most significant engagements of the Galactic Civil War, including the Battle of Endor and the Battle of Bilbringi.
Following the retirement of Home One, Ackbar selected the first of the new MC90 Star Cruiser line, the Defiance. The Defiance first saw action during the campaigns of the "reborn" Palpatine, as Ackbar personally lead reconnaissance missions to the Deep Core. After the Imperial forces were driven back, Ackbar selected another MC90, the Galactic Voyager, to serve as his command cruiser. The warship participated in numerous battles, including the Assault on Yavin 4.
Even though the Star Destroyer Admiral Ackbar was named after him, she was never his flagship, as she was launched and christened only after his death.
Ackbar's commitment to military service meant that he found little time for marriage or children. This was not uncommon amongst many of the early leaders of the Rebel Alliance, as devotion to duty left little time for romance or affection. Still, Ackbar did have family, including two nieces, future Jedi Master Cilghal and Jesmin Ackbar, a fighter pilot. Years of working closely with Leia Organa Solo forged a close friendship as well. During the stressful times surrounding the Black Fleet Crisis, Ackbar served as a close friend and father figure to Leia; the relationship was so close that Ackbar was one of a handful of people who had a private key to the Solo residence in the Imperial Palace. Ackbar also bonded with Anakin Solo at an early age, affectionately calling him "my little fish," due to the boy's love of water.
Close interaction with the Solo clan brought Ackbar into regular contact with Winter Celchu, personal aide to Leia. The two developed a close friendship, both enjoying each other's company when time permitted. Years later, during the Yuuzhan Vong invasion, Winter would care for the ailing admiral as he slowly succumbed to old age.
Ackbar served as the officiator of the wedding of Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade.
Ackbar's close working relationship with Wedge Antilles also turned into a friendship, with Ackbar serving as a sort of mentor to Wedge, especially during the early years of the New Republic.
One of the realities of being the Supreme Commander of the New Republic military was regular interaction with politicians. However, unlike many career officers, Ackbar did not enjoy games of the political arena, relying on his trusted friend Mon Mothma to cover him. His skills were better suited for commanding the Defense Force, not the halls of government. The Admiral was, however, deeply devoted to the cause of the Alliance, and, when faced with a potential crisis on the planet Godo, chose to sacrifice Lando Calrissian, the General who destroyed the second Death Star, rather than initiate a war with the Godoans. When Mon Mothma retired from political service, Leia Organa Solo was chosen to be her successor. The bond that he formed with Leia similarly helped him in dealing with politicians. When Leia finally retired from politics shortly before the invasion of the Yuuzhan Vong, Ackbar retired as well. This was due in part to feeling the Republic was stable, but also due to the fact that he had no desire to play politics with the incoming Chief of State, Borsk Fey'lya.
Behind the scenes
Origins and development
- "Having worked for Muppets I was used to having up to six people working together to create one character. I love watching a crew work seamlessly to bring an inanimate object to life."
- ―Tim Rose on portraying Ackbar
Admiral Ackbar was created for Richard Marquand's 1983 film Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi as a leading member of the Rebel Alliance, but made his first appearance in Archie Goodwin's comic strip Revenge of the Jedi, published in the Los Angeles Times Syndicate from November 1982 to January 1983. In the film, Ackbar was variously realized as a half-body puppet and a slip-on mask. Close-up shots involving dialogue used an extremely detailed puppet controlled by Tim Rose, who also puppeteered Salacious Crumb and Sy Snootles. Rose was loaned to Lucasfilm from Jim Henson during the film's production, and after being assigned to Crumb and Snootles, asked visual effects supervisor Phil Tippett if he could perform Ackbar. At the time, Rose had already designed much of the puppet and was familiar with the controls, but knew nothing about Ackbar save that he was a background character who would appear later in the film than Crumb and Snootles. Rose also wore the Ackbar mask during scenes that didn't require a puppet.
In Return of the Jedi, Ackbar was voiced by Erik Bauersfeld, whose voice was also used in the video game Star Wars: X-Wing. Terence McGovern voiced the character in Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance, Peter McConnell in Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader, Chris Cox in Star Wars: Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike, Tom Kane in Star Wars: Battlefront, and Edmund Dehn in Star Wars: Empire at War. Ackbar was voiced by Artt Butler in the television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Various works of the Star Wars Expanded Universe have expanded Ackbar's character. Timothy Zahn's 1991 novel Heir to the Empire established Ackbar as the Supreme Commander of the New Republic Defense Force, and later books continued telling his story in that post. In 2003's The New Jedi Order: The Unifying Force, Ackbar passed away twenty-five years after the events of Return of the Jedi, although he was originally going to be killed during the Battle of Ebaq 9 in 2002's The New Jedi Order: Destiny's Way before the idea was rejected. Two contradictory accounts of Ackbar's liberation from Imperial slavery have been told in the Expanded Universe: Star Wars: X-Wing tells of his rescue by Alliance Agents over Eriadu, while Star Wars: Empire at War describes him as being liberated during a Rebel raid on a research station over Corulag. The video game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed was to give yet another conflicting depiction of Ackbar's emancipation, having him instead be rescued by Darth Vader's secret apprentice from a lifetime of labor in the crystal mines of Haroon. The developers eventually realized that existing continuity already showed Ackbar's liberation from the Empire, and cut that particular storyline from the game, along with Haroon. In the Nintendo Wii version of The Force Unleashed, if the player enters ITSATWAP as a cheat code, they can play as Ackbar.
During production of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, director George Lucas was so impressed with the animatronic capabilities of the background Mon Calamari character Meena Tills that he considered replacing Ackbar's footage in Return of the Jedi with Tills's mask. Although Ackbar had been achieved with the latest puppetry technology available in 1983, Lucas had always felt the end result was a compromise. Ultimately, he left the original footage intact.
It's a trap!
- "It's a trap!"
- ―Admiral Ackbar
Ackbar's line "It's a trap!", uttered in Return of the Jedi, has developed into an Internet meme, popular and viral at such websites as SomethingAwful, You're the Man Now Dog, LUELinks.net, and 4chan. The phrase was used in an Ackbar parody on the first Star Wars special of the American cartoon Robot Chicken, and Tim Rose has signed autographs including the trademark line. The line has even been humorously referenced in Star Wars literature.
- LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles video game
- LEGO Star Wars: Microfighters video game (Picture only)
- "A Death Star Is Born"—Star Wars Tales 4
- "The Princess Leia Diaries"—Star Wars Tales 11
- Star Wars: Tiny Death Star
- Tag & Bink Are Dead
- Star Wars: Rebellion
- LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
- LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
- Star Wars Infinities: Return of the Jedi
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed video game (Playable costume in Wii version only)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes (Head only)
- LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
- LEGO Star Wars: The Padawan Menace
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II (DLC costume)
Notes and references
- Ackbar on Wikipedia
- "Being Admiral Ackbar: Berkeley man reflects on brush with Star Wars" - interview with Ackbar actor Eric Bauerfeld
- It's a Trap!. YTMND wiki.