|Chronological and political information|
- "I think General Dodonna is quite the tactician."
- ―Cesi Eirriss
He was one of the first captains of a Star Destroyer in the days of the Galactic Republic, having served in both the Stark Hyperspace War and the Clone Wars. Throughout his long period of service, Dodonna showed a strong grasp of tactics and strategy, and along with Adar Tallon, Dodonna wrote the book on modern space combat.
Dodonna was a native of Commenor. At a young age, he joined the Judicial Forces, where he began his military career fighting pirates and criminals throughout the Republic in the decades leading up to the Invasion of Naboo.[source?]
Decades later during the Clone Wars, Dodonna, along with Terrinald Screed, commanded the Victory Fleet, the first fleet of Victory I-class Star Destroyers during the Siege of Foerost in a campaign to decide control of the Core Worlds. The campaign ended at the Battle of Anaxes. Dodonna's portion of the fleet bore the brunt of the conflict, but survived long enough for Screed's portion to arrive and destroy the Bulwark Fleet. Dodonna and Screed were hailed as heroes on their return to Coruscant. He was also, along with Plo Koon, a member of the Republic negotiating team during the Battle of Rendili. Several months later he commanded the Republic fleet at the First Battle of Cato Neimoidia, at which he had apparently temporarily been given the rank of commander.[source?]
Dodonna's grasp of strategy was particularly keen, and along with his old friend and fellow Republic officer Adar Tallon, Dodonna revolutionized the tactics of space combat. While Tallon's skill was in ship-to-ship warfare, Dodonna's expertise lay in logistics and siege tactics. He proposed a number of siege weapons, proposals later adopted by the Galactic Empire for their use in such operations as the Siege of Dalron 5 and Project Asteroid.
As the Republic became the Galactic Empire, Dodonna served loyally for a time, even advising Autem to keep quiet about his feelings on the alleged "Jedi Rebellion." Eventually, Dodonna retired from the service on ideological grounds. Though he disliked the Imperial regime, his loyalty as a soldier led him to refuse to speak ill of it. The Empire, in turn, gave the famous war hero Commenor's moon Brelor, where he spent many years raising his son Vrad.
Dodonna refused Mon Mothma's many offers for him to join her fledgling resistance movement, an act he considered treasonous. However, COMPNOR officials deemed him a poor candidate for "retraining" for the Emperor's use, and, deciding he was less potentially dangerous dead, ordered his assassination.
The Rebellion learned of the assassination order, and sent a messenger team to warn Dodonna. Dodonna scoffed at first, having lost much of his fighting spirit after years of retirement, and the team set up to leave. However, the arrival of the assassins re-awakened that spirit, and Dodonna fled. The Imperial troopers fired upon him, but the large target of his billowing nightclothes obscured the small, frail body hidden inside, and none of the shots found its mark. He arrived at the Rebels' ship and boarded just as it was preparing to leave.
In space, the messengers' slow freighter was pursued by an Imperial warship. Dodonna suggested a course of action to the commander of the freighter, General Roons Sewell. Sewell, in the heat of the moment, froze, and Dodonna took the controls of the vessel, executing his tactic and destroying the opposing vessel.
Dodonna joined the Rebellion and, after Sewell provided a glowing report of Dodonna's quick thinking, was immediately commissioned to General by Mon Mothma and placed under Sewell's command. He spent several months exercising and acquainting himself with the latest in technology and politics. His first major victory was at the Silken Asteroids, where he successfully coordinated the defense of a small Rebel base against Imperial incursion.
After the untimely death of General Sewell, Dodonna was placed in command of the Rebellion's ground headquarters and all Rebel starfighter operations by Mon Mothma, becoming the most important military commander in the Alliance, second only to Mon Mothma herself. He kept the ground HQ in motion so as to avoid Imperial detection; planets that held the base under his command included Chrellis, Briggia, Orion IV, Dantooine, and Yavin 4.
With the help of Walex Blissex, designer of the Victory-class Star Destroyer, Dodonna modified the R-22 Spearhead into the fast, nimble A-wing starfighter; the first prototypes saw action before the Battle of Yavin, though the final version would include lessons about the value of raw speed learned during that battle. He began work on the Battle Analysis Computer, which became so identified with him that it was often called "Dodonna's Battle Analysis Computer"; it would go uncompleted until just after the Battle of Endor, seeing its first use at the Battle of Bakura. His son Vrad also joined the Alliance, and become a starfighter pilot.
With plans brought to him by Princess Leia Organa which were downloaded from R2-D2, Dodonna helped plan the attack on the Death Star. At first, the situation seemed hopeless, as the station's defenses exceeded Dodonna's worst fears; the only strategy he could conceive that stood any chance was crashing wave after wave of the Alliance's heaviest vessels into the station, on the slim chance there would be sufficient damage to neutralize it; this would effectively destroy the Rebellion, but would allow a new one to grow without the Death Star threatening them. Dodonna prepared to go to sleep, but instead wandered the halls for fresh air. While doing so, he encountered a small child, weeping over a nightmare about a dragon coming to burn her village. Dodonna comforted her with an old tale of a Jedi Knight finding a hole in the dragon's scaly armor, killing it. Inspired, Dodonna ran back to his quarters and scoured the plans for a similar hole, eventually finding one in the form of a small exposed thermal exhaust port that led directly to the main reactor. The data showed that the defenses of the Death Star were built around large-scale attacks, allowing a small starfighter to attack the vulnerable exhaust port. Dodonna designed the starfighter attack that was successful in destroying the battle station. Shortly afterwards he was called in to deal with the short-lived super-vaporator project on Tatooine, though this soon fell through.[source?]
Following the destruction of the Death Star, the Empire blockaded Yavin 4 while Darth Vader waited for the Super Star Destroyer Executor to be completed. When it was, Vader brought it to finish the Rebels, but was stopped by a suicide strike delivered by Vrad. Heartbroken, Jan set up the Yavin base to explode, taking out a number of TIE Fighters and buying more time for the evacuation. He was believed to be killed in the blast, but in reality he had been captured by Imperial forces.
He was eventually sent to Lusankya. The Imperials were unable to turn him into a sleeper agent. Dodonna spent several years at Lusankya becoming leader of the prisoners there. Dodonna later encountered Corran Horn, a member of Rogue Squadron, and aided in Horn's escape. When offered to join him in freedom, he declined, saying Ysanne Isard would take it out on the other prisoners. He stayed at Lusankya until he was moved by Isard. Eventually, Rogue Squadron found the surviving Lusankya prisoners, and Dodonna was finally freed.
After being freed, Dodonna served on the New Republic council, and gathered together an ad-hoc advisory body consisting of himself and other such aged luminaries as Vanden Willard, Pashna Starkiller, and his old friend Adar Tallon. Calling themselves the "Gray Cadre", they advised the New Republic during the resurgence of the Empire under the clone of Palpatine.
After the defeat of the cloned Emperor, Dodonna was given a special appointment to the Inner Council's High Command as "Executive Advisor", where he adopted the issue of re-integrating Coruscant's feral Humans into society. Shortly afterward, Dodonna returned to retirement, settling on New Alderaan, where he peacefully passed away prior to the start of the Yuuzhan Vong War.
Behind the scenes
Jan Dodonna's only film appearance was in A New Hope, where he was played by Alex McCrindle. He was voiced by James Blendick in the Star Wars radio drama, Clive Revill in the special edition of the game Star Wars: X-wing, Jarion Monroe in the game Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds, and Wayne Grace in Star Wars: Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike.
In The Star Wars: First Draft, George Lucas renamed a Sith knight character "Dodona" from Valorum, as he considered, in that draft alone, renaming the Starkiller family the "Valor" family, and the names conflicted. "Dodona" was one of the few names from that draft that reappeared in the Adventures of the Starkiller, Episode I: The Star Wars (the second draft), when it was definitively assigned to a Rebel general on Yavin 4.
The name "Jan" is a Dutch/German/Danish/Norwegian/Swedish/Polish/Czech equivalent of the name "John."
Dodonna's name may have been inspired by Dodona Manor, the home of 1953 Nobel Peace Prize winner George C. Marshall, who served as United States Army chief of staff during World War II and as Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense under President Harry S. Truman.
General Dodonna's physical appearance bears a very strong resemblance to that of Confederate Civil War General Robert E. Lee, who himself was commanding the army of a Rebel nation.
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Notes and references
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 The New Essential Guide to Characters
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 The Essential Guide to Characters
- ↑ The New Essential Chronology
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 The Movie Trilogy Sourcebook
- ↑ Star Wars: Republic: Honor and Duty
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 Star Wars: Empire: The Short, Happy Life of Roons Sewell
- ↑ Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds
- ↑ Alliance Intelligence Reports
- ↑ The Truce at Bakura Sourcebook
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
- ↑ X-wing: The Krytos Trap
- ↑ X-wing: Isard's Revenge
- ↑ Dark Empire Sourcebook
- ↑ The Jedi Academy Sourcebook
- ↑ The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film