- "Lothal is just as important to our Empire as any world in the galaxy."
- ―Maketh Tua
Lothal was a planet in the Outer Rim Territories. It was in a state of economic disrepair and invited the Galactic Empire with the promise of prosperity and security. The governor of Lothal, Azadi, was replaced by governor Pryce as she industrialized and expanded its industries. Although many people said the Empire would bring doom, the ones preaching new jobs and prosperity were vindicated. By 5 BBY, Lothal became the nesting ground for the Spectres, a small rebel cell which operated from the starship Ghost. After harrying Imperial forces and disrupting Imperial activities for at least a year, the Spectres eventually attracted the attention of Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin and Darth Vader, who tried unsuccessfully to stamp out these rebels. Vader even imposed a blockade on the planet, but the Spectres managed to slip through and rejoin the larger rebellion.
In 4 BBY, a prison revolt led to the escape of several prisoners including the former Governor Ryder Azadi, who would go on to start another rebel cell on Lothal. By 3 BBY, the Imperial blockade had caused severe hardship and led Princess Leia Organa to undertake a mercy mission to Lothal. However, this mission was a ruse for the Organas to deliver ships to the rebellion. In 2 BBY, the ongoing rebellion led Governor Arihnda Pryce to invite Grand Admiral Thrawn and his Seventh Fleet to establish a presence on Lothal. Ryder's rebel cell's efforts to sabotage Imperial vehicles at the Capital City Imperial Armory Complex drew Thrawn's attention.
By 1 BBY, the planet was under both heavy Imperial blockade and occupation. Almost all traces of natural resources had been stripped from the planet. With fires scattered throughout, extreme pollution covering the planet was visible from orbit. Though pockets of resistance remained, the planet was by-and-large under Imperial control and those who remained who had not willingly joined the Empire pressed into service or simply killed.
- "I like the one about the spine trees of Pelamir Gorge. I went there often as a juvenile. I remember the sound the wind made in the tree cones and the taste of the root tea. And the crisp smell of the needles in winter. The forests are all cut down now. Turned into mines and machines."
- ―Old Jho, reminiscing about Lothal before the Empire
Lothal was located on the frontier of the Outer Rim and was several minutes away from the planet Garel via hyperspace travel. The planet was primarily terrestrial, known for its grassy plains, spine tree forests, farmland, long, low mountains, and shallow freshwater seas. The planet also had marshes, which were said to house will-o'-the-wisps.
Besides the administrative and metropolitan center Capital City, Lothal was sparsely populated; other farming towns were located amid the plains and rock formations across the planet. Distinctive conical spires punctuated the skylines of Lothal's plains, ranging in height and often found in large clusters. Lothal was also known to contain several types of precious minerals, including scarce kyber crystals.
Prior to the coming of the Galactic Empire, large areas of Lothal were covered by teeming spine tree forests and vivid farmland. The Empire established several factories and mines which polluted and marred much of the planet's previously pristine natural environment. Imperial business even disrupted the planet's varied weather, which had once brought natural wonders such as thunderheads rolling over its mountains and the sound of the wind. Even those who only knew the Empire still came to miss things such as the smell of jogan blossoms on the breeze since the Empire destroyed many orchards to make way for mines.
Society and economyEdit
Prior to the coming of the Galactic Empire, Lothal was governed by a legislative body that was based at the Old Republic Senate Building in Capital City. Under Imperial rule, Lothal was ruled by a Planetary Governor who commanded the planet's armed forces and political affairs. Several years before the Battle of Yavin, Lothal was governed by Governor Ryder Azadi, until he was arrested for treason. Arihnda Pryce then became governor and was supported by several ministers, including Minister Maketh Tua and Assistant Vice Minister Sarkos. Lothal was also home to several Imperial government departments including the Ministry of Agriculture, the Imperial Agricultural Collective, the Transportation Ministry, the Security Ministry, the Education Ministry, and a substantial Imperial Military garrison. Lothal pilots could find work as crop dusters before moving into other flying careers throughout the galaxy.
Known Imperial industrial operations including several mines in the Westhills, multiple Sienar Fleet Systems factories, and a BlasTech weapons laboratory in the Easthills near Capital City. Lothal was chosen by several Imperial corporations as a base since the planet provided plenty of open space for testing new spacecraft and weapons. These factories provided jobs for many of Lothal's citizens. Under Imperial rule, Lothal's previously self-sufficient farming communities were displaced as the Imperial Mining Institute evicted farmers to excavate their lands for metal deposits. Lothal's communications with the wider galaxy were handled by an Imperial Communications Center near the town of Jalath.
Lothal hosted several educational institutions including the Academy for Young Imperials, a one-year junior academy in Capital City that prepared Imperial cadets for further training offworld at senior academies throughout the Outer Rim. Other known educational institutions included the Technical Institute for Agricultural Research, the Pretor Flats Academy, the Junior Academy of Applied Sciences, and the Vocational School for Institutional Security. Schools and academies were used by the Imperial authorities to indoctrinate the planet's young people and to train them to contribute to Lothal's economic development.
In ancient times, the Jedi Order discovered a vergence amid the tundra on northern Lothal. Establishing a Jedi Temple hidden beneath the planet's surface, the entrance could only be exposed through use of the Force. According to the Lothal Calendar, the planet was settled at least 3,245 years before Sheev Palpatine's rise to the position of Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic.
- "What was it like to fight in the Clone War?"
"Well, I don't think the fighting ever got to Lothal..."
- ―Ezra Bridger and Rex
Settled by ranchers and farmers as an agricultural world, Lothal had an unremarkable early history. As Lothal became established as a sustainable ecosystem for farming, more and more immigrants trained as technicians and laborers flocked to the planet to support the needs of the farming community. As the colonies grew exponentially, the colonists established Capital City on the site of the planet's largest shipping port. As the population grew, Lothal's prosperity took hold on the world.
Due to the location of Lothal far from any prominent hyperlane, the planet never became a destination for galactic travelers, and was therefore ignored during times of war. When the Clone Wars erupted throughout the galaxy, Lothal avoided invasion, but suffered a severe drought and a plague which swept through the herds of livestock which grazed across Lothal. As the crops died and entire herds of livestock perished, the economy of Lothal began to crash as the import/export trade slowed. Petitioning the Galactic Senate for aid, the Lothalian government were constantly rebutted as the Senate was more concerned with the war effort. When the Galactic Empire came to power, Lothal once more requested assistance from the Imperial Senate, and were relieved to obtain a confirmation that Imperial relief would be sent to the planet.
- "Look no further than Lothal if you want to see what happens when the Empire takes control of an entire world. The Empire shows up and makes people who have lived here for generations go into refugee settlements like Tarkintown... and then, to make things even worse, turns their family farms into strip mines to dig for ore and crystals!"
- ―From Sabine Wren's journal
The inhabitants of Lothal initially welcomed the Empire's presence on their planet since Imperial investment seemed to promise an economic boom for the beleaguered Outer Rim agriworld. Arriving on the planet, the Empire viewed Lothal as a world rich in resources to power the fledging government. As the survey team made a quick scan of the planet, they initially dismissed the planet's resources until deeper scans revealed a wealth of ores and precious stones like kyber crystals. When the Imperial garrison landed in Capital City, they quickly began establishing modular mining facilities and droid-run foundries to begin strip-mining the world, destroying the few remaining successful farms and orchards. Almost overnight, Imperial industrial plants and mines polluted the planet's skies and waterways. Stormtrooper patrols restricted the freedoms of the citizens, who began turning to crime as joblessness and poverty skyrocketed. While some like Beck Ollet's family were compensated for the use of their lands, others were violently evicted from their property. Governor Ryder Azadi was also arrested for treason when he supported rebellious broadcasts by Ephraim and Mira Bridger.
When the Empire made plans to establish a new hyperspace route to the planet,, industry and the Imperial government bureaucracy on Lothal expanded rapidly, in turn leading to significant offworld migration from the Core Worlds. The Leonises and the Spanjafs settled on Lothal to work as agricultural scientists and data-security experts respectively. Sienar Fleet Systems established a test facility that took advantage of the large swaths of uninhabited spaces for flight testing purposes. With a weakened planetary government, the average citizen was left at the mercy of the Empire and forced to work on some projects, many with Sienar, others in mines. As the local population grew increasingly disillusioned with the Empire's policies, a rebel insurgency developed on Lothal. Their activities including planting explosives on Imperial mining droids and attacking Imperial personnel and facilities.
About six years before the Battle of Yavin, Imperial forces under Lieutenant Piers Roddance massacred several peaceful demonstrators in the Westhills, who were petitioning Governor Arihnda Pryce. The Empire covered up the massacre by claiming that the demonstrators were insurgents who had attacked Imperial mining equipment and personnel. One known rebel cell was a three-man cell that included Beck Ollet, a former Junior AppSci student who was angry that the Empire was destroying Lothal's orchards and murdering several unarmed protesters in the Westhills. Ollet's cell was captured after Imperial authorities managed to identify their landspeeder following an attempt to blow up an Imperial mining camp.
About five years before the Battle of Yavin, the Trandoshan bounty hunter Bossk visited Lothal to collect a bounty on the Dug criminal Gronson Takkaro, who owed a lot of money to the Imperial Senator Hack Fenlon. Bossk enlisted the services of a local youth named Ezra Bridger. The two unlikely companions were then drawn into a conspiracy that involved the corrupt Imperial Security Bureau Lieutenant Jenkes, who was protecting Takkaro and running an illegal sporting event known as Gladiator Night. Despite Jenkes' efforts to eliminate Bossk, the Trandoshan bounty hunter succeeded in exposing the ISB agent's corrupt dealings to local spectators and the Imperial authorities.
The most notable rebel cell to operate on Lothal were the Spectres, who lived on a modified VCX-100 light freighter called the Ghost. They were led by the former Jedi Padawan Kanan Jarrus and the Twi'lek pilot Hera Syndulla. The Spectres were part of a larger underground rebellion. The Spectres waged a campaign of harassment and sabotage against the Imperial authorities. Some of their most notable exploits including ambushing Imperial convoys and stealing their supplies, sabotaging Imperial facilities and vehicles, infiltrating the Academy for Young Imperials, and disrupting the Empire Day celebrations. In addition, the Spectres distributed relief supplies to the displaced inhabitants of Tarkintown.
Following the disruption of the Empire Day celebrations and the exfiltration of the disillusioned Imperial Information Office employee Tseebo, Governor Arihnda Pryce ordered a planetwide crackdown on sedition and dissent. Under the direction of the Imperial Security Bureau Agent Kallus, Imperial cadets and stormtroopers were used to investigate illegal activities, round up criminals and their dependents, and to ensure that the population complied with all Imperial edicts. The Empire even made an unsuccessful attempt to arrest the Spectres with the help of the undercover Imperial agent Gall Trayvis at the Old Republic Senate Building. In response to the Spectres' insurgency, Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin visited Lothal to put a stop to the rebel insurgency there. After learning that the Spectres planned to hijack Lothal's Imperial Communications Center and use it to broadcast their own message, Tarkin devised a trap which succeeded in capturing Kanan.
However, Kanan's rebel associates staged a successful rescue with the help of members of the rebellion. News of Kanan's rescue and the destruction of Tarkin's Star Destroyer Sovereign later trickled down to Lothal. Later, the Spectres returned to Lothal to rescue the defecting Imperial Minister Maketh Tua. However, this was a trap and Maketh was killed during an explosion, which was blamed on the rebels. In response, Darth Vader placed the planet on lockdown and several Imperial warships blockaded the planet. During the Siege of Lothal, Tarkintown was burned down to punish its inhabitants for accepting help from the rebels in the past. As a result of the Siege, the Spectres resolved not to return to Lothal to avoid endangering the planet's inhabitants.
Following the Siege of Lothal, Ezra's broadcast trickled down to the Imperial prison which housed Ephraim, Mira, and Ryder Azadi. Galvanized by hearing their son's speech, Ephraim and Mira staged a breakout from their prison. During the escape attempt, both Bridgers were killed but many prisoners including Azadi managed to escape. As a result of the escape attempt and his parents' deaths, Ezra experienced a Force vision which led him to return to Lothal with Kanan and Chopper. Their return to Lothal coincided with the departure of the Imperial fleet at Lothal for an assault on the Phoenix Squadron's forces on the nearby planet of Garel. Shortly later, Ezra and his companions encountered Azadi and learned about the fate of his parents.
In 3 BBY, Senator Bail Organa arranged for his adopted daughter Princess Leia Organa to deliver three Hammerhead corvettes to the planet Lothal. Since the Alderaanians could not afford to be seen supporting the rebels, Leia had come to Lothal under the pretext of carrying out a mercy mission. She also arranged for the crew of the Ghost to rendezvous near the town of Jalath in order to "steal" the corvettes. As a precaution, the Imperial Supply Master Yogar Lyste had fastened gravity locks to the starships. During a skirmish with Imperial forces in the wilderness, the crew of the Ghost, including Ezra and Kanan, managed to fake Leia's "kidnapping." Together with Leia, they then infiltrated the Imperial depot and stole the starships. Having completed their mission, the crew of the Ghost departed Lothal and rejoined the Phoenix fleet.
Several months later, the Jedi Kanan, Ezra, and Ahsoka Tano and the astromech droid Chopper traveled to Lothal to visit the Jedi Temple there. After clashing with the Inquisitors known as the Fifth Brother and the Seventh Sister on Oosalon, the three Jedi had traveled to the Jedi Temple in order to commune with Master Yoda. There, Ahsoka discovered through a Force vision that her former master Anakin Skywalker had indeed turned to the dark side and become "Darth Vader". Meanwhile, Kanan managed to complete his Jedi Trials and become a Jedi Knight while Ezra talked to Yoda through the Force. Together with Chopper, the three Jedi managed to escape Lothal before the Inquisitors and Imperial reinforcements under Vader arrived.
In 2 BBY, the rebel insurgency in the Lothal sector led Governor Pryce to solicit the help of Grand Admiral Thrawn and his Seventh Fleet. The Seventh Fleet established a presence in the Lothal system. Meanwhile, the escaped Ryder Azadi established another rebel cell which embarked on a sabotage campaign at the Imperial Armory Complex. This caused the factory to produce a high rate of defective vehicles, undermining the Imperial effort.
After the Phoenix Squadron received intelligence from the Fulcrum operative Kallus that the Empire was developing a new starfighter initiative, the Spectres Kanan, Ezra, and Chopper joined forces with Ryder's cell to infiltrate the factory. Despite the death of their local guide Morad Sumar, the rebels managed to steal the plans and escape with the help of Kallus. Meanwhile, Thrawn realized that the crew of the Ghost had a special connection to Lothal and that they were being aided by a traitor within the Imperial ranks. Later, as part of a mission to rescue Kallus, Ezra, Chopper, and AP-5 stole a Star Commuter 2000 from Capital City spaceport and were captured by Lieutenant Lyste's Arquitens-class command cruiser. Though Kallus managed to frame Lyste, Thrawn discovered that he was Fulcrum but allowed him to continue operating in order to lure the rebels out of hiding.
Later, the Phoenix Squadron and General Jan Dodonna's Massassi Group planned a coordinated strike on the TIE Defender factories on Lothal. However, Thrawn's spies reported their movements and the trajectory of Dodonna's fleet. In response, Thrawn convened a secret meeting with Governor Pryce, Admiral Konstantine, and Grand Moff Tarkin at the Imperial headquarters in order to lure Kallus out of hiding. After capturing Kallus, Thrawn was able to use the trajectory of his Fulcrum transmission to identify Atollon's location. Thrawn's Seventh Fleet besieged the rebel forces, preventing them from launching their attack on Lothal. The surviving rebels fled to Yavin 4.
The Empire's continued presence on Lothal left the planet pockmarked with areas of fire and heavy pollution reaching all the way to the upper atmosphere. Ezra Bridger, returning to the planet with Cikatro Vizago, thought that the planet was nearly unrecognizable and felt that it looked like it was dying.
Lothal was home to a diverse mixture of species including, but not limited to, humans, Xexto, Ithorians, Rodians, Aqualish, Gotals, and Ugnaughts. As such, the world's inhabitants spoke a variety of languages in addition to Galactic Basic, including Aqualish, Huttese, and Ithorese. Some humans such as athletic director Janus Fhurek harbored xenophobic attitudes towards alien species, who believed that the Empire should ascertain which alien and immigrant species were desirable and undesirable and objected to the presence of aliens in his school's grav-ball team. Lothal was also home to several criminals and crime syndicates including the Devaronian crime lord Cikatro Vizago and Yahenna Laxo's Gray Syndicate.
The sports grav-ball was also popular among Lothalians and was played by two opposing teams. In the Lothalian version of the game, a grav-ball grid was divided lengthwise into eight zones, called octets. The team that won the chance cube toss started at the center of the grid. They had three drives to move eight meters into the next octet. If they succeeded, they got three new drives to continue for another eight meters. If they failed, the ball went to the opposing team, who played in the other direction. Grav-ball was played during the winter season and several schools fielded teams. One notable team was Junior AppSci's AppSci SaberCats, which won the championship several years before the Battle of Yavin.
Behind the scenesEdit
- "Where Ezra lives, where we meet him, the prairie that he lives on, the city, the town that it's adjacent to—all of that, literally down to what the alleys look like in the town—was inspired by Ralph's original art."
- ―Star Wars Rebels executive producer Simon Kinberg
After StarWars.com's reveal of the planet Lothal and its Sienar factory, a website at www.sienarfleetsystems.com appeared. It consists only of an image of an advertisement/propaganda poster for Sienar Fleet Systems on Lothal, which has been "vandalized" with pro-rebellion graffiti.
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