Nien Nunb

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"Only you could have smuggled an entire rescue craft under the Empire's noses."
―Princess Leia Organa, to Nien Nunb[src]

Nien Nunb was a Sullustan male arms dealer and smuggler who joined the Alliance to Restore the Republic during the Galactic Civil War. Shortly after the Battle of Yavin, Nunb answered the call from his friend, Rebel pilot Evaan Verlaine, to help smuggle a group of Alderaanians off of Sullust while avoiding detection from the Galactic Empire; the Empire was searching for surviving Alderaanians after Death Star I blew up it's first planet, Alderaan. He went on to further assist Verlaine and Princess Leia Organa in their mission to unite the surviving Alderaanians, during which time he helped Organa escape from potential Imperial captivity.

Only a few years later, Nunb became part of the Alliance Fleet and flew as the co-pilot for General Lando Calrissian aboard the Millennium Falcon during the Battle of Endor. Together, they fought against Imperial forces while attempting to destroy the Death Star II in orbit of the forest moon of Endor. Their battle was a success, and the Millennium Falcon fired the shot that destroyed the Death Star and delivered a devastating blow to the Galactic Empire. Three decades later, Nunb was a starfighter pilot with the millitary rank of Lieutenant Commander in the Resistance and fought in the First Order–Resistance conflict, including the Assault on Starkiller Base.


Early lifeEdit

Nien Nunb hailed from the planet Sullust.[1] He would learn his early piloting skills flying a freighter for the local Sullustan SoroSuub Corporation, however once the company became friendly with the Empire, he displayed his opposition by stealing from it on the behalf of the Rebellion.[8] He soon thereafter became an independent ace pilot and an able arms dealer and smuggler who owned and operated the starship Mellcrawler.[4] He became friends with fellow smuggler Lando Calrissian,[1] as well as Rebel pilot Evaan Verlaine.[4]

Galactic Civil WarEdit

Organa's missionEdit

"Nien Nunb, with stealth and courage you led the Alderaanian survivors off Sullust at great risk of Imperial interception. Thanks to you, we are now in command of a small fleet. Were these not lean days for the throne, a precious medal would have been struck in your honor. As it stands, I am pleased to award you the chalcedony waves from my late mother."
―Princess Leia Organa[src]
Nunb Chalcedony waves

Organa presents Nunb with the chalcedony waves that once belonged to her mother as a token of gratitude for his assistance.

Shortly after the destruction of Alderaan and the Battle of Yavin, Alderaanian Princess Leia Organa set out with Verlaine on a mission to unite the few Alderaanians who remained alive in the galaxy. Their mission brought them to Sullust, where a group of Alderaanians lived in an enclave beneath the world's volcanic surface. The Galactic Empire, which used its military might to hunt the surviving Alderaanians across the galaxy, discovered Organa and her united forces on Sullust. Nunb answered Verlaine's call for help and smuggled the Alderaanians off of Sullust and into space, without detection from Imperial forces. He also provided the arms in his ship to Organa and her people, so they could be used against the Empire. Organa was grateful for Nunb's assistance and presented him with the chalcedony waves necklace that once belonged to her adoptive mother, Queen Breha Organa of Alderaan, as a token of her gratitude.[4]

Later in the mission, Organa turned herself over to Imperial Commander Dreed on the desert world of Skaradosh in exchange for the release of Tula, an Imperial officer from Alderaan; Tula's sister, Tace, was part of Organa's group of refugees and Tula secretly manipulated her sister for information about Organa's whereabouts. Before Organa could be taken captive, the Mellcrawler arrived to rescue her, with Nunb having slipped the ship onto the planet without the orbiting Imperial forces noticing. Verlaine fired on Dreed and his Imperial stormtroopers, killing the commander while Organa and Tula were able to make their way on board. Though Organa thanked him for his efforts, Nunb said that the real test would be making it past the Imperial forces alive.[9]

The Star Destroyer in orbit detected the Mellcrawler once they received word that Dreed had been killed. Nunb launched a decoy to fool the Imperial vessels, leaving them to follow the sensor decoy as the Mellcrawler avoided their detection. The trick was successful and the Star Destroyer crew believed the Mellcrawler had been destroyed, and Organa with it. It was at that moment that a fleet of Alderaanians from Espirion arrived to assist Organa and her people. The arrival of the fleet allowed the Alderaanians to destroy the Star Destroyer, and the Alderaanian fleet escaped the wrath of the Empire. Nunb later attended a celebration in which Organa, Verlaine, and their people celebrated the success of the mission to unite them.[9]

Battle of SullustEdit

"Memorize the names on display. Nien Nunb, Sian Tevv, Corjentain Malaqua…these are rebels with known ties to Sullust. They are potential infiltrators. They may be smuggling in arms and equipment for a full-on revolution."
―An Imperial lieutenant[src]

About three years later, Nunb returned to Sullust on a mission for the Rebel Alliance, in which he supplied items to members of the Cobalt Laborers' Reformation Front at Pinyumb. Shortly after, a battle broke out between Imperial and Alliance forces.[10]

Operation Yellow MoonEdit

"It's good to be wanted."
―Nien Nunb on his bounty from the Empire[src]

Shortly after the Battle of Hoth, Nunb was the pilot of the star yacht Mellcrawler and was tasked with transporting Leia Organa to a meeting on Zastiga. On Zastiga, Nunb met with Wedge Antilles and Luke Skywalker to discuss reconnaissance tactics. Once Operation Yellow Moon was approved, Nunb transported the team to the Corva sector. Upon reaching Basteel, Nunb flew his ship to Eladro City. His casual piloting through the turbulent atmosphere unnerved Kidi Aleri but he was able to safely land his ship. Once on the ground, Nunb was given some credits by Organa and he headed to a bar to get a drink and some local intel. On the way to the bar, Nunb, Kidi Aleri, and Antrot stopped at a bazaar. While the rest of the team climbed out of the mountain in the tunnels above the city, Nunb returned to his ship so he could pick them up once they were clear. He was detained when the Empire arrived on Basteel and checked out the credentials for all the ships that were present. Once he was cleared, he flew to the top of the mountain and picked up the team. When they were all on-board and safely away from Basteel, Nunb got them hot beverages and blankets to help them warm up from the exposure to Basteel's harsh environment.[11]

Nunb then flew the team to Sesid. Once they landed at Thrinaka, he suggested that they purchase tourist clothes to better blend in. After they completed their mission to place a beacon, he warned them not to return to Thrinaka, as stormtroopers were present in the city. He rendezvoused with the team above the planet, and flew them to their next destination.[11]

After they arrived at Jaresh, Nien went to see if he could swing a deal with any local merchants for a load of the planet's main export, fertilizer. As they were leaving the planet, Nunb was ambushed by the Shieldmaiden, which snuck up on his ship from the dark side of the planet. He was able to avoid being snared by a tractor beam by skimming under a massive commercial freighter that happened to be passing through the system. Once clear of the tractor beams, he made the jump to hyperspace. When they were safe in hyperspace, Organa had a meeting with the team and left them decide if they wanted to continue with the operation. Nunb found it humorous that if he quit, they wouldn't have a ship to finish the mission, but agreed to stay to the end.[11]

Nunb flew the team to the rendezvous at Galaan and when other starships arrived, he made sure his ship was in position to transmit the tightbeam encryption code directly to them so Organa could contact them. During Organa's speech to the assembled ships, Nunb detected the incoming Star Destroyer Shieldmaiden. He attempted to flee, but was unable to avoid the Star Destroyer's tractor beams and was forced to shut down his engines to prevent damage to the Mellcrawler. As the yacht was drawn into the belly of the Star Destroyer, Organa prepared to destroy the Mellcrawler using the volatile fertilizer Nunb had picked up on Jaresh, which he was hoping to sell elsewhere at a profit. However, when Lokmarcha stopped her, Nunb instead purged the logs of his ship to prevent any data from falling into Imperial hands. Nunb was captured and imprisoned onboard the Shieldmaiden. He was able to free himself when Lokmarcha set off an electromagnetic pulse that disabled part of the Star Destroyer.

He gave directions to Organa so she could lead the surviving members of the team from the detention center to the docking bay. Once in the bay, they were discovered by a squad of stormtroopers and Nunb quickly entered an Imperial shuttle. He powered it up and was able to safely escape the Shieldmaiden with the surviving members of the team.[11]

Battle of EndorEdit

"Don't worry. My friend's down there. He'll have that shield down on time. Or this'll be the shortest offensive of all time."
―Lando Calrissian, assuaging Nunb's concerns about the Battle of Endor[src]

Over three years after the rescue of the Alderaanians, Nunb once again worked with Princess Organa on a secret mission as part of the Alliance to Restore the Republic.[12] Shortly thereafter, Nunb was a member of the Alliance Fleet and was selected to fly as co-pilot to General Calrissian aboard the Millennium Falcon during the Battle of Endor, where the Falcon led the assault to destroy the Death Star II. Before the battle, when the Alliance Fleet was gathered near Sullust, Nunb expressed concern about the plan of attack and whether General Han Solo, Princess Organa, and their team would be able to successfully destroy the Death Star's shield generator on the moon of Endor before the fleet arrived. Owing to Lando's understanding of the Sullustan language, he personally picks Nien for the mission, impressed by his exploits aboard the Mellcrawler.[8] Worried about the mission, Calrissian assured Nien that Solo would have the shield down on schedule.[3]


Nunb and Calrissian in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, just before the Battle of Endor.

The Alliance Fleet arrived over Endor to find that the shield generator was still active, and they realized that the battle was a trap set by the Emperor, Darth Sidious, to destroy the Rebel Alliance once and for all. The fleet remained over Endor and engaged Imperial forces in the hopes that Solo and his team would be able to destroy the generator. The fleet kept to fighting TIE/ln space superiority starfighters and Star Destroyers, particularly once they learned that the Death Star was operational, after previously believing that it did not yet have the use of its primary, planet-destroying superlaser. Once Solo's team destroyed the shield generator, the Millennium Falcon entered the Death Star's superstructure and fired the shot that began a chain reaction that led to the battle station's destruction. Calrissian and Nunb were in a race against time as they outran the fireball that their attack created, and they escaped the Death Star just before it was consumed in a massive explosion. The Alliance was victorious, the Emperor was dead, and the Empire was shattered. On the surface of Endor the Rebels held a celebration along with the native Ewoks, who helped Solo's team destroy the shield.[3]

Following the battle, Nien was awarded a medal by the Alliance known as the Kalidor Crescent for his bravery.[8]

New RepublicEdit

Twenty days after the Battle of Endor, an Imperial remnant under the leadership of Captain Lerr Duvat began Operation: Cinder, a contingency plan issued posthumously by the late Emperor Palpatine. Operation: Cinder called for the scouring of Palpatine's homeworld, Naboo, with the use of a climate disruption array. The Rebel Alliance, currently transitioning into the New Republic, quickly deployed a portion of their fleet to defend the planet. Nunb accompanied the fleet aboard his new yacht, the Mellcrawler II. The fleet soon destroyed the Imperial forces, succeeding in the planet's defense.[13]

Following the revelations of Senator Leia Organa's parentage as the daughter of Darth Vader in the New Republic's Galactic Senate, Nien Nunb sent a message expressing support for his former rebel colleague. Later, he along with several former rebel veterans and New Republic personnel were present at a meeting in the New Republic senatorial complex's hangar bay where Leia established the Resistance, a paramilitary organization to protect the Republic.[14]

First Order-Resistance conflictEdit

Nien Nunb X-wing

Nunb piloting his X-wing during the Assault on Starkiller Base.

Over the next thirty years, the remnants of the Empire reformed into the First Order and waged war against the unarmed New Republic. Leia Organa founded the Resistance to defend the new government, rallying old Rebels to her new cause, and Nunb offered his support and provided his skills by piloting a T-70 X-wing fighter in the Resistance Starfighter Corps[5][6] having the naval rank of Lieutenant Commander[15]. He wore flight gauntlets, a pressurized interstellar orange g-suit and a gear harness, along with a specialized flight helmet to fit his unique head.[8] His helmet also featured older Coalstreak Squadron stripes on the upper right-hand side of his helmet, appearing as two, parallel black lines.[6]

Assault on Starkiller BaseEdit

When the First Order destroyed the Hosnian system with the use of the Starkiller, the Resistance base on D'Qar became the next target. Quickly establishing a plan to destroy Starkiller Base, Nunb, along with the rest of the Starfighter Corps, flew to the planet in an attempt to destroy its thermal oscillator and disable the weapon. During the assault, many Resistance pilots were lost before the oscillator was destroyed by Poe Dameron. Nunb was one of seven surviving X-wing pilots, and he celebrated with the rest of the Resistance upon returning to D'Qar.[5]

Personality and traitsEdit

Nien Nunb T-70 XWM

Nunb's T-70 X-wing fighter

Nien Nunb was a Sullustan male. He had large black eyes, as well as large ears and jowl, and had light skin. He spoke in the liquid-like tongue of the Sullustan language[1] but was able to speak Galactic Basic with difficulty.[16] He was considered upbeat and optimistic, and frequently cracked sarcastic, if not anti-climactic jokes. Known for celebrating little victories, his comrades were always upbeat with Nunb's laugh and jokes. Despite his outward appearance of wisecracking jollity, he was extremely dedicated to whatever mission or cause he served, and displayed a loyalty and courage heralded by many of his closest friends.[11] Caring deeply about others, he would go out of his way to provide for those less fortunate than him, and would help his people during the Imperial occupation of his planet as a resistance fighter.[10]

Skills and abilitiesEdit

Nunb was an able pilot and smuggler, one who had the skills necessary to often avoid Imperial detection.[4][9] His piloting abilities led to Calrissian personally selecting him to co-pilot the Millennium Falcon during the Battle of Endor.[1]

Behind the scenesEdit

"Nien Nunb is a Muppet, a guy under the deck does his thing. He's got some dialogue to do. He's got this funny, twitchy face. He's a terrific character in my mind."
Richard Marquand, director of Return of the Jedi[src]

Nien Nunb made his first appearance in the 1983 film Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi.[3] He was brought to life as both a puppet and as a costumed-actor during the film. For scenes in the Millennium Falcon, Nunb was puppeteered by Mike Quinn.[17] He was portrayed by Richard Bonehill in wide shots. Nunb's name originated from the fact that he was referred to as "Number Nine" on creature packaging.[18] The character was voiced by Kipsang Rotich, a Kenyan student who spoke in his native Kalenjin language, as well as in Kikuyu.[19] Quinn returned to the role for the 2015 film Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens.[20]


Nien Nunb

Nien Nunb as a fighter pilot for the Resistance in The Force Awakens.

Non-canon appearancesEdit


Notes and referencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Ultimate Star Wars
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 StarWars-DatabankII Nien Nunb in the Databank
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Princess Leia, Part IV
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary
  7. Star Wars: Poe Dameron: Flight Log
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Star Wars Character Encyclopedia: Updated and Expanded
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Princess Leia, Part V
  10. 10.0 10.1 Battlefront: Twilight Company
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure
  12. SWCustom-2011 Coming Soon to Your Personal Jedi Archives: Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Sneak Peek! on (backup link on
  13. Shattered Empire, Part III
  14. Bloodline
  15. Star Wars: The Force Awakens: New Adventures
  16. Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure pg 187
  17. The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
  18. Mike Quinn interview. Star Wars Interviews. Retrieved on July 10, 2015.
  19. In Kenya, audiences roar at language in 'Jedi' film. Christian Science Monitor (Compiled From Wire Service Dispatches With Analysis From Monitor Correspondents Around The World) (July 28, 1983). Retrieved on July 10, 2015.
  20. FacebookIcon Mike Quinn on reprising his role as Nien Nunb. Mike Quinn (October 20, 2015, 12:44 am). Retrieved on November 22, 2015, 10:55 am. "Well I'm small and blurry and only in a brief moment, but I made the trailer, lol! I'm just to the left of Finn's cheek. You can just make out my large head and black vest ;) Dang I love those new X-Wings!" (screenshot)

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