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Tanith Shire

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"Oops! Didn't mean to make you blush. The Tanith Shire direct approach to cute men sometimes has that effect!"
―Tanith Shire[src]

Tanith Shire was a Human female from the planet Ophideraan. As a young woman, she and her father crashed their ship on Ophideraan, and her people were enslaved by the Serpent Masters, a scavenger group who forced them to maintain the Great Well, their base of operation. Due to the Serpent Masters' mastery over the world's flying serpents, Shire and her people were unable to escape. However, Shire convinced the Serpent Masters' leader, Supreme Serpent Master Tyrann to let her leave Ophideraan to send salvage their way.

As an agent for the Serpent Masters, Shire worked as a supply tug operator at the starship yards of Fondor. She was able to reprogram drone barges to crash-land on Ophideraan, supplying her masters with a regular supply of salvage. During her work, Shire came into contact with the Rebel spy, Luke Skywalker who was at the shipyards to gather intelligence on the Executor, which was being constructed there. Shire rescued Skywalker from an ambush by Darth Vader and helped him escape Fondor in one of her reprogrammed drone barges. After crash-landing on Ophideraan, Shire and Skywalker teamed up to defeat Tyrann and the Serpent Masters, freeing her people. Although Shire had fallen in love with Skywalker during their adventures, and tried to convince him to stay with her, Skywalker's devotion to the Rebellion would not let him abandon his cause and the two parted ways.

BiographyEdit

Early lifeEdit

ShireLuke

Tanith Shire meets Luke Skywalker on Fondor.

Josen Shire: "We crashed on this arid rock long ago, and were taken prisoner by the Serpent Masters."
Tanith Shire: "I convinced Tyrann to allow me to go off-world and arrange more wrecks for his serpent riders to scavenge…hoping if I did it well enough…I could eventually buy my people's freedom!"
―Tanith and Josen Shire[src]

Several years before the Battle of Yavin, Tanith and her father, Josen Shire, were forced to crash-land their ship on the desert world of Ophideraan. On Ophideraan, Tanith, Josen and the people aboard their shuttle were enslaved by the Serpent Masters, and put to work maintaining the Great Well, the base of operations for the scavengers. Shire and her people were confined to the slave levels at the bottom of the well with no way to escape except by riding flying beasts that could only be controlled by the Serpent Masters. The Supreme Serpent Master, Tyrann, became attracted to Tanith, and the girl used this to her advantage. She persuaded Tyrann to allow her to leave Ophideraan, though on the condition that she supplied his people with wrecks to salvage. Tanith hoped that if she served the Serpent Masters loyally, she would eventually be able to buy her people's freedom.[4] Around 0 ABY, Tanith was present on the planet Fondor being employed as a supply tug operator. She periodically sent drone barges and supply ships programmed to crash on Ophideraan's surface for the Serpent Masters to loot. She explained away the loss of these vessels with stories of system malfunctions.[5][4]

Fondor tug operatorEdit

"Since the Empire took over Fondor's starship yards, taste in employees has run to efficiency, not aesthetics…anytime you need a lift to or from that oversized battle wagon they're building, Tanith Shire will be eagerly waiting!"
―Tanith Shire flirts with Luke Skywalker[src]

While working at the Fondor Shipyards, Shire was responsible for transporting raw materials and workers in her supply tug to the worksite of the Executor. During one of her supply runs, she was assigned to bring one of the droid maintenance workers and his droids to the worksite. As she went to meet up with the new worker, she met Luke Skywalker, an undercover Rebel spy. Unknown to Shire, Skywalker was attempting to gather data on the Empire's new warship and was using his droids, R2-D2 and C-3PO to pose as a droid maintenance worker. Upon seeing Skywalker, Shire was immediately infatuated, and in her direct manner, she told the young man that she found him attractive. Luke was shocked by Shire's directness, but he warded off her flirtations despite her obvious interest in him. On the flight to the Executor Shire openly discussed the possibility that Skywalker might be a spy and questioned him on his relationships, surmising that his tentativeness in returning her affections might be due to having recently been rejected by another woman. Skywalker did not deny any of her conclusions and left her ship flustered by her aggressiveness. As he departed for the worksite, Shire offered her supply tug as his return trip to Fondor.[5]

ShireDroids

Tanith Shire orders C-3PO and R2-D2 to sabotage the steam tubes.

However, when the work day ended, Skywalker was nowhere to be seen. After asking around, she learned that the young man had been stuck with a last minute job assigned by Admiral Amise Griff. Shire waited for Skywalker at the Fondor shipyard worker's compound and watched as he arrived in the Admiral's personal starship. She propositioned Skywalker again, asking him to spend some time with her, but he refused, claiming that he had another engagement to attend to. Shire, unbelieving of the young man's excuse, followed him as he departed the worker's compound with his two droids. Shire followed as he descended into the planet's underground steam tubes, but in her pursuit, she also noticed a large force of Imperial stormtroopers entering the tunnels. As she attempted to catch up to Skywalker to warn him, she encountered R2-D2 and C-3PO, who had been switched off and left in one of the steam tubes. She switched them both back on and learned that Skywalker had been lured into a trap orchestrated by Darth Vader. With Skywalker's droids at her side, she raced to rescue the young Rebel, but a large Imperial force was present between her and Skywalker. Needing a diversion to help him escape, Shire ordered R2-D2 to plug into a terminal which controlled the steam flow system. Despite 3PO's protests over the danger, Shire forced the astromech droid to cause a back up in the steam flow, flooding the tunnels with fog. With Shire's diversion, Skywalker was able to overpower a stormtrooper and steal his armor, using it to escape discretely and meet up with Shire. Supremely thankful for her help, Skywalker joined Shire in fleeing the tunnels. The two Humans and the two droids stowed away on a departing drone barge and left the Fondor system, slipping through Vader's fingers.[5]

Back to OphideraanEdit

Tanith Shire: "Easy, Luke…don't go for a weapon. The Serpent Masters use equipment from all over the galaxy—including stormtrooper armor!"
Luke Skywalker: "Who are they, Tanith?"
Tanith Shire: "Scavengers! They prey off wrecks like this one…and enslave anyone unlucky enough to fall into their hands!"
―Tanith Shire and Luke Skywalker meet The Serpent Masters[src]

The drone barge that the group had boarded was one that had been previously programmed by Shire to crash-land on her homeworld, and she was content to wait until the sabotaged barge dropped out of hyperspace above her world. As they made the trip, C-3PO notified the two Humans that due to the craft being an automated vessel, there was no life support system and they would run out of air before the barge arrived at its destination. Shire confirmed 3PO's statement, but notified Luke that they would have plenty of air to breathe, as the ship would not be completing its trip and was scheduled to crash on Ophideraan due to her sabotage. Skywalker was surprised upon learning that Shire had been stealing drone barges, but he was more concerned about surviving the crash landing. Shire had not planned that far ahead, and she had no plans on how the two Humans would live through the crash. However, Skywalker had R2-D2 hack into the ship's system and programmed the ship to believe that a fire had broken out. The automated barge flooded the ship with extinguisher foam to counteract the nonexistent fire, giving the Humans enough padding to survive. As the drone barge impacted on the planet, Skywalker's tactic allowed the two to survive with no significant injuries.[4]

TyrannDroids

Tanith Shire and Luke Skywalker witness Varn deactivate C-3PO and R2-D2.

However, despite surviving the crash, Skywalker was depressed that he was now stranded on a remote world, unable to bring the intelligence on the Executor back to the Rebel Alliance. Skywalker ignored Shire throughout the night, but at dawn, the group was encountered by the Serpent Masters. Shire told Skywalker and his droids to relax, informing them that she worked for the group, helping them scavenge technology from the rest of the galaxy. After the Serpent Masters landed their serpent beasts, the head of the search party, Varn used his power lance to fire a disruptor ray into the droids, deactivating them. Shire calmed Skywalker down, keeping him from attacking the Serpent Masters, and the two Humans boarded serpent beasts to return to the Serpent Master's headquarters at the Great Well. Varn informed Skywalker that a slave party would return to the crash site to strip the drone barge, and they would gather his droids at that time.[4]

After arriving at the Great Well, Shire and Skywalker came before Supreme Serpent Master Tyrann to determine their fate. Shire explained that she had been forced to use a drone barge to escape the Imperials, but Tyrann was unsatisfied with the excuse. He ordered Shire to return to the slave level and commanded that Skywalker would be executed, as he had been responsible for bringing Shire back to Ophideraan and cutting off the source of misdirected Imperial barges. Shire protested Tyrann's decision, claiming that Skywalker was a talented technician and could be valuable to their operation. Although Tyrann surmised Shire's true reason for wanting to spare Skywalker's life, that she had a romantic interest in him, he agreed that he could be valuable. Despite Varn's protests, Tyrann ordered Skywalker to join the rest of the slaves, claiming that he could always kill him later. Varn used his serpent beast to take Shire and Skywalker to the lower slave levels, where Skywalker immediately began to plan their escape. However, Shire was less optimistic, telling the young man that the only way to get out of the slave levels was using a serpent beast, and only the serpent masters could control them.[4]

Planning escapeEdit

TyrannShire

Tyrann forces Tanith to watch his men attack Luke Skywalker.

Tanith Shire: "Tyrann please! You've shown interest in me in the past…let Luke go and I'll—"
Tyrann: "Skywalker's gone too far, my dear Tanith. By successfully flying one of our steeds, he usurps the power that is mine alone as Supreme Serpent Master—and must be crushed for it!"
―Tanith Shire and Tyrann[src]

Despite Skywalker's protests, he was overruled by the other slaves, including Shire's father, who claimed that there was no escaping from their life of slavery. However, Skywalker decided that if the only way to escape was by riding a serpent beast, he would learn the Serpent Masters' secret and tame one of the beasts for himself. Shire tried to convince Skywalker to abandon his quest, but he was determined and made his way to the Cavern of the Serpents. A short time later, Skywalker returned, having failed to tame a serpent and discouraged about their prospects. However, he was not ready to give up, and decided to track down his droids, hoping that they might hold the secret to controlling the serpents beasts. With Shire's help, Skywalker located the droids, and Shire watched as Skywalker used his lightsaber to cut handholds in the rock face and climbed to the chamber where his droids were located.[4]

After Skywalker disappeared into the chamber containing his droids, Shire was summoned by her father to the daily slave count. Knowing that Tyrann would not tolerate Skywalker being absent from the count, they attempted to stall the count. However, Varn saw through their ruse and claimed that Skywalker would be found and punished. As Varn and his fellow Serpent Masters searched the Great Well for Skywalker, Shire was brought to Tyrann, who wished for her to see Skywalker's defeat personally. As Shire watched, Skywalker rode one of the serpent beasts against Varn's forces, having discovered how to control the beasts through ultrasonic signals. However, Varn and his men began to close in on Skywalker, firing their weapons at him. Concerned for Skywalker's safety, Shire attempted to bribe Tyrann into stopping the attack, tempting him with the possibility of submitting to him. However, Tyrann refused the offer, knowing that he could not let Skywalker survive after showing open defiance against him. Although Tyrann was confident that Varn would defeat Skywalker, Shire was unconvinced and was proven correct when Skywalker leapt at Tyrann, cutting the medallion that Tyrann used to control the serpents from his chest. As the transmitter fell to the bottom of the well, Tyrann dove for his device but slipped from the ledge, plummeting to his death. Tyrann's men, without the ultrasonic transmitter, were unable to control their mounts and were quickly thrown to their deaths and attacked by the serpent beasts.[4]

Freed from slaveryEdit

Tanith Luke

Luke Skywalker bids farewell to Tanith.

Tanith Shire: "Just my luck! I finally meet a guy cute as you…he has to be dedicated too! I'm going to miss you Skywalker. Sure you won't reconsider getting out of here with me…? An Imperial attack doesn't seem like a great thing to get caught in."
Luke Skywalker: "The droids and I have our duty, Tanith but…well…after all we've been through together…there's something…"
―Tanith Shire and Luke Skywalker say their goodbyes[src]

Embracing Skywalker and congratulating him for his triumph, Shire organized her people, informing them that they were free from the Serpent Masters. R2-D2 was able to repair Tyrann's ultrasonic transmitter, and it was given to Shire's father, who promised to use it responsibly to help his people.[4] With the Serpent Masters defeated, Shire joined Skywalker in trying to find transport back to the Rebel Alliance. The scavengers had scrapped all the starships in their possession, but one cargo hauler was still operational. However, the small vessel had a limited range and did not have enough power to return to their Rebel base. Despite R2-D2's efforts at augmenting the craft's hyperdrive, the droid was unable to increase the cargo hauler's power. Instead, the droid opened up a secret communication frequency to contact the Alliance Fleet. Skywalker was able to contact his friend, Han Solo, who agreed to rendezvous with their ship on the nearby planet of Kabal.[6]

Although Skywalker and his droids were excited to return to the Rebellion, Shire had fallen in love with Skywalker and could not contain her sadness that the young Rebel would soon be abandoning her. When the cargo hauler arrived at Kabal, they were greeted by dozens of starships fleeing the world. Puzzled over the planet's impromptu evacuation, Shire landed the cargo hauler and tried to ask one of the fleeing individuals what was happening. Skywalker was able to stop one of the fleeing evacuees who told them that an Imperial battle cruiser was heading to Kabal at attack speed. Skywalker was determined to stay on the world for the rendezvous despite the danger, but Shire had other ideas. Knowing that the cargo hauler was the only starship that her people had access to, Shire could not risk the craft falling into Imperial hands or being destroyed.[6]

Although Shire tried one last time to get Skywalker to come with her, he refused to abandon his duty to the Rebellion.[6] Skywalker's affection for Princess Leia and his devotion to the Alliance kept him from accepting Shire's offer.[7] However, as a parting remembrance, Skywalker kissed the young woman, a tribute to the affection they had developed over their adventures.[6]

LegacyEdit

Mara Jade Skywalker: "Akanah, Gaeriel Captison, Callista…Luke Skywalker's lost loves. Not to mention that one on Folor…"
Luke Skywalker: "Fondor, and I was never in love with Tanith Shire."
―Luke and Mara Jade Skywalker[src]
ShireKiss

Luke Skywalker and Tanith Shire kiss goodbye.

Skywalker did not forget Shire or their budding romance, and when he became stranded on the planet Seidhkona,[8] the mind-witch S'ybll disguised herself as Shire after reading Skywalker's mind.[9][10] During the Yuuzhan Vong War, Skywalker was teased by his wife, Mara Jade Skywalker, who referenced his encounter with Shire on Fondor. However, Skywalker dismissed her teasing, stating that he had never been in love with Shire despite their kiss.[11]

Personality and traitsEdit

"You always were persuasive Tanith. I envy the Rebel for being able to inspire such interest from you."
―Tyrann[src]

Shire was an intelligent and capable Human who was a proficient pilot and was able to reprogram automated vessels without being detected. In romantic endeavors, she knew what she wanted and was very forward with those that she was interested in.[5] However, she had no trouble refusing the advances of those that were interested in her, as she did with Tyrann, despite his ability to free her from slavery.[4] In their adventures together, Shire could not hide her infatuation with Luke Skywalker, asking him to spend time with her on numerous occasions. Despite his reluctance, she still persevered, even asking him to come with her as they parted ways. She was also unable to hide her emotions around him, as tears ran down her face when she came to the realization that they would be parting ways.[6]

Behind the scenesEdit

Tanith Shire was created by Archie Goodwin and illustrated by Al Williamson for use in the Star Wars comic strip published by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate. Shire appeared in the stories Darth Vader Strikes, The Serpent Masters, and Deadly Reunion before departing the storyline. Shire was also mentioned in a later story, The Paradise Detour, when the character S'ybll used Shire's appearance to trick Skywalker. These stories were later reprinted by Dark Horse Comics in Classic Star Wars and the storylines including Shire were repackaged in Classic Star Wars Volume 1: In Deadly Pursuit. These reprints colored the originally black and white comic strip panels and reordered some of the comic panels, removing redudant parts of the storyline.[12] Shire was later referenced in the article ComicScan: Star Wars...On A Daily Basis in issue 2 of Star Wars Galaxy Magazine which noted her as an original creation by the comic strip. Two later articles in Star Wars Galaxy Collector magazine also discussed Tanith Shire's exploits during the comic strip. ComicScan: Coming Full Circle in issue 3 referenced the storylines that Shire was involved in, and ComicScan: Luke-ing for Love in all the Wrong Places in issue 7 mentioned Skywalker's short-lived romance with Shire. The events of the comic strip were referenced in the books A New Hope: The Life of Luke Skywalker and The New Jedi Order: Agents of Chaos I: Hero's Trial which mentioned Tanith Shire by name. She also received an entry in the Star Wars Encyclopedia.

In the StarWars.com Databank, Tanith Shire's entry mentioned that her father and her homeworld were unnamed. However, the entry lists her homeworld as Ophideraan, despite the original comic stating that Shire and her father crash-landed on the world long ago.

AppearancesEdit

SourcesEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

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