|Chronological and political information|
- "Zuckuss is dangerous to himself and others."
- ―Gawynn Karastee
Zuckuss was a successful Gand bounty hunter who was active during the height of the New Order. Referred to as "The Uncanny One" by his fellow hunters, Zuckuss was renowned for his ability to discover hidden quarry. His tracking skills derived both from his training as a findsman and from his innate Force-sensitivity, which allowed him to sense individuals at range and decipher the motives of his prey. Due to his famed abilities, Zuckuss was highly sought after, and he found employment with the Bounty Hunters' Guild, the Hutt Cartel, TaggeCo, and even the Rebellion for a time.
During his long career, Zuckuss worked with many associates but was known primarily to partner with the droid 4-LOM. The two made a formidable bounty hunting team and were successful in retrieving the Yavin Vassilika, over such opponents as Bossk and Dengar. Though the partnership was forged under the insistence of Jabba the Hutt, Zuckuss and 4-LOM eventually bonded, with 4-LOM staying loyal to Zuckuss after the Gand was critically injured during the Galactic Civil War. In order to pay medical expenses, Zuckuss and 4-LOM took a job from the Rebel Alliance to pursue Governor Nardix, which eventually attracted the attention and incurred the wrath of the Empire. However, the pair's involvement in that affair was overlooked when they were hired by Darth Vader to find the Millennium Falcon after the Battle of Hoth. Zuckuss and 4-LOM planned to infiltrate the Alliance under the guise of rescuers, bringing with them the surviving passengers of a downed Rebel transport to the rendezvous point, hoping to kidnap Han Solo then. However, the rival bounty hunter, Boba Fett managed to capture Solo prior on Cloud City.
Shortly afterward, Zuckuss decided to join the Alliance, partly in gratitude for the necessary treatment he had received on board the medical frigate. He and 4-LOM worked as covert operatives for a time, and they attempted to rescue the carbonite-encased Solo from Fett before the hunter could deliver him to Jabba on Tatooine. The pair had failed in their mission and the outcome resulted in the destruction of 4-LOM. Zuckuss had attempted to repair his comrade, but he needed to perform a complete memory wipe in order to do so, which changed the droid's personality. After their final hunt for the gambler Drawmas Sma'Da, Zuckuss and 4-LOM parted ways, with Zuckuss relocating to the Outer Rim Territories for a time. Somewhat of a Rebel sympathizer, Zuckuss eventually began to hunt primarily for New Republic targets near the end of his career.
Although incredibly successful, Zuckuss was not without his flaws. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and an advanced case of multiple personality disorder, which caused him to speak in two different dialects. He was eventually incarcerated in a penal facility on Coruscant, under the scrutiny of New Republic psychiatrists. Despite his mental health and later imprisonment, Zuckuss became popular on his homeworld of Gand, eventually inspiring an entire generation of Gand bounty hunters to seek success off-world.
Zuckuss was a native of the planet Gand and a member of the Gand subspecies that possessed ammonia-breathing lungs. His family boasted a long lineage as findsmen, stretching back nearly 300 years, to which Zuckuss, and his second cousin Lu'daal-ud, were heirs. The findsmen were the Gand race's elite religious trackers, able to locate prey through meditation and divining omens from their homeworld's mists through the usage of arcane rituals. Zuckuss dubbed this his "intuition" and his abilities would earn him the nickname "The Uncanny One." The findsmen were essential on the mist-filled planet Gand, but when the Galactic Empire conquered the planet, new high-tech scanning equipment was introduced, which rendered the role of the findsman virtually obsolete. At some point, prior to his decision to become a bounty hunter, Zuckuss saw this process repeated when he witnessed Darth Vader and his men subjugate another planet. Despite the interference of the Empire, Zuckuss continued his findsman training, hunting runaway slaves on his homeworld, regardless of the trade's apparent obsolescence.
While many findsmen retired, or tried to find a new profession, Zuckuss chose to use his talents elsewhere, becoming one of the first findsmen to seek employment offworld since the First Jedi Purge. The reasons for Zuckuss's departure were conflicting, and evidence suggested that Zuckuss had failed to become a respected findsman like his forefathers and left the planet in disgrace. The shame Zuckuss experienced by leaving his homeworld eventually caused him to develop a separate personality. While the typically self-deprecating Gand reserved the usage of first person pronouns for their elite Janwuine, Zuckuss would freely refer to himself in the first-person—using pronouns such as "I" and "me"—and speak with a Corellian dialect. To balance this disregard for Gand language protocols and culture, Zuckuss's separate personality took to acting as a respectable findsman, never referring to himself except in the third-person.
After leaving his homeworld, Zuckuss had found immediate success as a bounty hunter. His ability to divine the future made him one of the most successful hunters around. Joining with the Bounty Hunters' Guild under Crimson Nova, Zuckuss began to work high-profile jobs alongside the head of the house, Breela, and the Ubese Boushh. One such job found them pursuing the Clone Wars Jedi General Kai Justiss. News of Zuckuss's success eventually reached his home planet, where his exploits were considered legendary. Although many Gand believed Zuckuss to be insane, his offworld success eventually led to a new generation of Gand bounty hunters that sold their services to the highest bidder. Due to his newfound reputation, Zuckuss was eventually hired by the Hutts as a permanent member of their staff. Working for Jabba Desilijic Tiure, Zuckuss carried out a number of successful missions on his own, before the Hutt partnered him with another up-and-coming bounty hunter, the droid known as 4-LOM.
With his new partner, Zuckuss began to have more success than he had experienced thus far. With his ability to find hidden quarry and 4-LOM's patient analytical skills, the duo were seen as unbeatable. Although Zuckuss had initially teamed up with 4-LOM to please his Hutt employers, he grew to genuinely respect the droid's abilities. Around 2 BBY, Zuckuss and 4-LOM took a job from fellow bounty hunter Skorr to help track down the Rebel agent Kestrel. Joined by another bounty hunter, Furlag, the group tracked Kestrel to a spaceport on Ord Mantell, where she was making her getaway. Even though the bounty hunters immediately opened fire and tried to shoot down the ship, they were unable to keep Kestrel from escaping.
Skorr had likely offered his fellow hunters a cut of the reward, but when their quarry escaped, Furlag was the first to blame Skorr for their failure to capture what was considered to be an easy mark. With a blemish on their record, Zuckuss and 4-LOM did not embark on any further work with Skorr and decided to pursue employment with other members of the Hutt Cartel.
The hunt for the Yavin Vassilika
- "You estimate this Vassilika to be worth millions. How is it that such a treasure has not become the focus of a galactic expedition? I suspect…you would prefer this operation conducted with discretion…?"
The apparent failure of the mission did not seem to dissuade other potential employers as Zuckuss and 4-LOM also regularly worked for Embra the Hutt, becoming one of his usual stable of bounty hunters. Around 1 BBY, Embra employed the pair to take part in the hunt for the legendary Yavin Vassilika. This hunt pitted Zuckuss and 4-LOM against two rival teams, each competing for a different Hutt employer.
Considered by many to be a myth, the Vassilika's location was unknown to virtually everyone, except for a partially-insane old businessman known as Illyan Webble. Webble was last known to be residing on the planet Kalkovak, and Zuckuss and 4-LOM hurried to beat their competition to Webble's location. Partnered with the Tusken hunter Sardu Sallowe, the group was the first to arrive on Kalkovak. However, they were unable to locate Webble before he had fled off-world, making it as far as Dac. With the other teams in close pursuit, Zuckuss and his companions were, again, the first to arrive on Dac, where they began their search at the Vagabond Registration Office. The search revealed that Webble had stolen a skiff and had piloted it out into the middle of the ocean. After the team had chartered a skiff for their own use, Zuckuss utilized his intuition to pinpoint Webble's precise location.
However, a rival hunting team made up of Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, and Chewbacca—with Greedo tagging along—had arrived just after them. Beating Zuckuss and his team to Webble's location, the Gand's colleague, Sardu Sallowe, resorted to sabotage, activating an explosive that Sallowe's Jawa accomplice had placed on their opponent's skiff prior to the excursion. Solo's engine exploded, leaving Zuckuss and his companions free to search for Webble unopposed. They found Webble's ship abandoned, with the raving madman nowhere to be found. However, Zuckuss was able to tap into the memory of the great coral reef known as The Bank. The ancient reef had captured Webble's memories before his death, and after reading them, Zuckuss discerned the Vassilika's location.
The group quickly left Dac, making their way to Webble's last known coordinates where they found the wreckage of the man's downed starship on an uncharted planet. Sallowe's tracking skills led them right to the Vassilika, where villagers of the Thelvin Order of Barundi were guarding it. Inside the village, 4-LOM easily located the artifact and prepared to retrieve it. However, in trying to secure the item, the entire village assaulted him, causing damage to the droid. Although Sallowe wished to rescue their comrade, Zuckuss decided that it would be better to make a quiet retreat back to their ship.
Arriving back at their landing point, Zuckuss was surprised to find two other ships present, the Millennium Falcon and Slave I. Boba Fett's ship could only mean one thing, and Zuckuss was not surprised when Fett appeared and rendered Sallowe and his Jawas unconscious. Fett had been hired by Jabba to protect Solo while he searched for the Vassilika, and he requested that Zuckuss use his abilities to lead him to the Corellian. After sensing that Solo had fallen into the same trap as 4-LOM, Zuckuss led Fett back to the village where the Mandalorian burst into the village's prison, rescuing all those who were inside. Simultaneously, the last team of hunters arrived—comprising of Bossk, Dengar, and IG-88B—and tried to acquire the Vassilika. In the ensuing confusion, one of Sallowe's Jawas got a hold of the artifact. The erupting violence, however, caused the Jawa to lose the item, only for it to be stolen by Jozzel Moffet, the majordomo of Malta the Hutt. With the item gone, Zuckuss convinced the rest of the hunters to team together to track down Moffet.
From information divulged to him by one of his Jawas, Sallowe discovered that Moffet had taken the Millennium Falcon to Yavin 4, and the hunters raced to the site to prevent her from claiming their reward. Unbeknownst to Zuckuss, Sallowe's Jawas had utilized the fighting to retrieve 4-LOM from the Barundi village without being noticed. Arriving on Yavin 4, the hunters ambushed Moffet just as she was selling the Vassilika to the Rebellion. Moffet had acquired a facsimile of the artifact and sold the Vassilika for four million credits, and while the rest of the hunters argued over what to do with her, Zuckuss stole the money and promptly placed a 200,000 credit bounty on Bossk and Dengar. This motivated IG-88 to betray his partners to secure the bounty. Although registered bounties were non-rescindable, Zuckuss was confident that the resulting confusion would allow him to escape with the funds.
However, Dengar caught wind of the betrayal and shot Zuckuss in the shoulder before he could escape. With Zuckuss injured, the briefcase once again changed hands, being acquired by one of Sallowe's Jawas, then Greedo, until Moffet temporarily reclaimed the money. However, Moffet was soon shot in the back by Farquil Ban'n, assistant to Embra the Hutt. Ban'n claimed the four million credits for herself, but prior to leaving the planet, she declared Zuckuss and his crew the winners of the competition. She instructed him to bring the replica of the Vassilika back to Embra and claim his reward. She also gave Zuckuss an additional 200,000 credit reward with which to repair 4-LOM.
Although Zuckuss and 4-LOM had successfully completed another mission against stiff competition, they found themselves without any funds. Forced to use the extra 200,000 to pay for his bounty on Bossk and Dengar, Zuckuss spent the rest of the reward repairing 4-LOM. Starved for funds, the duo began running small jobs for Jabba, and around 0 BBY, they gave fellow hunter Dyyz Nataz a lift out to the Komnor system on Jabba's request. Shortly afterward, Zuckuss and 4-LOM attended Greedo's funeral for reasons unknown. Although the two hunters were still looking for a new high-profile job, unforeseen circumstances ended up blocking their way.
Jabba had recently received rumors that the droid 12-4C-41 was planning to kill him. Unperturbed by the droid but still suspicious of his motives, Jabba sent all the hunters under his employ out to gather information on 12-4C-41's plans. Although Zuckuss and 4-LOM's ship could have ferried them to the droid's location on Vactooine and thus be the first ones to arrive, their craft had broken down and needed repairs at the time. Without the ability to take an active part in the hunt, the pair devised a plan to still be able to cash in on the bounty. Lying in wait for Jabba's returning hunters, Zuckuss and his partner ambushed the first returning member of the hunting party, hoping to steal his information and give it to the Hutt themselves. However, the pair was humiliated by the rival hunter, who eventually gave the information to Jabba himself and cashed in on the bounty.
Back to the Guild
- "You needn't act wise and superior with me. I've collected nearly as many bounties as you have. Your family connections are the only reason for your rank in the Guild."
- ―Zuckuss complains to Bossk
Still with barely any credits, and sensing that he was missing the real profits, Zuckuss decided to split with 4-LOM and the Hutts and rejoin the Bounty Hunters' Guild. Zuckuss had expected his long career and reputation to precede him, but the other members treated him as if he was just another novice bounty hunter, something that irritated him greatly.
Zuckuss paired with Bossk on a number of missions, but the two disliked each other and only tolerated the other for the sake of the job. Bossk found Zuckuss to be too hesitant while Zuckuss saw Bossk's headstrong manner as being dangerous to their missions. One of their first missions together was to secure a bounty on the accountant Nil Posondum. With a 12,500 credit bounty on his head, Zuckuss and Bossk hoped to easily secure the contract. After discovering that Posondum was hiding out in a casino, the duo prepared to eliminate the casino guards and snatch the bounty. However, Boba Fett had arrived prior to them and stole Posondum away from the pair. Zuckuss and Bossk found themselves in a firefight with the casino personnel that had arrived following Fett's apprehension of the accountant. To escape the guards, the pair jumped out of a third-story window and raced back to Bossk's ship, the Hound's Tooth. They eventually caught up with Fett, but were unable to retrieve the bounty from him.
Humiliated by their defeat, Zuckuss and Bossk returned to the Guild just in time to hear that Fett was meeting with the Guild Council. Although Fett was granted an assurance of safe travel to the Guild's headquarters, Bossk had decided to destroy Fett before his arrival. Zuckuss was opposed to the plan, citing that Fett was traveling under that assurance from Bossk's father, Cradossk, but could not dissuade the Trandoshan. After finding a signature matching that of the Slave I, Bossk opened fire on the ship, ripping through its canopy. Bossk was still not convinced that he had killed Fett, so he and Zuckuss searched the ship. However, the craft turned out to be a decoy with a bomb planted inside. The pair only barely escaped before it exploded.
The Hound's Tooth was damaged in the explosion, and Zuckuss and Bossk were forced to make repairs before they could return to the Guild's headquarters. When they finally arrived, they were surprised to find that Fett had apparently set aside his independent behavior so that he could join the Guild. Bossk was distrustful of Fett, and while Zuckuss foresaw Fett's induction as an omen of disaster, he kept his musings to himself. Fett soon received a high-profile job obtaining the bounty on Oph Nar Dinnid, with Zuckuss and Bossk placed on a team with him. Cradossk, Bossk's father and leader of the Guild, specifically placed Zuckuss on the team for his own purposes. Cradossk knew that his son had plans to kill him and take control of the Guild and wanted to make sure Bossk didn't return from the job. Zuckuss readily agreed to Cradossk's request and left with Fett and Bossk to recruit fellow hunters for the job.
With the addition of IG-88B and the cyborg hunter D'harhan, Fett's team was completed. Together, they left for Shell Hutt territory to retrieve their bounty. However, after their arrival, the team was double-crossed by Gheeta the Hutt, who had killed Dinnid prematurely to exact his revenge on Boba Fett. The team came under heavy fire, resulting in the death of D'harhan and a major wound to Bossk. With the mission a failure, the team returned to the Guild where Zuckuss decided to double-cross Cradossk and side with his current partner. Alongside Cradossk's majordomo, Ob Fortuna, Zuckuss convinced the old Trandoshan that Bossk had been killed on the mission. Cradossk was satisfied with the outcome, until his son surprised him and killed him, eventually devouring his father.
After the Guild
While the death of Cradossk led to the collapse of the Bounty Hunters' Guild, Zuckuss was still reluctant to rejoin his Hutt employers and for a time, he sided with Bossk's Guild Reform Committee in an attempt to survive the infighting. Soon after, though, he accepted a job from Boba Fett to, among other things, trick Bossk into thinking the Gand had died. Fett was partnering with Bossk to capture the bounty on Trhin Voss'on't, and needed a secret ally, should Bossk try to double-cross him. Zuckuss's natural ability as a Gand to silence his bodily functions for extended periods of time helped convince Bossk that he was truly dead.
Boba Fett kept Zuckuss in his ship on the ruse that he was using the body to help convince Trhin Voss'on't that they were actually on his side, as a dead body would show that they were protecting him from other hunters. Fett and Bossk finally managed to apprehend the bounty, but just as Fett suspected, Bossk attempted a double-cross. Fulfilling his part of the deal, Zuckuss held Bossk at gunpoint, preventing him from killing Fett and forcing him aboard an escape pod. However, Fett double-crossed Zuckuss as well and forced him aboard the pod with Bossk, keeping the entire bounty to himself.
After being humiliated once again, Zuckuss decided to leave the fractured Guild and its former members behind him. Following the battle of Talus, he became involved in capturing the Emperor's Most Wanted, individuals from a list of high-paid bounties on critical Rebel Alliance members and supporters. Zuckuss had been observing the information broker Talon Karrde and when 4-LOM put him in touch with another bounty hunter, Zuckuss welcomed the help. The two hunters decided to infiltrate Karrde's ship, the Wild Karrde, by smuggling Zuckuss in with a shipment of starship parts, while his companion arranged a meeting with the target by impersonating an engineer with a stolen datafile. Examining the information presented to him, Karrde became suspicious and called in his guards, but at that moment, Zuckuss dropped in from the ventilation shaft and started the firefight. In the small confines of the meeting room, the hunters were effectively able to deal with the guards, and Zuckuss called in for an Imperial shuttle to dock with the freighter and prepared to deliver Karrde to the Imperial authorities.
The hunt for the Millennium Falcon
Later, returning to the Hutts, Zuckuss teamed up with 4-LOM once again. Even with his apparent failures, Zuckuss's exploits had given him a sort of legendary status among his people on his home planet and he was able to commission a group of Gand businessman to help him finance and build his own starship. The craft was a modified G-1A transport constructed by Byblos Drive Yards and the Gand financiers were able to convince the company, albeit with a bribe, to add undeclared modifications to the ship. Dubbed the Mist Hunter, Zuckuss was provided with his own personalized ship at long last. Reunited with 4-LOM, Zuckuss and his companion had a stretch of success, capturing one bounty after another. However, their success came to an end, when, during what was expected to be a casual hunt, a desperate woman ripped Zuckuss's respirator away from his face. Although Zuckuss had the ability to hold his breath for extended periods of time, he reflexively inhaled three breaths of oxygen. The oxygen permanently damaged his lungs, and without replacements, he would ultimately die.
However, the procedure for cloning new lungs was expensive, around 50,000 credits. Even with their recent success, the required fee was something that Zuckuss and 4-LOM simply did not have. Desperate, the two accepted a bounty contract from the Rebellion for Imperial Governor Nardix. Although the Rebellion paid the hunters well for the capture, it was still not enough to buy Zuckuss the surgery. The Rebellion publicly tried Nardix—indicted on crimes against sentients—and executed him, causing a public disgrace for the Empire. For their part in the proceedings, the Empire issued death warrants for Zuckuss and 4-LOM, who were forced to watch their backs at every turn.
The duo was placed in a compromising situation when Jabba ordered them to accept the Imperial bounty for Han Solo. The meeting, to be held on the Executor, was a great risk for the pair, and Zuckuss meditated throughout their trip to discover whether or not Vader knew of their involvement in the Nardix affair. Zuckuss eventually surmised that Vader was aware of the crime, but apparently did not deem it as any immediate importance. Vader only wished to see Solo captured. En route to the ship, the Mist Hunter became temporarily involved in the Battle of Hoth, where they helped disable the Rebel transport, Bright Hope, as an act of good will towards their Imperial employers.
Before the scheduled meeting, Zuckuss was forced to shoot himself up with pain-killers to mask his injury from his fellow bounty hunters and, most importantly, Darth Vader. The meeting went well enough, with Zuckuss and 4-LOM one of the first back to their ship. Zuckuss used his intuition to surmise that Solo would make his way to the Rebel rendezvous in a place outside the known galaxy. Zuckuss planned to make it to the rendezvous first to ambush Solo and get the bounty with ease.
The pair knew that they needed some excuse to be able to arrive at the rendezvous point uninvited. In order to provide that excuse, the hunters decided to rescue the transport they had previously helped disable, the Bright Hope. Zuckuss and 4-LOM docked with the ship and claimed to the surviving passengers that they had been sent by the Rebellion to rescue them. The survivors' commanding officer, Toryn Farr, was suspicious of the pair, rightfully believing them to be bounty hunters. Farr demanded that instead of the list of twenty-six names that 4-LOM had called, that the two hunters take all of the survivors and fly to Darlyn Boda. A brief firefight ensued, with 4-LOM taking Farr and a few others hostage. Zuckuss was dissatisfied with 4-LOM's course of action and tried to persuade the Rebels that 4-LOM had chosen to take to follow him. When those negotiations failed, Zuckuss spoke directly to Farr and was able to convince her that they were genuinely trying to help. With Farr's supervision and assistance, the hunters were able to cram ninety wounded rebels onto the Mist Hunter by replacing the ammonia atmosphere of the ship with oxygen. This confined Zuckuss to an ammonia suit for the duration of the trip.
Instead of bringing the Rebels immediately to the rendezvous point, Farr directed the pair to bring the wounded Rebels to an underground base on Darlyn Boda. This detour, however, extended their trip, and Zuckuss's health began to deteriorate rapidly. The Rebels' medical droid, 2-1B, examined the suffering Gand and claimed that he would be able to perform a procedure on Zuckuss that would allow him to regrow new lungs. However, the procedure could only be performed in a specialized facility, one which was only located at the Rebels' rendezvous point. Touching down on Darlyn Boda, they quickly offloaded the seriously wounded Rebels, and then proceeded to the rendezvous point, accompanied by Toryn Farr and a number of her hand-picked fighters.
Zuckuss's lungs had deteriorated rapidly due to the confined ammonia suit, and he was near death. However, out of a kindness seemingly unknown to droids, his partner 4-LOM allowed Zuckuss to sleep with the Ankarres Sapphire while the droid piloted the Mist Hunter the rest of the way to the rendezvous point. The sapphire, renowned for its healing properties, sustained Zuckuss until they reached the Rebel's specialized medical facilities.
Finally arriving at the rendezvous point, the two bounty hunters were met with open arms, and Zuckuss was immediately taken into intensive care. However, the Rebels also supplied the hunters with unfavorable news; their rival Boba Fett had already captured Han Solo. The pair knew that their failure in the hunt meant that their death mark would remain, but 4-LOM had already calculated another plan. While in the Rebel stronghold, the droid had observed two of the Rebel's heroes: Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa. Their capture would most likely gain the Empire's favor, and 4-LOM prepared a plan of attack. However, Zuckuss was still in critical condition, awaiting the procedure that would help him regrow new lungs. Zuckuss informed 4-LOM that he had been meditating and had intuited that were they to attempt to capture Skywalker and Organa, they would fail and instead end up with "a golden, bumbling droid" and the two medical droids they had brought to safety. The Empire would be uninterested in acquiring the droids and the pair would find themselves hunted by both the Rebels and the Empire. For that reason, Zuckuss decided against betraying the Rebels, opting to stay with them. Without Zuckuss's help, 4-LOM calculated that the chances of success were next to none. With no other options open, the pair decided to join the Rebellion, partly in return for their genuine kindness towards Zuckuss in his fragile state.
- "It's a big reward. There's plenty for everyone. We're all in the same business, Fett. Think how much easier it would be if we worked together—shared the responsibility."
Due to the extent of damage the oxygen inhalation had done to Zuckuss's body, the treatment he received only had a palliative effect. After Zuckuss had recovered enough, though, he and 4-LOM were assigned to the Alliance Special Forces, who modified the Mist Hunter considerably so that it resembled more of a recon ship than a starfighter. Their first assignment was recovering Han Solo before Boba Fett could deliver him to Jabba.
Zuckuss rejoined his bounty hunter peers in order to establish his cover as a hunter while working as a Rebel agent. Working with Bossk, Dengar, and IG-88 once again, Zuckuss accepted a contract from Domina Tagge. The quartet provided protection and support for TaggeCo's operatives as they tried to unleash a plague of the Crimson Forever on members of both the Empire and the Rebellion. However, Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian, and Leia Organa were able to foil the plot, and Zuckuss fled the scene with Domina.
His status as a Rebel operative now obscured, he and 4-LOM recruited Bossk in order to track down the Slave I. Zuckuss arranged a meeting with Fett on the planet Gall to convince the bounty hunter to take on additional partners. Meanwhile, a task force of hunters led by 4-LOM tried to rescue Solo from Fett's ship. The meeting went awry when Fett sensed a double-cross, returning to his ship just in time to prevent 4-LOM from stealing Solo.
Bossk and Zuckuss tried to keep Fett from leaving the planet, but at the same time, a firefight erupted between Imperial and Rebel forces. In the confusion, Fett disappeared, along with 4-LOM, who, after Fett had blasted the droid, had been stowed below decks aboard Fett's ship. Zuckuss and Bossk quickly fled Gall in the Hound's Tooth, trying to track Fett before he could get to Tatooine and claim the bounty on Solo. However, 4-LOM had survived the attack and was able to transmit a signal to Zuckuss and Bossk from the Slave I. The hunters used the signal to find Fett's hiding place and opened fire on him. Fett's ship was damaged, and Zuckuss, along with several other hunters, including Furlag, took the Hound's Tooth's reconnaissance ship, the Nashtah Pup, to board the disabled craft.
After boarding the ship, Zuckuss quickly captured Fett and ordered Furlag to chain him up in his own hold. As Zuckuss and his men tried to release the binds securing Solo to the Slave I, Fett outsmarted Furlag and was able to get away. Dropping down from a ventilation shaft, Fett killed the rest of Zuckuss's men and took the Gand hostage. Forced at gunpoint, Zuckuss lied to Bossk in order to distract him from Fett's own agenda. Fett then loaded the Nashtah Pup with explosives and sent it back to Bossk's ship where it exploded, disabling the Hound's Tooth. With Bossk incapacitated, Fett fled the scene, placing Zuckuss into a cell alongside his comrade 4-LOM, whom Fett had previously disabled in a firefight by putting a blaster bolt through his verbobrain.
Zuckuss was kept in the cell while Fett repaired his ship and formulated a plan for delivering his cargo to Jabba without further confrontations. Zuckuss believed there was no chance Fett could deliver the cargo untouched, but the Mandalorian designed a plan of attack. Binding and gagging Zuckuss, Fett tied the bounty hunter to a spare speeder bike and outfitted him in an extra set of Mandalorian armor. Fett then mounted 4-LOM's wrecked body to a platform on the back of the craft, completing the illusion that Fett was going to tow Solo the rest of the way on a speeder bike. Flying low to the ground, Fett dropped off the speeder bike, which drove quickly away, carrying Zuckuss and 4-LOM with it. On the ground, Bossk, and a group of other hunters and swoopers, gave chase, firing at the speeder bike. The rampaging speeder was brought to a halt by Bossk's carefully-aimed blaster bolt, and he and the other hunters closed in on the decoy. However, Bossk was not pleased to find that the man under the mask was actually Zuckuss and not Fett.
Back to bounty hunting
- "It's a cold, hard galaxy we live in."
After Fett humiliated him yet again, Zuckuss left the Rebellion to concentrate on rebuilding 4-LOM. He was able to repair the droid, but the encounter with Fett had irreparably damaged his verbobrain. Only a complete memory wipe could reactivate him. Afterward, 4-LOM was not the same, and the idealism that had led him to join the Rebellion alongside Zuckuss was lost. Zuckuss attempted to return the pair to bounty hunting, but 4-LOM had other ideas. Having lost his loyalty to Zuckuss, the droid felt that he no longer needed a partner and planned to go out on his own. However, Zuckuss convinced him to take one last job on the gambler Drawmas Sma'Da.
Drawmas Sma'Da was the organizer of a galaxy-wide gambling operation that he called the "Invisible & Ineluctable Casino," where he and others would place bets on the outcomes of various battles during the Galactic Civil War. No matter the outcome of a particular event, the gambler seemed to collect the house percentage and come out on top. Sma'da's success was what attracted the attention of the Empire, though Zuckuss was not initially informed that it was an Imperial bounty he was to collect on.
Sma'da frequented an upscale cantina run by Salla C'airam, which had a strict weapons policy, forcing the pair to come up with a way to sneak a blaster into the establishment. While Zuckuss brought in a powered-down blaster, 4-LOM was able to hide a power pack inside his head-casing. Once inside the establishment, Zuckuss quickly assembled the blaster and took Sma'Da captive. Zuckuss and 4-LOM led the gambler back to their ship and turned him over to the Empire for a large reward. Shortly afterward, Zuckuss and 4-LOM parted ways. Zuckuss left for the Outer Rim to continue his career as a bounty hunter. Zuckuss continued this work into the reign of the New Republic, whose bounties he increasingly took, due to his short stint in the Alliance.
- "The extreme pressure of some situation drove him over the edge."
- ―Gawynn Karastee
Although Zuckuss continued bounty hunting in the Outer Rim, he was unable to attain the same heights of success that he had experienced in his past. His health continued to deteriorate and at some point, Zuckuss found himself incarcerated in a penal facility on Coruscant, as due to his one-time stint with the Alliance, he was considered too valuable by the New Republic to be thrown into a common prison. While there, Zuckuss was analyzed by a criminal psychiatrist named Gawynn Karastee. Over the course of several interviews, Karastee diagnosed Zuckuss as schizophrenic and exhibiting multiple personality disorder. She concluded Zuckuss to be violent and not only dangerous to others but to himself as well, and from her analysis, it seemed unlikely that the facility would ever release Zuckuss—at least not willingly.
In Zuckuss's meditations, he had often looked to find out the circumstances surrounding his own death. He surmised that he would eventually be killed, though he could not pinpoint exactly who would do the deed. However, he had ruled out 4-LOM and Vader as his potential killers. It was also known that Drawmas Sma'Da planned to exact his revenge on Zuckuss and 4-LOM for turning him over to the authorities. A pilot named Starter once claimed to have killed Zuckuss and several other bounty hunters in a confrontation on Cloud City during the Galactic Civil War, though the pilot's colleagues dismissed the story as a tall tale.
Personality and traits
- "The mists will show you the way."
Zuckuss displayed a hesitance that was looked down on by some hunters as cowardice. While many of his comrades would opt to rush in with guns blazing, Zuckuss tended to take a more cautious approach and weighed his options beforehand. However, Zuckuss was prone to sudden outbursts of violence and could be quite brutal if pushed or cornered.
Plagued with schizophrenia and a split personality, Zuckuss had two distinct outlooks on life. One personality adopted the devout role of a findsman and respected ancient Gand traditions and rules to a fault. Zuckuss's other personality, however, was apathetic to his Gand heritage and freely referred to himself in the first-person, using a dialect similar to that of many Corellian Humans. Brash and foul-mouthed, this personality was also prone to violence, insecure with himself, and doubted his abilities. The latter personality was the dominant one, and the former would surface when Zuckuss felt guilty towards his breaking away from Gand culture.
However, Zuckuss was not without sentimental emotions, and he generally responded positively to kindness and empathy. While with the Rebels, Zuckuss's outlook on life was positive and he found himself being genuinely friendly to his comrades in arms. Zuckuss also had a connection with his frequent companion 4-LOM and cared about his well-being. When his droid comrade's memory was destroyed during their stint as Rebels, Zuckuss became depressed.
Despite his proven competence while working solo, Zuckuss preferred to work with associates, cooperating with over a dozen of his peers during his career. He was open to learning from others, using their experience to improve his own skills.
Powers and abilities
Like all Gands, Zuckuss possessed a durable exoskeleton. He could withstand injuries that could otherwise impede other humanoid species, and he had used that durability to his advantage. Zuckuss had leapt from a third-story window, been caught in an explosion, and had been shot in the shoulder, but was still able to continue his duties without so much as a disorienting effect. As a member of the "breather" sub-species, Zuckuss was also able to hold his breath for an extended period of time. He could also subdue his bodily functions to the point where he could fool an observer to thinking that he had died, such as when he tricked Bossk in that manner. Though, since he was normally able to maintain it only for a few minutes, he utilized compressed ammonia canisters to extend respiration cessation for several days.
Considered to be one of the best Gand findsmen, Zuckuss possessed an innate Force-sensitivity. He dubbed this his "intuition" and through the usage of meditation and religious rituals, he could sense targets at range, the number of members within a group, their intentions toward him, and receive glimpses into the future. His intuition also allowed him to predict the maneuvers of ships during battle, as exemplified when he nearly destroyed the Bright Hope even before his ship's systems registered within firing range.
Zuckuss preferred to meditate during transit in hyperspace, as the information he would receive offered glimpses into where the galaxy was ultimately headed. His meditations would usually last for around three hours, though he had at least once managed to acquire intuitive knowledge approximately 8.37 minutes after the start of his rituals. Known as "the Uncanny One," Zuckuss maintained a 91.33725 percent chance of being accurate in whatever information he was able to glean from his meditations. He was considered to have a greater accuracy than most Gands.
In his travels, Zuckuss had braved numerous environments and terrains on various worlds in pursuit of his quarry. He was also proficient in the usage of various melee weapons and blasters. And though Zuckuss would at times utilize a computer and sensor array, he was more certain of and thus had more faith in his intuition. Zuckuss also received training within the Alliance Special Forces, particularly as an undercover operative.
- "Zuckuss, how any being can exist behind a respirator is beyond me… Mastication is life's greatest pursuit! Chewing is living!"
- ―Embra the Hutt
Zuckuss made use of a specialized respirator, which allowed him to breathe ammonia in oxygen-rich environments. Zuckuss also equipped a heavy set of battle armor under his heavy cloak to protect his body while on missions. He would also don a computer and a sensor array, which he hung on straps around his neck.
Zuckuss's primary weapon was the GRS-1 snare rifle. It was capable of hitting targets up to 150 meters away with liquefied shockstun mist, which hardened into a translucent web upon contact. Zuckuss also occasionally used the BlasTech W-90 concussion rifle, and was also proficient in the use of stun grenades, vibroblades and a wide variety of other blaster pistols and blaster rifles. He would also arm himself with ammonia bombs, which were toxic to most species.
Zuckuss made use of two ships throughout his long career. The first, used during the hunt for the Yavin Vassilika, had an efficient and thus fast hyperdrive that rivaled that of the Millennium Falcon. It beat the Falcon numerous times during the race for the Yavin Vassilika. After his reunion with 4-LOM, Zuckuss acquired a new ship, dubbed the Mist Hunter. The ship was manufactured and modified by Byblos Drive Yards and was commissioned by a group of Gand businessmen. A fifteen-meter G-1A transport, the ship proved effective for Zuckuss. It made use of special repulsorlift technology developed for cloud cars, such as those on Bespin. Later, the Rebel Alliance heavily modified the ship, bringing it closer in capacity to a recon ship. Smuggling compartments capable of carrying eight beings were installed, along with a sensor mask, tractor beam, and various weapons upgrades.
Behind the scenes
Zuckuss was portrayed by actress Catherine Munroe in 1979 for the filming of the infamous bounty hunter scene in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. Zuckuss was designed by Ralph McQuarrie and John Mollo, while the mask itself was crafted by Stuart Freeborn. The eyes of the mask were covered with Bubble Wrap packing material. The costume included cylinders filled with colored water and a full-head mask, which Munroe required an assistant to put on and remove. Munroe described the costume as being rather restrictive and hot, and during the time between takes, the actress was supplied a chair on set if she needed to rest. The full-head mask restricted Munroe's vision so that she could only see directly in front of her, and it included a tube into which the actress could blow air to create bubbles in one of the water-filled cylinders on the costume's chest.
In the first edition of Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back, published in 1989 by West End Games, Zuckuss was originally described as charging exorbitant fees for his services. While the rest of his article remained similar in subject matter, when the second edition of the book was released in 1996, the last paragraph detailing Zuckuss's captures, kills, and fees was removed, replaced with the information regarding his oxygen inhalation, rescuing the passengers of the Bright Hope, and joining the Rebel Alliance.
It should be noted that this information was gleaned from Of Possible Futures: The Tale of Zuckuss and 4-LOM, written by M. Shayne Bell and later published in December of 1996 in Tales of the Bounty Hunters. As evidenced by another character from that story, Toryn Farr, receiving a card in the Hoth Limited set of the Star Wars Customizable Card Game two months prior to the publication of the short story in which she appears, then other publishers like West End Games and Decipher, Inc. had access to the information within the short story.
Zuckuss's multiple personality disorder and schizophrenia diagnoses were a retcon introduced in the first edition of The Essential Guide to Alien Species to explain drastic character differences between sources; primarily between The Bounty Hunter Wars trilogy and previously-established canon from the aforementioned Tales of the Bounty Hunters.
There was originally some confusion as to which character was Zuckuss and which was his partner, 4-LOM, due to their names being switched on their Kenner action figures. Initially, Kenner designated the bug-eyed alien as 4-LOM, and the droid was named Zuckuss. However, it was not until 1989 that Lucasfilm caught the error, and, with the publication of the aforementioned Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back, the names were swapped and corrected. In celebration of the 30th anniversary of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, however, Hasbro re-released a two-pack of Zuckuss and 4-LOM with their names swapped, in tribute to the original mistake.
In the fifth draft of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Zuckuss's name was spelled as "Tuckuss" and he was described as a "Human-type" bounty hunter. This error was also carried over into the novelization. As a result, Archie Goodwin intended the image of Dengar in Star Wars 50: The Crimson Forever and in Showdown to actually be Zuckuss (or rather, "Zuckass;" see above). However, unlike in The Crimson Forever, in Showdown, only the image of Dengar appears, presumably denoting that the Gand bounty hunter did not have a canonical appearance within that story. To add to the confusion, in the first edition of A Guide to the Star Wars Universe, Zuckuss was also labeled as a "human bounty hunter hired by Darth Vader…"
The aforementioned novelization error was later corrected in October of 2004, when Zuckuss received a brief mention in author Ryder Windham's junior novelization of The Empire Strikes Back. There, his name was spelled correctly and he was described as an "insectlike alien whose face was partially concealed by a breathing mask."
In Star Wars Missions 11: Bounty Hunters vs. Battle Droids Zuckuss is mistakenly referred to as a member of the "Gann" species. A similar misspelling occurs on the Kotobukiya ArtFX Zuckuss statue packaging, in which he is listed as being of the "Gund" species.
In the Super Nintendo Entertainment System video game Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, both Zuckuss and 4-LOM were seen fighting alongside IG-88 and Dengar on Cloud City. Because later canon established that Zuckuss was actually on his way to the Rebel rendezvous point during the events of The Empire Strikes Back, then game mechanics can be superseded.
In recent years, Zuckuss appeared in two segments for Robot Chicken: Star Wars and its sequel. Zuckuss, voiced by Conan O'Brien, was the eponymous character in a sketch entitled Mid-Nite with Zuckuss, a parody on Late Nite with Conan O'Brien and other prime time talk shows. The segment featured Zuckuss interviewing "Emperor Palpatine" via a syncro-vox screen. At the end of the segment, a dwarf—dressed as Darth Vader—ran amok, while in the background, the Death Star moved into position and fired, which seemingly took the show off the air.
For the DVD-only segment for Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II, Zuckuss and 4-LOM were depicted answering Emperor Palpatine's bounty hunter want ad. Zuckuss acted as the duo's fictitious agent while 4-LOM fed lines from nearby. After they secured the contract, Zuckuss and 4-LOM gave each other a high-five as Zuckuss exclaimed, "Dude, we are bounty hunters!" Conan O'Brien reprised his role as Zuckuss for the sketch, and Andy Richter provided the voice of 4-LOM.
- A Hunter's Fate: Greedo's Tale (Mentioned only)
- A Hunter's Fate: Greedo's Tale webstrip (Mentioned only)
- Underworld: The Yavin Vassilika
- Rookies: Rendezvous
- Star Wars Missions 11: Bounty Hunters vs. Battle Droids
- The Mandalorian Armor (Appears in flashback(s))
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back radio drama (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back junior novelization
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back novelization (First appearance, simultaneous with The Empire Strikes Back Storybook)
- The Empire Strikes Back Storybook (First appearance, simultaneous with The Empire Strikes Back novelization)
- Classic Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back book-and-record (Picture only)
- Classic Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Random House adaptation (Picture only)
- Therefore I Am: The Tale of IG-88
- Of Possible Futures: The Tale of Zuckuss and 4-LOM
- Star Wars 50: The Crimson Forever
- "Hunting the Hunters" — Star Wars Galaxy 6 (Mentioned only)
- Shadows of the Empire 2
- Shadows of the Empire 3
- Shadows of the Empire 4
- Shadows of the Empire 5
- Shadows of the Empire 6
- Slave Ship
- Hard Merchandise
- "Starter's Tale"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 4 (Appears in flashback(s))
- X-wing: Isard's Revenge (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Adventures in ABC
- Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
- Robot Chicken: Star Wars
- Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II