Anoat Sector

Haikuesday: Cloud City

Anoat Sector
Gas giant on the Ison
Home to Cloud City

Lord Ecclessis Figg,
Creator of Cloud City.
Maintained from EU.

Mining colony;
Casino in Bespin’s sky;
Cloud City has wealth!!!

Famous casino:
Pair O’Dice…no, I did not
just make this place up.

Planning to visit?
City climate is controlled,
wear what you want to!

Rey’s Survival Guide –
Cloud City postcard in it
says: “Wish You Were Here”

Haiku Addendum:
That’s right, tourists can purchase
Cloud City postcards.

Haiku Addendum:
That’s right, post-stamped mail is used
in the Star Wars “verse.”

Bespin’s Tibanna,
the gas used in “drives,” “turbos.”
Hot commodity!!!

Tibanna Supply,
disrupted by mining droids.
Sir Corto seeks help.

Carbonite frozen
Tibanna is easy to
galactically ship.

Han Solo lowered.
Leia shouts, “It will be cold!”
“I know,” he responds.

Image and music.
Vader is pure evil when
Solo is frozen.

The City’s Baron
Lando Calrissian, one
handsome looking man.

The Admin’s Palace,
home to the City’s Baron.
A Battlefront Map!!!

Apex Overlook,
luxury plaza in the
heights of Cloud City.

If you’re Apex bound
you’ll probably see Nobles
who are exiled.

Noble Court member
Elenzia trains allies
at the Overlook.

Lounge for the wealthy,
the Paradise Atrium.
Voras hangs out there.

Haiku Addendum:
Voras the Hutt, leader of
Ivax Syndicate.

The Shadow Market,
home to shadowy figures
such as the Kouhun.

Working in the clouds,
Ugnaughts do grueling labor
and play with droid heads.

I have to be frank:
I like the Bespin Wing Guard
uniform design.

Haiku Addendum:
If ever I cosplay I’ll
be a Bespin Guard.

Elayah Mordu,
a former Wing Guard member.
She freelances now.

I’m a big fan of
the Storm IV Twin-Pod Cloud Car.
One hella cool ship.

Skywalker takes a
sky walk and learns about his
sky walking father.

I can’t help but think
that Rey’s Cloud City postcard
is a subtle hint…

If right, I’ll say this:
Yes, YES, my brain is better
than everybody’s!!!!!!!!

Hanging upside down
from the City’s bottom side
is really unsafe.

In the City’s bowels,
Owacchi’s betrayers live.
Vile pirate scum.

Following Endor,
an Iron Blockade locks down
City and Sector.

The Iron Blockade,
led by Adelhard and Bragh.
Their own “Empire.”

Destroyer orbits.
Captain Tystel seeks help to
Protect Cloud City.

Name: Kars Tal-Korla,
well-known local miscreant.
Scourge of Cloud City.

Hired by Lobot,
“The Scourge” captures Borgin Kaa,
Imp sympathizer.

A Broken Blockade.
New Republic and Wing Guard
work to clear out Imps.

Lando with Lobot,
the friends discuss victory
and a baby gift.

Haikuesday is a monthly series on The Imperial Talker, a new post with poetic creations coming on the first Tuesday of each month. The haiku topic is chosen by voters on Twitter so be sure to follow @ImperialTalker so you can participate in the voting. Now, check out these past Haikuesday posts:

Droids (February 2017)

Ahsoka Tano (March 2017)

Darth Vader (April 2017)

The Battle of Scarif (May 2017)

The Truce at Bakura (June 2017)

Queen Amidala (July 2017)

Ryloth (August 2017)

Lando Loiters in a Marketplace

In my last post – The Force Awakens Without Lando – I noted my disappointment that Lando Calrissian did not make an appearance in The Force Awakens while the other main characters from the Original Trilogy were included. I’m not going to rehash that entire post here, but I would encourage you to check it out if you haven’t done so. I will point out that in the post I acknowledged that The Force Awakens was a good movie even though Calrissian was missing from it. And besides, I am hopeful that he will be appearing in Episode VIII and/or IX.

So why, might one ask, am I discussing Lando once again? Is there more to be said about his absence from The Force Awakens? No, not really. Instead, I wanted to extend the conversation on Lando by turning to the 30-year period of time between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. So far, only a handful of stories have taken shape (across various mediums) which have begun to populate this New Republic/Rise of the First Order era. And yet, of those stories that have begun popping up, two characters in particular have been noticeably absent from this era: Luke Skywalker and (you guessed it) Lando Calrissian.

A while back, a guest post from Michael Miller considered Luke’s absence from this era of stories, and I definitely think you should check out what Michael had to say. In the meantime, I’ll cut right to the chase: I find it incredibly odd and definitely confusing that Lando has been such an incredibly minor – and at times blatantly absent – character in the this particular era of the Star Wars timeline. Now, I say this with the full awareness that Lando has popped up in a few post-Endor stories (I’ll come back to these momentarily). Plus, it’s important to note that Lando has been given a great(er) deal of attention in stories that take place before Return of the Jedi. Notably, in the show Star Wars Rebels, Calrissian has made a couple of fun cameos and Lando was the main character in a five-part Marvel comic series aptly named Lando. In fact, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that the Lando series was one of my favorite story-arcs added to the Disney canon, perfectly capturing Lando’s personality, vocabulary, demeanor, and overall style.

Yet, even though Lando is the star of his own comic series and has a spattering of appearances on Rebels, I am left to wonder why he is not a more noticeable and active presence in the stories unfolding in the weeks/months/years following the Battle of Endor. Like I said, he has shown up here and there, but these moments are few in number and relatively shallow.

For example, in Claudia Gray’s novel Bloodline, set 24 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, Lando sends a message of support to Leia as she deals with the fallout of the Galactic Senate learning that she is the daughter of Darth Vader. A kind gesture on Lando’s part, to be sure, but nothing he actually says in the message is detailed, nor does he factor into the novel in any other way. 

In the four-part Shattered Empire comic series, set in immediate aftermath of the Battle of Endor, Lando actually appears in Issue #001 and #003. In Issue #001, Lando participates in the battle (flying the Millennium Falcon) and is present for the celebration which immediately follows the Rebel victory, chatting it up with Han Solo and other soldiers. Nothing new or surprising there. On the other hand, in Issue #003, Calrissian leads a New Republic into the Battle over Naboo, stopping the Empire’s operation to destroy the planet. Pretty awesome, I have to admit. Besides, it makes perfect sense that in the days, weeks and months after the victory at Endor, Lando would continue to serve as General in the Rebellion-turned-New Republic. However, his very next chronological appearance on the Star Wars timeline makes a lot less sense…

General Calrissian takes command of the Battle over Naboo.
Photo Credit – Star Wars: Shattered Empire, Part III

In July 2016, Lando was part of an update to the game Star Wars: Uprising. While I eagerly welcomed his addition to the game, hoping that his arrival would add a dynamic new layer to the game plot/story, my enthusiasm quickly turned to utter confusion and disappointment. Allow me to explain. When one initially meets with Lando in the Longstar Marketplace on the planet Burnin Konn, Lando lays out his profitable reasons for sneaking into the Anoat sector (which serves as the location for the game and is under Imperial blockade) and is willing to cut you in on the deal. In turn, Lando gives you a job to raid the Imperial base on Nar Hypa, a moon orbiting the planet Mataou, a mission which yields some basic materials, credits, and trophies (which can be used to purchase other goods). Excited to discover what would come after my first “Lando Job,” I quickly became discouraged when I realized Lando was not going to immediately send me on another run. Surely, I figured, if I waited a day a new mission would be ready for me…and I was right! Logging into the game a day later, I was greeted by an in-game message that “Lando has a job for you.” I eagerly scooted over to the Longstar Marketplace, sought out Lando, and was presented with the EXACT SAME MISSION! The same map, Imperial forces spread out in the same places, and a similar payout. Since Lando was introduced into Uprising, his “jobs” are always the same. And, to make things even more ridiculous, Lando just keeps standing around the Longstar Marketplace. One would presume that at some point he’d make his way to the Carbon Score Cantina… 

The “Lando Mission” description.
Photo Credit – Star Wars: Uprising

Now, unless one counts some credits and a handful of in-game material as meaningful, Lando’s presence in Uprising is, to put it bluntly, entirely pointless. That is, it is pointless as of right now. While Lando’s inclusion in Uprising currently lacks any significant purpose, I am hoping that his role in the game will be expanded, especially considering the game is set in the days/weeks/months following the Battle of Endor. In short, since a (former?) Rebel/New Republic General was able to infiltrate the Imperial blockade of the Anoat sector, making his way to Burnin Konn, one would think (and hope!) that he would have plans to provide aid to the forces fighting Imperial oppression in the sector. Of course, Lando might also end up indefinitely loitering in Longstar Marketplace, his presence having no outward effect on the overall goal of breaking the Empire’s blockade and freeing the sector. Honestly, at this point, who knows what will happen with Lando in the Anoat sector.

Then again, who knows when or how Lando will show up again in a post-Endor story. I’ll be sure to update this post the next time he does.

Addition: On September 22, 2016, the game developers of Star Wars: Uprising announced that Uprising will permanently shut down in November 2016. As someone who consistently played the game since it came out, I am naturally disappointed although not surprised. The game failed to live up to a number of expectations, and while I enjoyed the lore which it added to the rich Star Wars canon, game play consistently fell short, particularly given its repetitive nature which I detailed (in part) with the “Lando Missions.” 

In light of this development, I am left wondering what this will mean for Lando Calrissian, Perhaps, even though Uprising is shutting down, a novel or comic will be written that completes the game’s primary story – the liberation of the Anoat sector – with Lando taking on a larger, more central role. Or, perhaps he will simply be stuck in limbo, continuing to stand around the Longstar Marketplace on Burnin Konn while the New Republic defeats the remnants of the Empire at Jakku. I suppose only time – and more stories – will tell what Lando’s role will end up being. 

The Hutts of Mataou

Since it was released in September 2015, Star Wars: Uprising hasn’t really garnered a great deal of attention, and when it has, the attention hasn’t always been positive. In large part, this is because the mobile game – which takes place in the Outer Rim’s Anoat sector and is set in the months following the Battle of Endor – is a real slog, taking the player on a lengthy journey of level-ups, gear/crew upgrades, sector battles, and story missions that seem to drag out. In other words, it takes a persistent amount of dedication and patience to stay committed to Uprising, especially if one wants to soak up all that it adds to the Star Wars mythos.

Well, long story short, I am one of those persistent people. I was ready to play Uprising before it launched, and since then, I have consistently played it. I have, in fairness, taken some breaks every now and again, but I nevertheless continue to go back to it. I have always loved Star Wars RPG games, in large part because these games offer a “direct experience” of the universe. Sure, Uprising might not be the most popular of games, but it is a game that I enjoy because it offers a unique take on Star Wars, the immersion in the history and present-day happenings of a sector in the Star Wars galaxy. No, it isn’t the most action-packed of Star Wars games ever made, but approach it with an open-mind and one will quickly discover that there is a lot to glean from it about Star Wars lore.

So what does Uprising have to do with Hutt Week? Well, read on and you will find out it has EVERYTHING to do with Hutt Week.

Journey to a Desolate World

Rancor skulls staked beneath fraying banners.

Photo Credit – Star Wars: Uprising

Originally introduced in The Essential Atlas – one of the MANY Expanded Universe reference guides – Mataou is a planet that C-3PO would certainly describe as a “desolate place.” A hot desert world sitting on the edge of the Ivax Nebula, Mataou serves as one of the entry points into the Ison Trade Corridor, a hyperspace route that branches off of the Corellian Trade Spine. Best known for the native and highly venomous Ro Hypa serpent, Mataou is also notorious for its former rulers: the Hutts.

In those missions in Uprising where one travels to Mataou, what one comes across are the ruins of a once grand Hutt presence. While some of these ruins have been restored thanks to criminal elements that utilize Mataou as a hideout, the structures on the planet are otherwise in disuse and show clear signs of crumbling and decay. Nevertheless, the classic architecture and massive complexes point backwards in history to a time when the Hutts dominated the planet.

Of particular note on Mataou are statues of various Hutts – perhaps those who belonged to the Gnuda Kajidic (family/crime gang) – a visual reminder of the influence and power the Hutts maintained over those they ruled. Draped from the sides of the impressive buildings are tattered banners, the script written on them being a form of Huttese that also appeared in The Clone Wars episode “Bound for Rescue.” In turn, scattered among the abandoned, sand-swept ruins one also comes upon the occasional bleached skulls of dead Rancors, a clear indication that Jabba was not the only Hutt to have an affinity for the massive beasts. Additionally, there are chains and shackles attached to walls, and one has to wonder if slaves and/or enemies were fed to Rancors, Ro Hypa, or other deadly creatures. As well, the wreckage of desert skiffs, similar to the ones we see in Return of the Jedi, can also be found strewn about the Hutt complexes.

Ancient Security Droid
Photo Credit – Star Wars: Uprising

Perhaps the most direct and obvious remnant of these Hutts are the droids they left behind.  In a number of missions to Mataou, one is forced to deal with Ancient Security Droids, Hutt Security Droids, and the powerful Hutt Guard Droids. These robots of old continue to roam and guard the abandoned Hutt structures, following their directive to eliminate trespassers. While these droids are not the only threats one will face on Mataou ,they are never-the-less extremely formidable and dangerous. It is no wonder the Hutt complexes are so sparsely occupied…

The most intriguing vestige of these Hutts, at least in my opinion, is a spot known as the Shrine of Dynasties. With an altar at its center, thriving plant life, and an ambiance radiating tranquility, the Shrine has an obvious sacred and religious feel to it. In fact, I would not be surprised to learn that the Shrine is a conduit for the Living Force.  

Historically, the Shrine of Dynasties was used as a meeting place between the Hutts and the Nothoiin Noble Court. The Nobles, you learn in the game, are the long-time and rightful rulers of the Anoat sector. At the Shrine, the two sides would discuss matters of peace and cooperation. Unfortunately, this is all we learn about not only the Shrine of Dynasties but the relationship between the Hutts and Nobles. Still, this little information is enough to make me want to know more about their relationship. It’s hard to imagine any Hutts being cooperative or peaceful, but clearly the Hutts who governed Mataou were willing to be both with the Noble Court.

My character stands before the altar in the center of the Shrine of Dynasties.

Photo Credit – Star Wars: Uprising

Then again, even if they were peaceful and cooperative with the Nothoiion nobles, this hardly means they always acted/negotiated with righteous intentions. After all, we are talking about Hutts, a species best known for profiting off of illegal activities. It would not be surprising if we eventually learn their peace and cooperation was motivated by the desire to avoid the scrutiny of the Nobles. Better to play along so the Nothoiion do not suspect the Hutts are up to no good, right? 

Ultimately, it’s hard to say for sure exactly what the Hutts of Mataou were like beyond what little information we can piece together in the game. Perhaps they actually WERE a planet of Hutts that broke the mold, acting altruistically and for the benefit of all. Or, maybe they were like other Hutt clans, entirely concerned with their  own self-interests and preservation. There is no way of knowing for sure until more information about these Hutts is added to Uprising specifically, or the Star Wars canon in general.

And if that is to happen, if we do end up getting more details about these Hutts – their relationship with the Nobles, their opulent lifestyle, their connection with other Hutt worlds, etc. – I also hope we are eventually told why their civilization on Mataou crumbled. This is probably the single biggest question I have about the Hutts of Mataou, a curiosity to know what became of them and why they no longer inhabit the world. In Uprising, a character named Riley mentions that the Hutts might have left the planet because of the Ro Hypa, and perhaps this was so. Otherwise, maybe there had been infighting, or a war with outsiders, or a disease that wiped out the population. Or perhaps, in what would be typical Hutt fashion, living on Mataou stopped being good for profits and they moved to another world. The possibilities are limitless and open to the imagination. 

Still, I should note that there is at least one Hutt who continues to live in the Anoat sector, one whose ancestors hailed from the desert world: Voras the Hutt, leader of the Ivax Syndicate. A mysterious Hutt with his hands in an endless number of criminal activities, Voras and his Syndicate hold incredible influence in the Anoat sector. But that is all I will say about them…I don’t need Voras putting a bounty on my head. 

Check out these other Hutt Week posts:

The Imperial Talker Presents: Hutt Week

Hutts: Galactic Gangsters

Hutt Week: “Cute” Jabba the Hutt Merchandise (by Jenmarie from Anakin and His Angel)

Jabba the (CGI) Hutt

Why Ziro’s  My Hero (by Andrew – @AndrewinBelfast)

A Man in Debt to a Hutt (by Michael Miller)

Hutt Haiku Poems

Hutt Profile: Gardulla

Heir to a Criminal Empire

Hutt Week: A Conclusion