FALL OF THE REPUBLIC
Sebulba was an expert pilot, but he was also a flagrant cheater. The Dug made illegal modifications to his podracer, sabotaged his rivals’ machines, conspired with lesser racers to defeat competitors, and was willing to injure or kill anyone who got in his way during a race. Such ruthless tactics made him a fan favorite.
At the Boonta Eve Classic, Sebulba got out to an early lead, ruthlessly eliminating competitors. But Anakin Skywalker caught him near the finish line. Sebulba lost control of his podracer and crashed while Anakin streaked on to victory.
A harsh desert world orbiting twin suns in the galaxy’s Outer Rim, Tatooine is a lawless place ruled by Hutt gangsters. Many settlers scratch out a living on moisture farms, while spaceport cities such as Mos Eisley and Mos Espa serve as home base for smugglers, criminals, and other rogues. Tatooine’s many dangers include sandstorms, bands of savage Tusken Raiders, and carnivorous krayt dragons. The planet is also known for its dangerous Podraces, rampant gambling, and legalized slavery. Anakin Skywalker and Luke Skywalker both grew up on Tatooine, and Obi-Wan Kenobi spent years in hiding on this desolate world.
Watto was a Toydarian junk dealer in Mos Espa who bought Shmi Skywalker and her son Anakin from Gardulla the Hutt. An inveterate gambler, he sponsored Anakin in several Podraces, but often bet against his own slave, who was talented but inexperienced. Watto lost Anakin to Qui-Gon Jinn in a wager on the Boonta Eve race. Years later, he sold Shmi to the moisture farmer Cliegg Lars.
The Podrace champion Sebulba earned riches for his repeated wins in the dangerous sport, and he invested most of them back into his beloved vehicle. Sebulba's Podracer was an imposing giant, an orange-hued bully of a craft whose pounding, thundering engine roar seemed powerful enough to knock down opponents. Not content to rely solely on his own racing skills, Sebulba outfitted his Podracer with a number of blatantly illegal surprises. A hidden flamethrower could cook nearby opponents who dared to pass the Dug. The massive split-X engines were strong enough for Sebulba to ram and muscle his way past smaller Podracers.
Discovered as a slave on Tatooine by Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker had the potential to become one of the most powerful Jedi ever, and was believed by some to be the prophesied Chosen One who would bring balance to the Force. A hero of the Clone Wars, Anakin was caring and compassionate, but also had a fear of loss that would prove to be his downfall.
The Boonta Eve Classic was the largest annual Podrace held on Tatooine, hosted by the Hutts to commemorate the Boonta Eve holiday. Held just outside Mos Espa, the Boonta race course started in the Mos Espa Grand Arena. The formal race ceremony started with a parade of flag-bearers. Once the bearers cleared the grid, the Podracers' massive engines would roar to life, seemingly anxious at the chance to soar at speeds exceeding 700 kilometers-per-hour. Eighteen Podracers competed to win the trophy that day. Anakin Skywalker survived to cross the finish line first, earning not only accolades, but his freedom from slavery.
Mos Espa is one of few port cities on Tatooine. Domed buildings protect the citizens against the glare of the twin suns and the scorching heat. Among the dwellings, workspaces, and commercial operations of many bizarre kinds there are also entertainment areas, including some of colossal scale. The famed Mos Espa Grand Arena can hold an audience almost as large as the city's entire population. In the time of the Republic, slavery persisted in Mos Espa, though the despicable trade was outlawed elsewhere. The true powers in control of Mos Espa were the Hutt gangsters, who found slavery a useful institution.