Meet the Gungans: A History of Naboo’s Bombad Aliens

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They live in a stunning underwater world. They have a grand army. They say “bombad” and “yousa.” Presenting a look back at Naboo’s amphibious, floppy-eared, brave aliens.

An army of Gungans from Naboo

As native residents of Naboo, the amphibian Gungans always had an uneasy relationship with the Naboo colonists. This finally changed when Queen Amidala asked the Gungans to help her repel the forces of the Trade Federation in 32 BBY. Gungans and Naboo fought together and secured a victory that ensured a more open relationship between the two people. Gungans entered government functions and could now be seen visiting Theed and other places throughout the galaxy. Before the societies of the Gungans and the Naboo ended their cold war, Boss Nass had spearheaded innovations at Otoh Gunga, the grand Gungan City in Lake Paonga. One of these innovations was City Bigspace, a large common area connecting several of the buildings in the city. Nass wanted Otoh Gunga to be the crowning achievement of Gungan culture and architecture. Now, it’s time to travel to Naboo and meet some of these Gungans.

Wesa no caren about da Naboo

The young Otolla Gungan Jar Jar Binks was banished from Otoh Gunga after he had crashed Boss Nass’ heyblibber, a luxury bongo. Binks was searching for food in the Lianorm Swamp when he met Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi. This faithful meeting would change the life of the naive Gungan and would even make him a Bombad General in the Gungan Grand Army. Despite his clumsiness Jar Jar was chosen as the Senior Representative of Senator Amidala after the Trade Federation had been defeated. A loyal friend of Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Padmé Amidala, Binks was convinced he did the right thing when he proposed giving emergy powers to Palpatine right before the Clone Wars started. This decision, made in the absence of Amidala, enabled Palpatine to direct both fractions in the Clone Wars.

Gungans

Captain Tarpals wasn’t happy at all to see Jar Jar return so quickly to Otoh Gunga. Roos Tarpals patrolled Otoh Gunga for thieves and creatures that threatened the safety of the city. When Jar Jar returned to Naboo, Tarpals fought bravely at his side against the Trade Federation Droid Army. The experienced Tarpals got promoted to general and was still a powerful opponent during the Clone Wars when he sacrificed his life to incapacitate General Grievous during a crisis on Naboo.

Boss Nass was an Ankura Gungan, a heavier and less common race of Gungans. Rugor Nass was the proud ruler of Otoh Gunga and of the Gungan High Council. He never cared about the Naboo until he realized that the fate of his people was intertwined with that of the Naboo. Nass agreed to listen to Queen Amidala’s call for help and proudly lifted the Globe of Peace in Theed after the Trade Federation had been defeated. Though Nass would not longer be a Gungan Boss during the Clone Wars, he attended the funeral of Padmé Amidala.

The Gungan High Council

The Gungan High Council was the highest governing body of the Gungans, headed by the Gungan Boss. Four regular Gungan Reps seated in the Council when Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan visited Otoh Gunga. Rep Been was the keeper of ancient records who supported Nass’ decision to abandon Otoh Gunga for the Sacred Place during the invasion of the Trade Federation. Teers was a female Rep who took care of Otoh Gunga’s power requirements. Rep Slarm was the best engineer in Otoh Gunga, responsible for the local Bubble Wort technology. The final council member was Lyonie.

Augara Jowil was a young female musikagung who was present at the Sacred Place when Nass agreed to help the Naboo. ‘Augie’ was the head of the Gungan Great Municipal Band and composed “Symponik Nabooalla,” a tune her band would play during the festivities in Theed after the defeat of the Trade Federation.

Gungans at the Naboo victory parade
The Clone Wars

Naboo continued to play an important part in the Clone Wars. When the mad Faust doctor Nuvo Vindi experimented with the deadly Blue Shadow Virus in an abandoned underground laboratory of the Trade Federation, Peppi Bow quickly recognized that something was terribly wrong. Bow was a female shaak herder and when some of her shaaks perished after drinking from the nearby river, she knew the water was polluted. Ultimately, Peppi was able to stop Vindi from fleeing the laboratory and his own evil plans.

The heroes of the Republic made another visit to Naboo when Cad Bane was abducting Force sensitive toddlers in the galaxy for Darth Sidious. Captain Lunker was the security chief of Jan-gwa village, the residence of Roo-Roo Page, a female Force sensitive Gungan. With Lunker’s assistance, Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano were able to lure Bane into a trap in Jan-gwa.

Gungans

When there were rumors that the Gungans were rising against the Naboo, Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala immediately traveled to Naboo. In Otoh Gunga they saw that Boss Lyonie, who had been a Rep during the Invasion of Naboo, blamed the Naboo for every problem the Gungans encountered during the Clone Wars. Anakin quickly destroyed a mysterious necklace that was controlling Lyonie. When Lyonie confronted minister Rish Loo about this magic manipulation, Loo’s betrayal was discovered and Lyonie got gravely injured. Since Lyonie closely resembled Jar Jar Binks, Jar Jar took his place until the Boss recovered from his injuries. Rish Loo was in league with Count Dooku who wanted to use the Gungans as an excuse to bring the droid armies of Grievous to Naboo. Dooku killed Loo after he no longer needed him. The attack of the Confederacy was eventually averted, but at a high cost. General Tarpals sacrificed his life and an exchange between the imprisoned Grievous and Anakin Skywalker was necessary to keep the Confederacy away from Naboo.

General Tarpals and Jar Jar Binks

Selected Reading: Ultimate Star Wars (2015), Secrets of Naboo (2001), What’s the Story, Episode I: The Expanded Visual Dictionary (2012), The Clone Wars Character Encyclopedia (2010)

Tim Veekhoven (Sompeetalay) from Belgium is president and co founder of TeeKay-421, the Belgian Star Wars fanclub. He has contributed to Star Wars Insider (Rogues Gallery), to the Build the Millennium Falcon magazine and has written four character back stories for “What’s the Story?”.

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