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The brutal orange terrain of Geonosis is the site of the battle that eventually brought both the Galactic Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems to their end. Surrounded by a thick asteroid field and multiple moons, this planet is inhospitable to newcomers. It was home to some of the most advanced weapons makers in the galaxy.
Key Details Up Front
Geonosis made a name for itself with its droid factories. Geonosian craftsmanship was famously advanced, and their engineers designed most of what would become the Empire’s Death Star battle station. The planet and its economy thrived in the late High Republic and the Clone Wars years, before the rise of the Galactic Empire brought an abrupt end to the Geonosian people.
Geonosis lies within the Geonosis system, within the Arkanis sector. It is part of the Outer Rim territories. The planet is 43000 light-years away from the Core Worlds, but less than a parasec away from Tatooine.
The surface of Geonosis is unique. Its atmosphere is breathable to most species. The planet’s climate is desertic, marked by hot and dry conditions. Surface water exists but accounts for only 5% of the world’s total area. Despite its limited humidity, overcast clouds are a frequent occurrence. The relief of Geonosis consists of large rocky formations, primarily mesas, and spires, which its inhabitants often used to house their colonies. The desertic surface of the planet and its sky have a distinct orange tint.
The orbit of Geonosis hosts four major moons and eleven minor ones. The planet also has an asteroid field, which appeared in ancient times after a comet impacted one of its satellites. While crashes into the surface were not rare, they did not compromise the locals’ safety to a concerning extent. The safety hazard posed by the asteroid field concerned navigation in and out of Geonosis by spaceships unfamiliar with the conditions.
Geonosis had a winged, semi-insectoid, and sentient species known as the Geonosians. They bred in colonies within catacombs and spires on the planet’s surface. Geonosian society, albeit developed, still held onto an insectoid structure with monarchist elements. Its citizens divided themselves between castes which determined their responsibilities within the hive.
The queen led the hive, laid the eggs, and issued orders to other castes. Drones were responsible for keeping the colony functioning, executing all tasks not related to war. The last cast of Geonosians were warriors. Barbaric in nature, the warrior caste was trained from birth to wage war for the hive. Drones could become part of this group. To do that, they had to challenge other willing peers and defeat them in battle at the Petranaki Arena.
The Discovery of Geonosis
The recorded history of Geonosis began with its first interactions with the Republic. After establishing control of the Tatooine system, galactic colonizers felt the planet was a tempting target for the next mission due to its relative proximity. The Galactic Republic’s scouts who disembarked quickly contacted Geonosian locals. The relationship that formed was cordial and based on mutual benefits.
The Republic enjoyed assistance in incorporating the planet into its system. Meanwhile, the Geonosians were exposed to advanced technology and committed to improving it. The locals’ interest in this sector surpassed others by far. Before long, instead of mere customers or users, Geonosians began modifying and upgrading Republican gear. This soon turned into manufacturing, with the droid sector being of excellence. During what is widely considered a honeymoon period, Geonosis exported droids and other advanced technology to the Core Worlds, using Tatooine as a transport hub.
The logistics of it brought the demise of the Geonosian role as manufacturers. The harsh weather and hostile locals of Tatooine led the first wave of Republic colonizers to abandon the system. Without a close link to the Core Worlds, shipments and visitors had to take costly and lengthy direct routes to Geonosis.
The Geonosian Wars
The dwindling business began crushing the planet’s newfound economy, which relied exclusively on off-world exports. Despite the high-quality Geonosian work, customers in the Core Worlds moved to manufacturers closer to them to lower costs. The economic crisis on the planet split its population. The main issue was whether to work with other worlds. As far as the Galactic Republic, they wrote Geonosis off as just another land too unstable and unprofitable to incorporate.
The internal rift eventually led to a series of full-blown wars on the planet. Its many hives competed for power and control over the resources of Geonosis. The intermittent wars lasted until the re-establishment of relations with the Galactic Republic in the High Republic period.
The Geonosian Renaissance
During a lull in conflicts, the Galactic Republic made a second attempt to settle into the planet. By then, Tatooine had become a crucial spaceport, acting like a hub linking the Core Worlds to the Outer Rim. Trade routes to Geonosis opened once more, and the planet’s factories found their work in high demand.
The seemingly endless wars waged in the past made their effect felt on the Geonosian production. Instead of the specialized droid manufacturing that had made the planet famous during its first open trade period, the technology exported was now centered around military equipment. Geonosians had refined energy and wave weapons during their internal struggles. The Galactic Republic had a great interest in them, and its money helped rebuild the planet and consolidate it as a leading defense exporter.
Joining the CIS
While the economy of Geonosis thrived once more, the Galactic Republic became increasingly strained. The first blow came during the Trade Federation’s invasion of Naboo, with the aid of a droid army. Further disputes over taxation and perceived neglect of territories outside the Core Worlds alienated multiple star systems. The disarray turned into organized mutiny after a former Jedi Master, Count Dooku, emerged as the face of a separatist movement against the Republic.
Thanks to machinations by the mysterious Sith Lord known as Darth Sidious, the Geonosian warlord Poggle the Lesser rose achieved the rank of Archduke. Acting as the de facto leader of the Stalgasin hive and later the entire planet, he was an early adopter of Count Dooku’s separatist cause. Poggle’s enthusiasm did not go unnoticed by his ally.
Dooku chose Geonosis to host the summit to officialize the Confederacy of Independent Systems. The newly formed executive council with Poggle the Lesser had several trade barons representing organizations defecting from the Republic’s sphere. To match the firepower brought to bear by the Core Worlds, the Geonosian leader secured a lucrative deal with the Techno Union to install the Baktoid Armor Workshop factories on the planet.
The Clone Wars
Geonosis became the site of the first battle of the three-year-long Clone Wars between the Confederacy of Independent Systems’ droid army and the Galactic Republic’s new Grand Army.
Unbeknownst to the Confederacy’s leaders, Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi overheard their meeting. He passed on the details of the newly formed alliance to his apprentice Anakin Skywalker, who relayed it to the Jedi Council back at Coruscant. During the broadcast, however, Kenobi was captured by Geonosian soldiers. Galactic senator Padmé Amidala and Skywalker attempted a rescue mission, but the pair also fell captive.
The three prisoners were sentenced to death by beasts at the Petranaki Arena, a traditional site for public executions in Geonosis. The arena drew large crowds for such events and gladiator fights. News of Kenobi’s capture led the Jedi Council to stage a rescue. Knights infiltrated the Petranaki Arena and formed a protective cordon over the prisoners. Count Dooku deployed droids in response, forcing the Jedi to fight against overwhelming odds.
As Jedi losses mounted, a large assault on the planet came to their rescue. For the first time, the newly formed Grand Army of the Republic engaged in combat. They acted under the leadership of Grand Jedi Master Yoda. The forced landing on Geonosis consisted of gunships, walkers, and thousands of clone troopers. The separatist executive council evacuated from the planet to avoid capture. Under the overwhelming firepower brought to bear by the Republic, the Separatist army in Geonosis retreated off-world.
Despite the battlefield victory and the successful rescue of Kenobi, Amidala, and Skywalker, the Republic’s success in Geonosis lacked in scope. The planet’s numerous factories continued to operate after the clone army’s withdrawal, producing a growing amount of battle droids for the Confederacy of Independent Systems.
Three years after the first battle, the planet was the site of yet another attack at the hands of the Galactic Republic. Coruscant planned a full-scale invasion aimed at taking complete control and occupying Geonosis. Republican planners believed this to be the only way to destroy or disable the Separatist’s major droid foundries and other military infrastructure on the planet.
The invasion leaders were Jedi Generals Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luminara Unduli, Ki-Adi Mundi, and Anakin Skywalker. The Republic’s landing forces suffered heavy casualties from the Geonosian and droid defenses but ultimately established a bridgehead. With the help of assault walkers and airpower, they drove back the Separatist army to the surface. The special forces detachments, spearheaded by Jedi, infiltrated the droid foundries and destroyed them.
The Fall of Poggle
After crippling the Separatist facilities, the Jedi turned their attention towards capturing the Geonosian leader, Poggle the Lesser. They tracked the Archduke to the planet’s catacombs, where Hive Queen Karina the Great protected him. She attempted to stall the Republic forces using hordes of undead Geonosians but met her end when the cave supports crashed under the heavy weapons of the clone army. Powerless and with no way out, Poggle the Lesser was forced to surrender.
He was transferred to a prison in Coruscant, under the custody of Republic Intelligence. They were aware of a deep-space mobile battle station designed by the Geonosian military-industrial complex. Whereas the Republic’s agents could not extract any useful information from Poggle the Lesser, Lieutenant Commander Orson Krennic of the Republic Corps of Engineers was more successful.
The officer revealed to the Archduke that the Republic was already in possession of the design’s schematics and had control over the outer ring frame in the Geonosian orbit. Instead of pushing Poggle the Lesser for more information, Krennic proposed a deal. The Geonosian leader was allowed to return to his planet and continue work on the battle station. In return, the Republic took over the project. The Lieutenant Commander felt his terms were mutually beneficial: Geonosis was an inherently unstable planet, which could easily fall into chaos again without a leader to unify it. At the same time, the Galactic Republic would benefit from such a powerful weapon in its arsenal.
Poggle the Lesser accepted the offer but secretly still harbored loyalty for the Confederacy. He initially held his end of the deal and oversaw the work on the battle station, but it was not long before he executed his plan to return to the CIS. The Archduke helped instigate a worker’s riot as a distraction. Poggle used the ensuing chaos to leave the planet and rejoin the executive council members.
Enter the Empire
The Republic’s reorganization into the First Galactic Empire marked the beginning of the end for Geonosis. Archduke Poggle the Lesser was killed by Darth Vader on Mustafar with other Separatist leaders. A new archduke was formally appointed, but the planet was de facto under imperial control.
Construction of the battle station in the planet’s orbit resumed. The Empire switched from a total reliance on Geonosians to a mix of slave labor from different species. Controlling the process was Governor Wilhuff Tarkin, responsible for the Outer Rim Territories in the new imperial organization.
The Geonosian Sterilization
During an inspection of the planet by Darth Vader, disgruntled Geonosians attempted to kill him and Orson Krennic through numerous acts of sabotage. This level of insurrection was considered unacceptable, and the Sith Lord began an investigation. The Empire executed the hive queen responsible for breeding the revolting workers, but the imperial discontent with the planet’s population remained high.
Tarkin, now promoted to the rank of Grand Moff, enforced grievous restrictions on all personnel on the planet. Workers were not allowed to contact others. During authorized transmissions, Imperial Intelligence monitored all communications.
The final blow to the Geonosians came after a group of Partisans, a rebel group led by Saw Gerrera, came close to discovering the battle station’s location. Their raid on the planet exposed how vulnerable such a secret weapon was. As a response, Moff Tarkin ordered the immediate relocation of the station from Geonosis to Scarif.
Geonosis freed itself from the so-called Death Star’s construction process, with the only remnants being abandoned construction materials and equipment in the planet’s orbit. However, the Empire saw the Geonosian population’s involvement in the project as too deep to ignore. To prevent former workers from leaking details to any of the resistance groups taking arms against the Empire, they decided to eliminate Geonosians as a whole.
The Geonosian sterilization, widely considered the worst act of genocide ever perpetrated by the Empire, involved the mass use of poison gas to neutralize all the hives on the planet. The process killed the queens, drones, and eggs in the vast catacombs. Unable to breed, the Geonosian population numbering around 100 billion was reduced to one, effectively marking the end of the species.
Geonosis made its first appearance during Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, in 2002. It has since featured in dozens of animated series, comics, books, and games. Examples include several episodes of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, and the Star Wars: Battlefront videogame series.
Sources believe the overall design for Geonosis was an evolution of Ttaz, a location designed for Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back that did not make it in the end. The inspiration for the intense orange tint in its atmosphere came from the planet Mars and the American southwest, which was the source for a lot of the background shots used in Attack of the Clones.
After the sterilization of Geonosis, the galaxy abandoned the planet. The Empire and its opponents had occasional skirmishes on the surface. The last encounter involving a Geonosian happened when Darth Vader tracked down the new Hive Queen Karina, who had adapted her womb to power a battle droid factory. She was allowed to live but could no longer spawn any new members of her kind.
Geonosis and its people left a legacy as expert craftsmen of advanced weaponry. Those who witnessed the final days of the Republic associated the planet with the beginning of the end. The seemingly minor clash between the Confederate Droid Army and the Grand Army of the Republic in Geonosis was the opening spark of the Clone Wars. These laid the groundwork for Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Sidious, to take over the galaxy and reorganize it into the Empire.
Question: What happened to Geonosis?
Answer: After Poggle the Lesser died at the hands of Darth Vader in Mustafar, the planet lost its last strong leader. The Galactic Empire repurposed its facilities to build the Death Star, but security concerns led Grand Moff Tarkin to order the genocide of all its inhabitants.
Question: Why did the Empire wipe out Geonosis?
Answer: In Grand Moff Tarkin’s vision, the Death Star was the core element of his rule by fear. As such, its secrecy before completion was essential to prevent acts of sabotage or attempts to destroy it. When the construction site’s location was compromised, they moved the Death Star to the vicinity of Scarif. Tarkin ordered a total cleansing of Geonosis to prevent workers from leaking its details to rebel groups.
Question: How many Jedi were left after the Battle of Geonosis?
Answer: The First Battle of Geonosis had some of the worst losses for the Jedi. Little over thirty of the 212 participants survived, becoming Jedi Generals of the clone army later.
Question: How many Geonosians are left?
Answer: After the sterilization of Geonosis, its population fell to one adult drone and one queen. They perished during the imperial era, marking the end of Geonosians as a species.