May the 4th Be With You: an Expedition to Kashyyyuk

May the 4th be with you!

*And also with you!*

Greetings, dear friends and welcome back to the blog.  Just so you know, it is now possible to subscribe, so you’re notified when articles are posted. 

So, last year we ventured forth to many places in the Star Wars universe.  We covered so many of the well known locations, in fact, that I was at a bit of a loss as what to write about today.  We visited the forest moon of Endor, the forests of Alderaan, the Ewoks of Bright Tree Village, Tatooine’s Funnel Flower, and the Neti. 

On this, the 4th of May, we pay homage to the late Peter Mayhew, and everyone’s favorite Wookiee, Chewbacca with an expedition to Chewie’s homeworld: Kashyyyuk.

Fair warning: a lot of this is from Wookiepedia.  Because they’re bomb.

Kashyyyuk was a mid-rim planet of the Mytaranor sector, in the Kashyyyuk system.  It had one sun, three moons, and an orbital period of 381 days.  Due to its location, Kashyyuk was situated along the Randon Run, a hyperspace trade route running through the system and at P-9 coordinates on the Standard Galactic Grid.

Right before the Battle of Kashyyyuk in  Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith .

Right before the Battle of Kashyyyuk in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.

G5-623, as Kashyyyuk was designated in the Empire’s databases, had a population of 56 million

In its heyday, Kashyyyuk was a lush, vibrant, largely peaceful planet with dense jungle cover.  The native Wroshyr trees were very long-lived, with indicated lifespans of up to 50,000 years, much as their Wookiee counterparts, at 400 years.  According to Wookiepedia, there are over 1000 distinct species of these trees, some deep-forest species growing to be several kilometers tall, though most were 300 to 400 meters.  These trees served as the basis of the Wookiees’ architectural development, leading to advanced treehouse cities, high above the forest floor.  The Wroshyr trees were so prevalent and adaptive, that they evolved to cover every ecosystem on the planet, save for the poles!

Unfortunately, much of that changed once the Empire got a foothold on the planet.  Sound familiar? 

“He’s a Wookiee, right? Kashyyyk, that’s where he comes from, that’s his home. But it’s not his anymore. I’ve been there. I’ve seen what the Empire has done. They ripped down the trees. They put cuffs and collars on all the Wookiees. Some of them they cut open. Others they ship off to work the worst jobs the Empire has on offer.”
— Han Solo

The Wookiees, bound in chains and enslaved, were forced to cut down many of the planet’s Wroshyr trees, as the Galactic Empire (under the command of Emperor Palpetine), demanded lumber and cleared fields for growing crops on the planet.  This comes in direct opposition to the native support for the Republic over the Empire.  At one point, there was even talk of moving the capital to Kashyyyuk from Naboo, though such a move never occurred.

Kashyyyuk became a safe world for the Alliance to Restore the Republic, even with the Empire’s tight control on-planet. 

Right before the Battle of Kashyyyuk, in  Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith .

Right before the Battle of Kashyyyuk, in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.

It was not until several years later, after multiple revolts, rebellions, and at least one other round of enslavement, that the Wookiees once again regained full authority and planetary autonomy, reclaiming their resources and many reuniting with long-separated family.  In one such rebellion, weapons fashioned from the wroshyr wood were used to attack Imperial forces in an attempt to free enslaved Wookiees.  Included in this, of course is Chewbacca himself, reuniting with his son, Lumpawaroo. 

“You’ve been to the forests of Kashyyyk?”
”No. But the Wookiees who came to fight the Imperial invasion on Lasan all had weapons whittled from the wroshyr trees of their home.
— Sabine Wren and Garazeb Orrelios

Wookiees using the wroshyr wood is significant, both culturally and economically. They had been forced to fell the trees their cities were built around and essentially maintained by. As the trees had been felled to create lumber for the Empire, it was likely readily available. In the more metaphysical historical accounts, situations such as this are sometimes described as the spirits of the trees, the planet, and the ancestors of those oppressed rising up in defense of those subjugated.

While a non-sentient species, the trees shaped how Wookiees interacted with the rest of their reality, as does any inhabited environment.  The wroshyr were strong and stable enough that entire cities were built into and around them.  From the imagery and depictions, t, hese trees appear to be a fascinating combination of several tropical Asian species, and perhaps Californian Redwoods, or Sequoias.  Like the Wookiees who lived in these forests, the trees were strong, stately, and capable of great things.

Also notable was the Kashyyyuk Orchidfern, which also grew as a tree.  However, I was unable to find much information about the species.

As an aside, the filming for Kashyyyuk’s screen-time in the films occurred in Phuket, Thailand and Guilin, China. While obviously digitally enhanced, the base landscape is accurate.

While stories such as this are fictional, it is important to remember that elements contained therein are based on factual events and accounts from our own historical human experiences. Humanity is capable of great (and terrible), things when we dedicate ourselves to a particular cause. Let’s opt for the good.

Think about your favorite fictional universe. Can you discern any particular flora or fauna that appears significant to the inhabitants of that reality? Is there any particular ecology of note, especially if it impacts how the characters interact? Has there been a distinct environmental shift, whether from war, aliens, zombies, etc? Now how can you be the hero in your own story? What in your environment, your distinct regional ecology can you positively impact? We’re on the very brink and it’s up to each of us.

Thank you.

Till next time,

Kate


Sources:

  1. The Battle of Kashyyyuk, via Youtube

  2. Wookiepedia: Kashyyyuk

  3. Wookiepedia: Worshyr Tree