It just all happened so fast. Four people, four horrible people, they killed the guard at the door and...they just started killing everyone!
—Lilith recounts the events of the attack while disguised as an injured Ophuchi
The attack on the Ophuchi sanctuary was carried out against the Ophuchi Clan sanctuary by Maul and the Guardians of Lettow, under the command of Lilith, during the Invasion of Utapau in 22 BBY. The attack was the second on the Ophuchi sanctuary in nearly twenty years, the first having been when Maul raided the compound while searching for Shmi Skywalker and her unborn child, Annikin Skywalker.
The attack began after Lilith murdered Jacob, the Ophuchi sanctuary guard, gaining access into the compound in order to search for and capture Skywalker. Lilith was able to successfully trap Skywalker after he was separated from Sarus, the leader of the Ophuchi Clan, and Obi-Wan Kenobi. It was in this trap that Lilith revealed to Skywalker that Maul and the Guardians of Lettow wanted to capture him alive, as they sought to help him destroy the galaxy as they believed he was destined to do.
Meanwhile, Maul tortured Sarus, whom he had dueled during the first sanctuary attack decades earlier. As the torturing continued, however, Maul and the Lettow were cast away by Ussej Padric Bac, the Shaman of the Whills, using an ancient Bendu ritual to end the assault. The attack helped solidify Skywalker's resistance to and hatred of Sarus, as he believed the hermit leader had known about the Lettow's beliefs and kept it hidden from him.
You... You have no father. There...there was no father.
—Shmi Skywalker-Lars recounts the immaculate conception of her son
As supposedly foretold in the Prophecy of the Chosen One, Shmi Skywalker conceived a child on Tatooine in 41 BBY while still a virgin. The only person to believe her claims of an immaculate conception was Sarus, a member of the Ophuchi Clan of hermits on Tatooine, who believed that the prophecy was true. When Shmi was nine months pregnant, she was assaulted by a Dark Jedi Master called Maul, who Sarus believed was a Dark Lord of the Sith who wanted to kill the unborn child. Sarus brought Shmi to the Ophuchi sanctuary deep in the Dune Sea for safety, but Maul followed them there. Sarus fought Maul off, and Shmi's son, Annikin Skywalker, was born immediately thereafter.
Despite knowing what Sarus believed about the prophecy, Shmi refused to tell her son about his supposed destiny as she did not want him to be taken away from her. He therefore grew up not knowing anything about his conception or the events surrounding his birth. Meanwhile, Sarus became the leader of the Ophuchi Clan and attempted to locate Maul throughout the galaxy, but he was unable to do so.
In 22 BBY, after the passage of the Republic Anti-Slavery Law in the Galactic Senate banned the use of slaves by Galactic Republic corporations operating outside of Republic territory, the Trade Federation blockaded and invaded Utapau. The Federation chose to blockade and invade the planet, one of the principal supporters of the law's passage, in an effort to force the Galactic Senate to repeal the law, as the Federation's profits declined due to its inability to use slaves in the Outer Rim Territories. The Federation operated under the guidance of Maul, who helped orchestrate the blockade and invasion.
The Federation droid army secured a number of cities and settlements across the planet after the invasion began. Most of the Federation's control over the planet was secured when it captured Ogana, the capital city. The Federation arrested the planet's queen, Sabé Arcadia, in an attempt to force her into signing a treaty that would make the Federation occupation of the planet legal. She was rescued, however, by Jedi Master Jard Dooku, Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi, and exiled Gungan prince Jar Binks. The three rescuers then helped the queen escape to Tatooine, where her vessel would undergo repairs after suffering damage during its escape from the Federation blockade in orbit around Utapau. Because the Federation was unable to locate the vessel after it disappeared, Maul chose to track it down himself, leading him to Tatooine as well.
While on Tatooine, the group encountered Annikin Skywalker, who offered to help repair the starship after witnessing it crash during a sandstorm. After working to help repair the vessel the next day, Skywalker met Sarus, who explained that the young man was destined to destroy an evil army. The next day, after contemplating what Sarus had to say, Skywalker agreed to travel with him into the Dune Sea to learn more, as did Dooku, Kenobi, Binks, Arcadia, and Logan Amator, a member of the Utapau Security Forces tasked with protecting Queen Arcadia.
In the Ophuchi sanctuary, Sarus explained to the visitors that he and the Ophuchi Clan believed Skywalker was destined to fulfill the Prophecy of the Chosen One and become the savior of the galaxy. Skywalker thought the idea of him being a prophetic savior was absurd, but he nonetheless agreed to travel to the Temple of Desire with Sarus and Kenobi to learn more about what Sarus believed.
He should be back soon. I'm sure it would be alright if you waited inside the sanctuary.
—Jacob mistakenly allows Lilith entry into the sanctuary
Unbeknown to Sarus, he and the others were followed by Maul and the Guardians of Lettow as they trekked into the Dune Sea. After Sarus, Skywalker, and Kenobi left the sanctuary for the Temple of Desire, and the other outsiders left to return to Skywalker's family farm, Maul and the Lettow prepared to assault the Ophuchi sanctuary in an effort to capture Skywalker. To gain entry into the sanctuary, Maul tasked Lilith, the lead Lettow and his most trusted lieutenant, with posing as Skywalker's girlfriend. She gave Jacob, the sanctuary guard, her fake identity, which Jacob believed. After he agreed to let her wait in the sanctuary, she murdered him by slitting his throat.
With Jacob dead, Lilith and the other Lettow entered the sanctuary and began slaughtering numerous Ophuchi, killing seventeen in total. Sarus, Skywalker, and Kenobi arrived shortly thereafter to find Jacob dead and the surviving Ophuchi in hiding. As they moved through the corridors, a cave-in pinned Kenobi under the falling rubble and separated Sarus from Skywalker. Skywalker, therefore, attempted to find another way around the rubble. While he was doing so, he encountered Lilith, who had disguised herself as an injured Ophuchi civilian in order to deceive him. She claimed she knew a way around the rubble, so Skywalker mistakenly trusted her and followed her into another tunnel.
So all this, you being injured, was just you trying to trap me into your deluded fantasies?
—Skywalker realizes the purpose of the attack
As Skywalker and Lilith made their way through the sanctuary, Sarus was captured by the other Lettow and dragged into another chamber deeper in the sanctuary. He was confronted by Maul, and the two traded insults over their encounter twenty years earlier. Maul also tauntingly denied being the Dark Lord of the Sith after Sarus claimed he was, though Sarus believed he was lying. In an attempt to find Skywalker's location, Maul began torturing Sarus in the hopes of forcing the information out of him.
Meanwhile, Lilith led Skywalker into a trap, where two of the other Lettow restrained him from behind as Lilith revealed who she really was. After he demanded to know what she wanted with him, Lilith told him that the Prophecy of the Chosen One was false and that he was meant to destroy the galaxy, not save it. As with the prophecy, Skywalker dismissed the idea as nonsense after realizing that the purpose of the attack was to capture him, but Lilith was adamant nonetheless. Before Lilith could do anything else, the two other Lettow were assaulted by Kenobi, who had escaped from the pile of rubble. Lilith and her two followers were then engulfed into a bright white light, having been cast out of the sanctuary by Ussej Padric Bac using an ancient Bendu ritual.
Deeper in the sanctuary, Maul continued to torture Sarus, but he too was sent away by Bac, the shaman of the Order of the Whills. Bac explained to a confused Sarus who the attackers were and how they could be defeated, as well as the fact that Sarus needed to give Skywalker more time to accept that he was the Chosen One. To get them out of harm's way, Bac used the Bendu ritual to send Skywalker, Sarus, and Kenobi back to the Lars homestead.
If the Chosen One isn't going to free himself, then we're going to do it for him.
—Sarus resolves to free Skywalker from his family's sharecropping contract
When the three returned to the homestead, Skywalker confronted Sarus over what happened with Lilith, believing that Sarus knew that Lettow believed he would destroy the galaxy. While Sarus claimed he had no idea about the Lettow interpretation, Skywalker refused to believe him. After Sarus left the homestead, Shmi told her son about his immaculate conception, confirming some elements of the prophecy even though he continued to believe the prophecy was false.
The assault on the sanctuary solidified Skywalker's resistance to Sarus's beliefs, as well as his hatred towards the Ophuchi leader, as he continued to believe that Sarus knew what the Lettow had planned for him. This led to him rejecting Sarus's offer to help free him from the sharecropping contract his family held with the Hutt Cartel. Sarus had negotiated a deal with Bib Fortuna, an aide to Jabba the Hutt, that would free Skywalker from the contract if he defeated his arch swoop racing rival Sebulba in a race. This would have allowed Skywalker to leave the planet and become a member of the Jedi Order. Because of his resistance to Sarus, however, Skywalker declined, leading the hermit leader to formulate a plan to free the young man on his own.
Behind the scenes
The attack on the Ophuchi sanctuary was written and conceived by author Brandon Rhea for the Star Wars fan fiction novel Star Wars: Episode I - The Chosen One. The events of the conflict expanded upon Sarus's recollection earlier in the novel of a duel with a man he believed to be a Sith Lord, a character who was revealed to be Maul during the attack. Although it was not confirmed whether or not Maul is a Sith Lord, Rhea hinted towards the possibility that he is. The attack was also used to shift Skywalker's opinion of Sarus from one of distrust to one of hatred, as well as to introduce the Lettow belief that Skywalker was destined to destroy the galaxy.
- Star Wars: Episode I - The Chosen One (First appearance)