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This article is a canon account of a Legends topic that consolidates disparate Expanded Universe literature on the subject into a single comprehensive article. You may be looking for the original canon article.
The grimoiries of the Gree Enclave say the work of the Ancient Masters — the Celestials — was undone by two curses unleashed by the Soul Hunters, whom we identify as the Rakata. The Gree name those curses the Gray Swallowing and the Faceless Mouths...the Rakata waged devastating war against the Kwa and the Gree. And the Killiks simply vanished. All three, we believe, were key client species of the Celestials. It looks as if the Rakata were determined to exterminate or drive out their rivals among the Celestial slave species.
Insmot Bowen discusses the Celestial-Rakata War with Bevel Lemelisk and Conan Motti, 1 BBY[src]

The Celestial-Rakata War was a transgalactic war fought between the Celestials and the Rakata Infinite Empire that lasted from 35,000 BBY until 30,000 BBY.[3] The war ended with the disappearance of the Celestials from the galaxy by 33,600 BBY[5] and the establishment of the Infinite Empire as the uncontested galactic hegemon for a period of five millennia until 25,200 BBY.[3][6]

Though often considered a single millennia-long war, it was in reality a pair of separate conflicts fought in successive phases.[4] The first phase was fought between the Rakata and the Celestials (along with their proxy client species) between 35,000 BBY and 33,600 BBY,[5] after which the Celestials collectively disappeared from the galaxy under mysterious circumstances.[4][5] The second phase was fought between the Rakata and the remaining Celestial client species holdouts in the Gree Enclave and the Kwa Holdings between 33,600 BBY and 30,000 BBY.[6][5]

The conflict's conclusion in 30,000 BBY ushered in a period of stability for the Infinite Empire, during which time the Rakata expanded unabated throughout the galaxy and came to enjoy uncontested hegemony.[11] This time of peace did not persist for long, however. At some point after 30,000 BBY, the Infinite Empire began to experience internal conflict as powerful dark sided Predor warlords strove among themselves for the Over-Predor's throne, a conflict known as the Rakata Civil War.[2] This conflict, along with the slave revolts it inspired,[3] ultimately resulted in the Empire's dissolution in 25,200 BBY.[3][6]


Pre-war events

The origins of the Celestial-Rakata War could be traced back to the earliest days of the Rakata species' civilization on Lehon, a terrestrial world located deep in the Tempered Wastes.[2][5][6] The Rakata first came to the attention of the greater galactic community sometime prior to 36,453 BBY,[1] when members of the Kwa species of Dathomir arrived on Lehon via their Infinity Gate technology. As they had done for many other species,[6] the Kwa uplifted the Rakata from their primitive tribal lifestyle and taught them the ways of the Force. Around the same time, the prevailing galactic hegemons and the Kwa's own beneficiaries, the Celestials, incorporated the Rakata into their dominion as a client species.[4]

However, in their attempts to teach balance and peace to their charges, the Kwa had underestimated the dark side taint that pervaded the entire Rakata species.[12] Despite directly benefiting from their Kwa benefactors' unconditional patronage, the Rakata were filled with envy for the former's Infinity Gate technology and made war upon them in an attempt to seize the Lehon Infinity Gate for themselves. The resultant battle between the species resulted in the deaths of all the Kwa present on Lehon and the destruction of the world's Infinity Gate.[12]


The Kwa uplifted the Rakata from their primitive state, teaching them the ways of the Force on Lehon.

The Rakata subsequently declared themselves independent of their Celestial masters and began an outward expansion into the worlds of the Tempered Wastes.[12] After a thousand years of unchecked conquest in the greater Unknown Regions, the Rakata formed the government for which they were remembered, the Infinite Empire. Fueled by the dark side of the Force and empowered by the knowledge gifted to them by their Kwa patrons, the Rakata turned their eyes from the empty regions of the Unknown Regions to the wealthy worlds of the eastern galaxy, the domain of the Celestials.[5][6]

First phase

The first phase of the Celestial-Rakata War, called the "Gray Swallowing" in the pages of ancient Gree grimoiries,[4] began with the Celestials' construction of an artificial hyperspace disturbance barrier that bisected the galaxy west of the Core Worlds.[4] This barrier, composed of hyperspace anomalies travelling at speeds faster than light, divided the galaxy in half along a vertical axis, separating the Rakata-controlled western galaxy of the Unknown Regions from the Celestial worlds in the eastern galaxy.[13] Though the wall was built to prevent the Rakata from pushing unmolested into the eastern galaxy, it was also constructed to funnel Rakata invasion forces to defensible bottlenecks of the Celestials' choosing at the north and south extremities of the galaxy.

This wall successfully restricted the Rakata to the western galaxy for a time, partially due to the inherent limitations of the early Rakata hyperdrives. Unlike later derivatives, Rakata hyperdrives were powered by the Force, and worked by manually latching onto the Force signatures of particularly verdant worlds or naturally occurring Force nexes.[4][6] In the words of pre-Republic history expert Dr. Insmot Bowen, "the Rakatan hyperdrive was of no use for traveling between arbitrary points in realspace... Rather, it honed in on the signature of worlds strong in the Force — ones brimming with life, in other words."[4] The Celestial barrier limited the destination options available to the Rakata, forcing them to search for alternate routes into the eastern galaxy.

However, sometime prior to 33,600 BBY,[5] the Rakata successfully penetrated or circumvented the hyperspace disturbance barrier and began ravishing the worlds of the eastern galaxy. Though the primary Celestial vassals, namely the Killik, Kwa, and Gree species, ensured such conquests were Pyrrhic victories for the Rakata, they were unable to answer to Rakata aggression and were pushed back to their respective enclaves and regions over the next millennia. Around the end of the first phase of the conflict, the Killik species inexplicably disappeared from the battlefields of the war and was relocated to the furthest reaches of the Unknown Regions, an act its members attributed to Celestial anger at their devouring of their homeworld.[5][14]

Second phase


The Rakata began subjugating the remaining Celestial vassal holdouts of the eastern galaxy during the second phase of the war.

The first phase of the conflict drew to a close with the inexplicable disappearance of the Celestials from the galaxy in 33,600 BBY for poorly understood, mysterious reasons.[5][4] Their ultimate fate was unclear to later historians. Some, like the aforementioned Dr. Insmot Bowen, posited that in response to their impending defeat at the hands of the Infinite Empire, the Celestials cast off their remaining vestiges of physicality and transcended to a higher plane of existence, abandoning the galaxy and their remaining vassal holdouts to their inevitable fate.[4]

Others, like the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Plagueis, took a more nuanced view. In accordance with Jedi and Sith legends, Plagueis believed that the Celestials had taken the war to the next level, merging their collective consciousness into the Force itself to order the course of galactic events to their whims.[15] It would naturally follow from such a theory that the transcended Celestials had secured their ultimate victory over the Rakata in the form of the Force plague that swept across the Infinite Empire in its last days and cut the Rakata off from the Force.[6][8]

Regardless of the reasoning behind their sudden disappearance, the Celestials ceased to pose a threat to the expanding Infinite Empire by 33,600 BBY, bringing to an end the first phase of the war. The second phase, called the "Faceless Mouths" period by Gree grimoiries, saw the Rakata turn their attentions to the subjugation of the remaining Celestial vassal holdouts in the eastern galaxy, namely the Gree Enclave and the Kwa Holdings.[5] Though the Gree residents of the former did not suffer greatly under Rakata rule and persisted as a species even into the days of the Great Galactic War and Galactic Republic,[16] the Kwa did not fare well under Rakata governance. As retribution for their refusal to provide the Rakata with their Infinite Gate technology millennia before,[5][12] the Kwa were forcibly regressed by the Rakata into a non-sentient state, evolving to become the Kwi lizard species of Dathomir.[3]


By 30,000 BBY,[6] the Rakata had successfully subjugated the remaining pockets of deep-seated Celestial sympathy in the galaxy. Their Infinite Empire stretched from the Tempered Wastes to the furthest reaches of the eastern galaxy, incorporating some five hundred Force-rich worlds[17] and trillions of subjects and slaves.[6] Though isolated pro-Celestial cells continued to wage guerrilla wars against the Empire for several centuries, the galaxy entered a period of peace and stability under its Rakata overlords.


The Rakata victory in the war brought about an era of stability to the Infinite Empire that persisted until the Rakata Civil War.

This period did not last for long, however. Sometime prior to 25,200 BBY, the Empire began to fracture as dark sided Predor warlords began to feud among each other for possession of the Over-Predor's throne, leading to a protracted conflict known as the Rakata Civil War.[3] This conflict intensified towards the last years of the Empire, assisted by countless slave uprisings[8] and a Force plague that may or may not have been the work of the transcended Celestials.[15] Regardless of the contributing factors, the Empire eventually fell in 25,200 BBY and was subsequently replaced as galactic hegemon by the burgeoning Galactic Republic.[3]


By the time of the Galactic Civil War, the Celestial-Rakata War had largely been forgotten by the greater galactic community, its battles and campaigns solely the domain of pre-Republic era historians and researchers. Some, including the likes of Admiral Conan Motti, even doubted the historicity of the Rakata and Celestial species in general, going so far as to condemn the stories about them as little more than "arrant nonsense" fit only to be the subject of "holothrillers."[4] However, some, like the aforementioned Dr. Insmot Bowen, believed the stories of the Celestial species and the war in which they fought, going so far as to suggest that the Celestials might still be out in the universe in one form or another, a potential threat to the stability of the New Order.[4]

Behind the scenes

The origin of this article can be trace to the frustration felt by the author when researching the Expanded Universe's Pre-Republic era lore. The tangled, sparse, and often contradictory nature of the period prior to the rise of the Infinite Empire necessitated the creation of an article capable of stringing together all the various bits related to the events of the Celestial-Rakata War. As such, none of the content in this article is technically "fanon." Instead, it is more of a comprehensive consolidation of the disparate pre-Republic events mentioned throughout Legends EU literature, the holes in the narrative tied together by educated guesses and extrapolations on the part the author. Because of its high level of EU canonicity, the article has been marked accordingly with the {{Free-edit}} tag in the event that another user wishes to use it in Legends-friendly fanon.

One such example of an extrapolation made to reconcile two contradictory accounts concerns the end date of the war and the disappearance of the Celestials. The Essential Atlas claims that the Celestials disappeared from the galaxy and the war ended in 33,600 BBY, while The New Essential Chronology claims the end of the war occurred in 30,000 BBY. As both cannot be equally correct, the author reconciled these dates by dividing the war into two phases. The first of these phases was fought by the Celestials and ended with their disappearance in 33,600 BBY and the second was fought by the remaining Celestial client states and ended in 30,000 BBY. The idea of having two phases to the war is further supported by the pair of curses unleashed by the Rakata upon the Celestials mentioned in the Gree texts in the Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Warfare Author's Cut. These curses could be construed as being poetic ways of describing the dual phase nature of the conflict.



Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 The New Essential Chronology
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 4.18 4.19 4.20 4.21 Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Warfare Author's Cut—The Celestials
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 The Essential Atlas
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 The Unknown Regions
  7. Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi: Force War
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
  9. This is an extrapolation based on the fact that A) the Overseer on Dantooine was built by 30,000 BBY during the war and B) the Overseer was aware of the Selkath species' status as slave labor for the Rakata. It is not a stretch to consider the presence of Selkath slaves in combat roles.
  10. This is an extrapolation based on the fact that A) Kashyyyk was a Rakata world by 33,598 BBY according to the Builder Forge (having lost contact 29,642 standard years before 3956 BBY) and B) Wookiee slaves were bred by the Rakata on Malata as mentioned in The Unknown Regions. It is not a stretch to consider the presence of Wookiee slaves in combat roles.
  11. Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Dawn of the Jedi: The Prisoner of Bogan 4
  13. Outbound Flight
  14. Dark Nest III: The Swarm War
  15. 15.0 15.1 Darth Plagueis
  16. "The Gree Enclave"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 8
  17. Star Wars: The Old Republic—Codex Entry: "Galactic History 05: Rise of the Infinite Empire"

External links

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