Your sole purpose here is to do what I tell you.
—Lord Maul after Nute Gunray's attempted assassination of Jard Dooku and Obi-Wan Kenobi
Nute Gunray was the Neimoidian Viceroy of the Trade Federation during the Invasion of Utapau. Originally a trade officer, Gunray worked his way through the Federation ranks and became the Federation’s representative in the Galactic Senate, during which time he participated in the Stark Hyperspace War. His actions during the war led him to be selected as Federation Viceroy. He soon came into contact with Lord Maul, a self-proclaimed Dark Jedi Master, who aided Gunray in planning the assassination of all non-Neimoidian members of the Trade Federation Directorate. This allowed Cato Neimoidia to gain a monopoly over the Federation after Gunray appointed all Neimoidian puppets, and he was able to establish full control over the Federation.
After the Galactic Republic passed a law outlawing the use of slaves by Republic corporations in non-Republic territories, Gunray and the Federation, which relied on slave labor, were outraged. With Maul’s assistance, they began plotting the invasion of a planet in an attempt to force the Republic to overturn the law, and they chose Utapau as the planet’s Queen Sabé Arcadia and Senator Malus Palpatine had helped create the law. The Invasion of Utapau was launched shortly thereafter.
Nute Gunray joined the Trade Federation as a trade officer, and he advanced in rank at a comparatively rapid pace after he helped force the Pulsar Supertanker Corporation out of the Trade Federation. Gunray was given the empty seat on the Trade Federation Directorate, the ruling committee of the Federation, and served as the Senator of the Federation in the Galactic Republic Senate. As a Senator, Gunray was able to convince the Republic to allow the Federation to expand the size of its battle droid army, using tactics that some referred to as aggressive. Gunray accomplished this task with help from Eriadu Senator Ranulph Tarkin.
As a Senator, Gunray supported a Republic offensive against Iaco Stark and Stark’s corporation, the Stark Commercial Combine, during the Stark Hyperspace War after the Combine bombed Federation bacta tankers in the Outer Rim Territories. Because of his actions during the war, many labeled Gunray as a coward, although others gave him the reputation of being ruthlessly cold blooded after he ordered the assassination of Jedi Master Tyvokka. Gunray denied the claim in public, despite it being true. As a result of his war actions, Gunray was given the position of Viceroy of the Trade Federation. Although he desired full control over the Federation, he did not initially have it due to the powers of the Federation Directorate.
Shortly thereafter, Gunray came into contact with a Zabrak named Lord Maul, who was a self-proclaimed Dark Jedi Master. The two become allies after Maul promised to make Gunray the sole leader of the Federation, as well as unlimited expansion for the Federation’s army. One year later, during a summit on Eriadu, the Federation battle droids guarding the directorate opened fire on all of the non-Neimoidian directorate members. Every member of the directorate was killed, save for Gunray and Senator Lott Dodd who were purposely absent. After the assassinations, Gunray filled the empty seats with his own puppets and gained full control over the Federation.
Over the next year, Utapau Senator Malus Palpatine and the planet’s queen, Sabé Arcadia, created a bill in the Galactic Senate proposing the outlawing of the use of slave workers by Republic corporations in non-Republic territories. Gunray and the Federation were outraged by the bill’s proposal, but they were even more so after the bill passed on the Senate and became law. Following the bill’s passage, Gunray wanted to find a way to force the Republic into overturning the law. Gunray and Maul, who again offered to render assistance, planned to invade a planet to accomplish the goal of overturning the law, and they chose Utapau as it had been a primary player in the law’s creation. Shortly thereafter, Gunray and the Federation moved a large number of their battle ships, filled with a battle droid army for an invasion, to Utapau in what became the first military act of the Invasion of Utapau. Maul was the overall commander of the blockade, while Gunray coordinated the majority of the Federation’s efforts from the command ship along with his chief adviser Rune Haako.
For one month, Queen Arcadia and diplomats from Utapau, and to a lesser extent the Republic, attempted to negotiate with the Federation without any success. Eventually, Republic Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum sent two Jedi ambassadors, Jard Dooku and Obi-Wan Kenobi in an attempt to force the Federation into a settlement deal that would end the blockade. Valorum did not, however, tell Gunray that they were Jedi. After the two Jedi arrived, the protocol droid TC-14, who had been sent to greet the Jedi, reported to Gunray that the two ambassadors were Jedi, so Gunray and Haako contacted Maul, who was in his personal chambers in the lower decks of the ship for most of the blockade, to receive orders on how to handle the situation. Maul ordered Gunray to let the Jedi do what they wanted, although because they had arrived earlier than he expected Maul accelerated the Federation’s initial plans and told Gunray to begin landing troops on the planet. Despite Maul’s orders, Gunray commanded a battle droid squadron to kill the Jedi.
After the Jedi defeated the droids sent to kill them, Gunray confronted the Jedi himself, although they escaped into another deck of the ship. Soon thereafter, the Jedi escaped from the ship. Gunray was reprimanded by Maul for violating Maul’s orders, and Maul had Gunray dragged off of the ship’s bridge so Maul could punish him later. Maul, not Gunray, then gave the order to begin the invasion of Utapau, and Federation troops began assaulting cities such as New Centrif within hours.
Personality and traits
Gunray was described as being a ruthless person, although external threats tended to cause him to become a coward. While on board the Federation command ship during the blockade of Utapau, Jard Dooku elaborated by telling Obi-Wan Kenobi that the Neimoidians, and presumably Gunray, were ruthless and heartless, yet they were cowards if the right pressure was applied. Gunray still took actions that some considered bold, such as when he violated Maul’s orders by ordering the assassination of Dooku and Kenobi. Gunray was also labeled a coward for some of his actions during the Stark Hyperspace War.
- Star Wars: Episode I - The Chosen One (First appearance)