The Stark Hyperspace War was a conflict fought approximately ten years before the Invasion of Utapau. Much of the fallout had a direct impact on the Invasion of Utapau, mostly with Nute Gunray's accession to the position of Viceroy of the Trade Federation and Finis Valorum's election as Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic.
During the final days of what was later referred to as the Millennium of Hiding, a term that applied mostly to the Order of the Sith Lords but later applied to all galactic affairs, there was an active smuggler in the Outer Rim Territories named Iaco Stark. He stole numerous goods traded by large business conglomerates and sold them at large prices to maintain profits, though his prices were less than what was charged by the Trade Federation. This made Stark a hero to the people of the Outer Rim, as the Trade Federation relied heavily on slave labor within the Outer Rim where the Galactic Republic could do nothing to stop them, as the Federations’ influence was in the Republic and the Outer Rim.
Because of Stark’s newfound influence, he used his charismatic abilities to convince large groups of smugglers, pirates, mercenaries, bounty hunters and assassins to join the fleet that he was assembling to form a group called the Stark Commercial Combine, also referred to as the Stark Collective. Under the watch of his flagship, Stark brought in four co-directors named Boor-Daa, Tam Gozon, Lom Portom and Trodos and forged the corporation into a force strong enough to challenge the military and political authority held by both the Trade Federation and the Galactic Republic.
Despite the fact that he had infringed upon their commerce and exploited their greediness for his own gain for years, Stark had no desire to actually combat the Trade Federation. Instead, he made a deal with Federation Viceroy Hask, as well as the leader of the bacta-supplying company Xucphra, in the hopes that they would help him overthrow the Republic. With the idea of toppling the Republic through the control of bacta and neutralizing the space forces presented to them, Hask and Adol Bel, the leader of Xucphra, agreed to join him.
Shortly thereafter, a Xucphra-owned alazhi processing plant, which was vital to the creation of bacta, exploded on Thyferra. As the planet was the only source of both the healing gel and the alazhi used to make it, and Xucphra was the leading bacta producer, the substance became increasingly scarce which caused the price of it to skyrocket and continue to rise as bacta hoarding proliferated. During that same time, the collective “raided” Federation cargo ships and stole bacta in a ruse before selling it to the people of the Outer Rim. By standing up to the oppressive Federation and the ineffective Republic, combined with the low prices of bacta, Stark became even more of a hero than he already had been within the Outer Rim Territories.
- Star Wars: Episode I - The Chosen One (First mentioned)