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Oh, yes, Noghri—I know what you and your people are. The Emperor's private Death Commandos; killing and dying at the whim of ambitious men like Darth Vader and the Grand Admiral here.
~ Joruus C'Baoth on the Noghri

Noghri were recurring antagonists in Timothy Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy. They were a race of humanoid commandos whom Darth Vader used as assassins. Later, as reward for his intelligence, Vader placed them under the service of Grand Admiral Thrawn. One of them, Rukh, served as his bodyguard up until his death.

During The Thrawn Trilogy, the Noghri were tasked by Thrawn to capture Vader's daughter Leia Organa Solo, for the Chiss planned to deliver her to the Dark Jedi Joruus C'Baoth as a reward for his service. C'Baoth desired to turn her unborn twins, Jacen and Jaina, into his Dark Jedi apprentices. However, upon learning that Organa Solo was the daughter of their late master, the Noghri hesitated.

Vader and Emperor

Darth Vader and Empreror Palpatine, the Noghri's "saviors"

Believing she could save their people, Leia traveled to Honoghr and learned the truth: During the Clone Wars, Honoghr was ravaged during a battle between the Grand Army of the Republic (led by Aayla Secura) and the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Using this tragedy to their advantage, Emperor Palpatine and his servant Vader convinced the Noghri that their planet was ruined by the Alliance to Restore the Republic. The Sith pulled off a ruse which convinced the Noghri that Vader was their savior and pledge their eternal loyalty to the Galactic Empire.

Thrawn

Grand Admiral Thrawn, the Noghri's former commander

After Leia revealed the ruse to the Noghri leadership, the aliens defected to the New Republic and, through Rukh, assassinated Grand Admiral Thrawn. From this point on, the Noghri served as Leia's personal bodyguards, in a similar fashion to the way Chewbacca protected her husband Han Solo. They continuously defended Leia from the Empire, the Yuuzhan Vong, and even from her own son. After Cakhmaim and Meewalh were destroyed by Darth Caedus, thirty-one years after Thrawn's death, the Noghri's service to Leia seemed to come to an end.

           Star Wars Villains

Bounty Hunters
Aurra Sing | Bazine Netal | Boba Fett | Bossk | Cad Bane | Dengar | Embo | Highsinger | Greedo | IG-88 | Jango Fett | Zam Wesell | Moralo Eval

Confederacy of Independent Systems
Leaders: Darth Sidious | Count Dooku | Nute Gunray | Passel Argente | Poggle the Lesser | San Hill | Shu Mai | Wat Tambor | Po Nudo | Tikkes
Military Leaders: Admiral Trench | General Grievous | General Kalani | Lok Durd | Mar Tuuk | Riff Tamson | Whorm Loathsom
Other Officials: Asajj Ventress | Darts D'nar | Durge | EV-A4-D | Faro Argyus | Gizor Dellso | Jenna Zan Arbor | Keeper Agruss | Miraj Scintel | Osi Sobeck | Sora Bulq
Soldiers: Battle Droids | Droidekas | Super Battle Droids | MagnaGuards | Geonosians

First Order
Leaders: Supreme Leader Snoke | Kylo Ren
Imperial Officers: General Hux | Captain Phasma | Captain Canady | Colonel Kaplan | Colonel Datoo
Other Officials and Operatives: Carise Sindian | Unkar Plutt | Guavian Death Gang (Bala-Tik) | BB-9E
Soldiers: Stormtroopers (FN-2199) | Knights of Ren | Elite Praetorian Guards

Galactic Empire
Leaders: Emperor Palpatine | Darth Vader
Inquisitorius: The Grand Inquisitor | Fifth Brother | Seventh Sister | Sixth Brother | Eighth Brother
Imperial Officers: Admiral Garrick Versio | Admiral Ozzel | Admiral Piett | Arihnda Pryce | Moff Jerjerrod | General Veers | Grand Moff Tarkin | C.A. Motti | Grand Admiral Thrawn | Admiral Kassius Konstantine | Cumberlayne Aresko | Myles Grint
Organizations: Imperial Navy | COMPNOR
Other Officials and Operatives: Agent Kallus | Mas Amedda | Orson Krennic | Iden Versio | Gideon Hask | Commander Bacara | Commander Cody | Naare | Gar Saxon | Tiber Saxon
Soldiers: Death Troopers | Emperor's Royal Guard | Stormtroopers | 501st Legion

Other Sith and Fallen Jedi
Barriss Offee | Pong Krell | Son

Other
0-0-0 | King Adas | Cornelius Evazan | DJ | Garnac | Gorog | Hondo Ohnaka | Jabba the Hutt | Maketh Tua | Moralo Eval | Ponda Baba | Sarlacc | Sebulba | Slick | Teedo | Zillo Beast | Ziro the Hutt

Other Small Organizations
Black Sun: Ziton Moj
Death Watch: Tor Vizsla | Pre Vizsla | Bo-Katan Kryze
Kanjiklub: Tasu Leech | Razoo Qin-Fee
Nightsisters: Asajj Ventress | Mother Talzin | Old Daka | Zalem
Partisans: Saw Gerrera
Shadow Collective: Darth Maul | Savage Opress | Almec
Trade Federation: Daultay Dofine | Lott Dod | Nute Gunray | Rune Haako