|“||I never risk my own skin if I don't have to.||„|
|~ Nute Gunray to Ahsoka Tano|
Nute Gunray is a major antagonist in both the Star Wars prequel trilogy and The Clone Wars, serving as the secondary antagonist of The Phantom Menace and a supporting antagonist in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. He is the Viceroy of the Trade Federation and later became a high-ranking officer of the Confederacy of Independent Systems as the head of the Separatist Council. He was one of Darth Sidious' first, and most important, pawns in his plan to attain ultimate power. Following the deaths of both Count Dooku and later General Grievous, Gunray became the de jure leader of the CIS. However, he was ultimately slain by Darth Vader along with the other members of the Separatist Council on Mustafar.
In the prequel trilogy, he was portrayed by Silas Carson, who also played Ki-Adi-Mundi in the prequel trilogy and The Ood in Doctor Who. In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, he was voiced by Tom Kenny, who also played Scaramouche the Merciless in the Samurai Jack series.
Early Political Career
Nute Gunray had joined the Trade Federation at some point in his life and began early on as a junior trade officer but, quickly saw the opportunity for a promotion.The Pulsar Supertanker corporation was being reviewed for expultion and Gunray was the final deciding factor on what would happen. Gunray had ended up supporting the expulsion of the company citing "malicious disregard for profit" and "charitable donations lacking discernible reward". Pulsar's expulsion had resulted in its CEO position in the Trade Federation Directorate to be void but Gunray quickly filled that position. In 44 BBY, Gunray became the Trade Federation's senator in the Galactic Senate and implored the senate to intervene when the Stark Commercial Combine began attacking federation transport carrying bacta.
In response, Gunray had demanded that the Trade Federation be allowed to increase its droid army to combat the attacks on their transports though, he had secretly met with Senator Ranulph Tarkin to bring a more decisive end to the combine. Gunray had been pressured into giving the name of the planet where representatives of the Republic and Iaco Stark was being held at. The negotiations were held on Troiken which were aggressive and ended with a gunfight when he ordered his battle droids to shoot without a specific enemy. Jedi Master Tyvokka was killed and Gunray fled with the help of the other Jedi but, his transport was destroyed and the Stark Hyperspace War broke out and he was eventually taken back to Coruscant.
During the war, Gunray was promoted to the rank of Viceroy and became the head of the Trade Federation but was still restrained by the Trade Federation Directorate. He was eventually contacted by the mysterious Sith Lord Darth Sidious who had promised him that he could make him the sole leader of the Trade Federation and grant him control over a larger and more powerful droid army in exchange for Gunray's services. Gunray had eventually sent the droids to a summit on Eriadu, the droids open fired and killed all members of the directorate except Nute himself and Lott Dod, the most recent senator of the Trade Federation to the senate. To fill the void, Gunray filled the vacant positions with his associates such as Rune Haako, Daultay Dofine, and Hath Monchar, effectively making the Trade Federation and Neimodian monopoly.
Between 39-36 BBY, Gunray had sent a large portion of the Trade Federation Droid Army to the plane of Alaris Prime to colonize it despite the Wookies getting the colonization rights first. This sparked a colonial war on the planer and ended with the Trade Federation being forcibly expelled from the planet. After the war, Gunray had run into legal trouble but was still able to maintain his current position. Shortly before blockading Naboo, Hath Monchar had gone missing and fearing that he'd spill the secrets of Gunray and Sidious' plot, the two tracked him down and eventually had him killed at the hands of the dark lord's apprentice, Darth Maul.
Blockade of Naboo
In 32 BBY, Nute Gunray had ordered that the Trade Federation blockade the planet of Naboo and block off all trade routes to the planet with the official reason being discontent with taxation rates on trade routes in the Outer Rim. Supreme Chancellor Valorum had sent to ambassadors to the Saa'ak/Profiteer to negotiate but in reality, it was Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jin and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi instead. Knowing this, Gunray had quickly contacted Sidious and Dofine expressed concern with the plans but was firghtened by the Sith lord when he angirly told him to stay in line. After Gunray had followed Sidious' orders and invaded Naboo, he was skeptical but, the dark lord had assured him that he would "make it legal" and then told him to kill the Jedi onboard. Gunray followed through with the command and he had the Jedi's ship destroyed and released poisonous gas into the chamber where they were staying at.
A small detachment of battle droids was then sent in to make sure that they Jedi were dead but, Kenobi and Qui-Gon survived and engaged the droids in a fight before quickly making it to the birdge which was sealed off. Destroyer Droids were sent in and the two Jedi Knights fled and stow aboard a Multi-Troop Transport that was heading to the surface of Naboo. The invasion was well-organized as the entire planet was conquered within a day and Gunray made it down to the capitol of Theed with protection from their troops as the queen, Padme Amidala, was captured. Nute Gunray had proudly declared victory as he and Rune walked into the palace in celebration of their new victory.
Following the invasion, Governor Sio Bibble had expressed his outrage at the viceroy and demanded that he explain the occupation of the planet to the Galactic Senate, to which Gunray replied how he would have Queen Amidala sign a treaty to legitimize the occupation but, she wouldn't cooperate and Gunray had said how the suffering of her people would eventually pressure her into signing the treaty and she was sent off to a detention camp until the Jedi who escaped from Gunray before showed up and saved her. The queen along with her escorts and personal, all joined up with the Jedi and they escaped off-world while Gunray took up shop in the palace and established himself as the de-facto ruler of Naboo and would pressure Padme into signing his treaty. While Queen Amidala was off-world on Tatooine, Gunray had stationed himself up in the palace and taunted the captured governor Bibble who constantly protested against him which annoyed Gunray and he had told him how the governor would die sooner than the rest of the people of Naboo.
Meanwhile, Padme is escorted back to Coruscant where she tries to convince the Galactic Senate to take action and save Naboo from the Trade Federation and end their control and blockade over the planet. The senate was unable to take action however so, Padme had done a vote of no confidence and called for the expulsion of Chancellor Valorum which lead to the rise of Palpatine as the new chancellor. Despite the expulsion of Valorum, the senate was still unable to do anything against the Trade Federation so, Padme joined up with the Jedi, the Gungans, and the Naboo resistance to take matters into her own hands and overthrow Gunray herself. He quickly got word of an uprising as he detected a large army of Gungans assembling and he deployed OOM-9 and a large majority of his army to crush them. Gunray had remained in the throne room even after Naboo soldiers began fighting his troops in the streets of Theed and remained there with Rune Hakko while Darth Maul was dispached to deal with Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon Jin. The battle eventually made its way into the palace where Padme had him held at gunpoint until his droids showed up and captured her. His rule came to an end however, when a young Anakin Skywalker destroyed the droid command ship thus, shutting down his droid army and he was arrested for his crimes.
In 22 BBY, Nute Gunray was freed from prison and was back into business where he still retained his position as the Viceroy of the Trade Federation. That same year before the Clone Wars, Gunray was rumored to have been in an affair with Lora Besh the latter who released an unauthorized biography called Gunray on the Top. The book reigned as the top-ten best seller for the next couple of months and only increased in popularity due to the subject's involvement in the war.
The Clone Wars
Joining the Confederacy
After four trials in the Republic Supreme Court, Nute Gunray had still made it out alive and retained his control over the Trade Federation. Even after the deaths of his associates on Naboo during the battle there, Gunray had not revealed the involvement of Darth Sidious. partly out of fear, but also he didn't believe that Sidious had abandoned him completely and continued to aid Sidious in his plans. On his fourth trial, Gunray was approached by the Sith Lord Count Dooku a nd he revealed the existance of Sidious to the former Jedi who then promised to bring the matter to the members of the Jedi Council.
After being approached by Dooku, Gunray quickly joined the newly formed Confederacy of Independent Systems and sought to secede from the Galactic Republic. Gunray then made a deal with Dooku, the Separatist leader and head of state; to have Padme Amidala killed for her actions against him on Naboo and in exchange, Gunray will sign Dooku's treaty and join the Confederacy. To fufill the deal, Dooku hired Mandalorian bounty hunter Jango Fett to kill Senator Amidala along with his companion, Zam Wesell. Much to the viceroy's dismay, the senator lived and Wesell was killed by the mandalorian to hide his tracks with a saberdart.
Meeting on Geonosis
With the galaxy on the eve of war, Nute Gunray traveled to the Outer Rim Territories where he and Rune landed on the planet of Geonosis where other prominent corporate leaders and pro-secessionists gathered to meet with Count Dooku in support of the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Gunray made it to the planet and while conversing with Dooku, Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi had also traveled to Geonosis during his investigation after acquiring the saberdart that Jango Fett left behind. Gunray eventually met in a meeting room with Dooku where other individuals such as Shu Mai of the Commerce Guild, Wat Tambor of the Techno Union, and San Hill of the InterGalactic Banking Clan all plegded their support to Dooku and Gunray eventually caved in and also signed the treaty effectively defecting from the Republic and joining the cause of the Separatists. To make matters better for the viceroy, he was pleased after he found out that Padme Amidala and her secret husband, Anakin Skywalker, were both captured while on Geonosis trying to save Obi-Wan who was also captured as well and all three of them were sentenced to death in the execution areana where Gunray had oversaw with Jango, Dooku, Rune, and the Geonosian Archduke, Poggle the Lesser.
Battle of Geonosis
During the execution of Padme, Anakin, and Obi-Wan, Nute Gunray had overseen the event and was outraged when all three of them broke free and managed to beat back all three of the creatures that were supposed to kill them. Dooku then calmed down the viceroy by sending out Droidekas but was then interrupted when Jedi Knight Mace Windu showed up supported by a large group of 200 Jedi all of whom were hiding in the arena. The Jedi eventually went down into the center of the arena and engaged legions of battle droids sent out to kill them. During the course of the battle, Gunray and Haako remained on the top overseeing the whole battle and watched as the Jedi were cut down one by one until only a handful remained and were eventually saved by the newly emerged Grand Army of the Republic.
Gunray and the other Separatist leaders eventually retreated and fell back to their base in the Geonosian mountains where they oversaw the battle. He was take by surprise at the mere size of the Clone Army and wanted all available droids to be sent into battle but Dooku said that there were simply too many. Gunray immediately knew that the Clone Wars had began and the viceroy began supplying the Confederacy and its military with the droid armies of the Trade Federation. Despite being a businessman and not a commander, Gunray stayed with the Separatists knowing that he'd die if he abandoned them and so, he remained as one of their leaders and became the head of the Separatist Council, the main governing body of the Confederacy.
Leading the Confederacy
Mission to Rodia
Shortly after the outbreak of the Clone Wars, Nute Gunray began to exploit planets and other worlds for his own personal gain whether it be manipulating them into joining the Separatists who profitting off of the war-effort by extending the conflict to the rest of the galaxy and acquiring the natural resources of other worlds in a fashion similiar to that of Tachno Union Foreman Wat Tambor. The planet of Rodia began to suffer numerous atatcks by pirates against supply ships and transports and desperate for help, Senator Onaconda Farr had contacted Nute Gunray and vowed that he and his planet would join the CIS in exchange for food and medical supplies to his starving world. Word of the report came out and Padme was sent to the planet to prevent it from falling to the Separatists and trying to keep Rhodia in the Republic but upon arrival, she was captured and imprisoned by battle droids and Gunray had soon arrived with Padme captured and ready to be delivered as a prize to him.
After Padme was captured and her ship accidently destroyed by her diplomatic partner, Jar Jar Binks, Nute Gunray had arrived on Rodia where he was greeted by Onacanda Farr and they went to the detention center where Gunray would take Padme in as his personal prisoner and as a "prize" when he, Onacanda, and their droid escort came across C-3P0 and Jar Jar and were scared as Jar Jar was wearing a robe and had the appearance of a Jedi Knight causing the droids to attack him and spread fear across the droid command structure. This soon lead to Padme being freed and Gunray's escape prevented and he was eventually arrested by the Republic.
Escaping Republic Custody
Following his capture, the viceroy was brought to a Venator-class Star Destroyer, the Tranquility, and put in one of the ship's prison cells where he was to be escorted back to the Republic capitol of Coruscant to be put on trial and imprisoned. Jedi Master Luminara Unduli and Padawan Ahsoka Tano were sent to guard Gunray as the Jedi Council was well aware of his high status and postion within the Confederacy. During his time on the Tranquility, a small detatchment of Super Battle Droids was sent to the cruiser to break Gunray out however, it was really a distraction as it helped weaken the ship's defenses and allow Asajj Ventress to sneak in and free him. The Dathomiran Dark Jedi Assassin arrived on board the cruiser and, with the support of Separatist spy Faro Argyus, they managed to break out the Separatist leader.
The Senate Commando leader betrayed his fellow comrades by shooting the two clones guarding Gunray and deactivated his cell while fighting Commander Gree which ended with Gunray knocking out the commander with his own rifle. Ventress meanwhile, was fighting Ahsoka, the latter of whom, was knocked into Gunray's former cell and was taunted by the viceroy but, was freed seconds later by Luminara who continued to fight Ventress along with Ahsoka while Argyus escrted Gunray to a Republic ship and were later reunited with Ventress who, killed Argyus for fufilling his role and the two escaped with the Separatist Council leader finally free.
Assisting General Grievous
Following his escape, Nute Gunray had worked with Count Dooku to lead Jedi Master Kit Fisto and his former Padawan Nahdar Vebb to the fortress of General Grievous on Vassek. Gunray had tricked the Jedi and the Republic into believing that he was on Vassak while also having Grievous tested by Dooku to prove that he's worthy of leading the forces of the Separatist Droid Army. As part of the plot, Gunray had planted a hologram of himself in a chair in the center of a room within the lair and after a small group of B1 Battle Droids were destroyed, it's revealed that he wasn't there at all. Grievous would later return and duel the Republic task force at his hideout to the point where only Kit Fisto made it out alive thus, proving his worth as the military leader of the Confederacy.
Dealings with Cad Bane
During the war, Nute Gunray had done dealings with infamous Separatist-aligned Duros bounty hunter, Cad Bane. Under the orders of Sidious, Viceroy Gunray had given Cad Bane a small fleet of Munificent-Class Star Frigates and he commanded a Separatist fleet where they invaded the planet of Devaron where the droid army overran and wiped out the Republic forces stationed there. During the battle, their Jedi commander, Bolla Ropal, was captured and taken back to Bane's ship where he had tortured him in order to force him to activate and open up the Jedi Holocron that Bane had stolen. Despite his success, a battle soon errupted over the planet after Anakin Skywalker arrived and cut off his escape route by damaging his ship and destroying four of his escort cruisers.
He contacted Bane and expressed outrage over how the bounty hunter had lost four of his ships and demanded to know that Bane could pay him back to which he said yes by showing the viceroy the holocron and memory crystal that was needed to open it. Cad Bane then noticed that his ship was being boarded and that both Anakin and his padawan Ahsoka were making their way to his location so he allowed them onboard in order to open the holocron. After a lengthy battle which resulted in Bane capturing Ahsoka, he was able to make Anakin open the Jedi Holocron and Bane made his escape after contacting Gunray and telling him that he had what he wanted.
End of the War
In 19 BBY toward the end of the war, Nute Gunray had made dealings with the royal families of Kashyyyk where he was able to convince the Wookie King Grakchawwaa to align himself and the Wookie species with the Separatists. The deal was going well but, General Grievous had grown impatient and demanded that Gunray send in Separatist forces to "persuade" the Wookies into joining the Confederacy despite them already being on the verge of doing so for the purpose of self-preservation. A battle soon broke out and the king's son, Prince Rikummee, was killed in the ensuing fight so, the king aligned himself with the Republic to get revenge. Seeing how things were going wrong, the Separatists eventually sent a large droid force to Kashyyyk and began invading the planet as one of the last campaigns of the war.
Escaping Cato Neimodia
During the final months of the Clone Wars, the Separatists were being driven out from the core and back into the Mid and Outer Rim Territories. Many Neimodian purse worlds such as Deko and Koru Neimodia were already under siege from the Republic forces which made Gunray very concerned and scared. Fearing what would happen, Nute Gunray traveled to Cato Neimodia where he gathered all of his belongings and treasures so that he would have them in the event that the Republic were to show up and his fears came true when Jedi Generals Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker arrived and tried to capture the viceroy. A battle had errupted over the cities of the planet and Gunray was able to escape the Republic forces and make it into orbit where he boarded a Lucrehulk-Class battleship and escaped the clutches of the Republic forces. While he had managed to escape, he forgot his mecho-chair which he used to communicate with Darth Sidious which outraged Grievous because now the Republic could use it to force the Separatist off of Belderone.
Relocation to Utapau
Following the ambush on Cato Neimodia, Nute Gunray had gone on the run until he was reunited with the other members of the Separatist Council who were also with Grievous. General Grievous had been searching for a safe headquarters for the Separatist Council for some time following a surprise attack by Republic forces on Belderone. He eventually made it to the planet of Utapau and quickly decimated their defenses and had the planet conquered and subjugated without much resistance. After Utapau was annexed into the Confederacy, the Separatist Council landed on the arid sinkhole world and set up shop. Gunray would eventually join the other members of the council as they oversaw on the HoloNet the Separatist attack on Coruscant and rejoiced seeing how the Confederacy could finally have a shot at winning the war and even though that he had underestimated the general. The council members celebrated but, it was cut short when they got the news that the Chancellor was rescued and the Confederate Head of State, Count Dooku, was killed and the Separatists were forced to retreat. The outcome had outraged Gunray and he lost faith in Grievous, his long time rival.
Evacuation to Mustafar
Following the Battle of Coruscant, Grievous had returned to Utapau where he had assumed the title as the Confederacy's new head of state succeeding Dooku. The war was nearing its end and the Separatist Council was one of the next targets for the Republic. Following Grievous' return, the Separatist Council had gathered in a meeting where the general had said how it wouldn't be long before the Republic would track them down on Utapau and he had them sent into the Outer Rim on Mustafar to evaid the Republic forces. Nute Gunray had voiced his outrage at Grievous citing his failure at Courscant as proof that he couldn't keep the council safe but, Grievous ignored it and he and other council members went to their ship and fled deep into the Outer Rim and headed to the war room on Mustafar where Gunray and the council would spend the last moments of the Clone Wars at. After he and council fled Utapau, the planet was invaded by the Republic and he escaped just in time.
Betrayal on Mustafar
|“||The war is over! Lord Sidious... Promised us peace! We only want---||„|
|~ Gunray's last words|
Gunray and the rest of the council accepted the arival of Darth Vader and anticipated it unaware that it was the beginning of their demise and they waited in the room as the Clone Wars began to come to its conclusion. After the initiation of Order 66 and the beginning of the Great Jedi Purge, Anakin Skywalker, now Darth Vader, was sent to Mustafar by Lord Sidious to wipe out the last remnants of the Separatist leadership and end the war following Operation Knightfall and the systemmatic destruction of the Jedi Order. Gunray and the rest of the Separatist leaders remained on Mustafar and after soon met Vader face to face upon his arrival on Mustafar. At first, Gunray and the other Separatist leaders greeted him with pleasent responses but, they quickly faded away after Vader used the force to shut the doors in the facility and began slaughtering the council members one by one. During the ensuing massacre, Gunray was able to hide and after Vader confronted him, he was the last surviving council member and pleaded with the new Sith Lord saying how the war was over and the Confederacy only wanted peace but it was in vain as he was cut down before he could finish his sentence. With the entire Separatist Council wiped out, Vader activated the shut down command from the facility deactivating all droid armies active at the time, dissolving the Confederacy, and ending the war with the Republic having been dissolved and reformed into the newly formed Galactic Empire, a goal which Gunray was serving all along.
Nute Gunray had a long lasting impact on the galaxy after his death. After his execution on Mustafar, his body was recovered by salvage crews after the mining facility was destroyed. The Trade Federation was one of the only two pro-CIS companies (next to the banking clan) that didn't immediately dissolve after the war's end and Gunray was succeeded by Sentepeth Findos as the next and last viceroy of the Trade Federation. The company was annexed into the Galactic Empire and became a puppet government after the end of the war though in a similiar fashion to that of the Separatist holdouts, a group of Trade Federation members continued to rebel against the empire until the company was dissolved in 0 BBY when Palpatine ordered the Imperial Senate to be disbanded. Gunray had lead the Confederacy and played a role in the destruction of the republic, the rise of the empire, and the return of the Sith.