“Or else Pizza is gonna send out for you!”
-Vinnie, droid right hand man of the greatest Hutt of all time, Pizza the Hutt
With the Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion release right around the corner, I thought it might be a good idea to look into one of the many species unique to the Star Wars universe, the Hutts. Whether dealing in legitimate business or illicit trade, the Hutts can easily be considered the masters (or mistresses, more on this later) of the galactic underworld. What is not apparent at first glance is that the Hutts themselves are heirs to a grand legacy of an empire built by war rather than credits, and the tyrannical rulers who turned that empire on its head.
The first time I saw Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, I was introduced to the Hutts through the character of Jabba the Hutt. My first thought was that he was a disgusting slug, and that is generally the most common first impression that the Hutts give to those meeting them for the first time. When encountered they are usually sitting on opulent thrones, apparently immobile, but they are actually able to slither around their environment like slugs. Physiologically speaking, one of their most interesting traits is their reproductive system. Hutts take a cue from worms and marsupials in this regard. Like worms, they are hermaphrodites, meaning they are neither male nor female. Hutts are then referred to by whichever gender they wish. Hutts reproduce asexually, so when a Hutt has a Huttlet, or child, its sole parent is the Hutt that spawned it. Once born, the Huttlet will crawl inside its parent’s brood pouch like a kangaroo. Hutts can also regenerate body parts when injured. Hutts live to be around one thousand standard years old.
Over time the Hutts developed their own language, called Huttese. While it is primarily spoken in Hutt Space, it is also spoken almost everywhere else, making it the second most spoken language in the galaxy after Basic.
When it comes to Hutt history, it is difficult to nail down all the facts to give a definitive chronology. In conducting research for this article, I have found not only some inaccuracies but also blatant contradictory accounts. These stem from the ancient legends, rumors, and half-truths of not only the Hutts themselves but of other cultures like the Tionese. In the end I have decided to stick to the account in The Old Republic Encyclopedia since I believe it pertains to the time with which we are all most concerned. I will include additional comments when they do not contradict the main story in the aforementioned book.
The Hutt species evolved on the temperate forest planet of Varl. In ancient times, Varl was conquered by the Rakata’s Infinite Empire. By the accounts I have read, Varl was one of the last planets they conquered, as the Rakata were beginning to decline when they took over the Hutts. Ardustagg the Absolute was a Hutt that lived at this time, and who lead many uprisings on Varl and eventually drove the Rakata from the Hutt homeworld. The opportunistic (as always) Hutts took advantage of the Rakata’s technology left on their world and began to subjugate neighboring systems.
At this point I want to stop for a moment of contemplation. All the accounts agree that the Hutts of this time are all described with one word: Warlord. While I do concede that the Hutts could have simply flown around in ships commanding their armies from afar, I have to consider the possibility that the Hutts were themselves on the field of battle fighting these wars, and in turn were themselves… warriors. I find it difficult to imagine a large, slow-moving Hutt to be a threat on the battlefield, but I cannot dismiss the idea that perhaps Hutts could have been slender and faster-moving at this point in their history. Perhaps they might have resembled a Naga from World of Warcraft in those early days. The sources I have read do say the Hutts used slaves in their army, but then I have to question who fought in the first battles when there were not yet any slaves? It is possible that once they got the wealth and power from their newly won empire, they then began to sit around and have others wait on them, becoming fat on their newfound status. What do you think? Please leave me a comment below, because I would love to discuss this point further.
Whatever way they acquired their new empire, the Hutts now controlled about a hundred star systems and the species that lived on them. It was at this time that the Hutts entered into a time of decadence. They ceased trying to conquer new worlds, and exploited the ones they already possessed. The Hutts grew fat on the suffering of their slaves and wallowed in their new opulence. Little did they realize the greatest threat since the Infinite Empire was right outside their borders.
In 25,130 BBY (before the Battle of Yavin), Xim the Despot was a human from the Tion cluster who wanted an empire for himself. Following in his ruthless pirate father’s footsteps, he conquered most of the Tion cluster; his empire eventually stretched from the Radama Void to the Maw and included thousands of worlds. Unfortunately for him, this was not enough and he wanted to add the Hutt Empire to his. This confrontation, called appropriately enough the Hutt-Xim conflict, was a clash of the two largest forces in the galaxy at that time. The Republic was still many years in the future. Xim’s war fleet devastated Hutt worlds, while privateers hired by the Hutts harassed Xim’s supply lines. In 25,100 BBY, Xim’s fleet was destroyed in the First Battle of Vontar. Despite this setback, two more battles would be fought on that planet in the same year. The Hutts at this time brokered a deal that became known as the Treaty of Vontor. In this treaty the Klatooinians, Vodrans and Nikto species were enslaved by the Hutts to become eternal soldiers in the Hutt’s army. These three species, with the help of the Weequay, under the command of Kossak the Hutt, finally destroyed Xim’s army at the Third Battle of Vontor. Xim died in captivity in Kossak’s dungeons.
After the defeat of Xim the Despot, the Hutts returned to their earlier activities of conquering and plundering new worlds for their resources. Eventually the Hutts again turned inward and began intrigues against each other. It is unknown exactly what caused what happened next but infighting destroyed the Hutt Empire. Some rumors say that the Hutts turned some ancient Rakata super weapons against each other, ravaging their own planets in the process. The primary victim of this event was Varl, the Hutt homeworld. The once lush forest world became a barren wasteland. What caused this schism amongst the Hutts of the time is unknown because the parties involved were destroyed by their own machinations. What is known is that the remainder of the Hutts who survived this cataclysm rounded up what slaves they could and took to the stars in search of a new home. Eventually they came upon a planet called Evocar where they would swindle the inhabitants into giving the Hutts control of the world. The Hutts renamed the planet Nal Hutta.
The generation of Hutts that grew up in the aftermath of the near extinction of their species realized that the time of imperial conquest and war were over. Wealth could be gained and used as a powerful weapon against the poor, greedy and desperate. Through the use of exploitive relationships, the Hutts could gain the power over others they craved. It was in this crucible that the Hutts forged a new kind of empire: The Hutt Cartel.
A Hutt named Budhila Hestilic Amura was instrumental in this new Hutt paradigm. He established the ruling body of the Cartel which he called the Council of Elders. This was to safeguard against another apocalypse ever destroying the Hutts again. He also established the guiding principle that the Hutts would devotedly follow from that day forth: the concept of kajidic. This ideal is twofold. Firstly, instead of conquering new worlds by force of arms, the Hutts would control the planets from within their own infrastructure. Insinuating themselves into controlling entities (i.e., governments or criminal organizations), the Hutts could in effect exert control over these planets. Hutts will go to whatever means necessary to protect their interests. The second point of the kajidic is that instead of brutal infighting, as was the case in their imperial past, disputes would be settled by economic competition.
You can follow me on twitter via @darthkenji.Feel free to do so if you wish to discuss slimy slugs, or any other lore topic that strikes your fancy.
“Goopta mo bossa!” (Huttese farewell meaning, “May your mind not evaporate!”), and may the Force be with you all.