|Points of interest||
No native species
Every other species
- "There you will find a new definition of pain, as you are—damnit, wrong film. *ahem* Kessel is not a nice place to live...or so I've been told."
- ―C-3PO attempts to describe Kessel
Kessel was a planet (and I use the term loosely) in the Outer Rim that was the prime and only source of glitterstim spice in the galaxy. Long used as a penal colony for the worst criminals, during the time of the Galactic Empire it was also home to political prisoners who, along with those who had actually committed crimes, were forced to mine the planetoid. Its moon was used as a spaceport until Admiral Natasi Daala had it vaporized by the baby Death Star she had kept nestled within the Maw—but then, it was mysteriously rebuilt by later Expanded Universe authors.
Republic and Empire
- "The spice must floooooww..."
- ―Inmate slogan
Kessel was one of the worst penal colonies in the galaxy during the time of the Galactic Republic, with its inmate population mostly made up of convicted rapists and other bad, bad criminal-types from the Corellian system. When Emperor Palpatine took over and remade the Republic into his personal Empire, he sent some of his most vocal political opponents there as well. It was pretty much a free-for-all there, and the only possible escape depended on whether or not your imprisonment had a finite term.
That idea kinda got tossed on its head after the first Death Star was destroyed at the Battle of Yavin, however. Led by a particularly slippery Frog, the more well-connected (connected as in Hutt) prisoners staged a mass riot and overthrew the Imperial presence on the planet and its moon, which had been used as a starport, and tossed their guards and overseers into the mines. Though the Hutt cartels had always had a hand in the spice trade therein, after this little incident they pretty much had the run of the place, controlling all aspects of spice mining and production.
When the Rebel Alliance proved its mettle by kicking ass and taking names at the Battle of Endor and in the years after, they began to set eyes on Kessel, ostensibly to free those who had been "unjustly" sent there by Palpatine. Rouge Squadron picked up a few "pols", as well as some of the worst Black Sun hooligans, in order to gain their help in undermining the Imperial defenses at Coruscant so that the New Republic could liberate the city-world.
Some time later, Han Solo was dispatched to Kessel in order to get the Frog and his cronies to formally enter the New Republic and provide plenty of taxable trade income. That idea, too, got kicked in the head when he and Lando Calrissian, in the Millennium Falcon, were shot at, forced to crash, and tossed into the mines. Fortunately for them, they happened to run into Kyp Durron, a longtime prisoner there, who helped them to escape. Unfortunately, the direct result of their escape was a free trip to a prison cell in a top-secret Imperial research station located within the Maw—and the unleashing of that batshit crazy hyper-bitch Admiral Natasi Daala onto an unsuspecting galaxy...
After the dust settled, Mara Jade got the bright idea of using droids to mine the spice instead of prisoners. Working with Nien "Nonk" Nunb, she soon had the spice flowing at unprecedented levels, which meant more cash for her other, ever-expanding enterprises.
Many years later, after the destruction of Centerpoint Station at the climax of the Second Galactic Civil War, things on Kessel began to get seriously wonky. Leia and Han Solo, working with Lando Calrissian, his wife, and a bunch of cranky old retired pilots (including a number of retired Rouge Squadron members), were able to defuse the ancient bombs that threatened to blow up the planet and make the galaxy a much better place. Shame on them!
Behind the scenes
This article was written in less than twelve parsecs, in a speed-run which will henceforth be known as "The Kessel Run."