Star Wars Hints at How the Hutts Took Over Tatooine
Jabba the Hutt controlled Tatooine during the original Star Wars trilogy, and the High Republic just revealed how the Hutts took over.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Star Wars: The High Republic#4 by Cavan Scott, Ario Anindito, Mark Morales, Annalisa Leoni & VC's Ariana Maher, on sale now.
Before Luke Skywalker and Han Solo encountered Darth Vader aboard the Death Star, another villain cast a shadow across the galaxy: Jabba the Hutt. The crime lord controlled the planet Tatooine, killing anyone who earned his displeasure.
Taking place roughly two centuries before the events of the films, Star Wars: The High Republic #4 just gave some hints about the rise of Jabba and the way that the Hutts expanded through the Outer Rim of the Galaxy. Apparently, the same hyperspace routes that allowed the Republic to reach the worlds of the Outer Rim also gave the Hutt Cartel the means to conquer these distant planets, including the world of Tatooine.
The events of the comic take place not on Tatooine, but on Sedri Minor, another planet in the Outer Rim that cultivated Vratixia barley, a crop used in the production of bacta. After the Nihil attacked a Hutt ship that was transporting Vratixia barley, a group of Jedi traveled to this remote planet to investigate. Then, an armed force from the Hutt Cartel attacked, claiming the planet for themselves.
Before the release of the comic, the first Star Wars: The High Republic story was the novel Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule. A major theme of the novel is the importance of hyperspace routes in allowing the Republic's core worlds to reach the Outer Rim territories. However, these same hyperspace lanes are used by groups like the Nihil and the Hutt Cartel, who can pillage or conquer distant planets. Worlds in the Outer Rim were particularly vulnerable to these criminal operations as it's difficult for the Republic to respond to threats out there in time. As such, the Hutts could take over a world like Sedri Minor-- or Tatooine -- by using their massive organized crime network to invade and establish dictatorships. Resource-scarce worlds like Sedri Minor or the desert planet of Tatooine would also be susceptible to economic pressures, in addition to threats of violence.
The book Ultimate Star Wars describes how Jabba based his criminal empire on Tatooine, expanding from piracy into other enterprises such as slavery, arms deals, illegal spice transportation and gambling. Several hundred years old by the High Republic Era, Jabba had already become a major crime boss. However, it seems that the new trade routes allowed him and the other Hutts to seize control of different worlds, importing additional muscle to turn small-time criminal operations into Hutt-controlled planetary governments.
While it is possible that Jabba could have already succeeded in his takeover of Tatooine by this point, this would show the rest of the Hutts emulating him as they conquered Sedri Minor. Either way, the hyperspace lanes proved even more beneficial to the criminal underworld than anything else in the galaxy.