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Make no mistake, the Mon Calamari saved the galaxy.
~ Mon Mothma
Mon Calamari are ichthyoid, fish/squid-like, bipedal sentient aliens from the planet Dac, or Mon Cala, who exist in the Star Wars universe. They were considered by many to be the soul of the Rebel Alliance, as well as a cornerstone in the New Republic by some. They were also said to be one of the galaxy’s most positive, idealistic, forward-thinking, and noble sentient species, especially those from their world’s tropical zones, though the ones from the polar regions were a bit more dour and pragmatic.

The Clone Wars

During the Clone Wars, Mon Cala tensions with their planetary neighbors, the Quarren, led the latter to join the Confederacy of Independent Systems in hopes of trading “Mon Cala power” for “Quarren power” in the planet’s monarchy. Unfortunately, the Separatists took advantage of this, with Commander Riff Tamson murdering Mon Cala King Yos Kolina mysteriously while being promised rulership of the planet by Count Dooku. The Mon Calamari were forced into a civil war with the Quarren, and many on both sides were killed.

The king’s son, Prince Lee-Char, however, led his people in the war to the best of his ability, with help from the Jedi, Senator Padmé Amidala, the Gungan race, Republic clone forces, and Mon Cala Captain Gial Ackbar. Ultimately, the superior efforts of Tamson, his aqua droids, and his Quarren pawns, proved too much for Lee-Char, even with the Gungans’ backup, and most of his surviving forces were taken prisoner.

Later, though, when it became clear to the Quarren that Dooku and Tamson’s intentions were anything but good, Lee-Char, who initially escaped capture, promised to rally behind all the people of Mon Cala, including the Quarren, and implied that if they all fought together on the same side, they could overwhelm Tamson and his aqua droids. The Quarren leader, Nossor Ri, saved Lee-Char from execution at just the right moment, and the Mon Calamari, together with their allies, destroyed all the remaining droids, and Lee-Char avenged his father by personally killing Riff Tamson.

Afterward, the noble Lee-Char was crowned the new king of Mon Cala by Nossor Ri and Mon Cala Senator Meena Tills, and Dac and the Calamari saw peace for the rest of the Clone Wars, although, after the rise of the Empire, they would be forced to defend themselves again. When the Imperials came to claim Dac, many Mon Cals did a mass exodus from their planet in their elegant, individualized city-ships, disguised as towers in their underwater cities. In years to come, the Mon Calamari pledged their allegiance to the Rebel Alliance, and their dedication to the cause of freedom and justice, along with their optimism and purity of heart, led them to be called by some, such as Mon Mothma, the saviors of the galaxy.

Rebels

Shortly before the organized Rebellion began to come together, a Mon Cal named Quarrie designed and built the prototype for the B-Wing starfighter. He never tested it himself, because he didn’t like flying, but he was pretty sure it would fly. The Rebel pilot Hera Syndulla tested it out herself, even though Quarrie didn’t think she was the right pilot for it, and it turned out to be quite formidable. Quarrie and the Rebels gave it some upgrades, including a hyperdrive, and the B-Wing soon saw service in the Alliance Fleet. This was but the first time a Mon Cala would give an invaluable contribution to the Rebel cause against the Empire.

Rogue One

I say we fight!
~ Admiral Raddus
Toward the beginning of the Galactic Civil War, Rebel hero Jyn Erso brought news of the planet-killing Death Star battle station to the Alliance. While some Rebel councilors were afraid and contemplated surrender to the Empire, Admiral Raddus, a hardy, thick-blooded Mon Cala from Dac’s polar regions, insisted that direct action must be taken, that the Rebels must fight. But the Rebel Council couldn’t fully agree on what to do, and no action was taken, initially, until Erso freely decided to take some new allies and volunteer soldiers to Scarif and steal the Death Star schematics without the Rebellion’s permission. As soon as Raddus learned of this, he and his crew took a sizable chunk of the Rebel fleet to Scarif to back them up.

Raddus and the crew of his ship, the Profundity, proved instrumental in helping Rogue One, Erso’s volunteer squad, retrieve the Death Star plans from the planet. The old admiral guided the starfighters and cruisers of the Alliance to maximum effect, including ordering some X-Wing and U-Wing Fighters to break through the shield gate to deliver more troops to the surface, and ordering a Rebel corvette vessel to ram the two Star Destroyers orbiting the planet, destroying them and the shield. Raddus’ aides, Caitken and Shollan, obeyed his every command swiftly and efficiently during the battle.

In the end, the mission was a success for the Rebels, although the entire Rogue One squad and their backup, including Erso, perished in the attempt. The Death Star plans were transmitted to the Profundity, but then Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer, the Devastator, came out of hyperspace and cut off its escape. The plans were scanned to a datacard and delivered into the hands of Princess Leia Organa for safety, but Raddus and his crew all perished when the Profundity was invaded and destroyed.

Return of the Jedi

It’s a trap!
~ Admiral Ackbar
A few years later, when the Rebels were preparing to attack the second Death Star, Ackbar, now a Rebel Admiral himself, followed in his predecessor’s footsteps and laid out an elaborate plan to destroy the Death Star’s shield generator on the forest moon of Endor and subsequently destroy the battle station itself, finishing by granting Rebel heroes Han Solo, Leia, Chewbacca the Wookiee, and Luke Skywalker permission to serve as command crew for the strike team.

When Ackbar, the fleet, and General Lando Calrissian, arrived at the Death Star, though, the shield was still up, because of a trap laid out by the Imperials for the Rebel strike team. They had to temporarily postpone the attack, and soon they found themselves caught in a trap themselves, hemmed in between the Death Star and the massive Imperial fleet. Hope returned, however, when the native Ewoks on the forest moon suddenly joined the fight and took the stormtroopers by surprise. And even though the Death Star proved to be operational when its superlaser opened fire on the Rebel capital ships, Calrissian soon devised a plan to make it harder on the Imperials by the Mon Cala cruisers meeting the Star Destroyers at point-blank range. Ackbar disapproved of this tactic at first, but with some reluctance, he started to take advantage of it and sufficiently brought his ships in close enough that the Death Star had a hard time aiming without taking out a few of its own, too.

After the shield generator was finally destroyed, Ackbar and his Mon Cala crew created a strong perimeter around the Death Star with their cruisers, while Calrissian and several fighters flew inside and knocked out the main reactor, destroying the battle station from within, like the first one. Although some of the credit for the victory at the Battle of Endor went to the Ewoks, Luke Skywalker and, no matter how reluctant others were to admit it, Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker, Mon Mothma, the Alliance’s Chief-of-State, praised only the Mon Calamari, saying that they inarguably saved the galaxy singlehandedly, and while this was doubtless a gross exaggeration, the Calamari still played a mighty important role in the defeat of the Empire.

Over the next year or so, Ackbar and his fellow Mon Cals would be very helpful in finishing the job of defeating the Empire in the months during and leading up to the Battle of Jakku.

The Force Awakens/The Last Jedi

After the war, the Mon Calamari became important members of the New Republic, and were always held in high regard by most. Eventually, however, war returned to the galaxy again in the form of the First Order, which wanted to restore the Empire in a new, improved form. The Calamari were not as active during this war, but some of them did join General Leia Organa’s Resistance to fight the First Order, including Admiral Ackbar himself, who had come out of retirement at Leia’s behest. Ackbar is reported to have perished when First Order TIE Fighters blew up the main bridge of the Raddus, a new Mon Cala cruiser named after the famed admiral who died at Scarif.

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