Boba Fett and the Crime Syndicates of Star Wars

by Tom Hartig on December 16, 2021

The excitement could not have been any bigger when the bounty hunter Boba Fett ascended Jabba's throne during the credits of the final episode of "The Mandalorian", following the official announcement of "The Book of Boba Fett". That was more than a year ago and finally the time has come: On December 29, the Disney+ series will be released on the streaming platform and in the meantime we can already look forward to all kinds of teasers and trailers. However, they are still rather reserved with regard to the plot. Of course, that leaves all the more room for speculation. After ascending the throne, we can assume that there will definitely be a power struggle between the crime syndicates, and indeed we have already seen a lot of that. However, since "Solo: A Star Wars Story" and the final season of "Clone Wars", it has become quiet around this subject. That's why we are going to refresh your knowledge about the big criminal syndicates and give you a little preview of the plot, as far as we can guess it.

The Five Syndicates

A total of five syndicates are widely established in the galaxy: We know Crimson Dawn from "Solo: A Star Wars Story". Meanwhile, Black Sun and the Pyke Syndicate played a major role in Clone Wars. Probably the most famous cartel is the Hutt Cartel, to which Jabba the Hutt also belongs. Lastly, there is the Crymorah Cartel, which will be rather unknown to most of you, as it was primarily covered in the Star Wars comics.

Crimson Dawn

So first, let's take a closer look at the Crimson Dawn syndicate. This syndicate joined the so-called Shadow Collective at the time of the Clone Wars under the leadership of Dryden Vos, who was led by Maul, formerly known as Darth Maul. Like the other syndicates, they first retreated following Order 66 to observe developments around the galactic empire. Although Vos remained as the head of the organization, Maul continued to pull the strings in the background. The headquarters of Crimson Dawn was the starship First Light. From this flying fortress, they grew to become the most feared syndicate during the Empire, in part due to their brutality. After the death of Dryden Vos, Qi'ra assumed control and was ordered directly from Maul to Dathomir. She continued to run the organization even after the death of Darth Sidious' former apprentice, and sought to overthrow the Empire to create equal opportunities for all factions in the galaxy. This made Crimson Dawn one of the main targets of the Empire, making them not as strong in the New Republic. However, the Syndicate still helped influence politics by repeatedly bribing notable senators. 

Boba Fett also still has a score to settle with Crimson Dawn. After all, they stole Han Solo from him, who was frozen in carbonite, while he was on his way to Jabba. The Syndicate earns its credits mainly by stealing and smuggling rare minerals and drugs. After the fall of the Empire, they also collected all sorts of rare Sith artifacts and holocrons.

The Black Sun

The Black Sun is considered Crimson Dawn's closest ally and had the entire planet of Mustafar under its control until the rise of the Empire. It had established a vast espionage and blackmail network, which gave them influence in all major governments. During the Clone Wars, Black Sun reluctantly joined the Shadow Collective, though the latter did not give them much choice. 

The Black Sun maintained the largest army of any syndicate, training thousands of warriors to defend Mustafar in the event of an invasion. After the fall of the Republic, they fled to Smarab to establish their new headquarters, since Darth Vader was building his castle on Mustafar. Nevertheless, they continued to flourish under the Empire, so after its fall they kept trying to sabotage the New Republic. Shortly before the Battle of Jakku, they corrupted some senators into voting against sending troops to the desert planet. Most of the imperial forces had retreated to it. Their plan failed, however, as Han Solo managed to persuade the senators. 

The Black Sun was known primarily for its shameless slave trade. However, in addition to living beings, they also traded weapons and information, which is why they had a great interest in the continuation of the Galactic Civil War.

The Pyke Syndicate

The Pyke Syndicate is probably one of the most well-known syndicates among fans thanks to the Clone Wars series. They were one of the main opponents of Crimson Dawn, but they were also compelled to join the Shadow Collective, just like Black Sun. The Pykes species lived on the planet Oba Diah and made their money mainly by trading Spice. After the death of Jabba, they had a large trade monopoly. Spice was the most common drug in the galaxy and was banned in both the Old Republic and the Empire, as well as the New Republic. Most Spice was exploited in the mines of Kessel. Besides that, the Pyke Syndicate also dealt with coaxium, the fuel for hyperspace technology. In order to get the spice from the asteroid planet Kessel to Oba Diah, the Pykes smuggled the drug in cargo ships and similar spacecraft that made the famous Kessel run. Only one pilot ever made the flight in just under 12 parsecs. We assume you know who we are talking about. 

However, after the fall of the Empire, the Pyke Syndicate lost its power steadily, mainly due to the reintroduction of the Sector Rangers, who provided law and order in the different regions of the known galaxy. 

The Crymorah Syndicate

The Crymorah Syndicate had its prime especially during the time of the Galactic Empire. One of the main reasons for this was that they provided the Empire with information about secret Rebel bases and lost Jedi. After the destruction of the first Death Star, the Syndicate was supposed to supply the Empire with new essential raw materials and weapons to speed up the construction of the second Death Star. However, the talks failed, so Vader negotiated directly with Jabba and the Crymorah were henceforth considered enemies of the Empire. Together with the Droid Gotra they raided supply routes of the Empire from then on. The Droid Gotra was a group of battle droids from the Clone Wars that had not been deactivated. They also represented an underground group that attempted to sabotage the Empire and fought for the emancipation of the droids. However, in the war against the Underworld, the Syndicate was almost completely destroyed by Major General Cassio Tagge. Only after the fall of the Empire was the Syndicate able to regain importance.

The Hutt Clan

The Hutt Clan is the oldest and biggest organization of the five syndicates. They have been operating since before the High Republic and established their reputation mainly in contraband and spice trade. Their home planet was Nal Hutta which resembles a huge swamp. During the Clone Wars, they managed to expand their sphere of influence due to the Republic's involvement in the fight with the Separatists throughout the galaxy. However, they allowed Republic forces to use their hyperspace routes. Indeed, they were the Syndicate that resisted the Shadow Collective the longest and strongest. It wasn't until the capture of Jabba's palace that they joined Maul in attacking the Mandalorian capital. During the Empire, Jabba was the head of the Hutt family and council, while the other members ruled only small sectors of the clan. Yet before his death, Darth Vader wiped out the entire Council, making Jabba the sole ruler of all Hutt territories. 

Jabba thus left a huge power vacuum after his death that was impossible to fill. Thanks to this vacuum, the Son-tuul Pride crime syndicate, which had previously been crushed by the Empire, was able to rise again. It was considered the greatest adversary to the Hutt Cartel. What influence the ascent of Jabba's throne by Boba will have on the clan, we will surely find out very soon.

What's Next?

Of course, no one knows exactly what will happen next. However, the plot can be guessed a little. By assuming Jabba's throne, Boba has certainly drawn some attention to himself. Until now, it seemed more like a rumor that one of the greatest bounty hunters of all time was able to free himself from the maw of the Sarlacc. His goal is clear: to rule instead of taking orders. This will certainly not please everyone. As we have already seen in the trailers, Boba has summoned several organizations to his table, consisting of Trandoshans, Klatooinians and Aqualish. So far, no syndicate is known that is explicitly composed of these species. Merely the robe of the Klatooinians is reminiscent of that of the Black Sun. 

Along with them, he is trying to create a new organization in the world. Besides the already established syndicates, others will no doubt also try to obtain Jabba's power after Bib Fortuna. The more so because it is not yet fully clarified whether Fortuna only had control over the palace or also other parts of Jabba's business. This appears to be the case, as we could see a city in the trailer in which an Ithorian is in power. In the dialogues we hear between Fennec Shand and him, he wants to be a better ruler and stop just using brute force to unite the people under him. Whether that works in a world of criminals, where one rams a knife into the other's back at any given opportunity, is yet to be seen. Shand seems to be the devil over his shoulder, always wanting to show him the more brutal way out. What we all hope to see is of course a few more flashbacks that show the way he escaped from the Sarlacc and what has happened since then.

Image of STAR WARS: Battle for Jabba's Throne - The Book of Boba Fett (2021)