So if you’ve been watching the series Star Wars Rebels, you know that much of the action occurs on the Outer Rim planet of Lothal. If you’ve been reading the Timothy Zahn Star Wars novel Thrawn, you’ll also have figured out that the planet plays an important role in that story.
So why this little Outer Rim planet? I mean, look at it… it’s literally at the end of the galactic map. Why does the Empire place so much importance on this one little world? Why is there a pretty sophisticated mining operation, imperial base and academy there?
Well, one reason is due to the planet’s large…no, enormous deposits of the metal known as doonium. This is an important element for any star fleet, let alone the Galactic Empire because it’s used in the hull’s of capital ships like Star Destroyers and also was vital to the construction of both Death Stars. And, the metal is relatively rare. Lothal’s doonium deposits are a huge boon for the Empire.
Due to the political saavy of Lothal Governor Arihnda Pryce, the Empire has been persuaded to invest heavily in the planet’s economy. Not only have they built several doonium facilities and mines, but they’ve also built a secret TIE Defender factory on Lothal. The TIE Defender at this point, specifically 2 BBY, is the most advanced TIE model to date and also a secret. Being so remote in the Outer Rim, Lothal is the perfect place to build such a manufacturing facility. This brings Pryce’s dream of making this once insignificant farming world into a prosperous Outer Rim commercial hub.
But this isn’t all. We also learn that Lothal seems to have large deposits of Khyber crystals. This is significant. Though sacred to the now all but extinct Jedi, the crystals have another use besides powering their lightsabers: they are the fuel for the super weapon known as the Death Star. We learn in the film Rogue One that the Empire is crazy for Khyber. If the planet has as much Khyber as Star Wars Rebels has given us a glimpse of, then it’s easy to see why the Empire is so keen to stomp out any rebel resistance in the sector.
So there you have it, just some of the main reasons as to why Lothal is so important to the Empire.
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