For many fans, The Mandalorian will be their first venture into Star Wars storytelling beyond the movies. As a result, there are characters and events mentioned that may be known in detail to many of us who have delved deeper into the universe that may not be clear to those taking their first steps into a larger world.
With this in mind, I have decided to rebrand my Character Histories going forwards to Galactic Histories, and expand out to also cover events, giving the main details and also information about where to find the relevant stories. As always, this means that there will be spoilers.
For the first of these, I reached out to a number of friends who were watching The Mandalorian with limited knowledge beyond the movies to see if there was anything they wanted more details about, and the first response I had was regarding a moment brought up during my favourite moment from season 2:
“So what shall we toast to, boys? I can blather on about ‘To health’ or ‘To success,’ but I’d like to do somethin’ a little less rote. Where you from, Brown Eyes?”
“How ’bout a toast to Operation Cinder?”
“Now there’s a man who knows his history.”
“No, I don’t just know it. I lived it.”
Stories containing Operation Cinder
As well as quick mentions in The Mandalorian and Star Wars Squadrons, Operation Cinder has been largely shown in the following media:
- Star Wars Battlefront II story mode
- Aftermath Trilogy (books)
- Alphabet Squadron Trilogy (books)
- Shattered Empire (comic)
When did this happen?
The months following the destruction of the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi, lasting less than 1 year.
What was Operation Cinder?
Operation Cinder was one of the early stages of Emperor Palpatine’s “Contingency”: a plan put in place to begin upon the event of his death, that would end in the destruction of the Empire (a punishment for failing to prevent his death), while to most loyal of officers would be allowed to escape and regroup in the Unknown Regions, while Palpatine was revived on Exegol. Orders were passed to Imperial officers by way of Sentinel Droids, who would only respond to authorised personnel.
Specifically, Operation Cinder was a campaign that saw the Empire begin orbital bombardments of a number of planets, utilising satellites that disrupted the climate of the planets, creating massive storms that would destroy everything in their path. The satellites were used on a number of planets…
Vardos: Admiral Garrick Versio and Inferno Squad were tasked with attacking Vardos, the Versios’ homeworld, which remained loyal to the Empire, as a test of Admiral Versio’s loyalty. Versio passed the test, however his daughter Iden, leader of Inferno Squad, and her fellow agent Del Meeko, defected during a mission to recover Protectorate Gleb – headmaster of the Future Imperial Leaders Military Preparatory School – from the planet. Following Versio and Meeko’s defection, they escaped the planet and surrendered to the Rebel Alliance, warning them about Operation Cinder.
Naboo: Palpatine’s homeworld was another target of Operation Cinder, just 20 days after the Battle of Endor. The attack, commanded by Captain Lerr Duvat of the Star Destroyer Torment began while Leia Organa was visiting the planet, which led to her, Naboo’s Queen Sorunna and Alliance pilot Shara Bey taking 3 N-1 starfighters into orbit to destroy the satellites. Though heavily outnumbered and outgunned, they were saved by the arrival of a Rebel fleet led by General Lando Calrissian, which also included Shriv Suurgav’s Danger Squadron and Imperial defectors Iden Versio and Del Meeko. The Rebel fleet successfully destroyed the satellites and the Torment, but a large portion of the Imperial forces escaped to the planet’s surface and began a ground assault on the capital of Theed. The combined Rebel Alliance and Naboo Security forces fell back through the city into the royal palace, before activating the city’s defences – an ion pulse that shorted all Imperial weaponry and vehicles, forcing the Imperials to surrender.
Burnin Kon: As Mayfeld recounts during Chapter 15 of The Mandalorian, he was present at Burnin Konn during Operation Cinder. At least one city and all of its occupants were destroyed in an instant, while Mayfeld’s division – 5-10,000 soldiers under the command of Valin Hess – were also lost. It would seem that this event led to Mayfeld’s defection from the Empire.
Nacronis: Another planet attacked during Operation Cinder was Nacronis. Though the Rebel Alliance tried to defend the planet, the presence of the 204ᵗʰ Imperial Fighter Wing – an elite unit known as Shadow Wing – and the dropping of vortex detonators by TIE Bombers to increase the fury of the storms resulted in the storms merging into one large storm, which devastated the planet. Seeing the result of the Empire’s actions led to a member of Shadow Wing, Yrica Quell, defecting from the Empire. She would later become the Squadron leader for the New Republic’s Alphabet Squadron.
Though these are the planets that we know most about, it is also known that Abednedo, Senthrodys, Cadovant and Commenor were also attacked during Operation Cinder.
So there you have it, the story of Operation Cinder. What other events or characters would you like me to cover?
Thanks for reading. Long live the Empire….