What Book Of Boba Fett's Scorpion Droids Are: Star Wars History Explained

Warning: Spoilers ahead for The Book of Boba Fett episode 7!

The season finale of The Book of Boba Fett featured the live-action and canon universe debut of the scorpion-like Scorpenek droids, rare and deadly war machines with a fascinating history in Star Wars Legends. Originally part of the Confederacy of Independent Systems military, Scorpenek droids were among the deadliest units in the CIS military, threatening Palpatine’s long-term plans for the Clone Wars, so they became part of his secret Imperial contingent instead. Despite their importance to multiple eras in the Star Wars Legends timeline, the Scorpenek droids never appeared in screen or visual print media, outside of illustrations in sourcebooks. However, their brief but memorable appearance in The Book of Boba Fett implies that their history isn’t quite the same in canon.

In both continuities, the Clone Wars were a manufactured conflict, with Palpatine playing both sides as the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic and the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Sidious. The war was intended to unite the Republic against a massive existential threat that would convince them to gradually surrender their democracy in favor of a militarist fascist state. To do this, Palpatine needed the heroic Clone Troopers and Jedi to be in a perpetual tug-of-war with the Separatists. While the Jedi and Clones were each among the galaxy’s most formidable combatants, they were always vastly outnumbered by the seemingly-infinite Separatist military, largely comprised of cheap, barely-competent Battle Droids and variants like the Super Battle Droid.

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The CIS, known as the Separatist Alliance in canon, occasionally indulged their wealth into more deadly droid variants, some of which posed a significant threat to even the Clones and Jedi. In Legends, this included the Protodeka, a gargantuan, flying, tank-like droid that obliterated three AT-TE walkers and a pair of AT-XT walkers in a matter of seconds on Raxus Prime. In canon, the Separatists created the experimental “super tank,” which nearly wiped out Republic forces during canon’ Second Battle of Geonosis. Separatist superweapons in both continuities were not impossible for Jedi and Clones to overcome, but they would have certainly turned the tide of the war had they been produced in larger quantities. The Scorpenek is one of the best examples of this in Legends, but the droid’s canon debut suggests that it has at least one major change from its Legends counterpart.

The Scorpenek Annihilator Droid was first described in the Legends-era sourcebook, The New Essential Guide to Droids. Based on unused concept art from the last two Star Wars prequels, the Scorpenek was established as one of the CIS military’s rarest and deadliest ground units. Comparable to the Droideka, which Jedi and Clone Troopers could dispatch with difficulty, the Scorpenek was a massive, tank-sized variant of it, utilizing heavy blaster canons and being protected by a shield. Like the Protodeka, the Scorpenek could destroy heavy walkers like the AT-TE and lay waste to entire platoons of Clone Troopers with ease. While lacking the flight capabilities ordnance of the Protodeka, the Scorpenek’s shield made it far deadlier, as a single skilled Jedi or Clone could defeat a Protodeka with great difficulty. Scorpenek droids often housed Droidekas inside their shield, making for an especially deadly combo.

In Legends, Scorpenek droids were, unsurprisingly, expensive and extremely rare as a result, with fewer than 100 droids in existence. A single Scorpenek could turn the tide of a battle; however, as the Republic learned during the Battle of Colla IV, the Scorpenek droids’ point of origin. Four platoons of Clone Troopers, led by an ARC Trooper, who in Legends were trained as Mandalorians by Jango Fett, were held off by one Scorpenek. Only the ARC Trooper and one platoon of Clone Troopers survived the battle, and Scorpenek droids were sent to defend key CIS planets at the end of the war. Scorpenek droids were responsible for at least two other CIS victories, and while the Republic military managed to destroy some, doing so sacrificed significant amounts of Clone Troopers. As with all CIS droid forces, the Scorpenek droids were deactivated following Darth Vader’s assassination of the Separatist Council on Mustafar.

Palpatine, aware of the Scorpenek droids’ usefulness in combat, wouldn’t let such a deadly unit be mothballed following the defeat of the CIS, so he gathered the surviving droids and made them part of his secret contingent of the Galactic Empire. Known as the Dark Empire, this portion of Palpatine’s regime included superweapons other than the Death Star and housed the deadliest ground units and space vessels in the Empire. The Dark Empire was headquartered on Byss, a dark side-tainted world in the galaxy’s treacherous Deep Core region, where Palpatine’s citadel was guarded by the galaxy’s remaining Scorpenek droids. The droids never saw use in the Galactic Civil War, as Byss was too well-guarded for even the New Republic to dare invade. Palpatine’s Imperial Scorpenek droids, like all other Dark Empire forces on Byss, were destroyed along with the planet when the Galaxy Gun superweapon fired on it.

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Scorpenek droids made their canon debut in The Book of Boba Fett “Chapter 7: In the Name of Honor,” as enforcers for the Pyke Syndicate, besieging the Tatooine city of Mos Espa. While the Scorpenek droids are depicted onscreen the same way that they’re described in Legends-era sourcebooks, the droids were notably absent from all canon Clone Wars-era content. This makes their origins ambiguous, as they might have been developed by the Colicoid Creation Nest as they were in Legends, but not for the Separatist Alliance. Separatist assets were absorbed by the Empire, so the droids might have been experimental Imperial units. Another possibility is that the Pykes stole the designs from the Separatists or Empire.

Scorpenek droids were used exclusively by the CIS and the Dark Empire in Legends, with Palpatine consolidating the surviving units at the end of the Clone Wars and adding them to his elite forces on Byss. Considering how useful the droids were to Palpatine in Legends, it’s unlikely that he’d allow any units to fall into the hands of criminals like the Pykes. In canon, Palpatine’s equivalent to the Dark Empire, the Sith Eternal, built different elite units on the Unknown Regions world of Exegol, so perhaps they share a similar Clone Wars-era history in canon but weren’t reprogrammed to serve Palpatine’s backup Empire after the war. This would allow the Pyke Syndicate to obtain several deadly Scorpenek droids, like the two seen in The Book of Boba Fett’s season finale.

More: Why Palpatine's Clone Return Was Better In Legends Than Rise of Skywalker

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