Rukh was a Noghri warrior who served the Galactic Empire as the bodyguard and assassin of Grand Admiral Thrawn. During the Liberation of Lothal, Rukh perished at the hands of Garazeb Orrelios, who electrocuted him while fighting inside the Imperial Complex.
Serving Grand Admiral Thrawn
After the theft of the prototype TIE Defender on Lothal, Grand Admiral Thrawn sent Rukh to assist Governor Arihnda Pryce in the search for the Ghost Crew. Pryce suspected that the thieves would return to the vicinity of the crash site to retrieve the prototype's removed hyperdrive. Upon arriving at the crash site, Rukh smelled the Lasat rebel Garazeb Orrelios, as well as Ezra Bridger and Jai Kell, nearby where they were retrieving the drive. As the assassin approached the scene, Ezra attempted to stall him by claiming that he and Kell, who were both disguised as Scout Troopers, had just finished searching the area. The ruse did not work, and Rukh attacked the two. During the fight, he realized that Ezra was a Jedi when he used the Force to fling him off Jai. The two escaped on a speeder bike, with Rukh pursuing. Meanwhile, Zeb had evaded the assassin and escaped with the hyperdrive in an Imperial Troop Transport.
Rukh chased Ezra and Jai through a labyrinth of rock spires on a speeder bike. He engaged Ezra in a brief fight, his electrostaff to Ezra's lightsaber. When the two rebels pulled ahead due to Rukh being forced to evade a boulder in his path, the assassin fired a homing beacon at their bike, which they did not notice. Rukh continued the pursuit, eventually launching his bike over a pile of rock that Ezra had created as an obstacle with a planted detonator While in the air, Rukh's bike was destroyed when Ezra fired upon it, and the rebels fled. Using his tracking device, Rukh located the rebel camp and sent Pryce the coordinates. However, due to the rebels' earlier escape, Pryce did not allow Rukh to take out the camp by himself, which he was confident he could do. She instead attacked with several Imperial Combat Assault Tanks, a strategy that he criticized. After the Rebels had escaped the camp, deeper into the mountains, Rukh insisted that he be allowed to pursue, but Pryce refused, deciding instead to bomb the mountains.
During the Rebel Attack on Lothal, Rukh was stationed in the Capital City. The rebels' attempts to destroy the Lothal Fuel Depot and factory had failed, as Thrawn had prepared a second set of TIE Fighters to intercept the bombers after they broke through the blockade outside the planet. Upon being informed that some Rebel Pilots may have survived their crash-landing, Thrawn tasked Rukh with capturing any survivors alive, only killing them if he had no choice. Thrawn also told him to capture Hera Syndulla, the attack's commander, at any cost. Rukh complied, and during his mission, he captured Secon Daree and brought him to Pryce, who congratulated the assassin. Rukh later searched for Hera, acquiring her scent and found her and her astromech droid droid, C1-10P, helping another pilot, Mart Mattin. He ambushed the trio and engaged in a short skirmish with them. While he was unable to capture Mart and Chopper, he managed to separate Hera from them, which led to her capture by Imperial forces.
Rescue of Hera Syndulla
When the Ghost Crew mounted a mission to rescue General Syndulla, Rukh was on patrol when he encountered two Stormtroopers. Rukh asked the troopers if they had anything to report. His nostrils twitched as the Ghost Crew passed over him in three Loth-Bat Gliders. Sensing something afoot, Rukh tried to warn Pryce. While he was talking with her, the Jedi Knight Kanan Jarrus freed Hera from Pryce's Office. Rukh pursued them by climbing up the Imperial Complex to the garbage chute on the south entrance. Rukh briefly fought with Kanan, resulting in the loss of Kanan's lightsaber. However, Kanan pushed him off the building but Rukh managed to avoid death by clinging to a balcony. The rebels escaped on a glider but Kanan was killed.
Following the death of Kanan, Rukh was present in Pryce's office during a hologram briefing with Thrawn. Thrawn reprimanded Pryce for destroying the fuel depot and disrupting the Empire's TIE Defender project on Lothal. After chastising Pryce, Thrawn warned Rukh that the rebels would strike recklessly and tasked him with eliminating them. As Rukh left the room, he smirked at the chastised Pryce.
Continuing his hunt for the Ghost Crew, Rukh encountered a Scout Trooper who had been knocked out by Zeb. He narrowly escaped being killed by an explosive that Sabine Wren had planted on the trooper's bike. Rukh's sharp senses helped him to home in on Sabine and Zeb, and he followed them into the wilderness. Sabine and Zeb trapped him but Rukh turned the tables on them by activating his cloaking device. Armed with his cloaking device, Rukh viciously attacked Zeb.
Using her Mandalorian helmet's rangefinder, Sabine managed to shoot at Rukh. However, he was able to dodge her with superhuman reflexes and managed to knock out her helmet. After struggling with Zeb, Rukh retreated for a second round. This time, Sabine managed to neutralize his cloaking device by throwing a paint bomb at him, damaging his cloaking device and partially painting him. Now visible, he was quickly overpowered by Zeb. Zeb almost beat him to death but was stopped by Sabine, who convinced him to spare Rukh's life. Sabine instead spray-pained Rukh before sending him back to the Empire on a speeder bike.
Trap at the Lothal Rebel Base
Rukh accompanied Pryce on an invasion of the rebel base. Ryder Azadi nearly shot him, but decided to maintain his cover and let him go. Rukh fought with Ezra. When the rebels retreated into the cave, Rukh followed them with his men, and found Ezra standing in the dark. When Rukh taunted Ezra about his "army", Ezra ignited his lightsaber, revealing a pack of Loth-Wolves, terrifying him. In the ensuing battle, he was thrown off the encampment by the White Loth-Wolf. While he survived the plunge, he lost his electrostaff.
Last stand on Lothal
Rukh managed to survive the fall and by the time he made his way back up the cliff, he found Commander Wolffe, Mart Mattin and Cikatro Vizago loading up the Ghost and attacked them. He easily subdued all three rebels and prepared to kill them, but became terrified when the white Loth-Wolf returned and hastily boarded a stolen Imperial Patrol Transport to escape. He then informed Thrawn of Pryce's capture. Thrawn tasked him with disabling the Planetary Shield Generator.
Rukh managed to disable the generator, but was attacked by Zeb, who fought him in the shield generator core. Zeb tangled Rukh's foot in the generator's wiring, causing Rukh to be caught in the electric current as Alexsandr Kallus activated the shield generator. Realizing the shield was up as his bombardment did nothing to the city, Thrawn contacted Rukh for his status, but Zeb had retrieved Rukh's comlink and laughed at the news of the bodyguard's fate amidst the sound of Rukh being fried to death in the background.
Personality and Traits
Rukh was fiercely loyal to the Empire in general and Thrawn in particular, serving as the latter's bodyguard and top assassin. Unless ordered otherwise, he would pursue his targets relentlessly and without hesitation or remorse. From the moment he arrived on Lothal Rukh developed a rivalry with Governor Arihnda Pryce, showing contempt for her attempts at using brute force to subdue the rebels and receiving significant scorn from her over his abilities. After Pryce killed Kanan but destroyed the Imperial fuel depot on Lothal in the process, Rukh was present when she was admonished for her failure by Thrawn. He smirked in delight at the sight of his humbled rival.
Like Pryce, Rukh was terrified of the Loth-Wolves.
Skills and Abilities
As a Noghri, Rukh could travel quickly on all fours without tiring. His agility and reflexes made him formidable and unpredictable in close quarters combat. Despite this, he could be easily overpowered by Force-sensitives such as Ezra. Rukh also displayed a heightened sense of smell, catching the scent of Zeb from a considerable distance, as well as easily seeing through Ezra and Jai's disguises.
Rukh proved skilled in melee combat even when outnumbered due to his use of a personal cloaking device. He had faster reflexes than a human and was able to match Zeb's strength. However, when Rukh's cloaking device was compromised, he was no match for Zeb's brute force. Only Sabine's intervention saved him from death.
Rukh carried an electrostaff in combat, holding his own against the seasoned Ezra. He also employed tracking devices for help with finding targets, and knew how to operate a speeder bike. He also carried a personal cloaking device with him, as shown when he was fighting Zeb and Sabine.
- He is voiced by Warwick Davis, a veteran Star Wars actor.
- Rukh was initially introduced in the Star Wars Legends Thrawn trilogy as the bodyguard of Grand Admiral Thrawn, whom he later killed after learning that the Empire was responsible for a catastrophe that had affected his people. Rukh had previously been acknowledged by Thrawn's use of the name as a deactivation code for his Imperial Sentry Droids.
- Rukh's visual appearance has changed greatly over the years. Some illustrations have him as an enormous, gray hulking creature while others have him smaller and wiry as the Thrawn trilogy describes.
- When Timothy Zann first developed the Thrawn trilogy, he had pitched the idea of calling Rukh's species, the Sith. As a way of explaining just what exactly it meant for Darth Vader to be a "Dark Lord of the Sith". This was before it was common knowledge that the Sith were the ancient darkside enemy of the Jedi. Because of this, Zann invented the Noghri species.