Part of what keeps the Star Wars universe alive and humming is its sprawling breadth of world-building. From its technology to its cultures, no detail is too small not to explore, with even brief characters often spawning their own special fanbase. Cases in point range from bounty hunters to political leaders, and those are just generic employee positions.
Not all concepts explored can be as grandiose as expanding War systems or interplanetary struggle for power however. On occasions, some laid back ideas that casually sit on the canon-verse shelf might still have big implications – none more so than spice. Though it’s an item they wish they could bury so far down the galactic underworld came to life like never before after its introduction in Star Wars Legends. Here, we will explore what spice is and the perilous implications it has on both its users and dealers alike.
What Is Spice?
In the Star Wars galaxy, “spice” is a catch-all term for a number of illegal substances. Products like ryll and glitterstim earn few recent mentions but remain a canon part of underworld drug currencies. Sansanna spice is incredibly hazardous to produce but also highly sought after and referenced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars season 5 episodes “A Necessary Bond” and “Point of No Return” during several fifth season episodes, drawing the eye of space pirate Hondo Ohnaka when a crate of the drug falls into his hands.
More commonly, these drugs are simply called spice, with the mines of Kessel being a primary supplier. The planet plays an important role in both decades old versions like Han Solo in Episode V, as well as more modern series like The Mandalorian Season One finale episode. In all cases, the motif is the same; spice offers powerful effects, usually at great risk to its users.
Why Is It Dangerous?
Spice is a powerful drug found throughout the galaxy in the Star Wars universe and it’s incredibly dangerous if abused. There are several varieties of spice, some of which are named specifically in canon sources, while others have been described in non-canon literature.
One type called Ryll spice has been explained as having an effect close to morphine – strong enough that it’s highly addictive and can be used medically as a painkiller or anesthetic. It seems its effects on this potency can be unpredictable, with addicts theoretically swinging from lethargic to dangerously needy, their victims craving another high and willing to turn to violence to get it. Then there’s glitterstim spice: a potent mind-altering substance that awakens or enhances a person’s telepathic abilities, as Han Solo discovered in the Legends novel Jedi Search by Kevin J. Anderson. What else does this illicit drug offer that makes it so sought after? Whatever the reason, power struggles naturally arise over who can control what could become an even more profitable trade item than tibanna gas.