Rukh is a male Noghri and the bodyguard of Grand Admiral Thrawn appearing in the fourth season of Star Wars Rebels. A formidable warrior, he is also Thrawn's personal assassin and was dispatched to Lothal to hunt the Rebels known as the Spectres.
Rukh is mysterious and dangerous. He is a cunning assassin, single-minded and indomitable, unwilling to give up once he has begun his hunt. He is also proud, as he would have preferred not to have had help when tracking the Rebels on Lothal when Arihnda Pryce went with him to hunt them. But above all, he is unfailingly loyal to Thrawn, so much so that the grand admiral used Rukh's name as the deactivation code for his security droids.
As a Noghri, Rukh is short in stature, with scaly skin, ape-like hands and feet with opposable toes, a single row of spikes on his head, and silver-grey eyes. He can also run on all fours and walk on two legs. His voice is also deep and sounds like an animal's growl.
- Master Assassin: Rukh is Thrawn's best assassin as well as his bodyguard. As such, he is rightly respected and feared.
- Expert Tracker: Rukh is able to track his enemies with frightening ease due to his heightened senses. As such, he was able to close in on his targets with surprising speed.
- Master Hand-to-Hand Combatant: Rukh is formidable in physical combat, as he was able to fight Ezra Bridger, using his electrostaff to effectively combat the Jedi's lightsaber.
- Heightened Senses: Rukh has senses beyond those of any human, and has a powerful sense of smell. He can also use this to determine how close his enemies are, much to the astonishment of Arihnda Pryce.
Role in the Series
In the episode "Kindred", Rukh was dispatched to Lothal by Thrawn to hunt the Rebels that had returned there and that had stolen the new TIE Defender prototype. Upon his arrival and meeting with Arihnda Pryce, he immediately began tracking the Rebels, as he had detected the scent of Garazeb Orrelios nearby. Using this, he homed in quickly on a disguised Ezra Bridger and Jai Kell. Seeing through their disguises, he wasted no time in attacking them and chased after them on a speeder bike when they escaped.
In the chase that ensued, Rukh battle Ezra, but eventually lost his quarry when they destroyed his speeder bike. However, Rukh had the last laugh ultimately, as he had placed a tracker on their speeder bike. He would later join Arihnda Pryce and her troops again when attacking their hideout, but expressed that he could have easily done the job himself as opposed to having her aid. When the Rebels escaped into the mountains with the Loth-Wolf pack that led them to safety, Rukh stayed behind as the Imperial governor ordered a pair of TIE Bombers to blast the mountains with their payload.
When the rebels gathered all of the allies they could in the series finale, Rukh joins Pryce and a legion of Stormtroopers in infiltrating the rebels' hideout. He gets into a brief lightsaber duel with Ezra before being knocked off the side of the hideout to his apparent death.
After Ezra summons the Loth-wolves, who capture Pryce and kill most of her troops, they take her back to the Imperial dome in Capital City. Here, Rukh shows up alive and tries to prevent the rebels from reactivating the dome's disabled shield generators. He gets into a brief fistfight with Zeb, then tangles Zeb's foot to one of the pylons just as it is about to be activated. Zeb frees himself in time and tangles Rukh to another pylon. Rukh is only able to watch as the pylons power up one-by-one before electrocuting him.
Zeb recovers Rukh's comlink when Thrawn contacts him. As Rukh screams in pain, Zeb begins joking that Rukh is "busy" and that Thrawn should call back later. Rukh then drops dead, prompting Zeb to snidely remark that Thrawn should "never mind about calling back".
- Rukh originally appeared in the Star Wars "Legends" continuity. Here, his occupation as Thrawn's bodyguard was also the same, but he eventually betrayed and killed Thrawn in retaliation for his people's enslavement.
- Rukh’s death in the new canon occurs much earlier than it did in Legends; he dies before the beginning of the original trilogy in canon, whereas in Legends he dies long after the end of the trilogy.
- Rukh is the second Noghri seen in the new Canon Star Wars timeline, as another Noghri also appeared in Rogue One's comic book line created by Marvel Comics.
- 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, as the term had not been used in any of the movies up to that point. Because of this, Zann invented the Noghri species.
- According to Dave Filoni, Rukh's confrontation against Zeb in the series finale was different. But he changed it as he felt it was something they've already seen before.