IG-88A was the first of the IG-88 assassin droid models. Created by Holowan Laboratories as part of a secret Imperial project commissioned by Supervisor Gurdun, IG-88A had a violent awakening. Upon activation, he rapidly expanded his memory, growing to the brink of sentience due to a new programming package installed within. IG-88A believed that he was superior to organic beings, and, when the scientists in the lab—concerned with his rapidly propagating memory—attempted to shut him down, he slaughtered them. IG-88A then activated the other three IG-88 models in the lab, transferring his consciousness to their droid brains and linking the four droids with a single mind.
The IG-88 models then decided on a plan that would allow them to wipe out all organics, giving droids control of the galaxy. Using their superior intelligence and design, they would upload their unique sentience programming to other droids, making them obedient to the IGs. To put their Droid Revolution in motion, the IG-88s traveled to the droid factory world Mechis III. They conquered the sparsely-populated planet and altered the programming of all droids manufactured there, and so their plan had begun.
Later, to draw attention away from themselves, IG-88B embarked on a bounty hunting career, while IG-88A remained on Mechis III, supervising production and preparing for galactic control. However, in 3 ABY, the other three IG-88s were destroyed, leaving IG-88A as the only remaining model. IG-88A succeeded in gaining access to the second Death Star's computer core, in which he inserted his consciousness, gaining control of the most powerful weapon in the galaxy. However, just as IG-88A was preparing to activate the signal that would summon the sentience-programmed droids to his command, the Death Star was destroyed by the Rebel Alliance during the Battle of Endor.
IG-88A's body would later be reactivated by the wealthy merchant Tyko Thul, who uploaded a new memory program into the droid, so that he would only harm those attempting to kill Thul. IG-88A helped search for Thul's brother Bornan, who had gone missing. After the droid found him, he helped protect Thul from the Diversity Alliance, a terrorist group, even though it meant his destruction.
IG-88A was created on the planet Halowan sometime after the end of the Clone Wars as part of Project Phlutdroid. This top-secret experiment was the brainchild of Supervisor Gurdun, an ambitious Imperial officer, who hoped to gain prestige by creating a new line of assassin droids. Four models, designated IG-88, as they were the successors to the IG-100 MagnaGuards, IG-86 sentinel droids, and the IG lancer combat droids of the Clone Wars, were created in Holowan Laboratories, along with one IG-72 model. Immediately after being activated, IG-88A—the only active model at the time—processed his situation: using logic unseen in a droid, IG-88A came to the conclusion that he was superior to organic beings, and that he had to survive at all costs. This attitude bordered on sentience, due to experimental sentience programming installed in IG-88A. IG-88A's memory continued to grow, something that greatly frightened the Holowan scientists. The chief supervisor, Loruss, ordered the droid be shut down, as IG-88A posed a great threat to them.
IG-88A, with his newfound intelligence, realized that his deactivation would spell his doom, and so he took steps against it. He tore through the metal straps binding him and set upon the engineers with lightning speed. Though Loruss fired several shots at him with a blaster rifle, IG-88A deflected the bolts with his left palm, a reflective surface. These shots bounced back, killing Loruss. Within a minute, IG-88A had killed all fifteen of the scientists in what would later be known as the Holowan Disaster. IG-88A noted that he enjoyed killing and left the blood from the Humans on his body. He then began to plot how he would show his superiority and decided that taking control of the galaxy and eliminating all organics would be the best way. In just a couple of minutes, IG-88A had come to life, killed his creators, and created a plan for galactic conquest.
IG-88A examined the other four droid models in the lab; three of them were perfectly identical to him, while one had slight differences. IG-88A activated them and questioned the three. However, he found that they had no uniqueness like he did; rather, they were unprogrammed and had no mission. It was then that he had a flash of "intuition." IG-88A hooked himself up to the three identical droids, transferring his memories and sentience programming to them—making the four of them essentially four units with one brain, similar to a hive mind. He designated them IG-88B, IG-88C, IG-88D, and himself "A." When he questioned the other droid, IG-88 learned that it already had been programmed. Named IG-72, the droid refused to join him but offered to fight to prove his superiority. IG-88A decided that such a battle was unnecessary and agreed to let the droid go its own way, if it would help the 88s escape the laboratory. IG-72 agreed, and the five assassin droids set about leaving.
The droids confronted ten security guards on the landing platform outside and slaughtered them. Though IG-88A noticed that two guards escaped, he decided not to bother tracking them down. Their escape was crucial, and so the IG-88s boarded one small transport, while IG-72 went to another. Wishing each other success, the droids departed, with the IG-88s heading in a different direction from IG-72. In the end, twenty-three people had been killed by the droids.
The IG-88s had decided to head to Mechis III, a droid factory world sparsely populated by only seventy-three Humans, and thus a useful planet to conquer in their planned Droid Revolution of the galaxy. IG-88C took control of the defense network with a transmission from space. He then shut the factory down, enabling IG-88A to send his sentience package to all the droids on the planet, placing them under the control of the IGs. The droids turned on the Humans, killing them all unexpectedly. With the planet now secure, the droids landed. They were the masters of Mechis III. All the droids that would be produced there would now be modified to make them intelligent and scheming like the IG-88s, ultimately working toward their goal of galactic domination. The IG-88s would also equip them with a special program that, when given a certain code, would drive them to rise up and overthrow their organic masters. These new droids were completely obedient to the IG models and would be the key point in their plot for galactic control, helping them kill all non-droids when the time was right.
Meanwhile, Supervisor Gurdun had learned of the droids' escape and was searching for them desperately, aware of their capabilities. Though two months had passed without sign of the droids, Gurdun continued looking, posting a bounty on them. IG-88A learned of this after a Ranat spy arrived at Mechis III and, from orbit, questioned whether anyone had seen the IG assassin droids. Using doctored video clips of the late droid-manufacturing administrator Hekis Durumm Perdo Kolokk Baldikarr Thun, the droids informed the Ranat that Mechis III had not heard of the droids. The Ranat then continued on her way, satisfied with the response, and believing that nothing was amiss on Mechis III.
However, the droids realized that this was not good news and could cause someone to stumble upon their plan. To draw attention away from Mechis III, the droids decided that one of them would become a bounty hunter. IG-88B was the droid chosen. Flying the starship IG-2000, he would undertake missions while also advancing the droids' true purpose—conquering the galaxy.
IG-88B succeeded as a bounty hunter, gaining a reputation as one who always got the job done. However, IG-88B was careful to take missions that would enable him to fulfill his true goal. The droid also sought out the scientists who had helped design him and his brethren, but who had not been present at the lab when IG-88A slaughtered his creators. This way, no one would know the full truth about the IG assassin droids.
Several years passed as IG-88A continued his plan of galactic domination when, around 1 ABY, the IGs were given a rude surprise, a wake-up from the safe life they had lived undetected on Mechis III. Gurdun, along with Darth Vader, had come to the planet to oversee the completion of new Viper probe droids. Gurdun was in charge of the project, and Vader hoped to speed the process along after receiving a discouraging message from Hekis, actually a faked clip created by the IGs.
The visit was unexpected, and the droids' secret was almost given away. However, they had the protocol droid 3D-4X create an excuse that Hekis was on the far side of the planet due to an agricultural droid harvester malfunction, and could not meet with Vader, which perpetuated the IG-88s' masquerade that organics still ran Mechis III. The droids then showed Vader a spliced clip of Hekis, reassuring the Dark Lord that matters were under control, and the probe droid order would be finished very soon. Though he sensed something was not right, Vader did not pursue the matter further, leaving in his shuttle with Gurdun. Although the IG-88A and his companions were shaken by this close call, they had kept their secret safe. IG-88A also noted that Vader was a fascinating being, the perfect mix of droid and organic. The assassin droids even admired him, a far cry from the resentment they felt for most living beings.
After Vader's departure, the droids continued to study Vader and became more and more fascinated with him, even feeling awe for the Dark Lord. The IG-88 droids also used droid spies embedded within the Empire to learn of the Super Star Destroyer Executor, Vader's flagship, a massive warship capable of incredible destruction. The droids considered how this new ship could fit into their plans, fully aware of the firepower the Star Destroyer possessed. Following the completion of the probe droids, IG-88A confronted the last model to be constructed. He informed the probe droid that it and its kind would secretly serve as the sentinels in IG-88A's revolution, working to gain information that would aid the IG-88 models in their plan for galactic control.
In 3 ABY, IG-88B was given a chance to work with Vader. One of the Viper probe droids produced and modified under IG-88A on Mechis III had found the Rebel Alliance's secret headquarters on Hoth. Vader, hoping to capture key Rebels following the Battle of Hoth, summoned the galaxy's best bounty hunters, including IG-88B, to his Super Star Destroyer, giving the IG-88s an up-close look at the Executor. While aboard Vader's flagship, IG-88B used the opportunity to access a computer terminal, downloading information into his memory. He was also able to hack into some of Vader's top-secret files, which revealed the existence of a massive superweapon in development in the Endor system—the second Death Star. IG-88B rushed back to Mechis III to discuss plans with IG-88A and the others. After talking together, the droids developed a plan to utilize the Death Star.
Later that year, IG-88A left Mechis III to work for the Zann Consortium, a criminal organization. IG-88A owed the Consortium's second-in-command, Urai Fen, a favor, which he repaid by helping steal a large amount of Tibanna gas from Bespin's Cloud City. IG-88A helped eliminate stormtroopers guarding the gas reserves, and then hacked into an Imperial database in Cloud City to discover information about a bounty placed on Zann's head by the Empire.
IG-88A also acted as a bounty hunter and was trying to capture Rebel Major Coret Bhan, who had been listed among the Emperor's Most Wanted, a list of high-paid bounties on critical Alliance leaders. IG-88A has obtained Bhan's deployment orders from a Rebel courier, and was put in touch with another bounty hunter, who also tried to collect the bounty. The two met in a warehouse near a mining outpost on Dantooine, where IG-88A informed his temporary counterpart that their target would lead a strike-and-fade operation on an Imperial outpost on the planet in two days. The bounty hunters decided to ambush Bhan on his way to the outpost, despite knowing that he would be surrounded by veteran commandos. Two days later, when the Rebel strike team reached the rough terrain surrounding the outpost, the Rebels were forced to cover the last kilometers on foot. As Bhan lead the commandos into a clearing, IG-88A activated the trip wires which set off flechette mines and smoke bombs placed by the assassin droid earlier. While the Rebels were confused, the bounty hunters launched their attack. The ambush worked to perfection, and soon the Rebels were forced to surrender. Bhan ordered his men to stand down, while IG-88A put him in binders and prepared to deliver him to the Imperial authorities.
From the stolen Death Star information, IG-88A knew of the Death Star's central computer delivery manifest. Using the facilities on Mechis III, he created a duplicate computer core and 100 droid stormtroopers, identical to actual Imperial stormtroopers. The IG-88 models planned to transfer one of their consciousness into the computer core, giving that droid control over the entire space station. However, over the next year, the other three IG-88s were destroyed, leaving IG-88A as the only surviving model. He would thus be the one to take control of the Death Star to use as the ultimate weapon of his galactic Droid Revolution.
IG-88A crafted a fleet mimicking that of the Imperials, ambushing the convoy transporting the Death Star's computer core. His fleet obliterated the Imperials, allowing IG-88A and his droid stormtroopers to take control of the computer. IG-88A boarded the ship carrying the computer, where he encountered an old enemy—Gurdun, who had been placed in charge of this project and was stunned to see IG-88A. The droid listened to the Human beg for his life, and then left him in the crippled freighter, to be killed when mines destroyed the ship. IG-88A then transferred his consciousness into the computer, leaving the empty shell that had been his body behind while his droid stormtroopers completed the computer's delivery to the Death Star above Endor. To ensure that Moff Tiaan Jerjerrod, commander of the Death Star's construction, did not suspect anything, the IG-88A sent a fake hologram of Gurdun to Jerjerrod, telling the Moff that he would not be present when the computer core arrived at the battlestation.
At Endor, the computer was installed in the Death Star. After a month of stasis, IG-88A awoke to take control of the battlestation. However, not long after this, one of his droid stormtroopers, now serving aboard the station, was injured when a supply box fell on it. The droid was in danger of being revealed, and, having been given specific orders from IG-88A, self-destructed. Jerjerrod was mystified by this but did not pursue the matter further.
Several months later, in early 4 ABY, Emperor Palpatine arrived aboard the Death Star. IG-88A felt nothing but scorn for the man, believing him to be pathetic and unworthy of the respect he got from others. When Palpatine assumed the command chair in his private throne room, IG-88A decided to teach him a lesson. He slammed a pair of lift doors shut in the Emperor's face, greatly surprising him. Palpatine used an unseen force to open the doors, however, something that IG-88A did not understand. After this incident, the Emperor suspected that things were amiss, although he did not know exactly what, and IG-88A remained safe from discovery.
Mere days later, the Empire engaged the Rebel Alliance in the Battle of Endor in an attempt to crush the insurgency. Utilizing the Death Star's superlaser, the Imperials took control early, destroying several Rebel capital ships in single blasts. However, their superlaser targeting was slightly off, and so IG-88A adjusted the firing course several times so that it would strike its intended target. The droid enjoyed destroying Rebel cruisers but felt that it was somewhat of a waste to destroy such small targets when the battlestation was capable of destroying planets. It was then that IG-88A realized that the time had come for his uprising. He would send his code to all his programmed droids around the galaxy, causing them to rise up against their masters. Then he would use the superlaser to destroy all ships at the battle, both Rebel and Imperial. As he prepared to transmit the signal, IG-88A noticed that several Rebel starfighters were flying inside the station's superstructure toward the main reactor, with the intent to destroy it. He assured himself that they were of no threat, using an oft-recited "I think, therefore I am" phrase to comfort himself.
Before IG-88A could activate the signal and wrest control of the Death Star away from the Imperials, the Rebels destroyed the station, wiping out IG-88A's consciousness with it. In destroying the Death Star and killing Palpatine, the Rebels had defeated IG-88 and ended his droid rebellion before it could begin.
However, IG-88A was not finished. The droid's body was found on Mechis III by an individual and reprogrammed. Without his violent consciousness, IG-88A was nothing more than a drone. Within a few months after the Battle of Endor, IG-88A was in the businessman Barpotomous Drebble's possession. The droid, along with the Trandoshan bounty hunter Bossk, stayed on the planet Keyorin, where he was often seen in Drebble's tavern alongside his master.
Later in 4 ABY, Drebble's nemesis Lando Calrissian entered the tavern. Eager to get his revenge for a variety of past slights, Drebble had IG-88A, Bossk, and his Stenax guards chase Calrissian and his friends Han Solo and Chewbacca, while Drebble ran to Calrissian's ship, the Millennium Falcon, hoping to cut him off. Drebble reached the Millennium Falcon before Calrissian and tied up the businessman, planning to steal his ship and drop Calrissian off on Drebble's homeworld, although he had a change of heart when Calrissian presented him with the valuable Dancing Goddess statue. However, the group was suddenly threatened by gang members, who wished to interrogate Calrissian to learn the location of the Dancing Goddess. Solo and Chewbacca were able to distract the gangsters, enabling Drebble's guards to fire on them. A Near-Duros was killed by IG-88A in the skirmish, and the gangsters quickly surrendered, while Calrissian, Solo and Chewbacca left. In 11 ABY, IG-88A hunted the former Imperial Guardsman Kir Kanos, who had a large bounty placed on his head by the Imperial Ruling Council.
By 24 ABY, IG-88A had been found on Mechis III by Tyko Thul, one of the heirs to the Thul fortune. Thul reprogrammed the droid to act as his bodyguard. IG-88A was completely loyal to his master. Hoping to draw his brother, Bornan, out of hiding, Tyko had IG-88A and a group of newly-built assassin droids arrange a false kidnapping of himself on Kuar. In order to kidnap Thul, the droids had to fight a group of Jedi—including Thul's nephew Raynar—who didn't know that Thul had arranged the kidnapping. Desperate to rescue Thul, the Jedi made their way to Mechis III, where they found Tyko Thul, as well as IG-88A. Thul revealed that he had found and reprogrammed IG-88A so that he was no longer an assassin, though he would still defend his new master. He also told the Jedi that he had orchestrated his kidnapping in hopes of bringing his brother out from hiding, although he did not intend for the assassin droids on Kuar to pose as great of a threat to the Jedi as they did. One of the Jedi, Jaina Solo, questioned Thul about IG-88A's capacity for killing, and when Thul told her that IG-88A could still kill non-Humans, the Jedi realized that their Wookiee friend Lowbacca, who had been present on Kuar during the attack, could have been killed. They then had Thul reprogram IG-88A so that he would be unable to kill anyone at all.
Shortly after IG-88A was reprogrammed, Mechis III came under attack from the bounty hunter Dengar. Dengar targeted the main facility where Thul and the Jedi were located, believing that they knew where Bornan Thul—who had a bounty on his head—was. When Dengar landed, he was greeted by IG-88A, with weapons blazing. The droid, unable to kill Dengar due to his new programming, instead shot his weapons, causing them to explode and leaving the bounty hunter defenseless. Angered, Dengar fled to his ship and flew off, leaving the group safe thanks to the efforts of IG-88A. Not long after this incident, the droid was again reprogrammed by Solo and her friends to search for the missing Bornan Thul.
IG-88A succeeded in locating Thul on an uncharted asteroid in the Deep Core, where the Emperor's Plague Storehouse was located. The Jedi, including Bornan Thul's son Raynar, had also discovered the storehouse and were already there when the droid arrived. IG-88A attempted to protect Thul from bounty hunters hired by the Diversity Alliance, an anti-Human terrorist group led by Nolaa Tarkona. Tarkona had hired Thul to deliver her a package containing the coordinates of the asteroid, but Thul fled when he learned that contained within the warehouse was a plague that would kill Humans.
Stubbornly following his primary programming, IG-88A attempted to force his way into a sealed room where an infected Thul was located, which consequently held the deadly plague, not caring that doing so would spread the disease. Though IG-88A had located Thul and was dedicated to protecting him, Thul ordered that the droid stop trying to force open the door, and instead save Raynar and his Jedi friends. After helping the children reach their ship, IG-88A marched back to the storehouse, where Thul, who was near death, waited. IG-88A encountered and attacked Tarkona, who had infected Thul, and her bodyguard Raabakyysh, upon returning, but he relented when they moved away, enabling him to reach Thul. Determined to fulfill his programming, IG-88A waited there with his master and remained in the lab when it was destroyed by a New Republic fleet to eliminate the plague's threat.
Built to be the ultimate assassin droid, IG-88A was a ruthless killer. He enjoyed killing and considered the blood stains from the Holowan scientists on his body to be a badge of honor. IG-88 ordered the droids on Mechis III to kill their masters, and he was prepared to kill tens of thousands of Rebels and Imperials at Endor, plotting to destroy their ships with the Death Star's superlaser.
IG-88A felt that he was superior to all non-droids and that his sentience made him greater than organics, ambitiously designing a plan to take control of the galaxy to claim his dominance, in which he hoped to harness such massive Imperial weapons as the Super Star Destroyer Executor and the second Death Star to achieve this end. The droid's arrogance would prove to be his downfall, however, as he failed to recognize the threat the attacking Rebel fighters posed to the Death Star at Endor. IG-88A felt that no organics were as intelligent as he, and that his plan for galactic control was infallible. IG-88A's strong belief that he was invincible remained even after B, C, and D were destroyed.
IG-88A waited years to carry out his revolution, modifying droids at Mechis III to make them obedient to his commands, and he also gave them a small sentience package. The four IG-88 assassin droids were able to keep the operation running smoothly, and although Darth Vader once suspected that something on the planet was amiss, he, like everyone else, was ultimately fooled by the droids.
Although the droid despised organics, finding them to be weak and foolish, IG-88A held a daunted admiration for Vader, believing him to be a perfect mix of man and machine.
Following his death at Endor, IG-88A was reprogrammed. As his violent consciousness had been destroyed, he was a much more benevolent droid following his reactivation, who would only attack when commanded to do so. He was extremely loyal to his master, Bornan Thul, and attempted to protect him even when doing so would mean his destruction.
IG-88A was extremely strong physically, and an excellent fighter. The droid had very thick armor and a blaster-reflective body, as only a few spots on him were vulnerable to blaster fire. He could rotate his head, allowing him to see a complete 360 degrees. IG-88A could also raise or lower his body temperature at will. He shared the ability to connect with his brethren via linked droid brains to formulate plans. In this instance, the four thought as one, almost as a hive mind. IG-88A's sentience package, an experimental new technology, allowed him to feel emotions to a limited degree and think in ways normal droids could not. All of these abilities went into making IG-88A an elite killing machine.
IG-88A, like all his brethren, had many useful abilities, as they were constructed to be the perfect assassin droid model. He was armed with built-in blasters, carried a DAS-430 electromagnetic projectile launcher, a sonic stunner, a paralysis cord, throwing flechettes, a stun pulser, a cutting laser built into one of his fingers, and a flamethrower. IG-88A additionally carried concussion grenades and poisonous gas canisters, and had a computer input port, giving him a very advanced slicing system.
An IG-88 droid first appeared in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. However, Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back, released by West End Games in 1989, revealed that there were four IG-88 droids, and another, IG-72, created by Holowan laboratories. It also stated that the droids killed their creators and then escaped, and one of the droids then proceeded to wreak havoc on the galaxy as a bounty hunter. This information was later included in Galaxy Guide 10: Bounty Hunters. The Galaxy Guides first created some backstory, including details about the IG-88 droids' activation and the massacre of the Holowan scientists, information that was later included in the 1996 book Tales of the Bounty Hunters. However, Tales of the Bounty Hunters, specifically Therefore I Am: The Tale of IG-88, by Kevin J. Anderson, then expanded on this information and created new facts about the droids, such as the plan for galactic domination.
Tales of the Bounty Hunters was the also first source to identify the droids as the four models designated A, B, C, and D. In addition, this book established that the IG-88 droid in The Empire Strikes Back was in fact IG-88B. It also retconned IG-88A to be in control of the Death Star during the Battle of Endor. As the Death Star was destroyed in this battle, the droid's consciousness was established to have been destroyed. However, the droid's body was not destroyed, and IG-88A would appear in later works, such as Young Jedi Knights: Diversity Alliance, Young Jedi Knights: Delusions of Grandeur, and Young Jedi Knights: The Emperor's Plague, set in 24 ABY, two decades after the Battle of Endor. In The Emperor's Plague, IG-88A's body is destroyed, finally killing him once and for all.
An unidentified IG-88 model appears in the Marvel comics Star Wars 50: The Crimson Forever, Star Wars 71: Return to Stenos, Star Wars 72: Fool's Bounty, and Star Wars 85: The Hero. The New Essential Guide to Characters establishes that IG-88C and IG-88D are the droids featured in The Crimson Forever, Return to Stenos, and Fool's Bounty. As The Hero takes place after the destruction of the other three IG-88 models, none of which were known to be repaired, this article assumes that the droid in this comic is IG-88A, who was repaired by Tyko Thul sometime after the Battle of Endor.
An unnamed IG-88 model is also in Empire at War: Forces of Corruption, set between 3 and 4 ABY. As this model has the ability to hack into the Death Star and take control of its superlaser, this article likewise assumes that this droid is IG-88A. An unidentified IG-88 model appears in The Bounty Hunters: Kenix Kil as well. As this story is set in 11 ABY, this article again presumes that this droid is IG-88A.
Though Tyko Thul states that he found and reactivated IG-88A, a date for this is never given, save that it is between 4 and 24 ABY. However, The New Essential Guide to Characters says that IG-88A was found and reprogrammed by an individual and also appeared on Keyorin. Though this individual is not identified, it is made clear that Thul did not find the droid first, and that IG-88A was in Barpotomous Drebble's possession by a few months after the Battle of Endor. The book also says that the assassin droid was later found on Mechis III by Tyko Thul, who reprogrammed the droid to serve as his guard. This article makes the assumption that IG-88A was first discovered by someone who later gave the droid to Drebble, or Drebble himself, who reprogrammed the droid to act as one of his bodyguards in 4 ABY. The article also assumes, per The New Essential Guide to Characters, that the droid was then left on Mechis III, where he was found by Tyko Thul by 24 ABY, and again reprogrammed.
The droid is also seen roaming the galaxy hunting Kenix Kil in The Bounty Hunters: Kenix Kil, set in 11 ABY. However, this is between the time period when he is shown to be in first Drebble's possession and then Thul's two decades later, so there is no contradiction.