In Episode 1 Obi-Wan Kenobi says that:

You and the Naboo form a symbiotic circle, what happens to one of you will affect the other, you must understand this...

Being that a 'symbiosis' means:

the living together of two dissimilar organisms, as in mutualism, commensalism, amensalism, or parasitism.

How exactly were the Naboo and Gungans symbiotic?

  • 2
    BTW, I know I was not born when this happened, but my Grandfather told me about this.
    – KyloRen
    Oct 7, 2016 at 13:26
  • 1
    Largely covered here (possibly dupe). In short, the Gungans trade plasma and food with the Naboo in return for advanced tech. Without the Gungans, the Naboo wouldn't have anything to trade offworld and would starve. Without the Naboo, the Gungans cities would eventually fail and they'd have to go back to living in the swamps.
    – Valorum
    Oct 7, 2016 at 13:37
  • they pretty much say it all in that scene. The droids will take over the whole planet, that includes the Gungans.
    – Skooba
    Oct 7, 2016 at 13:43
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    @Skooba, taking over the whole planet is one thing, saying that they are symbiotic infers that if the Naboo are wiped out, that Gungans will die even if they are not wiped out. Is that not what 'symbiosis' means?
    – KyloRen
    Oct 7, 2016 at 13:56
  • @KyloRen pretty much, I would refer you to Valorum's comments then.
    – Skooba
    Oct 7, 2016 at 13:57

1 Answer 1


Mainly that they live on the same planet

It’s worth noting that the language used in the novelizations can be a little different:

“You and the Naboo are connected,” Obi-Wan insisted, his youthful face intent, not ready to concede the matter. “What happens to one will affect the other. You must understand this.”

The Phantom Menace (novelization)

This suggests that the notion of “symbiosis” is not meant to be take strictly literally, but in a more metaphorical sense.

Indeed, it seems that Obi-Wan’s main point is that the Naboo are all that stand between the droid army and the Gungans:

“After that army takes control of the Naboo, they will come here and take control of you,” Obi-Wan said quietly.

The Phantom Menace (novelization)

That said, it is possible that Obi-Wan is referring to something more concrete, such as trade between the Naboo and the Gungans, as mentioned here (though that information may now be non-canon). As far as canon information, on the one hand the leader of the Gungans himself has communicated rather infrequently with the Naboo:

Boss Nass chuckled. “No, me think not. Me talk mebbe one, two times wit Naboo in whole life, and no talk ever wit maccaneks. Maccaneks no come here! Dey not even know Gungans exist!”

The Phantom Menace (novelization)

On the other hand, as a relatively non-industrial society, it seems likely that the Gungans must trade for a lot of the technology they use.

Still, Gungans are described as having "developed" advanced tech, and so may be more industrial (if less conventionally so), than one might assume, and thus less dependent on trade with the Naboo.

While most spacefarers would dismiss Gungans as primitives, they have developed an advanced, albeit unique, technology. They grow the basic structures of buildings, vehicles and technology and adorn them with artistic flourishes and organic lines. This gives Gungan technology a very fluid, non-rectilinear look.

It is also possible that they buy their bubble generators and so forth more directly from offworlders, rather than trading with the Naboo.

Still, if there is trade between the Naboo and the Gungans (presumably by people less isolated than Boss Nass), this could be another justification for Obi-Wan’s assertion of symbiosis.

  • Another great answer, UV!!!
    – KyloRen
    Oct 8, 2016 at 8:40

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