Talon Karrde was a smuggler and information broker who dominated the underworld market in information. He began his career in the organization of Jorj Car'das, where he moved quickly through the ranks to become one of Car'das's top lieutenants. When Car'das disappeared in 0 BBY, Karrde quickly and quietly took over the organization to avoid internal feuding. The smuggling and information-brokering organization was already formidable, and when Jabba Desilijic Tiure was killed in 4 ABY, Karrde was able to pick up the most pieces and guide his group to the top spot in the smuggling world. Known as an honest and honorable man, Karrde kept a low profile despite his lofty underworld position.

In 9 ABY, Karrde was drawn into the First War, in which he had previously avoided taking sides, when he rescued Luke Skywalker from being stranded in deep space and helped Skywalker avoid capture by Imperial leader Grand Admiral Thrawn, though only after his hand was forced. Thrawn placed a bounty on Karrde, driving him to sell the location of the Katana fleet, a secret he had kept since his days in Car'das's employ, to the New Republic. Karrde then organized the Smugglers' Alliance to represent the smugglers to the New Republic and aid in the battle against Thrawn. When Thrawn was defeated, Karrde remained a valued ally of Skywalker and the Solos but was not trusted by the Allied leadership as a whole due to his shady past.

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