- "If that behemoth's size and strength weren't bad enough—"
"Yeah, I know, Hedji! it's come equipped with some kind of built-in blaster!"
- ―Hedji and Han Solo
The Behemoth from the World Below was the name given to a Sithspawn monster that lived on the planet Aduba-3 during the Galactic Civil War. Once a normal lizard, it was transformed into a hulking monster in an alchemical experiment by Sith Lord Seviss Vaa in an effort to create a Jedi-killing beast. Although the Behemoth showed promise, Vaa's death in the New Sith Wars meant that the experiment was abandoned on Aduba-3 for centuries, slumbering beneath the earth. Colonists later settled nearby, founding the village of Onacra—the villagers learned of the Behemoth's existence and began to worship it, creating the legend that the sleeping monster would protect the village from harm.
In 0 ABY, Onacra came under threat by a criminal gang known as the Cloud-Riders. Although Rebel hero Han Solo gathered a crew to defend the village, a local mystic known as the Old One decided to attempt to summon the Behemoth to fight the invaders. The Old One shocked onlookers by succeeding, directing the monster via a mental link to attack the Cloud-Riders. Although the beast effortlessly wiped out the gang, the Old One's death during the battle caused the Behemoth to lash out at everyone else, forcing Solo's posse to fight the beast in order to protect the village. Although the monster appeared invincible, Solo managed to strike the Behemoth with a lightsaber, destabilizing its energy and causing it to disintegrate.
Biology and appearance
- "If we don't do something, it just isn't gonna go away!"
- ―Serji-X Arrogantus
A simple lizard that had been mutated by the dark side of the Force, the creature known as the "Behemoth from the World Below" was a hulking, green-skinned beast that towered over most sentient creatures and could effortlessly crush a man with a single step of its foot.The Behemoth's massive body was covered in scales, had yellow eyes and enormous teeth, and had the overwhelming physical power to rip a mountain asunder with its bare hands and swat skyspeeders away like flies. Although the beast slumbered for generations under the surface of the planet Aduba-3, the monster could be summoned by a Force-sensitive who knew how to establish a mental link with it—once awoken, the Behemoth would follow the summoner's commands. However, the death or incapacitation of the person controlling it resulted in the Behemoth attacking anyone around it.
Specifically designed by Sith Lord Seviss Vaa to be a menace to Jedi, the Behemoth was extremely sensitive to the energy of a Jedi lightsaber, and would be driven into a frenzy after sensing a lightsaber nearby. The Behemoth would then ferociously attack any nearby Jedi, and Vaa specially designed an organ inside the monster that blasted lightning beams out of its forehead. Although the beam attack was extremely powerful, it wasn't the Behemoth's first choice in combat—instead, it first looked to stomp on or swat away opponents with its limbs, while also using nearby boulders as projectile weapons. Its hide was also thick enough that it was almost entirely unfazed by blaster attacks, making it almost impossible to defeat by conventional means. However, the dark side energies that held the beast together were highly unstable, and could easily lose their cohesion. Ultimately, one of the monster's only weaknesses was the weapon it was attuned to, the lightsaber. The closer a lightsaber got to the Behemoth, the more the weapon's aura affected the monster's lightning beam attack, and a well-placed strike from a lightsaber could cause the Behemoth's energy to go completely haywire and cause it to disintegrate.
- "I tell you in all sobriety that we do not need you or your alien horde to drive those outlaws from our village! Why shed the life fluids of your friends, when there is a simpler solution to my people's problem—a mystical solution I once beheld in my youth!"
- ―The Old One, to Han Solo
During the era of the New Sith Wars, Sith Lord Seviss Vaa became fascinated by alchemical texts written by the ancient Dark Lord of the Sith Naga Sadow. One of the most powerful underlings in Lord Skere Kaan's Brotherhood of Darkness, Vaa became determined to revive the tradition of Sith alchemy and create a storehouse of Sithspawn warped by the dark side. Vaa tested his art on several worlds, including a remote Outer Rim planet later known as Aduba-3. In one of his early experiments, Vaa took a native lizard and morphed it into a dark side monster, designed to relentlessly attack Jedi. Although the beast was imperfect, Vaa deemed it worthy of further study and placed it in suspended animation in an underground cave, intending to return to it after working on other projects. However, Vaa was killed in the Ruusan campaign shortly afterward, and the creature was left slumbering below the earth.
Several centuries later, Sacred Way colonists established the farming village of Onacra not far from the creature's burial site, and a Force-sensitive villager somehow learned of the beast's existence. Over time, the legend of the "Behemoth from the World Below" became well-known around Onacra, as many generations passed down the story of a slumbering monster that would protect the village from harm. The stories told, among other things, that the Behemoth would be almost impossible to calm down once it went on the attack. At some points in Onacra's history, the Behemoth was the subject of worship by the villagers—stories told of times in the past where the beast had awoken to save the town from harm. By 0 ABY, a Force-sensitive village mystic known as the Old One was the last to carry the story of the Behemoth, having become fixated on the monster after stumbling upon its resting place in his youth.
By that time, Onacra had come under target by a violent bandit gang known as the Cloud-Riders, who caused plunder and havoc unless the village paid them to leave them alone. Although the people of Onacra hired Rebel hero Han Solo to form a posse and protect the village, the Old One's faith in the Behemoth as his home's savior was absolute. Believing that he had the power to summon and command the beast, the Old One attempted to convince Solo to leave the defense of the village to him—when Solo was unconvinced, the Old One stormed away to enact his plan on his own. The Cloud-Riders arrived not long afterward, provoking a frenzied gunfight with casualties on both sides. However, the action was pierced by the shrieks and cries of the Old One, who wandered onto the battlefield and began to chant an incantation to raise the Behemoth from its slumber.
The Behemoth revived
- "Hear me, slumbering one! I beg you to awaken as you did in decades past! Our minds are now linked together as one! Emerge from your bed-chambers of stone! Save us whose ancestors once worshipped you!"
"Oh, hell! If we didn't have enough to worry about!"
- ―The Old One and Han Solo, as the Behemoth from the World Below is called forth
Although most considered the Old One a senile fool for his claims of a connection to the fabled monster, suddenly, the ground began to shift and quake. To the shock of all that looked on, the Behemoth from the World Below emerged from beneath the earth, snarling and ready to fight. Most surprisingly, the monster seemed to be following the Old One's commands, only targeting the Cloud-Riders while completely ignoring Solo's group, the Star-Hoppers. Cloud-Riders leader Serji-X Arrogantus, who had grown up hearing tales about the Behemoth, turned his gang's full attention to battling the beast, only to watch his crew's skyspeeders be easily destroyed one by one. With the Behemoth seemingly invincible, Arrogantus turned his skyspeeder and made a run at the Old One below, hoping that taking out the man commanding the monster would be what he needed to turn the tide.
Whether Arrogantus' run ever reached the Old One was soon rendered immaterial, as the Behemoth crushed both of them with a single gargantuan stomp. The Behemoth quickly mopped up the few remaining Cloud-Riders, but with the Old One's mental link severed, there was nothing keeping the monster from attacking everyone else around him. The Behemoth soon turned its attention to Solo's Star-Hoppers, nearly killing gunslingers Jaxxon and Amaiza Foxtrain after causing a rockslide. However, the Behemoth's attack was diverted when one of Solo's number—would-be Jedi Don-Wan Kihotay—activated a lightsaber. The weapon's appearance immediately drew the Behemoth's attention, as the monster focused all its energy on attempting to kill Kihotay. Noticing how the monster reacted to Kihotay's lightsaber, Solo grabbed the weapon from the man's hands and, dodging several lightning beams, buried the weapon in the monster's chest. After a moment, the Behemoth began to rage and convulse, and then disintegrated entirely. Onacra had been saved from the very beast that had been called forth to protect it.
The events surrounding the battle for Onacra quickly became legend around the galaxy, bolstered by Solo's rising celebrity. In 2 ABY, Tri-Nebula Entertainment released the holo-doc Eight for Aduba-3: The Saga of the Starhoppers, which purported to tell the true story of Solo's exploits. The holo-doc included the Behemoth's attack, but the depiction of a gigantic monster shooting a laser beam out of its head proved to be too fanciful for Rebel historian Voren Na'al, who journeyed to Aduba-3 in order to learn exactly what happened there two years previously. Although he received accounts from locals that appeared to corroborate the Behemoth's existence and involvement in the battle, Na'al left Aduba-3 still disbelieving that the creature was real.
Behind the scenes
The Behemoth from the World Below was introduced in Star Wars (1977) 9, written by Roy Thomas and released in 1977, with the monster's encounter with Han Solo providing the plot of the series' next issue. Over 20 years later, the Behemoth's backstory was given in the Star Wars Gamer 4 article The Starhoppers of Aduba-3, written by Pablo Hidalgo, Cory J. Herndon and Michael Mikaelian. During the Behemoth's comic appearances, it was illustrated by Howard Chaykin, Tom Palmer and Alan Kupperberg.