Bespin was a gas giant in the Bespin system of the Anoat sector on the Ison Corridor in the Greater Javin region of the Outer Rim Territories. It was also a major source of tibanna gas, which was refined for production and transport in numerous mining operations including Cloud City and Tibannopolis. It was home to several million individuals, including Humans, Ugnaughts, and Lutrillians.
The planet Bespin was a gas giant that was about 118,000 kilometers in diameter. Like most gas giants, it had a solid core made of metal (in this case, rethin, 6,000 kilometers in diameter) followed by layers of metallic gases. Most of the layers of gas were poisonous, and the pressure and temperature were far above what a Human could tolerate. Despite this, from approximately 150 to 180 kilometers down from space there was a 30 kilometer thick habitable layer known as the Bespin Life Zone. This layer had an oxygen atmosphere with temperature and pressure suitable for Human life. It was in this layer that Cloud City was located. As with many gas giants, Bespin had a number of moons. Bespin had a twelve-hour day, and completed a revolution around its star approximately once every fourteen standard years.
Old Republic era
The planet was first discovered by the explorers from the Hyperspace Navigator's Guild in years prior to the Mandalorian Wars. In 3963 BBY it was auctioned off at the Metellos 3 planetary exchange. The carbonite-rich Empress Teta established a small gas operation on the planet, but it was mostly destroyed during the Mandalorian Wars by a fleet of Mandalorian warships, hoping to break up the tibanna gas supply chain for the Galactic Republic.
Bespin was first colonized in 1989 BBY. The planet had its own Jedi enclave. During the New Sith Wars, the Brotherhood of Darkness captured the planet. Lord Ecclessis Figg commissioned Cloud City to be built by the Incom Corporation around 400 BBY.
Rise of the Empire era
During the Clone Wars, the planet initially attempted to stay neutral. A Republic warship delivered dozens of orphans to an orphanage there in 22 BBY, including a young Boba Fett, who later escaped. Despite Bespin's declaration of neutrality, the Confederacy of Independent Systems launched an invasion of the planet, which was defended by at least one Jedi Master, Glynn-Beti. The planet, including its Tibanna gas colonies, fell to the Separatists initially. The planet eventually swung back into the Republic's hands after a series of orbital battles and dogfights. Separatist General Lok Durd intended to target Bespin with a bio-weapon, but it was destroyed on Lanteeb before he could deploy it.
This was the planet on which Galen Marek found Rahm Kota when he was searching for potential leaders of the Rebel Alliance. The former Jedi had hidden himself on one of Bespin's many construction platforms and Marek fought one of the Emperor's Shadow Guard during the meeting. Marek also rescued Senator Garm Bel Iblis while Cloud City was filled with criminals and thugs.
Galactic Civil War
During the Galactic Civil War, Lando Calrissian served as Baron Administrator of Cloud City. He helped provide well-paying jobs for the Ugnaughts, and was admired and liked by the citizens of Cloud City.
When Han Solo, along with Leia Organa, C-3PO, and Chewbacca came to Cloud City in 3 ABY to escape from the Empire, they walked into a trap set up by Darth Vader, which Lando was forced into aiding. Han Solo was frozen into Carbonite and Leia Organa and Chewbacca were to remain in the city. As Boba Fett brought Han onto his ship, Slave I, Lando with Lobot's help, got the two out of Imperial custody along with a damaged Threepio and tried to rescue Han from Fett but failed.
Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker dueled Vader, lost his right hand, and Vader revealed that he was Luke's father. Pinned between the choice of going with his long-lost father or dying by his blade, Luke plunged into an air vent. When he fell, he managed to grasp onto a weather vane beneath the city. In pain from his wound and his new knowledge, Luke pleaded for Obi-Wan Kenobi's help, to no avail. He managed to telepathically communicate with Leia, and was rescued by the Millennium Falcon. The Falcon in turn managed to escape from the Executor when R2-D2 fixed the disabled hyperdrive.
However, a garrison of troops was left on the planet, and the garrison fought against the Rebel Alliance and Bespin security forces for control of Cloud City's Gravity Control Generators. The garrison also destroyed the Bespin Government Center and built an Imperial Palace in its place to cement their occupation. Calrissian's former assistant, Lobot, temporarily ousted the garrison from the planet by tricking them into thinking Cloud City's repulsorlift pods were compromised.
The Zann Consortium also raided Bespin during this time, with its leader Tyber Zann, IG-88, and Urai Fen, participating in a mission to steal Tibanna gas. They were successful in doing so and also placed evidence that implicated Falleen Prince Xizor and his rival Black Sun organization for the attack.
Later, just before the Battle of Endor in 4 ABY, the Alliance raided the still Imperial-controlled colony with the help of Rogue Squadron. The successful raid secured shipment of vital tibanna to the Rebel cause. The main battle to free Bespin was fought right after Endor. Calrissian, now a general in the Rebel Alliance, led the Rebel SpecForces against the Empire and successfully ousted the occupying troops. The Jedi X2 was also involved in liberating the city with the help of Calrissian and Lobot. Calrissian himself would eventually return to being Baron Administrator.
In 5 ABY, Lando lost the Cloud City to Zorba Desilijic Tiure in a game of sabacc. After Zorba was ousted, Lando turned governance of the city over to King Ozz of the Ugnaughts. Lobot became administrator of the City (possibly under the authority of Ozz). Bespin was later taken over by the Empire in 9 ABY and later, the Empire Reborn. During the Thrawn campaign, Bespin was used by Grand Admiral Thrawn to supply the Bilbringi Shipyards in tibanna gas.
In 11 ABY, Luke Skywalker discovered an elderly man named Streen, who possessed latent Force abilities, living a hermit's life in the abandoned city of Tibannopolis. Streen's life among the clouds gave him unique abilities to manipulate wind, air, and communing with flying creatures. Streen accompanied Luke to the Jedi Praxeum, where he became one of the earliest students.
Yuuzhan Vong War
During the Yuuzhan Vong War, the planet remained untargeted by the Yuuzhan Vong, due to the fact that there was no planet surface to Vongform. Unlike many planets during the war, it remained untouched and isolated.
Dark Nest Crisis
In 36 ABY, the planet was plagued with tibanna tappers using siphoning balloons. Jaina Solo and Zekk were assigned to investigate. It was eventually discovered the stolen tibanna was being used for the Killik nest ships constructed in the Tusken's Eye.
Second Galactic Civil War
In 40 ABY, along with Adumar, Commenor, Fondor and the Corporate Sector Authority, Bespin almost allied with Corellia in an attempt to challenge the benefits of membership in the Galactic Alliance, during the Second Galactic Civil War.
Darth Krayt's empire
During the time of Darth Krayt's Galactic Empire, an Ithorian named Ormo Haddon was the Baron Administrator of Cloud City. Haddon abandoned the outskirts of the city and moved the businesses to the central area.
The main economy on Bespin was the mining of tibanna gas. Tibanna gas was a very important resource used by both the Alliance to Restore the Republic and the Galactic Empire for powering weapons. When supercharged, the gas could fire a bolt of energy, resulting in the blaster shot. Spinsealed tibanna gas, which occurred naturally on Bespin, had the ability to quadruple the power of blaster bolts passing through it. Most of the settlements on Bespin were mining colonies, such as Lando Calrissian's facility in 3 ABY.
While most of the commercial exploitation of Bespin was done by Figg & Associates, there were also a few gas prospectors. These lone pilots would search the skies for "gas strikes" in their ramshackle vessels, where plumes of deep gas would spurt into the high atmosphere due to internal storms deep below them. Some gas prospectors would ride extremely close to storm systems in the hope of gaining many riches from a gas strike, only to vanish without trace in the massive and unpredictable storms.
During the Galactic Civil War, the Empire stored supplies of bacta on Bespin.
Flora and fauna
Many animals existed in the high atmosphere of Bespin, included the beldon, a huge floating creature that excreted the tibanna gas that made Bespin famous. Velkers, rawwks, and tibannucks also lived in the atmosphere, as well as many other exotic and brightly colored animals, many of which were never properly categorized, often called floaters. Some thrantas were transported to Bespin, thus allowing them to survive the destruction of their homeworld, Alderaan.
Floating in the gas giant's skies were many different forms of algae and plankton. One kind of algae called "pinks" were so plentiful they gave the sky of Cloud City its distinctive color. Yet another form of algae called "glowers" gave the night side of Bespin a distinct purplish glow.
Behind the scenes
In the early rough draft of Star Wars written in 1974, the planet Alderaan, which was set as a giant gas planet and the capital of the New Galactic Empire at that time, resembled Bespin in The Empire Strikes Back. And there was also a city that resembled the Cloud City on that "original Alderaan". Bespin was mentioned in a stamp for the Intergalactic Passport that acted as a backstage pass for The Empire Strikes Back, although most of the stamp was illegible due to apparent wear and tear.
In the early story conferences for The Empire Strikes Back, Ketbrae (also known as Kettlebrae) was a gas giant. It eventually became Bespin.
Star Wars (1977) 56 indicates that Bespin is the home planet of the Ugnaughts, and shows the planet as having a habitable surface — a phenomenon that is impossible on a gas giant. This error is corrected in the Databank, which states that Ugnaughts inhabited secret floating platforms below Cloud City. The "surface", which Lando Calrissian plummeted to in the comic, was later established as Ugnaught Surface in Bespin: Action Tidings.
Bespin serves as a location for multiple Versus Mode matches in Star Wars: Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike.
The 1998 PC game Star Wars: Rebellion, mistakenly placed Bespin in the Churba sector, though it is actually located in the Mid Rim. In another error, the planet map displayed at the original Star Tours attraction in Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disneyland places the planet within the Bala Trix Nebula.
Bespin also appeared in two missions in the LEGO re-creation of the Original trilogy in the 2006 video game LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy. The missions were also included in the game's 2007 compilation re-release.
A galaxy map depicting the various destinations of the Star Tours travel agency is seen in the queue of the Star Tours attraction at Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disneyland. The map erroneously suggests Bespin is in the Bala Trix Nebula, which is contradicted by many Legends sources.
- Star Wars Infinities: The Empire Strikes Back
- LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
- LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
- "A Wookiee Scorned!" — Star Wars Tales 10 (Mentioned only)
- "Problem Solvers" — Star Wars Tales 20 (Mentioned only)
- "Tall Tales" — Star Wars Tales 19 (Mentioned only)