- "Findin' Clabburn's likely to be the last mistake you ever make."
- ―Fenn Gilbrantes, retired Yarith Sector Ranger
Clabburn the Elder was a Mugaari space pirate notorious for targeting the Greater Javin region of the Outer Rim Territories during the final decades before the fall of the Galactic Republic. Particularly known for his ruthless and harsh treatment of sentient beings captured during his raids, Clabburn and his men set up roving asteroid bases in the Hoth asteroid field, from where they attacked luxury liners transporting wealthy passengers to the nearby Bespin resort of Cloud City along the Anoat trade corridor. Clabburn was perhaps most well-known among spacer legend for planting giant exogorths at the entrances of his discarded asteroid bases in the Hoth belt to avoid being captured by local authorities and to devour would-be pursuers. After Clabburn carried out his final and greatest raid, pilfering the riches of the Malachite Scent, a royal Shistavanen star cruiser, the Mugaari disappeared from the space lanes for good. His enduring legacy among the Javin paved the way for his son, Clabburn the Younger, to fashion his own pirating career after that of his father during the height of the Galactic Civil War, leading many to believe that the original Clabburn had returned to his raiding ways.
For centuries leading up to the Galactic Civil War, the Hoth asteroid field, a wildly chaotic asteroid belt occupying the farthest orbit of the remote Hoth system, was a favorite hideout for smugglers and space pirates hoping to elude legal authority. The pirate named Clabburn was widely accepted as the most notorious and fearsome of these criminals. A member of the Mugaari species, grayish-green-skinned humanoids native to the Javin sector—previously known as Mugaari Space, in the Greater Javin region of the Outer Rim Territories—Clabburn was popularly depicted as a hairy, oily being with no compassion for other sentient lifeforms.
During the final decades before the collapse of the Galactic Republic, Clabburn raided the Greater Javin, a backwater region of space known for smugglers and pirates like Clabburn himself. Feared by many throughout the Javin, he targeted the region of the Anoat sector bordering the Yarith sector, an area that included, among others, the planets Bespin, Anoat, Hoth, and Ison, along the Ison Corridor trade route. He tended to concentrate his attacks specifically along the Anoat trade corridor, a portion of the larger Ison Corridor that had become defunct by 3 ABY. His exploits earned him the epithet "the scourge of the Anoat system."
The Mugaari pirate took great advantage of the Hoth asteroid field's lethal tumbling rock hazards by forming a series of major strongholds on the belt's largest asteroids that held scant atmospheres. Clabburn and his forces would strike from the confines of the belt, lying in wait along the most populated hyperlanes running through the Ison trade corridor for passing luxury liners heading for the extravagant resorts of Bespin's Cloud City. Clabburn knew that these luxury liners carried only the wealthiest of tourists.
His forces often executed a particularly ruthless method of attacking targets. His ships would swarm a luxury liner before immobilizing the engines with a series of precision blaster shots. With the craft neutralized, the pirates would exit their own ships in vacuum suits to crawl along the outer hull of their crippled prey, planting small charges that would detonate and puncture the hull. The liner's interior would devoid of breathable air, killing all passengers on board instantly without struggle, and without allowing them to see whom their attackers were. Free to pillage as they pleased, Clabburn and his men would then dismantle the ship at their leisure, taking whatever treasures caught their fancy, before destroying the ship entirely in order to eliminate any evidence of their crime.
Clabburn's actions earned the ire of many. Bounty hunters, police forces, and vengeful relatives of the besieged hunted for his secret asteroid base for years without success—Clabburn was always one step ahead of his pursuers. He constantly relocated his base from one asteroid to the next, always covering his tracks and leaving booby traps behind for anyone who might be resourceful enough to catch up with him. At the entrances of his discarded asteroid bases, Clabburn installed giant wormlike creatures known exogorths, or space slugs, which were able to subsist on the nutrients of the rock itself in little to no atmosphere. Occasionally, the space slugs would devour bounty hunters or law-enforcement troops who entered a cavernous opening in an asteroid, believing it to be Clabburn's haven.
Sometime before the inauguration of the Galactic Empire in 19 BBY, Clabburn carried out his final raid. He made off with the vaunted riches of the Malachite Scent, a royal Shistavanen star cruiser lost along the Anoat trade corridor. The pilfering of the Malachite Scent was easily the biggest score of Clabburn's career. He captured some of the greatest treasures of the Uvena systems and outlying regions—more wealth than he had ever imagined. However, the cruiser's crew was herded into escape pods and jettisoned from the ship, which led many to believe that it was not Clabburn at all who had struck the Malachite Scent, since he typically murdered his victims. Although Clabburn made the move intending to throw the local Sector Rangers off his track, a surviving astromech droid made a brief holo-recording of the incident to confirm Clabburn's involvement. Following the raid, the Malachite Scent disappeared, Clabburn and his crew with it. Investigators searched for signs of the cruiser and the Mugaari but found nothing. Clabburn had escaped, free to enjoy his spoils.
- "He was an old bull when he took that Wolf-man cruiser years back on the Anoat, and I hear that score made him a rich old bull. Rich enough to retire or hide, and if he's still hidden, kid, best let him stay that way."
- ―Fenn Gilbrantes
Clabburn's exploits gained him legendary status among the history of the Greater Javin. He was the bane of many local authority organizations and rich civilians passing through the area, stamping an enduring seal of negative publicity on the Javin. Although many believed he had died following his mysterious disappearance after his final raid on the Malachite Scent, his notoriety continued well into the latter years of the Galactic Civil War.
Clabburn fathered a male offspring during his pirating career. His son, Clabburn the Younger, sought to fashion his own pirating career after that of his father following the Battle of Hoth in 3 ABY, some twenty years after the pinnacle of Clabburn the Elder's success, by using his father's resources. Due to the ambiguity of the elder Clabburn's disappearance and the near identical resemblance between the two Mugaari, the younger Clabburn was often mistaken for his father, whom many had believed had made his return to reaping illicit profits. The only physical differences between he and his father were a heavily scarred face and the missing lower half of his left arm, received from a much harsher life than that of the elder Clabburn. However, these differences only served to add to the belief that the original Clabburn had returned, as many theorized he had merely suffered grievous injuries during his years in hiding.
Clabburn the Younger learned the tricks of the pirating trade from his father while growing up and took measures to have a career that paralleled his predecessor. Like his father, he too took up sanctuary in the Hoth asteroid field, creating his own asteroid facility, Airtight Base. He also used the space slugs that his father had introduced to the field years before to protect his base.
The space slugs that the elder Clabburn placed in the Hoth belt remained there for years following his disappearance. In the absence of gravity, many grew to enormous sizes, some reaching lengths of 900 meters. Eventually, the slugs grew to a population in the thousands.
Personality and traits
- "Clabburn?…Plain mean—even for a Mugaari."
- ―Fenn Gilbrantes
In a word, Clabburn was ruthless, a trait not uncommon among the Mugaari, though he gave the concept new meaning. He was the most feared pirate operating in the Greater Javin and was known for his merciless treatment of others, especially those who had the unfortunate fate of falling victim to one of his raids. A common raiding routine for he and his forces involved breaching the hull of a captured ship in order to depressurize the interior and kill everyone aboard. He would often tell his pirates to take as many captives alive as possible, not for ransom purposes, but to kill them. He simply derived pleasure from watching them die.
As a Mugaari, Clabburn typified the hairy, oily, greenish-skinned physical appearance of the species. He was rather attractive by Mugaari standards, and carried with him an intimidating demeanor at all times.
Behind the scenes
Clabburn the Elder was created by Kevin J. Anderson for the 1995 publication of The Illustrated Star Wars Universe. The introduction of the character served to create a backstory as to how exogorths, like the one seen in Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, came to be found in the Hoth asteroid field. Anderson referred to the character simply as "Clabburn," and identified him as a green-skinned humanoid, but did not identify his species.
Clabburn later appeared in two 2004 Wizards of the Coast online Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game supplements, Galactic Gazetteer: Hoth and the Greater Javin and Rough and Tundra. The latter greatly expanded the character's backstory, identifying him as a Mugaari, and first referring to him as "Clabburn the Elder," after establishing that he had a son, Clabburn the Younger.
- The Illustrated Star Wars Universe (First mentioned)
- Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back, Second Edition
- Star Wars: Behind the Magic
- Rebellion Era Sourcebook
- Alien Anthology
- (First identified as Clabburn the Elder)
- Ultimate Adversaries
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia