- "I have said that they are devils, master Solo... and there is no other word that fits them so well."
- ―Ramiz, to Han Solo
The Cloud-Riders were a violent swoop gang that terrorized small farming communities on the Outer Rim world of Aduba-3 during the Galactic Civil War. Led by a former pro swoop jockey named Serji-X Arrogantus, the Cloud-Riders swept down from their camp in the planet's mountains in swoops and makeshift skyspeeders, burning crops and carrying off women for their own amusement and profit. Their favorite target was a defenseless village named Onacra, with whom they worked out a deal in 3 BBY: in exchange for a yearly tithe of 9,000 credits, the Cloud-Riders wouldn't routinely lay waste to the town.
Three years later, the people of Onacra grew tired of the arrangement, and hired Rebel hero Han Solo to form a posse to protect the town. Eager to get back to burning and pillaging, Arrogantus marshaled his men and met Solo's group in open combat for the fate of the town. Although the Cloud-Riders outnumbered the so-called "Star-Hoppers," the tide was turned on an unforeseen event: the appearance of the Behemoth from the World Below, a massive Sithspawn monster summoned by a local mystic to protect the town. Arrogantus refused to retreat, only for he and most of his men to be killed by the seemingly invincible beast. The Cloud-Riders did not survive the loss of their leader, soon splintering apart as the few remaining members squabbled over what was left at their camp.
- "He and his men—outlaws who live in the mist-shrouded hills outside our village—come forth each year at about this time to exact tribute from us, who have barely enough to feed ourselves! They stampede our banthas, which we raise for food and transportation... If we try to resist, they will burn our meager crops, which scarcely feed us well in the best of years... and they carry off our wives, our daughters... merely to amuse themselves!"
- ―Ramiz, to Han Solo
A violent swoop gang active on the Outer Rim planet Aduba-3 during the era of the Galactic Civil War, the Cloud-Riders preyed on farming communities in the fields west of the spaceport Tun Aduban. Operating from a small camp in the hills, the Cloud-Riders periodically descended upon small villages for pillage, stealing crops and women and selling them to traders and slavers in Tun Aduban. However, the Cloud-Riders were also known to work out extortion deals with villages, promising to refrain from ransacking a town in exchange for a hefty annual tithe. This type of arrangement was favored by the lazy Cloud-Riders, as it eliminated the labor of hauling stolen crops and women back to their camp.
The Cloud-Riders numbered about 40 by 0 ABY, all of whom were entirely loyal to Arrogantus. The former professional swoop racer was the group's sole leader, who received unquestioned obedience due in part to his underlings' lack of intelligence. The Cloud-Riders carried out their raids from above, screaming down on defenseless towns on swoops and their own special creation, the skyspeeder. Skyspeeders were originally Aratech Peregrine-340 airspeeders that had been modified to strip out extraneous features and boosted with Mobquet Nebulon-Q thruster jets. Rather than equip these vehicles with weapons, the Cloud-Riders preferred to fire conventional blaster pistols while on the move.
- "You've had your say, friend. Now, why don't you and your Cloud-Riders go home and play? But I'd steer clear of that peasant village, if I were you."
"You are not me, star-pilot. And if you persist, you will soon be nothing... just one more lifeless corpse, twisting in the desert wind!"
- ―Han Solo and Serji-X Arrogantus
The Cloud-Riders were founded by Serji-X Arrogantus, a former pro swoop racer who took up with Outer Rim swoop gangs after suffering a career-ending neurological injury. Finding a group of thugs who were awed by Arrogantus' tales of glory on the race track, Arrogantus formed his own outfit in the hills west of Tun Aduban on Aduba-3. The Cloud-Riders did their business by raiding nearby farming villages—their most frequent target was the community of Onacra, the settlement located closest to the gang's camp. The gang took great enjoyment out of stampeding the banthas the villagers raised for food and transportation, and burned the town's crops if met with any resistance. After many attacks, the two sides worked out a compromise in 3 BBY: in exchange for a yearly extortion fee of 9,000 credits, the Cloud-Riders would leave Onacra alone. Although Onacra paid up, the Cloud-Riders still delighted in tormenting the village from time to time, making their entrance in 1 BBY by crashing their skyspeeders through several homes. By the next year, however, Arrogantus had grown tired of the arrangement, wishing to return to his days of burning crops and stealing women.
The town of Onacra had grown tired of it as well. In 0 ABY, local farmers Ramiz and Oncho Shen took the 9,000 credits scrounged up for the Cloud-Riders' payment and went to Tun Aduban, looking to find a hired gun to defend their home. Who they found was Han Solo, the smuggler and Rebel hero who had stopped in Aduba-3 after his participation in the Battle of Yavin. The farmers offered Solo the money in exchange for saving Onacra from the coming attack, a deal Solo accepted. Along with his Wookiee friend Chewbacca, Solo gathered together a posse dubbed the Star-Hoppers of Aduba-3 to oppose the Cloud-Riders. At the same time, Arrogantus welcomed a newcomer to his ranks: a powerful Boltrunian thug named Warto, who wanted revenge against Solo after taking a beating in a bar fight with him and Chewbacca.
Warto tipped Arrogantus off that Solo was forming a militia against him, and together the two traveled to Tun Aduban with four companions to nip this development in the bud. Approaching Solo and his gang under a flag of truce, Arrogantus offered Solo's group what he called a "minimal sum"—though it was higher than what Onacra had to offer—to forget their mission and stay away from the village. However, Solo declined the offer, and Arrogantus shortly returned to his mountain base unimpressed with the makeshift Star-Hoppers' lack of cohesion. The Cloud-Riders swooped down upon Onacra not long after in their skyspeeders, finding the Star-Hoppers waiting for them. Although the Cloud-Riders outnumbered Solo's group five-to-one, the Rebel hero refused to budge, provoking a frenzied gunfight over the fate of the village of Onacra.
The Cloud-Riders took a number of casualties in the fighting, but their sheer numbers threatened to overwhelm Solo's group, which had two of their number incapacitated shortly into the battle. However, a surprise entrant to the battlefield swiftly turned the tide. An elderly man known as the Old One—a local shaman and mystic—wandered into the fray in the middle of the fight, and began to chant an incantation meant to wake a legendary monster from the deep. Suddenly, the rock below began to shift, and a massive Sithspawn beast called the Behemoth from the World Below burst into view. Under the Old One's psychic command to protect the village, the Behemoth immediately moved to attack the Cloud-Riders, ignoring Solo's group entirely. As their losses quickly mounted, the outlaws realized that the monster seemed to be invincible. Although many of the Cloud-Riders wanted to flee the fight, Arrogantus ordered his men to redouble their assault on the monster, not wanting to lose the potential revenue stream from Onacra.
However, as his men continued to fall, Arrogantus grew desperate. With just a few of his outlaws left, Arrogantus decided to take drastic action: noticing the beast's controller exposed on the battlefield below, Arrogantus made a run at the Old One with his skyspeeder, hoping that killing the man would take out the Behemoth. Arrogantus' charge may well have reached its target, but its success was made moot when the Behemoth crushed both the Cloud-Rider leader and the old man with a single, gargantuan stomp. The monster quickly wiped up the remaining gang members, before Solo had to put the beast down. After Arrogantus' death and the Cloud-Riders' decimation at the hands of the Behemoth from the World Below, the gang ceased to exist. The few survivors of the Behemoth's attack turned their ire at each other, fighting amongst themselves for what little assets remained at their camp as the group dissolved. The events at Onacra quickly became a legend around the galaxy, bolstered by Solo's rising celebrity. In 2 ABY, TriNebula Entertainment released a holo-doc called Eight for Aduba-3: The Saga of the Starhoppers, which broadcast the story of the battle between the Star-Hoppers and the Cloud-Riders to a galaxy-wide audience.
- "But Serji-X Arrogantus surrenders to nobody!! Never!!"
- ―Serji-X Arrogantus
A swoop jockey to his core and a lifelong bully, Serji-X Arrogantus garnered a legion of adoring fans through his daring, showboating exploits on Caprioril's swoop racing circuit. However, Arrogantus' career was ended early after a risky stunt resulted in a traumatic head injury, after which he was ruled medically unfit to race. Arrogantus ended up on the Outer Rim, where he began to run with swoop gangs—eventually he put together his own outfit, the Cloud-Riders, on Aduba-3. Arrogantus was the dominant force in the gang, with the others blindly following him out of their own ignorance. The former professional racer made Onacra his favorite target, partially due to its location, but partially due to his fixation on a local girl, Merri Shen. Although the extortion racket in Onacra was Arrogantus' idea, his itch to burn and pillage made him restless after just three years.
Believing himself to be a man of culture and subtlety, Arrogantus originally attempted to solve the problem caused by the Star-Hoppers via diplomacy, offering them a deal that would have avoided bloodshed if they let the Cloud-Riders raid Onacra unmolested. However, Arrogantus quickly grew impatient when met with resistance, and soon swept down upon Onacra with bloodlust on his mind. The Behemoth's arrival turned the tide of the battle, but despite the fact that his gang was unable to trouble the monster whatsoever, Arrogantus sealed the fate of the Cloud-Riders by stubbornly refusing to allow them to retreat. Arrogantus' fight-to-the-death command eventually claimed his own life as well.
- "All right, then, if these space-rats are so anxious to die—let's give them what they want!"
A powerful Boltrunian with an anger problem, Warto was a local thug who became notorious for his strength and his violent temper around Tun Aduban. Originally a laborer on a Corellian freighter, Warto was left behind on Aduba-3 by the ship's fed-up crew and made a living doing manual labor around the docking bays, along with mugging smaller beings. Warto encountered Han Solo not long after Solo's arrival on the planet, being badly beaten by Solo's friend Chewbacca in a bar fight. Not long after, Warto attempted to join the Star-Hoppers in an effort to get off Aduba-3, but his application was rejected. Hungry for vengeance, Warto instead joined the Cloud-Riders, impressing Arrogantus with his strength and anger. However, Warto didn't last long in the ensuing battle, meeting his end at Chewbacca's hands.
Behind the scenesEdit
The Cloud-Riders first appeared in Star Wars 8: Eight for Aduba-3, written by Roy Thomas and released in 1977. Although the Cloud-Riders' appearances in the Star Wars Legends chronology were limited to a few early Marvel comics, the Cloud-Riders helped inspire another gang that made its debut over 30 years later. The 2018 film Solo: A Star Wars Story saw the debut of a pirate gang named the Cloud-Riders, who ride swoop bikes similarly to the Legends Cloud-Riders. According to script writer Jon Kasdan, the name was a direct reference: when former directors Christopher Miller and Phil Lord came up with the concept for the gang and settled on using swoop bikes, Kasdan found the Legends Cloud-Riders when browsing Wookieepedia, and the name stuck.
- Star Wars 8: Eight for Aduba-3 (First appearance)
- Star Wars 9: Showdown on a Wasteland World!
- Star Wars 10: Behemoth from the World Below
- Star Wars 11: Star Search! (Mentioned only)
- "ComicScan: Marvelously Silly Aliens"—Star Wars Galaxy Magazine 3
- The Starhoppers of Aduba-3"—Star Wars Gamer 4 "
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Star Wars 9: Showdown on a Wasteland World!
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Star Wars 10: Behemoth from the World Below
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 The Starhoppers of Aduba-3"—Star Wars Gamer 4 "
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Star Wars 8: Eight for Aduba-3
- ↑ Star Wars 7: New Planets, New Perils!
- ↑ 6.0 6.1