- "He thinks, he drinks, he philosophizes! Even if he was a little quick on the trigger himself."
- ―Han Solo describes Crimson Jack
Crimson Jack, nicknamed "Redbeard" by Han Solo, was the Pirate Master of a gang of space pirates which operated in the Outer Rim. Although originally using gunships to carry out their raids, the pirate gang eventually discovered a crippled Imperial cruiser that had limped away from the Battle of Toprawa. After raiding the ship, Crimson Jack appropriated the craft for his own use, making his pirating operation much more formidable. To repair the craft, Jack received funding from Hutt crime lord Jabba Desilijic Tiure, in return for a share of the profits. After restoring the Imperial vessel, Jack and his crew encountered smugglers Han Solo and Chewbacca in the Millennium Falcon, fresh from their participation in the Battle of Yavin. Upon bringing the Falcon aboard the ship with a tractor beam, Jack stole Solo's reward that he had received from rescuing Princess Leia Organa.
Jack let Solo leave with a tracer placed aboard his ship, hoping that he might be able to pull the same caper on Solo at a later time. A short while later, Jack captured both Leia Organa and Solo, intent on ransoming the Rebel princess to the Alliance command. In an elaborate ruse, Solo and Organa were able to convince Jack that there was a Rebel treasury in the Drexel system. After arriving in the system, Solo and Organa managed to escape, when the ship-dwellers of Drexel attempted to pull Crimson Jack's ship out of the sky. The threat of the ship-dwellers was eventually resolved, and Jack sent his Raider Squadron, led by his second in command, Jolli, to shoot down the Millennium Falcon. However, Solo defeated Jack's starfighters and crippled Jolli's ship. Jack continued to pursue the Falcon, but Solo revealed that while on Jack's ship, he had erased Jack's navi-computer star charts, stranding his ship in the system. Solo and Jack agreed to meet in space, using a magnetic field, to negotiate the return of the star charts. During the encounter, Jack double-crossed the smuggler, ambushing Solo with his own men. However, Jolli, who had survived the encounter with the Falcon, turned on her captain for abandoning her after her craft had been disabled. Using Jolli's distraction, Solo was able to escape the ambush. Facing Jack in one-on-one combat, Solo fired a blaster bolt through the man's chest, killing him.
- "But when did a second-class scavenger like you pick up even a cast-off cruiser? Last I recall you were still ambushing spice-caravans on the outer rim."
- ―Han Solo
Crimson Jack, famous for his distinctive red beard, began his career as a pirate, making his living ambushing spice caravans in the Outer Rim. Jack's operation was successful enough that he was able to commission a Cindev series IV picket ship sometime before 6 BBY. However, the ship, the Buzzzer, was eventually stolen by Loka Hask and his Bonestar Pirates. Jack replaced the stolen craft with a Corellian gunship, and the pirate gang continued their operation. Around this time, Crimson Jack came into contact with the smuggler Han Solo, and both left the encounter with a grudge towards each other.
A short time after the Battle of Toprawa, Jack's crew happened upon an Imperial cruiser that had escaped the battle under heavy fire. On its escape path, the craft's reactors went out, leaving the ship to drift helplessly. Crimson Jack observed that the cruiser had fairly superficial damage, leading Jack to surmise that salvaging the craft would be an easy feat. The Imperials attempted to stop Jack from capturing the ship, setting out a trio of TIE fighters to shoot down Jack's craft. The pirates were up to the challenge, and they shot down the starfighters and boarded the ship. The pirates defeated a light resistance of stormtroopers, and the ship belonged to Crimson Jack. However, to refit and recondition the ship turned out to be a costly endeavor, forcing Jack to seek out financial backers for the restoration of the craft. Jack found a sponsor in Jabba Desilijic Tiure, a Hutt crime lord operating out of the planet Tatooine. For a share of future profits, Jabba helped refit and recondition the Imperial cruiser.
With the restoration of the Imperial cruiser, Crimson Jack expanded his pirate gang, taking on a female first mate in Jolli, a formidable starfighter pilot. The rest of Jack's crew became made up more or less Human pirates from a variety of star systems. In the hold of the Imperial craft, the gang employed many different starfighters including TIE fighters, X-wings, and Y-wings.
Encounter with Han Solo
- "I'm sure Mr. Solo has some cargo of considerably more value to us than his misspent life."
- ―Crimson Jack
A short time after the Battle of Yavin, Crimson Jack and his crew came upon the Millennium Falcon. Han Solo and his co-pilot, Chewbacca, were on their way to meet with Jabba the Hutt and pay off the crime lord with the reward they had received from the Rebel Alliance for rescuing Princess Leia Organa from the Death Star, to remove the bounty Jabba had placed on their heads. After bringing the Falcon aboard his ship with a tractor beam, Jack and Jolli threatened the two smugglers and forced them to turn over their cargo. At blasterpoint, Solo reluctantly removed his reward from the secret storage units on his ship. After removing the reward from the Falcon, Jolli suggested executing the smugglers, but Jack nixed the idea, claiming that they might be able to pull off the same caper on Solo at a later date. Before letting Solo and his Wookiee co-pilot leave, Jack had a tracer placed on Solo's ship.
A short time after releasing Solo, Jack and his crew made another high-profile capture, Princess Leia Organa. The Princess had been on a mission to rescue the Rebel hero, Luke Skywalker, who was lost in the Drexel system. On the way to Skywalker's location, Organa found her ship caught in the tractor beam of Crimson Jack. After realizing who they had captured, Jack decided to ransom the princess to the Rebel Alliance. However, Organa refused to tell Jack the location of the Rebel base, knowing that Jack would also attempt to sell the information to the Galactic Empire. While contemplating how to force Organa to talk, Jack's crew once again came across the Millennium Falcon, locating the ship due to the tracer they had placed aboard Solo's craft. After bringing the Falcon back aboard his ship, Jack had his crew search the craft again. However, Solo had gained nothing new in his hiatus away from Crimson Jack's ship, which convinced the pirate that they were no further use to him.
Not knowing that Solo and Organa were familiar with one another, Jack decided to use Solo and Chewbacca as an example for what was in store for Organa if she still refused to talk. Under Solo's protests, Jack ordered Jolli and his men to slowly burn the two smugglers. However, Solo and his Wookiee co-pilot fought through the pirates, and Solo got his hands on a blaster rifle. Aiming the weapon at Crimson Jack's head, Solo negotiated a position with the pirate. Coming up with a quick lie, Solo claimed that he had come to Crimson Jack on purpose. With nothing but quick thinking on his side, Solo managed to bluff Jack into believing that he needed Jack to obtain a Rebel treasure trove. Organa was able to catch on to the deception, and she corroborated Solo's story, claiming that the treasury was in the Drexel system in order to discover the missing Skywalker.
The path to Drexel
- "How do I get myself into situations like this? Running a half-baked bluff on Crimson Jack, one of the deadliest space pirates going—while heading for a star system most old-timers say should be avoided like a heard of stampeding banthas—with the princess who masterminded this move locked below decks waiting to be rescued!"
- ―Han Solo
Convinced by Solo's story, Crimson Jack decided to head to the Drexel system. However, his navigation computer had no information on how to get to there. To guide Jack's crew, Solo had Chewbacca tap into the ship's computers to show the way. Jack was quite suspicious of the action, and he had two of his men keep close watch on the Wookiee with orders to kill Chewbacca if he tried anything not related to guiding the ship to the Drexel system. However, even with the guards on him, Chewbacca was able to delete the ship's star charts, an action that had been planned by Solo to give them the upper hand. On the way to the Drexel system, Crimson Jack was forced to discipline his first mate, Jolli, who had opened fire on her fellow crew members for attempting to kiss her. Jolli blamed the outburst on Solo, whom she had only recently began to fantasize about. Jack was bewildered by the confession, knowing that Jolli had a reputation as a man-hater, and exclaimed that he could not understand the effect that Solo had on women.
Shortly afterward, the ship arrived in the Drexel system above the only world in the system. However, the world was covered in water and appeared to be uninhabited. Sensing a double-cross, Jolli and Jack pulled their weapons on Solo, demanding that he explain the situation immediately. Thinking quickly again, Solo claimed that Leia Organa could explain the situation. Although skeptical of Solo's story, Jack decided to interview Organa once again. However, before he could question the princess, Jack found his ship caught in a sonic jammer from the ship-dwellers who lived on the water planet on Ship-city. The ship-dwellers, under the command of Governor Quarg, were hoping to drag the ship to the planet's surface and scavenge the metal from the craft. The jolt of the tractor beam caused a major distraction, forcing Jack's crew to scramble to fight the tractor beam. In the chaos that followed, Solo, Chewbacca, and Organa were able to fight their way to the hangar bay and back to the Millennium Falcon. After defeating the pirates in the hangar, the Rebels were able to escape the ship in the Falcon. Before their escape Solo sabotaged the starfighters in the hangar, ensuring that Jack's men would be unable to chase them.
- "Solo! I might've known it'd come down to just you and me—"
"No, Jack—just me!"
- ―Han Solo kills Crimson Jack
After learning of Solo's sabotage, Jack questioned his chief engineer as to whether the ship would be able to escape being pulled to the surface of Drexel. The chief engineer claimed that it would only be a matter of their emergency drive being able to outlast the sonic jammer. As Jack's crew fought to keep their ship from being dragged out of the sky, the effects of the sonic jammer inexplicably disappeared. Free of the danger of the ship's destruction, Jack immediately ordered his crew to scan the area for the Millennium Falcon, intent on finding Solo and enacting revenge. During the fight against the sonic jammer, Jolli had been hard at work trying to repair their fighter craft, eventually making three of the starfighters completely serviceable. Although Jolli told her captain that she might be able to repair a few more of the craft with a little more time, Jack refused to delay further, and when one of his crew pinpointed the location of the Falcon on the surface of the water planet, he told Jolli to take two of Raider Squadron and shoot down Solo's ship.
Jolli and her two pilots quickly found the Millennium Falcon and began to herd Solo towards Crimson Jack and a waiting tractor beam. However, skillful flying by Solo kept the Falcon from being captured again, and Solo was able to shoot down two of the starfighters. Jolli, avoiding the same attack that felled her fellow pilots, plowed into the Falcon, disabling the freighter and forcing it to make repairs. However, the collision also disabled Jolli's Y-wing, stranding her in space. Due to Jolli's efforts of disabling the Falcon, Jack opened up communications with Solo, claiming that he was about to vaporize him. At this moment, Solo decided to reveal to Jack that Chewbacca had erased his star charts, and that if he went through with the execution he would be condemning his crew to being stranded in the Drexel system. With little other choice, Jack was forced to listen to Solo's proposal. Since the Millennium Falcon had been disabled, Solo requested that Jack give him several parts that he needed to enact repairs in return for a copy of the Falcon's star charts.
Jack agreed to the deal, and he had his ship create a magnetic field between his ship and the Millennium Falcon so that the two men could meet in space without space suits and make the trade without concealed weapons. Hoping to double-cross Solo, Jack decided to have his men ambush the smuggler on his signal. As Jack prepared himself to enter the magnetically sealed area of space outside his ship, he received a transmission from Jolli in her disabled ship. Jack's second in command requested a magnetic pulse beam to help pull her back to the ship. However, Jack immediately refused, knowing that such an operation might interfere with the signal that he would send out to make his forces attack. Although disappointed that he would be abandoning his first mate, Jack told Jolli that she would have to make it on her own—if she was good enough.
Jack made his way out into space and saw that Solo had brought a blaster pistol to the meeting. However, Jack had also brought a weapon, and the two cautiously approached one another, keeping their blasters in their holsters. After exchanging items, Jack signaled his men to attack, and they shortened the magnetic field, keeping Solo from escaping back to his ship. Solo forced his way away from Jack by kicking the pirate in the chest. However, Jack's tactics had stranded Solo away from his allies, and it was only a matter of time before Jack's men would cut Solo down. However, Jolli had been able to pilot her wrecked Y-wing back to the ship. Furious over her captain's betrayal, and intent on showing Jack that she was "good enough," she opened fire on her own crew, killing many of them. As Jack watched, appalled by her tactics, one of his own men pointed out that if she still had torpedoes on her fighter, she would be able to destroy their ship. Fumbling over what he could say to stop Jolli's assault, Jack watched in horror as Jolli rammed her Y-wing into Jack's ship, turning the vessel into an irrecoverable wreck. As Jack lamented the loss of one of the best pirating operations in the galaxy, Solo appeared through the smoke of the wreckage. Jack quickly turned on the smuggler and aimed his weapon, but Solo was too quick for the red-bearded pirate and shot him through the chest, killing him instantly.
- "I was a backer who helped Jack refit that cruiser! A major investment destroyed…! Including its treasure holds! At least the ship's log survived…and makes clear who did this! Hard to believe one man could continually bring me so much grief! Harsh action is required!"
- ―Jabba Desilijic Tiure
Following Jack's death, Solo and Organa searched the wreckage of Jack's destroyed vessel and paid their respects to Jolli's corpse for her role in rescuing them from Jack's attack. The Millennium Falcon then left the dead ship adrift in space. Sometime later, men under the employ of Jabba the Hutt came across the wreckage of Jack's cruiser. After trying to find whatever they could salvage, they reported back to Jabba that his investment had been completely destroyed, including the treasure holds that the ship once held. Upon receiving the news, Jabba was furious. The ship's log had survived the destruction, and after looking over it, it was discovered that Solo had been responsible. Although he had previously taken off the bounty on Solo's head, Jabba decided to replace the bounty on Han Solo's head after discovering this incident.
Personality and traits
- "Then you're practically a corporation! Impressive…but where's the romance?"
"I'll leave that to star-hoppers like yourself, Mr. Solo. I've ambitions beyond being a pirate."
- ―Han Solo and Crimson Jack
Crimson Jack was a ruthless and dangerous space pirate with grand ambitions. Although not above executing and torturing prisoners with inhumane methods such as the Burning, Jack was also very practical, releasing Han Solo and Chewbacca after stealing their treasure instead of killing them, hoping that he would be able to steal from them at a later date. Jack had dreams of becoming more than a space pirate, and when he came upon a damaged Imperial cruiser, he immediately decided to appropriate the ship for his own needs, even contacting a crime lord, such as Jabba the Hutt, to help repair the ship for a share of the profits.
As the head of a pirate gang, Jack was considered quite formidable in combat, able to wield a blaster pistol with precision, as well as believed adequate in unarmed combat. However, he was also known to be very temperamental, letting his anger get the better of him when his plans went awry, even physically beating his own men when they gave him bad news. This carelessness for his own crew's welfare, extended even to his own first mate, Jolli, and his neglect to rescue the woman after her ship became disabled led to his own undoing when she turned against him for his betrayal. In addition, Jack recruited mainly Human pirates for his crew, and looked down on the Wookiee Chewbacca as a dumb animal. As a result, Jack was quite surprised when he learned that it had been Chewbacca who had erased the star charts from his navigation computer. Despite his brash attitude, Jack also proved to be capable at scheming, devising plans to outwit Han Solo, and he nearly killed the smuggler after trapping him within his ship's magnetic field and ambushing him.
Behind the scenes
- "And, striding thru all the din and clamor…a red-bearded man in black."
- ―Unseen Narrator
The character of Crimson Jack was created by Roy Thomas and Howard Chaykin for use in Star Wars (1977) 7, the first issue of Marvel Star Wars following the comic adaptation of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. Jack reentered the Marvel storyline in Star Wars (1977) 11 when the storyline had come under the direction of Archie Goodwin and Carmine Infantino. He featured as the primary villain in the next four comics until his death in Star Wars (1977) 15 at the hands of Han Solo. Crimson Jack received a minor mention in Star Wars (1977) 37 following his full departure from the storyline.
Crimson Jack's mention in In Mortal Combat was the result of a retcon to resolve the issue of the bounty on Han Solo's head set by Jabba the Hutt. In Star Wars (1977) 28, Solo had saved Jabba's life, resolving the bounty that had been placed on his head. However, with the upcoming release of Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, and the revelation that the bounty would still be on Solo's head in that film, the writers were forced to replace the bounty on Solo's head. To do so, Archie Goodwin had men under Jabba the Hutt come across Crimson Jack's destroyed Imperial cruiser, discovering that Han Solo had been responsible. In Star Wars (1977) 12, Crimson Jack had told Solo that he had found financial backers to fund the restoration of his craft. In Mortal Combat specified that Jabba had been that backer, and that Solo's participation in the destruction of the ship had cost Jabba a great sum of money, causing Jabba to replace the bounty on Solo's head.
In Crimson Jack's first appearance in Star Wars 7: New Planets, New Perils!, Roy Thomas specifies that the pirate was garbed in black. However, the drawing shows Jack wearing an outfit of blue. This outfit continued to be colored blue until Star Wars 12: Doomworld!, which showed Jack in black for two panels. This change in color may denote that the original blue coloring may have been an inking error. However, even in the same comic, Jack appears with the blue coloring, and in all further appearances of Jack, the blue color scheme is used, even on the cover of Star Wars 15: Star Duel, leaving the source of the error in doubt. In Star Wars (1977) 14, Crimson Jack's hair is incorrectly shown as orange for several panels.
- Star Wars (1977) 7 (First appearance)
- Star Wars (1977) 9 (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars (1977) 11
- Star Wars (1977) 12
- Star Wars (1977) 13
- Star Wars (1977) 14
- Star Wars (1977) 15
- Star Wars (1977) 37 (Mentioned only)
- Scoundrels (Indirect mention only)
- Scoundrels audiobook (Indirect mention only)
- The Essential Guide to Characters
- "ComicScan: Pulp Faction"—Star Wars Galaxy Magazine 6
- The Starhoppers of Aduba-3"—Star Wars Gamer 4 "
- Star Wars Gamemaster Screen, Revised
- Star Wars Handbook 1: X-Wing Rogue Squadron
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 26 (SOL10, Han Solo)
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 37 (CHE7, Chewbacca)
- The New Essential Chronology
- "Comic Marvels"—Star Wars Insider 91
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- "Blaster"—Star Wars Insider 152