- "I've never had too much trouble with them, though, unless the odds were about ten to one."
"I always figured ten to one was pretty routine."
"I was just trying to be modest. Hope I get to fly with you some time, captain."
"Call me Sam."
- ―Biggs Darklighter and Samuel Raider discuss the TIE/IN interceptor
Samuel Raider was a captain in the Alliance Starfighter Corps during the Galactic Civil War. After he was captured by the Galactic Empire, Raider was sent to Stars' End prison, but was able to escape with the help of other captive Rebels. Fleeing to Kashyyyk, the escapees were later recovered by Rebel forces, though Raider's friend Lieutenant Cardacs was killed during the rescue. Raider joined Red Squadron aboard the MC80 Home One type Star Cruiser Independence, bringing news of a secret Imperial weapon with him. He initially blamed Cardacs' wingmate, Keyan Farlander, for his friend's death, but the two went on to become friends themselves. During his time with Red Squadron, Raider fought in several missions against the Empire as the Rebels attempted to learn more information about the Death Star, including the destruction of the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Intrepid. However, his relationship with Farlander was strained when Farlander's instructions contributed to the deaths of two rookie pilots. When the Death Star moved to attack Yavin Base, Raider was one of several Independence pilots transferred to Yavin 4 for the upcoming battle, and was among the few to survive.
Samuel Raider joined the Alliance to Restore the Republic early in the Galactic Civil War and rose to the rank of captain in the Alliance Starfighter Corps. Some time before the end of Operation Strike Fear, he was captured by the Galactic Empire and sent to the Corporate Sector Authority's infamous Stars' End prison on Mytus VII. During his time in the prison, Raider heard rumors of a secret Imperial weapon under construction but was unable to get close enough to anybody who had been there to learn more. He was eventually able to escape, along with several other captured Rebel pilots, and stowed away aboard the BFF-1 bulk freighter Genue bound for the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk.
The Empire quickly began searching all ships in the surrounding area in a bid to locate the fugitives. When the Genue arrived in the Kashyyyk system, it was stopped by the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Intrepid, which dispatched stormtroopers aboard a Delta-class DX-9 stormtrooper transport to board and search the freighter. However, the Rebel Alliance had learned of the prisoners' escape and launched a mission to rescue the prisoners before they could be recaptured.
Captain Keyan Farlander and an old friend of Raider's, Lieutenant Cardacs, flew R-22 Spearhead starfighters from Red Squadron into the Kashyyyk system, arriving just as the Imperial transport began docking with the freighter. The Intrepid's TIE fighters moved to intercept the threat, but while Cardacs held off the fighters, Farlander moved quickly to destroy the transport with his concussion missiles. As the Rebel Lambda-class T-4a shuttle Drago arrived and began boarding, the Intrepid launched fighters to stop the rescue attempt, but the R-22s were able to hold them off long enough for the rescue team to capture the freighter and for both the Genue and the Drago to escape into hyperspace. Cardacs, however, was killed during the dogfight.
Service with Red Squadron
- "Let me ask you something, Captain Raider. Did you choose me for this mission to check me out, or to shoot me in the back?"
"To check you out. Yeah. But to shoot you? What kind of pilot do you think I am, anyway?"
"A pretty good one, from what I saw. But you were…you seemed to blame me."
"I was wrong. Let's leave it at that. Come on. I've got some drinking to do, and I need some company."
- ―Keyan Farlander and Samuel Raider
Raider and the other escapees were taken to the Rebel flagship, the MC80 Home One type Star Cruiser Independence, where they underwent an extensive debriefing. The following day, Raider was taking a break in the ship's mess with two of the other former prisoners, when he saw Farlander enter the room. Raider confronted the pilot, making it clear that he blamed Farlander for Cardacs' death.
Raider encountered Farlander again during a mission briefing the next day. During their debriefing, the escapees had informed the Rebels of the rumors regarding the secret Imperial project. Though they knew little, they had learned that a freighter was departing Kashyyyk, transporting Wookiee slaves to work on the project. The Alliance decided to attempt to rescue the Wookiees and hoped that they would know more about their destination—Raider was chosen to lead the rescue mission. The Independence's mission planner, Commander S'man, introduced Raider to the assembled pilots, and the captain outlined the mission. In order to check Farlander out, Raider picked him, along with Sunnar Jan-lo, as his wingmen. However, when his fellow escapee Toalagar voiced a desire to get back into action, Raider decided to take the other pilot instead of Jan-lo.
The three Rebel pilots flew R-22 Spearheads in the mission. Upon dropping out of hyperspace, the group quickly came under attack from the Empire's new starfighter, the Assault Gunboat. During the subsequent dogfight, Farlander and Raider attacked the same target, and Raider's laser cannon fire raked Farlander's deflector shields. Raider then admonished Farlander over his choice of target. The Assault Gunboats were soon eliminated, though Toalagar's R-22 was destroyed by a concussion missile launched by one of the Assault Gunboats during the first pass, and the pilot was killed. Nevertheless, Raider and Farlander were successful in engaging the TIE/LN starfighters escorting the freighter Toral and confirming the freighter's cargo. With their target confirmed, Rebel Y-wings arrived to disable it for capture by a Rebel transport. Raider and Farlander engaged reinforcements from the nearby Intrepid until the transport escaped with the freed Wookiees.
Raider blamed himself for Toalagar's death, realizing that his friend was too rusty to have returned to combat immediately. After returning to the Independence, he approached Farlander to apologize for both the friendly fire and blaming him for Cardacs' death. When Farlander was later grounded pending an investigation into the deaths of his two wingmen, Tan'tro and Ahsmar, during a mission, Raider joined Commander Hamo Blastwell in reassuring Farlander of the other pilots' support. The three pilots went on to become friends, spending much of their time together in the pilots' lounge while not on duty. After pilots from the Independence rescued Biggs Darklighter when his X-wing, which was carrying information on the Death Star, broke down near the Cron Drift, Darklighter joined Raider and Farlander in the lounge, and the pilots shared their experiences.
Soon after, the Intrepid's hyperdrive was damaged in an accidental collision with an EF76 Nebulon-B escort frigate, leaving the ship stranded in the Circarpous system. In a series of raids, the Alliance prevented the Imperials from conducting repairs and eliminated its escorts, leaving it defenseless and vulnerable to attack. On one of these raids, Raider joined with Farlander, Blastwell, and Ernek Marskan in a mission to destroy the Star Destroyer's escort of Assault Gunboats and CR90 corvettes from Viper group. Soon after, Raider participated in the final assault on the Intrepid, flying a Gold Squadron R-22 Spearhead in the combined X-wing, Y-wing and R-22 attack. Farlander and Jan-lo quickly brought down the Star Destroyer's shields with their X-wings, allowing the Y-wings' proton torpedo barrage to eliminate the vessel, the first time the Rebels destroyed a Star Destroyer in a frontal attack. Although Jan-lo's X-wing was incapacitated by a TIE bomber of Gamma Squadron, Raider quickly destroyed the bomber and Jan-lo was rescued.
Shortly before the Battle of Yavin, Raider, Farlander, and their fellow pilot Puck Naeco witnessed the arrival of the Mon Calamari privateer and trader Tuz aboard the Independence when he made a delivery of stolen Imperial equipment. Although Raider was suspicious of the pirate, due to some unknown prior dealings, he agreed to join Tuz's party for a drink in the pilots' lounge. When Raider voiced his opinion of Tuz's business practices, one of the pirate's Gamorrean bodyguards attacked the pilot. Raider quickly ducked out of the way and responded with an uppercut to the Gamorrean's jaw, knocking the bodyguard to the floor and injuring his own hand in the process. The altercation was brought to a halt by Tuz, who admonished his bodyguard's behavior, but Raider's suspicions about Tuz's motives were confirmed when he learned that the pirate was only helping the Alliance as an unwilling participant in an arrangement with the Independence's commanding officer, Admiral Gial Ackbar.
Falling out with Farlander
- "Leave me alone, Farlander. I don't know what you're up to, but I don't want anything to do with it."
- ―Samuel Raider to Keyan Farlander
Raider and Naeco later joined Farlander and his rookie wingman Breth Gart in Lucky Lower 13, a bar aboard ship. The group soon attracted two female crew members, one of whom was clearly interested in Gart. When the young pilot decided to follow Farlander's lead in retiring for the night, the women stayed in the company of Raider and Naeco. When Gart was killed in a freak incident during a mission soon after, Farlander took his death hard. Concerned, Raider approached Farlander to offer his condolences and was surprised when the other replied that Gart simply hadn't been strong enough to survive. As Farlander started to behave increasingly aggressive during combat, his friendship with Raider became strained. On one occasion, as Farlander entered the pilots' lounge, Raider stood up to leave. Farlander attempted to make his friend stay by using the Force to persuade him, but although Raider hesitated momentarily, he continued towards the exit, causing the frustrated Farlander to unleash a mind blast. Raider staggered from the attack but soon straightened himself and warned Farlander to stay away from him.
Around the same time, Farlander began promoting aggression in some of the ship's rookie pilots, hoping to create an invincible squadron, guided by the Force—his teachings contributed to the deaths of two of his followers, Horodi and Casal Marskan, during his next mission. After returning to the Independence, Farlander was confronted by Casal's older brother, Captain Ernek Marskan, who blamed Farlander for his brother's death. Farlander used the Force to choke Marskan, before finally releasing him. Marskan reported the event to Raider and Speedy, only serving to deepen the growing distrust of Farlander among his fellow pilots.
Shortly after the incident, the Independence was dispatched to the Alliance's base on Yavin 4 to assist in the preparations for an expected attack from the now complete Death Star. Raider was one of several pilots transferred to Yavin Base upon arrival, along with Marskan and Farlander. Since their confrontation on the Independence, Farlander had come to realize the dangers of using the Force and turned his back on the dark side. After the arrival of the Death Star in the Yavin system, Farlander approached his followers in the hangar and told them that he had been wrong. Raider watched from across the hangar but returned to his work without speaking to Farlander. The Rebels succeeded in defeating the Imperial battlestation due to the efforts of Luke Skywalker. Though many Rebels were killed in the Battle of Yavin, Raider, Marskan, and Farlander were among the survivors. However, despite Farlander's apology, neither Raider nor Marskan were willing to forgive him.
Personality and traits
- "Hey, to me an explosion is an explosion."
- ―Samuel Raider
Raider was loyal to both the cause of the Rebel Alliance and his comrades. However, to those he disliked, such as the pirate Tuz, he was hard-edged and dangerous. Keyan Farlander noted Raider's firm grip and unwavering eyes while shaking hands during an early meeting between the two. Raider was unafraid of physical confrontations and was capable of holding his own in a fight, even against a Gamorrean on one occasion. Raider was a capable pilot who was confident of his own abilities. He considered TIE/IN interceptors to be easy to defeat, as their pilots tended to rely too heavily on speed, and enjoyed the challenge of fighting CR90 corvettes. He once stated his desire to fight directly against a Star Destroyer—eventually getting the opportunity in the attack on the Intrepid. In battle, he enjoyed using the advantage of deflector shields by ramming the unshielded Imperial TIE fighters.
Behind the scenes
Samuel Raider was created by Rusel DeMaria for the 1993 book X-Wing: The Official Strategy Guide, which presented the story of Keyan Farlander, the player character in the game Star Wars: X-Wing. In the book, Raider is established as one of the previously unidentified members of Farlander's squadron.
- Star Wars: X-Wing (First appearance) (Fighter only)
- X-Wing: The Official Strategy Guide (First identified as Samuel Raider)
- X-wing Collector's CD-ROM: The Official Strategy Guide