- "Please repeat the communication, over."
- ―A Zann Consortium StarViper pilot
The StarViper was equipped with dual laser cannons of medium destructive power, and unlike other starfighters, it was short in length but tall, lacking a fuselage. It had decent armor and was fairly quick, but was expensive, which meant that it was not deployed in large squadrons.
The StarViper was also able to release buzz droids that would harm nearby craft.
The Virago was commissioned by Xizor as his personal starship. He collaborated directly with MandalMotors on its design, and he purchased all production rights upon completion to ensure the ship would remain unique. Xizor's personal version of the ship featured a super-advanced targeting computer that greatly increased the performance of whatever weapons the ship happened to be using. Following Xizor's death, MandalMotors reacquired the production rights and released a StarViper variant less powerful than Virago to the open market. In addition, Mandal Hypernautics began producing the fighter.
StarVipers formed the main starfighter force of the Zann Consortium, and they were modified to carry and deploy swarms of old Pistoeka sabotage droids that the Consortium obtained via the black market, proving superior to interceptors such as the RZ-1 A-wing interceptor and TIE/IN interceptor.
These fighters were also employed in small numbers by the Mandalorian forces present on Mandalore during the Galactic Civil War. The bounty hunter Dalan Oberos owned a personal StarViper which was painted a reddish-brown color.
Behind the scenes
The Forces of Corruption campaign from Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption depicts the Zann Consortium deploying squadrons of StarVipers as early as 1 BBY during the Mission to Mandalore. The game version of Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire depicts the Outrider fighting off dozens of these fighters. Both of these instances are contradicted by the fact that the StarViper was limited to a single ship, the Virago, at the time. Only after the death of Prince Xizor in 3.5 ABY did Mandal Hypernautics start producing StarVipers in numbers.
Canderous Ordo's Basilisk war droid, as seen in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, is strikingly similar in appearance to the StarViper. It was retconned that the ship was based on one of the Mandalorian Basilisk war droid models, which, according to Chris Avellone, was done deliberately to improve on the designs done for the Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi series by Dark Horse Comics:
- "The Basilisk war droid version presented in K2 was an intentional departure from the ones presented in Tales of the Jedi, and we are happy, because frankly, those look really stupid […] So yes, the Basilisk droid version was an intentional departure from the older models, and we take full responsibility. It is noteworthy that LucasArts and Lucasfilm agreed with our decision on the first pass…"
- ―Chris Avellone.
- Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds: Clone Campaigns (Non-canonical appearance)
- Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption
- Debts to Pay (Picture only)
- Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided (Appeared in loading screen)
- Shadows of the Empire novel (First appearance)
- Shadows of the Empire audiobook
- Shadows of the Empire junior novelization
- Shadows of the Empire comic
- Shadows of the Empire game
- Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance (Mentioned only)
- The Mandalorian Armor (In flashback(s))
- Slave Ship (In flashback(s))
- Hard Merchandise (In flashback(s))
- Shadows of the Empire: Evolution (In flashback(s))
- Legacy of the Force: Sacrifice (Mentioned only)