The cliff wampa was a brown, rock-climbing subspecies of the wampa ice creature native to the Outer Rim Territories planet Hoth, bioengineered by the Galactic Empire to serve as a guard beast. After learning of the ice wampa's powerful ferocity during the Battle of Hoth in 3 ABY, the Empire captured several of the creatures and artificially adapted them to various environments. By 3.5 ABY, the Empire had placed the resultant cliff wampa on the rocky Outer Rim moon of Gall to protect the moon's Imperial interests.
Biology and appearanceEdit
A product of Imperial bioengineering, the cliff wampa was a manufactured subspecies of the wampa ice creature indigenous to the remote ice planet Hoth. Whereas the ice wampa was covered with a coat of white fur for camouflage on Hoth's frozen plains, the cliff wampa was alternatively gray or light brown in color in order to blend in with the rocky habitat of the Imperial-controlled moon of Gall. The cliff wampa boasted sharp, iron-strong claws capable of climbing or digging through solid rock, much like the Hoth wampa would dig through ice.
Behavior and intelligenceEdit
The origin of the cliff wampa began during the waning days of the Alliance to Restore the Republic's tenure at the secret Echo Base facility on the Outer Rim Territories planet Hoth in early 3 ABY. The Rebels of Echo Base endured repeated assaults on the facility from Hoth's native wampas. During one such attack just prior to the Battle of Hoth, the Rebels succeeded in neutralizing and incarcerating several of the creatures, holding them in secluded pens within the base.
Later, during the Imperial assault on Echo Base during the Battle of Hoth, an advance group of the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Vader's elite snowtroopers was slaughtered by the Rebels' caged wampas after charging blindly into one of the creatures' holding pens inside the base. The Empire was so impressed with the powerful wampa after receiving reports of how the creatures terrorized Echo Base, that it managed to capture some of the beasts and, through bioengineering, adapted them to survive in various environments as guard animals. The cliff wampa was a result of the Empire's efforts.
Cliff wampas in the galaxyEdit
By 3.5 ABY, just months after the Battle of Hoth, the Empire had installed the cliff wampa as a sentinel to guard the Cadavine Sector Fleet Imperial Enclave on the rocky Outer Rim moon of Gall. The Rebel-affiliated mercenary Dash Rendar, who had previously come face-to-face with the Rebels' captured ice wampas within the bowels of Echo Base during the Battle of Hoth, encountered a single cliff wampa while attempting to infiltrate the Imperial Enclave through the high cliffs of Smuggler's Canyon in a failed effort to rescue the carbonite-encased Han Solo from the bounty hunter Boba Fett.
Behind the scenesEdit
- "We also thought that it would be fun to sneak a wampa into another level of the game where he's hiding in a rock cliff on the moon Gall. We colored him tan to camouflage him and hid him inside a cave…The cliff wampa is actually the result of Imperial bioengineering. The Empire was so impressed by this powerful creature, who you'll remember did maul several of their vaunted stormtroopers on Hoth, that they managed to capture some and adapt them to various environments to be used almost like a vicious guard dog."
- ―Jon Knoles, Shadows of the Empire video game creator
The cliff wampa first appeared in Star Wars canon as a minor antagonist for the player-character in the 1996 video game Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire for Nintendo 64 and later PC. According to Shadows of the Empire video game creator Jon Knoles, as recounted in the article LucasArts takes on the Wampa for Star Wars Insider 33, the LucasArts game developers inserted a rock-camouflaged wampa in the "Gall Spaceport" level as a way to have fun with the game—developer Ryan Kaufman is jokingly listed in the game credits as "Cliff Wampa Zoologist." The article likens the cliff wampa's appearance in Shadows of the Empire to any number of hidden tricks, or "Easter eggs," that game designers have always created to "stretch the fun factor." However, even as of the cliff wampa's creation, LucasArts has tried to be conservative with what secrets they insert into their video games, knowing that anything they create may later appear in other Star Wars works and thus become official canon when it was never meant to be.
The Star Wars Insider 33 article was the first source to officially identify the "Gall Spaceport" creature as a "cliff wampa." Knoles describes LucasArts' original backstory for their "fabled" creature as the result of Imperial bioengineering, information later fully canonized in the 2006 sourcebook The New Essential Guide to Alien Species. In both the 1996 Shadows of the Empire: Game Secrets and the 1997 Shadows of the Empire: The Official Strategy Guide, published by Prima Games, writer Bart Farkas colloquially refers to the cliff wampa as a "mountain wampa."
- Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire video game (First appearance)
- Shadows of the Empire: Game Secrets (as mountain wampa)
- "LucasArts takes on the Wampa"—Star Wars Insider 33 (First identified as cliff wampa)
- Shadows of the Empire: The Official Strategy Guide (as mountain wampa)
- The New Essential Guide to Alien Species
- "The Toughest Ever Creatures"—Star Wars Insider 102
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 The New Essential Guide to Alien Species
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "LucasArts takes on the Wampa"—Star Wars Insider 33
- ↑ Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back, Second Edition
- ↑ "One Step Ahead"—Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back, Second Edition
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire video game
- ↑ Shadows of the Empire: Game Secrets
- ↑ Shadows of the Empire: The Official Strategy Guide