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Wampa
Designation

Semi-sentient[1]

Planet of origin

Hoth[2]

Height of average adult
  • 2.5 meters average[1]
  • 2.2 to 3 meters range[2]
Hair color

White[3]

Eye color

Yellow[2]

Distinctions
  • Razor-sharp teeth and claws[1]
  • Curved horns[1]
"The kid ran into something, and it wasn't just the cold."
Han Solo, referring to Luke Skywalker's wampa attack

Wampa ice creatures were carnivorous predatory reptomammals indigenous to the Outer Rim Territories ice planet Hoth. The bipedal beasts stood over two meters in height with shaggy white fur constantly stained by the blood and guts of slaughtered prey. Wampas were armed with jagged yellow teeth and deadly claws. Primarily solitary hunters, wampas occasionally hunted in packs, preferring to ambush their prey from the camouflage of Hoth's snow banks and blizzards. Stunned victims were carried back to the creatures' lairs, typically large ice caves, where the wampas ate at their leisure. The planet's omnivorous tauntauns formed the bulk of the wampas' prey, although they would attack anything they encountered. The Alliance to Restore the Republic's Echo Base on Hoth came under constant wampa assaults in 3 ABY.

While rarely seen away from their remote homeworld, wampas were known to have participated in illegal gladiatorial combat venues. They were highly valued among big game hunters for the challenge that came with hunting the creatures, as well as for their pelts, stuffed heads, and other miscellaneous souvenirs that commanded high prices on the black market. Wampas were later protected under legislation to prevent endangered species from falling into extinction by the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances.

Contents

Biology and appearance

"We thought they were dumb brutes—all teeth and claws, and no brains—but we were wrong."
Burrk, a former stormtrooper-turned-big game hunter

Covered with white fur and standing at heights of up to three meters, wampas were lethal predatory beasts. They possessed long, powerful arms, razor-sharp claws capable of carving layers out of ice, and a fanged maw. Older wampas past the age of puberty possessed horns, which grew larger with age.[1] Aided by an acute sense of smell and a well-camouflaged coat of thick fur, they roamed Hoth's icy plains preying on near-helpless animals.[4] Wampas were classified officially as reptomammals, creatures combining the best defensive characteristics of reptiles with the more adaptable physiologies of mammals[5]—specifically, they were linked to primates.[1] Beneath their protective fur was a layer of blubber for greater insulation. They were also physiologically equipped with a self-regulating metabolism.[5] Wampas comprised 11% of Hoth's total indigenous population.[6]

A wampa moving on all fours

Wampas rarely killed their prey outright and never hunted when they were hungry.[7][8] Instead, they stunned their prey, hauled the still breathing victims back to their caves, and secured them in the ice for later consumption. Their primary prey were Hoth's many varieties of omnivorous tauntauns,[4][8][9] though they also hunted antlered mammals called rayboo, and other, smaller unwary creatures.[1] Although tauntauns were relatively plentiful on Hoth, a single wampa had to cover more than a hundred kilometers when seeking prey.[2][8] However, wampas learned to adapt to this necessity. They had a very faint scent, preventing tauntauns from detecting a wampa's approach. Their white fur allowed them to blend in perfectly with Hoth's blinding blizzards, enabling them to attack their prey without prior detection.[2] As such, wampas rarely engaged in extended chases. They traveled on two or four legs, preferring four except when stalking or during an attack.[5]

The wampas' comfort zone as far as seeking prey was limited to Hoth's frozen plains and the cooler regions of the planet's subterranean caves. Often, Hoth's scaly tauntauns would gather among warmer cave areas heated by bubbling pools as a defensive measure, areas that wampas found to be uncomfortably hot. Nevertheless, wampas would utilize cunning methods to draw the scaly tauntauns out of their sanctuaries, sometimes rushing into the heated areas to scare their prey out into the cold where they might be cornered. Other times, wampas would simply stalk their prey by waiting in the colder regions between these heated tunnels until the tauntauns ran from one tunnel to another.[9]

Two wampas attacking tauntauns

Wampas were sensitive to high-pitched noises,[2] sounds that were similar to those made by a female in search of a mate.[1] Their physiology was well adapted to conserving heat in the extreme cold. They failed to show up on most life-form sensor scans, which is how they managed to avoid detection for so long.[7] Wampas were rarely themselves the victims of predators.[1]

Wampas possessed at least a rudimentary level of intelligence and cunning, with the ability to organize massively-coordinated attacks when hunting in groups.[4][2] On several occasions, they demonstrated the ability to scout and determine their enemy's location and strength before formulating an attack.[1] They also possessed, at least in one case, the capacity to retain long-term memory.[10][7] One male wampa, named Ku-Kak, had a rare, natural affinity for the Force.[11] Another, the giant wampa Unkajo, towered at a height much greater than the species' average height of 2.5 meters.[12][13][1]

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Subspecies

Subspecies of wampa were found on other worlds, clearly transplanted there from Hoth, though scientists were unable to determine the exact method by which this occurred.[1] These included the giant wampa of Hoth, a variation of the Hoth wampa;[14] the cliff wampa, a beast bioengineered by the Galactic Empire and used as sentinels on the Outer Rim Territories moon of Gall;[15] and the swamp wampa of Dromund Kaas.[16] Swamp wampas were identical to the Hoth wampa in almost every way, prompting scientists to theorize that they were directly descended from them. Though the exact nature of the swamp wampa's development was unclear, it nevertheless indicated a strong adaptability of the wampa species. There also existed Tatooine Howlers, colloquially named "desert wampas" for their strong resemblance to wampas. Although their appearance, with heavy fur and tusks, was similar, genetic testing proved no relation between the desert hunter and the wampa.[1]

Behavior and intelligence

A female and cubs in a cave with stored tauntaun food
"They worked together, in coordinated attacks, probably to defend themselves from what they perceived as an invasion of their territory."
Voren Na'al

Wampas typically made their homes out of the large ice caverns beneath Hoth's surface.[4] They were created by carving down into the ice and hollowing out an area sizable enough to occupy and store food in. Wampa caves were surprisingly spacious when compared to the manufactured dens of other large predators. The purpose of the cave was to shield these large predators from the bitter cold nights and raging storms that swept across the glaciers. Wampas would shed guard fur, which was gathered for nests.[5]

They hung their recently captured prey from the ice ceilings of their dwellings, using either a method of coating their prey with an anesthetized saliva combined with their hot breath to freeze them in place, or by impaling them on large icicles.[7][5] Preferring their meals to consist of fresh meat, their prey was often kept alive before consumption. Wampa lairs often housed huge amounts of stored prey, a testament to how deadly a single beast could be.[4][5]

Wampas mated during the warmer months of the Hoth yearly cycle, during which they gathered in regions where game was plentiful, to search for companionship. While the females waited, the males would go off in search of prey. After making a kill, the male wampa would commonly smear the blood of his victim across his chest and return with the dead animal to the females, thus demonstrating his ability to care for a mate. Sometimes the males would spar with one another for a particular female's companionship. The winners of these bouts chose their preferred mates. They were then considered the alpha males of that region until the following mating season.[1]

In terms of their reproduction method, wampas could be considered marsupials. Their cubs were born live, but very underdeveloped, closely resembling a miniature worm that could fit on a spoon.[1] After mating, female wampas would birth up to three cubs per litter. They would produce milk to nurse their young and were very protective of their offspring.[5] These infants, after birth, would crawl to their mothers' pouches, where they nursed, grew, and developed over a period of roughly three months—after which time they left the pouch with a full set of teeth, needle-sharp claws, and an innate attitude of invincibility. As they grew, young wampas were taught how to hunt, survive in the cold, and how to care for game from their mothers and fathers.[1]

The rear cave of the wampa that attacked Luke Skywalker

Wampas were capable of emitting a terrifying hunting roar that could compete with Hoth's howling winds. Their howl was one of their greatest natural gifts, for it could blend in almost imperceptibly with the winds. Only the creatures themselves could tell the two sounds apart. Thus, the howl provided wampas with a highly efficient form of communication that often proved lethal to disoriented prey.[4] In one unique instance, the Force-sensitive wampa Ku-Kak was trained to naturally understand the Chevin language.[11]

They were primarily solitary hunters, though some wampas were known to occasionally hunt in packs,[2][10] particularly when something threatened the local wampa community.[1] The threat of Alliance to Restore the Republic settlement on Hoth during the Galactic Civil War, for example, caused many wampas to convene in a large secluded valley surrounded by rocks and ice, where many of the creatures lived. The valley floor was littered with the remains of creatures who ventured into the wampas' home never to escape.[12][13]

Wampas possessed a strong affinity for kinship. They were very protective of their own, and in the instance one was slain, they would fly into destructive rages directed at the killer. If the death was natural, wampas would instead vent their rage on their surroundings, sometimes causing avalanches and underground cave-ins, only causing more deaths. When their hysteria had subsided, the grieving wampas would bury their dead in the snow, keeping guard over it for several days to make sure nothing ate the remains.[1] If a wampa was injured, the rest of its pack would band together to repel the threat.[17] Wampas were also extremely territorial, fiercely guarding their hunting grounds, often engaging in deadly bouts with one another.[2]

History

"Hey! Steady, girl. Hey, what's the matter? You smell something?"
―Luke Skywalker, to his tauntaun, before a wampa attack

By 27 BBY, a Shi'ido Changeling impersonating the former Twi'lek Jedi Knight-turned pirate Reess Kairn had set up a lumni-spice mining operation on Hoth using the planet's wampas as food-collecting servants. He fitted several of the creatures with a type of bio-stimulant brain implant, making them more docile and able to understand and respond to the Shi'ido's verbal commands. They were instructed to retrieve tauntauns and bring them back to his subterranean cave, where they were taught to skin them in preparation for his consumption. Hoping to collect a posted price on Kairn's head, the bounty hunter Aurra Sing infiltrated the cave draped in the skinned hide of a dead wampa. She was able to neutralize the Kairn impersonator while simultaneously killing many of his wampas in a manufactured cave-in. The rocky collapse awakened a large Dragon Slug, who also crushed one of the wampas in its massive jaws.[18]

During a bivouac while scouting the expanses of Hoth shortly after the final construction of the Rebel Alliance's Echo Base was completed, Major Kem Monnon, head of the Alliance Corps of Engineers responsible for the base's construction, and an outfit of men heard the howls of wampas in the night—one of the first encounters, albeit indirect, between the creatures and the personnel of Echo Base.[19]

The Arakyd Viper probe droid that located Echo Base in 3 ABY discovered a large mound of snow in the Hoth wastes while performing its reconnaissance work. Upon probing the mound with a low-powered laser beam, a large wampa emerged from the snow pile, having been sleeping. The probe droid quickly regulated the potency of its high-powered laser cannon and disintegrated the beast with a single blast.[20] Also in 3 ABY, while hunting a herd of grazing tauntauns, a wampa encountered and attacked another Viper probe. After a short clash between blaster and claws, the wampa defeated the droid and dragged it back to its ice cavern, where it suspended it in the icy ceiling above the skeletal remains of former prey.[21]

The Balti smuggler Bingo Mehndra possessed a captured pet wampa in his Hoth base. When Jabba the Hutt sent his musical retainers, the Max Rebo Band, on a secret assassination mission to Hoth to kill Mehndra, the smuggler threatened to feed the musicians to his wampa if he suspected a trick.[22] The participants of Jabba the Hutt's demolition games encountered a single wampa while competing on Hoth shortly before 4 ABY.[23]

Following the formation of the New Republic, General Carlist Rieekan's personally-maintained historical records concerning the Rebellion's time spent on Hoth revealed a smuggler named Jonox Forb, who inhabited the naturally formed caves before their conversion into Echo Base. While the fate of Forb's smuggling band remained unclear, his personal logs detailing his experiences on Hoth were recovered from a wampa lair by the Alliance Survey Team Theta.[6] On a mission to Hoth in 14 ABY, Jedi Master Kyle Katarn[6] and his apprentice, Jedi student Jaden Korr, encountered several rogue wampas around the perimeter and inhabiting the ruins of Echo Base. Korr found one wampa in particular attacking a tauntaun within the base.[24]

Kyrisa, wampa master

The exiled Nightsister Kyrisa and a wampa under her control
"I thought they only hunted when they were hungry?"
"They do what that Nightsister trains them to do.
"
Imperial Security Bureau Captain Jeffren Brek's team discusses Kyrisa's trained wampas

Circa early 2 ABY, the Force-sensitive Dathomiri Nightsister Kyrisa took refuge on Hoth after being exiled from her homeworld of Dathomir.[25] Kyrisa, strong in the Force power of beast mastery,[26] soon gained command of a pack of the ice planet's native wampas through mind control.[27] Cut off from her home and her family on Dathomir, Kyrisa depended on one of her wampas for physical and emotional warmth.[28] Aside from beast control, Kyrisa also dabbled in genetic engineering, through which she eventually produced a gigantic wampa of unnatural size, Unkajo.[26][29]

Kyrisa used her mind-controlled wampas to devastate nearby installations and to steal supplies. However, as complete control as Kyrisa had over her pack of wampas, her beast mastery quickly attracted the attention of both the Empire and Jedi sympathetic to the Rebel Alliance, who hoped to either harness her knowledge or remove Kyrisa as a threat to Hoth's local population.[26]

Imperial Intelligence leader "Blackhole" had his own ideas how to employ Kyrisa's beast mastery and dispatched a team of Imperial Security Bureau agents, led by Captain Jeffren Brek, to capture her. During their search for Kyrisa on Hoth, Brek's team encountered two of the Nightsister's trained wampas as well as the giant wampa Unkajo, who towered over its smaller brethren, prompting a skirmish between the Imperials and Kyrisa's beasts. Brek's team killed both of the two smaller wampas, before hamstringing and, as they believed, finally killing Unkajo as well, although the wampas knocked at least one of Brek's men out cold. After the skirmish, the Imperial agents collected the wampas' teeth and claws as souvenirs.[26]

Only moments later, Kyrisa herself appeared before the Imperial agents, surrounded by another pack of obedient wampas, like an army of trained soldiers. Enraged at the loss of Unkajo, Kyrisa ordered the wampas to kill the Imperial team. However, the second battle turned out little different than the previous, with many more of the trained wampas being slain, before Kyrisa slipped away with the surviving wampas of her group covering her escape.[26]

Simultaneous with the Imperial mission, the Twi'lek Jedi Knight Rachi Sitra, along with another Rebel agent, embarked on her own mission to capture the dangerous Kyrisa from Hoth.[25] At some point, Sitra ran into one of Kyrisa's trained wampas as well, although her combat skills served her well in the fight with the attacking beast.[30]

The Rebel agent party to Sitra also encountered Kyrisa herself and two of the exiled Nightsister's trained wampas. Enraged at the Rebel agent for having previously killed another of her bioengineered beasts, Kyrisa ordered the two wampas under her command to kill the agent. The two wampas, well-trained, fought to the death to defend their master, but the Rebel agent eventually won the battle and drove Kyrisa away for the time being.[25]

Ultimately, the Dark Side Adept Namman Cha convinced Kyrisa to join him in service of Emperor Palpatine.[26] He, too, however, had his own bout with Kyrisa's wampas while searching for her on Hoth before enlisting the Emperor's newest prize.[31]

The attack on Echo Base

"Had we remained longer on that frozen world, I have no doubt we would have had more nights filled with their horror."
―Voren Na'al

As a measure of security, the Rebel Alliance's Standard Operating Procedure at Echo Base included scouting the barren wastes surrounding the facility. Initially, only passive lifeforms were detected—there seemed to be very little danger on the remote ice planet. The first sign the Rebels saw that they were not alone was the discovery of a dead tauntaun just outside the base. When the dead animal was brought before 2-1B, the base's chief medical droid, he determined that the tauntaun's neck had been snapped. Knowing how strong the stubborn animals were, the thought that some creature was strong enough to do such damage was more than frightening to the base's personnel.[4] 2-1B also assisted in an Echo Base investigation that led to the discovery and capture of several wampas from a nearby cave.[32]

A wampa attacks Rebel soldiers in Echo Base

Soon thereafter, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo were on a routine mission to place sensor beacons around the perimeter of the base. Solo informed Skywalker that he had encountered an animal carcass, which he believed to be a recent wampa kill, and urged Skywalker to be on guard before he headed back to Echo Base. Solo later told base personnel that he had discovered some wampa kills out in the snow.[33] Skywalker, however, failed to report in from his scouting work, as he was attacked by a male wampa while astride his tauntaun.[34][3] The wampa landed a crushing blow to Skywalker's face with a swipe of its powerful claw, knocking him unconscious and opening up a gash on the side of his face. His tauntaun was killed instantly with a crushing grip that snapped its neck. When Skywalker awoke, he found himself hanging upside down, his feet frozen to the ceiling of the creature's cave, and another wampa eating the corpse of his mount.[34][3] Using the Force, Skywalker was able to escape the wampa, cutting off the creature's arm with his lightsaber before it could attack him.[3]

After Skywalker revived from his medical treatment inside of a bacta tank, he confirmed the Rebels' worst fears. He described being attacked by a large creature three meters in height with deadly claws. Although he had only knowingly seen one of the beasts, where there was one, the Rebels reasoned, there was likely to be more. As a result, the base immediately stepped up its security measures.[4]

Echo Base sent out a few patrols to locate the creature that wounded Skywalker. Although they failed to find Skywalker's one-armed attacker, they did encounter another wampa. After stalking the Rebels for some time, the wampa finally attacked the group from its cover beneath a snow mound, surprising its prey. The wampa continued to make hit-and-run attacks at the Rebels, trying to take its prey one being at a time, unwilling to allow such a significant amount of food to get away.[35]

The following evening after Skywalker's recovery, Echo Base came under attack. It started with the sound of howling, a noise not unusual to those in the base, who were accustomed to Hoth's howling winds. Still, this noise was louder and angrier. Shortly after the howling started, the base's command center received a brief comlink call from Bervin, a perimeter scout, which was abruptly cut off by a bellowing inhuman roar and a horrified, distinctly Human scream. Major Bren Derlin, head of security at Echo Base, and others in the command center rushed to Bervin's post. There, they found only the signs of a struggle, but no sign of Bervin himself. Blood was scattered against the far wall of snow, where a large cave-in had occurred. The blood trail followed the shallow trench where Bervin's body had been dragged out of the post and into the icy-cold night of Hoth.[4]

Before long similar calls began to come into the command center. Reports of attacks all along the base's perimeter were reported. All described the same: a lone sentry, attacked and dragged off into the night. Efforts were made to ready the base's T-47 airspeeders, but there was no need. The creatures came to them, crashing through the carefully carved ice walls of the facility. The base was soon filled with a horde of attacking wampas. The personnel of Echo Base were ready to protect their fortress, however. They held off the beasts with concentrated artillery barrages, while the wampas outside the base were similarly repelled by the Rebels' blaster fire. The creatures inside the base were rounded up with the help of the droids C-3PO and R2-D2. At the heart of each attack was one commonality that had gone unnoticed until the droids brought it to the attention of Major Derlin. They noticed that the high-pitched beeps of the base's astromech droids drove the wampas into rages. The Rebels were able to use recordings of astromech droids to drive the creatures out of their dark, icy crevasses. They stunned the wampas into incapacitation, and stored them in heavily shielded pens in less vital sections of Echo Base. The pen doors were marked with yellow and orange warning signs, nicknamed by those in the base as "do not disturb" signs. The Rebels believed that the wampas had attacked the base to defend themselves from what they perceived as an invasion of their territory.[4] Additionally, research later revealed that the astromech droids' high-pitched beeps and wails were similar to the sounds made by females in search of a mate. This further justified the wampas' rampages, with males having discovered pieces of metal machinery after thinking they had discovered a new companion.[1]

Battle of Hoth

The giant wampa Unkajo
"Rebel troops?"
"I don't think so, sir.
"
Darth Vader and a snowtrooper lieutenant discuss Echo Base's caged wampas

During the desperate haste to escape Echo Base in the face of the Imperial invasion during the Battle of Hoth, C-3PO came upon one of the pen doors while trying to catch up with Solo, Princess Leia Organa, and the Wookiee Chewbacca on their way to the Millennium Falcon. Knowing an advance group of snowtroopers was directly behind him, Threepio tore off the door's warning label and proceeded to disappear around another bend in the corridor. The pursuing troopers reached the door. Their leader punched the controls to slide it open, knowing it would take more than locks to stop an Imperial advance. The group marched into the pen with military efficiency, only to be slaughtered by the caged wampas. Once Darth Vader reached the room, all he saw were piles of blood-stained snow, a cave-in exposing the pen to Hoth's daytime sun, and some of his most seasoned, well-trained troops dead on the ground.[4]

In the chaos during the battle, the primary entrance point the wampas' used to infiltrate and attack Echo Base, a small room off one of the main corridors that had been sealed, was uncovered. The entrance point opened to a small tunnel that led to the large valley where many of the wampas lived and, consequently, where the attacking wampas had originated. As the battle raged, a visitor to Echo Base followed this tunnel into the large snowy valley, where, in a nearby camp, he found one Professor Blainekie, a Rebel researcher investigating the wampas in the vicinity. Blainekie required assistance with defeating the valley's wampas, including the giant wampa Unkajo. The Echo Base visitor complied and successfully brought down the towering creature.[12][13]

While attempting to escape from Hoth late during the battle, mercenary Dash Rendar encountered several of the Rebels' caged wampas throughout the bowels of Echo Base.[36] After witnessing the havoc wreaked upon the base by the wampas, the Empire in turn bioengineered the cliff wampa to guard Imperial interests on the Gall moon.[1]

Hunting wampas for sport

"There's a huge black-market price on wampa pelts, you know."
―Burrk

A certain subclass of big game hunters existed who specialized in the "sporting" hunt of large predators like the wampa. They often traveled to the remote Hoth system to hunt the wampas themselves.[7] Wampa pelts or stuffed heads were prized trophies among hunters. Wampa "souvenirs" and even clothing made of wampa fur had been known to command high prices at galactic trading posts by the early years of the Galactic Civil War.[4] Wampa meat was also served in some corners of the galaxy. As of 31 BBY, a serving kitchen within the space station Darkside on an asteroid in the Cularin system asteroid belt had twenty kilograms of ground lean wampa meat stored in a freezer.[37] By 1 ABY, the sporting hunt of wampas was considered illegal by law;[19] nevertheless, hunters were still able to sell their wares on the black market for high gain.[10] Later, wampas were included in the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances legislation to protect endangered species from extinction.[1]

A wampa

In one well-known case, the wampas' ability to organize coordinated attacks was well demonstrated. A group of failed stormtrooper cadets established a business as guides leading these big game hunters in pursuit of Hoth's wampas. Initially, they met with great success due to their advanced weaponry. However, by the fourth expedition the wampas had learned their enemy's secrets. The hunters landed and set out in search of their quarry. Meanwhile, the wampas found and destroyed the expedition's starship. Over the course of the next several nights, the wampas circled the camp, howling madly. The frightened hunters wasted their ammunition shooting at shadows until the wampas attacked. The beasts dragged away just one hunter with each assault. Finally, the last two survivors killed one another rather than allowing themselves to fall prey to the wampas.[19][2] This was one tale typically told by big game hunters; some circles doubted the validity of the tale, pointing to the loophole that if there were no survivors, no one could have lived to report what had happened.[19]

Skywalker later re-encountered the wampa he wounded with his lightsaber nine years later during a subsequent journey to Hoth with the Jedi Knight Callista Ming. There, they discovered a group of stranded wampa poachers, including a former stormtrooper named Burrk, and two Cathar brothers. The three had set up a business taking hunters to Hoth to hunt what they termed "the biggest game in the galaxy." The group found success after two hunting rounds, collecting the pelts of several creatures and killing numerous others. But on their third trek out into the Hoth wilderness, the poachers met with disaster. They returned to their ship to find their pilot slaughtered. Trying to investigate what the cause of death was, the group was attacked by a group of wampas, killing a guide and three clients. The surviving five members found shelter in the abandoned Echo Base.[10]

When Skywalker and Ming arrived on the planet just days later, the two Jedi and five survivors were once again attacked by an army of wampas who had grouped together under the leadership of the dismembered beast, who recognized Skywalker's and Ming's lightsabers as a threat. As a coordinated group, the wampas displayed enough intelligence to ruin the flight controls of the Jedi's ship, as they had with the poachers, to prevent escape. After the wampa horde chased the group back into the confines of Echo Base, the beasts created a diversion by banging on the base's closed shield doors until they could break through the icy walls of the facility. Skywalker and Ming were able to reach their damaged ship with the stopping power of their lightsabers—Skywalker killing the one-armed beast for good in the process—and escape the planet after rigging their vessel to restart through an alternative power source, but not before the remaining poachers were killed. Skywalker later remarked that he believed the one-armed wampa recognized him personally and that they consequently possessed long-term memories.[10][7][1]

Wampas in the galaxy

The interdicted wampa corners a young Quinlan Vos and Aayla Secura on Ryloth.
«Stoopa! You said wampa protect me from intruders! Not kill me!»
«I…thought we could control it, Lord!»
―A Hutt and a Twi'lek, realizing the futility of trying to hold a captive wampa

Knowledge of the wampa throughout the galaxy was limited. Of those aware of the creatures' existence, understanding typically came by way of overhearing big game hunters speak of what they considered "legendary" quarry. Hyperbole and rumors of the wampa's fearsomeness abounded. The planet Hoth was synonymous with the wampa—in the rare instances the planet was mentioned in conversation, it was common to hear the wampa mentioned in the same breath.[19]

Many held to the theory that wampas possessed at least rudimentary intelligence. Through extensive research into the records of other creatures appearing similar to the wampa, evidence had been found suggesting mass coordinated attacks made by the creatures. In some cases, these attacks laid waste to entire outposts of colonists on other worlds. This was later substantiated by the Rebels of Echo Base.[4]

Wampas were one of several "trophy" animals smuggled onto the planet Coruscant for the pleasure of its citizenry. As with their smuggled counterparts, these wampas were quickly discovered to be too dangerous to handle and were either released into the environment or escaped on their own, labeled from that point as "fugitive animals." These renegade wampas instinctively migrated to Coruscant's cooler polar regions to eke out an existence.[5]

Wampas also existed on the Outer Rim ice world of Rhen Var,[38] as well as the planet Bakura.[24]

As of 41 BBY, the transportation of wampas throughout the galaxy was, in some degree, deemed illegal by the Galactic Republic. The Jedi Master Tholme and his Padawan Quinlan Vos were assigned to track a felonious dealer of interdicted beasts to the planet Ryloth, where they suspected their target was connected to the Twi'lek Clan Secura. Unbeknownst to the Jedi, a Hutt presiding over the slave trade on Ryloth held a captive wampa—one of the interdicted beasts—in the name of personal security, sold to it by Pol Secura. The wampa managed to break free of its restraints during the Jedi's search, killing the Hutt and several others nearby. The young slave girl, Aayla Secura, was able to reach out telepathically through the Force with Vos to call for help. He soon arrived at her side, but found himself overmatched by the large beast after first naively trying to reason with it. On the brink of death within the wampa's grasp, Vos, with the assistance of the young Secura, was able to call his lightsaber to his hand and put an end to the wampa's rampage. Secura's sensitivity to the Force was realized, and she was taken to Coruscant to be trained as a Jedi.[39]

Clone Wars

Wampas were occasionally found participating in illegal gladiatorial games on a number of Outer Rim worlds.[1] Early during the Clone Wars, Dark Jedi Asajj Ventress faced a wampa, among other opponents, in the Cauldron, an infamous gladiatorial arena on the rocky planet of Rattatak. She hoped to persuade Count Dooku to accept her as his Sith apprentice by displaying her combat abilities.[40] In similar fashion, the Jedi Master Luminara Unduli faced off against a wampa in gladiatorial style combat while in the Arena of Doom, a gladiator stadium owned by Mondo-Mod the Hutt. The Hutt had his wampa contestant shipped in directly from Hoth. Without using her lightsaber or her Force abilities, Unduli defeated the beast by jumping, grabbing its horns, and flipping it. She attributed her victory to simple physics. For her victory over the wampa and subsequent opponents, Mondo-Mod revealed to her the location of a Separatist Droid Army factory on the planet Diorda.[41]

The Rodian Onaconda Farr, senator of the Doldur sector, possessed a wampa-skin rug during the Clone Wars. Farr kept the rug, comprising a stuffed head but bereft of appendages, within his retreat on the planet Rodia.[42] Warm wampa-skin rugs of high quality immediately showed visitors to one's home that one was an individual of refined taste and class.[43]

On a tactical screen within a Republic ground base command center commanded by Anakin Skywalker at some point early during the Clone Wars, Aurebesh lettering described a sort of wampa attack taking place. Also present within the base's command center was a chest with the Aurebesh lettering "HOT-."[44]

A particularly abrasive slicer used the handle "wampa1" as his user identification while posting comments on a HoloNet message thread during the height of the Clone Wars.[45]

At some point during the Clone Wars, the Chevin slaver Phylus Mon kept a single male wampa named Ku-Kak as a personal bodyguard in addition to several other retainers. Mon discovered the wampa on a distant ice-covered world and selected the beast into his employ due to its unique ability to wield the Force. Ku-Kak's training under Mon included understanding and being able to respond to his master's commands in the Chevin language and also to identify and attack Jedi, for whom Mon held a strong dislike. The wampa identified Jedi by the fact that they carried lightsabers, and because he differentiated them from Mischa Vorfren, a male Anzati soldier also in Mon's employ who carried a lightsaber that Ku-Kak had collected as a trophy and given to him, and whom Ku-Kak considered an ally. To combat Jedi, Mon provided Ku-Kak with a Sith sword that he had picked up during his travels; the wampa proved very adept at wielding the sword, which augmented his powers in the dark side of the Force. Additionally, Ku-Kak, like the other slaves under Mon's command, was outfitted with an explosive device in his heart programmed to detonate in the instance that Mon died and the Chevin's own heart stopped beating. Although this provided Mon's lieutenants with the motivation to fight for him, the wampa lacked full awareness of what had been implanted inside of him.[11]

Mon traveled with an entourage of enslaved creatures wherever he went—his so-called "zoo"—to which the wampa belonged. The wampa accompanied Mon during his attack of the Sith fortress on the planet Cularin, where the Chevin stole the darkstaff, a powerful Sith artifact, and during which multiple Jedi were killed. A team of Cularin heroes attempting to end the threat that Mon posed encountered Ku-Kak after infiltrating the throne room of Mon's starship, the Animiasma, within the Cularin system asteroid belt.[11]

Galactic Civil War and beyond

By 2 BBY, among other lethal creatures, including an acklay and a krayt dragon, the Imperial Captain Ozzik Sturn displayed the head of a wampa in a trophy room he maintained in his personal quarters on the planet Kashyyyk. Sturn, a big game hunter, collected the heads of his prey during hunts.[46]

Six months after the Battle of Yavin, the Shi'ido Senior Anthropologist Mammon Hoole shape-shifted into a wampa while he and his nephews, Zak Arranda and Tash Arranda, were attacked by a horde of zombies in the Crypt of the Ancients on the planet Necropolis. Hoole was able to manhandle the zombies in his transformed physicality.[47] In 1 ABY, Darth Vader and a stormtrooper detail arrived at the Jedi Enclave on the planet Dantooine, where Vader discovered a clone of himself. While the two engaged in a Force duel, a similar clone of Hoole in the transformed shape of a wampa neutralized one of the stormtroopers.[48]

Circa early 3 ABY, Crazy Larry's Galactic Getaways, a travel agency, featured a still image of a wampa in its advertisement for a vacation to Hoth. The advertisement warned potential customers that interaction with the planet's native wildlife occurred at their own risk, citing the wampas' history of attacking landing starships and other vehicles.[49]

While in pursuit of the bounty hunter Boba Fett late in 3 ABY, Dash Rendar encountered the Imperial-bioengineered cliff wampa in Smuggler's Canyon near the Cadavine Sector Fleet Imperial Enclave on the moon of Gall.[36] Mara Jade encountered the swamp wampas of Dromund Kaas on a mission to that planet in 10 ABY.[16]

Wampas also held an element of cultural significance for many. The forces of the space pirate Gir Kybo Ren-Cha flew stolen TIE Fighters emblazoned with their trademark red wampa skull signet in the years prior to the Battle of Yavin.[50] By 1 BBY, Holgurn, a Gamorrean messenger in the employment of Jabba the Hutt, was familiar enough with the creatures to compare the inexperienced Rodian bounty hunter Greedo to the inconspicuousness of a wampa,[51] while an Imperial TIE/ln starfighter pilot went by the nickname "Wampa" during the Galactic Civil War for icy precision in battle.[52] Also during the Galactic Civil War, wampa stuffed animals offered denizens the soft and cuddly aspects of the creature without the danger of being mauled and eaten.[53]

In later years, Rogue Squadron Colonel Gavin Darklighter designated an enemy target as "Wampa" during the Battle of Sernpidal in 26 ABY amidst the Yuuzhan Vong War.[54] A Jedi Initiate training clan of the New Jedi Order—the Wampa Clan—was named after the Hoth creatures.[55] The martial arts form Teräs Käsi consisted of two combat techniques named after the wampa—the Charging Wampa and the Slashing Wampa.[56]

Behind the scenes

"We knew, for instance, of the scene where a wampa actually broke through into Echo Base and mauled a tauntaun…The wampa filmed in this shot looked absolutely hilarious with a big fluffy face and metallic round eyeballs. We saw the picture in a Kodak shoebox Photo CD Lucasfilm Ltd. provided us with some time ago."
Jon Knoles, discussing Lucasfilm Ltd.'s contributions to creating Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire for Nintendo 64
An early, unused wampa costume design

From concept to creation

The wampa ice creature was created for George Lucas's Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and first appeared in Donald F. Glut's novelization of the film, just prior to its theatrical debut.[20]

The creature may have been based on the cryptozoological phenomenon of the "Yeti," or the "Abominable Snowman," a humanoid beast believed to live in the Himalayas. Notes from early concept meetings suggest that the wampa, like the Yeti, may have supernatural powers as well. In early story discussions, the wampa was described as a fishlike beast capable of swimming through the snow,[2] and the creatures were intended to be inside of the base where the Rebels were hiding, creating chaos when Vader is approaching to begin his attack on the base.[57]

In the winter of 1977, Mark Hamill was in a serious car accident that left him in need of reconstructive facial surgery. Many believe that the wampa attack on Skywalker was included in the film to explain Hamill's residual scarring and slightly altered facial features.[2]

Some of the earliest production drawings of Echo Base's interior from May 1978 include call-outs indicating where a "Yuzzem" is to break through the ice walls of the base, as seen in The Art of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. The concept of the Yuzzem creature was introduced into Star Wars canon in Alan Dean Foster's novel Splinter of the Mind's Eye, published on March 1, 1978, before the production drawings were created. This suggests that the creature that came to be known as the wampa was first referred to as a "Yuzzem," until Foster adapted the name for his story.[58][59]

Production struggles

Originally the wampa was to be portrayed by actor Des Webb wearing a giant suit[2] made of sheepskins[60] on location in Norway, where the Hoth scenes were shot. The costume, which required the actor to stand on stilts, proved too unwieldy, and it was too heavy and hot, causing Webb to suffer heat exhaustion. All of the shots of the life-size wampa were eventually cut from the film. Creature designer Phil Tippett later built a small wampa hand puppet, visible in a quick close-up as the creature attacks Luke Skywalker.[2]

For the Special Edition release of The Empire Strikes Back in 1997, George Lucas decided to expand the wampa scenes. In order to do so, Industrial Light & Magic artist Howie Weed constructed a more mobile version of the costume, without the stilts, which he wore in the film. The new shots were filmed within a scaled-down replica of a cave to create the illusion that the wampa was much larger than a normal Human.[2]

Additional scenes

Main article: List of scenes cut from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
C-3PO tears a warning sign off the Echo Base wampa pen in a deleted scene from The Empire Strikes Back

Wampas originally played a much more prominent role in early versions of The Empire Strikes Back. In the treatment and the first draft, wampas storm Echo Base shortly before the arrival of the Empire. In the original shooting script, a tauntaun was killed when a wampa stormed into Echo Base. Shots of a wampa breaking through one of the walls of the complex and attacking Rebel soldiers were filmed but ultimately dropped from the final version of the movie. In addition, the wall did not crumble properly and the shot was never successfully achieved. Final versions of the script depicted a mass-coordinated wampa attack on Echo Base. There were several scenes shot for the film that showed this incident, as well as a sequence involving C-3PO tearing a warning sign off the door of a wampa pen, followed by a group of snowtroopers entering the pen only to be attacked by the wampas inside. However, these scenes were later deleted and did not make the final version of the film.[2]

Notable appearances

The Marvel Star Wars comic adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars 40: The Empire Strikes Back: Battleground: Hoth, released in October 1980, was the first Star Wars source to discuss the deleted wampa scenes in an in-universe context, in which references are made to the fact that wampas are being held captive at Echo Base.[61]

The creature's on-screen ferocity made its appearance in The Empire Strikes Back a popular candidate for recreation in several video games, including The Empire Strikes Back for the Nintendo Entertainment System,[62] Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System,[14] Star Wars Trilogy: Apprentice of the Force for Game Boy Advance,[63] and LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy.[64]

Other releases have sought to expound upon the wampas' attack on Echo Base, depicting their captivity by the Rebels. The Nintendo 64 release of Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire was the first visual representation outside of actual filmed footage to show the wampa pens. The game's designers were specially provided with images of deleted scenes of the wampa by Lucasfilm Ltd.[15] The subsequent Star Wars Trilogy Arcade recreated the escape from Echo Base, in which the player must defeat wampas in an attempt to reach the Millennium Falcon.[65]

Video games and other appearances

Wampa concept art by Ralph McQuarrie

The wampa has also made appearances in several other video games. In the computer game Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds, the wampa is one of many wild creatures that cannot be built or harvested for food, and who will attack any unit it comes near.[66] In Star Wars: Battlefront II, a group of wampas battles a variant force of Rebel infantry outside of Echo Base on the planet Hoth and also on Rhen Var.[38] Wampas can be encountered on Hoth in Star Wars: Empire at War[67] and the expansion Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption.[68] The game Star Wars Galaxies created a new scenario as part of the "Chapter 11: The Battle of Echo Base" expansion module in which wampas, including the giant wampa Unkajo, inhabit a valley outside of Echo Base and must be defeated during the Battle of Hoth.[12][13]

LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy features an ice skating wampa, one of several humorous elements interjected into the game.[64] It is possible to play as a wampa and a cliff wampa in the "Escape from Echo Base" and "Gall Spaceport" levels, respectively, in the video game Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire.[36]

The Star Wars Cookbook: Wookiee Cookies and Other Galactic Recipes provides a recipe for "Wampa Snow Cones."[69]

Inconsistencies

There remains a discrepancy between the nature of the shielded pens that held captive several wampas inside Echo Base, as well as the number of wampas caged. The West End Games sourcebook Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back infers multiple such pens holding several wampas.[4] The video game Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire confirms multiple pens and depicts the wampas as being held behind reinforced cages inside of the pens.[36] However, the reference book Star Wars: Complete Locations, which offers an extensively detailed cross-section of the base, includes only one such wampa pen without interior cages. In this small illustration the wampas are seemingly left to roam free within the small pen, while in the close confines of one another.[34]

Non-canon

The wampa makes several non-canonical appearances.

The Great Golden C-3PO Hunt tells of the search for the rogue C-3PO following the First Battle of Tatooine. During the hunt a group of four stormtroopers are eventually led to Hoth where an Imperial Army pilot in the cockpit of an All Terrain Scout Transport informs them he has seen a wampa, among other things, but no golden droid.[70]

The wampa makes three non-canonical appearances in the Star Wars Tales comic series. In the short story Hunger Pains, it is revealed that the wampa that attacked Skywalker did so because her children were hungry,[71] while Chewbacca retrieves the bracelet of a dead girl from a wampa cave in Ghosts of Hoth.[72] In The Secret Tales of Luke's Hand!, Luke Skywalker's hand, severed in the duel with Darth Vader on Cloud City, returns to Hoth to discover the similarly severed arm of the wampa that was maimed by Skywalker. Just as Skywalker had done years before, his hand uses the Force to grab a nearby lightsaber and finishes off the wampa appendage.[73]

The comic Star Wars Infinities: The Empire Strikes Back retells of Skywalker's wampa attack and subsequent escape from the creature's cave; however, he dies on the Hoth wastes before he can be rescued by Han Solo.[74] The Marvel Star Wars comic Star Wars 78: Hoth Stuff describes how pilots Wedge Antilles and Wes Janson survived the Battle of Hoth, but were unable to escape and found themselves stranded on the ice planet for months. There, they fended off numerous wampa attacks.[75]

In the young reader novel Choose Your Own Star Wars Adventure: The Empire Strikes Back, the reader can opt to let Skywalker die at the hands of the wampa and instead choose to return to Echo Base.[76]

Skywalker encounters wampas as generic enemies on the ice planets of Thaldo, Neshtab, Etorasp, Lokondo, and a fifth unidentified world in the game Star Wars: Yoda Stories.[77]

Appearances

Non-canon appearances

Sources

Wookieepedia has a collection of images related to Wampa.

Non-canon sources

  •  "Star Wars Episode VII: Rise of the New Republic" - InQuest Gamer 50 (Ambiguously canonical source) (Unlicensed material)

Notes and references

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 The New Essential Guide to Alien Species
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 Star Wars: Behind the Magic
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back, Second Edition
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 The Wildlife of Star Wars: A Field Guide
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2  Hoth: Under the Ice on Wizards.com (article)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5  Wampa Ice Creature in the Databank
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Star Wars Encyclopedia
  9. 9.0 9.1  Scaly Tauntaun on Wizards.com (article)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 Darksaber
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 "A Mon Alone"
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Star Wars Galaxies (Chapter 11: The Battle of Echo Base)
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Secrets of Hoth on the official Star Wars Galaxies website
  14. 14.0 14.1 Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Wampa Attack!" - Star Wars Insider 33
  16. 16.0 16.1 Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith
  17. Star Wars Customizable Card GameSpecial Edition Limited (Card: One-Arm)
  18. The Bounty Hunters: Aurra Sing
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 The Illustrated Star Wars Universe
  20. 20.0 20.1 Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back novelization
  21. "Hoth" - Star Wars Tales 5
  22. "A Hot Time in the Cold Town Tonite!" - Star Wars Tales 6
  23. Star Wars: Demolition
  24. 24.0 24.1 Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card GameThe Shadow Syndicate (Light Side Campaign scenario)
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 26.4 26.5 Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card GameThe Shadow Syndicate (Dark Side Campaign scenario)
  27. Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card GameThe Nightsister's Revenge (Card: Kyrisa)
  28. Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card GameThe Nightsister's Revenge (Card: Harmonious Understanding)
  29. Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card GameThe Nightsister's Revenge (Card: Unkajo)
  30. Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card GameThe Nightsister's Revenge (Card: Wampa Fight)
  31. Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card GameThe Nightsister's Revenge (Card: Reptomammal Battle)
  32. "Who's Who in Echo Base" - Star Wars Insider 74
  33. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back radio adaptation
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 Star Wars: Complete Locations
  35. Rebellion Era Sourcebook
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 36.3 Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire video game
  37. "MidWorld"
  38. 38.0 38.1 Star Wars: Battlefront II
  39. Star Wars Republic 42: Rite of Passage, Part 1
  40. Star Wars: Clone Wars – "Chapter 6"
  41.  "Versus" - Clone Wars Adventures: Volume 8
  42. The Clone Wars: Agenda
  43. Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card GameGalactic Hunters (Card: Wampa-Skin Rug)
  44. The Clone Wars: Transfer
  45.  Destabilization on Wizards.com (article)
  46. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed video game
  47. Galaxy of Fear: City of the Dead
  48. Galaxy of Fear: Clones
  49. Discover Hoth! on the official Star Wars Galaxies website
  50. Star Wars: Droids - "The Pirates of Tarnoonga"
  51. Underworld: The Yavin Vassilika
  52. Star Wars Customizable Card GameDeath Star II Limited (Card: Black 11)
  53. Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card GameAgents of Deception (Card: Wampa Stuffed Animal)
  54. Edge of Victory II: Rebirth
  55. Inferno
  56. Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter
  57. Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays
  58. The Art of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  59. Splinter of the Mind's Eye
  60. "Master & Apprentice" - Star Wars Insider 102
  61. Star Wars 40: The Empire Strikes Back: Battleground: Hoth
  62. The Empire Strikes Back video game
  63. Star Wars Trilogy: Apprentice of the Force
  64. 64.0 64.1 LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
  65. Star Wars Trilogy Arcade
  66. Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds
  67. Star Wars: Empire at War
  68. Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption
  69. The Star Wars Cookbook: Wookiee Cookies and Other Galactic Recipes
  70. The Great Golden C-3PO Hunt
  71. "Hunger Pains" - Star Wars Tales 20
  72. "Ghosts of Hoth" - Star Wars Tales 17
  73. "The Secret Tales of Luke's Hand" - Star Wars Tales 8
  74. Star Wars Infinities: The Empire Strikes Back
  75. Star Wars 78: Hoth Stuff
  76. Choose Your Own Star Wars Adventure: The Empire Strikes Back
  77. Star Wars: Yoda Stories

External links


This article uses material from the "Wampa" article on the Starwars wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

SWG Wiki

Up to date as of February 04, 2010

From SWG Wiki

To start this collection speak with Researcher Blaninekie in the Wampa Valley inside the Battle of Echo Base instance.

Kill:

  • 25 hostile Wampa
  • 25 Wampa brute
  • 25 fierce Wampa
  • 25 savage Wampa
  • 25 Wampa berserker


Reward: An Ice Sculpture.


This article uses material from the "Wampa" article on the SWG Wiki wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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