Star Wars Canon Catch-Up: What is Bespin?

Star Wars is going through a state of transition. For twenty years, an Expanded Universe of novels, comics, and games have supplemented the films and TV shows to create an incredibly deep and detailed Star Wars universe. Soon after Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm, however, they wiped the canon slate clean, saying they would no longer adhere to the stories of the Expanded Universe in order to have the greatest creative freedom with their new Star Wars films starting with The Force Awakens.

But with the new films, so comes new books, comics, and games in a new continuity to replace the old one. So, what is canon and what isn’t anymore? After twenty years, are these the same characters and planets we’ve always known and loved? Is it even the same universe? Well, in our new column Canon Catch-Up, we’re here to answer those questions and set the record straight.

Today, we’re discussing Bespin.

So, what’s the deal with Bespin in the current continuity? 

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Bespin is a gas giant in the located near the Anoat system. Sporting a habitable atmosphere, the main attraction of the planet came from its deposits of tibanna gas which attracted mining operations, the most notable of which was the floating station Cloud City.

Lando Calrissian became the baron administrator of Cloud City some time before the Battle of Hoth and kept the operation away from the Empire‘s grasp. Unfortunately Imperial forces led by Darth Vader seized control of Cloud City when pursuing the Millennium Falcon in an attempt to capture Luke Skywalker.

After the destruction of the second Death Star and the death of Emperor Palpatine at Endor, however, Bespin was liberated from the grasp of the Empire.

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What about Bespin in the Expanded Universe?

Bespin is the a gas giant and the primary planet of the Bespin system in the Outer Rim. A source of valuable tibanna gas, which could be refined into ammunition for blasters.

First discovered by the Hyperspace Navigator’s Guild prior to the Mandalorian Wars, Bespin was colonized about two thousand years before the Battle of Yavin. For many years, it became a major battleground in several major wars, with one side in the conflict hoping to break the opposition’s supply of tibanna gas.

During the Clone Wars, Bespin housed children orphaned during the conflict. The planet switched hands between the Republic and the Separatists often, but eventually the republic became the clear presence in the system. During the Galactic Civil War, Lando Calrissian became the Baron Administrator of Cloud City. Through his administration, the City prospered as a neutral party and became a very profitable operation.

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However, when Han Solo, Leia Organa, C-3P0, and Chewbacca came to Cloud City in the Millennium Falcon fleeing the Empire, the bounty hunter Boba Fett tracked their journey. The crew of the Falcon walked into a trap set by Darth Vader that Lando was forced to aid. Han was frozen in carbonite and taken to Jabba the Hutt, though Landa worked to protect Leia and Chewbacca. Luke Skywalker rushed to Cloud City to help his friends, but was wounded in a lightsaber duel with Vader. Leia, Lando, Luke, C-3P0, and R2-D2 managed to escape the Empire on the Falcon.

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The Empire left a garrison on Bespin, however, and took control of Cloud City’s mining operation. Just before the Battle of Endor, Rogue Squadron raided a shipment from Bespin in preparation of the battle. After their victory at Endor, General Calrissian successfully took back Cloud City with a Rebel Strike force.

Over the next few years, the station changed hands many times due to various military conflicts that rose and fell. However, even after decades of war Cloud City endured.

What does the Expanded Universe tell us about Bespin in the new continuity?

For the most part, it seems Bespin has been relatively untouched by the purging of the Expanded Universe. While it plays a notable supporting role in some stories after Return of the Jedi, it always remained in the background, as too much exposure would ruin Lando’s point that Cloud City was an operation too small to be noticed by the Empire.

It’s unlikely we’ll see Bespin in the Sequel trilogy, but not impossible. However, it’ll more likely merit a mention than screen time. If we do see Bespin on screen again, it will probably be in an upcoming episode of Star Wars Rebels.

While we’re waiting for more post-Return of the Jedi information, check out our previous entry of Canon Catch-Up about Black Sun.

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