- “Never give up. Trust your instincts.”
- —James McCloud
James McCloud was a legendary and astonishing pilot who became the founder and leader of the legendary Star Fox Team, a mercenary-for-hire squadron in the Lylat System. James was talented in terms of fighting, piloting, and adventuring. He was well known for holding an unwavering loyalty to his friends. After his apparent and supposed death, James was later succeeded as leader of Star Fox by his only son, Fox McCloud. Fox McCloud was a cadet at the Cornerian Defense Army Academy when he heard the news that his father, James McCloud, had met a violent end at the hands of the twisted genius, Andross. The senior McCloud had been betrayed by his own wingman, Pigma Dengar, and delivered into a deadly trap from which there was seemingly no escape. Only James's wingman, Peppy Hare, managed to limp home in his badly damaged starfighter. As the only survivor of the original Star Fox Team, Peppy insisted that the young Fox take on the leadership of the group and form a new team of pilots. Thrust into the leadership role that he wasn't prepared for, Fox recruited the hot-tempered Falco Lombardi and the mechanical genius Slippy Toad to make up the new Star Fox Team in his father's honor.
Formation of Star Fox
As an ace pilot and avid adventurer, James served in the Cornerian Army with his friends Peppy and Pepper, before pulling out to start an elite commando unit of mercenaries-for-hire, known as the Star Fox team, initially working on a freelance basis. The team consisted of James himself, who was the leader and founder of the mercenary squadron, Peppy Hare, who was already a close friend, and Pigma Dengar, who proved himself to be a cunning teammate in the Star Fox Team. In the course of their duties, James and Star Fox traveled the length and breadth of the Lylat system, pursuing jobs and settling disputes. The team earned overflowing wealth to the point that James decided to upgrade the team's headquarters and purchased a mothership called the Great Fox, which was so expensive that James took an 80-year loan from a bank to transport the trio across the system faster and more efficiently. For a price, this crack group would fight against any threat to the Cornerian star system. Although it may have appeared that the Star Fox Team is motivated only by financial gain, it would only accept missions that serve to uphold justice.
Corneria's observation station informed General Pepper about reports of strange bio-weaponry activity detected on Venom - a barren, inhospitable, and desolate planet on the far edge of the Lylat System, where the evil mad scientist Andross had been exiled to for treason it just a few years before. General Pepper, worried for the safety of the entire system, and he hired the original Star Fox team to go on a scouting mission to Venom and determine the cause of the strange activity.
Upon their arrival, Pigma betrayed the team to his new master Andross, who had bribed him with the promise of immense riches. James and Peppy were immediately captured by Andross at the onset of the betrayal. Peppy managed to barely escape captivity, and flew his damaged Arwing back to Corneria. When he returned, he informed General Pepper and James' son, Fox, of what happened to James, Pigma, and himself during the failed scouting mission. While it is unknown what exactly happened to the missing James, he was declared dead. The Star Wolf leader Wolf O'Donnell was also suspected to have been involved in James' disappearance as well. Upon hearing this, Fox couldn't bring himself to believe that his father was truly gone, but nevertheless vowed to get revenge on Andross for murdering his father and bring the traitorous Pigma to justice.
After Peppy returned and delivered the news of James' fate to Fox and General Pepper, Fox decided to follow in his father's footsteps and resume leadership of Star Fox. Even though Peppy was older than all the other Star Fox Team members, he declined the leadership role and insisted that the younger Fox McCloud take over the team after Fox's father was slain by Andross. Using both the Great Fox and ROB 64, a robotic humanoid purchased by James for the team but never given the chance to be utilized, Fox recruited Peppy, Slippy Toad, and Falco Lombardi to fight together and defend peace wherever it was threatened, thus creating a new Star Fox Team to be formed. General Pepper, still feeling guilty of sending his old friend James to his doom, decided to take responsibility of his son Fox's career. Pigma Dengar succeeded at his mission, got paid a huge sum of money, and instead joined Star Wolf, a rival mercenary-for-hire group. However, he was kicked out due to his incredible greed and distrustful nature after the Lylat Wars. He was later assimilated by the Aparoids and was apparently destroyed by Fox. The Aparoid Queen later used James McCloud's likeness to attempt to trick Fox into surrendering. However, it ironically exposed her deception due to "James" telling Fox to effectively give up, something Fox knew full well his father would never tell him to do. In most Star Fox: Command endings, Star Fox remains together and may even have a new generation.
The legacy that James McCloud left behind is one that the citizens of the Lylat System are indebted to, but the ultimate fate of James was never revealed. Most believe that he was executed at the hands of Andross, imprisoned, or even brainwashed.
Star Fox Comics
While Fox's father was unseen and unnamed in the original Star Fox game, he was given a name and backstory in the Nintendo Power Star Fox comic adaptation by Benimaru Itoh. In it, Fox McCloud Sr. (as he is known here) was born and grew up on the planet Corneria. Much of his past remains unknown, but he graduated from the Cornerian Academy, married Vixy Reinard McCloud, and had only one child, whom he raised on his own. Jealous, Andross rigged a bomb into Fox Sr.'s car and since Vixy's car was out of gas, Fox Sr. offered to let Vixy use his car, unaware of Andross's scheme. When Vixy turned the car's ignition, the bomb exploded, resulting in her death. Both Andross and Fox Sr. were stricken with grief by the sudden loss. Later, Fox Sr. was presumed dead when an experimental bomb testing "went wrong." Designed by Andross, then a Cornerian scientist, the bomb was secretly supposed to detonate when Fox Sr. reached critical velocity. However, the Black Hole was created from the explosion. This resulted in his exile to the planet Venom. Fox Sr. is later seen to be alive in some form when the hidden Space Whale who releases items from Sector Y is revealed to have Fox's father on board. While he is still alive, he is confined to exist only inside the Black Hole and is unable to return to the other side.
- Meanwhile, in the Japan-only Star Fox Mission File Printout guide book (also illustrated by Benimaru Itoh), another background for Fox's father was given. Fox Senior-Gunsō (or "Sergeant"), apparently a high-ranking member of the Cornerian military and dear friend of General Pepper, was chasing space pirates in the Asteroid Belt. He narrowly missed a mysterious smiling asteroid, which suddenly turned into a Black Hole vortex that swallowed him in. The appearance of a foreign Black Hole is believed to be due to the presence of Andross's experiments in the area. After hearing the news, his son Fox McCloud dropped out of the Cornerian Academy. Fox's close friends -- his former rival Falco, Fox Senior's associate Peppy, and the mechanically-inclined Slippy -- all joined him in the struggle against Andross.
Lylat Wars Comic
While James himself did not appear in the Lylat Wars Comic, he was mentioned. When Fox chases after Pigma in revenge at the Meteo Asteroid Belt, Wolf delays him to let the traitorous Pig escape while making snide threats about sending Fox to join his father, thus Fox concludes the rumors surrounding Wolf's involvement with the ultimate fate of James. Later at the Great Fox's hanger, Peppy retells the backstory of the original Star Fox Team to Slippy. The Rabbit blames himself for losing his best friend, calling himself a coward and only hoping that someday he'll see "Jimmy" again. The affectionate nicknaming indicates just how close James and Peppy were together.
- In one of the ending paths of Star Fox 64, upon Fox's defeat of Andross, Andross attempts to blow up his base and kill Fox along with him. James suddenly appears and has Fox follow him out to safety. After escaping, James flies away, while Fox returns to his team. No one else seems to have seen James, and Fox dismisses their questions when they notice Fox scanning the skies for James. It is assumed this was James' spirit appearing to Fox to lead him out of the maze like base before it could kill him.
- In Star Fox Zero, James appears in the Corridor of Illusion. First to lead Fox to Andross, warning them that there will be no turning back. Then again when Andross attempts to stop Fox's escape, this time he flies behind Andross and attacks his weakpoint, making Andross turn around and allowing Fox to attack. Andross directly addresses James, asking "Why won't you stay dead?!". In both of his appearances, his Arwing has a ethereal blue glow and his voice echoes, hinting again that James is now a spirit.
- Wolf's advice to Fox "Don't hesitate, when the time comes, just act!" is a spin on James and Peppy's own catchphrase, hinting another connection between the implied history of their rivalry.
Names in Other Languages
|Japanese||(ジェームズ・マクラウド, Jēmuzu Makuraudo)|
- NINTENDO POWER Star Fox 64: Official Nintendo Player's Guide. Redmond, WA, Nintendo of America. 1997.
|Leader(s)||James McCloud • Fox McCloud|
|All Games||Falco Lombardi • Peppy Hare • Slippy Toad|
|1997 / 2016||ROB 64 • Bill Grey • Katt Monroe • Pigma Dengar • Direct-i|
|2002-2006||Krystal • Lucy Hare • Amanda • Tricky • Free-As-A-Bird|
|2017||Miyu • Fay|
|Other||Marcus • Slippy's son • Peppy's granddaughter • Fara Phoenix • Saru|
|Vehicles||Arwing • Landmaster • Blue-Marine • Great Fox • Walker • Gyrowing • Roadmaster|
|Other Vehicles||Arwing II • Sky Claw • Bullfrog • Cloud Runner • Sky Bunny • Tadpole • Catspaw • Cat's Paw 2 • Great Fox II • Armoured Arwing • Light Arwing • Mothership|
|Cornerian Army||Bill Grey • Captain Shears • Dash Bowman • Dog Soldiers • General Pepper • James McCloud • Krystal • Peppy Hare|
|Inhabitants||Beltino Toad • Grippy Toad • Vivian Hare • Vixy Reinard • Yaru de Pon|
|Companies||Bulldog Squadron • Cornerian Academy • Cornerian Defense Force • Corneria Precious Metals Ltd. • Free-As-A-Bird • G-Zero Grand Prix • Husky Squadron • Space Dynamics • Star Falco • Star Fox|
|Vehicles||Cornerian Assault Carrier • Cornerian Fighter • II • Cornerian Flagship • Cornerian Fleet • Cornerian Transport • General's flagship • Monkey Arrow • Pleiades-class Cruiser|
|Technology||AegisCam • Radar Sites Re-block • RE:BOT • Self-destruct program • Sentry Bot|
|Bases||Area 3 • Climate control center • Corneria City • Fichina Base • Katina Frontline Base • Katina Outpost • Orbital Gate|
|Main Characters||Fox McCloud • Falco Lombardi • Slippy Toad • Krystal • Peppy Hare • ROB 64 • General Pepper • Beltino Toad • Andrew Oikonny • Pigma Dengar • Wolf O'Donnell • Leon Powalski • Panther Caroso • Tricky|
|Bosses||Oikonny's flagship • Winged Aparoid • Aparoid Ship • Star Wolf (Wolf, Leon and Panther) • Cylindrical Aparoid • Aparoid Pigma • Aparoid Missile • Aparoid Queen|
|Enemies||Rock Gunner • Star Warrior • Venomian Carrier • Venomian Light Tank • Venomian Heavy Tank • Venomian Heavy Assault Mech • Sargasso Battleship Aparoid Crawler • Aparoid Minitank • Purple Aparoid • Aparoid hatcher • Spherical Tank Aparoid • Aparoid Flyer • Aparoid Stinger • Aparoid Mortar • Aparoid Roller • Silver Aparoid • Beetle Aparoid • Bloated Aparoid|
|Locations||Fortuna • Katina • Sargasso Space Zone • Fichina • Asteroid Belt • Sauria • Corneria • Orbital Gate • Aparoid Homeworld • Titania • Zoness|
|Navigation||Plot • Missions • Gallery • Videos • Script|
|Main Characters||Fox McCloud • Falco Lombardi • Slippy Toad • Krystal • ROB 64 • Peppy Hare • Katt Monroe • Bill Grey • Lucy Hare • Amanda • Dash Bowman • James McCloud • Wolf O'Donnell • Leon Powalski • Panther Caroso • Anglar Emperor|
|Supporting Characters||Beltino Toad • Vivian Hare • Zako • Zazan • Zoldge • Octoman • Pigma Dengar • Andrew Oikonny • General Pepper • Andross|
|Bosses||ZaZanga 9 • Splitter • Devil Shark • Octopod • Biobrain • Star Wolf (Wolf, Panther and Leon) • Death Crab • Pigma Dengar • Solar Satellite • Killer Bee • Dune Worm • Monarch Dodora • Grunner • Arrow Head • Anglar Emperor|
|Enemies||Anglar Starfish • Elite Fighter|
|Locations||Corneria • Aquas • Asteroid Belt • Fichina • Katina • Sector X • Sector Y • Sector Z • Solar • Titania • Venom|
|Navigation||Plot • Missions • Gallery • Videos • Script|