James McCloud is a fictional character in Nintendo's Star Fox franchise. He was a legendary pilot who became the founder and leader of the original incarnation of the elite Star Fox team. James was talented in terms of combat, and unwaveringly loyal to his friends. After his apparent death, James was later succeeded as leader of Star Fox by his only son; Fox McCloud.
James was born and grew up on the planet Corneria. Much of his past remains unknown, but eventually he took a wife and had one child; a son named Fox, who he raised on his own.
Formation of Star FoxEdit
An ace pilot and avid adventurer, James became a mercenary-for-hire, initially working freelance, but eventually formed the original Star Fox team, an elite commando unit that usually took orders from General Pepper and other branches of the Cornerian Army. The team consisted of James himself, who was the leader, Peppy Hare, who later became a close friend of him, and Pigma Dengar, who proved himself a cunning teammate. In the course of their duties, James and Star Fox traveled the Lylat system, pursuing jobs and settling minor disputes, eventually coming into contact with Star Wolf and its leader, Wolf O'Donnell, who would maintain a rivalry with James lasting until Fox's time.
Reports of strange activity were detected coming from Venom, a barren and deserted planet where the mad scientist Andross had been exiled to. General Pepper, worried of what danger may be present in the Lylat system, recruited the Star Fox team to journey and explore Venom and determine if the fears of Andross building an empire were true.
Upon their arrival, Pigma betrayed the team to Andross. James' Arwing was shot down, being captured and implied to have been killed by Andross. Peppy barely managed to escape the same fate, and returned to Corneria to inform General Pepper of what happened.
In Star Fox 64, if the game is completed on the Venom 2 course, there is no direct mention of James dying. The implication is still there, however.
Peppy returned home and delivered the news of James' fate to Fox. In time, Fox would follow in his father's footsteps and take over Star Fox. Using both the Great Fox and R.O.B. 64, a robotic humanoid bought by James for the team but never given the chance to utilize, Fox recruited Peppy, Slippy Toad, and Falco Lombardi to fight together and defend peace wherever it was threatened.
James has, temporarily, returned on occasion, to help his son and his friends in their time of need. Below are some instances when James makes an appearance in the games:
- The first was on Venom, where Star Fox was concluding their mission during the Lylat Wars to re-take the conquered Lylat system from the Venomian Army and defeat Andross. Fox ventured into the subterranean command center to fight Andross himself, and was poised to defeat him. The dying mad scientist self-destructed, intending to destroy the base and take Fox with it. James, riding in his Arwing, came and saved Fox, guiding him out of the base as the destructive flames raged behind him and led him to safety. James expressed his pride in his son, saying how strong he had become, and upon emerging from the exploding base, James disappeared. Fox was somewhat saddened by him leaving again, but when questioned by his teammates, Fox insisted nothing was wrong, as his father was still watching over him. If one watches closely, there is a star that flies over the right corner of the screen after the Venom 2 mission that does not appear after completing Venom 1. This could mean that James McCloud is still alive since it is never directly stated (though it is still implied) in the beginning or in the Area 6 and Venom 2 course that he is dead.
- James contacted his son again during Fox's mission to save Sauria from destruction. One of the Cheat Token's Fox found revealed a message from James: "I can see you have matured into a strong leader. I am always there with you. Never give up... Trust your instincts... My son...".
- While technically not a hint towards his being alive or dead, the Aparoid Queen mimics James McCloud occasionally, along with the other lifeforms infected by the aparoids (Pigma, General Pepper, and presumably ROB 64 and Peppy), which hints that the aparoids might have come into contact with him at one point. Falco was about to mention that he was dead before Fox cut him off, though.
- James' latest appearance was nine years later, during the Anglar Uprising, where Star Fox made its final raid on Venom to defeat the Anglar Emperor. James suddenly appeared in his Arwing, and aided Fox, Falco and Dash Bowman in their battles under the Venom oceans. Fox was the only person who could see him. After the battle was done, James disappeared once again.
James and Fox appear strikingly similar. The telltale sign that one is looking at James McCloud is that he is never seen without his sunglasses. However, Fox is sometimes seen with sunglasses. Besides the sunglasses, there have been various other differences between Fox and James. In Star Fox 64, James has a narrower head and darker fur, while in Star Fox Command James wears a yellow scarf rather than a red one.