WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Darth Vader #14
In the new Star Wars canon, one Jedi made sure he survived Order 66 to survive and instruct his students in secret, long before Obi-wan or Luke Skywalker planned to start a new Jedi Academy. Unfortunately for the new survivor of the Jedi Purge – an Iktochi named Jedi Master Barr – a bit of bad luck brings Darth Vader and the Empire smashing into their hiding place. Perhaps The Force showing it has other plans for Anakin Skywalker and Darth Sidious…
The new twist comes in the pages of the Darth Vader comic series from Marvel, the birthplace of several additions to the new Star Wars canon already. Fans of the original movies and animated series already know that the Mon Calamari play a pivotal role in the Empire’s defeat (Ackbar the most famous player). But in the early days of Vader and the Empire, the water planet is more important than any would have guessed.
As Darth Vader #14 reveals, the planet Mon Cala wasn’t just the beginning of the Rebellion’s heroes, but the place where the last survivors of the Jedi were slaughtered – before their Master could turn their sizable group into anything resembling a new Jedi Academy.
These surviving Jedi are only presumably the “last survivors,” but the comic series has shown that its always possible for more people to be revealed as survivors of the Jedi Purge. Vader already faced Jedi librarian Jocasta Nu, and completed his trials to become a true Sith by killing a Jedi gladiator to turn his lightsaber red. So all things considered, a Kenobi-esque Jedi Master in hiding with his students on Mon Carla isn’t too shocking.
The previous issue of Darth Vader revealed that King Lee-Char was getting some extra help in his negotiations with the increasingly-intimidating Empire. Help in the form of a robed figure residing in a secret cave somewhere on the planet. A Jedi who saw the arrival of the large Imperial attack dog with the black helmet for what he truly was: Anakin Skywalker, the Jedi who betrayed his Order to its total ruin.
As Vader begins his total assault on the Mon Calamari palace in Issue #14, the Jedi’s identity is revealed – along with some of his students. It turns out Master Barr knows everything that fans of the films do, having learned that the Jedi were blind to the Dark Side among their ranks, infecting Anakin Skywalker, the “Chosen One” who helped the Emperor achieve his victory (not to mention slayed the Jedi Younglings by hand).
Having obviously spent his time in hiding piecing together the events of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, Barr has all the pertinent names on record. Dooku, Sidious, Sifo-Dyas– even Jar Jar Binks. That knowledge is going to fuel some speculation as to the true identity of Master Barr. Based on his species, there is more than one Iktochi male established in the Star Wars canon.
Some who have read the novel Aftermath may note that crime boss Talvee Chawin a.k.a. “The Thorn” sported one broken horn like Master Barr (but the book’s setting post-Return of the Jedi makes it unlikely). The lightsaber and account of Master Barr might also suggest a new moniker for Jedi Master Saesee Tiin, one of the Jedi Council members who joined Mace Windu in the attempted arrest of Emperor Sheev Palpatine.
Since Tiin was previously stated to have died in that fight – and wielded a green lightsaber when he did – it seems most likely that Jedi Master Barr is a genuinely new addition. How long he’ll stick around… remains to be seen.
While further proving that this period of the Empire’s beginning would make the perfect story for a Darth Vader origin movie, it is all tinged with tragedy. Judging by the films and canon stories that follow, Jedi Master Barr will fail in his hopes of seeing the Jedi traitor brought to justice. And the odds aren’t good that his students – Treyla, Daren, or the other handful – will have long to live now that Vader has come to Mon Cala.
Darth Vader #14 is available now from Marvel Comics.
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