WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Mace Windu #3
The origin story of Mace Windu can finally be told, now that his Star Wars comic is traveling back in time - to when Mace was a young Jedi Padawan. It's a story that plenty of fans of the Star Wars prequels and Clone Wars fiction will be curious to see for themselves, given how pivotal a role the Jedi Master and his fellow Council members played in the collapse of the Republic, and the rise of the Galactic Empire. And knowing the great man that Mace Windu becomes... his younger self is not what fans will be expecting.
For those who may have been sleeping on the series for its first issues, Star Wars: Jedi of the Republic - Mace Windu shines the spotlight on the famous purple lightsaber wielder played by Samuel L. Jackson on film - specifically, in the early years of the Separatist crisis. Where the first two issues from writer Matt Owens have mainly focused on standard Jedi adventuring (Mace assembling a Jedi squad to intervene on a planet's behalf), Issue #3 dives into the real lore, and the new Star Wars canon being told in Marvel Comics.
The best news is that fans don't just get a glimpse of the boy who would grow to be Mace Windu - they also get to meet his own Jedi Master, Cyslin Myr. The Mirialan Jedi is one formed in the same image of Obi-wan Kenobi, as deep and calm as she is compassionate, while keeping herself from falling slave to her emotions. Which comes into play in the issue's larger story. You see, this origin is one remembered by Mace himself... as one of his Jedi allies draws his saber against him in anger.
The kind of hot-headed, righteous indignation that he once demonstrated in his own youth.
Mace's hairstyle may be the most talked about element of this origin story, since few fans probably ever thought to wonder what Mace looked like before shaving his head as a Jedi Master. But the real storytelling is determined to show that Mace's eventual demeanor, diplomacy, and dedication didn't come by accident. Cyslin My didn't just train Mace from a Padawan to a Jedi Knight: she kept him from taking a life in anger.
Before any fans deem that story sensational, or below a Jedi of Mace's character, the circumstances aren't pretty. The mission sees Cyslin and Mace travel to the planet Mathas, in search of a missing Jedi who had been stationed there to care for its residents (all afflicted with a plague native to the planet). Upon arrival, the pair witness the grotesque swindler who has forced the Jedi out, and claimed his place and his power over The Force. Wringing the people dry of money, food, luxuries, and more (shudder), he demands prayers and offerings so that The Force might soothe their suffering. Delivering nothing, since he knows nothing of The Force.
There wasn't much in the Star Wars prequels that got under Mace Windu's skin, but this abuse and heresy stoke the "fire" inside of him that may claim to be outrage and a sense of justice... but sure looks like murderous anger. It's only when Mace stands over the defeated charlatan, lightsaber drawn, and moments from slaying him that Cyslin commands him to stop. Mace heeds her words, including her assurance that "there will be times when we are called to violence."
Knowing the character's future, it's hard not to read this scene as foreshadowing Mace Windu's standoff with Emperor Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith. It may not change how Star Wars fans see Windu's ultimate decision to kill Palpatine (until Anakin Skywalker intervenes), but it's the kind of new spin on canon these comics are hoped to deliver. Now, we can only hope it continues into Issue #4.
Star Wars: Jedi of the Republic - Mace Windu #3 is available now.