The series finale of Star Wars Rebels was packed full of surprises, but one of the biggest came in the unexpected reveal of Hera's child Jacen Syndulla. While it's not outright confirmed, Sabine's narration in the finale indicates that Kanan is the father of Jacen. While the logistics of when he was conceived are hazy, it's not hard to imagine the fallen Jedi is the father of Hera's son. But given the timing of his birth, his heritage, and his name, there may be more to Jacen than it at first seems.
According to Sabine's voiceover, the various scenes at the end of the Star Wars Rebels finale take place after Hera and Rex fight in Battle of Endor and the final defeat of the Emperor. We don't know how old Jacen is or when he was born, but the suggested timeline makes him just a little older than Kylo Ren (who was born a year after Endor). Not all children of Force users are strong with it themselves, but the line "you know what his father was like" certainly hints that Jacen has the makings of a future Jedi.
Of note is also the fact that in the Expanded Universe, Jacen Solo is the child of Han and Leia. That became Ben 'Kylo Ren' Solo in the new trilogy, but it's hardly a coincidence that Hera's child has the same unique name. So given his age and the important role his mother played in the Rebellion, could Jacen have been one of Luke's students at his new Jedi temple? And with a name spiritually linked to Kylo, could Jacen have become a Knight of Ren?
Was Jacen One of Luke's Students Killed By Ben Solo?
Setting aside the name' Jacen,' the introduction of Kanan's child certainly hints at a future Jedi or strong Force user, meaning he was the perfect age to enter into Luke's new Jedi training temple. We've never heard Luke mention Kanan (or Ezra or Ahsoka), but it's hard to imagine the child of both a Jedi and general in the Rebellion would go unnoticed. Forces of Destiny also featured an episode where Hera met Leia and Han on Endor, confirming they knew each other.
With so many connections to key characters and likely some nascent Force abilities, we can assume that Luke would have trained Jacen if he demonstrated potential. That aspect of the new canon is still a bit of a mystery, but Lucasfilm rarely leaves an area of the Skywalker Saga unexamined. Whether in films, TV, comics, or novels, we'll hopefully return to this time period soon and learn more about Luke's attempt to train more Jedi. Of course, we know that Kylo's betrayal meant the death of many of Luke's students, so Jacen may have been slain with the others—unless he joined the Knights of Ren.
Is Jacen One of the Knights of Ren
Star Wars: The Last Jedi skipped over any further exploration of the Knights of Ren, but they will hopefully be fleshed out when J.J. Abrams returns for Episode IX. What we know of them so far is that they operated under Kylo, who was a master of the order. There's no indication that any of the others were Force users, but fans have speculated that the students that joined Kylo after his betrayal of Luke could be some of the other knights. Given how little we know of Jacen, there's not any evidence he would have joined Kylo—but his name certainly has a lot of baggage.
We've seen new Star Wars canon borrow from the EU before, most notably with Thrawn, so it's not strange to see elements like this make their way back in. There's no way a name as particular as 'Jacen' would be used for a mysterious child of a Force user without some nod to Han and Leia's kid in the EU. And given how their son in the new trilogy turned out, there's more than enough to the idea that Jacen was not only a student of Luke's, but perhaps turned to the Darkside along with Kylo.
It's not just the fate of Kylo, either, as the EU saw Jacen Solo eventually turn on his loved ones and become the Sith Lord Darth Caedus. Kylo borrows all but his name from the character, leaving the moniker for Hera and Kanan's Force-sensitive child. Perhaps he chose another path, but the idea that Jacen turns rogue is not outside the realm of possibility.
However, the idea of such a hopeful ending like the one Rebels had introduced a child, especially the child of Kanan and Hera, with such a dark future seems questionable. Just because the character was introduced in a show meant for a younger audience doesn't mean there's no potential for dark storytelling. Even Ezra flirted with the dark side.
It's not unrealistic to imagine him joining Luke's Jedi academy, but that ends in only one of two ways, neither of which is a happy ending.
We'll probably have to wait for the next Star Wars TV show to learn more, but expect Jacen Syndulla to have an interesting future in the franchise.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019