With the Star Wars Expanded Universe settling into its new status as an alternate timeline called “Legends,” fans bid goodbye to many of the Jedi they knew and loved. After Order 66, of course, Jedi couldn’t appear in droves in the Original Trilogy films. Part of the appeal was Luke and Obi-Wan’s place as singular representatives of their order. In the novels, though, more survivors were revealed – sometimes enough to make it seem like Anakin missed a lot of targets. Jedi from other time periods have been lost in the canon cull too, from during the Clone Wars or long before it.
All of these Jedi characters are now known as “Legends,” or non canon, since they never appeared in a Star Wars movie or in The Clone Wars. Some characters, like Aayla Secura, have made the leap from page to screen. Now, that seems like a leap for survival.
The new crop of characters surrounding the Sequel Trilogy will be canon continuous with the movies in a way that “Legends” never were. But whatever Episode VII brings, these “Legends” characters will always be remembered by the fans who followed them on their adventures.
Mara arrived on the scene in the 1991 novel Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn. She had a little bit of everything, having experienced both the light and dark side of the Force as well as having worked as a smuggler and flown her own starship. Like Darth Maul, she was removed from her family in her youth and raised by the Emperor. Unlike Maul, she became a devotee of the light side and a Master to many Jedi. By the time she ended up ally to (and wife of) Luke Skywalker, she was a take-no-prisoners woman whom many fans admired.
Reven swayed between light and darkness – first a Sith Lord who took over a significant part of the galaxy, and then a Jedi who saved it from his own apprentice. The character described in the novel Revan by Drew Karpyshyn and other materials was just one of many possibilities for the Knights of the Old Republic hero. Revan could be whatever fans wanted he or she to be. What never changed is that this powerful Force user took on the Star Forge and defeated Revan’s former apprentice, Darth Malak, as well as pursued many other adventures around the galaxy and beyond.
Part rogue, part nice guy you want to grab a beer with, Kyle Katarn spent a lot of his smuggler turned Jedi career exorcising demons. His first big fight was against Jerec, the Dark Jedi who killed his father. Using the powers of the Valley of the Jedi, a hidden Force nexus — a place with so much concentrated Force energy that it can boost a Force user’s power tenfold — Katarn was able to defeat his enemy and get his revenge.
Revenge, of course, is the path to the dark side, so Katarn excommunicated himself from the Jedi in order to stop his fall to the dark side. Katarn would return to the Jedi after his battle with Desann, a Dark Jedi who sought to take over the Jedi Praxeum on Yavin 4, in Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast. Katarn served many years as a Jedi Master, sitting on the council of the New Jedi Order and helping the galaxy defeat the evil Yuuzhan Vong.
Leia and Han Solo’s daughter specialized in starfighter piloting, but also undertook countless missions for the Jedi. She sometimes served as a neutral voice between her feuding brothers, and her level-headedness and sense of adventure made her stand out among Luke Skywalker’s Jedi students. She wore her heart on her orange flight suit sleeve about her enthusiasm for joining Rogue Squadron, continuing the Star Wars theme of achieving one’s dreams. Jaina grew up during the Yuuzhan Vong war, providing the perspective of someone who had been under attack all her life but kept fighting. Jaina had many names – the Trickster, the Sword of the Jedi, Jedi Master Fel – and earned all of them in service of the galaxy and her increasingly fractured family.
Pavan’s story had all the trappings of a noir detective tale. A grim survivor of Order 66, he set up shop as a private eye. Policemen, beautiful women, hard-boiled Jedi, and investigative reporters sought out the company of this ex-Jedi who saw the Force as shifting light and color patterns. This introspective Jedi helped funnel enemies of the Empire out of Coruscant’s under-city. Pavan’s story carried through multiple novels, including the Coruscant Nights series and its sequel The Last Jedi.
Anakin was the more monkish of the Solo boys, the one more likely to listen to his elders, but also one of the most heroic Force users in the New Republic era. His fight against the Yuuzhan Vong in their claustrophobic base of operations on the planet Myrkr at the age of 17 went down in Star Wars history. In the Junior Jedi Knights and Young Jedi Knights series, Anakin and his siblings were precocious, joking figures, but each had their own, more serious plotline or two in the New Jedi Order. Anakin’s relationship with his father was important in the beginning of the series, and continued to develop as Anakin became a freedom fighter in his own right.
Tahiri was a Jedi transformed. She was born on Tatooine and raised by Tusken Raiders, but would go on to be a student at Luke Skywalker’s Academy, a bounty hunter, a Sith apprentice, an Imperial Hand, and a brainwashed Yuuzhan Vong warrior. This variety kept a character who originated in the Junior Jedi Knights series interesting, and her varied traits were (usually) integrated well into one another by the authors who wrote her. Tahiri often lost her way, and the new one she found was not always an ideal situation. That, though, was part of what made her a unique Jedi.
Corran Horn was a man of many talents. Perhaps you’re seeing a pattern here: many New Republic Jedi had to take another career, or worked the Force into the one they had. Corran began as a security officer on Corellia, then served in Rogue Squadron before becoming a full-time Jedi. That’s some resume, spanning many novels and series (including the first-person perspective I, Jedi, a revisionist take on the Jedi Academy series.) In the New Jedi Order, he accepted a climactic one-on-one duel against the sadistic Shedao Shai. Throughout all of this, Corran maintained a loving relationship with his wife and created the occasional humorous moment among dour Jedi. He was not perfect, though – the Horn bloodline tended to produce Jedi without the iconic Force ability of telekinesis.
The Jedi Exile aka Meetra Surik
The Exile lived in the same era as Revan, but had a very different story. Raised in the Jedi Temple, the Exile gathered Force-sensitives and other companions on a quest to rid the galaxy of three Sith Lords after being exiled from the Jedi Order. She (if one goes by the canon in the Revan novel) taught several apprentices who traveled with her. Knights of the Old Republic 2 presented several spins on the Force, one of the most notable being this Jedi who cut off her own connection to it.
Jude Watson’s Jedi Quest books were written for young readers and introduced many to the Jedi Temple school life hinted at in the Prequel Trilogy. Ferus worked as a foil to Anakin Skywalker, being almost as powerful and portraying what Anakin could have become had he remained attached to the light side. A serious, strict Jedi, Ferus also made a name for himself as a survivor, and threaded his way through other stories after surviving Order 66. Ferus’ rivalry with Anakin came to its inevitable conclusion as he faced down Darth Vader – certainly not the only Jedi to do so, but one of the few who knew Anakin almost as well as Obi-Wan did.
That alternate perspective was part of the strength of the Legends universe, a strength which the new canon will likely also possess.
Who are your favorite “Legends” Jedi? Tell us in the comments!