Star Wars has just dropped a slew of big hints (foreshadows?) that a major hero of The High Republic's Jedi Order will inevitably fall to the dark side like Anakin Skywalker. Fans know how much Star Wars loves its full-circle character arcs and themes across generations; even though The High Republic exists 200 years before the Skywalker Saga begins, it doesn't mean the same tragic turns of fate aren't at work. However, like many key points of The High Republic's larger story, the question of who will fall from the light and become a ruthless and powerful Sith Lord is still something of a mystery...
Star Wars: The High Republic features a version of the Jedi Order that is rich with numbers and power. The series offers the biggest ensemble of Jedi characters we've ever had – but without a doubt the main focus of this era in the Order is that of the triangle betewen three of the Jedi's most prominent and powerful heroes: Stellan Gios, Elzar Mann, and Avar Kriss.
The three were inseparable as Padawans, but things took a turn when Avar and Elzar's relationship became romantic – and at one point, even physical. With Stellan there to keep them balanced, Elzar and Avar ended their romance upon being knighted – but things haven't been the same since...
(THE HIGH REPUBLIC SPOILERS FOLLOW!)
Elzar Mann – The Rising Storm
While Stellan and Avar both went on to become Jedi Masters, Elzar struggled at the level of Jedi Knight for much longer, exploring unorthodox uses of the Force and even questioning his own place in the Jedi Order. Naturally, Star Wars fans have been giving Elzar Man a lot of side-eye, as theories swirl that he is, in fact, the spiritual precursor to Anakin Skywalker's fall to the dark side, and transformation into Darth Vader.
Star Wars has recently lent credit to these theories about Elzar Mann's Anakin-style fall to the dark side in two key ways:
In the climax of the new High Republic Novel The Fallen Star, The Jedi's milestone base Starlight Beacon is sabotaged and blown out of space by their dreaded enemies The Nihil. One last-ditch effort to save the falling space station saw Elzar Mann brave radiation exposure to reach manual controls for the thrusters that could stop the station's descent in orbit. Two women being imprisoned on Starlight (a rogue scientist and a Nihil defector) had the same idea and got there first; in a moment of desperation and fear, Elzar murders the scientist, mistaking her as a saboteur. He never confesses his murderous act to anyone (even Avar), trapping him with a secret much like Anakin's slaughter of the Tuskens.
In the Star Wars #20 comic book issue, Luke Skywalker (training himself as a Jedi before the final battles of Return of the Jedi) visits a Vergence in the Force, that allows him to make contact with an "echo" of Elzar Mann, who had been there centuries prior. One distinct panel of artwork (see below) visually hints that Elzar will one day have the red eyes and dark nature of a Sith Lord. It's a hard implication to argue against...
Avar Kriss – The Light of the Jedi
However, Star Wars was also built on the foundation of epic, jaw-dropping twists – and The High Republic may have one for us! Yes, Elzar Mann has a dozen (or more) red flags sticking out of his head, screaming "Sith Lord in the making, here!" Then again, those "red flags" could just as easily be red herrings...
The latest issues of the Star Wars: The High Republic comic series have focused on Avar Kriss and her mission to free the Outer Rim territories from the dark threats of both the Nighil and the Drengir, a race of plant monsters with dark side powers. The battle against the Nihil (and their new Force-eating monster that is horrifically murdering Jedi) has led Kriss into a fierce rivalry with Lourna Dee, a Twi'lek "Tempest Runner" (i.e., captain) in the Nihil's pirate ranks – and that rivalry may be consuming Avar Kriss entirely!
Star Wars: The High Republic comic issue #13 sees Avar Kriss finally catch up to Lourna Dee and her crew – and Avar certainly does NOT seem like the "Light of the Jedi" in that moment. The marshal of Starlight Beacon goes in and annihilates the Nihil in Lourna Dee's "storm," eventually ending with a violent dual with Dee and a battle armor suit. As the chapter ends, Avar Kriss even takes down one of her fellow Jedi (Kreeve Trennis) for trying to stop her merciless attack, with Avar poised to execute Lourna Dee, having already chopped off the villain's hand.
The Fallen Star novel includes mention of Avar returning to Starlight from that mission – though we don't know what state she's in, or what happens with Lourna Dee, yet (at the time of writing this). Between the massive death toll the Nihil have caused, and close contact with the Drengir's evil, Avar could understandably have the dark side growing in her heart...
The Fallen Star
At the end of the novel The Fallen Star we get an actual fallen star: Stellan Gios, who dies steering Starlight Beacon to a safer crash landing in an ocean. Avar and Elzar feel their best friend pass, with both having been somewhat at odds with Stellan when he died. The loss finally brings Elzar and Avar back together again – though they both note they've now lost their "polestar" with Stellan's death.
With Stellan Gios gone, and both Elzar and Avar currently struggling with staying on the light side of the path, it seems pretty clear they are destined for a tragic falling out (or just fall) that will see one of them embrace the dark side.0comments
Or, a more interesting twist would be to see these two Jedi lovers both fall and end up embodying the Sith "Rule of Two" in a way we never expected to see it...
Star Wars: The High Republic novels and comics are now on sale.