Star Wars just killed off a bunch of Jedi characters, and the Jedi Order will never be the same (which we already know). The main appeal of the new Star Wars: The High Republic line has been the fact that it is set 200 years before the Skywalker Saga, at a time when the Jedi Order is thick and robust with members, and the light side of the Force is strong. However, we know from the later history of the Star Wars Universe that this golden era of the Jedi doesn't last – and in the latest High Republic novel, Claudia Gray's Star Wars: The Fallen Star, we get the first real glimpse of the Jedi's first big fall in The High Republic era.
Star Wars: The Fallen Star sees the Jedi Order and Republic's big now base in the Outer Rim (Starlight Beacon) get infiltrated and sabotaged by the Nihil pirate group – at the behest of its leader, Marchion Ro. Starlight Beacon literally begins falling out of orbit, leading the Jedi on a desperate scramble to save the station and its many inhabitants – and the millions of people in peril on the planet below. It's a do-or-die mission, and not everyone gets to avoid the "die" part.
WARNING: Star Wars: The Fallen Star SPOILERS FOLLOW!
Death By Force-Eater
In order for Marchion Ro to complete his sabotage attack against Starlight Beacon, he has to find a way to incapacitate the Jedi onboard the station. The previous novel, Star Wars: The Rising Storm saw Ro discover a new kind of being that seems to feed on Force powers – it's that same beast that Ro smuggles aboard Starlight Beacon during the sabotage operation. This mysterious entity stalks Starlight for days, disrupting every single Jedi aboard's connection to the Force. While Starlight's marshall Stellan Gios largely ignores the effect of exhaustion, other Jedi are not as sure and choose to follow the Force in investigating the disturbance.
...And, like any good horror movie, the Jedi's "I'll be right back" approach to searching for the threat gets quite a few of them killed.
First, Jedi Knight Regald Coll (and his joking sense of humor) gets taken out for the Force-eating entity while searching Starlight's Cargo Hold. After Coll is discovered dead and turned to an ashen husk (like Jedi Master Loden Greatstorm), the search intensifies. Jedi "Wayseeker" Orla Jareni and Jedi Knight Nib Assek are also killed and "ashed" by the Force-eater while searching the cargo hold for the Force disturbance; both had been big supporting characters in The HIgh Republic, so they were surprising losses.
In the end, those are the only Jedi that the Force-eater gets – though other characters (Stellan Gios and Elzar Mann) nearly die by its hand, too.
The Fallen Star
The climax of Star Wars: The Fallen Star finds Stellan Gios having to make a noble sacrifice: his own life to save thousands of others.
Starlight Beacon is never able to escape its fall and threatens to crash into a populated city on the Planet Eiram, below. With only partial thrusters on the station still operational, Stellan has to stay aboard the station to manually steer the crashing object into the far less destructive terrain of the ocean. After the event is over, Stellan's best friends Avar Kriss and Elzar Mann confirm his passing through the Force.
Down But (Not) Out?
Two other major supporting characters of Star Wars: The High Republic also get left on death's door in The Fallen Star:
- Burryaga Agaburry – the lovable Wookiee Jedi is seemingly killed battling a pack of Rathtars the Nihil had smuggled aboard Starlight Beacon. However, Burryaga's friend Bell Zettifar refuses to believe he's dead and is searching.
- Indeera Stokes – Bell's new master is struck down by the Force-eater in the same attack that kills Regald Coll. However, it's teased that Indeera could recover from her coma.