Luke Skywalker Gets Advice From A High Republic Jedi
A Blast From The Past
The ways that the current Star Wars comics have continued to seamlessly bridge every era of the franchise together have been most impressive. This is especially true in the case of the still fresh line of comics and novels The High Republic. This era of Star Wars has done a remarkable job of fleshing out the Jedi Order and the galaxy at large two hundred years prior to The Phantom Menace. The publishing line's various authors and creatives have managed to make every part of The High Republic feel consistent and cohesive with not just itself, but with the rest of the franchise as well. The latest issue of Charles Soule's mainline Star Wars comic series did that especially well by having one Jedi from The High Republic play a direct role in Luke Skywalker's Jedi training in the time between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
**Spoilers for Star Wars #20**
In the twentieth issue of Star Wars (2020), Luke Skywalker is informed by a Jedi holocron of a powerful convergence in the Force located on the planet Gazian. This particular convergence, known as the Living Sea of Gazian, is a large growth of hallucinatory mushrooms that takes imprints of visitors' minds and recreates them exactly as they were when they visited the planet. Upon arriving on the planet, Luke is sucked into the Living Sea of Gazian as it takes an imprint of his mind. While inside, he is met by the recreation of a High Republic era Jedi Master who also visited the planet hundreds of years ago. The Jedi in question is none other than Elzar Mann, a friend of Avar Kriss and one of the many characters introduced in Charles Soule's Light of the Jedi.
As Luke's mind is imprinted by the Living Sea of Gazian, he is given wise counsel by Elzar and informed of the Jedi Order's long and arduous history. Among the many things Elzar teaches the young Jedi during their meeting, he tells Luke of how the Jedi Order and Galactic Republic had a golden age after the defeat of Darth Bane. He also reflects on his own Jedi training and how he once doubted his own Force abilities as Luke does now. During their meeting, Luke chastises himself for losing to Darth Vader on Cloud City and not living up to the legend he has become after destroying the Death Star. Elzar is quick to comfort him, explaining how the Jedi themselves were whittled down from an order of galactic peacekeepers to almost nothing.
With the vision nearing its end, Elzar gives Luke one final piece of advice: he does not have to be a Jedi if he does not want to. There are many noble paths one can take in the galaxy and being a Jedi is only one of them. The Jedi Order itself is but a framework for understanding the Force and learning to use it safely in the protection of light and life. What is truly important is that Luke continues to make the kind of choices that feel true to him and the person he wants to be. Although if he does still wish to become a Jedi, the imprints of the ancient Jedi on Gazian will always be there to guide him. With that, Luke bids farewell to Elzar and escapes the Living Sea of Gazian with a peculiar-looking book, which Luke describes as an invitation.
Star Wars #20 feels like a landmark issue in an already stellar comic run from Charles Soule. The interactions between Luke and Elzar Mann feel fresh and new with Elzar bringing a kind of earnestness and sincerity to his teachings not seen in Luke's previous interactions with the Jedi of old. This is the kind of nuanced storytelling and character writing I love to see in modern Star Wars comics, and Soule has more than proven himself to be not only capable but exceptional at bringing new life to classic Star Wars concepts and tropes. My hope is that we will continue to see the comics and the Star Wars franchise as a whole bring its many eras and characters together in ways that challenge not only how we view the franchise, but how it views itself.
Written By Zach Bernard
Syndicated From Culture Slate