One of the great things about Star Wars is that it inspires endless debates and opinions on a wide array of topics. Best bounty hunter? Most powerful Jedi? Does Salacious Crumb have the best haircut in the saga? In that spirit, StarWars.com presents From a Certain Point of View: a series of point-counterpoints on some of the biggest — and most fun — Star Wars issues. In this installment, two StarWars.com writers defend the greatest moment in the stories of Star Wars: The High Republic so far.
The destruction of the Republic Fair and Stellan’s compassion seen around the galaxy, says James.
Star Wars: The High Republic is a roller coaster of a story between the forces of light and darkness. One of the major flashpoints of the series is when the Nihil and Drengir attack the Republic Fair on Valo. What was to be the showcase of Lina Soh’s Great Works program turns into a demonstration of the Nihil’s might. And amid this destruction, the greatest moment in the initiative takes place in Cavan Scott’s The Rising Storm: when Jedi Master Stellan Gios holds the line, protecting the Chancellor, the Togruta queen Elarec Yovet, and several others.
Chancellor Lina Soh demonstrates her own selfless nature, putting the welfare of an injured civilian and her young son first, by letting them climb to the safety of a walker before her. Cut off from the other Jedi, Stellan fends off war cloud gas attacks and wave after wave of stimmed-up Nihil fighters. Getting weaker and weaker after each attack, he is nearly defeated by the Nihil Tempest Runner Lourna Dee. Aboard the walker, Lina gets her own hero moment, bringing the vehicle to life and driving to safety. Then a bomb hits the walker. In the aftermath, Stellan sobs over the body of nearly-dead Lina Soh — a moment caught on holocamera for the galaxy to witness.
This sequence is significant because it shows the full range of who Stellan Gios is, and who he becomes. He is a Jedi Master, sacrificing every ounce of strength to protect innocent lives and the best hope for the future. He is a man, utterly exhausted and broken, lowering his own emotional defenses to mourn the living symbol of the Republic. As the reader, we soar with Stellan’s selfless perseverance and feel as crushed as he when it seems that he has lost, thanks to Scott’s evocative writing.
We also see Lina Soh’s true character in the middle of chaos. She’s a political figure, but like Princess Leia, she is at her core a protector of the powerless. When it matters, Lina is ready to take action. And when it appears that Lina Soh is dead, we grieve her loss along with Stellan Gios, her son, and her loyal targons.
This moment, composed like a Renaissance Pietà, broadcast across the galaxy, represents the turning point for the Republic. While Lina as chancellor is already a symbol of the best of the Republic, Stellan now becomes a symbol himself, an icon of what the Jedi truly are — protectors of light, protectors of life, despite the darkness brought on by the Nihil. Heroes are not only defined by their actions when they are at their strongest, but also when they are at their most vulnerable, and Stellan and Lina excel through it all.
For what this scene means to two of our favorite characters and for what this scene portends for the fate of the galaxy, I think this is the epitome of Star Wars storytelling, the perfect balance of personal risk, peril on a galactic scale, and an emotional finale — all in one.
Keeve and Sskeer’s last lesson before the destruction of Starlight Beacon, says Kristin.
The High Republic is a gift. The stories in Phase I: Light of the Jedi showcased the Jedi Order as we’ve never seen them before, true guardians of peace. And yet, the series of books and comics did not shy away from shining a light on the struggles inherent in finding balance in the Force. There are plenty of spectacular moments to choose from, and James’s pick is a good one. But for me, the best moment in Phase I is a quiet exchange between a master and an apprentice before a battle that changes everything.
When we first meet Keeve Trennis, she’s preparing to become a Jedi Knight. Her anxiety over her readiness is completely relatable, as is her contrition when she fears she has failed Master Sskeer and brought down trouble from the Jedi High Council after she ditches the prescribed trial to save the Ximpi village and redirect the ridadi. Even after Keeve is no longer a Padawan, her connection to Sskeer remains strong, an emotional bond that tethers the two Jedi despite their doctrine to avoid attachments. When Sskeer is quarantined, struggling to remain whole under the influence of the Drengir, Keeve willingly joins him. She knows that they are stronger together, and while her act of compassion has long-lasting consequences that will haunt her, they are ultimately successful in finding the location of the Great Progenitor. Without this act of self-sacrifice, the galaxy would have been overrun by the hungry hoard.
Again and again, Keeve proves herself as one of the finest Jedi. She steps in to defend Lourna Dee — LOURNA DEE OF ALL PEOPLE! — when Master Avar Kriss begins to lose herself to her own desire for revenge against the Nihil. And when Sskeer is diagnosed with Magrak Syndrome, his Trandoshan biology reverting to its basic lizard brain, she not only stands by his side, she promises to uphold his legacy with her own life.
Which brings us to my favorite moment. In the halls of the Ataraxia, Sskeer counsels his former Padawan to walk her own path, and become her own Jedi. “Create your own legacy,” he tells her. It’s similar to when Yoda visits Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, “We are what they grow beyond. That is the true burden of all masters.”
That one last lesson gives Keeve the strength to be the best version of herself in the battle ahead. With the Starlight Beacon under attack, the Nihil threatening to obliterate all hope, Keeve will come into her own. She will save Terec and Ceret. She will escape the disaster with her life. And when she finds the broken shell of Jedi Master Avar Kriss, she will not be consumed by her own doubts or fears. She will rise above it and step up, to be the pillar of strength she once looked at Sskeer and Avar to provide. She will do Stellan Gios proud even after he’s gone.
This version of Keeve — bolder, tougher, stronger than we have seen her before — will stand tall even as those around her crumble in defeat and hopelessness. And it’s all because of Sskeer and his final lesson, propelling her onto her own path.
What do you think? Do you agree with James or Kristin? Or is there another moment that gets your vote? Tweet us @StarWars!
James Floyd is a writer, photographer, and organizer of puzzle adventures. He’s a bit tall for a Jawa. You can follow him on Twitter at @jamesjawa.
Associate Editor Kristin Baver is the author of the book Skywalker: A Family At War, host of This Week! In Star Wars, and an all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Follow her on Twitter @KristinBaver
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