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Darth Krayt Week -- Part 5

Posted By Paul on July 26, 2007

It?s now Thursday, day five of Darth Krayt Week. On Sunday, we introduced the character, and the question of his identity; on Monday and Tuesday, we looked at aspects of what we know about him from the Star Wars: Legacy comics; yesterday, we turned to the established character who most fans agree is the most likely to be identified as Krayt, a Tusken Raider and Jedi Knight named A?Sharad Hett.

Today, we?re looking at another character: one who fits the criteria very well, but who most fans agree won?t become Krayt?no matter how much the idea makes sense: Anakin Solo.

Perhaps it was a bad idea of Han and Princess Leia to name their youngest child after Darth Vader. Certainly, it meant that the character?s personality came to be shaped by a strong awareness of his grandfather?s destiny.

Perhaps it was a bad idea to set Anakin Solo up as the most clearly-defined hero of the new generation of Star Warriors, then kill him off in the middle of the New Jedi Order series. But it certainly created an interesting dynamic within the storyline, a sense of broken patterns and lost hope that Legacy has picked up and run hard for the touchline with.

Of course, the main objection to Darth Krayt being Anakin Solo is that it?s unlikely that Anakin Solo will ever reappear in the flesh in Star Wars. True, there are several well-established means to bring back ?dead? characters, such as clones and consciousness-transfer. There?s also the fact that his body was in the hands of the Yuuzhan Vong and a very sneaky rogue Jedi (possibly even a Sith adept) for several hours after his apparent death. But there?s a widespread hunch that Lucasfilm and the official licensees aren?t interested in bringing the character back, even in such a darkened, twisted form as Darth Krayt.

That said, Anakin does still fit the criteria for Krayt pretty much perfectly.

A central dynamic appears to be becoming clear in Legacy, and it?s the relationship between the Skywalker heir and the Sith Lord?Cade Skywalker and Darth Krayt; this ballet of Skywalker and Sith has been a recurring theme of the core narrative of Star Wars since the original movie trilogy, but every time, it?s also been intertwined with a strong, personal relationship: the Sith are bound to the Skywalkers by blood.

Palpatine seems to have been involved somehow in the birth of Anakin Skywalker, the man who was born to become Darth Vader; Vader, of course, was Luke Skywalker?s father, and now it?s Jacen Solo, Luke?s nephew, who?s become the new Sith Lord, Darth Caedus, and is in turn attempting to corrupt his nephew, Ben Skywalker. Even Lumiya, the scarred Sith apprentice who served to mediate the title of Sith Lord from Vader to Jacen, was one of Luke?s ex-girlfriends.

And this is doubly true because the overall theme of is Legacy is... well, ?legacy?: the idea of inheritance, continuity, and expectation. Phrasing the connection between Cade and Krayt in those terms, we would expect the same dynamic to continue that we?ve seen in earlier interactions between the Skywalkers and the Sith.

In short, Darth Krayt ought to be connected directly to the Skywalker family, and what we know about his backstory implies that he ought to be alive by the time of the Yuuzhan Vong War: but as I outlined yesterday, Jacen Solo and Ben Skywalker can probably be excluded. So, even though he?s officially dead, Anakin Solo thus fits the slot as the known Skywalker heir most likely?indeed, most able?to become Darth Krayt.

The Tatooine connection implied in the name of Darth Krayt fits with Anakin Solo, through his soul-mate and best friend from childhood, Tahiri Veila. Like A?Sharad Hett, Tahiri was a Force-sensitive child raised by Tusken Raiders, and when they were still children, Anakin accompanied her on her rite-of-passage in the Dune Sea, in which they confronted a krayt dragon.

There?s less of a direct connection with Obi-Wan Kenobi, but a direct link between Krayt and Kenobi is still something that?s only inferred, and Anakin?s other childhood rite-of-passage was recovering Kenobi?s lightsaber from Darth Vader?s fortress. It?s also possible that Kenobi was also Tahiri?s grandfather, who we know was a Jedi who took refuge on Tatooine under the Empire.

Of course, we don?t know every detail of how these connections will play out if Anakin Solo has become Darth Krayt?but that?s not important. What matters is that we can see the appropriate connection with Tatooine, and even Ben Kenobi; and we can see that, if Anakin is Darth Krayt, that connection is also tied up with an untold story about how transformation affected his relationship with Tahiri Veila.

The Yuuzhan Vong connection is even stronger. Anakin, more than any other Jedi, led the way towards genuinely understanding the exotic alien invaders and their mindset. During a mission to rescue Tahiri, he even allowed a Yuuzhan Vong implant to be grafted into his body, when he allied himself with one of the invaders? warriors.

If Anakin is Krayt, then this symbiote, which had been damaged and discarded by its creators, could even conceivably be the source of the Sith Lord?s parasitical sickness, which we know has a Yuuzhan Vong origin.

And Anakin was last seen alive in the heart of a Yuuzhan Vong space station during the invasion of the New Republic, in the clutches of someone who may just have been a Sith herself. It?s a situation which ties in neatly with the earliest references to Krayt, and with the possible timeline of Lumiya?s expulsion from Korriban.

Star Wars: Legacy #1 opens with Krayt?s reminiscences about the failure of the Jedi against the Yuuzhan Vong: in Conquest and Star by Star, it was Anakin who expressed the clearest dissent against the direction the Jedi were taking under his Uncle Luke?s leadership during the war, and made the clearest moves towards defining a different approach.

And Anakin Solo also serves as the symbolic shatterpoint around which the Galaxy was broken: his death was the point at which the post-movie continuity slipped fatally away from the thematic path known as the Hero?s Journey?and with the ?Legacy of the Force? novels, Lucasfilm seem to have agreed that their planned attempt to reassert the pattern with Jacen Solo has failed completely.

Anakin Solo?s death is thus the key event that creates the situation which Darth Krayt surveys at the start of Legacy. For Krayt, the Galactic status quo is a stark illustration of the flawed failure of the old order, providing the reason why it had to be overthrown; but it also provides the raw material out of which he believes he can build a better Galaxy, like a Sith version of the Seldon Plan in Asimov?s Foundation novels. As that double-edged concept of creation and destruction represents the shockwave from the death of the young Jedi called Anakin Solo, then it would make stunning thematic sense if Anakin was actually Darth Krayt himself, the living Lord of the Sith.

Take that boy, and hand him over to the Sith on Korriban. He carries a sense of the failure of the Jedi, and of his own failure as a Jedi; he?s long feared that, if he was faced with a situation like this, he?d become a Sith. He?d object at first, of course; he?d struggle against it—but that?s probably not a real problem: the Sith would simply force the mantle on him, a little like Palpatine did to Vader.

He?s a practical lad, who?s shown an ability to work even with the Yuuzhan Vong, and a lack of deep agreement with traditional Jedi dualism. Instead, he approaches problems a little like his father running maintenance on the Millennium Falcon, or shooting Greedo: fixing things with practical tools and the occasional hard kick against the bulkhead?defining the lightsaber as ?an instrument of law?, sharp-edged but effective..

Take away his Jedi robes, and imprison him inside Sith armour: he?d probably still try as best he could to fix the mistake of his own death, and restore the Galaxy to the peace that he believes in: a young man?s hope, trapped inside the dark, twisted body of a monster.

But, even if the Sith saw Anakin as their tool, in much the way that Palpatine did Vader, it?s reasonable to speculate that they might be affected by his vision, too. Bear in mind what the holocron avatars of the earlier Dark Lords accuse Krayt of, and condemn him for doing. Traditional Sith ideology saw the Order?s mere existence as purpose enough, with power something to be claimed by the powerful for its own sake; Darth Krayt has rejected that, and reforged the Sith as a means to an end: a tool for Galactic peace.

In short, they?re Sith who seem made in the very image of Anakin Solo?and shaped in service to ideals of peace and justice that look suspiciously like his own, however ironic and hidden in shadow those hopes might be in that context.

There?s only problem, of course: as I said already... Anakin is gone, and I doubt they?ll ever bring him back in Star Wars canon.

The Verdict: Anakin Solo would be the perfect Darth Krayt. It?s just blatantly not going to happen, though....

So, tomorrow, Darth Krayt Week will move on to look at some of the other Star Wars characters who fans have been suggesting might fill the role.

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