Jyn Erso is revered by the rebellion by getting the Death Star plans, but the rebel hero had a sad life filled with heartache and loneliness.
Jyn Erso is a hero for the rebels. She sacrificed her life to get the Death Star plans for the resistance in order to destroy the destructive weapon and save the galaxy from the throws of the Empire.
Yet Jyn Erso’s life was full of heartache from the beginning, never getting to know real joy or happiness that she could hang on to. No, instead her life was unremarkable, living off the kindness of others until she helped changed the course of the galaxy.
Jyn’s life started in captivity when her family were prisoners on Vallt. Her father Galen had been working at a facility on crystals when the Separatists took over and captured Galen and a pregnant Lyra. She gave birth while Galen was locked away – though he was allowed to be there for the birth of his child.
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As a baby, Jyn seemed very smart. She hit her milestones, had a sense of a wonder, and even had an independent streak in her. But the Ersos were either explicit or implied captives with few chances for them to move around.
It wasn’t until Jyn was about 4, when the Ersos escaped Coruscant for Lah’Mu, away from the Empire and Krennic who had Galen working on the Death Star without him realizing it.
Despite a nice life away from the Empire, the Ersos lived in fear. They had drills on what to do in case the Empire made it to their doorstep. Sure enough, that fateful day happened. Lyra was killed. Galen captured. Jyn escaped after witnessing it all and hid away until Saw Gerrera found her.
Saw gave her as much love as he could, but he didn’t have the capacity to take care of Jyn the way she needed. He gave her a roof, food, companionship, and foundation on how to survive. But the things she could have used were non-existent: a maternal role model, empathy, challenges to develop her intelligence.
But a regular life for Jyn might have meant a life of servitude and destruction for the rest of the galaxy.
Because of her knowledge of her father’s work, she was tasked with helping the rebels. Yet it was also the things that Saw taught her that allowed her to successfully carry out the mission: self-defense, ingenuity and hatred for the Empire.
It wasn’t until her final moments that she found companionship and the ability to let someone into her world in a way she hadn’t since her parents. Jyn and Cassian embraced in those final moments before the destruction of Scarif in the need for human contact, the feeling of being with another person.
Jyn had never been particularity close to anyone other than Saw. But even he turned her back on her. In Rebel Rising, a Star Wars book on Jyn’s life after her parents died and before she was captured by the Empire, we see a sad life of a woman who didn’t have much.
She lived in a bunker, getting human contact from few people – all rebels who eventually died and were never seen again, or those who turned her in for the prize money. When it became too dangerous for Saw to keep Jyn around, he abandoned her.
Jyn managed to fend for herself using the tools Saw taught her such as forging Imperial ship codes to get by. She also befriended a family who took her in for a while. But once the Imperial forces made their way to her new home planet, Jyn found herself on the run again while dealing with more loss.
In the rebels’ history books, Jyn Erso is a revered figure – as she should be. But the rebellion didn’t help her. They were skeptical of her and she had to essentially mutiny in order to carry out the mission of getting the Death Star plans.
Instead, Jyn Erso lives a sad life that only became fulfilled in its final moments.