Who has the most character growth in Star Wars: The Fallen Star?

Claudia Gray’s The Fallen Star cover. Photo: StarWars.com.
Claudia Gray’s The Fallen Star cover. Photo: StarWars.com. /

Warning: Major spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Fallen Star by Claudia Gray. 

After a year’s worth of novels, comics, short stories, and an audio drama, The High Republic has introduced fans to a massive cast of characters. Many of these characters resonate with fans and they are deeply invested in them. Fans feel like they know these characters and are eager to see their development and how their stories will continue.

This is more evident than ever in The Fallen Star as it kicks off the final wave of stories in Phase I of the High Republic. It feels like the season finale of a television show where everything culminates in epic fashion and familiar characters are tested like never before.

In this “season finale” of the High Republic, several characters in particular rose to the occasion and showed tremendous growth as they deal with the disaster of Starlight Beacon’s destruction.

Bell Zettifar

When introduced in Light of the Jedi, Jedi Padawan Bell Zettifar and Master Loden Greatstorm were two of the first characters in the High Republic that fans grew to love. It didn’t take long for heartbreak and tragedy to strike this beloved master and apprentice duo as Bell lost Loden twice.

Bell not only has to endure the trauma of Loden’s sudden and horrific death after their reunion, but also the knowledge that Loden was out there for a year being tortured prisoner while Bell did nothing to help him. None of this is Bell’s fault, but these experiences naturally left him grieving, traumatized, and with less confidence in himself.

Bell’s character growth in The Fallen Star comes from the fact that despite all of this, he becomes an invaluable leader, learns to believe in himself again, and doesn’t lose hope. Most impressively, Bell figures out how to safely detach the medical tower from the bottom half of Starlight Beacon. Bell is confident in his plan and for the first time in a long time, he is confident in himself. He saves the lives of everyone in the medical tower, including Indeera Stokes, the Jedi who became his Master after Loden was lost to the Nihil in Light of the Jedi.

Even after this heroic and impressive accomplishment, Bell does not stop helping. He takes a shuttle back toward the bottom half of Starlight Beacon–but far enough away so that he is not affected by the Leveler–and helps the escape pods get clear so many of the remaining civilians can safely evacuate.

Bell continues to show growth until the very end of the story after learning that his good friend Burryaga might be dead. He learned from what happened to Loden to never give up hope; just because everyone else believes Burryaga is dead doesn’t mean he’s dead for sure. Until Bell knows for sure, he hasn’t given up hope that his friend is still alive.

Bell has more than proven that he is ready to move on from being a Jedi Padawan to being a Jedi Knight.

Stellan Gios

As the public face of the Jedi Order, Stellan Gios was the Jedi’s “golden boy.” He lived by adhering to the rules and by always trying to be the Jedi Knight that the Jedi Council wanted him to be.

In The Fallen Star, Stellan finally learns to forge his own path and be the Jedi he needs to be. Orla Jareni and Elzar Mann are the greatest influences on Stellan’s growth in this story, all of which culminates in Stellan’s selfless decision to sacrifice himself.

Stellan stays behind to make sure that the doomed station crashes into the waters of the planet Eiram, ensuring that what remains of Starlight Beacon doesn’t crash into Eiram’s cities or its people.

His last words to the droid JJ-5145 are “I know what I’m doing” and “I know who I am” speak volumes about how he is finally at peace with himself and his choices.

Elzar Mann

For most of the book, Elzar makes incredible progress. He uses what he learned from Orla Jareni to keep himself centered and in control. As numerous Jedi are killed or incapacitated by the Leveler, Elzar leads the way more than any other Jedi.

This is particularly crucial when Stellan is temporarily unable to continue leading after his experience with the Leveler. Elzar takes the reins of leadership and he is the one who helps Stellan get centered and find himself again.

However, Elzar’s progress seems to go up in flames when he reaches his breaking point and murders Chancey Yarrow. Elzar thought he was taking out a Nihil saboteur putting the last touches of sabotage on Starlight Beacon, but she was actually trying to fix the thrusters. She was the last hope for Starlight Beacon and Elzar killed her.

Despite losing control and giving into the dark side in a way that yielded terrible consequences, Elzar still shows character growth. He doesn’t give up on himself or the situation. After Stellan convinces him to evacuate Starlight Beacon, Elzar finds a lingering Sullustan survivor aboard and makes sure the Sullustan is evacuated as well. He and the other Jedi on Eiram fix the planet’s desalination plant shortly after Starlight Beacon’s crash damages it.

Most importantly, Elzar does not give up on himself. He promises to give the best of himself and control the worst of himself and to confess the truth of what he did to Avar Kriss. Elzar will not allow the truth to fester and destroy him from within. This does not absolve him of what he did, but it is a step in the right direction and proves that all of the other progress he made was not in vain.

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Who do you think had the most character growth in The Fallen Star? Let us know in the comments!