New Jedi Order: Starkiller could be the perfect villain

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Image courtesy
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Image courtesy /

Ever since Starkiller AKA Galen Marek was introduced in LucasArts’ The Force Unleashed, fans all over the world fell in love with Darth Vader’s secret apprentice. However, since Star Wars split its canonical storylines with that of the Extended Universe, it felt like Marek was destined to remain within the confines of that specific pocket of SW fiction.

In recent years, certain aspects of The Force Unleashed have become canon. Jedi Master Rahm Kota’s name appeared on the wall of the safehouse in Obi-Wan Kenobi;  Flametroopers, who first debuted in TFU, were in The Mandalorian; and most recently, Starkiller’s Sithstalker armour was seen as one of Luthen Rael’s antiques in Andor.

Who was Starkiller?

For those not in the know, Galen Marek was born on the Wookie homeworld of Kashyyyk to two Jedi Knights shortly after the Clone Wars. After an invasion by the Empire and more specifically, Darth Vader, he was taken by the Sith Lord after noticing his untapped power in the Force. Vader killed his father and stopped Stormtroopers from shooting Marek, then began training Marek in the ways of the dark side.

Darth Vader gave him the name Starkiller and had him hunt down surviving Jedi, including Rahm Kota and Jedi Council member Shaak Ti. Training him in secret so that one day they could overthrow the Emperor and rule together, this plan never came to fruition, with Vader betraying Starkiller. Marek worked with Bail and Leia Organa, forming a Rebellion to take down the Empire, all while being trained as a Jedi by Rahm Kota.

Starkiller eventually died in a similar fashion to Kanan Jarrus, acting as a spark to ignite the Rebellion. The sequel featured a clone of Starkiller, but it never lived up to the original, however, the cloning process seen in Star Wars canon could be a great way to bring the character to the silver screen.

How could he be introduced?

The Starkiller we all know and love wouldn’t be able to exist in any current canon, whether as a secret apprentice to Darth Vader or one of the catalysts that helped kickstart the Rebellion. Those stories have been told, but there’s no reason he couldn’t be introduced in a new tale, specifically that of Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s New Jedi Order film.

After Emperor Palpatine died in Return of the Jedi, he was cloned in secret on the planet of Exegol. The planet was always intended to be a home for the Emperor, and during the reign of the Empire, his Sith cultists were already building Star Destroyers and experimenting with the cloning process, which could lead into how Starkiller could play a role in the film.

Touching on the cloning process of The Force Unleashed II, Starkiller could be a clone of Luke Skywalker. Emperor Palpatine was already looking for a replacement for Darth Vader, and Galen Marek could be the result of experimentations conducted on Exegol. In the comics, Vader stumbled across the hand of Luke Skywalker while on Exegol, meaning one of the cloning experiments could have been to utilise a similar raw power found in Luke to create Marek.

If we were to step away from Palpatine for a moment, there’s another way he could be introduced in canon. We never got an inkling of whether or not Kylo Ren wanted to have an apprentice of his own, and maybe his fascination with his grandfather drove him to search the galaxy for one he could train up himself, helping to to tie in with the First Order and Kylo Ren.

Galen Marek’s origin story could still focus on him being the child of two former Jedi Knights, except the timeframe could be moved up to the time of the most recent trilogy. Maybe a young Marek could be stolen by the Knights of Ren for their leader, Kylo Ren, and upon his death and the fall of the First Order, he was left abandoned at a young age, surviving alone in the darkest depths of the Outer Rim

In solitude, this child could be driven to the edge of sanity, feral and alone, harnessing his raw power in the force and turned mad by it, only to find purpose much like Maul did in The Clone Wars (and a nice tribute to the phenomenal Sam Witwer who voiced both Maul and Starkiller). It would allow the child to grow up in the time between The Rise of Skywalker and the New Jedi Order film, neither Sith or Jedi, just one who’s unhinged power could prove to be a terrifying threat for Rey Skywalker.

The perfect enemy to Rey and the New Jedi Order

This new canonical appearance of Starkiller would act as a perfect enemy to Rey. Learning of the death of his master Kylo Ren, he might blame Rey Skywalker for his death. It would give Galen Marek a reason to want her dead and blame the Jedi for what happened to him on Exegol. We’ve never seen a force-user in a film who’s both insane and utterly powerful, and some of the things Starkiller did in the game were terrifying, such as bringing down a Star Destroyer with the Force.

The name of Starkiller could also be a homage to the Starkiller base where Galen Marek was trained. Like many characters, Marek would be blind to the light that shone deep inside Kylo, only seeing his hatred for his enemies, and the power that his base was capable of. There are so many possibilities for the character to appear in canon, but as an enemy to Rey, it would be fascinating to watch.