Star Wars: Kanan - The Last Padawan #5 Revisited

For Star Wars Rebels 10th anniversary, we revisit the comic book origins of Kanan Jarrus.

Star Wars Kanan: The Last Padawan #1 Variant Cover. Image credit: and Marvel
Star Wars Kanan: The Last Padawan #1 Variant Cover. Image credit: and Marvel /

Things have gone from bad to worse for the Jedi fugitive Caleb Dume. His former comrades,
Clone Troopers Captain Styles and Commander Grey, have captured him. They also apprehended Janus Kasmir and former Separatist General Kleeve, who now goes by the alias “Jondo.” Caleb’s life is at the hands of the men he once served alongside and the same men who murdered his Jedi Master, Depa Bilaba, in cold blood during Order 66

To celebrate the upcoming 10th Anniversary of Star Wars Rebels, we continue to revisit Star Wars: Kanan - The Last Padawan in its fifth issue titled “Release.” Writer Greg Weisman and illustrators Pepe Larraz and David Curiel continue to unravel the mysterious past of Kanan Jarrus before he became a Rebel. 

Weisman’s writing in this issue reminds the reader of the impact that Order 66 not only had on the Jedi but also the Clones. Evidence of this is shown in the dialogue between Commander Grey and Kasmir when the Clone tells the scoundrel that he is not satisfied with executing Caleb due to him being a traitor to the Empire. In that same sentence, Grey almost says the “Republic” instead of the Empire, to which the Kalleran scoundrel replies that the Clone does not know what he is fighting for. Grey then responds that he does not “have to know” and just “has to follow orders.” 

Another scene that shows the effect Order 66 had on the Clones is after being taken aboard their ship on their way back to Kaller, Caleb questions the two Clones on why they consider him a traitor. Caleb points out that the Clones betrayed Master Billaba, which the Clones refute and declare that the Jedi were the traitors. Caleb retorts that the Jedi fought side-by-side with the clones “through every battle” and that they “never betrayed the Republic. They died with it.” Caleb, while untying himself, tells the Clones that they, too, were betrayed along with the Republic by Palpatine and that they were used as his pawns so that “he could have his Empire.” Furthermore, Caleb adds that the Clones looked up to Master Billaba and asked if the Clones thought that she would be a traitor. 

This sets up some really fascinating dialogue between Styles and Grey in which they talk about what Caleb told them after the Jedi escaped their ship. Grey explains to the Captain that Billaba was indeed their hero while the latter still calls her a traitor. 

Grey’s perspective of Order 66 deepens the conversation between the two Clone brothers. Grey described following Order 66 as if he was “under some kind of spell” and that he had no memories of the battles he had fought with the Styles and the Jedi. Grey further explains that it never occurred to him to “question the Emperor’s command." Styles retorts, “When soldiers question orders, people die.” Grey argues that people died regardless at his hands and to think about what they are doing. Styles accuses Grey of sounding like a Jedi and says that the Clones did what they had to do. In the end, Grey decides to atone for what he did during Order 66 and blow up his ship with him, Styles, and the clones inside to help Caleb, Janus, and Jondo escape.

The perspective and effects of Order 66 experienced by Grey have been echoed in Star Wars media, including The Clone Wars and The Bad Batch animated series. In The Clone Wars, Captain Rex, for a brief moment, resisted the effects of the inhibitor chip before succumbing to Order 66 to attack Ahsoka Tano, who eventually removed the chip from him. In The Bad Batch, several clone troopers like Howzer and Cody begin to question their service to the Empire and its direction. The Clones were undoubtedly loyal soldiers to a Republic they had no idea was becoming a dictatorial Empire. Furthermore, they had no idea they were only expendable in the eyes of the Emperor, whereas to the Jedi, they were valued and even treated like family. 

Another thing that must be highlighted is the rough father-and-son relationship between Caleb Dume and Janus Kasmir. As mentioned in the issue #4 revisited, Weisman made Janus a pseudo-father figure to Caleb, whereas Depa was a pseudo-mother figure. It is Janus who is angry at Grey for wanting to execute the fugitive Jedi, which prompts him and Kleeve to rescue him from the Clones. Even after Caleb assaults him for calling him kid and chastising him for leaving not to suffer another loss, he acknowledges the young Jedi’s independence and calls him by his birth name. One can also argue when Caleb finally starts calling himself Kanan Jarrus, it is Janus Kasmir who is the father of Kanan Jarrus, and Depa Billaba is the mother of Caleb Dume. While the Jedi notes that Caleb Dume died, ultimately, both Depa and Janus's influences make Kanan the man we see in Rebels: A wise, open-minded,  and jaded war veteran. 

Star Wars is no stranger to the characters becoming parental figures to the main character. We saw this notably between Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Original Trilogy, Rey and Han Solo and General Leia Organa in the Sequel Trilogy, Omega and Hunter in The Bad Batch, and Ezra Bridger to Kanan and Hera Syndulla.  

The illustrations done by Larraz and the coloring done by Curiel further amplify Weisman’s writing, notably in the scenes where Caleb escapes the Clones and where he leaves Janus and Kleeve. 

The illustrations showing where Caleb uses the Force and Janus and Kleeve’s ship’s arrival screams the phrase “the Force works in mysterious ways.” With Caleb Force pushing the Clones and the ships jumping out of Hyperspace, the reader knows things are about to get real and that there is going to be a classic swashbuckling fight but without the lightsabers.  

A notable panel is when Janus catches Caleb after he jettisons himself out of the ship to escape the clones. The panel is a half splash showing the otherwise rugged and cynical scoundrel tending to Caleb. The panel conveys an image of a father who is relieved to see his son. 

Another fantastic panel is Commander Grey firing on the ship's controls to help Caleb avoid recapture. The image is of a man saddened by what he did and also happy that he had the chance to atone for his betrayal of the Jedi he once looked up to. It is a very poignant image drawn by Laraz. 

The image at the end of the issue brings Caleb’s transformation to Kanan Jarrus in full circle. We see Caleb Dume, the Jedi Padawan, Caleb, the Jedi fugitive, and Kanan Jarrus, the rebel Jedi.  They are one and the same. 

The end of issue five takes us back to the present, where Hera Syndulla snaps Kanan back to reality and tells him that they are about to land on Kaller for a supply run. She also asks if he has been to the planet which Kanan lies to her and denies ever setting foot there. In a certain point of view, he was right since he had been to the planet as Caleb Dume but not as Kanan Jarrus. 

The next issue wraps up the first story arc of Kanan - The Last Padawan so keep an eye out as we continue to revisit the series.

Next. Star Wars: Kanan - The Last Padawan # 4 Revisited. Star Wars: Kanan - The Last Padawan # 4 Revisited. dark