Star Wars has revealed another Jedi tragedy, one that struck down another generation of Younglings – proving kids can’t catch a break in Star Wars!
- The Star Wars galaxy has a long history of violence, with light and dark forces constantly fighting for control. Even the Jedi, who are not supposed to be warriors, have grown up in the shadow of conflict.
- The High Republic Era, thought to be a golden age for the Jedi, was actually a time of unprecedented conflict. The Jedi Order clashed with the Nihil, a group of space pirates, and suffered devastating attacks. The fall of Starlight Beacon and the emergence of the Nameless have brought tragedy to a new generation of Younglings.
- Younglings in the Star Wars universe continue to suffer, even in the High Republic Era. Trauma and loss have caused some Younglings to lose their ability to use the Force, and they grapple with feelings of attachment and guilt. The story of these Younglings living through turmoil will be compelling but challenging.
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Star Wars‘ next generation of Jedi Younglings have suffered a trauma just as great as Order 66. Envisioned as the revenge of the Sith, Order 66 was not the first Jedi Purge in history. In Charles Soule’s Light of the Jedi, set during the High Republic Era two centuries before the Skywalker saga, saw members of the Jedi Council reflect on their past. “There have been times in our history when the Order was reduced to but a handful of members,” Jedi Master Yarael Poof reflected.
This single line of dialogue confirms what has long been suspected; that the Star Wars galaxy has been locked in a cycle of violence for untold generations, with light and dark vying for control of the galaxy. Jedi are not supposed to be warriors, but countless generations of Jedi have grown up in the shadow of conflict. No doubt the Younglings have always suffered the most – the next generation of Jedi, the future of the Order, a perpetual target because of their limited ability to defend themselves.
Related: Star Wars: Every Jedi Who Survived Order 66 (In Canon)
The High Republic Has Introduced A Tragedy As Great As Order 66
The fall of Starlight Beacon and the threat of the Nameless
Take the High Republic Era. When readers were first introduced to this period in time, they believed it was the golden age of the Jedi – a time when the Jedi Order stood tall and confident, their light streaming across the entire galaxy. It’s now clear the Jedi made the mistake of believing their own PR, because this was an age of unprecedented conflict. The New Republic’s expansion brought the Jedi into conflict with a group of space pirates on the Outer Rim called the Nihil, who launched a series of devastating attacks even the Jedi couldn’t ward off. Star Wars: The High Republic Phase I ended with the destruction of the Jedi base, Starlight Beacon, and monstrous creatures known as the Nameless preying on Jedi across the galaxy.
Star Wars: The High Republic Phase III is continuing this story, and it’s already clear another generation of Younglings have suffered terribly. Recent character profiles published on StarWars.com introduced a group of Younglings who’ll appear in a middle-grade novel, Daniel José Older and Alyssa Wong’s Escape From Valo, and the descriptions are haunting. The most heart-wrenching is the description of Gavi, a human Youngling from the Jedi Temple on Valo. As Wong explains:
“Gavi was once the most promising youngling of his age, but when the Nihil occupied Lonisa City and murdered every Jedi they could hunt down, he saw the Nameless kill one of the masters. Now traumatized, he’s lost the ability to use the Force. He’s just trying to keep his friends alive… but the Force has always been the most important thing in Gavi’s life and he isn’t sure who he is without it. And then there are his burgeoning romantic feelings for his friend, another youngling boy named Kildo… and his complicated feelings of guilt surrounding Driggit Parse, the non-Jedi friend he left behind.”
The most promising Youngling of his age, Gavi is now a trauma victim – a survivor who has seen the Nameless feast on a Jedi Master. It’s little wonder Gavi has lost the ability to call on the Force. Meanwhile, he’s also wrestling with the age-old question of attachment.
Younglings Just Can’t Catch A Break In Star Wars
Order 66 was brutal on Younglings too
Star Wars is for kids, and that means children often wind up in the firing line. George Lucas pulled no punches in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, when Anakin’s slaughtering the Jedi Younglings served as the ultimate proof of his fall to the dark side. The death of Anakin’s innocence was symbolized by his killing a Youngling who looked just like his younger self, and he would never be the same again.
In the case of Star Wars: The High Republic, Lucasfilm is taking a different approach. They are allowing (some) Younglings to survive, so they can explore what it means to live through a time of turmoil. This will make for a truly compelling Star Wars story, but it certainly won’t be an easy one.