• Mattie Stu

The Rise of Darth Caedus - Star Wars Lore

Jacen Solo was the son of Rebel Alliance heroes Han and Leia Organa Solo. After learning the ways of the Force at the Jedi Praxeum on Yavin 4, and becoming the Padawan of his uncle, Luke Skywalker, he proved to be a key player in the victory against the Yuuzhan Vong. However, his desire to protect the galaxy and his increasing willingness to accept any cost to achieve the cause ultimately turned him to the dark side. Just like his grandfather, Darth Vader, Jacen became a Sith Lord…

Welcome to TheCancrizans’ Star Wars Lore Episode 115: The Rise of Darth Caedus (Legends)

Before Jacen Solo was even born he was a figure of galactic political significance. This was due to the fact his parents held such importance in the galaxy. When Leia fell pregnant with Jacen and his twin sister, Jaina, the news immediately spread throughout the galaxy, and the two instantly became matters of public interest. However, not everyone in the galaxy was pleased by the news. Grand Admiral Mitth'raw'nuruodo, for example, who was the leader of the Galactic Empire’s military, promised the capture of each child. As a result, many kidnapping attempts occurred after and even during the pregnancy. Whilst developing in the womb, it became immediately clear that Jacen and his sister were Force-sensitive, allowing Organa to make mental contact with their developing minds through the Force. She done so particularly when they were agitated to calm them down. In 9 ABY, Jecen was born after his sister in the medical ward of Coruscant’s Imperial Palace. Growing up in the Solo’s Imperial Palace suite, both children’s Force potential was regularly tested by their uncle, Luke Skywalker, who was astonished by the results.

Following Emperor Palpatine’s re-emergence, the twins were hidden on safe-worlds to avoid any exposure to the dark side. As a result, the two hardly ever saw their parents. Being cared for by Winter Celchu, a close friend of Leia, aided by R2-D2 and C-3PO, was commonplace. However, they witnessed the birth of their little brother, Anakin Solo. As children, the Solo twins were initially instructed in the Force, consisting of simple exercises, by their mother since Luke spent most of his time at the Jedi Praxeum on Yavin 4. Jacen, in particular, preferred trying to the master the Force over playing like any normal child would. Around 22 ABY, the Solo children were sent to the Jedi Praxeum to begin their training. Whilst being trained by Luke Skywalker, Jacen made several friends, including Tenel Ka Djo and Lowbacca. Worried about the threat the Shadow Academy posed, Luke accelerated the training of his top students. The first step was to have them create their own lightsabers. Jacen spent a week crafting his own weapon, using a Corusca gem as the focussing crystal, creating a green blade.

After practicing with sticks against dueling droids, Skywalker deemed the students ready to use their lightsabers for blaster-deflection practice – similar to what Luke done when he was training to become a Jedi himself. Afterwards, whilst sparring against each other, Jacen sliced through the arm of Djo - who he was attracted to - after her hastily made lightsaber, which used flawed crystals, failed. Solo felt very bad after the incident and the event haunted him for some time afterwards. What was worse is that he never got a chance to apologise or say goodbye before she left the Praxeum. Thankfully the two later made peace and Djo continued her Jedi training. When it came time for each Solo child to become apprentices, Skywalker decided that it was best he teach Jacen and Anakin, whilst Mara Jade, Luke’s wife, became Jaina’s Master. As his uncle’s apprentice, Jacen wanted to rediscover aspects of the ancient Jedi, but he disproved of Luke’s desire to re-establish the Jedi High Council – believing a Jedi Knight should be internally guided, not externally. In his eyes, a Jedi Council would lead to politicking and corruption.

Not only did Solo dislike the idea of a Jedi Council, he believed the Jedi Praxeum, from which he had recently graduated from, was a poor idea as it was too formal to inspire individual growth. Because of his views, he often clashed with his Master and even his younger brother. Following the death of Chewbacca, Han Solo’s long-time best friend, at the beginning of the Yuuzhan Vong War, Jacen and his siblings chose to fight in the conflict. Six months into the conflict, Jacen and the rest of his family attended the Wookiee’s funeral on Kashyyyk. Around 27 ABY, Solo assisted his aunt in purging a disease she picked up during the war, saving her life just before she succumbed to it. Subsequently, she safely gave birth to Ben Skywalker. When the voxyn queen’s (the queen of Jedi killing creatures created by the Yuuzhan Vong) location was discovered, the decision to dispatch a Jedi strike to Myrkr was made. Though Solo preferred to serve off the front lines of war, he felt obliged to take part in the mission. Unfortunately, during it Anakin was killed, causing much grief to Jacen and Jaina. But the former took charge and attacked the queen, killing it after a hard fought battle. However, the fight left Solo too weak to resist capture from Vergere, whilst the rest of the strike team fled.

Solo faced constant torture and pain, which combined with the emotions he still felt over his younger brother’s death. Even the Force could not relieve him of such torment. With no alternative, Solo drew upon his own inner reserves and willpower to become impervious to pain, thriving on it rather than allowing it to break him down. Even when he was stabbed by Vergere, he never felt a thing. After being transported to Coruscant, which had been transformed into the Yuuzhan Vong’s new homeworld, Vergere tempted Jacen into joining the dark side. She claimed it flowed through his body, reminding him that his grandfather was Darth Vader. After nearly killing Vergere, Solo was shocked at how easily he had slipped into darkness. After spending almost a year in Yuuzhan Vong custody, he escaped with Vergere, who sympathised with Solo as she was formerly a Jedi herself. As a free man once more, he took part in the final battle of the war, killing Onimi, who was mentally controlling Supreme Overlord Shimrra Jamaane. Because of this, Solo felt a moment of unity with the Force. Jacen was overjoyed to see his family once more, but they all wished Anakin was there to join them. Following Luke’s re-establishment of the Jedi High Council, Solo was among some of the Jedi knighted by Skywalker and their Masters.

Solo decided that he did not want to remain amongst the Jedi, where he would be looked up to as a hero and, subsequently, have the pressure of living up to others’ expectations. Feeling he still had a lot to learn, Jacen sought out other Force-using groups to expand his knowledge of the Force. In 30 ABY, he set out on his travels, taking a leave of absence from the Jedi Order and considering himself no longer an active Jedi Knight. During his five-year hiatus, Solo leaned many skills and techniques, making him more powerful as a result. However, he experienced a vision of a dark figure ruling the galaxy, which made him determined to prevent its fulfillment. Upon return to the New Jedi Order, he began teaching his cousin, making himself Ben’s informal Master. Around this time, Djo had given birth to Jacen’s daughter, who they later named Allana. His return during the Dark Nest Crisis saw him using his new found ruthlessness and willingness to make sacrifices for the greater good. In preventing another galactic war breaking out, he was determined to safeguard his infant daughter.

As Jacen continued to train Ben, Luke became more doubtful about Solo’s judgement and the changes that occurred during his five-year absence. This further strained their relationship. Jacen’s relationship with Djo and Allana remained secret, only allowing him to visit his family every three to four months. Not only did Solo wish he could be with them more, he regretted the fact he could not make their ties public. In 40 ABY, during a mission with fellow Jedi Nelani Dinn, the two came across Lumiya, the Dark Lady of the Sith. Though Jacen was intrigued by the Sith and wanted to hear what she had to say, Dinn grew impatient and attacked. During the duel, Lumiya claimed he needed to become a Sith in order to bring peace to the galaxy. Intrigued, he blocked what would have been Dinn’s final blow on the disarmed Lumiya. Dinn wanted to arrest the Sith, but Jacen felt by doing so he would kill Luke Skywalker and the galaxy would fall into chaos. To avoid this, he killed his fellow Jedi, feeling it was for the greater good. The deed commenced his first step towards the dark side.

Upon returning to Coruscant, Solo did not file a report on the incident, knowing he could not expose the truth of his encounter with Lumiya. Though he felt committed to becoming a Sith, he had doubts that his path was the correct one, but he remembered his grandfather’s choice to become a Sith and how he changed the galaxy. Lumiya stipulated that the next step in becoming a Sith required him to hire an apprentice. With that in mind, Solo became determined to turn his cousin. Furthermore, he had to make a sacrifice. Lumiya ordered him to kill Djo and Allana, a decision which Solo initially rejected. However, he came round to the idea, knowing to become a powerful and trustworthy Sith he had to overcome his own attachments and flaws. After he failed to kill Djo, he contemplated about slaying Ben or even his parents instead. As Solo slowly gained more power, he was ready for his ascension to Sith Master. And his opportunity for promotion came when he faced his aunt, Mara Jade. During a fierce duel, Jacen distracted Mara by creating the illusion he was actually Ben, allowing him to stab her with a poison dart. Like a tragic poem, the woman Jacen once saved was later killed by him. With his sacrifice complete, there was no turning back.

To conceal Solo as the new Dark Lord of the Sith, Lumiya sacrificed herself to Luke Skywalker. Though Solo was convinced he had begun a new era of galactic peace, he never felt any fulfillment after slaying his aunt. He soon realised that his sacrifice was not actually slaying her, it was the loss of the love and respect Ben Skywalker had for him, knowing he had slayed his mother. Regardless, he named himself Darth Caedus, Dark Lord of the Sith. After a duel with Ben, that would have killed him if it were not for Luke intervening, and after Djo turned on him, he took on Tahiri Veila as his Sith apprentice. In Caedus’ final days, his visions of the future were manipulated by Luke through the Force to draw his attention away from Jaina, who was sent to kill him. During the Second Battle of Roche, Caedus was caught off-guard by his twin sister, who immediately stabbed him in the abdomen. Seemingly feeling no pain, the Dark Lord of the Sith briefly engaged her in a duel. When the two became separated, Caedus pleaded with Jaina to cease the fight. Engaging once more, the two injured each other, leaving Caedus at a disadvantage due to the injuries he had sustained previously. Jaina then sliced down at her twin brother in such a way that was impossible to defend. Left dying on the ground, the Sith had the opportunity to take Jaina down with him as she was left open, but he never, feeling that revenge was meaningless. Just before he died, the twin bond with his sister returned, convincing Jaina that part of the light that was once in Jacen Solo had re-emerged. The person he came into the world with sadly happened to be the one to take him out it...

Now it’s time for this week’s question: Who do you think would win in a duel: Darth Caedus or Kylo Ren? Let me know in the comments below.

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