Star Wars Lore - The Rise of Exar Kun (Legends)
Under the tutelage of Jedi Master Vodo-Siosk Baas, Exar Kun quickly rose through the ranks of the Jedi Order. However, upon discovering forbidden knowledge of the Sith, he quickly fell to the dark side. After learning as much as he could from the spirit of Freedon Nadd, Kun became the Dark Lord of the Sith, taking former Jedi Knight Ulic Qel-Droma as his apprentice. In an attempt to bring back the Sith golden age to the galaxy, the two men commenced a bloody war against the Republic in 3996 BBY. But during the conflict, Qel-Droma switched sides and lead the Jedi to Kun’s base on Yavin 4. Refusing to go quietly, the Dark Lord conducted an ancient ritual to free his spirit from his mortal form to then wreak havoc through the cosmos. Unfortunately, the ritual never went to plan, trapping Kun’s spirit on Yavin 4 for several millennia…
Exar Kun began his Jedi training several millennia before the Battle of Yavin, and honed his skills on the planet Dantooine. The youngster was recognised as an extremely exciting prospect, and Kun himself harboured a deep, burning desire to become a great Jedi. As a result, as the apprentice of Jedi Master Vodo-Siosk Baas, Kun pushed himself extremely hard to achieve his goals. Confident in his own abilities, and believing he was ready to learn about forbidden knowledge and history of the Sith, Exar sneaked into Baas’ quarters to activate his personal holocron. Amongst the wealth of Sith information, the youngster learned of Freedon Nadd, a fallen Jedi who became the Dark Lord of the Sith and the ruler of Onderon. As Kun’s fascination of Nadd grew, he began to demonstrate traits associated with the dark side, as seen when he faced off against fellow trainee Jedi Sylvar. In retaliation to Exar’s taunts, Sylvar clawed her opponent’s face, severely scarring him. Furious, Kun responded with an intense outburst of lightsaber strikes, and would have killed Sylvar if it were not for Baas’ intervention. Daring Kun to prove his arrogance, the Jedi Master faced off against his apprentice. In a surprise twist, Exar defeated his master, drawing upon all of his rage and power to smash Baas’ Force-imbued staff in two. With nothing left to prove, he departed Dantooine aboard his starship, the Starstorm One, to seek out the forbidden knowledge of Freedon Nadd.
On the largest of Onderon’s four moons, Kun discovered Freedon Nadd’s tomb. To his shock, he was confronted by Nadd’s spirit, who gifted him a pair of scrolls leading to the “last home of the Sith.” Back aboard the Starstorm One, Kun ran the scrolls through an electronic translator, teaching him more about the history of the Sith and the name of their final home: Korriban. As Exar landed in the Valley of the Dark Lords, he once again heard the voice of Nadd, which lured him into a nearby temple. However, disturbed by the vast presence of dark side energy within the structure, Kun attempted to leave, only to find the exit blocked. With no alternative, he followed Nadd’s spirit to a mausoleum containing a large crystal filled with the spirits of defeated Jedi Masters. But just as Kun peered into the crystal, Nadd released the cataclysmic energy inhabiting the temple, causing a complete structural collapse. As Exar lay in the rubble clinging on to life, Nadd’s spirit appeared once more, promising that he could only be saved by surrendering to the dark side. Lightyears away, Master Baas felt his apprentice’s turmoil. However, his attempts to save Kun with the light were blocked by Nadd. With a broken body and no chance of help, the Jedi gave in. Kun’s broken bones were instantly healed and he felt stronger than ever before.
Although Kun never felt fully seduced by the dark side, he complied with Nadd’s orders to lift the curse of Naga Sadow from Yavin 4. After doing so, Kun established himself as the leader of the Massassi, who believed he was the returned Dark Lord of the Sith spoken of in their legends. Kun never cared for titles, only power. Regardless, the Massassi followed their “God-King” and willingly built massive temples across Yavin 4. As a private retreat, Kun constructed what would later be known as the Temple of Exar Kun. To further establish his control over the natives, Kun imprisoned the souls of their children in a massive Golden Globe contained in the newly built Palace of the Woolamander, drawing energy from those within. Before long, the fallen Jedi discovered a hangar containing Naga Sadow’s flagship, the Corsair. Furthermore, Kun uncovered Sadow’s alchemy lab, which contained a wealth of ancient Sith knowledge and alchemy lore. He was able to use the teachings to conduct dark side rituals, creating monstrous creatures, such as the Force-sensitive blood hungry terentatek and the two-headed battle hydras. Deciding it was time to leave Yavin, Kun used the Corsair to track down and kill Freedon Nadd’s other students, only to come across former Jedi Ulic Qel-Droma. Although the two began an intense lightsaber duel, both were such master swordsmen that neither could gain the advantage. Then suddenly, an image of long-dead Dark Lord Marka Ragnos appeared, ordering both to cease their duel. Ragnos then burned a mark into the foreheads of Kun and Qel-Droma, proclaiming the latter as the first apprentice of the new Dark Lord of the Sith: Exar Kun. When the image of Marka dissolved, the two men eagerly clasped hands and promised to bring down the galaxy.
Determined to defeat the Galactic Republic, the newly crowned Dark Lord of the Sith planned to use the Dark Reaper, a devastating superweapon that claimed thousands of lives on Raxus Prime, on his enemies. However, still harbouring affection for some of his former friends and colleagues within the Jedi Order, Qel-Droma covertly aided the Republic in foiling Kun’s plot, disabling the Dark Reaper at the old Sith world of Thule. The decision marked the first time Ulic betrayed his master, but it was not the last. In 3996 BBY, during the Great Sith War, Kun and Qel-Droma needed to muster a force capable of challenging their enemies. As a result, the Dark Lord travelled to the Jedi library on Ossus, where he defeated Keeper of Antiquities Odan-Urr and tricked the Jedi students into joining his cause. Meanwhile, Qel-Droma won the allegiance of the formidable Mandalorian clans by besting their leader, Mandalore the Indomitable, in single combat. In addition, he claimed three hundred of the Republic’s newest and most advanced warships. Determined to strike at the Republic, Qel-Droma and the Mandalore assaulted Coruscant, much to the reluctance of Kun. While his apprentice pressed on with his plan to attack the Republic’s capital, Kun travelled to Yavin 4 with his students, where he corrupted them with the dark side, reshaping them into his Brotherhood of the Sith. He then ordered the members to kill their former Jedi Masters.
As the corrupted Jedi departed Yavin 4, another craft touched down. It was Mandalore the Indomitable, who brought bad news. Not only had the attack on Coruscant failed, but Qel-Droma was captured. However, before his apprentice could face trial for his war crimes, Kun led a small army of Massassi troops to the Republic Senate Hall. After freezing the onlookers, Exar freed Ulic and attacked and killed Supreme Chancellor Sidrona. But before he could leave the Senate chamber, the Dark Lord of the Sith was confronted by his former master: Vodo-Siosk Baas. At first, Kun was reluctant to engage the Jedi, hoping to turn the Krevaaki to the dark side, instead. After refusing his offer, Baas engaged Kun in a duel, once more utilising only his wooden staff. When Kun found himself unable to overcome Baas, he revealed a recent modification to his lightsaber: a second blade. The introduction completely changed the complexion of the battle, and the Krevaaki couldn’t keep up with Kun’s onslaught, neither could his staff. After destroying Baas’ weapon, the Dark Lord of the Sith slew his former master. In his final words, Baas promised the two would fight again, and he would be defeated. Kun was then charged by his former classmate Sylvar, who he quickly dismissed with a telekinetic blast. Having made their point, Kun and his apprentice left the silent and shocked Senate chamber behind, facing no resistance on their way out.
Unfortunately, Kun’s power began to dissolve, which Qel-Droma directly caused. Firstly, at the behest of the Sith apprentice, Mandalore the Indomitable led a massive Mandalorian army in an invasion of Onderon, where they found themselves massively outgunned. Then, in a final act of defiance, Qel-Droma led a combined force of thousands of Jedi and ships to Kun’s base on Yavin 4. Furious at his apprentice’s betrayal, the Dark Lord realised he had no chance of survival against such a huge army of Jedi. However, Kun discovered a way to separate his consciousness from his physical body, allowing him to live on in a similar way to Freedon Nadd. Although he was no expert in rituals, Exar had no choice but to commence the complicated operation. Because the ritual required a great deal of life, the Dark Lord gathered every Massassi in his temple, where they were sacrificed by the thousands. As Kun’s mortal body disintegrated, the vast amount of energy that surged through the temple caused a massive fire which engulfed the jungles of Yavin 4. Believing that Kun had perished in the sea of flames, Qel-Droma and the other Jedi departed the moon. However, Kun’s ritual worked, for the most part. While his spirit had been set free from his body, he was trapped within the walls of the temple. Meanwhile, Kun’s dark campaign fell apart without his or Qel-Droma’s leadership.
Fun Fact: During the Galactic Civil War, the Rebel Alliance rediscovered and used some of Exar Kun’s temples as a base of operations.
When Luke Skywalker re-established the Jedi Order on Yavin 4, Kun saw an opportunity to lure the Jedi students to the dark side, just as he done with the Brotherhood of the Sith. However, despite corrupting many of Skywalker’s students, nearly killing the Grand Master of the New Jedi Order in the process, the Jedi all stood together to defeat the spirit. Just then, an image of Vodo-Siosk Baas appeared, who proclaimed the downfall of Kun, just as he had promised moments before his death on Coruscant. Two of Skywalker’s students then crossed lightsabers within Kun’s apparition, extinguishing the spirit and banishing Kun for good…
To learn about Exar Kun’s legacy, powers and personality, click the link on-screen or the once in the description. Now it’s time for this week’s question: would you like to see Exar Kun brought into Star Wars canon? Let me know in the comments below.