• Mattie Stu

Star Wars Lore - The Backstory of Kanan Jarrus

Kanan Jarrus was one of the few Jedi Knights to still roam the galaxy in the aftermath of the Clone Wars - a privilege he never took lightly. As a result, Jarrus led the Lothal Rebels in their war against the Empire. He even took on Ezra Bridger as his Jedi Padawan. But how exactly did Kanan survive Order 66? And what was his life like as a Padawan himself? To find out, let’s take a look at the backstory of Kanan Jarrus, from the days where he was known as Caleb Dume…

Born thirty-three years before the Battle of Yavin, Caleb Dume was taken from his homeworld at a young age to be raised in the Jedi Temple. Without the guidance of his parents, who he would never know, Caleb looked up to legendary Jedi Masters such as Luminara Unduli and Yoda. During a sparring session with fellow Jedi initiates Sammo Quid and Tai Uzuma, Dume suffered a gash to his head. Subsequently, while in the Jedi Temple’s infirmary, the youngster became fixated with a bacta tank containing the injured Jedi Master Depa Billaba. As he left, his instant connection seemingly awoke Billaba from her six-month long coma. Following his completion of the initiate trials, Caleb sought a Jedi Master to further his Jedi training. Thus, at the age of thirteen, he became Billaba’s Padawan. Soon thereafter, upon completion of his very own lightsaber, Dume accompanied his master as she led Republic forces in the Clone Wars.

Fun fact: Shortly after passing the initiate trials, Caleb attended a lecture by Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Jedi Temple’s security station. During the lesson, which focussed on the Jedi recall signal, Dume inadvertently gave Kenobi the idea to reverse the beacon’s message, warning Jedi away instead. The Jedi Master would later use this method during Order 66.

For his first mission, Caleb accompanied Billaba and her newly assigned battalion to Kardoa, where they were tasked with either refuting or confirming a Separatist presence on the planet. Unfortunately, in-turn, a scout droid spotted the Republic forces. Consequently, after jamming their signal, the Separatists ambushed Billaba’s battalion. In the ensuing firefight, Dume foolishly disobeyed orders to fall back. Shot twice and left vulnerable as a result, the youngster faced certain death at the hands of three incoming battle droids. However, CT-1157 selflessly rushed to the aid of Caleb, saving his life. Soon thereafter, following a clever counterattack, the Separatists withdrew their forces, resulting in a Republic victory. When nursed back to full health, Dume participated in the Third Battle of Mygeeto. Unfortunately, during the assignment, Colonel Coburn Sear killed CT-1157, the very same clone who saved Caleb on Kardoa. Enraged, the Jedi Padawan sought to avenge his fallen colleague. In the duel that followed, Dume managed to destroy Sear’s Electro sword and cut the fuel to his flamethrower. Upon doing so, he offered the colonel the chance to surrender. However, Caleb’s opponent declined and was burned alive. His first kill was confirmed when Sear fell off a nearby cliff.

At the age of fourteen, following the Republic victory on Kaller, Billaba turned her attention back to Dume’s training. After hours spent practicing the Soresu combat form, Caleb confided in his Master that his heart felt at peace, having found his place in the galaxy. However, unbeknownst to both Jedi, the galaxy was moments away from changing forever. On the distant world of Coruscant, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine issued Order 66. Suddenly, as they both felt a great disturbance in the Force, Billaba and Dume were confronted by the clone troopers they once considered comrades. Knowing what danger lay ahead, Depa ordered her Padawan to run as fast and as far as he could. Terrified, Caleb could only watch as his Master was gunned down. However, the sacrifice allowed him to evade the battalion all throughout the night. When sunrise came, Dume managed to reach an outlying public transport station, which led him to Plateau City. Upon arrival, the young Jedi lived on the streets in constant fear.

After days spent raiding through bins for food and sleeping rough, the Jedi was discovered by Janus Kasmir. Upon begging the Kalleran scoundrel, Caleb was brought aboard his personal starship, the Kasmiri. Not long after, Dume received the Jedi emergency signal recalling him to the Jedi Temple. Unaware of Emperor Palpatine’s trap, he pleaded with Janus to take him to Coruscant, but the Kalleran refused. Unsatisfied, Caleb stole the ship and headed to Coruscant. However, while in hyperspace, he received a message from Obi-Wan Kenobi in which he instructed all Jedi to hide from the Galactic Empire. Just then, the Kasmiri emerged from hyperspace. Swiftly surrounded by ARC-170 starfighters, due to a HoloNet alert about the stolen ship, Dume somehow found an opening and fled back to Kaller, where he was reunited with the less-than-friendly Janus. Despite wanting nothing to do with the Jedi, Kasmir was constantly watched from afar by Caleb, who later saved him from a life-threatening situation. Grateful, Kasmir offered Dume a job. After being stripped of his Padawan braid and Jedi comlink, Caleb learned how to steal and smuggle. Despite their rocky past and many tricky altercations with the Empire, Dume and Kasmir quickly became close friends. As a result, when it came time for the two to part ways, both felt rather sad. However, moving on, Caleb travelled to Moraga, where he began using the name “Kanan Jarrus”.

For years, while disguised as either a bounty hunter, frontier ranger, or freighter pilot, Kanan drifted from one planet to the next, hoping to avoid the watchful eye of the Empire. Aside from drinking away his problems, he worked a multitude of different jobs, ranging from bartending to driving hoverbusses. It was during one of his work shifts on Cynda where Jarrus met Hera Syndulla, a first rate Twi’lek starship pilot. Kanan decided to help Hera investigate Count Denetrius Vidian and his mining operations on the thorilide-rich moon. However, upon foiling Vidian’s attempts to destroy Cynda, provoking the Empire in the process, Hera was saved from certain death by Jarrus, which inadvertently revealed his Force powers. Grateful, the Twi’lek gladly accepted him as a crew member of her ship, the Ghost. By the age of 28, Kanan had become the leader of the Lothal rebels, whose members waged a war of resistance against the Galactic Empire…

Now it’s time for this week’s question: what TV show do you prefer, Star Wars: The Clone Wars or Star Wars Rebels? Let me know in the comments below.

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