Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures # 5 reveals an alternative to Jedi training that could have prevented Anakin’s transformation into Darth Vader.
Warning: Contains spoilers for Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures # 5!
Jedi of the High republic Era just found a solution to help a powerful young Force user named Zeen Mrala overcome his anger in a way that could have prevented Anakin Skywalker from becoming Darth vader centuries later. In the prequel trilogy, Yoda originally objects to Obi-Wan Kenobi training Anakin because the Jedi Master believes the boy is too old and too scared. However, Yoda eventually relents when Obi-Wan mentions that this was his late master Qui-Gon Jinn’s dying wish and that he will train Anakin even without the support of the Jedi Council. At the time, Yoda seems to be under the impression that he only has two options: train Anakin as a Jedi or reject him altogether. But the Jedi of the High Republic have just shown that a third option might have existed.
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Zeen Mrala shares many similarities with Anakin Skywalker, even though he lived 200 years before his time. She is incredibly sensitive to the Force despite having received no formal training, is too old to become a Padawan when the Jedi first meet her, and is filled with fear. However, unlike Anakin, who initially fears for his mother’s well-being, Zeen fears the Force itself, due to how she was raised. While all of these factors undoubtedly played a role in the Jedi originally refusing to make Zeen a Padawan, their main concern is that she is too old.
But in Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures # 5, by Daniel Jose Older and Harvey Tolibao, the Jedi reconsider their decision. Before this pivotal moment, Zeen has been struggling to stay on good terms with his childhood friend Krix, who feels betrayed by the fact that Zeen decided to wield the Force, going against everything they had been taught growing up. . When Zeen later tries to meet Krix on Ord Mantell’s trash moon Quanxi, Krix accidentally shoots down her ship and then leaves her in the burning wreckage after receiving orders to retreat from the Nihil, a group of marauders he had aligned himself with. . This fills Zeen with so much anger that he soon succumbs to all the negative feelings that have been bubbling up inside her by first using Force Choke on him before his Padawan friend Lula Talisola intervenes, after which Zeen resorts to firing lasers at him. . while trying to escape.
Rather than abandon Zeen, the High Republic Jedi later came up with the idea of helping Zeen focus his abilities so that he can use the Force forever, without providing the full training of a Padawan. In other words, they choose to attempt to help the young Force-user control her abilities without asking her to accept the restrictions and limitations of the Jedi Order. Given that it was Anakin’s duties as a Jedi that gradually compounded his cynicism with the Order, and his rules about close ties that first led him to rebel, it seems that the flexibility to offer this third path was a great loss with respect to the Upper Republic era, as such a method would likely have prevented the rise of Darth Vader.
Would Obi-Wan have pushed for Anakin’s Jedi training if this option had existed? He may have felt compelled to honor Qui-Gon Jinn’s last wishes, but Obi-Wan had his own doubts about Anakin’s suitability, and might have gone for a less extreme option had he existed. Of course, this raises the question why Jedi like Yoda didn’t suggest this. High republic option centuries later, and the dark possibility that Zeen’s training could have its own tragic outcome, one that contributes to the creation of Darth vaderand the rule of the Empire over the galaxy.
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