Star Wars: The High Republic (2022) #1 suggests that some Force users’ fates are beyond the simple binary of life and death in certain circumstances.
Jedi Knight Vildar Mac seems to be the star of the series at the beginning of Star Wars: The High Republic (2022) #1 (by Cavan Scott, Ario Anindito, Mark Morales, Frank William, Andrea Broccardo and VC’s Ariana Maher). Sent to Jedha to investigate the theft of Force artifacts, Vildar seemed sure of his place in the Force and his mission. However, his interactions with the people of Jedha City and the visitors for the Force Convocation showed that Vildar was unaware of how people outside the Jedi Order viewed the Jedi throughout the galaxy, making Vildar’s certainty seem less sure.
However, the issue subverts Vildar’s role as the hero of the tale. The issue’s unnamed Sephi narrator, a thief, murders Vildar. Still, the unnamed thief hinted that Vildar might live on in some unexpected form. Examining both who Vildar was when he landed on Jedha and his murder might reveal clues to how Vildar might live on in the series even after being murdered.
Who Is Jedi Knight Vildar Mac?
At the beginning of Star Wars Pillow: The High Republic (2022) #1, the issue’s unnamed narrator explains that, unlike many Jedi, Vildar Mac had memories of his childhood before he joined the Jedi. Specifically, Vildar Mac remembered an evil figure, dressed in robes similar to the Sorcerers of Tund, who came to his village when he was four and killed many people. Throughout the issue, the reader learns that throughout Vildar’s 51 years of service for the Jedi Order, he usually fought for the Jedi rather than serving duties such as those surrounding meetings and celebrations like the Force Convocation. This made his decision to take an assignment in Jedha City seemingly out of character.
The unnamed narrator also states that Vildar was sure of who he was and his place in the galaxy when he first set foot in Jedha City, a surety that would be upended by Vildar’s death at the end of the issue. However, this information could be unreliable. Most of the information that the audience learns about Vildar comes from the unnamed narrator, who the issue later reveals is the person who killed Vildar. Thus, this information is filtered through the narrator’s bias and may not accurately reflect Vildar’s personality or character at all. Still, the fact that the narrator knows these intimate details about Vildar’s past shows that they may have become connected to Vildar in strange new ways through the murder.
How Might Vildar Mac Live on in Star Wars: The High Republic?
After Vildar Mac arrives in Jedha City, he quickly becomes embroiled in a series of artifact thefts throughout the holy city. When Vildar Mac and Padawan Matthea Cathley investigate the thefts, they stumble upon the artifact thief standing over a woman’s corpse. It is likely that this thief is affiliated in some fashion with the Path of the Open Hand, a Force cult that believes that the Force needs to be free. Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland’s Star Wars: The High Republic: Path of Deceit reveals that the Mother, the spiritual Force prophet of the Path of the Open Hand cult, was orchestrating the “liberation” of multiple Force artifacts throughout the galaxy, and the cult was focusing on Jedha by the novel’s end.
Vildar’s heroism comes to an abrupt end when he confronts the artifact thief, who reveals themselves to the audience to be the unnamed narrator. Vildar immediately assumes that the thief killed the woman and attacks, but in the process, the thief reveals a vast understanding of Force techniques. While Vildar scoffs at the thief’s claim to know Morichro, a mythical ability to stop someone’s heart using only the Force, the thief proves his ability by stopping Vildar’s heart.
While the thief escapes, he reflects in the narration that this murder was not truly Vildar’s end. While Vildar potentially could be resuscitated, the thief’s reflections hint that Vildar’s continued existence could be far more supernatural. The location of Vildar’s murder could be key here. The thief kills Vildar while in a room filled with various Force artifacts, and one of these artifacts could affect Vildar’s. Vildar could also become a Force ghost. The thief’s narration strongly suggests that his fate and Vildar’s become strongly intertwined, hinting that the use of the Morichro technique in particular might have bound them together in ways that they could not have predicted.
Overall, Star Wars: The High Republic (2022) #1 subverts reader expectations by setting up Vildar Mac to be the series hero only to end the issue with his murder. However, the thief’s narration throughout the issue suggests that the act of the murder actually made them more connected to Vildar. As the series continues, Vildar’s fate may take him in new directions he could not have predicted as the Jedi try to discover the truth of the artifact thefts and their connection with the Path of the Open Hand.
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