We know that it's still well over a year until Lucasfilm unleashes Star Wars: Episode IX, but that doesn't mean there isn't plenty of galactic entertainment for us to pick apart and enjoy in the meantime. Ever since buying Lucasfilm, Disney has done a fantastic job of creating a more streamlined expanded world of canon outside of the movies, utilizing novels, cartoons, and comics. They've continued this trend in Marvel's recent Star Wars Annual #4, which introduces a seemingly small piece of lore wrapped in a huge reveal that could change the fate of the new Star Wars trilogy's apparent big bad, Kylo Ren, forever.
The super fun one-off issue by Cullen Bunn, Ario Anindito, Roland Boschi, Marc Laming, Jordan Boyd, Andres Mossa, and Clayton Cowles weaves together two closely connected stories set on the new planet of Hradeek: the first follows Sana Starros, star smuggler and one-time wife of Han Solo, and the other follows everyone's favorite farm boy, Luke Skywalker. The issue focuses heavily on the announcement of a new canon Sith lord, Darth Atrius, and his apparently famed twin crossbar lightsabers. Yes, Darth Atrius wielded the same style of weapon as Kylo Ren did—one that Star Wars Rebels established as a variation of saber that was popular during the Old Republic—and the comic book reveals something incredibly interesting and potentially groundbreaking about the unconventional accessory.
During Sana Starros' transaction with a Hradeekian crime lord we learn that not only did the lightsabers belong to an ancient yet unmentioned Sith lord, but also that "so much rage was channelled through this blade that they say it still resonates with the anger Atrius wielded when he cut down his enemies." We see this esoteric sounding new piece of lore backed up when the crime lord, Luke, and Vader are all essentially possessed by the lightsabers' rage when they wield them. This got us thinking about what it could mean for the future of Episode IX.
It's not unheard of for objects to have a connection to the Force, and the contemporary Star Wars comics have done a lot to introduce such things into canon. The biggest examples are likely the Force trees that Luke and Shara Bey discovered in the Shattered Empire miniseries, and the unknown Sith's helmet in Lando #4 that influenced some of Lando's crew to become greedy and violently ambitious. Lucasfilm has also used the comics, novels, and animated shows to introduce new ideas and characters into canon that later show up in the films, like Amilyn Holdo in Leia, Princess of Alderaan and Force flight in Rebels. So it's not a huge jump to theorize that J.J. Abrams might have some plans to utilize Force-powerful objects in his final installment of the new trilogy!
So what could this mean for Episode IX and specifically Kylo Ren? Darth Atrius' crossbar sabers are the first instance that we've heard about of a lightsaber wielding power over its user in canon, and perhaps this has been the case with Kylo Ren all along. Ben Solo has committed mass genocide, and when given the chance to join Rey and save the Resistance he seemed to turn his back on any opportunity for potential redemption. But what if Star Wars Annual #4's reveal means that Kylo's rage and violence has been heightened by his iconic and unstable crossbar lightsaber and its links to an ancient era?
We've never gotten the full backstory of Kylo's saber, and though we see both of Darth Atrius' sabers broken by Luke and Vader in the final pages of the story, it doesn't mean that Kylo might not be fully aware of the legend of Darth Atrius and his fearsome weapons. Though he now wants to destroy the past, we know that Kylo was once consumed with the legacy of the Sith who walked before him, especially his grandfather, Darth Vader. It's pretty likely then that he would have come across the stories of the Old Republic and the infamous weapons the Sith wielded.
All we know of Kylo's saber is that he constructed it himself and it contains a cracked kyber crystal. But where did that crystal come from? And could Kylo have somehow found the remains of an ancient crossbar saber? Maybe even the cracked crystal from inside? It would explain the instability of his blade and Kylo's uncontrollable rage. It would also give Abrams and co. an out, because if Kylo is influenced by the blade then separating him from it could lay the path to his possible redemption...
What do you think of this wild fan theory? Are we going Star Wars wild? Do you think the history of the crossbar lightsaber means something entirely different? Let us know below!
Images: Marvel Comics, Disney