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Who Is OBI-WAN KENOBI’s Mysterious Jedi, Quinlan Vos?

Obi-Wan Kenobi‘s third episode brought the Jedi Master face-to-face with his former Padawan, Darth Vader. But the show also teased the return of another infamous Jedi. In Obi-Wan Kenobi, Old Ben learned that Quinlan Vos survived Order 66. He’s not only alive, though, he often passes through The Path’s safe house on Mapuzo. Vos continues to serve as a Jedi by bringing Force-sensitive children to safety and saving them from the Empire. And considering a very special child just fell into the hands of Reva the Inquisitor, Quinlan Vos might be the only ally Obi-Wan Kenobi can turn to for help.

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Who Is Quinlan Vos?

Quinlan Vos’s presence in the extended Star Wars universe has always outmatched his actual role. He’s only ever appeared in a handful of published works, most notably the 2015 novel Dark Disciple. We’ve only seen him on screen twice. And even then, the first occasion barely registered. Vos popped up in the background of The Phantom Menace. No one realized a Jedi Knight was sitting nearby when Young Anakin trash-talked Sebulba on Tatooine. Why didn’t Vos help out Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan with their issues on the dusty planet? The official reason is that he needed to hide his true identity. But the real answer is that originally that character with a horizontal line of paint under his eyes was only a cool extra.

Quinlan Vos in Star Wars Legends and The Clone Wars

Vos, from the planet Kiffar, went from the background to the foreground in the Star Wars Republic comics. Those stories are now part of Star Wars Legends and not canon. But they revealed him to be a Jedi Master who was also an expert tracker and undercover agent. Those traits remained when Quinlan Vos affirmed his place in the official canon by appearing on two episodes of The Clone Wars. He helped Obi-Wan track down Ziro the Hutt, and during the mission, the two Jedi fought with Cad Bane.

That two-episode arc marked the only time the character appeared on the animated show outside of visions. But it was enough to establish a lasting legacy on screen. Vos was an independent thinker who didn’t always follow the rules of the Jedi Order, much like Qui-Gon Jinn. Vos was sarcastic and funny. He was a maverick who stood out against his typically stoic Jedi counterparts. Quinlan Vos was a larger-than-life figure in a group that required quiet servitude.

Quinlan Vos’ Turn to the Dark Side

Whether or not his personality made him susceptible to the dark side is debatable, but for a short time he did turn his back on the Jedi. The Council decided to send Vos on a secret mission to assassinate Count Dooku. Knowing the danger the Jedi Knight opted to bring Dooku’s former apprentice, the bounty hunter Asajj Ventress, with him. However, Vos did not initially reveal his real identity to Ventress.

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The two did not kill Dooku, but they did fall in love. That was how Ventress convinced Vos to learn the ways of the dark side. When Vos then fell into the hands of Dooku, his sinister studies led him down a dark road to becoming Dooku’s apprentice. He then became the Separatists’ Admiral Enigma, who used his knowledge of the Jedi against the Order. When the Jedi “rescued” Vos from Count Dooku they were unaware of his true goals. They believed he had been hiding his identity from Dooku and still remained loyal to them, so they put him back on the mission to kill the Count.

Obi-Wan Kenobi’s History With Quinlan Vos

Ventress sacrificed herself to save Vos during an ensuing battle that forced the Order to accept Vos really had succumbed to the dark side. But Obi-Wan Kenobi spoke up for the Jedi and blamed the Council for asking him to do something as evil as perform an assassination. In standing up for Quinlan Vos, Obi-Wan helped bring him back to the light side. The Jedi allowed Vos back into their ranks but kept a close eye on him as he once again served as a general for the Republic. Not that they were around much longer to worry.

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Quinlan Vos’ Rebellion Against the Empire

Like some other Jedi, Vos survived Order 66 and went on the run with his new lover. While some believed him dead, he remained a priority for the Inquisitors to hunt down. Now, thanks to Obi-Wan Kenobi, we know why he remained underground helping to oversee The Path, a nascent rebellion network that helped those in need.

Before the Senate named him Emperor, Palpatine had searched for the Jedi’s list of Force-sensitive children. He envisioned a future where some would serve as his Inquisitors. The rest he would kill before they could grow up to become threats against him. But some survived and managed to go into hiding because of Quinlan Vos, who ten years after the fall of the Republic still served as an agent of the light side.

Obi-Wan went into hiding on Tatooine after the rise of Darth Sidious. He was so worried about coming out of the shadows he let a fellow Jedi die. Meanwhile, Yoda went into total seclusion in the swamps of Dagobah. So how did a flamboyant, infamous Jedi like Quinlan Vos continue to serve the galaxy with the entire Empire looking for him? His skills as a tracker and spy certainly helped. As did his many experiences covertly operating in the galaxy’s criminal underworld. But those weren’t the only abilities that kept him safe from the Inquisitors.

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Quinlan Vos’ Force Powers and His Possible Future on Obi-Wan Kenobi

Quinlan Vos can see other peoples’ memories by touching objects they once came into contact with. His psychometry (also known as Sense Echo or Force Echo) lets him learn things that might be hidden to even the most powerful Force-users, moments no one else even witnessed. Combined with his fierce fighting skills, few Jedi were ever as equipped to both hide and fight their way out of a dangerous situation. And shepherding Force-sensitive children during the time of the Empire was maybe the most dangerous thing any Jedi could do.

With Leia in the hands of Reva, Obi-Wan—the Jedi who once brought his friend back to the light side—might need Quinlan Vos to rescue the secret daughter of Anakin Skywalker. If anyone can find the princess, it’s him. Because though Quinlan Vos once lost his way, he now knows The Path as well as anyone. That doesn’t mean saving Leia will be easy, not even for him. But it would be fun to see one of the most unique Jedi in history, one who continued to serve even when the Empire was hunting him down, truly get a moment to shine. It’s time Quinlan Vos’ role in Star Wars lived up to his presence in the franchise. Hopefully, Obi-Wan Kenobi gives Quinlan Vos his moment.

Mikey Walsh is a staff writer at Nerdist. You can follow him on Twitter at  @burgermike. And also anywhere someone is ranking the Targaryen kings.

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