Starkiller (Darth Vader's Secret Apprentice)
Starkiller was the code name for Darth Vader's secret apprentice. A powerful, almost primal Force-wielder, he was forged by Vader into a lethal living weapon that the Dark Lord groomed in secret -- continuing the Sith tradition of treachery -- in a bid to defeat the Emperor and rule the galaxy. Vader discovered his secret apprentice on the Wookiee world of Kashyyyk, when he was just a boy named Galen Marek.
Marek's parents were both Jedi who took part in the Clone Wars; during the conflict, they fell in love and secretly married. When Galen's mother learned she was pregnant, she and her husband quietly left the Order, hoping to raise their child in peace somewhere in the Outer Rim. A short time later, Emperor Palpatine issued Order 66, which resulted in the near annihilation of the Jedi. Now living in complete exile, Galen's parents relocated to Kashyyyk, where they were befriended by the native Wookiees.
Galen's mother was killed a few years later while trying to protect a group of Wookiees from slavers; Galen's father, Kento, died soon after, trying to protect the boy from Darth Vader, who had tracked the Jedi to Kashyyyk. When Vader discovered the Jedi Knight's son, he sensed great power within the boy and, after only a moment's hesitation, took the child with him.
Vader spent years personally training Galen in the ways of the Sith, but no other Imperials -- including the Emperor himself -- knew of his existence. The apprentice's training was harsh and unforgiving: Vader subjected the boy to rigorous physical tests bordering on torture. He first controlled the boy through fear, then taught him to embrace his hatred and other base emotions. As the boy grew older, Vader promised him greater power -- through the dark side. Under Vader's relentless tutelage, the apprentice all but perfected the fine art of lightsaber combat and learned to wield many fearsome dark side powers. Galen lived in constant fear of his master, who kept the boy locked up within the bowels of his starship, the still under construction Executor. Vader allowed him no friends or companions, save a holo-droid named PROXY.
During combat sessions, Vader would attack the boy relentlessly. When Galen was injured, Vader ignored the boy's pain and attacked even more viciously. Even when Vader was away, Galen was tested, quickly learning that his only trusted companion -- PROXY -- was actually programmed to attempt to kill him, over and over again. Under these torturous conditions, Galen began to forget his past life. He embraced his anger and hatred, eventually succumbing to the dark side as Vader intended. With the boy corrupted, Vader revealed his master plan: He was grooming his secret apprentice to one day help him destroy the Emperor.
By the time he was 15, Galen began undertaking dangerous missions for his master. As the Apprentice grew stronger in the ways of the Force, Vader began testing him by sending him on secret missions to dispatch the Dark Lord's rivals and enemies. Vader had assigned his apprentice the code name Starkiller and provided him with an advanced prototype starship, the Rogue Shadow, to aid in his missions. With these early trials complete, Starkiller embarked on a hunt for rogue Jedi. Each assignment was a new test designed to ensure that the boy would have the skill, power, and will to eventually battle the Emperor. Initially, these missions involved hunting down and assassinating Vader's rivals within the Empire. Eventually, however, Vader sent Starkiller after several rogue Jedi. The first was the battle-hardened Jedi General Rahm Kota -- and Vader was clear that no witnesses were to be left alive, including Imperial forces. He also got a new pilot for Rogue Shadow, Juno Eclipse, who had been captain of Vader's Black Eight Squadron.
After Starkiller killed Jedi Council member Shaak Ti on Felucia, Darth Vader recalled him to the Executor, promising that they would at last confront the Emperor. When Starkiller arrived, he discovered the Emperor's fleet already close by. But, after revealing that the Emperor's spies had discovered Starkiller's existence, Vader attacked the boy. Goaded on by the Emperor, Vader seemingly killed his Apprentice, proving his complete loyalty to the Emperor.
But Vader's attack was a ruse. He secretly retrieved Starkiller's body and had him rebuilt. When the Apprentice recovered, Vader revealed the next part of his plan: Starkiller was to locate all of the Emperor's major enemies, assembling them into an alliance of rebels and dissidents. In this way, Starkiller became, in effect, an original architect of the Rebel Alliance by facilitating the meeting on Corellia of the Alliance's founders: Garm Bel Iblis, Mon Mothma, and Bail Organa. Vader then attacked during this initial meeting, betraying Starkiller once more and imprisoning the dissidents. Eager to stop the Dark Lord, Starkiller and the now anti-Imperial Juno Eclipse sped to the first Death Star, under construction and nearing completion.
As Juno rescued the Senators, Starkiller confronted the Sith Lords who had been manipulating him for years. Lightsabers clashed inside the Emperor's observation dome, but Starkiller was ultimately no match for the power of Darth Sidious. Bombarded by Force lightning, Starkiller did not fight back but instead unleashed all the power of the Force within him, causing a tremendous blast that shattered the Emperor's tower and caused enough of a distraction to allow Eclipse and the Rebel Senators to escape. The early founders of the Rebellion honored the real Starkiller -- Galen Marek -- by using his family crest as the symbol of the Rebel Alliance.
Keywords: Databank - Expanded Universe
Filed under: Vault, Character
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