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- "Dark Lord! Whatever you want, you won't find it here. Turn back!"
"You cannot disguise yourself from me…Jedi."
- ―Kento Marek and Darth Vader
A battle took place around 18 BBY, barely a year after the end of the Clone Wars, on the planet Kashyyyk, the homeworld of the Wookiee race. It was fought by an army of the Galactic Empire under the command of the Sith Lord Darth Vader against the Wookiees and Kento Marek, a fugitive Jedi Knight who managed to survive the initial phase of the Great Jedi Purge that began at the onset of Order 66. In addition to the previous Imperial invasion of Kashyyyk, the battle marked the successful conclusion of the Empire's campaign to subjugate and enslave the Wookiee race.
At first, the Wookiees were able keep the invaders at bay, mainly by ambushing Imperial soldiers immediately after they descended on Kashyyyk's surface. Though displeased by the initial setback, Darth Vader ignored most of the battle in order to pursue a personal objective—the hunt for the Jedi Kento Marek. With only a handful of stormtroopers, including the members of Triton Squad, the Dark Lord of the Sith infiltrated the Wookiee village where much of the fighting took place, and killed numerous Wookiees along the way to his target. Upon confronting Marek at the Jedi's home, the two fought a brief lightsaber duel in which Vader quickly gained the advantage and disarmed his opponent. Shortly afterward, he discovered the Jedi's son Galen Marek, a child who was exceptionally strong in the Force. The realization that the younger Marek could prove useful to the Sith caused Vader to spare the boy's life, although he swiftly killed Marek's father, as well as a few nearby troopers in order to ensure that his discovery remained a secret.
In the years that followed Kashyyyk's fall to the Empire, Darth Vader secretly raised and trained Galen Marek in the ways of the dark side of the Force while still apprenticed to Darth Sidious, the Sith Lord who ruled the galaxy as Emperor Palpatine, despite the fact that there could only be two Sith. Vader broke this rule in the hopes that his secret apprentice, whom he codenamed "Starkiller," would eventually become powerful enough to help him assassinate Sidious.
Prior to the conclusion of the Clone Wars, the Jedi Knights Kento and Mallie Marek abandoned their duty as members of the Jedi Order and officers in the Grand Army of the Republic after they fell in love with each other. Shortly after marrying in secret, the couple learned that Mallie was pregnant, causing her to give birth to their son, Galen Marek. Not long afterward, the Jedi Order and the Republic crumbled under the rise of the Galactic Empire, thus forcing all Jedi fugitives, including the Marek family, into hiding.
As Emperor Palpatine consolidated the galaxy under his New Order, Kento and his family eventually settled on Kashyyyk where they were welcomed and provided with shelter by the native Wookiee population. Mallie was killed, however, when she sacrificed her life while defending the Wookiees from Trandoshan slavers. With his wife dead, Kento was left alone to raise their young son. Not long after Mallie's death, the Sith Lord Darth Vader discovered Kento's presence on Kashyyyk and responded by launching a full scale invasion of the Wookiee homeworld.
- "Lord Vader, we were ambushed upon arrival, but I have the situation well in—"
"I have no interest in your failures, Commander. I am here on a mission of my own."
- ―Darth Vader chokes the Imperial Commander
The initial attack was a disaster for the Galactic Empire, causing many Imperials to lose their lives for underestimating the defenses of Kashyyyk's Wookiee population. The initial wave of Imperial troopers soon learned that the Wookiees were surprisingly well prepared for the invasion; such an oversight caused them to be overwhelmed and massacred by the Wookiee counterattack.
When Darth Vader arrived on Kashyyyk, he was unconcerned with the progress of the battle due to his single-minded focus on hunting down the Jedi fugitive who eluded Order 66. As stormtroopers died around him, the Sith Lord was approached by a nervous Imperial commander who tried to excuse his incompetence by assuring Vader that all was under control. Gripping the commander in a Force choke, Vader made it clear that his full attention was required for his own personal mission, and thus he spared the commander's life, if only because he could not be bothered to personally command the troops against the Wookiees.
The hunt for Kento Marek
While the main Imperial force engaged the Wookiees in a brutal frontal assault, Vader infiltrated the enemy base with a small escort of stormtroopers from Triton Squad. Marching through the Wookiee village where the resistance was centered from, the Sith Lord struck down every Wookiee warrior that stood in his path, thus crushing the resistance and clearing a path for the Imperials along the way. The Wookiees attempted to swarm Vader at a network of bridges that led to the Jedi's hut; at least one TIE fighter was shot down and crashed into a bridge as Vader drew closer to his objective. Although the fierce Wookiees rushed at the Sith Lord in an attempt to halt his advance, Vader killed every last one of them until finally reaching his destination.
Kento Marek, initially disguised as a reclusive hermit, emerged from the hut with two Wookiee guards at his side. He tried to dissuade Vader from continuing any further, but the Sith Lord saw right through the Jedi's ruse and proceeded to attack his enemy. With no other option left, Marek was forced to confront Darth Vader in a fight to the death. Although Marek succeeded in neutralizing Vader's stormtrooper escort with a powerful telekinetic blast, he soon discovered that Vader was not so easily harmed by the Jedi's Force abilities.
Recognizing Vader's superior skills with the lightsaber, Marek used the Force to catch several TIE fighters in the sky and hurled them at Vader. Despite his valiant efforts, Marek was ultimately no match against Vader's greater skills and strength in the Force. The Dark Lord easily disarmed the Jedi of his weapon, seized him with the Force and sent him crashing through the front entrance of Marek's own hut.
Discovery of Galen Marek
- "A son…"
- ―Darth Vader
Upon entering the hut, Vader used the Force to levitate and trap Marek in mid air. Yet his hand was stayed for a moment before delivering the killing blow due to the extremely powerful presence that Vader suddenly felt in the Force. Assuming that it was the Jedi's Master, Vader demanded to know where the mysterious Force-user was hiding. When Marek refused to cooperate, a frustrated Vader raised his saber to strike the Jedi down in anger. Before he even realized it, his own weapon was snatched out of his hand, causing him to turn around in surprise. To Vader's utter shock and astonishment, he found his lightsaber in the small hands of a very young boy. After quickly deducing that the child was the son of the Jedi in his grasp, Marek warned his son to run away, a selfless act that got him killed when Vader immediately strangled him to death.
As Vader observed the frightened child in front of him, the Dark Lord was instantly impressed by the boy's unique potential in the Force—a potential that rivaled powers of Emperor Palpatine himself. But just as he started to cautiously approach the boy so as to not alarm him, the Imperial commander and three stormtroopers arrived on the scene. Believing that the child was threatening the Sith Lord with Vader's own weapon, the commander directed the troops to execute the boy. But after a mere moment of indecision, Vader telekinetically took his lightsaber back and defended the boy from the troopers' blaster shots. As the boy looked on in horror and confusion, Vader slaughtered the commander and the stormtroopers without hesitation. After killing all of the witnesses who knew of the boy's existence, Vader took his new charge away from the hut before Imperial reinforcements could arrive on the scene.
- "You were weak when I found you. Now, your hatred has become your strength. At last, the dark side is your ally. Rise, my apprentice."
- ―Darth Vader
The Second Battle of Kashyyyk ended with a decisive Imperial victory, which then immediately led to the full subjugation of Kashyyyk and the enslavement of the Wookiee population. Unknown to the Imperials who participated in battle, Darth Vader took Kento Marek's son into his care and raised him on the incomplete Executor. For years, the boy who was once known as Galen Marek was forced to endure years of brutal training under the close observation of his new master. Barely into young adulthood, the boy had forgotten all about his former life, including his birth name.
Under the codename Starkiller, the boy learned to become a relentless and merciless assassin who dedicated his life to eliminating Vader's enemies. Due to the extreme raw strength that Starkiller possessed in the Force, Vader spent many years pushing his young disciple's potential to the pinnacle of his powers. The result of such a training regimen turned Starkiller into one of the most powerful Force-users in history, despite his young age. As the secret apprentice to Darth Vader, Starkiller longed for the day when he and his master could finally overthrow Emperor Palpatine, thus allowing them to rule the Empire as master and apprentice in an official capacity.
Behind the scenes
The two versions of The Force Unleashed game depict different versions of the battle. In the PS2, Wii and PSP versions, the Imperial forces wear standard stormtrooper armor with Clone Wars-era 501st Legion markings, but in the PS3, PC and Xbox 360 versions, their armor is a hybrid between stormtrooper and Phase II Clone Trooper armor. Additionally,the battle develops during the night in the PS2, Wii and PSP versions with Vader arriving with the Invasion force while in the other versions the battle develops during the day and Vader arrives midway into the assault. The setting of Kento and Vader's duel also differs, as the PS2, Wii and PSP versions have it take place on a beach, while the others have it take place outside the Marek home in the forest.
In the PlayStation 2 and Wii versions, the commander in charge of the operation that Darth Vader Force-choked was relegated to a Stormtrooper Commander while as the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions had him resembling an Imperial Officer. On a related note, while the Xbox 360/PS3 versions make it clear that Darth Vader spared him, the way the PS2/Wii/PSP versions handled the Commander's fate was ambiguous, as the scene immediately cut to behind Vader after releasing his grip.
The Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions of the game, the player is given an achievement/trophy called "Worst Day Shift Manager Ever" for killing twelve stormtroopers under Vader's command. Coincidentally, Matt Sloan, the voice of Chad Vader, voiced Darth Vader in The Force Unleashed. Similarly, the player is given another achievement called "Bossk" for killing 200 Wookiee warriors.
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed video game
- The Force Unleashed novel (Vision to Galen Marek)
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed comic (Vision to Galen Marek)
- Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide: Updated and Expanded
- The Essential Reader's Companion
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 1.31 1.32 1.33 1.34 1.35 1.36 1.37 1.38 1.39 1.40 1.41 Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (video game)
- ↑ Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force states that Darth Vader began training Galen Marek, whom he abducted during this battle, as his secret apprentice in 18 BBY.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1