|Chronological and political information|
- "I am my Master's weapon. I lay waste to all that stands in his path."
- ―Starkiller, regarding his role as Darth Vader's apprentice
Galen Marek, codenamed Starkiller, was a male Human apprentice of the Sith Lord Darth Vader. A powerful Force-user who lived during the era of the Galactic Empire, Marek originated from the Wookiee home planet of Kashyyyk as the sole offspring of two Jedi Knights—Mallie and Kento Marek—who deserted the Jedi Order during the Clone Wars. Following the death of his mother, the young Marek's father was killed in battle by Darth Vader. Though only a child, Marek possessed an exceptionally strong connection to the Force that the Dark Lord of the Sith sought to exploit.
Thus, Darth Vader abducted Marek in order to train the orphan in the ways of the Sith Order. Although the Sith were limited to only two members at any given time, Vader nonetheless trained Marek as a secret apprentice during his own apprenticeship to Darth Sidious, the Sith Lord who ruled the galaxy as Emperor Palpatine. The physical and psychological trauma of Vader's unforgiving training regimen resulted in Marek's immersion within the dark side of the Force as his Master intended. With his childhood memories suppressed and his original identity forgotten, Marek only knew himself as the Dark Lord's apprentice; a Sith assassin who operated under the codename "Starkiller" and a living weapon to be deployed against the enemies of Darth Vader.
In addition to the assassination of numerous targets that included Vader's many rivals, the apprentice trained for years in preparation for the day when he would be ready to aid his Master in a confrontation with Darth Sidious. This singular goal became Starkiller's obsession as he longed to become a true Sith Lord. The pinnacle of Starkiller's training saw him deployed against Jedi targets for the first time in his life in 3 BBY and culminated in victories against the fugitive Jedi Masters Rahm Kota, Kazdan Paratus and Shaak Ti. With the death of Ti, one of the few members of the Jedi High Council who survived Order 66, Darth Vader declared that the time had come to execute their plan to overthrow the Emperor. Elated at the prospect of finally fulfilling his sole purpose in life, Starkiller rendezvoused with Vader on the Executor only to be betrayed and severely wounded by his Master who claimed that Sidious's spies had discovered the existence of the secret apprentice. Pressured by the Emperor, Vader demonstrated his loyalty by seemingly killing Starkiller. In truth, the betrayal was a ruse that allowed Vader to save his apprentice's life.
Upon Starkiller's full recovery in 2 BBY, Vader revealed his contingency plan: the creation of a full-scale rebellion against the Galactic Empire. The apprentice was instructed by his Master to assemble an army of rebels and dissidents in order to distract the Emperor's attention with a civil war, hence allowing them both another opportunity to assassinate Sidious. Though bitter and resentful toward Vader, Starkiller complied and searched several parts of the galaxy for influential contacts that would be crucial to the formation of an insurrection on a galactic-scale. Through Starkiller's efforts, three disillusioned members of the Imperial Senate—Bail Organa, Garm Bel Iblis and Mon Mothma—convened on the planet Corellia where they agreed to join their resources together in opposition to the Emperor's rule. However, the mission proved to be another deception on Vader's part; the Dark Lord betrayed Starkiller once more and captured the senators. Outraged by the discovery that his Master was unwilling to challenge Darth Sidious with Starkiller's aid, the former apprentice journeyed to the incomplete Death Star and intended to rescue his new-found allies from execution. Abandoning the persona of Starkiller, he re-embraced his Jedi heritage as Galen Marek through the partial recovery of his suppressed memories.
During the apprentice's infiltration of the nearly-complete battlestation, Galen Marek confronted and defeated his former Master in battle. Sidious hoped to claim Marek as his new apprentice and goaded him to kill Vader. Instead, Marek attacked the Emperor in a move to provide the senators with enough time to escape the Death Star. His plan succeeded, but ultimately cost the apprentice his life. Nevertheless, his sacrifice facilitated the formation of the Alliance to Restore the Republic and the outbreak of the Galactic Civil War. The early founders of the Rebellion remembered the apprentice as Galen Marek, the original architect of the Rebel Alliance, and honored his memory by adopting the Marek family crest as the official emblem of the Alliance.
Unknown to the Rebels, Darth Vader preserved his former apprentice's corpse as a genetic template for the creation of a more powerful and obedient version of the original Starkiller. But due to the inherent difficulties of cloning Force-wielders, coupled with the flaws of a modified version of the Kaminoan technique, the initial results were less than satisfactory. Vader was forced to replicate his fallen disciple on multiple occasions in a bid to gradually correct the imperfect procedure. Approximately six months after Marek's death, the Dark Lord's experiment—conducted in secret within the Timira City Cloning Facility—produced hundreds of abject failures and a rogue clone who escaped from Kamino. Despite such setbacks, Darth Vader ultimately succeeded in his goal to engineer the perfect clone of his former apprentice. A far more powerful version of Marek, the clone successfully purged himself of the emotional imprints that undermined his precursors.
- "I sense someone far more powerful than you nearby. Where is your master?"
- ―Darth Vader, to Kento Marek
Galen Marek was a Human male who lived during the height of the Galactic Empire and the Great Jedi Purge. The son of a Jedi Knight, Kento Marek and a young Jedi freedom fighter named Mallie, Galen Marek was born with an extremely powerful connection to the Force. His parents, both of whom were members of the Jedi Order, married in secret during the Clone Wars, a conflict between the Galactic Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems which they continued to participate in until Mallie became pregnant. As a result, they reluctantly deserted the Jedi Order and fled to the Outer Rim Territories on the eve of Order 66, a contingency directive that instructed all Republic clone troopers to execute their Jedi officers—the culmination of a Sith plot to exterminate their ancient rivals while simultaneously transforming the Republic into a dictatorship. The war itself had been orchestrated by the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Sidious, who turned the clone army against the Jedi through his public guise as Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, shortly before his ascension as emperor of the galaxy.
Now fugitives of the Galactic Empire, the Marek family was constantly on the run, moving from one planet after another in an effort to evade the Empire's attempts to kill the few remaining Jedi. They ultimately settled on Kashyyyk but their new life was cut short when Mallie was killed while protecting Wookiees from Trandoshan mercenaries and slave traders, leaving her husband to raise Galen alone. When Imperial spies learned of the Jedi's fight with the slavers, a large military force was deployed to Kashyyyk under the command of the Emperor's apprentice, the Sith Lord Darth Vader. During the battle, Vader defeated Kento Marek in a lightsaber duel and discovered the latter's son. Impressed by Galen's potential in the Force, as demonstrated by his reflexive use of telekinesis, Vader abducted the younger Marek shortly after he killed the boy's father and a squad of stormtroopers in order to keep Galen's existence a secret. Despite his outward loyalty to Palpatine, Vader harbored much hatred toward his Sith Master and intended to overthrow him with Marek as his secret apprentice. As such, he endeavored to teach the ways of the dark side of the Force to his new disciple, whom he first controlled through fear before training Marek to harness his anger and other base emotions.
Training Under Vader
- "You were weak when I found you. Now your hatred has become your strength."
- ―Darth Vader
Ensconced onboard Vader's incomplete flagship, the Executor, and given the codename "Starkiller", the apprentice repressed all the memories of his previous life and spent the next two decades training as a Sith under Darth Vader's supervision, with the ultimate goal of standing at Vader's side against Palpatine. Darth Vader was not a kind guardian, and his brutal training methods bordered on torture. He taught Starkiller to draw on his hate and rage for power, while giving him training in only the basics before forcing the apprentice to develop his own methods through sparring matches and brutal tests. Starkiller was provided with a lightsaber-training holodroid, PROXY, who was capable of credibly imitating Jedi, and programmed to regularly attack Starkiller with lethal intent to keep him sharp; another brutal training regimen devised by Vader. Despite this, PROXY developed a close relationship with his Master, providing the Force adept with enough compassion to stay sane.
Despite Vader's cruel treatment, some of the worst horrors Starkiller endured were actually self-inflicted. On one occasion, Starkiller had PROXY chain him immobile in the dark and deprive him of nourishment until he had successfully assembled a lightsaber through telekinesis. While the exercise had been a failure, Starkiller felt it had strengthened him. In meditation, Starkiller took to staring at his ignited lightsaber blade, using the red coloration to make himself think of anger and carnage in order to draw on the dark side of the Force. However, Starkiller remained endlessly frustrated by his inability to experience visions of the future, and as such, any break from usual routine would surprise him.
Starkiller took on the role of Vader's personal assassin and enforcer, dispatching problematic individuals throughout the Imperial military and government with vicious enthusiasm. Starkiller personally developed into a staunch Imperialist, viewing these assassinations as a form of service to the Empire. To this end, Starkiller was provided with a custom-designed ship, the Rogue Shadow, and an Imperial officer assigned to serve as his pilot, as although Starkiller was a skilled pilot in his own right, Vader preferred that his apprentice focus and meditation and other exercises while an enlisted pilot delivered him to his destination. There was evidently a high turnover for such individuals, as they were either killed in the field or executed by Vader. His first pilot was a dour old sergeant who, according to Starkiller, flew the Rogue Shadow like an oil barge. One of his missions with this pilot involved hunting down a treacherous Imperial aide on Malastare who had run up gambling debts. With PROXY's help, Starkiller infiltrated the aide's security installation in Port Pixelito, and crawled through the ventilation ducts to his target's private chambers. Starkiller then Force-choked the aide while he was working at his desk. The sergeant was later executed for tardiness. Another mission took him to Duro, where the local Imperial despot had grown overly ambitious. Starkiller developed an unending dislike for All Terrain Scout Transports during the mission.
When engaging Vader in a sparring match in 3 BBY, Starkiller expected it to be business as usual afterward. However at the end of it, Vader ordered Starkiller to kneel before him. Believing that his time had come to an end, Starkiller obeyed and waited for death. Instead, Darth Vader formally "knighted" Starkiller, officially recognizing him for the first time as his apprentice, something that Starkiller always believed himself to be. He declared Starkiller's training complete, and dispatched him on his first test; the surviving Jedi Master Rahm Kota was attacking an Imperial shipyard above Nar Shaddaa. In response, Vader ordered Starkiller to kill Kota and to bring the Jedi's lightsaber back as proof of Kota's death. Vader also left Starkiller with orders to leave no witnesses by killing everyone on the shipyard, including the Imperial troops, an order the Imperialist Starkiller found disturbing. But not wishing to displease his Master, Starkiller was quick to hide his reluctance and voiced his compliance, convincing himself that it was just another stepping stone to achieving his Sith destiny. On his way out to his ship, Starkiller was ambushed by PROXY, who was using his Obi-Wan Kenobi combat module. Starkiller quickly defeated PROXY, though he expressed surprise at PROXY's use of such an old module, one he thought erased. As they approached the Rogue Shadow, Starkiller awkwardly met with his new pilot, Juno Eclipse. The main reason for Starkiller's surprise was that he had never had a female pilot before, and he afterwards became convinced that it was some sort of test from Vader.
- "A boy? Months of attacking Imperial targets, and Vader sends a boy to fight me?"
- ―Rahm Kota
Departing the Executor for Nar Shaddaa, Starkiller was informed about Rahm Kota by PROXY. Kota was a respected Jedi General during the Clone Wars, but while he was a military genius, he considered clone troopers unfit for battle, instead relying on his own militia. When Order 66 was issued, there were no clones in his squad to obey, and Kota was able to disappear. Starkiller quickly deduced that Kota's primary motivation for coming out of hiding and attacking the Empire was to attract attention; he wanted to be found. Upon arrival at Nar Shaddaa, Starkiller became increasingly troubled by Vader's order to "leave no witnesses", as many of his eventual victims were loyal Imperial citizens whose only error was to cross his path, though Starkiller satisfied himself that this was yet another test from Vader, and steeled himself. As the Rogue Shadow, guided by Juno Eclipse's deft hand, approached the TIE Fighter Construction Facility that Kota and his men were currently attacking, Starkiller centered himself in the violence and conflict from within. As they approached one of the facility's hangars, Starkiller activated the Shadow's weapons systems and destroyed the hangar defenses. Leaping out of the ship right into the thick of the battle within the hangar, Starkiller killed off the combatants within with brutal efficiency, quickly clearing the hangar. The survivors retreated through the heavy blast door at the entrance with Starkiller in pursuit.
Informed by Juno via-comlink that the command center had been stormed by Kota's militia, Starkiller made that his destination. With tactical updates from Juno, Starkiller carved his way through the facility, all the while the warring forces became progressively more alarmed by his presence. The militia forces thought he was some kind of Shadow trooper, while the stormtroopers merely thought him a Jedi. The militia forces became the primary focus of his rage, due to their disloyalty to the Empire. However, he noted that many of the militia soldiers were equipped with explosives, and had been setting them throughout the facility, motivating Starkiller to hurry before the entire facility was destroyed. Just then, the facility was crippled, and began falling out of the sky. Starkiller picked up the pace, now unceremoniously attacking his foes with telekinesis, either jamming their weapons or simply sweeping them aside. Reaching the entrance to the command center, Starkiller took a moment to center himself before entering.
Within the command center, Starkiller encountered Rahm Kota. Both were surprised by what they saw; Starkiller had been taught that Jedi were soft from a life of privilege, and hadn't expected the hardened soldier that Kota was; while Kota had been expecting Darth Vader to come personally, not to send "a boy" in his stead. Starkiller opened the contest with a bolt of Force lightning, which Kota deflected, albeit with difficulty. Starkiller followed up by charging, cutting at Kota's throat. The Jedi ducked and attacking the Darksider's legs, though Starkiller evaded by tucking in and over-leaping. Kicking himself off the nearest wall, Starkiller came on again, chaining a telekinetic blast into his attack. Kota deflected the push, the rebounding energy forcing both combatants apart. Readjusting his tactics, Starkiller circled more cautiously, cutting apart chairs with his lightsaber and blasting their fragments at the Jedi, attempting to provoke an attack. Kota suddenly charged, his speed and determination forcing Starkiller to rely on tight Form III defensive sequences to fend him off. Unable to penetrate this defense, Kota backed off and changed his style, fighting more slowly and deliberately, but chaining in sudden and devastatingly quick strikes, hoping to tire out Starkiller. However, this tactic backfired, and Kota's guard began to slip, allowing Starkiller to counter.
Starkiller focused entirely on the duel, ignoring all other factors as he hammered at Kota's defenses. He came to the conclusion that while Kota was wily, strong and possessed certain unique moves, his age and his rejection of the dark side of the Force left him inferior. Kota twice attempted to regain the offensive, but only managed to tire himself out, and the Jedi began taking hits. Seeing that he was being driven back, Kota broke off and complimented Starkiller's skills, before telekinetically wrenching the entire command center free of the shipyard and sending it plummeting into Nar Shaddaa's atmosphere. As their battle renewed, Starkiller seized the initiative, telekinetically thrashing Kota with chunks of debris before physically assaulting him and throwing him to the ground. Before Kota could regain his feet, Starkiller was on him, initiating a bladelock. As their blades ground against one another, Kota experienced a Force vision of Starkiller's future, expressing shock at seeing himself as part of it. Unconcerned, Starkiller drove Kota's own blade into his eyes, blinding him. As Kota stumbled backwards, Starkiller suddenly experienced his own vision, seeing his forgotten father in Kota's place, telling him to run. Pulling back, fearing that Kota was using a Mind trick of some sort, he gave Kota the opening he needed to escape. Kota dropped his lightsaber and unleashed a telekinetic blast that shattered the viewports of the command center. The drastic pressure change sucked out Kota, who dropped spread-eagled into the Nar Shaddaa atmosphere.
Starkiller retrieved Kota's lightsaber before he himself jumped out through the shattered viewports, landing on top of the Rogue Shadow as it passed underneath. While satisfied that the gravely-wounded and blinded Kota would no longer be a problem, Starkiller was disappointed by his failure to actually kill the Jedi. Darth Vader was pleased with Starkiller's performance, but felt that his apprentice remained unfocused and easily distracted, drawing Kota's lightsaber on him to illustrate his point.
Trial of Skill
- "Your time is over, I am the future of the Sith!"
- ―Starkiller to Darth Desolous
In order to develop his skills and focus, Starkiller was ordered by Darth Vader to go to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant to continue his training. Juno Eclipse landed the Rogue Shadow just outside the front entrance of the Temple where Starkiller disembarked, only to be confronted by the local Imperial garrison, which revealed that Emperor Palpatine had placed the Jedi Temple off-limits to the general public. Starkiller had little patience for this, and attacked the troopers. Even with highly trained Imperial guardsmen reinforcing them, the garrison troopers were no match for Starkiller's unrestrained destructive capabilities and tactical know-how. Battling his way through the front entryway, he picked his way through the rubble into the main entrance hall of the Jedi Temple, clearing out some of the debris at its rear, opening up the path into the corridors and hallways further in. Following the corridor he cleared, he eventually made his way to the Jedi Trials Chamber. While inspecting the room, Starkiller experienced a vision of sorts; hearing his father's voice warning him that he would need all of his skills to survive the upcoming test. While puzzling this out, he was suddenly blasted by a surge of red lightning; an imitation Force attack from a holographic simulacrum of Darth Desolous.
Darth Desolous was an ancient Pau'an Jedi who rebelled against the Jedi Order and assumed the mantle of a Sith Lord. Leading a violent insurrection, his army was ultimately drawn into a trap and destroyed, while he was killed by the Jedi Council of the day. Due to his powers and reputation, the Jedi Order created a holographic simulation modeled after him for the training of Jedi Padawans during their final Trials. Despite the widespread destruction within the Temple during its ransacking, the simulation remained fully functional, along with several others within the Temple.
The hologram seized the immediate offensive, all the while gloating about the accomplishments of the original Darth Desolous. However, Starkiller fought back ably, backing the simulacrum up against a statue of Palpatine erected at the head of the hall. Starkiller then telekinetically pushed the hologram up along the front of the statue before leaping up and throwing it back down. Standing on top of the statue, Starkiller destabilized it before leaping off, thus crushing the simulacrum beneath it and completing the trial.
With the simulacrum deactivated, Starkiller received a message from Darth Vader, via PROXY's holographic capabilities. Another Jedi had been located; Kazdan Paratus, in hiding on the junkyard world of Raxus Prime. Vader admitted that he considered Paratus to be more powerful than Starkiller, and didn't expect his apprentice to survive, but made it clear that Paratus' defeat would bring Starkiller closer to his "destiny". Starkiller affirmed that he would not fail. Unknown to him, Juno Eclipse was eavesdropping on the exchange.
- "I do not expect you to survive. But if you destroy him, you'll be one step closer to your destiny."
- ―Darth Vader
As Raxus Prime was in the Tion Hegemony in the Outer Rim, the trip took a considerable length of time, which gave Starkiller a chance to refresh and research the objectives. However, he was distracted, and frequently had to ask PROXY to repeat mission details that he had missed while deep in thought, and eventually retreated to the onboard meditation chamber to gather his energies. There was little information on Kazdan Paratus, and PROXY was unable to reproduce his image. Paratus was accredited by the files as having considerable skill at droid making, and during the Clone Wars, he was lured out of seclusion to study the CIS droid armies, all the while building his own droids to reinforce his troops. During a disastrous campaign, all his troopers had been killed, forcing Paratus to cobble together his own droid army to fight back. With no troopers in his forces, there was no one to obey Order 66 when it was issued, thus allowing Paratus to escape. Shortly afterward, Starkiller was called up to the cockpit by Juno just before arrival. Once within the atmosphere, they began searching for Paratus, eventually discovering his crude imitation of the Jedi Temple on the surface.
Setting down as close to the Temple as possible, given the treacherous junk-pile landscape, Starkiller disembarked and progressed on foot. He focused entirely on the mission at hand, ignoring all other distractions. Updated by Juno of activity at a downed corvette near his location, Starkiller assumed that Vader's orders to "leave no witnesses" still stood, and attacked the Rodian salvagers, though he ignored most of the droids controlled by the planetary intelligence known as the Core. The scavengers likewise had intended to turn Starkiller in for a bounty issued by the Empire, presumably for his actions earlier. Meanwhile, he had Juno check the local Imperial records for information on the scavengers while he continued to perform recon. The corvette they were stripping was in Starkiller's path, and would take too long to circumvent, so he attacked. After killing a Rodian sentry and entering the corvette, Starkiller made his way to engineering and activated the remaining engine with a pulse of Force lightning, clearing his path to the Temple. When asked by Juno whether he was creating a distraction or simply attracting attention, Starkiller simply told her to take her pick.
Cautiously ascending to the junk Temple's foyer, Starkiller was attacked by Kazdan Paratus' droid sentries. He made short work of them, being used to duels with a sophisticated droid such as PROXY, and thus found Paratus' patchwork droids to be child's play. He cleared the foyer by blasting the droids out of the Temple doors, before being attacked by a massive junk golem. His battle with the golem tore through the junk Temple, eventually reaching Paratus' mock Jedi Council chamber, where Starkiller disabled it. Kazdan Paratus then revealed himself, extricating himself from the golem's chassis, where he had been controlling it. Paratus was an Aleena, a small being, but compensating with a four-limbed mechanical harness on his back. With the limbs offering him extra height and mobility, Paratus was able to wield his lightsaber pike with deadly skill. The mannequins of the long dead Jedi Council masters activated, revealing themselves to be droids, and Starkiller was momentarily distracted by them.
Paratus lunged at Starkiller, scoring a shallow cut along his forearm before the Darksider countered. With the mobility offered by his mechanical limbs, and his own skill with the Force, Paratus simply outpaced Starkiller, blocking all of the apprentice's attacks with his pike. However, Paratus was more vulnerable to Force lightning without the protection of his droid shell, and Starkiller became concerned that the battle would end before it had truly begun, only to be attacked unawares by one of the Jedi Council masters; the Jedi mannequins were combat ready, equipped with vibroblades and utilizing crude approximations the lightsaber styles practiced by the original individuals. Disarmed by "Plo Koon", Starkiller destroyed the droid with a Force push and reclaimed his lightsaber just in time to deflect another of Paratus' attacks. Dividing his attention between Paratus and the mannequins, he fought back and destroyed them. The replicas of Mace Windu and Coleman Kcaj he dismembered; Kit Fisto he melted; Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi he threw together and blasted out the window; Ki-Adi-Mundi, Saesee Tiin, Agen Kolar, and Shaak Ti he destroyed with Force lightning; and Stass Allie he beheaded. He flung the Yoda mannequin at Paratus, who was now distraught and weeping with the deaths of the "masters".
Starkiller then gained the advantage over the mad Jedi. Evading and countering against Paratus' telekinetic assault, Starkiller pursued him up onto the upper supports for the Council chambers windows, parrying a lightsaber slash and deflecting a blast of Force energy back at the Jedi. Paratus retreated to the chamber floor, casting a massive chunk of machinery at Starkiller, who in turn caught it and threw it back, crushing the Jedi underneath it. As Paratus lay dying, he lamented on his failure before expiring in a brilliant flash of Force energy. Starkiller was actually moved to pity by the emotional display, though he quickly repressed it and departed. En route back to the Executor, Starkiller devoted some effort towards repairing Paratus' shattered lightsaber pike, so as to present it as a trophy to Vader, but was unsuccessful and abandoned the effort, instead telekenically disassembling and reassembling his own lightsaber while in meditation. However, his repose was interrupted by Vader's communication via PROXY, who again dispatched Starkiller to the Jedi Temple for further training, despite his apprentice's performance against Paratus.
Trial of Insight
- "I know your kind. Confused. Alone. And I will learn what you fear most!"
- ―Simulacrum of Darth Phobos
When Starkiller arrived at the Jedi Temple, he found that security had been increased after his first intrusion. This time the soldiers guarding the entrance were reinforced directly by Imperial Senate Sentinels, and the garrison within had snipers incorporated into their ranks. Despite the heightened opposition, Starkiller had little trouble decimating the Imperial ranks, even with the continued reinforcements they received from other areas of the Temple. As he exited the main entrance hall, Starkiller experienced another vision; his father's voice warning him not to be blinded by anger. Entering the Jedi Archives, Starkiller cleared the chamber. At that moment, however, he saw Juno Eclipse at the head of the hall, bent over as if in pain. As Starkiller approached, "Juno" leapt into the air and transformed into Darth Phobos.
Yet another holographic simulation, Darth Phobos was a powerful Sith Lord who fed off the fears of her enemies, assuming the shape of these horrors through various Force-based illusions. Phobos' literal reign of terror made her the enemy of both the Jedi and her own Sith colleagues, prompting an unprecedented alliance between the two factions to bring her down. As with Desolous, she left such a long-standing impression on the Jedi that she was "honored" with a holographic simulacrum modeled after her, which Jedi Padawans were tested against during their trials. Also like Desolous, her simulation remained intact, despite the widespread destruction within the Jedi Temple.
The hologram's aggressive fighting tactics encouraged Starkiller to adopt more passive methods, though he fought back ably, and the simulation retreated into the shadowed archive shelf-stacks. His vision clouded by the simulacrum's imitation Force abilities, Starkiller prowled the stacks in search for his opponent. Fending off the hologram's surprise assault, Starkiller sent it crashing into the book stacks. As the hologram weakened, it began adopting more desperate tactics, teleporting around the room and projecting illusionary copies of itself to double up on Starkiller. It even attempting disguising itself as Juno Eclipse to make him hesitate, though Starkiller remained unfazed. Sending the Phobos hologram crashing through the book stacks again, Starkiller advanced to deliver the finishing blow, ignoring the hologram's final attempt at dissuasion and running his lightsaber through its chest.
With his victory over Darth Phobos, Starkiller had faced his fears and completed his trial of Insight. It was then that Darth Vader appeared, speaking via-PROXY once more. The Dark Lord congratulated his young apprentice for succeeding against Phobos, and then charged Starkiller with hunting down the former Jedi Council master Shaak Ti on Felucia. Before cutting the link to PROXY, Vader warned Starkiller that he would need the full power of the Dark Side to defeat the legendary Jedi.
- "I am ready now."
"No. You have defeated an old man and an outcast! You must face a true Jedi Master."
- ―Starkiller and Darth Vader
Starkiller barely said a word during the trip to Felucia, instead looming at the back of the cockpit with his hood raised, only speaking to give orders and avoiding all of Juno's attempts to converse. Upon arrival, Starkiller questioned Juno about the emotional disturbance he felt in her. She confided in him her involvement in the Bombing of Callos, and how as a consequence of her actions, what was once a verdant jungle world had become dead and barren. Starkiller had read the reports, and assured her that she had followed her orders to the end. Eclipse landed the Rogue Shadow atop one of the massive mushroom grows on Felucia, and Starkiller ordered her to wait while he charged off into the jungle, lightsaber already lit.
Starkiller was quickly engaged by the Felucian natives; an entire race of Force-sensitives who had evidently been trained by Shaak Ti while hiding on the world. He dealt with them quickly and efficiently, saving his energy for his ultimate target. Starkiller respected Ti's prowess, and her evident intelligence and skill in surviving for so long since the end of the Clone Wars. However, he considered her activities on Felucia to be disrupting the natural rhythm of the Force; the flow between the opposite forces of light and darkness. The Felucian natives fought back with determination against Starkiller, looking to preserve her "regime." When confronted by a Rancor-riding native, he ascended the jungle canopy until he was level with the rider and leapt onto the Rancor. The Felucian resisted Starkiller, though he was quickly brought down, and Starkiller killed the Rancor with a blast of Force lightning. From the vantage of the Rancor's high body, Starkiller saw a landmark in the direction he was traveling; the Felucian village. Using the Force to tame one of the river-dwelling animals, Starkiller traveled by water to the village, occasionally killing Felucian guards along the bank with Force lightning attacks. Reaching the village, he braced himself against a large standing stone only to discover that it was a massive tooth; the entire village was built atop a colossal living creature. While the Felucians fled from him, Starkiller made his way towards the village center, finding it to be the maw of a Sarlacc; the entire town was built around a mega-Sarlacc dubbed the "Ancient Abyss" by the Felucians, and awaiting him there was Shaak Ti.
The Jedi Master was perched on one of the concentric gums of the Sarlacc, untouched by either the massive feeding tentacles nor the flexing of teeth, deep in meditation. Starkiller telekinetically ripped a mushroom out of the Sarlacc's skin and hurled it at Ti, who flicked it aside. She stood up, dubbing Vader a coward for sending Starkiller in his place, while Starkiller raised his lightsaber in challenge. Ti opened the duel with a spinning, downwards strike, throwing Starkiller off-balance as he backflipped and blocked. Tearing off his hood as it snagged on one of the Sarlacc teeth, Starkiller could only fend off Ti's assault until he regained his balance. He overleapt her and fell down two layers of gums towards the Sarlacc's maw, before leaping back up. Shaak Ti intercepted him, and her rapid attack prompted him to send a bolt of lightning into the Sarlacc's flesh below them. Its shaking and tremoring caused Ti to loose her footing, and she leaped back from his attack. Starkiller pursued, swinging as he went.
Their fight progressed towards the lower rings of the Sarlacc, with Starkiller slicing off teeth and hurling them at Shaak Ti, or slashing and shocking the flesh beneath to keep the beast quivering underfoot. Ti countered by taking control of the Sarlacc's distributed intelligence and sending its feeding tentacles after him. As they neared the very center of the pit, digestive byproducts from the Sarlacc's reeking maw made breathing difficult. As they fought on, Ti also lectured Starkiller on Jedi philosophy, to the Sith apprentice's chagrin. As their battle drew to an end, Starkiller drove Ti back into the Sarlacc maw and, expecting her to be devoured, prepared to leave. However, Ti reemerged, perched on one of the Sarlacc's massive tentacle, commanding the Sarlacc to assault Starkiller. Starkiller dodged the first two massive tentacle strikes, climbing onto one of the fleshy masses as it pulled back. However, he was unable to maintain his grip, and nearly fell into the maw, becoming pinned between four tentacles. He blasted them apart with a Force repulse and launched himself back at the ground. When Ti charged off the Sarlacc at him, he deflected her strike and drove her back into the tentacles, blasting the entire mass with a wave of Force lightning.
Shaak Ti managed to regain her feet, but she was already dying. As she began to expire, Ti stated that Starkiller was nothing but Vader's slave, warning him that the Sith always betrayed each other when he declared his loyalty to his master. She then fell into the Sarlacc pit and died, exploding in a massive flash of Force energy. Starkiller quietly left, satisfied that the removal of Shaak Ti's influence would allow the dark side to again take hold on Felucia and return life to its normal rhythms. Starkiller reported his mission's success to Vader, who concluded that the time was right for both of them to overthrow the Emperor in a combined effort together. Ordered to return to the Executor, Starkiller was congratulated by PROXY for the imminent completion of his "primary programming".
Betrayal and New Mission
- "Your destiny is now your own. Sever all ties to your past. No one must know that you still serve me. Now go, and remember that the Dark Side is always with you."
- ―Darth Vader
Starkiller had to suppress a smile as he strode into Darth Vader's chambers. Beyond the viewport, a fleet of Star Destroyers clustered around the incomplete Executor; the Emperor's fleet. When Vader informed him as much, Starkiller assumed that Vader had lured the Emperor to them, and asked when they would strike. Vader corrected him; Palpatine's presence had not been requested, his spies had followed Starkiller there. With that, Vader ignited his lightsaber through his shocked pupil's abdomen, just as the Emperor, communicating via-PROXY, entered the room. Palpatine declared that Vader had forgotten his place, and taking on Starkiller as his apprentice had been an act of treachery. The Emperor demanded Starkiller's death, and after a moment of hesitation, Vader complied, ignoring Starkiller's pleas. The apprentice was thrashed about the chamber and smashed through the viewport into the vacuum of space, much to Palpatine's sadistic delight.
While Starkiller was unconscious, his body was collected from the vacuum by Vader's droids and brought to the Dark Lord's science vessel, the Empirical. While Starkiller's body was rebuilt, he remained unconscious, believing himself dead as he experienced a multitude of visions and memories. When he finally awoke, he was relieved for the end of the visions, but began raging when he realized the nature of his circumstances. He was restrained on a laboratory table, with Darth Vader standing above him. Starkiller was informed by Vader that his "execution" was Palpatine's demand, which forced the Sith Lord's hand. Starkiller was presented with the option of reentering Darth Vader's service, with the assurance that if he refused, he and all witnesses would be destroyed in the laboratory's self-destruction. With no other options, Starkiller grudgingly accepted, and Vader released his apprentice's restraints.
Darth Vader elaborated that with Palpatine's spies watching his every move, he needed a distraction to divert attention away from him. While the laboratory droids provided him with a new lightsaber, Starkiller suggested an assassination, though Vader dismissed it, as no single act of that kind would gain Palpatine's notice. Instead, Vader made clear that Starkiller would have to raise an army to oppose the Emperor; an alliance of rebels and dissidents. Vader gave Starkiller free rein in how to pursue his objective, leaving only the order that he was to sever all ties to his past, save PROXY, to ensure that no one found out that he served Vader. With a final assurance that the Dark Side was always with Starkiller, Vader cut his transmission, revealing that he was communicating via-PROXY.
PROXY was overjoyed by his Master's survival, as it meant that he could still fulfill his primary programming and kill Starkiller himself. Informing Starkiller of their location; aboard the Empirical in the Dominus system; PROXY then hacked into the Empirical's navigation system and set it on a collision course for the Dominus star, forcing he and Starkiller to make their way to the Rogue Shadow before the imminent destruction of the Empirical. When Starkiller inquired about Juno, PROXY informed him that she was alive and onboard, left in a holding cell after being branded a traitor for her association with Starkiller. As they encountered Imperial forces aboard the dying ship, Starkiller drew his new lightsaber, realizing it was Rahm Kota's former weapon. Despite PROXY's cautions that doing so was contrary to Vader's orders to sever ties with his past, Starkiller made a beeline for Juno's cell and rescued her.
Assuring her that he was leaving the Empire behind, thus keeping her in the dark about his continued allegiance to Vader, Starkiller brought her along to continue working as his pilot. Explosive bolts severed the umbilical connecting the Rogue Shadow to the Empirical just as they boarded, and Starkiller ordered PROXY to fly the ship away from the science vessel. Juno took control of the ship almost immediately after, with Starkiller giving her free rein as to their destination. Once they had escaped, Starkiller shared with her his intention to create a rebel army to oppose the Empire, as well as his desire to find a teacher to show him the aspects of the Force that Darth Vader could not—or would not. To that end, they resolved to find Rahm Kota, who had survived his duel with Starkiller.
Rescuing Rahm Kota
- Rahm Kota: "Nobody fights the Empire and wins, boy."
- Starkiller: "You'd better hope you're wrong about that, General."
- ―Rahm Kota and Starkiller[src]
Starkiller's search for Rahm Kota took him across the galaxy, from the Jedi's last sighting on Nar Shaddaa to the ancient Sith world Ziost, and then discovering Kota's latest location on Bespin. Rahm Kota, after his defeat and blinding by Starkiller, had fallen into depression, and had resorted to alcoholism to drown his sorrows. Intercepting an Imperial transmission that Kota had been found, and that the Empire was sending one of its most dangerous agents to retrieve him, Starkiller was forced to rush to Bespin, approaching Kota in the Vapor Room cantina, masquerading as a Jedi. Rahm Kota was drunk and uncooperative, and before Starkiller could reason further with the unkempt Jedi, they were attacked by the local stormtrooper garrison, backed by Ugnaught contraptions. For the first time, Starkiller actively engaged the Empire as an enemy, rather than merely killing off possible witnesses. While Kota dived under the table, Starkiller drew his lightsaber and attacked, making the heavily armed and armored Uggernaughts a priority. He disabled one with telekinesis and overloaded the other's electrical systems, killing the pilot and scattering the stormtroopers. Starkiller found himself hampered by the need to avoid harming innocent bystanders, if only to keep up his Jedi masquerade, though he still intended to use his original landing site to extract Kota.
While Kota eventually got moving, Starkiller hoped that the Jedi could look after himself, be he had his work cut out for him. Cutting through the Vapor Room storeroom, Starkiller didn't hesitate to attack the Imperial forces, making short work of them. Dragging Kota along the series of corridors to the Vapor Room's supply dock, Starkiller expected to meet a heavy Imperial presence, but was unconcerned, planning to board the Rogue Shadow via Force jump. Then he saw the Imperial Shadow Guard waiting at the docks. Killing the guard's stormtrooper escort with blast-deflections, Starkiller warned Juno to stay away from the loading dock, and instead go to the shipping balloon dock. While Starkiller engaged the guardsman, Kota made himself scarse, searching out an alternate escape route, and allowing Starkiller to drop his masquerade and draw on the dark side. Blasting the guard back with a telekinetic surge, Starkiller attacked with Force lightning, winning the subsequent energy struggle and blowing the guardsman's corpse off the side of the dock.
Making his way to the balloon dock, and hoping Kota was still alive as well, Starkiller puzzled over the Shadow Guard's identity and affiliation, deducing him to be a servant of Palpatine rather than Vader. While he made short work of the Imperial forces in his path, he was attacked by another guardsman. This one was more able than the first, though Starkiller ultimately dismembered him with a giant fan blade. Arriving at the dock, he found it crowded with stormtroopers and Uggernaughts, led by two Shadow Guardsmen. During the fight, Starkiller's connection to the Force deepened, and he fought on pure reflex. Stormtroopers and Uggernaughts were thrown off of the dock or into each other, and Starkiller even brought heavy freight raining down from one of the shipping balloon's above. When his enemies regrouped, Starkiller seized one of the entire shipping balloons and sent it crashing down onto them. As he stood in triumph, Kota appeared.
Kota was unimpressed by Starkiller's victory, feeling that it didn't even begin to dent Palpatine's "infinite" army. However, after Starkiller appealed to his warrior sense of honor, Kota agreed to join him, revealing that he had a contact in the Imperial Senate who could use Starkiller's lightsaber, due to his eagerness to kill stormtroopers. Shortly after rescuing Kota, Starkiller began feeling drawn to the Jedi Temple, thus causing him to return to Coruscant for a third time.
Trial of the Spirit
- "The dark side is all I have."
Starkiller's final sojourn to the Jedi Temple began much the same as his previous visits, though this time the security forces attacked him immediately upon arrival, rather than calling for his surrender. Though the garrison had been further reinforced by the presence of Imperial Jumptroopers, the apprentice still had little difficulty cutting them down. Clearing out rubble at the rear of the main entrance hall, Starkiller discovered a lower level tunnel. Following it, all the while cutting down any Imperials in his path, he reached an elevator platform. The elevator ascended to one of the top towers of the Jedi Temple, bringing Starkiller into the old Jedi Council chamber. Once there, he found Darth Vader in battle with a Jedi unknown to him; a vision of Darth Vader's duel with Kento Marek, though this time Kento was victorious. Unaware of the nature of the battle, and ignorant as to the Jedi's identity, Starkiller leapt to his Master's aid.
The Jedi attempted to dissuade Starkiller from intervening, encouraging him to turn away from the dark side of the Force, but Starkiller countered that the dark side was all that he had. The Jedi fought with efficiency, but was ultimately unable to hold his own against Starkiller's raw power. Evasively leaping about the chamber, the Jedi was intercepted by Starkiller, physically assaulted, telekinetically thrashed about, and blasted with Force lightning before being thrown aside. Starkiller then charged the Jedi as he attempted to rise and stabbed him through the abdomen. As the Jedi lay dying, he apologized to Starkiller before vanishing, and only then did Starkiller realize that the mysterious Jedi was his father.
Looking for more information on his father, Starkiller had the Rogue Shadow ferry him up to one of the other Temple spires, which he entered by way of its external landing platform. Starkiller brutally fought his way through the Imperial garrison, as well as the Temple's own derelict security systems, before finding the Holocron Vault. Approaching the main holocron, he activated a message left by his father, who stated that Starkiller's destiny was indeed in his own hands, and that he had to complete the Jedi Trials once and for all. Starkiller then fell into another Force vision, in which he was forced to navigate the labyrinth of his own mind before entering into a confrontation with a dark specter. In a brutal lightsaber duel, Starkiller managed to knock off the specter's helm, thus revealing the face underneath to be his own—pale and twisted through deep immersion into the dark side.
The sight of his own visage caused Starkiller to hesitate, and the specter seized the opening by driving Starkiller down to a lower level within the labyrinth. The fight continued on with renewed vigor in both opponents, and Starkiller only gained the advantage when he drove the dark warrior to the brink of the round platform they fought on. However, as the warrior fell, he grabbed Starkiller's ankle, pulling him down while hauling himself back up. Having gained the high ground, the warrior telekinetically wrenched several massive columns from the labyrinth and cast them at Starkiller, who reacted by using them as stepping stones to climb back up. Once again on equal footing with the specter, Starkiller impaled him from behind. The warrior exploded in a blast of Force energy, thus ending the vision. However, as Starkiller regained his senses within the Holocron Vault, he saw that his left hand had taken on the clawed and emaciated appearance of the warrior's arm, who intones that Starkiller would never escape him.
Upon his return to the Rogue Shadow, Starkiller sat down with Kota and attempted to discuss the events within the Temple, though Kota quickly ended the conversation by asserting that it was none of his business.
- Princess Leia: "Is there still an Imperial transport on the landing platform?"
- Starkiller: "Yes but…I think the pilot might be dead."
- Princess Leia: "And what makes you think I need a pilot?"
- ―Princess Leia and Starkiller[src]
Even in his much-reduced state, Rahm Kota proved to be a valuable ally, communicating with his contact and providing them with another destination; Kashyyyk; with the assurance that if they retrieved what his contact wanted, he would provide them with further help. While Kota was busy communicating with his contact, PROXY attacked Starkiller, this time using a combat module based on Qui-Gon Jinn. Although PROXY provided a faithful reproduction of Jinn's fighting style, he was hampered by his inability to use the Force as well as the confined space they fought in. Starkiller ultimately ended the battle by impaling PROXY. With the battle over, Starkiller joined Juno and Kota in the cockpit, seeing the Imperial skyhook being constructed above Kashyyyk.
Inserted into the ravaged Kashyyyk landscape, Starkiller made his way towards the local Imperial base, fending off a giant spider ambush along the way. To avoid further ambushes, and to save time, Starkiller ascended up into the leafy canopy of the forests, leaping from branch to branch. Once he spotted the skyhook from ground level, Starkiller was struck by how it resembled one of the visions he had experienced during his reconstruction on the Empirical. Scouting out the Imperial base from the vantage point of the trees, Starkiller dropped down and intercepted a two-man patrol. Using a Mind Trick, he compelled one trooper to fall asleep while convincing the other that he was authorized to be there. He learned of the identity of the base commander, a Captain Ozzik Sturn, and that a guest was present in the lodge at the center of the base. As his control over the trooper began to slip, he compelled him to fall asleep as well. He then began planning out his attack on the base.
Making his way towards the entrance of the base, Starkiller found his path blocked by an AT-ST and a contingent of stormtroopers, thus forcing him to attack. Dodging the walker's heavy weapons and ordnance, Starkiller closed the distance and leaped at the legs and the bottom of the cockpit, damaging both knee joints, three control junctions, and the drive engine. The walker managed half a step before it dropped nose first to the ground. As Starkiller set to work on the troopers, he saw two more AT-STs moving in to hem him in. Drawing deeply upon the Force, Starkiller deflected the walker's heavy blaster fire right back at them, and telekinetically deflected their concussion grenades into the massive gate protecting the base entrance. As the Imperials intensified their attack, Starkiller allowed the Force to completely guide his movements without any conscious thought. As the walkers advanced on what they thought was Starkiller's corpse, he telekinetically took control of their systems and directed them to collide with one another, before using a concentrated blast of Force lightning to ignite their ammunition stores.
Entering the main lodge at the center of the base, he began searching for the thing that Kota's contact wanted. His instincts guided him towards the rear of the lodge, and he entered a long, wooden corridor lined with ceramic artwork. The door at the end was guarded by two stormtroopers and an Imperial guardsman. The troopers were killed quickly by their own deflected blasterfire, and the guardsman lasted only barely as long, felled by four swift lightsaber strokes and a blast of lightning. Starkiller took care not to damage any of the ceramic artwork on the walls, calling it his "good deed for the day".
Entering the guest quarters, he found himself facing Princess Leia Organa, in a scene that precisely matched one of his visions while on the Empirical. Leia was initially under the impression that Starkiller was an assassin for Emperor Palpatine, and dismissed his assertion that he was here with Rahm Kota, believing that Kota had died above Nar Shaddaa. When she off-handedly mentioned her father, Starkiller suddenly realized that he was Kota's contact, feeding him information about Imperial targets. When he managed to convince her of Kota's survival, she charged him with destroying the Imperial skyhook before it could be used to shuttle Wookiee slaves off-planet. While Leia commandeered an Imperial shuttle and left the planet, Starkiller took a tube transport down the cliff the lodge was built on to the forest floor below. He did not know it, but Starkiller had rescued the daughter of Darth Vader.
As Starkiller made his way through the ravaged undergrowth, cleared by the Imperials, he found a dilapidated old hut, permeated by a great darkness in the Force. Despite the objections of Kota, Starkiller entered the ruin. Within, he found the evidence of a lightsaber duel in the form of burned slash marks on the walls. His search also included the discovery of a small, blue crystal on the floor. As he rose, he was suddenly caught in the throes of a violent Force vision. He witnessed the murder of his father, as well as his own abduction from his home by Darth Vader. Then his vision took on a different tone—a contest within himself rather than an image of the past. Embodying the grisly Sith Warrior he had fought in a previous vision back at the Jedi Temple, he was pitted against a Jedi version of himself. The ensuing duel was brief and brutal, both combatants thrown apart by a backfired blast of Force-lightning. Starkiller, as the Sith Warrior, ultimately triumphed by grasping the Jedi in a telekinetic stranglehold and impaling him with the plethora of trophy lightsabers hanging from his own waist. He delivered the coup de grace with the Jedi's own lightsaber, stabbing him through the heart. Starkiller then found himself was back in the hut, confronted by the ghost of his father. As he had back on Coruscant, Kento Marek again apologized to his son for all that had happened to him, referring to him by his birth name; Galen.
Starkiller exited the hut a changed man; his newfound knowledge of his origins shocked him to the core. Arriving at the groundside moorings for the skyhook, Starkiller plowed his way through the Imperials' security and fortifications. Approaching the first of six moorings, Starkiller resonated with the structure, probing its strengths and weaknesses before channeling massive amounts of Force energy into the structure. When he was done, the mooring was unrecognizable. As he moved on to the others, he saw that the Imperials were rallying, this time calling in air support from a trio of TIE fighters. He destroyed three more moorings by telekinetically nudging the fighters into them. A fifth was destroyed through sheer collateral damage. As Starkiller turned to the last mooring, the base commander, Captain Ozzik Sturn, took to the field.
Ozzik Sturn piloted a heavily modified All Terrain Kashyyyk Transport, which he used to hunt Wookiee slaves, though he was eager to hunt a Jedi s well. However, their contest was brief, as the rain of rubble and debris from the seriously destabilized skyhook above began coming down. Sturn and his Walker were crushed while the sixth moor was completely destroyed, thus resulting in the explosion of the skyhook mere seconds later.
Despite his success, Starkiller was furious at Kota for his vagueness and withholding of information and confronted the former Jedi General about it. Kota revealed that his contact was Imperial Senator Bail Organa, who had tried to recruit Kota to rescue his daughter. Kota had refused, so Bail went in search of Shaak Ti. As Kota revealed this, Starkiller accidentally let slip that he knew Shaak Ti had been on Felucia, almost giving himself away, though he managed to cover it up by claiming that Kota's thoughts were simply easy to read. Starkiller retreated into seclusion afterwards, and was approached by Juno. He refrained from opening up to her, but took over piloting duties for the trip to Felucia so that she could rest.
Rescuing Bail Organa
- "I've seen her kind before. A young Jedi who turned to the dark side, corrupted and evil, murderous…"
- ―Bail Organa, on Maris Brood
During the trip to Felucia, Starkiller researched Bail Organa, and found himself struck by how familiar he seemed, though he wasn't sure where they had crossed paths before. Upon arrival, Starkiller drew on his experience as Vader's assassin and found Bail Organa's landing site by searching for his ship's Senatorial transponder code. As they descended, Juno detected signs of a large Imperial presence groundside. When they landed alongside Organa's shuttle, Juno had Starkiller accompany her to the other ship, ostensibly to check that it didn't contain the Senator's corpse. Once alone, she made a quick inquiry as to how he would find Organa, before speaking of their need to avoid raising Rahm Kota's suspicions as to who they really were. Starkiller attempted to reassure her by saying that if Kota found out about their past allegiance to the Empire, then the old Jedi would not live long enough to tell anyone. Juno's worry was only increased, so Starkiller turned to the matter at hand; his primary concern was convincing Organa of his "sincerity", as the Senator would be much harder to convince than the blind and alcoholic Kota or the teenaged Leia.
As Starkiller trekked through the Felucian jungle, he found that the world's balance had shifted towards the dark side in the wake of Shaak Ti's death, though Starkiller was surprised by how uncomfortable it made him feel. As he made his way deeper into the jungle, Starkiller was attacked by a plethora of predators, and the now unrestrained Felucians fought him every step of the way. Even the plant life attempted to kill him; on one occasion Starkiller managed to dodge a tree that had split itself from its roots and attempted to crush him before growing an entirely new root system, evidently to feed on whatever creature it had trapped under its bulk. Faced with this chaotic scene, Starkiller reflected on the nature of the dark side, and how harmony in nature was practically non-existent. The resulting conflict was where the power of the dark side came from.
As he traveled towards the Ancient Abyss where he had last encountered Shaak Ti, he happened upon a squad of scout troopers, who had evidently seen the Rogue Shadow flying overhead. While he dealt with the troopers quickly, he drew the attention of many others in the area. He was promptly attacked by a trio of Felucian warriors hiding in a pit of quicksand, though he made quick work of them. Hurrying to the Ancient Abyss, Starkiller found the Felucian village run down and abandoned, while the mega-Sarlacc itself was restrained by an Imperial sarlacc stabilizer. Freeing several of the beast's tentacles to relieve some of its pain, Starkiller descended through the stabilizer elevator into the Sarlacc's digestive system, where the Felucians had taken refuge against the Empire. Starkiller searched around before being spewed out the creature's lung when it exhaled.
Following a deepening in the dark side, Starkiller traveled northwards from the Ancient Abyss towards the Rancor Graveyard. En route, he was relentlessly attacked by Felucian natives, some riding Rancors, with an intervening force of Imperials only adding to the chaos. As he fought them, he reflected that he was quickly becoming accustomed to Rancor death cries, a sound that had previously disturbed him, sometimes cropping up in nightmares. After one particularly furious encounter, the Felucian ambushes ceased, and Starkiller was able to enter the graveyard unhindered. As he searched the graveyard, he suddenly realized that his familiarity with Bail Organa came from one of his Force visions. He began sensing the Senator's presence, but also the presence of the dark side concentration that he had been tracking.
After finally finding the Senator, Starkiller freed him and explained that he had come to Felucia with Rahm Kota as an ally. Organa informed him that Shaak Ti's former apprentice, Maris Brood, had since gone mad and fallen to the dark side, leading the Felucians and keeping Organa in hopes of trading him to the Imperials in exchange for leniency. Before they could escape, Brood arrived with her "pet" bull rancor in tow. Starkiller was struck by recognition, as he had seen her in a vision as well. Demanding that she stand aside, Starkiller was instead set upon by the bull rancor.
Starkiller barely avoided the beast's blows, being forced to adopt evasive tactics against the creature, as its heavy armor plates provided effective protection against all of his powers and attacks. However, Brood got wise to this and intercepted him, trying to force him towards the rancor's jaws. Unable to attack it from the outside, Starkiller attempted a desperate tactic and leaped into the creature's mouth. Using the Force to keep the Rancor's mouth shut, Starkiller cut up its tongue with his lightsaber and shocked it's brain with a blast of Force lightning. Despite this, the rancor continued to cling to life, forcing Starkiller to resort to telekinesis, exploding the monster's head. Starkiller luckily retained hold of his lightsaber as he fell off the creature in a mess of gore, because Brood was on him in an instant.
Starkiller initially only defended himself, using Soresu moves against Brood's raw attack, struck by how much alike she was to him. However, he quickly came to the conclusion that if she could turn to the dark side so easily, then she could turn back to the light just as quickly, accepting something that Shaak Ti had explained during their duel; that the Force was fluid, and light and dark were just directions. By fighting against Maris Brood, he wasn't turning his back on the dark side; she was simply in his way. With this revelation, Starkiller changed over to the Juyo form, seizing the offensive. Starkiller began rapidly gaining ground, and an increasingly desperate Brood began to lose concentration.
As they charged one another, Brood managed to evade Starkiller's attack, hiding herself with the Force while throwing her dual guard shotos at Starkiller. Starkiller managed to dodge the blades, and turned to see Brood catch them as she leaped at him. Starkiller caught her in a telekinetic grip and slammed her against the ground. She managed to evade Starkiller's attack, again concealing herself as he rammed his lightsaber into the ground. As he looked about for her, she ran at him from behind before dropping down and sliding at his legs, throwing Starkiller off his feet and disarming him. Starkiller only barely managed to reclaim his lightsaber in time to block her scissoring strike, driving her back and acrobatically flipping onto his feet. As he searched about for her, she again attacked him from behind, though this time he was ready, striking at her leg and knocking her to the ground. Refusing Brood the time needed to recover, Starkiller telekinetically grasped her, raised her up and slammed Brood against the ground.
Beaten and exhausted, Brood surrendered, promising to turn away from the dark side in exchange for mercy. Starkiller was skeptical about her sincerity, seeing that her talents and skills were poisoned; inwardly focused towards survival. He considered her not worthy of the dark side. However, he relented, though he refused to transport her off-planet, and she fled the scene. Bail Organa disapproved of letting her go, as she reminded him too much of another fallen Jedi that he had known. Starkiller asserted that she wasn't truly free, and that she would always carry the memories of her actions with her. Starkiller then broached the subject of revolution, though Organa asked to speak with Kota directly about the matter first. Starkiller had Juno retrieve Organa and he directly from the Rancor Graveyard, barely avoiding a horde of scavengers eager to devour the bull rancor's corpse. Meeting with Kota, Organa asserted that open rebellion was too dangerous at the moment, and that any potential members had to be shown that the Empire was vulnerable. Starkiller agreed to "meditate" on how best to find an appropriate target.
In truth, he sent a message to Darth Vader inquiring about such a target. While he awaited the Dark Lord's response, PROXY attacked. Starkiller was impressed by PROXY's latest combat module, based on Anakin Skywalker, but his heart wasn't in the fight since his experience in battling real Jedi left PROXY's assassination attempts far less challenging. Starkiller backed PROXY into a corner and impaled him. However, that was when Vader's response arrived, and the Anakin Skywalker hologram bizarrely morphed into Vader. Vader was satisfied by Starkiller's progress, and provided him with a target—a newly constructed Star Destroyer shipyard above Raxus Prime. However, Vader also admonished Starkiller for his developing emotional attachments to his new allies. Reminding Starkiller of where his true allegiance belonged, Vader terminated his link through PROXY.
PROXY commented that he hated "being" Vader, with Starkiller mentioning that Vader probably did as well. At that moment, however, PROXY noticed that Juno was in the chamber, having witnessed the entire exchange. Although Eclipse was furious that Starkiller was still loyal to Vader, she decided to remain with Starkiller, believing that the fate of the Rebellion would ultimately be in the hands of the apprentice—not his Master. After the confrontation with Juno, Starkiller replaced the crystal in his lightsaber, formerly Kota's, with the blue crystal he had found in his ruined family home on Kashyyyk, thus making the weapon truly his own.
- Starkiller: "I have recruited others to my cause, but now I need your council. My allies seek a major strike against the Empire."
- Darth Vader: "The Emperor rules the galaxy through fear. You must destroy a symbol of that fear. The Empire is building Star Destroyers above Raxus Prime. That shipyard is your next target."
- ―Starkiller and Darth Vader[src]
Juno and PROXY conceived of the plan of attack for destroying the Star Destroyer shipyard. On the surface of Raxus Prime was a colossal ore cannon used to fire raw materials into low orbit for retrieval and use within the shipyard, and Starkiller would simply commandeer the cannon and fire it directly at the shipyard, destroying it in the process. As Starkiller prepared to depart, Rahm Kota inquired as to whether there has been any mention of Kazdan Paratus. Juno informed him no, and Starkiller hid his apology behind a display of sympathy, though Kota brushed it off.
While Starkiller progressed across the treacherous terrain cautiously, he did so with less vigor than usual, being distracted by various things. He was now giving serious thought to a future with Juno, rather than accepting it as a given as he had up until this point. His reverie was interrupted when Juno informed him of activity in his area; Drexl Roosh's gang. Chiding himself for getting distracted, Starkiller began paying more attention to his surroundings. As he picked his way through the planetary junkyard, he began seeking out the old network of sewers that lay under the lower levels of trash heap. Finding a way in, he progressed much more quickly, only twice needing to find an alternate route due to cave in.
As he neared the massive ore cannon, he began looking for a way out. As he ascended, he was ambushed by Drexl Roosh and his gang. Roosh was looking for revenge against Starkiller for bringing the Empire down on Raxus Prime; Kazdan Paratus and his droids had kept the Imperials at bay for years, and his death had allowed them to move in. Now Roosh and his gang had nothing to salvage or excavate, as the Empire simply got there first. Roosh ordered his cronies to open fire on Starkiller, despite the Force adept's attempt to reason with him. Starkiller fought back, unleashing a telekinetic shove to throw all the gangmembers off their feet, and attacking them with his lightsaber before they could recover. Starkiller continued down the tunnel, suddenly coming out into the gang's base camp. Using telekinesis and blast-deflections from a salvaged quad-laser cannon, Starkiller brought down portions of the roof, spreading chaos amongst the already disorganized gangmembers. Roosh himself attempted to flee with his jetpack, but Starkiller knew that the salvager's knowledge of his involvement in Kazdan Paratus' death made him a liability. Starkiller grasped Roosh and redirected his flight towards the ceiling, completely collapsing the roof of the junk hall.
Exiting the sewers near the ore cannon, Starkiller began plotting out a plan of attack, but ultimately decided Don't think. Just do! As he carved his way through the installation, he started dwelling on the limits of his knowledge and powers. All that he could do was kill and destroy; he had no knowledge of any higher levels of mastery. Coming to understand that ruling the galaxy took more than brute force, he realized that the power of Darth Vader and the Emperor came from fear.
As he climbed higher and higher through the massive cannon's inner workings, Starkiller was suddenly ambushed by a Shadow Guard. Starkiller managed to fend off the guardsman, and it fell back. However, the guard's holoshroud suddenly dissolved, revealing it to be PROXY. The holodroid had judged that Starkiller was at his most vulnerable at this point, and thus he sought to fulfill his primary programming by killing the apprentice. PROXY attacked, switching between combat modules based on Maris Brood, Shaak Ti and Rahm Kota, in addition to the Shadow Guard. However, Starkiller's experience against the actual individuals rendered the modules ineffective, and Starkiller demanded that PROXY back down, as he simply had no one that he hadn't already defeated.
It was then that PROXY revealed one module that he had kept secret for years: the Dathomirian Zabrak Sith Lord Darth Maul. Using this new module, PROXY was able to catch Starkiller off-guard, but he was ultimately outclassed. As they engaged in a flurry of bladework, PROXY retreated onto an overhead gantry, pursued by Starkiller. As their battle renewed on the platform, Starkiller managed to cut PROXY's double-bladed lightsaber in half. PROXY, now holding two lightsabers, overbalanced on the platform's outer edge, almost falling off of the ore cannon superstructure, but Starkiller grabbed hold of the droid's lightsaber hilts, pulling him back. Holding PROXY by his weapons, Starkiller flung PROXY against a large pipe, disarming the droid before rushing and impaling him with the two lightsabers. With PROXY defeated and pinned against the pipe, Starkiller continued up to the ore cannon's top deck. Once there, he circled around the cannon's muzzle, overloading the rail-gun tracks to redirect it's fire. His efforts proved successful and the ore cannon fired into the shipyard above, destroying it completely.
However, there was a complication. One of the Star Destroyers survived the explosion and began plummeting towards the surface of Raxus Prime; directly at the ore cannon. Unable to get clear in time, Starkiller was advised by Kota to do something that even he judged to be insane; telekinetically pull the Star Destroyer out of the sky into a controlled crash. Initially considering this idea impossible, Starkiller ultimately opted to attempt it when reminded that compared to the Force, size and mass meant nothing. Focusing entirely on the cruiser, Starkiller began to adjust it's flightpath. He had to correct on his initial changes, as he didn't want it to tumble or break apart. As Starkiller pulled the Destroyer down, he began to panic as the scale of his action started to overwhelm him, and he tried invoking his childhood name; Galen. However, this produced no answer, so he instead did it for Juno. The Star Destroyer smashed into the surface just short of the ore cannon, spreading a literal tsunami of junk across the surrounding area. The Destroyer continued to skid across the surface towards the cannon, despite Starkiller's attempts to brake it, and Starkiller leapt off the cannon deck as the starship crashed into it.
Starkiller managed to survive the devastation, extricating himself from the rubble and answering Kota's frantic coms. As he regained his feet, he heard a disturbance behind him, drawing his lightsaber and facing it. It was PROXY; damaged during his duel with Starkiller and in the destruction caused by the Star Destroyer crash, portions of his processor had been burned out, erasing his primary programming. Bereft of his guiding directives, PROXY felt that he had been rendered useless and asked to be left behind to which Starkiller adamantly refused to do.
Return to Bespin
- Starkiller: "I have a message from Master Rahm Kota for the Senator."
- Lobot: "The Senator is unavailable at the moment. The entire city has been overrun by criminals."
- ―Starkiller and Lobot[src]
With the successful destruction of the Star Destroyer shipyard, word of revolution was beginning to spread. Rahm Kota managed to set up a meeting with Garm Bel Iblis of Corellia on Cloud City. Bel Iblis was a firebrand in the Senate who absolutely opposed both Emperor Palpatine and his New Order, and thus he wished to discuss an alliance with Starkiller. Upon arrival at Cloud City, they found it overrun by criminals. Starkiller made contact with Lobot, the city's chief administrator, who informed him that Garm Bel Iblis was attempting to negotiate with the leader of the criminals, the Mandalorian Chop'aa Notimo. Kota encouraged confronting Chop'aa as a way of proving his worth to Bel Iblis.
As Starkiller made his way into Cloud City, he was quickly confronted by Chop'aa underlings, though they were no match for his power. Making short work of the mercenaries, he ascended to one of the rooftop landing platforms and destroyed one of Chop'aa's dropships. While Lobot and the Cloud City guards secured the area, Starkiller moved on. As he crossed a large, circular platform, Starkiller was ambushed by a group of Mandalorian jetpackers. He manages to defeat them, though with difficulty. Cutting his way up to one of the rooftop walkways, Starkiller fought alongside Cloud City security forces against a massed force of mercenaries. With Starkiller's help, the mercs were quickly dealt with, though the security team did suffer casualties. Clearing the rest of the building, Starkiller approached Lobot and asked for Bel Iblis' specific location, only to be informed that the Senator had been captured by a bounty hunter named Kleef, one of Chop'aa's underlings. Knowing that the Senator's survival was important to his mission, Starkiller had no choice but to rescue Bel Iblis.
Fighting his way to Kleef's location, Starkiller confronted him, only to learn that he had handed Bel Iblis over to Chop'aa. Kleef himself drew his blade and activated his two Heavy Tactical Fighting Unit droids. Starkiller managed to disable the droids, going toe-to-toe with Kleef. The Gungan was a surprisingly able vibroblade duelist, though ultimately no match for Starkiller. Starkiller cut the blade off the weapon before grasping the hapless bounty hunter in a Force grip and dropping him off the side of the building. Having dealt with Kleef, Starkiller contacted Juno and ordered her to prime the ship for launch in case he required a quick exit. Fighting his way to Chop'aa's location, Starkiller came face-to-face with the criminal ringleader and demanded for the release of Bel Iblis.
Chop'aa was glad for Starkiller's arrival, believing the Sith assassin to be a Jedi, and thus he was quite eager to confront him. Declaring that Bel Iblis' talks had failed, Chop'aa and two Mandalorian underlings attacked the apprentice. Starkiller managed to defeat the jetpackers, but Chop'aa donned his helmet and summoned his basilisk war droid. Running circles around the behemoth to dodge its fire, Starkiller managed to leap onto its back, fighting the mounted Chop'aa while using Force lightning to block the droid's attempts to knock him off. Leaping off of the war droid, Starkiller telekinetically slammed it against a wall and disabled its internal functions. He then wrenched it to the ground as it exploded. An enraged Chop'aa charged out of the wreckage, eager for blood. While the Mandalorian was an impressive fighter with his double-pronged Electrostaff, he was ultimately no match for Starkiller's Sith combat training, and the Force adept cut him down.
As Lobot and the Cloud City security forces rushed in and secured the area, Starkiller approached Bel Iblis about joining the Rebellion. Bel Iblis agreed, leaving with Lobot with the assurance that he would contact Kota soon.
- Starkiller: "You never planned to destroy the Emperor."
- Darth Vader: "Not with you, no."
- Starkiller: "Without me, you'll never be free."
- ―Starkiller and Darth Vader[src]
Bail Organa informed Starkiller that he, Garm Bel Iblis and Mon Mothma were conducting a series of meetings at Cantham House on Coruscant. The meetings were apparently going well, though Starkiller noted that the involvement of the two noted resistance leaders raised the stakes dangerously.
During the interim, Starkiller hid out near Rhommamool, waiting for updates and using the time to purchase a new pair of shoulder servos for PROXY. Starkiller also passed some of the time by sparring with Kota, but also had to dodge the Jedi's questions about his past. Soon thereafter, Starkiller was contacted by Darth Vader. With Juno witnessing the exchange, Starkiller informed the Dark Lord that while the pieces were falling into place, the Rebels were still scared and were only beginning to trust him. Starkiller cautioned that if he and Vader were discovered communicating, or if the Rebels even suspected his past, then the entire mission would be a failure. Vader stipulated that Starkiller contact him soon before severing the link. When Juno questioned Vader's intentions, Starkiller assured her that the Dark Lord wouldn't endanger the mission by intervening, regardless of his doubts. Starkiller further stated that he was doing what was right, for both himself and Juno.
When they received word from Organa, they traveled to Corellia to meet with him and the other leaders. The meeting came to a swift conclusion, already establishing the command structure of the Alliance to Restore the Republic. Bail Organa's wealth would fund the rebellion, Garm Bel Iblis would provide the military hardware and Mon Mothma the soldiery. Starkiller would be the ultimate leader and figurehead, his involvement providing the power of the Force. Rahm Kota then appeared, sober and cleaned up, declaring that he would join as well, if he was welcome. Bail Organa finalized the Corellian Treaty, and rebellion was officially declared against the Galactic Empire.
Just at that moment, the mountaintop temple ruin they were using as their meeting place was attacked by the Imperial Military. As Imperial snowtroopers burst into the chamber, Organa ordered PROXY to cut Leia Organa's communication to hide her involvement. Darth Vader marched into the chamber, ordering his troopers to take the Rebels alive for personal execution by the Emperor. Kota drew his lightsaber and rushed Vader, but the Sith Lord simply caught him in a telekinetic stranglehold and tossed him aside. With Kota disabled and the Rebels surrounded by snowtroopers, Vader advanced on Starkiller, complimenting his pupil's performance and revealing his status as the Dark Lord's secret apprentice to the shocked Rebels. Vader then cast the stone table at the center of the chamber at Starkiller, driving him outside into the snow. Starkiller managed to survive, thankful that his reconstruction on the Empirical had drastically increased his physical endurance. Attempting to regain his feet, Starkiller angrily questioned Vader for interfering as the Sith Lord had agreed to stay away. Vader revealed that he had lied, and not just about Starkiller's "mission", but from the very beginning.
Starkiller quickly deduced that the "very beginning" referred to the start of his apprenticeship, and thus he realized that his entire life had been a sham, and that Vader never intended to destroy the Emperor. Darth Vader confirmed this, though he added that he didn't intend to dethrone the Emperor with Starkiller specifically. Lifting Starkiller in a Force grip, Vader tossed him towards the edge of the mountaintop cliff, though Starkiller managed to cling to the brink. Accepting that his true mission—to gather the Rebels for quick capture and execution—was complete, Starkiller concluded that he deserved to die for plotting to use the Rebel Alliance for his own ends, though he remained angry at having been outwitted. As Vader advanced to kill his own disciple, Starkiller declared that without him, Darth Vader would never be free. Vader raised his lightsaber and prepared to strike, but was forced to break off when he was attacked by Obi-Wan Kenobi. Though caught off-guard, Vader quickly rallied and defeated his opponent—revealed to be PROXY using his Obi-Wan Kenobi combat module. During the brief fight, Starkiller lost his grip of the cliff ledge and fell to the bottom.
Although he survived the fall, Starkiller laid unconscious in the snow for some time. When Juno, who had escaped the Imperials, arrived aboard the Rogue Shadow to find him, Starkiller had regained consciousness, though he was still weak. When Juno came out to help him aboard, he revealed his birth name to her.
Infiltrating the Death Star
- Juno Eclipse: "I have a really bad feeling about this."
- Galen Marek: "Then maybe we're doing something right."
- Eclipse: "Will I ever see you again?"
- Marek: "If I can free the rebels, then they're going to need extraction…Probably not, no"
- Eclipse: "Then I'll never need to live this down... (Juno kisses Galen)"
- Galen Marek: "(after the kiss) Goodbye, Juno."
- ―The last words between Galen Marek and Juno Eclipse.[src]
Rejecting the codename "Starkiller", Darth Vader's former apprentice reclaimed his birth name, Galen Marek, and for the first time, considered himself as a Jedi. Opting to save the Rebel Alliance by tracking down both Vader and the Senators, Galen entered into deep meditation in an attempt to provoke a Force vision. Although successful in his attempt, he was almost overwhelmed by a plethora of possible futures. Focusing on one of the common elements, he discovered the location of the Rebels—the incomplete Death Star. Travelling to the Horuz system, they used the Rogue Shadow's cloaking devise to approach the massive battle station, entering the thin atmosphere maintained for the workers and slaves building the behemoth. Standing on the open boarding ramp of the Shadow, Galen and Juno exchanged their last words. When inquired as to whether or not he would survive, Galen reluctantly answered that he would most likely die in the attempted rescue. Juno then rushed forward and kissed him on the lips, reasoning that she would never have to live it down. At first, Galen was surprised by Juno's sudden action, but then he returned the embrace. After their first and last kiss, Galen said farewell and leapt into the Death Star's extensive superstructure.
Landing on the exterior hull in a clear patch between two construction sites, Galen attempted probing about for the Rebels, but found their Force signatures obscured by both the widespread suffering and despair within the Death Star, and especially by Palpatine's presence. Darting cover to cover, Galen advanced on two Imperial stormtroopers on a scaffold, overseeing a string of Wookiee slaves. Telekinetically choking one into unconsciousness, he manipulated the other into providing him with information before inducing him to fall asleep. As the slave overseers knew little about the movements of either Palpatine or Darth Vader, or even about the Death Star's layout, Galen opted to ask the construction workers; the slaves themselves. Attacking the Imperials and freeing the slaves, Galen began a revolt. While the Wookiees began fighting, Galen recruited a pair to guide him to the Emperor's location. Led through the confined inner workings of the Death Star, Galen was directed towards one of the supralaser tubes.
Following the tube, engaged by the Imperial forces attempting to stop him, Galen reached a convergence chamber. The massive room held the entrance to the Emperor's observation dome, and Galen ascended the catwalks and ledges towards the elaborate portal. Reaching the door platform, he was suddenly confronted by a Shadow Guardsman, reinforced by four Imperial Guardsmen. Galen made short work of the Red Guards, and squared off against the Shadow guardsman. Grappling with the Darksider, Galen ended the fight by breaking his opponent's neck. He then telekinetically activated the locking mechanism to gain access through the massive door that led into the Emperor's observation dome.
As he charged along the corridor towards the observation dome, he was spied by the security systems. Darth Vader emerged through the entrance to the dome, lightsaber ignited. Vader acknowledged that he had trained his student well, but declared that Galen still had much to learn, though Galen countered that Vader had nothing left to teach him. Vader, utterly confident that he would best Galen easily, opened the battle with a simple double strike. Galen was caught off-guard by the power of the blow, which jarred his wrists and shoulders and nearly disarmed him. Vader used Galen's momentary lack of composure to attack him telekinetically, though Galen managed to sweep aside the missiles. Ducking under two savage slashes, he stabbed at the Dark Lord's abdomen before flicking his blade up, trying to spear Vader through the throat. Vader only barely managed to block, and both combatants momentarily broke off.
Galen realized that until this duel, he and Vader had never truly fought as equals; during his training, either Galen would capitulate or Vader would hold back. They fought back and forth, with Galen taking a defensive stance against Vader's overwhelming offense. As he fended off Vader's series of attacks, he danced around the Dark Lord's defenses, testing their limits, all the while taunting Vader. He mocked his former master with the knowledge that, while Galen had broken free from Vader's control, Vader himself lacked the wherewithal to free himself from Sidious. Realizing that there were better ways to kill than to call on his anger, Galen came to pity Vader, seeing the Dark Lord as a result of the same manipulations and abuse as himself, and thus desired to kill him as a way of "freeing" his former Master from the pain of being enslaved to the Sith. Galen's taunts, especially his professions of pity, enraged Vader, who ramped up the intensity of his attack. Galen continued to use his self-taught Soresu to great effect, wasting little energy and turning Vader's would-be death blows into superficial burns. As Vader continued to relentlessly attack, Galen suddenly counter-attacked with a blast of Force lightning, which broke Vader's momentum and forced him onto the defensive for the first time. Galen began to steadily gain ground while Vader fell back.
Eventually, Galen saw an opening in Vader's defenses and took advantage of it, slashing Vader across the throat. Surprised but elated, Galen scored two more hits on the Dark Lord in short order before telekinetically pummeling Vader with any and all objects he could find. The last such missile was an energy field generator, which detonated on impact with Vader. The blast severely damaged the Sith Lord's armor and respirator, and destroyed most of his mask and helmet. As Galen approached his former master, intending to finish him, he saw Vader's face uncovered for the first time. Vader, much to the shock and surprise of Galen, was a terribly scarred old man, in whose eyes Galen saw only pain and exhaustion.
As he froze, Palpatine approached, praising Galen for his victory. Seeing a perfect opportunity to replace his hobbled apprentice, Palpatine gleefully encouraged Galen to execute Darth Vader and take his rightful place at the Emperor's side. Galen became conflicted; the changes brought on by his recent experiences with the Rebels warring against his desire to continue using the dark side and become a true Sith Lord. In addition, though Vader's horribly scarred visage elicited pity from Galen, a significant part of him still wanted revenge.
Rahm Kota, sensing Galen's indecision, intervened and telekinetically snatched Palpatine's lightsaber, using it to kill his guards before rushing the Emperor himself. Palpatine easily fended off Kota with a blast of Force lightning, prompting Bail Organa to call on Galen to help the Jedi General. The sudden violence snapped Galen back to reality, and he realized that he didn't want to go back to what he once was; not after seeing what it did to people. He came to understand that executing Vader would accomplish nothing, whereas saving the Rebels could change the course of history. With his final decision made, he resisted the urge to kill Vader and instead attacked Palpatine.
The two powerful Force-wielders battled back and forth, trading telekinetic and lightning attacks. Over the course of their contest, Palpatine would occasionally break off and allow intervening Imperial Senate and Royal guardsmen to engage Galen, though the Jedi made quick work of them. As they fought, Palpatine revealed that Galen had never been Vader's "secret" apprentice, and that he was abducted from Kashyyyk on the Emperor's orders. Darth Vader had been little more than a proxy; it was Darth Sidious who had been Galen Marek's true master all along. Enraged by the sudden revelation, Galen seized the offensive by further pressing his attack against the Emperor. Dodging Palpatine's Force lightning strikes, or channelling them into his lightsaber, Galen closed the distance. Throwing Palpatine off of his feet with a telekinetic shockwave, Galen then blasted the Dark Lord of the Sith against the ceiling of the dome with a Force push before slamming him against the ground.
- Darth Vader: "He is dead."
- Palpatine: "Then he is now more powerful than ever."
- ―Darth Vader and Palpatine lament Galen's death.[src]
Tossing his comlink to the Rebels so they could call Juno for evac, Galen advanced on the prone Emperor. Darth Sidious rose to his knees and declared that it was Galen's destiny to destroy him, by giving in to his hatred. Galen initially struggled with the urge to do so, but repented in the end, extinguishing his lightsaber. As the Rogue Shadow landed nearby, Starkiller told Kota to get the Rebels aboard, but then Palpatine sprung into action. Snarling at Kota that neither the Rebels or the Jedi could ever have Galen, Palpatine roared to his feet and fired a blast of lightning into the Jedi Master's back. Without hesitation, Galen immediately stepped into the stream, taking the full brunt of it himself. The pain was unlike anything he had ever endured under the years of Darth Vader's tutelage; the sheer and overwhelming power of the Emperor's lightning caused Galen to feel as though a star was igniting within his chest.
Overcoming the pain just enough to absorb and gather the energy, Galen advanced on Palpatine as the two remained locked in the chain of lightning. At the same time, he noticed that a squadron of stormtroopers had entered the chamber, with Darth Vader limping behind them, in pursuit of the fleeing Rebel leaders. With no other option left, Galen grabbed the Emperor's shoulders and redirected the lightning into the Dark Lord, causing Sidious to share in the agonizing pain of his own power. Driven by concern for his friends, Galen embraced the Force completely and released all of the pent up energy, resulting in a massive shock wave that killed the stormtroopers and destroyed much of the dome.
In the last moments of his life, Galen felt himself leaving his body as death took hold of him. With his final thought centered on Juno Eclipse, Galen Marek whispered his birth name for the last time and died. Although he ultimately perished as a result of the explosion of Force energy, he transcended physical existence and became one with the Force.
- "Are we ready to finish what he started?"
- ―Bail Organa
Palpatine was far from pleased with the results of the battle on the Death Star. Not only was he robbed of an extremely powerful new apprentice and still burdened with the diminished Vader, but the prisoners had escaped and would go on to lead a rebellion that had inadvertently been created by the two Sith Lords themselves. However, thanks to Marek's actions, the Empire finally knew who their enemies were and Vader vowed to hunt down and crush them, as his Master intended long ago. Sidious correctly foresaw that the Rebels had to be quickly and decisively dealt with, or else they could very well pose a grave threat to his totalitarian rule. The duel also had another outcome in that it drove a further wedge between the Sith Lords. Vader realized that Sidious desired a new apprentice, and as a result he became determined to find a powerful Force-sensitive apprentice to help him overthrow his Master in earnest.
Marek's sacrifice inspired the Rebels to finish what he began: a full scale revolution against the Empire. Juno and Bail recovered PROXY from the snow on Corellia who then revealed that Marek told him that if anything happened to him, PROXY was to be in the charge of Juno. Immediately after recovering PROXY, they along with the other founders of the rebellion met on Kashyyyk. Princess Leia proposed that the Rebels use the Marek family crest as a symbol of hope to rally behind, with which all agreed.
Juno asked Kota if he knew that the man who created the alliance was the same one who tried to kill him less than a year earlier. Kota revealed that he had always known, and still agreed to help. He explained that despite all of the dark thoughts that filled the Sith assassin's mind, Kota was able to glimpse at the one bright thing that Galen held on to until the very end: Juno.
- Dark Apprentice: "Who was he?"
- Darth Vader: "It does not matter. He was broken, and weak. You are already more powerful than he ever was."
- ―The Dark Apprentice and his Master, Darth Vader[src]
Six months after the death of Galen Marek, Darth Vader brought his body to Kamino and stored it within the cloning facility of Timira City. The body would serve as the genetic template that Vader needed, hoping to clone a more powerful and obedient version of his deceased apprentice. However, due to side effects caused by the accelerated cloning process and memory flashes used in their training, the clones retained the original Marek's memories and emotions and were constantly haunted by visions of his life, many going insane within months. After numerous failures, Vader finally created a clone that appeared stable enough to be the first success. Unfortunately, however, the clone began to suffer from the same visions that his predecessors did.
By failing to live up to Vader's expectations, the clone was forced to escape from Kamino in order to avoid sharing the fate of the previous clones. Driven by the emotional imprints he retained from Marek, he endeavored to locate Juno Eclipse. By the time he encountered General Kota, the clone had become known by Marek's code name Starkiller, having refused to be called by his template's real name. During the course of his mission to find Eclipse, the clone gradually became confused about his origins, partly because Kota claimed that Force-sensitives had never been cloned in the past. After defeating Vader in combat and rescuing Eclipse from captivity, Starkiller remained uncertain about whether he was a clone or not. He rationalized that it did not matter, since he had broken Vader's control over him, to which Vader calmly stated that he would always control Starkiller as long as Juno Eclipse lived.
Unknown to "Starkiller," however, Darth Vader did indeed perfect the cloning procedure as shown by the progress made by the latest clone he activated. Like his clone "brothers" before him, this clone was also confronted by the imprinted memories and emotions of his template, particularly Marek's feelings for Juno Eclipse. In the early phase of his training, he was confused by the original Starkiller's memories and was unsure as to whether or not they actually belonged to him or someone else. His curiosity also caused him to wonder about how many clones were created before him, as well as what kind of person his progenitor was. Vader saw no reason to indulge any of the clone's questions with detailed answers, merely stating that the original Starkiller was a broken man and all that mattered was how many more would have to be created if the clone failed to complete his training. But as the clone progressed through his trials, the lead cloning technician was pleased to discover that the clone had developed the ability to compartmentalize his template's memories and distinguish them as separate from his own experience.
As the clone reached the pinnacle of his training, Vader brought him to the chamber that contained Galen Marek's body. The Sith Lord had not only confirmed what the clone already knew to be true, but also revealed the fact that the clone had surpassed all of the failures that preceded him. By then, the clone had managed to free himself from Marek's emotions and proved it by striking down a Sith training droid that was impersonating Eclipse. By learning to hate his former self's weaknesses, the clone had essentially become Darth Vader's Dark Apprentice. When "Starkiller," his renegade counterpart, returned to Kamino with a Rebel fleet, Vader ordered the apprentice to not interfere until he was needed—only then would his training be complete. The battle did not go according to plan, however. Darth Vader was defeated and captured by the other clone, with no interference from the Dark Apprentice. Prior to the battle, however, Starkiller received a vision of an "alternate outcome" that involved the Dark Apprentice and what he would have done if Starkiller tried to strike down Vader.
Powers and abilities
- "…can't identify the style, and it would help me understand you if you'd tell me who your original teacher was."
- ―Rahm Kota commentating on Galen Marek's combat style.
Galen Marek's early lightsaber training consisted of a simple tutorial in the basics, before Darth Vader took to fighting him in brutal sparring matches, the goal being to encourage his apprentice to develop his own methods. He sparred frequently with his master, as well as engaging in many vicious duels with his training droid, PROXY, and won every single time. An incredibly skilled lightsaber duelist, Marek was able to defeat the droid's training programs replicating some legendary duelists such as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Maul. Marek was able to defeat Rahm Kota, Kazdan Paratus and Maris Brood, and he even managed to overwhelm Shaak Ti and his former Master Darth Vader, both of whom were two of the greatest duelists of their time.
Marek had a basic familiarity with all seven forms of lightsaber combat, able to recognize them in his opponent's style and technique. For himself, he specialized in Juyo, Shien and Soresu. His application of Juyo was highly focused and aggressive, his style being randomized and unpredictable, laced with sudden Force-based attacks in the midst of complex lightsaber sequences. His focus and concentration allowed him to bring down opponents through sheer tenacity, though it also led him to ignore his surroundings and left him open to attacks from other directions.
Whenever forced onto the defensive, he would fall back on his practice of Soresu. Marek's Form III usage was largely self-taught, his skills acquired through imitation of PROXY's Obi-Wan Kenobi combat module. Despite his lack of formal training, Marek's prowess in Soresu was considerable. A notable application of his improvised Form III usage was during his duel with Rahm Kota, where Marek's skill enabled him to hold off Kota's Juyo frenzy long enough to tire out the Jedi. He also employed this technique during his duel with Darth Vader, allowing his overconfident opponent to wear himself out and then counter-attack. Marek also proved able to defend himself against other highly aggressive duelists such as Kazdan Paratus and Maris Brood, ultimately allowing him to defeat them.
Marek was also highly skilled in the use of Shien, heavily favoring the unorthodox reversed grip of the form. He practiced a variant of the style known as "Sith Shien", a fighting method that relied on sudden and rapid attacks to bring down an opponent quickly.
- "You are Vader's slave…but your power is wasted with him. You could be so much more."
- ―Shaak Ti commenting on Galen Marek's incredible Force potential
Galen Marek was exceptionally powerful in the Force, with the potential to become one of the most powerful Force-users of all time. Emperor Palpatine believed that Marek's strength in the Force could rival his own in time. As a young adult, his abilities had developed to the point where he was able to defeat Darth Vader in single combat, prior to his death at the hands of the Emperor.
Marek's skills with telekinesis were considerable, and he often cleared entire hallways and rooms with powerful Force pushes and repulses, and even caught TIE fighters in mid-flight. Proficient at telekinetic lightsaber combat, he would often direct his lightsaber to seek out specific enemies and impale them, often killing them instantly. He was even able to redirect fired missiles and ballistics. Through the use of telekinesis, he could, albeit with great effort, change the direction of a falling Imperial I-class Star Destroyer and force it to the ground. In addition, Marek was also able to use this ability for fine manipulation, such as by dismantling and reassembling his lightsaber during meditation sessions.
As a trained Sith apprentice, Marek grew to master Force lightning. He could cast energy so powerful that it would kill an opponent with a single blast, and could target more than one opponent at a time. He was also able to channel lightning attacks through his lightsaber, thus amplifying blade attacks with dark side energy. He applied lightning in a more tactical manner, charging up or shorting out certain types of machinery. His proficiency with Force lightning was evident not only in his use of the technique as an attack, but also in his ability to deflect it, as demonstrated when he battled the Emperor aboard the Death Star. Furthermore, Marek could manipulate the technique to generate Sith Seekers, essentially a combination of Force push and Force lightning.
Another power that Marek learned during his time as a secret apprentice was mind trick, the ability to control the minds of other individuals, especially weak-willed beings. Through this technique, Marek could compel subjects to do his bidding, ignore his presence, or simply lose consciousness. In battle, he would use this skill to confuse his enemies and spread disorganization and chaos. In addition to his considerable array of techniques, he possessed a version of the Force speed ability, which enabled him to dart quickly across short distances.
Trained to be a living weapon, Marek's use of the dark side's combative nature was exceptional, but also rendered him nearly incapable at developing alternative and less aggressive Force powers. Before his conversion to the light side, he was incapable of voluntary farsight, despite frequent attempts.
Marek’s first lightsaber appeared to be based on the design utilized by Darth Vader, featuring an emitter shroud and a mostly solid casing. However, rather than follow the over-sized, bulky design of his master’s weapon, Marek opted for a considerably more skeletal make. His weapon featured an exposed crystal chamber, and rather than include a handgrip, the whole of the weapon was sheathed in somewhat tarnished looking bare-metal. The blade utilized a set of red crystals supplied by Vader.
In addition to wielding it in combat, Marek also used the weapon to aid in his meditations, either holding it in front of his face and staring into the ignited blade, or telekinetically dismantling and reassembling it.
This weapon was ultimately lost when Marek was first betrayed by Vader, when he was impaled, telekinetically pummeled, and hurled into space. The lightsaber was lost in the vacuum.
After his "resurrection" on board the Empirical, Marek was given the weapon of Rahm Kota, which he had originally retrieved for Vader during his duel with the Jedi Master. Marek quickly adjusted to the green-bladed weapon, utilizing it during his escape from the Empirical. The weapon saw use on Cloud City and Kashyyyk against the likes of the Imperial Shadow guard and Captain Ozzik Sturn.
However, while Marek wielded the weapon successfully in combat, he never truly felt that it was his own, and was unsuccessful at utilizing it in his meditations. To rectify this, he replaced the green lightsaber crystal utilized by Kota with a blue crystal he found on Kashyyyk in the ruins of his family’s hut, the crystal from his father’s lightsaber. After an hour of fine tuning to fit in the new crystal, the weapon was finished.
The newly modified weapon made Marek feel as though it was truly his lightsaber from that moment on. With the new aqua-colored crystal, the blade seemed lighter and moved more readily in Marek’s hands. He also noted the weapon's superior optical properties.
After its modification, Marek continued to use the weapon, ultimately using it against the very man who gave it to him—Darth Vader. After defeating Vader, Marek wielded the weapon against his former Master’s master, Palpatine. Marek managed to subdue Palpatine, but ultimately was incapacitated by the Emperor's force lightning, which Marek blocked to save his friends from Palpatine’s wrath—at the cost of his own life. The weapon remained with Marek until his death and was found beside him by Vader and Palpatine. As the Emperor turned to leave, Vader crushed the lightsaber to dust beneath his boot heel.
Marek's original crystals were a set of red synth-crystals supplied by Darth Vader. He favored the color, as it would make him think of blood and fire during his meditations, strengthening his connection to the dark side. These crystals were lost with his original lightsaber.
Galen was uncomfortable with the green crystals in Kota's lightsaber, as they interfered with his concentration during meditation, and continuously reminded him of the lightsaber's former ownership. He found that the aqua crystals from his father's lightsaber were much more to his liking, as they possessed superior optical qualities and the blade itself was somewhat easier to handle. He noted that the blue color made him think of oceans and rain, rather than the more destructive imagery fostered by his red lightsaber blade, though this didn't overly concern him. Despite this, he remained hopeful that Vader would provide him with a new set of red crystals when the time came to construct a new Sith lightsaber.
In addition to these crystals, Galen possessed crystals of various different colors, such as yellow, gold and purple, all in compressed and unstable varieties, signifying them to be synthetic in origin. Also, he possessed a rarely seen crystal that produced a black blade.
During his years of training under Darth Vader, Galen Marek clad himself in a simple Imperial combat uniform. However, due to the years of wear and tear it suffered, by 3 BBY, the uniform was a tattered mess, held together only by Marek’s mending. Marek also possessed two variations of this basic outfit. After many years of use, the worn-out suit was mended for the harsh conditions Marek faced on his numerous missions for his master.[source?]
The first was the heavy gear, which he wore during his time on Raxus Prime, hunting for Kazdan Paratus. Essentially a makeshift hazardous environment suit, this variation was made of thick, heavy-duty fabrics to protect against the caustic environment of the planet, a large wrap-around cape to protect his neck and the lower half of his face, and it featured heavy metal gauntlets to protect his hands from the jagged metal edges in the Raxus wastes.
The second was the light training gear, which he wore on Felucia during his hunt for Shaak Ti. Being designed for hot and humid environments, the outfit was essentially a stripped-down version of his basic combat uniform. The light gear consisted of his basic uniform pants with wraps covering his arms and gut, but with the exception of straps holding on the arm-wraps, his chest and upper back were left bare. One of the straps across his chest included a set of leather pockets attached, and he kept a Rangefinder slung across his back.
During his time aboard the Empirical, Marek was clad in a simple, standard issue Imperial medical robe.
When Marek was given his new mission to found the Rebel Alliance, the Rogue Shadow was given a fully stocked wardrobe. For the most part, the color range was limited to either black or brown, depending on whether he was representing the Sith or the Jedi, though he did possess other outfits. His original garment provided by Darth Vader during the mission was a heavy Sith robe that featured light armor plates and a large, flowing black cape. One of his notable Jedi-inspired garments was the Jedi Adventure Robe that he donned during the Corellian Treaty, and continued to wear during his assault on the Death Star.
Marek's bounty hunter disguise demonstrated a strong Mandalorian influence, notably in the breastplate and vambraces. His Corellian Flight suit was predominantly green, and featured a single, bare-metal Pauldron on the right shoulder. The Jungle combat gear he wore during his second visit to Felucia was based on ancient Massassi armor. The Industrial Explorer Outfit he wore during his second visit to Raxus Prime appeared to be standard issue hazardous environment protective wear.
Personality and traits
- "Desolation. Destruction. Death. That's what I bring wherever I go. Ten stormtroopers, a hundred, a thousand—the numbers don't matter. Faceless, futureless, disposable, they're all the same to me."
- ―Starkiller, reflecting on his life as Darth Vader's apprentice
It is unknown what sort of child Galen Marek was, but what is known is that when he stood against Darth Vader, wielding the Sith Lord's own lightsaber against him, he did so out of a desire for vengeance after his father's murder. This desire marked Marek's first step towards the dark side, and Vader recognized this in him. Despite this desire for vengeance, he was not yet completely fallen, still being traumatized by Vader's massacre of the Stormtroopers immediately afterwards. All of these traumatic events would cause Marek to repress all of his childhood memories, and forget his own name, though his initial step towards the dark side remained a permanent part of his personality for much of his life.
Starkiller was raised by Darth Vader, who was not a very kindly father figure, creating turmoil, anger, and apathy in his mind. He was trained to be loyal, but also a ruthless assassin and an unstoppable force. Though he was brutally and continually punished by his master, Starkiller submitted willingly to the teaching method of the Dark Lord, essentially because he knew nothing else, and this instilled in him the belief that whatever did not kill him would make him stronger, more adept at wielding the dark side. Such was Starkiller's state of mind towards the end of his training, a part of him almost wished for death. His subjugation to Vader even displayed itself in his voice and manner, as he affected a formalized and faintly aristocratic accent whenever he was in Vader's presence, in stark contrast to his usual behavior. In addition, due to his life-long isolation from all but a few individuals, Starkiller was reclusive, and emotionally remote to all but PROXY, and only began to open up to Juno Eclipse after a great deal of time, though his feelings of compassion for her would continue to confuse him. Rahm Kota said that when Starkiller approached him on Bespin, his love for Juno was the one bright spot among all his dark thoughts that gave him hope that Marek could be redeemed.
When hunting down and dispatching his targets, Starkiller was always satisfied that he had helped defend the Galactic Empire and fulfill his master's will. To that end, he was disturbed by the fact that he would have to cut down Imperial troops during his mission to kill General Kota, feeling that their only crime had been to cross his path, but he was careful to conceal his feelings from his master. At the same time, for much of his life he had craved a confrontation with a Jedi Knight, and was excited by the prospect. While powerful and confident, Starkiller demonstrated many different sides to his personality. He was wary of his purpose in life and what he was meant to do; he began with a sure focus on the Sith destiny trained into him by Vader. However, his exposure to both the Jedi, the light side of the Force, and also to the reality of Sith life caused his focus to waver. Ultimately, his innate sense of loyalty proved incompatible with Sith philosophy, and he gradually made his choices in life accordingly.
After Vader's second betrayal on Corellia, Starkiller displayed not only anger, but also pity for the Dark Lord, remarking that if he were to die there, then Vader would never be free from his master. With this last betrayal, Starkiller rejected the Sith and the dark side, and finally admitted his love for Juno Eclipse, and held on to it until his death. When he converted to the light, the last of his persona as Starkiller ceased to exist, and he reclaimed his birthname, Galen, and fully accepted his destiny in the makings of a Jedi. During his battle with Darth Vader, Galen stated that he did not hate the Dark Lord, but pitied him, declaring that he would kill him to free him. When the Emperor tempted Marek into killing Vader, Marek struggled briefly with his emotions, but in the end decided he would not return to the dark side, and so made his choice to attack the Emperor instead, saving himself from the dark side. In the end, Galen Marek was driven by loyalty to his friends and allies, and willingly surrendered his life for them.
- "Darth Vader provided me with my prime directive - routinely try to kill the boy. It was his concept of 'training.'"
Galen knew PROXY from a young age, ever since "entering" into the service of Darth Vader. The Sith Lord had provided the prototype holodroid to Marek in order to harness the young Sith apprentice's combative skills. Although PROXY proved essential in the development of Starkiller as an exceptional duelist, the droid also provided Marek with the compassion and nurturing needed to stay sane. While Galen cared for and confided in his droid companion, he needed to remain constantly wary of him, due to the droid's primary programming which compelled him to kill his Master.
However, even in this, Marek remained caring towards the droid, sometimes prolonging battles merely to allow PROXY pride in his combat modules. In the end, Marek's attitude towards PROXY went beyond his mere functionality; PROXY was his friend, and Marek refused to abandon him. Just as PROXY's compassion helped ground Galen as a child, his compassion helped his friend out of his despondency after the erasure of his programming. They saved each other, and by doing so, PROXY played a role in the eventual redemption of Galen Marek.
- "I understand you now. You killed my father and kidnapped me from Kashyyyk, not just to be your apprentice, but to be a son to you. Was that how your father treated you?"
- ―Galen Marek to Darth Vader
For much of his life as Starkiller, Marek lived in fear and terror of Vader. Having experienced nothing but Vader's cruel treatment, Starkiller thought of it as only natural, especially for the development of a Sith; learn, or die was what he took from it. He invested a great deal of trust and loyalty in the Dark Lord, coming to fear failing his Master more than death. He was left deeply shocked by Vader's betrayal of him, and only reluctantly agreed to reenter his service. Left distrustful of his Master, and developing compassion for his allies, Marek began to genuinely consider betraying him in turn by using the rebellion to take revenge and then take over the galaxy for himself. However, Marek still believed that Vader's mission for him was genuine, and pragmatically judged that Vader wouldn't risk losing another chance to assassinate Emperor Palpatine.
He was left shocked and enraged when Vader betrayed him again, this time actively seeking to kill him. However, as Marek fought Vader, he realized that his Master was a product of the same manipulations and abuse as he himself was, thus causing Marek to pity Vader rather than continuing to hate him. Thus, Marek resolved to end the Sith Lord's life as an act of mercy, "freeing" him from an even greater source of torment—Palpatine.
- "Master, I can tell you that she's going to be impossible to reprogram."
When Marek first met Juno Eclipse, he was unsure what to think of her, as she was his first female pilot. His initial interactions with her were awkward, though he slowly grew more relaxed. He noted her effort to seem lighthearted towards him, and he eventually started to enjoy her presence, something he chided himself for. As they grew closer, he began to fear that he would have to take action lest they develop a rapport. After his reconstruction on-board the Empirical, Marek rescued her in spite of Vader's order to sever all connections to his past, for reasons he himself wasn't sure about.
To a certain extent, he desired Juno's approval, and her anger when discovering his continued service to Vader genuinely hurt him. However, with his secret out, he was able to bring her fully into confidence, and he began desiring to keep her in his life, to the extent that he started considering the idea of leading the Rebel Alliance in earnest rather than returning to Vader and the Sith. However, the choice was taken from him when Vader betrayed him again. Having lost his sense of loyalty to the Sith cause, he finally admitted his love for Juno. His compassion for her was what ultimately pushed him to reject the dark side of the Force.
- Galen Marek: "Darth Vader was never my Master, it was you all along."
- Darth Sidious: "Of course. Lord Vader has never plotted alone."
- ―Galen Marek and Palpatine[src]
Marek's initial attitude towards Darth Sidious was very detached. On one hand he revered him as the Sith Lord who destroyed the Jedi Order. On the other hand, he was completely devoted to the goal of one day standing at Vader's side as a true Sith Lord. To that end, he trained for years in the hopes of eventually helping Darth Vader in assassinating Sidious so that they could rule the galaxy together as master and apprentice. However, this changed when Sidious "discovered" Marek and ordered his execution, taking sadistic delight in his suffering.
Marek came to hate Sidious, and seeking revenge became his primary motive. Marek's hatred became further strengthened by his horror of Sidious and his excesses; the Death Star proved that the Emperor was no longer satisfied with misinformation and oppression to control the galaxy, and was willing to resort to all out genocide. On a more personal note, he also realized how Sidious had created Darth Vader through deception and brutality—tactics that Vader used in a similar way to create Starkiller.
Marek learned how Sidious had ordered the death of his father and his own abduction, and how he had in fact been Marek's true Master, using Vader only as a proxy. The revelation proved to be the final straw for the apprentice. Attacking Sidious, he drew heavily on his anger to subdue the Sith Lord, almost falling to the dark side all over again. However, he repented in the end, rejecting his hatred and turning away from the Sith.
- "What is mass? It's all in your mind, boy! You're a Jedi! Size means nothing to you!"
- ―General Kota advising Marek
When Marek first learned about General Rahm Kota, he thought nothing of the Jedi Master, simply seeing him as another mission in service to Darth Vader, albeit a thrilling one for the simple reason that he had never had the opportunity to fight a real Jedi at the time. As they fought, high above Nar Shaddaa, Marek developed a certain respect for Kota, as he was unlike the privileged, weak image of Jedi that Marek had cultivated in his mind over the years. Much to his surprise, Kota was a true soldier. This respect did nothing to limit Marek's brutality towards Kota, however, as the apprentice blinded him and sent him plummeting to what seemed to be the general's death. Even though the Sith apprentice knew that Kota had survived, he left the Jedi to his fate, believing him to be no longer a threat.
Marek's small show of mercy would greatly aid him much later on, as after Vader's "betrayal" and new assignment, Kota became the first of the perspective rebels that Marek sought to recruit. Over time, Marek and Kota developed a bond akin to that of Padawan and Master; Kota became the surrogate father that Vader could never truly be towards Marek, and Marek's growing trust in Kota brought the ruined Jedi Master out of a state of depression and drunkenness. In a way, Marek and Kota helped to save each other. Whereas Marek died as a Jedi by sacrificing his life to save Kota and the Rebel leaders, Kota would go on to honor Marek's legacy by serving in the Alliance to Restore the Republic.
Behind the scenes
- "Ultimately we started thinking of a character who starts out as an anti-hero, and evolves into a superhero."
- ―Haden Blackman
Haden Blackman, writer of The Force Unleashed, said in a Spike TV interview that his codename began with "S"; it was later revealed to be "Starkiller," a name originating in early drafts of Star Wars; Luke Skywalker's name was originally going to be Annikin Starkiller.
Jacob Nion was the character's original name, but was changed shortly before the game's release. Due to the earlier releases of the novel and the comic, Marek was named "Jacob Nion" in the German translation of the novel and the French-language version of The Force Unleashed. The PS2 databank entry also reflects this difference, listing Kento Marek as Kento Nion instead.
Galen's surname, Marek, is also a common Polish, Czech and Slovakian given name and the Eastern Europe variant of Marco (Marek), while his first name (Galen) is the Swedish word for crazy and mad.
When the character of Starkiller was first conceived, he was intended as what Luke Skywalker would have hypothetically become had he joined Darth Vader at the end of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.
- "The Apprentice is the photo negative of Luke Skywalker. He's been raised by Darth Vader, and is what Luke would have become if he had joined his father. Vader's not a very nice daddy. This guy has been raised to be a Jedi. When the Jedi use the Force, they respect it and don't overuse it. The bad guys—the Sith—keep testing their limits. Vader discovered this person who had the potential to be the most powerful Force user ever. He's up there with the top tier. He's extremely powerful. Vader has trained him in such a way that he just kept pushing his limitations, seeing how far he could use the Force. So, where a normal Jedi might use the Force to trick his way past a few stormtroopers, the apprentice might use the Force to bring down an adjacent building on top of those stormtroopers. He's extremely confident in everything he does. He's been trained by Vader to be an assassin, an unstoppable force."
- ―Haden Blackman
In concept art, Marek also wears what appears to be some sort of Force shackles.
Galen Marek is based on the voice and appearance of Sam Witwer in the video game adaptation, best known for his role as Lt. Crashdown in Sci-Fi's Battlestar Galactica. The actor has expressed an interest in appearing in the Star Wars live-action TV series, possibly as Marek. Marek's childhood voice and likeness was provided by Zeb Drees.
- "Lord Vader was a broken shadow of his former self… I knew that one day you would replace him."
- ―Palpatine, to Galen Marek
In the alternate ending of The Force Unleashed video game, Marek choses to finish off Vader, avenging the murder of his father and the two betrayals on himself. After another long battle, Galen stripped Vader of his lightsaber, as he did as a child, and ran him through with it. Marek then returned to the main platform where the Emperor was standing over an injured Kota. He instructed the apprentice to kill Kota, giving himself to the dark side and fulfilling his destiny. Marek ignited his lightsaber, ready to strike down his new mentor, but instead turned and swung at Palpatine. Palpatine immediately ignited his own lightsaber, easily deflecting his attack. He admitted to having foreseen the attack and shocked Marek with a blast of Force lightning before flinging him through a window out onto the landing platform as Juno flew the Rogue Shadow down for boarding. Staggering on the ground, Marek saw that Bail and the other Rebel leaders had already been killed. Palpatine Force gripped the Rogue Shadow and hurled it at Marek. Screaming in terror as the massive vessel fell on top of him, Marek was struck silent and saw utter blackness the next moment.
Marek later woke up on an operating table in the EmPal SuRecon Center, much like the one Darth Vader rested on during his own transformation while his suit was constructed. He was now wearing his own suit of armor, presumably the only thing keeping him alive. Palpatine stood before him, saying he expected more from the apprentice and thought he could have one day become the greatest Sith in the galaxy. Marek became Palpatine's apprentice, obliged to do the Emperor's bidding just as Vader before him, and screamed in agony as his suit was completed. He bore six lightsabers on his belt—his original lightsaber, Darth Vader's lightsaber, Rahm Kota's lightsaber, half of Darth Maul's lightsaber, his new Sith lightsaber and the severed end of Kazdan Paratus's long-handled lightsaber.
The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition
- "You had such promise; you could have been my successor—my equal—but now… but, I may still have some small use for you; I still have enemies to find and destroy—you will do my bidding, until I find a new apprentice, and then, like Vader, you will be cast aside."
- ―Palpatine, to Marek, as the latter's life-support suit is completed
The storyline of the non-canon dark side alternate ending is continued in two downloadable content missions, which act as alternate versions of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, respectively. The missions are later included in the Ultimate Sith Edition release of the game.
The Tatooine mission features Galen Marek, now referred to as "Lord Starkiller", hunting down C-3PO and R2-D2 after an alternate version of the destruction of Tantive IV. Making his way to Jabba's Palace to request information from the Crime lord, Lord Starkiller is double-crossed by the Hutt and dumped into the Jabba's rancor pit, though not before Jabba's protocol droid inadvertently reveals that the droids are in Mos Eisley. Defeating the rancor, Lord Starkiller fights his way through the underlevels of the Palace towards the hangar, encountering a heavily damaged PROXY en route. Once there, he's intercepted by Boba Fett. The two battle back and forth across the hangar before Lord Starkiller deflects the bounty hunter's own rocket back at him, killing the Mandalorian.
Commandeering one of Jabba's skiffs, Lord Starkiller travels to Mos Eisley, intercepting the droids as they board the Millennium Falcon. Before he can destroy the vessel, however, he is confronted by Obi-Wan Kenobi. Despite Kenobi's valiant efforts, Starkiller proves the stronger, and Kenobi is impaled through the shoulder before being vaporized against the Falcon's active engines. However, Lord Starkiller is then attacked by Kenobi's Force ghost, though he dissipates it with a barrage of Force lightning. As the Falcon takes off, Starkiller manages to leap onto the hull, attaching a tracking device before falling off.
The Hoth mission depicts an alternate version of the Battle of Hoth, with Lord Starkiller infiltrating Echo Base through a series of unstable ice caverns. Fighting his way through the base, Starkiller eventually gets into a confrontation with Luke Skywalker. After a fierce duel, Luke flees, leaving Starkiller to contend with a trio of Wampas. Starkiller eventually makes his way to the hangar, where he disables a shield generator protecting the Millenium Falcon and gets into a renewed confrontation with Skywalker. As their battle wears on, Skywalker eventually gives in to his rage and falls to the dark side, becoming significantly more powerful. However, he still falls before Starkiller's might, and loses his hand.
As the Millenium Falcon flees the scene, Lord Starkiller grasps the ship in a Force grip, holding it in place while declaring to Luke that the only way he can save his friends is to give in to the dark side. Luke does so, blasting Starkiller with a surge of red lightning. Starkiller lets the Falcon go, gleefully advancing on Skywalker, declaring the now yellow-eyed Luke to be his apprentice.
- Darth Vader: "Why didn't you bring them back?"
- The Apprentice: "I deemed them to be of no value."
- ―Darth Vader and the Apprentice, both referring to Soul Calibur and Soul Edge[src]
Galen Marek, Darth Vader and Yoda appear in the video game, Soulcalibur IV, in a non-canon capacity. Known only as "the Apprentice" in the game, he is deployed by his master into an alternate universe via a dimensional rift to retrieve two artifacts of considerable power: the two swords known as "Soul Calibur" and "Soul Edge." He arrives on the planet Earth in the late sixteenth century A.D.
Succeeding where numerous combatants fail, the Apprentice kills Algol but neglects to claim the swords for his master. He returns to his own dimension where a disappointed Darth Vader Force chokes him for his disregard of orders. Angered by his pupil's defiance, Vader challenges him to a duel between master and apprentice. After a moment of uncertainty, the Apprentice accepts the challenge by activating his own lightsaber.
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed video game
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed novel (First identified as Galen Marek)
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed comic (First appearance in canon) (Appears in flashback(s))
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II novel
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II comic
- LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (Identified as Vader's Apprentice)
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition
- Star Wars: Visions of the Blade
- Soulcalibur IV (First appearance)