Max explores the villain to hero story of ISB’s notorious Agent Kallus
One of the core tenets of the Original Trilogy is redemption – honorable characters committing acts of unspeakable horror and their eventual journey back from the dark side. This is not the case for everyone but the Force allows you to make choices and change your path at any time. True – special circumstances may initiate this change but since everything is of the Force; it is an infinite loop. One of the greatest characters in Nu-canon was Agent Alexandr Kallus; a former ISB agent who ruthlessly worked in favor of the oppressive Empire. When we are introduced to him in Star Wars: Rebels Season 1, he was cold, emotionless, deviant, and well callous.
He wanted to destroy the Rebels at any means necessary and was even cruel enough to knock a stormtrooper to his presumed death with a kick after losing to the former Jedi Kanan. Also in Season 1, he gets into a bo-staff duel with the Lasat Garazeb Orellios. He defeats Zeb but also reveals with glee that he was the one who gave the order to use a devastating weapon called the ionic disruptor to wipe out most of the Lasat people during the siege on Lasan. At this point, we can conclude that Kallus is a homicidal sadistic maniac finding great pleasure in telling Zeb what he wrought on Zeb’s people. He seems as evil as you can get and ruthless. He has only one loyalty; the Empire and will do whatever means necessary to achieve that goal. He seems to be irredeemable and a disgusting louse that we hoped would get his just desserts.
Then by the will of the Force, he ends up stranded on an ice moon with his “archnemesis” Zeb and something we would never believe would happen occurs. Kallus shows remorse for what he did on Lasan and rectified that he had never intended for it to be a slaughter. This is a complete 180 in the character of Kallus and at the end of the episode, much like Vader in Return Of The Jedi; Kallus is torn by conflicting emotions and realizes that the Empire has no form of camaraderie or attachment like the Rebels have as he surely would have been left to freeze and die on the moon if not for Zeb. Now too soon afterward, Kallus, presumably still conflicted, returns the favor to Zeb by letting some of his friends escape. “Tell Garazeb Orelious that we are now even”. This is what he says and it implies that Kallus is bending the rules this one time to show gratitude for his enemy’s mercy. It is seemingly a one-time thing but the wheels of the Force were turning in motion and things began to change. Kallus ended up saving the Rebels again, sabotaged a mission, and then did the final 180 where he became the new Fulcrum; the anonymous secret agent of the budding Rebellion. What an amazing change of heart!
Eventually, Kallus is discovered and branded a traitor but using his skills, evades execution, and escapes. “Thank you, Kanan,” he says to the man that just a few short years ago; was determined to destroy. “Now it’s time to get to work,” he says; relocating to Yavin 4 no longer as Agent Kallus, but Alexandr; Agent of the Rebellion. Much like the Grinch, his heart seemed to grow 10 sizes that year and at the end of the Galactic Civil War, has become a personal friend of Zeb, the being he once hated and Zeb takes Alexandr to the legendary birth world of the Lasat, to show his evil deed had not been permanent. Alexandr Kallus was at his core a good loyal man who just needed the right push from the Force to find his true path. I’m sure there were many Imperials just like him; who were good beings that happened to just be on the wrong side of a war.
For all those who have followed Kallus’s story; reaffirm to yourself that nobody is beyond redemption and the choices of one can affect the future of all.
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Max Nocerino is a new addition to the Future of the Force roster. He is a passionate Star Wars fan and loves the literature of the galaxy far, far away. Follow him on Twitter @MaxN2100 where he channels his passion frequently!