Max explores the underground railroad used to smuggle Jedi away from the Empire’s clutches in Obi-Wan Kenobi
One of my favorite things about Star Wars is how it often imitates the real world. Be it the Stormtroopers being like Nazi Stormtroopers from World War II or the Emperor’s rise to power, similar to the evil dictator Trujillo. Now in the third of the Obi-Wan Kenobi episodes, we are introduced to an underground railroad for Jedi and Force-sensitives. In real-world history, the Underground Railroad was a metaphor for the process of runaway slaves reaching checkpoints and safe houses so they could escape the tyranny of slavery and make it to the North. Where they would be safe and free. It is too perfect not to miss an opportunity to make this in Star Wars, as former Jedi and Force-sensitives needed to escape the Empire who was hunting them down.
On the mining world of Mapuzo, there was an underground tunnel that Jedi survivors of Order 66 and other budding Force-sensitives could use to book passage to Jabiim and start a new life. With a new identity. In the real world, many people would aid slaves on their trek to the North by providing shelter along various checkpoints. Especially when they needed to dodge slave hunters. Oftentimes, these people were undercover and pretended to be in favor of slavery, and used secrecy and espionage to fulfill their true desires.
We have this in the form of Tala Durith. A human woman who initially joined the Imperial army with the hope of doing good. But realizing that the Empire was nothing but evil, and became an undercover spy, aiding people who needed to disappear. Their version of the Underground Railroad was called the Path. And Tala used it to secure passage for Obi-Wan Kenobi and Leia Organa. While traveling, Obi-Wan learns that his longtime Jedi friend and peer, Quinlan Vos is indeed alive. And Tala says he comes and goes, helping deliver younglings along the Path. Vos, being a former Jedi himself, is the equivalent of an Underground Railroad conductor. Like the famous former slave Harriet Tubman who lead over 3,000 slaves to freedom.
Quinlan Vos is a very popular character in Star Wars and also survived in the Legends continuity. He also appeared a few years ago in a comic on a list of possible surviving Jedi the Inquisitors were hunting for. And now it is fully confirmed he had survived in canon. Eagle-eyed viewers of this episode also identified the names of people who had passed through. And even though they are in Aurebesh (the Star Wars writing system), they have been decoded and are quite a fun kick for fans as they all pull from Legends. The 3 names visible are Djinn Altis, Valin Halcyon, and Roganda Ismaren. These names may seem white noise to casual fans. But to diehard fanboys, they are very recognizable as Jedi characters who survived Order 66 in Legends. And are now officially in canon.
Djinn Altis headed a separate sect of Jedi in Legends; the Altisian Jedi, which split from the Order. which was what allowed him to survive as he was no longer part of the main Order. Valin Halcyon was better known as Hal Horn. A Jedi who was the father of Corran Horn. A very popular Legends character who later joined Luke Skywalker’s new Jedi Order in Legends. Finally, Roganda Ismaren was a former Jedi apprentice who survived the Purge and would grow to become a threat to New Republic safety many decades later; producing a son that would become the monstrosity Dark Jedi cyborg, Lord Nyax. In the case of Roganda, one can only wonder if, in canon, she became dark as well at some point in the future.
TRUTH BEING STRANGER THAN FICTION
Anyway, this episode introduced us to an amazing illusion of real-world history and is quite titillating to think about. While not officially confirmed as members of the Jedi Order; we know, most likely have 3 more Jedi survivors who are unaccounted for. Bringing the total to 21 Jedi. (Not counting those who became Inquisitors and Bariss Offee, and also counting the now confirmed Quinlan Vos and the possible Kira Vantala; if her story is true.) Unlike the many slaves who made it, only 21 of 10,000 Jedi survived the initial stages of the Great Jedi Purge. And that is 0.0021% of the entire Order. So essentially, Palpatine’s Purge was more than successful.
Did I miss any survivors? Leave a comment below and May the Force be with you.
Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi is streaming exclusively on Disney Plus now.
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Max Nocerino is a regular Staff Writer for The Future of the Force. He is a passionate Star Wars fan and loves the literature of the galaxy far, far away. Follow him on Twitter where he shares his love of the Force frequently!