New Star Wars Canon Spotlight: Kanan Jarrus


A couple of weeks ago, we started examining the stand out characters of the new Star Wars canon. After Rae Sloane, we are turning to the Light Side to shine a spotlight at our favorite cowboy Jedi turned Zatoichi – Kanan Jarrus.



Kanan was born Caleb Dume. He was a Force sensitive child who was brought to Jedi temple on Coruscant so early that he had no memory of his parents. We, therefore, don’t know what Kanan’s planet of birth was.


Kanan 2
Art by Pepe Larraz


As a youngling, Caleb was extremely inquisitive, even questioning some of the Jedi traditions, which was not appreciated by all his teachers. But, some did like that quality. Obi-Wan Kenobi was inspired by Caleb’s questions to reverse Jedi recall signal and warn the surviving Jedi not to return to Coruscant after the execution of Order 66. Depa Billaba appreciated that Caleb came to her to ask about her past instead of listening to the temple gossip, something she believed was not political but wise. Depa and Caleb stopped a separatist attack on the Jedi temple and afterwards Depa took Caleb for her padawan.


Kanan and Bilaba


Five months later, when Caleb was 14, he and his master participated in the battle of Kallor. After the battle ended successfully, Bilaba gifted Caleb with Jedi holocron. Unfortunately, that was the eve of Order 66. The clones turned on Caleb and his master and Bilaba sacrificed herself to allow Caleb’s escape.


Art by Amy Christenson


Alone for the first time in his life, Caleb had to learn how to survive. He got help from Janus Kasmir, Kalleran thief and smuggler. He taught Caleb how to disguise himself and leave his old life behind. Not wanting to endanger Kasmir any longer, Caleb left and, in his honor, renamed himself Kanan Jarrus.


Kanan lived a life of a drifter, moving from planet to planet and from job to job, drinking and womanizing along the way. He stopped using the Force entirely. He ended up as a freighter pilot carrying ore between planet Gorse and its moon Cynda. This is where he met Hera Syndulla, a Twi’lek Rebel, for the first time. They succeeded in stopping Count Vidian from destroying Cynda. Two things happened in the process: Kanan crossed paths with Rae Sloane, the imperial officer, and attracted her attention and saved Hera’s life by using the Force thus revealing his true nature to her. Kanan became a crew member of Hera’s ship, the Ghost.


Kanan & Hera - A New Dawn


When we meet him again, Kanan is de facto leader of Ghost’s crew in action, while Hera commands the ship. They act against the Empire mostly on and around the planet of Lothal. While on the mission in planet’s Capital City, Kanan encountered Ezra Bridger, a 14-year old orphan, and sensed his Force abilities. They participated in the liberation of a group of enslaved Wookies on Kessel. Kanan ignited his lightsaber for the first time in years and revealed himself as a Jedi. After the escape, he offered Ezra to become his padawan.


SW Rebels


Kanan was a reluctant teacher, due to the fact that he never completed his training. Over time Kanan has grown as a teacher thanks to Yoda’s guidance and his skills as a Jedi were honed mostly through continuous conflict with the Grand Inquisitor. Freddie Prinze Jr., voice of Kanan in Star Wars: Rebels, said that, after Bilaba’s death, Kanan’s teachers were mostly bad guys. Thanks to growing skill and a lot of luck, Kanan even survived the encounter with Darth Vader. Kanan is finally knighted by Yoda through the Force vision in the form of Grand Inquisitor, who was exposed as a former Jedi Temple guard.


kanan jedi knight


Kanan didn’t get to enjoy his knighthood for long. Sent by Yoda to Malachor, Kanan and the Ghost crew encounter not only the inquisitors and Darth Vader, but also Maul, former Sith and apprentice to the Emperor. Despite his masterful manipulation of Ezra, Maul showed his true face when he attacked and blinded Kanan. Relying on the Force, Kanan managed to get the upper hand and fight Maul off.


Kanan’s experiences during the Clone War left him cynical towards authorities as well as any military organization which is why he was resistant about Ghost’s crew joining organized Rebellion. He also had difficult time working with Rex due to the betrayal of the clones. But, if anything, Kanan is open to learning and changing his mind, one of his many good qualities.


Before joining the Ghost and becoming responsible for a padawan, Kanan was reckless and prone to starting fights. He has a great sense of humor and can be goofy on occasion. As his story progresses, Kanan becomes more and more in tune with the Force, something that will benefit him greatly now that he is blind.


Blind Kanan


Kanan’s future is uncertain almost as much as Ezra’s. In addition to dealing with Maul who has set his eyes on both Ezra and holocron, he and the crew will have to deal with the genius Grand Admiral Thrawn. It is certain that he would dive deeper in the secrets of the Force as shown by the trailers for season 3 of Star Wars: Rebels. According to what Freddie Prinze Jr said in the latest interview. Kanan will also teach Sabine Wren how to use the darksaber.


One could argue that Kanan’s faith was signed the moment he was knighted and became the Jedi Knight. But, Dave Filoni and Story Group would not so easily lose the narrative opportunities that blind Jedi offers. Let’s hope that they could find the way to save his life without contradicting Yoda’s famous: “When gone I am, the last of the Jedi will you be.”


Because he is such a great representative of Kanan and Star Wars in general, it is hard for me to imagine anyone else but Freddie Prinze Jr in the role of Kanan. But, if the character ever transitions to the small or big screen, it is unlikely that Freddie would play him, especially because he doesn’t like to leave his family for long. Last time, Gina Torres was proposed for live-action version of Rae Sloane by one of our readers. Who could you see playing live-action Kanan? And which character from the new canon deserves more stories and exposure?


Kanan and Grand Inquisitor


Chronological timeline of Kanan Jarrus:

  • Star Wars: Kanan #1 – #5 – Last Padawan by Greg Weisman
  • A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller
  • Star Wars: Kanan #6 – Last Padawan, Epilogue: Haunt by Greg Weisman
  • Star Wars: Kanan #12 – First Blood, Epilogue: The Ties That Bind by Greg Weisman
  • Star Wars: Rebels Season 1
  • Star Wars Rebels Season 2
  • Upcoming: Star Wars Rebels Season 3



*There are some short stories that are dramatizations of Rebels episode as well as online games  and comic strips from Star Wars Rebels Magazine that were not included.

** Issues Star Wars: Kanan #6 and #12 are occurring during the first season of Rebels.



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Staff member, comic and book reviewer. Cheers for the Light Side, but would drink with Grand Admirals.

Jelena Bidin (LadyMusashi)

Staff member, comic and book reviewer. Cheers for the Light Side, but would drink with Grand Admirals.

16 thoughts on “New Star Wars Canon Spotlight: Kanan Jarrus

  • August 24, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    Kanan is my very favorite character from the new canon.

  • August 24, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    Currently Kanan is a problematic character since he is now a Jedi Knight in terms of the overall Star Wars story, but his comic series has been the best in the new canon, and I have enjoyed his character a lot.

  • August 24, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    I still maintain a theory that we HAVE seen Kanan on-screen.

    My prediction is that Ezra eventually does turn fully to the dark side, and Kanan will be the one to have to take him out. When he does, it will trouble him so deeply that he gives up being a Jedi completely, likely even throwing away his lightsaber. He still believes and follows The Force, however, and it would make sense for him to change his name (he’s done it once already), giving up who he used to be, and becoming a member of the Church of the Force…

    …as Lor San Tekka.

    • August 24, 2016 at 8:11 pm

      I thought this too. It’s an interesting possibility!

    • August 24, 2016 at 8:35 pm

      He wasn’t blind in TFA though….

      • August 24, 2016 at 10:39 pm

        He’s also not Force sensitive (as stated in the Visual Dictionary).

      • August 28, 2016 at 5:41 pm

        How do we know? Kanan showed that he was able to use the Force to “see”. We also don’t know that Kanan’s blindness is necessarily permanent.

        • August 29, 2016 at 4:09 am

          I think blindness via lightsaber to the face is a permanent thing. Thats like saying after Luke’s hand got cut off, how do we know it won’t grow back? Yes he can use the force to see like but it’s like when Luke used it when he was training on the Falcon with the helmet on in ANH. Also Kanan is too major of a character to bring back into the film and the way he was killed? It doesn’t make sense for the character as we currently know him. It’s not out of the realm of possibilities but the chances of it being him is very very small.

  • August 24, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    It’s Kanan Canon?! 😉 I bet that’s how they got his name

  • August 24, 2016 at 11:50 pm

    If Ahsoka isn’t getting a live action counterpart, I don’t see why Kanan should.

    With that said, there is a lot more to be said about Kanan. I only wish they tie all the loose ends to his story (remember, Jedi aren’t supposed to be around by ANH.)

  • August 25, 2016 at 1:22 am

    I truly believe that Yoda was protecting the Jedi that escaped Order 66. Luke was reckless and had a chance to be pulled to the dark side by his father. I am hoping that the SW Universe will expose even more Jedi that were saved by Caleb’s (Kanan’s) suggestion to Obi-Wan.

  • August 25, 2016 at 2:25 am

    Jake Gyllenhaal, is my vote rough and I can see him still fighting blind

  • August 25, 2016 at 6:45 am

    Just a quick spelling correction: this article uses various names such as “Kaleb” and “Dune” with respect to Kanan that are not totally accurate. Kanan Jarrus’ real name is/was “Caleb Dume”.

    • August 25, 2016 at 1:40 pm

      Thank you. 🙂

  • August 25, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    He’ll die while killing dark Ezra.. that’s why there are no Jedi left.
    Otherwise it wouldn’t make sense, what Yoda said to force-ghost Obi-Wan.

    Obi-Wan: “That boy is our last hope.” Yoda: “No…there is another…”. That was the first hint to Luke’s unknown sister.

    And it would be great, to end the series pretty dark. It would fit into the timeline. Right before the desperate Rebels try to get the plan for the deathstar. In a time, where ” Imperial flags reign across the galaxy”. Since then, there is no place for the heroes of “Rebels”.

    • August 25, 2016 at 7:58 pm

      I believe that the prophecy of Anakin being the chosen one was wrong in that it was not him so much as his offspring. So Obiwan’s “that boy is our last hope” was a reference to the prophecy of the Chosen One more then the only Jedi left. Even Yoda told Mace Windu in Ep. III that “A prophecy that misread could have been”, almost forseeing his participation to creating the chosen ones. Both Leia and Luke were needed to cbring the rebellion and bring light to the force. So in my interpretation there are more Jedi in hiding however the force is strong in the Skywalkers and there must be a deeper connection to Jedi line and the prophecy for this family line.

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