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Comic Book / Star Wars: Kanan

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Kanan was a 2015 comic book series published by Marvel Comics. It was the third ongoing series (and fifth over-all) set in the rebooted Star Wars Expanded Universe. The series was originally meant to be a five-issue limited one, but following the successful premiere of "Spark of Rebellion", a decision was made to expand its run. The series concluded with the release of Issue #12 on March 16, 2016.

Written by Greg Weisman, the first five issue arc titled "The Last Padawan" tells the story of how Caleb Dume, Jedi Padawan, survived the Jedi Purge and became the jaded freighter pilot Kanan Jarrus, first introduced in A New Dawn, before becoming one of the main protagonists of Rebels.

The second story arc titled "First Blood" (also written by Weisman) goes even further in Kanan's backstory, explaining how he became Depa Billaba's Padawan and their first array into the Clone Wars as Master and Apprentice.

Both story arcs feature segments chronologically set during the first season of Rebels. The sixth and twelfth (and concluding) issues focus exclusively on an adventure with the Ghost crew in the "present day".

Later adapted via Broad Strokes in the first episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch, retconning a few details including the inclusion of the titular clone squad and their involvement in Order 66.

Tropes in Kanan include:

  • Anachronic Order: The first arc shows Kanan's last days as a Jedi Padawan, while the second shows how he became Depa Billaba's student and their first mission together. The story is set up so that the Rebels era scenes in each arc follow on chronologically from one another, so if one were to read the second arc followed by the first in order for the flashbacks to be chronological, this would make the modern story out of order instead.
  • Ass Kicking Pose: The entire cast on the cover of Issue 6. Who'd have thought you could chew scenery just by posing?
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • As a youngling, Caleb was worried that the Clone Wars would end before he could participate in it, and expressed joy at being at thick of the action. Then came Order 66...
    • His friends in the Temple warned him against wishing to be Billaba's student because they heard rumours of her being "damaged" and even cursed.
  • Berserk Button: Don't call Caleb "Kid".
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Captain Styles , Commander Grey and their troops after receiving Order 66 don’t hesitate for a moment to turn on the Jedi, with whom they had a friendly banter just moments earlier.
  • Break the Cutie: The first issue has Caleb joking around with the Clone troopers under Billaba’s command — moments before they turn their guns on them. He’s fourteen, and gets to witness people he thought to be friends killed by his parent figure before she ultimately goes down. And all he could do was follow her order and run.
  • Body Horror: Depa Billaba's back after taking a vicious attack from Grievous.
  • Call-Back:
    • In #8, it's explained that Rackham Sear has obtained a layout of the Jedi Temple from Bounty Hunter Cad Bane. They were given to Bane by Sidious in "Holocron Heist" the first episode of season 2 of The Clone Wars.
    • Ezra's quote "I think I'm in love" upon seeing Kanan's old ship reflects the final passage of A New Dawn ("Kanan Jarrus was in love") when Kanan sees The Ghost for the first time.
  • Call-Forward:
    • In #1 shortly prior to the execution of Order 66, Master Billaba gives Caleb the Jedi Holocron, that would become important when he takes an apprentice of his own.
    • In Issue 7, Yoda uses his infamous line "Do or do not: there is no try" yet again, making it a Call Forward both to the show and The Empire Strikes Back.
  • The Cameo: The rest of the crew of the Ghost make a brief appearance in the first issue, before Kanan has a flashback to the last days of the Clone Wars.
    • Rae Sloane and the Grand Inquisitor both make an appearance in issue 12.
    • The crew develops a more significance presence in #6.
    • Anakin and R2-D2 are seen in the background of one flashback.
  • Canon Immigrant: The last issue recanonizes the HWK-290 light freighter, originally created for Dark Forces.
  • Captain Obvious: Caleb, twice in Issue 8.
    Caleb: The temple is under attack!note 
    Depa Bilaba: Yes, that seems obvious.
    • Later:
    Caleb: You're bombing the tower!
    Rackham Sear: "That's right, Kid. Thank you for noticing.
  • Character Tics: Caleb runs his hand through his hair when he's nervous. He puts his hair in a ponytail to hide this.
  • Cliffhanger: At the the end of #6, Kanan is left collapsed on the floor bleeding out through a knife wound... in the back.
  • Constantly Curious: Caleb is constantly asking questions, wanting to understand the reasoning behind everything, so much so that Billaba jokes that he was somewhat infamous for doing this in the Jedi Temple. She also admits that it was this trait of him that motivated her to choose him as her Padawan.
  • Cool Starship: Space Pirate Janus Kasmir's personal starship Kasmiri—named after himself of course—is a speedy little vessel with an attractive profile and paint job and an impressive defense system, which allows Caleb to survive being ambushed by a squad of Imperial fighters.
  • Covers Always Lie:
    • One of the covers for #1 include Billaba and Dume on Coruscant during Order 66, and an image of Kallus, who never appears in the comic.
    • #5 depicts Caleb leaving behind his lightsaber in a swamp. Anyone that's watched the show can guess that either Caleb will change his mind and go back for it, or it's this trope.
    • Issue 10 features Caleb dueling Grievous which never happens in the series, and the location is wrong as well.
    • Issue 12's cover features the entire team (sans Chopper) facing a bunch of Stormtroopers, indicating a climactic fight between the rebels and the Empire. In the comic, only Kanan and Ezra are featured, and their fight with the Stormtroopers takes up only a few pages (some of which occur in flashbacks, no less).
  • Dark and Troubled Past: In #7, we learn that Billaba had a run in with General Grievous, which resulted in the destruction of 90% of her company and she herself was so injured that she was in a coma for six months.
  • Didn't Think This Through: After receiving the transmission that ordered all Jedi back to the Temple, Caleb steals the ship of a Kallerian called Janus Kasmir and heads back to Coruscant. It’s only moments before he arrives that he receives Obi-Wan’s warning, and it’s too late. As soon as he emerges from hyperspace, his ship is surrounded by clone starfighters because an alert reporting the theft of the ship beat him to the capital.
  • Dramatic Irony: In #1, Billaba gives Caleb a lecture on how important to rule one’s emotions, and not letting them rule the person, is. It’s at the most hours before Anakin Skywalker chooses to pledge himself to the dark side, in a desperate attempt to save his wife.
  • Enemy Mine: Caleb and Kleeve.
  • Fanservice: Billaba and Adult-Kanan both spend some time half naked in a bacta tank. Kanan in #11 explodes out of one and takes out some stormtroopers before posing in all his manly glory.
  • Flashback: Each story-arc tells a part of Kanan's backstory, in the form of him having a flashbacks:
    • The first is triggered by finding out that the crew’s next mission is to Kaller-the planet where he and his Master, Depa Billaba, were during the initiation of Order 66.
    • The second is triggered by him ending-up in a bactatank, which reminds him of how he first saw Billaba.
  • Framing Device: The bulk of the series is made-up of Kanan's flashbacks to his days as a Padawan. These flashbacks are framed and by the story of the Ghost crew's mission to Kaller, which happened sometime during Season 1 of Rebels, and events of this story are what trigger these flashbacks in Kanan.
  • Glory Hound: Young Caleb comments on how he thought he’d miss out all the action of the Clone Wars because he was just a youngling, and how it was pretty sweet to be on the side of Master Billaba –who could have chosen anyone as her apprentice- and be in thick of battle on Kaller.
  • Headgear Headstone: "Stance"'s headstone is his rifle with his helmet perched atop it.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Billaba dies holding off the Clone troopers, allowing Caleb to escape with his life.
  • Interquel: Those parts of the comic that take place at the time of the show seem to occur sometime during Season 1; Ahsoka is still being referred to as "Fulcrum", and is still leaving crates for the Ghost crew to find, and Ezra is often seen still using that slingshot. It apparently takes place in between "Gathering Forces" and "Path of the Jedi".
  • In the Back:
    • Depa Billaba is shot in the back several times by Commander Grey. And Caleb got to watch.
    • In #6, Kanan is stabbed in the back with a knife.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Caleb reminds Grey of how the clones originally would have followed the Jedi wherever they went. This causes Grey's conscience to get the better of him, and he winds up performing a Heroic Sacrifice that enables Caleb and his friends to escape.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Kanan's narration in issue #12 mentions that he feels like the Kaller mission has been going on for a year, which is how long the comic had been running at that point. In-universe, they'd only been on Kaller for a day.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The titles of The Last Padawan's issues.
      • #1 is Fight, #2 is Flight. Fight or flight.
      • #3 is Pivot, which might be in reference to Fulcrum from the show.
      • #4 is Catch, #5 is Release. Catch and release.
      • #6/Epilogue is Haunt, following the show's theme/motif of ghosts.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: Caleb and Billaba share a vision of Jedi - including Ki-Adi Mundi, Plo Koon, and Aayla Secura - being gunned down by clones when Order 66 is initiated.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Caleb briefly mentioned that Billaba had just recently "emerged" from something, and their opposing commander also commented that they had intel indicating that she was unstable. This is a nod towards the now Legends novel Shatterpoint, where Master Billaba had a dangerous brush with the Dark side, and ended up in a coma. As it turns out, she was injured in a battle which wiped out her battalion... on Haruun Kal, where the novel took place.
    • In #2, as Caleb fights the clones, he mentions how he had shared a meiloorun fruit a few days earlier, with two he just killed. The meiloorun first appeared in the Rebels episode "Fighter Flight".
  • Ninja: Rackham Sear, a Kage from Quarzite, who bombs the Temple.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Billaba and Grievous have probably one of the most vicious battles in the who franchise with neither combatant walking away unscathed.
  • Off with His Head!: Coburn Sear's fate after setting himself on fire..
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Depa Billaba says she's fine despite getting part of her skin torn off by General Grievous. Later subverted that she had to go into a bacta tank right after the battle.
  • The Purge: Order 66 is initiated at the end of #1, and #2 is about how Master Billaba sacrificed herself to save Caleb and how he dodged clones on the next few days, hiding on the streets of a city on Kaller.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Discussed. When Caleb is subjected to his first death—the death of his new clone friend, Stance—by Colonel Sear, he realizes for the first time in his life that he wants to kill. During the fight, however, he realizes that it would just lead to this trope and it isn't worth it. He spares Sear, though Sear ends up committing suicide anyway and Caleb considers it his first blood.
  • Running Gag: Caleb's associates and friends keep calling him "Kid," much to his annoyance.
  • Ship Tease: In Issue #6, Kanan's words to Hera over the transmission before he collaspses sounds like an implicit Anguished Declaration of Love to shipper's ears.
    Hera: Aw, what's the matter, luv? Miss me?
    Kanan: Always, and more than you'll ever know.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Happens to Caleb after Order 66. After spending his whole life in the Jedi Temple, Caleb knows nothing about the real world or how to survive in it on his own, leaving him scared and starving on the streets for days. He survives for several weeks mainly by dumpster diving. Kasmir mockingly describes it as him finally having a real life.
  • Taking You with Me: In issue 11 Coburn Sear sets himself on fire attempting to kill Caleb. He fails and Caleb decapitates him. .
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The clones continue to shoot at Depa's body after she has fallen.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: General Grievous still wants the Jedi to be dead. But he is shown to be more fair and forgiving with his allies.
  • You Have Failed Me: Averted with General Grievous, of all people. He doesn't kill Coburn Sear for failing to kill the Jedi, he doesn't even berate him or injure him for his failure.
  • Your Size May Vary: General Grievous's size varies throughout the series, going from just really tall to a 12 foot giant at times.

Alternative Title(s): Kanan