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Warning! This page contains spoilers from Star Wars: The High Republic. Caution is advised.

"He's not what I expected."
―Velko Jahen, on Estala Maru[src]

Estala Maru was a Kessurian male Jedi Master of the Jedi Order during the High Republic Era. Maru was the Jedi head of operations aboard the Starlight Beacon, a space station on the frontier of the galaxy that served as a symbol of unity between the Jedi and the Galactic Republic. Aboard Starlight, he worked with Jedi Master Avar Kriss, marshal of the station, and Controller Rodor Keen, Maru's Republic counterpart. Sarcastic yet hands-on, Maru coordinated numerous tasks on Starlight, monitoring the station's various departments.

During the Great Disaster, which threatened to destroy the Hetzal system, Maru assisted the Jedi rescue effort and coordinated the medical care of victims of both the disaster and its resulting Emergences. From Starlight, Maru also worked alongside Kriss, the Jedi Master Sskeer, the Jedi Knight Keeve Trennis, and the Jedi twins Ceret and Terec as they investigated the circumstances behind a Hutt starship that was attacked by Nihil marauders. Maru provided the Jedi with information pertaining to the Vratixian barley that the ship had carried from the planet Sedri Minor, as well as begrudgingly undertaking an autopsy of the dead Hutt found in the wreckage. The investigation led to the sentient carnivorous plants known as the Drengir emerging from the corpse, and Maru attempted to defend the station from the Drengir attack.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Coordinator of Starlight[edit | edit source]

"My Jedi friends, this is Avar Kriss. I am on the surface of Hetzal Prime. You know I've been watching you all work so hard to save this system and its people. You've done incredibly well. But something else is about to happen, something terrible, and we all need to act together to stop it."
―Avar Kriss calls for help during the Great Disaster[src]

Estala Maru was a Jedi of the Jedi Order during the time of the High Republic Era, attaining the rank of Jedi Master.[1] In around 232 BBY,[5] Maru was placed in charge of organizing operations aboard the Starlight Beacon, a space station situated on the frontier of the Outer Rim Territories and co-managed by the Jedi Order and the Galactic Republic, where he was to work alongside the Republic's own head of operations, Controller Rodor Keen, and would serve Starlight's marshal,[2] at that time set to be Jedi Master Jora Malli.[6] Maru was assisted by the astromech droid KC-78. Due to the hands-on nature of both Maru and Keen, the two men developed a tense working relationship.[2]

The Starlight Beacon space station, where Estala Maru was stationed

Around that time,[2] wreckage from the Great Disaster—an incident in which the freighter Legacy Run was torn apart while in hyperspace—threatened to destroy the Hetzal system. The Jedi and the Republic responded to the distress call of the planet Hetzal Prime with a rescue effort led by Jedi Master Avar Kriss. When a container of tibanna gas from the wreckage headed for Hetzal's largest star, Kriss called to Jedi from across the galaxy to use the Force to redirect the container in order to avert causing a chain reaction that would destroy the system. Maru was one of the Jedi who responded to the call, with Kriss connecting the effort through the Force, and was the first to locate the module of tibanna after it was briefly lost. Kriss directed the other Jedi to its location, coordinating an effort to redirect the tibanna container away from the star and saving the Hetzal system from total destruction.[7]

Disaster aftermath[edit | edit source]

Final preparations[edit | edit source]

"Master Kriss, we are nine hours from the dedication of this facility—a facility, may I add, that is still without a marshal. I am currently organizing the arrival of hundreds of delegates, testing a beacon that will be heard the galaxy over, and coordinating care for millions following the Great Disaster. I cannot be expected to track every Master who decides to go off-station."
―Estala Maru[src]

Maru coordinates the dedication of the Starlight Beacon.

Though the Hetzal system was saved, fallout from the Great Disaster continued to wreak havoc across the Outer Rim Territories in events known as Emergences, during which the Jedi learned of the involvement of the Nihil marauder organization.[7] Following the Great Disaster and the Emergences, the Starlight Beacon took in the most severe victims of the incident, caring for them in its medcenter.[2] Malli was also killed in the Battle of Kur against the Nihil organization,[7] leaving the Starlight Beacon without a marshal. Despite the events, the Starlight Beacon's upcoming dedication was still to go ahead; nine hours prior to the opening, Maru organized the arrival of the hundreds of delegates who were to attend, while also testing the station's signal beacon that helped travelers navigate the Outer Rim and coordinating care for the victims of the Great Disaster.[1]

While coordinating the dedication's preparations, Maru was approached by Kriss, who wished to know the location of Jedi Master Sskeer. When Maru told her that he was not aware of Sskeer's location, Kriss was surprised, and Maru reminded her of his numerous duties, stating that he was unable to track every Jedi Master. Kriss guessed that Maru was displeased with that fact, subsequently expressing concern over Sskeer's wellbeing following the Battle of Kur, and Maru suggested that the Trandoshan Jedi blamed himself for Malli's death. The two were then approached by Grand Masters[1] Pra-Tre Veter[8] and Yoda, who appointed Kriss as the new marshal of Starlight Beacon.[1]

Launched at last[edit | edit source]

"Master Maru, I've rigged the Vector to replicate the Beacon's signal. The ridadi will follow me away from Shuraden."
"A remarkably good idea, Padawan. Meanwhile, I'll relicabrate the Beacon to broadcast on a different frequency."
"One that won't interfere with the swarm?"
"No, one that broadcasts Arcadian Jazz."
―Keeve Trennis and Estala Maru[src]

Keeve Trennis consults Maru about the ridadi and the Starlight Beacon's signal.

Shortly afterward, Keeve Trennis, Sskeer's Jedi Padawan, contacted Maru, having encountered a swarm of insects ravaging the planet of Shuraden. Maru deduced that the creatures were the star-locust known as ridadi, which migrated through that area, but noted that they avoided inhabited worlds. The Jedi Master suggested that Trennis ask the ridadi what had caused the change in their behaviour, prompting the Padawan to connect with the insects, learning, to Maru's surprise, that the signal emitted by the Starlight Beacon was interfering with the ridadi's navigation.[1]

Trennis rigged her Jedi Vector to replicate Starlight's signal, leading the ridadi away from Shuraden, while Maru complimented the Padawan on her idea, recalibrating the station to broadcast on a different frequency. When Trennis asked him if the new frequency would be one that did not interfere with the ridadi, Maru sarcastically remarked that it would instead broadcast Arcadian Jazz in response to the obvious query. With the station recalibrated and the preparations complete, the dedication of the Starlight Beacon was held, and the station was formally opened.[1]

Medcenter tensions[edit | edit source]

"Controller, this entire section is a diplomatic incident waiting to happen. We have patients from warring territories lying side-by-side, with no thought of what they might do to each other when they regain consciousness."
"Unfortunately, the Great Disaster paid little attention to political boundaries. But that is why we are here, to ease any tensions that may arise."
―Ghal Tarpfen and Estala Maru[src]

Controller Rodor Keen, with whom Maru had a tense relationship

At some point, Maru, alongside Controller Keen and KC-78, was present in the station's medcenter, overseeing the care for its patients. The two men were greeted by Administrator Velko Jahen, Keen's new aide, and the Controller apologized for the hectic circumstances. Maru protested, claiming that Starlight was operating at peak efficiency, but admitted that he had identified 173 possible improvements through his constant monitoring of the station. Head of Security Ghal Tarpfen approached to inquire about the improvements, and Maru stated his intention to discuss his recommendations with her.[2]

Tarpfen then noted that Starlight's medcenter held patients from warring territories in close proximity, expressing her concern of an imminent diplomatic incident. Maru responded with a sarcastic comment on the Great Disaster's lack of political boundaries before stating that they were there to ease tensions for that reason. KC-78 reminded Maru that he and Keen had duties elsewhere, and while the Jedi Master claimed that he could perform his tasks from the medcenter with no more difficulty than in the operations hub, the astromech droid gave him an unsubtle nudge, prompting Maru to begrudgingly follow Keen out of the ward.[2]

Growing darkness[edit | edit source]

The Nihil mystery[edit | edit source]

Maru: "From what I've heard, this attack was markedly different from how the Nihil usually move."
Yoda: "These Nihil had something strange on board their cruiser. Unsure of what it was, I am, but we need to find out more."
Kriss: "Based on all this, I suspect this group is on some kind of secret, high-level mission."
―The Jedi discuss the Nihil's actions at Trymant[src]

A week after[9] the Padawan Academic Cruiser Star Hopper, carrying Padawans under the supervision of Masters Yoda and Torban Buck, returned to the Starlight Beacon from rescuing the Trymant system from an Emergence and a Nihil attack with Zeen Mrala, a Force-sensitive resident of the planet Trymant IV,[10] Maru, accompanied by Masters Kriss, Yoda, Buck, and Kantam Sy approached Mrala, intending to speak to her about her future. Shortly afterward, the Masters discussed options for Mrala amongst themselves, with Maru noting that she was too old to begin her training. While the Masters spoke, the Padawan Lula Talisola proposed asking Mrala herself, and the Padawan Farzala Tarabal suggested also asking the other Jedi who Mrala had made the acquaintance of.[9]

Maru and the other Jedi confer about the Nihil's attack on Trymant.

After the Padawans retold the story of the events on Trymant IV, Maru conceded that while Mrala could not be formally trained, she could remain on the Starlight Beacon until her planet had recovered, also adding that she could be of use due to her friend, Krix Kamerat, having been taken in by the Nihil. However, Maru questioned how to locate the Nihil, whose cruiser had escaped Trymant IV after the Emergence, prompting Yoda to bring up a pair of holoprojectors he had given to both Mrala and Kamerat before the Nihil's escape.[9]

Maru noted that the Trymant attack appeared to be different from the Nihil's usual movements, while Yoda remarked upon an artifact he had found aboard their cruiser. Kriss suggested that the Nihil had been on a high-level secret mission, and together the Jedi resolved to search the Bright Jewel system, where the marauders had been spotted, in an attempt to pick up on the signal of the transponder beacon within Kamerat's holoprojector.[9]

Intrigue on Sedri[edit | edit source]

"Kriss here. How are things at home, Estala?"
"Business as usual—if taking a receipt of decomposing Hutt is 'usual.' Which it isn't, by the way. Not in the slightest."
―Avar Kriss and Estala Maru[src]

Maru called upon information on Vratixian barley after a derelict Hutt ship was found to have been transporting the crop.

Sometime after the dedication, Starlight picked up a distress call from the Kazlin system. Sskeer, the newly-knighted Trennis, and the Jedi twins Ceret and Terec were sent to respond, finding a derelict Hutt starship that had been attacked by the Nihil. The Jedi contacted Starlight to inform Kriss of the situation, and Maru analyzed data gathered by Terec on the remains of the crop that the ship had been transporting.[11]

Maru determined the crop to the Vratixia renanicus, a barley that was a key component of the medical substance bacta, while Ceret ascertained the ship's origin point from the wreckage of its navidroid: the Sedri system. Bringing up information on the Sedri system, Maru noted that one of its planets, Sedri Minor, was largely arable and had an independent colony that was founded twelve years prior. Kriss resolved to have the Jedi investigate Sedri Minor,[11] where Ceret went missing, taken captive by the sentient carnivorous plants known as the Drengir.[3] While Kriss took[3] the cruiser[7] Ataraxia to Sedri, she had Maru perform an autopsy on the deceased Hutt trader that the Jedi had found aboard the wrecked ship.[3]

Though Maru was unimpressed by the task, he did as Kriss had asked, assisted by KC-78, the Jedi Knight Vernestra Rwoh, and her Padawan, Imri Cantaros. Maru also reported the task to the Jedi Council and Grand Master Lahru, who was perturbed by Kriss' request. During the autopsy, Maru contacted Kriss, reporting their progress and informing her of Lahru's opinion. Kriss was irritated that Maru had informed the Council, but thanked Maru, ending the communication to attend to the matters on Sedri.[3]

Starlight under attack[edit | edit source]

"Starlight to Kriss. Come in, please."
"This is Kriss. Can this wait, Maru? We're dealing with a…situation."
"As are we, Marshal. Starlight is under attack."
―Estala Maru contacts Avar Kriss whilst fighting off a Drengir[src]

Maru defends the Starlight Beacon from the Drengir attack.

Maru later left the autopsy in the hands of Archivist Orbalin, who discovered that the Hutt had not been killed from the injuries inflicted by the Nihil, but instead infected by what appeared to be a root system. Though Maru was concerned by the discovery, Orbalin assured him of their strict adherence to quarantine procedures. While Orbalin reported to Maru, Cantaros discovered that the Hutt was moving; though it was not alive, its corpse had been infested. The corpse burst apart, releasing the Drengir onto the Starlight Beacon.[4]

Maru joined the Jedi in attempting to fight off the Drengir, making contact with Kriss to inform her of the attack. Kriss, however, was similarly occupied with the events on Sedri Minor.[4]

Personality and traits[edit | edit source]

"That's sarcasm, isn't it? I didn't know you…actually…never mind."
―Keeve Trennis, to Estala Maru[src]

Despite his nature as a Jedi, Estala Maru displayed a mastery of sarcasm and dry humor which often took others by surprise,[2] including his fellow Jedi.[1] Maru had a reputation of being extremely hands-on, a trait that brought him into tension with Controller Keen, who had a similar nature. He took pride in the efficiency at which the Starlight Beacon was running under his administration.[2] Though he was able to coordinate a number of duties at once, Maru was strained by the tasks he had to perform in the aftermath of the Great Disaster and the leadup to the Starlight Beacon's dedication. He was additionally irritated at being unable to keep track of the Jedi who departed the station.[1] Though Maru believed that Zeen Mrala could not be trained as a Jedi due to her age, he accepted her remaining on Starlight temporarily, acknowledging that she would be helpful to the Jedi.[9]

Estala Maru was a Kessurian male[2] who had red skin, gray hair, and gray eyes.[3]

Powers and abilities[edit | edit source]

"Starlight is operating at peak efficiency. I have been monitoring every department on a constant basis."
―Estala Maru[src]

Estala Maru was sensitive to the Force, viewing it as an endlessly spiraling nighttime city and individual elements as lit windows.[7] Maru was able to multitask, keeping track of numerous different duties on his posting aboard the Starlight Beacon. While coordinating tasks in[1] Starlight's operations hub,[2] Maru would levitate himself in the air, surrounded by various holograms and screens.[1]

Equipment[edit | edit source]

Maru utilized a yellow-bladed lightsaber in combat.[4] The Jedi Master wore a set of white[3] temple robes,[2] also wearing gauntlets[3] and gray boots underneath.[4] Maru utilized a number of holographic screens while monitoring the Starlight Beacon, which he could also use to access information.[1] He also possessed a datapad that he kept in his robes. Maru owned the astromech droid KC-78, who assisted him aboard the Starlight Beacon.[2] While peforming his duties on Starlight, Maru often levitated a cup of[1] mei-mei tea[8] beside him.[1]

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

Debut and origins[edit | edit source]

"He is very process lead, which gets on peoples [sic] nerves from time to time. He also has a great line of sarcasm which no one expects. A very dry sense of humor."
―Cavan Scott, on Estala Maru[src]

The concept art featuring the Twi'lek (fourth from the left) from which Estala Maru was derived

Estala Maru was created by Cavan Scott for the Star Wars: The High Republic publishing initiative as part of the comic series of the same name.[1] He was revealed in a preview from the series within The High Republic Free Digital Sampler[12] on December 12, 2020[13] and was subsequently mentioned by name in the live launch event for the publishing project on January 4, 2021.[14] He later appeared in the comic series' first issue, penciled by Ario Anindito and published by Marvel Comics[1] on January 6.[15]

The character of Maru originated from a piece of High Republic concept art by Phil Noto that featured a Twi'lek Jedi.[16] He was changed to a Kessurian after fellow High Republic writer Charles Soule created the Twi'lek Jedi character Loden Greatstorm for the novel The High Republic: Light of the Jedi, despite having been a Twi'lek in previous outlines for the series.[17]

Background and inconsistencies[edit | edit source]

"For one of the Jedi on the Beacon, Maru, he sees it almost like a massive grid-like city, with lots of lights. He's sort of the ultimate multi-tasker. In ways it shows how they view the Force as a weakness. With Maru, in his very ordered world things start getting messed up, but he's spent so much time thinking that’s how the universe and the galaxy works."
―Cavan Scott[src]

Scott, who described Maru as one of his favorite characters in the series,[14] established that Maru's ability to multitask was not a Force power, but rather a particular skill that allowed him to see things happening simultaneously.[18] Scott also stated that Maru had a very ordered view of the world—having held the perception of that being how the Force and the galaxy worked for a long time—which would be challenged by the events of the initiative, forcing Maru and other older Jedi to become more flexible.[19] The script of The High Republic 1 described Maru as gruff, often officious, and in his mid-to-late forties.[8]

Light of the Jedi erroneously refers to Maru as female,[7] while the Star Wars Insider short story "Starlight: First Duty," written by Scott, misspells Maru's forename as "Estalu."[2] Contrary to his appearance in The High Republic,[3] Maru's depiction in the Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures series, written by Daniel José Older, illustrated by Harvey Tolibao, and published by IDW Publishing, portrays him with brown hair and red eyes.[9]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

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Sources[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 The High Republic 1
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 SWInsider.png "Starlight: First Duty"—Star Wars Insider 201202
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 The High Republic 3
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 The High Republic 4
  5. The Star Wars Book dates the launch of the Starlight Beacon to 232 years before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas establishes as beginning in 0 BBY, thus placing the launch in 232 BBY. The High Republic: Light of the Jedi establishes that the Great Disaster takes place several weeks prior to the dedication. As such, the events that surround the dedication, including Estala Maru's placement on the Starlight Beacon and participation, around 232 BBY.
  6. The High Republic: Into the Dark
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 The High Republic: Light of the Jedi
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 The High Republic Behind-The-Scenes Exclusive 1
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 The High Republic Adventures 3
  10. The High Republic Adventures 2
  11. 11.0 11.1 The High Republic 2
  12. The High Republic Free Digital Sampler
  13. The High Republic Free Digital Sampler on (backup link)
  14. 14.0 14.1 SWYTlogo.png Star Wars: The High Republic | Live Stream Launch Event on the official Star Wars YouTube channel (backup link)
  15. MarvelLogo.svg Star Wars: The High Republic (2021) #1 on Marvel Comics' official website (backup link)
  16. TwitterLogo.svg Cavan Scott (@cavanscott) on Twitter: "The Trandoshan was the inspiration for Sskeer & you can see the beginnings of Terec & Ceret are in there too. The Twi'lek eventually became the Kessurian Master on Starlight & there's at least one more you'll meet soon. And no, that isn't Avar Kriss (2/2) #StarWarsTheHighRepublic" (backup link)
  17. TwitterLogo.svg Cavan Scott (@cavanscott) on Twitter: "He changed to a Kessurian when Charles came up with Loden for Light of the Jedi. Up to that point, he had been a Twi'lek in the earlier outlines and story beats." (backup link)
  18. Polo, Susana. Star Wars: The High Republic era creator breaks down 2 exclusive pages of Marvel's comic. Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on December 16, 2020. Retrieved on December 16, 2020.
  19. duBois, Megan (2020-12-14). Star Wars The High Republic Will Debut A New Galactic Era In 2021 (Interview). Forbes Media LLC. Archived from the original on April 3, 2020. Retrieved on April 3, 2021.

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