Exar Kun (—3,996 BBY, spirit incapacitated 11 ABY) was a highly talented Jedi apprentice to the Galactic Republic Jedi Master Vodo-Siosk Baas, and Dark Lord of the Sith who, alongside Ulic Qel-Droma, initiated the Great Sith War, tearing the Republic asunder throughout several battles until he sealed his own spirit away in one of many Massassi temples on Yavin 4.
Exar Kun was a rash and talented youth: these qualities resulted in considerable arrogance, an unbecoming and dangerous quality in a Jedi. In his training, he frequently dueled with and defeated his fellow Padawans, Sylvar and Crado, his rage and confidence clearly visible. The temptation of power overwhelmed Kun when he briefly viewed his master's rare and forbidden Sith holocron. Master Baas was greatly displeased upon learning of his pupil's meddling; the knowledge of the dark side was dangerous in the hands of such an unpredictable mind. Indeed, it was becoming apparent to Baas that Kun's supreme pride and ambition was beginning to consume him; Kun was convinced that he could master the dark side, learning its powers and techniques while remaining uncorrupted, and return to teach the Jedi Order his new discoveries. Baas tried to save his pupil, warning him to heed only Baas' lessons and to avoid the snares of the dark side, but his pupil disregarded his instructions. Abandoning his master, Kun followed his curiosity and traveled to the war-torn planet of Onderon. There, he learned of a tomb that the Jedi had captured at the end of the Naddist Uprising that housed the mortal remains of an ancient Sith Lord, Freedon Nadd; the Jedi had sealed it in Mandalorian iron and secreted it in a remote section of the moon Dxun. But these barriers were insufficient to deter the young Jedi and he made his way to the dark glade. There, the spirit of the long-deceased Sith Lord appeared to Kun, and, using the young Jedi's curiosity and ambition to his advantage, the ancient Sith instructed Kun to continue his quest to the infamous Sith tomb-world of Korriban. Kun agreed, plunging straight into his fall to the dark side.
On Korriban, Kun delved deep into the mausoleums that encrusted its surface. The spirit of Freedon Nadd, and those of the other Sith Lords, decided to test the wayward Jedi. Unable to use the Force to aid him, Kun soon found himself trapped under a large pile of rocks after a deliberately engineered cave-in. The ghostly Sith offered Exar Kun the only means of escape: the complete embrace of the dark side. His pride and ambition overwhelming him, Kun refused to accept death, calling upon his rage and hatred to fuel the dark side within, temporarily escaping his fate. He emerged from the hallowed tombs of Korriban a corrupted shadow of his former self.
Dark Lord of the Sith
Before fully embracing the dark side, Exar Kun was directed to the jungle moon of Yavin 4, one of the few remaining Sith outposts; even after Freedon Nadd ransacked the treasures deposited there by Naga Sadow, there was much to attract Kun. There he encountered the primitive remnants of the experiment of the Sith Lord Naga Sadow, the fearsome Massassi race. Denied the powers of the light, but at the same time refusing to entirely accept the dark side, Kun was easily captured by these natives. As Kun, on the verge of death, was being crushed by a giant creature of alchemical origins, Freedon Nadd proceeded to interrupt another of his student's predicaments. In what would be Kun's final moments before being totally corrupted by the dark side, Nadd instructed his pupil that his only escape was to once again tap into the darkness within him. Taking the Sith amulet being displayed at his Massassi sacrifice in hand, Kun embraced its dark nature with absolute conviction. Transformed into an agent of darkness, he broke free from his captors, slaughtering them without hesitation. While Nadd was pleased by Kun's newfound strength, the Dark Jedi became fed up with the ancient Sith's tests and meddling. At that instant, Freedon Nadd's presence in the Galaxy was vanquished by the amulet his protégé now held.
Enveloped in the dark side, Kun elevated himself to the stature of a god. He enslaved the Massassi and forced them to construct an intricate complex of massive temples that were used in arcane Sith ceremonies and rites as focuses for the dark side. Fascinated with Sith teachings of alchemy and magic, and now outfitted with the necessary equipment, Kun was able to create terrifying creatures twisted by the dark side's influence while conquering the fourth moon of Yavin Prime.
Kun's ambitions would not let him be satisfied with the rule of a single jungle moon, however absolute and despotic that rule might be. He refurbished the millennium-old Sith Battleship that Naga Sadow had buried on Yavin 4, and began searching for other dark side users who might pose a threat to his status as Dark Lord of the Sith. He found them in the Krath cult of the Empress Teta system, led by Aleema and Satal Keto, which had enlisted the Mandalorians, and a band of Jedi they had seduced to the dark side and converted into Sith. With them, he began a war against the Jedi Order and the Old Republic. One of the Krath's fallen Jedi was Ulic Qel-Droma, who Kun perceived as the only Force-sensitive tainted by the Sith that was strong enough to challenge him. In a fierce duel between the two fallen Jedi on the Tetan world Empress Teta, both amulets that each combatant was wearing suddenly sprang to life. Through the flow of Sith energies unleashed by the combatants, the amulets displayed a vision of a once glorious Sith Empire that had existed a thousand years in the past. A group of ancient Sith spirits, the most powerful one of Marka Ragnos, declared both Kun and Qel-Droma the leaders of the new Sith Empire (much as he had during a similar conflict between Naga Sadow and Ludo Kressh). Exar, the more powerful of the two, was appointed the Dark Lord of the Sith, with Ulic as his apprentice. With this resolution of the leadership dispute, the Great Sith War had begun.
The War was planned with two prongs, to strike against the two foes: Kun traveled to the Jedi fastness of Ossus, killing Odan-Urr, and where with the aid of a Sith holocron, he corrupted the most promising young Jedi Knights and Padawans. These were dispatched to slay their masters, incalculably weakening the Jedi Order and sowing fear throughout the Galaxy. At this time, Kun also used his newfound knowledge and power to devise the first known double-bladed lightsaber. Ulic Qel-Droma, with his combined Mandalorian/Tetan fleets, would assault Coruscant itself, against the orders of his master. The attack was unsuccessful as Kun had predicted, and Ulic was captured and put on trial before the Galactic Senate.
After learning of Qel-Droma's capture and pending trial on Coruscant, Kun went to the Senate Building and met his former master, Vodo-Siosk Baas. Using his new lightsaber, Kun struck down the Krevaaki Jedi with minimal effort. Ulic and Exar then proceeded to slaughter the Senate viciously, including the Supreme Chancellor.
Around this time, Exar Kun discovered the secrets of the crystals aboard Sadow's Yavin 4 flagship. Where Sadow had caused a binary star system to nova to cover his escape, Kun had the vision to use this extraordinary ability as an offensive weapon—against Ossus, which was a few light-days from a cluster of red giants. Kun would sweep down during the inevitable hasty evacuation and cherry-pick the best of the Jedi artifacts and tomes. His plan was even more subtle than this however—the Sith battleship was dispatched with Aleema aboard (with the connivance of Ulic, who had been informed by Mandalore of Aleema's treachery). Aleema was not told that detonating five red giants ensured that they would supernova, and ensure her death in addition to that of the Jedi fleet defending Ossus which was to pursue her.
During the stripping of Ossus, Ulic encountered his brother Cay Qel-Droma, who attacked him. Ulic defended himself all too well, slaying his brother. This murder broke the hold of the dark side and the Sith toxins, redeeming him. In horror, Nomi Sunrider stripped him of the Force. The fallen Jedi whom Exar took under his teachings recanted his foray into the dark side after being cut off from the Force. A broken man, Qel-Droma then led the Republic to Kun's temples on Yavin 4. On the jungle moon, Kun sensed he would not survive the Republic's coming attack. Thus, he drew upon the riskiest sections of Sith alchemy with his alchemical apparatus and drained the life-force of the entire Massassi race, binding his spirit to the temples they had built for him. He remained largely dormant and was even forgotten as the centuries passed.
Nearly four thousand years later, some of these temples were used by the Rebel Alliance as a base of operations. These temples went on to become the site of Luke Skywalker's Jedi Praxeum, a school where he began the re-creation of the Jedi Order. Exar Kun's presence was felt again only after Luke established his Praxeum. As a spirit, Kun appeared to the young Jedi Gantoris. The inexperienced apprentice was unable to avoid being corrupted and was eventually killed by the spectral Kun. After destroying his first Jedi in thousands of years, Kun's insatiable appetite for spreading his dark wrath escalated. He was able to successfully corrupt and partly possess the extraordinarily talented and young Kyp Durron.
In addition, he somehow sundered Luke Skywalker's spirit from his own body, resulting in great confusion and dismay amongst Luke's then-few Jedi apprentices. Kun's spirit was eventually rousted from hiding and destroyed by the combined efforts of the Jedi apprentices, Luke's spirit, and the long-dead spirit of Kun's slain master, Vodo-Siosk Baas.
Powers and abilities
Exar Kun was masterful at lightsaber combat, known to have been a double-bladed lightsaber combat Form II (Makashi) master, and was also known to have fought with two blades on occasion, being adept at the Jar'Kai style of fighting. Exar's lightsaber, unlike nearly all Sith lightsabers that followed it, was also blue, presumably because red hadn't yet been established as the color of the Sith.
As a disembodied spirit, Exar Kun appeared to Force-sensitives as a "three-dimensional silhouette," normally black as the void but sometimes containing stars, if he wished. When Luke Skywalker occupied the same "spirit world," Exar Kun appeared to him as he did in life. He claimed that if he could drive enough of Luke's Jedi students to the dark side, he could draw upon their combined dark emotions and recreate his body. He could travel at will anywhere on Yavin 4, especially his temples. He was capable of enhancing others' Force powers (as when he helped Kyp Durron resurrect the Sun Crusher) as well as attacking directly, burning Gantoris to death from the inside out and summoning ebon snakes, composed of pure dark side energy, to tear Luke's spirit from his body. He could also mentally command his Sith alchemy creations, surviving from 4,000 years ago.
The creation of the double-bladed lightsaber, often mistakenly attributed to Darth Maul, was in actuality the brainchild of Kun. In addition to the ability for him to adjust the length of the blade, Kun was able to alter its intensity as he saw fit. He crafted his fearsome double-bladed blue saber later in his life, however. Kun's ingenuity served as a source of inspiration for later Sith, and in a few rare cases, Jedi and Dark Jedi, to create their own. Other notable wielders of the double-bladed lightsaber included Bastila Shan, Zez-Kai Ell, Jorak Uln, Uthar Wynn, Darth Maul, and Azrakel. This weapon was also very popular with the Sith during Darth Revan's Jedi Civil War.
- Tales of the Jedi: Dark Lords of the Sith
- Tales of the Jedi: The Sith War
- Jedi Search (First appearance)
- Dark Apprentice
- Champions of the Force
- I, Jedi