- "Go on to your higher plane, teacher. The galaxy is mine now."
- ―Exar Kun
Exar Kun was a highly talented Jedi apprentice to Master Vodo-Siosk Baas, and, after falling to the dark side of the Force, a Dark Lord of the Sith. Alongside Ulic Qel-Droma, he initiated the Great Sith War, tearing the Galactic 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 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 his lessons and to avoid the snares of the dark side, but his pupil disregarded his instructions. Abandoning his master, Kun declared himself a Jedi Knight. Kun then 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
- "Exar was a Jedi who was corrupted by ghosts of the old Sith, or so they say. He attempted to destroy the Republic and create a new Golden Age of the Sith."
- ―Jolee Bindo
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, led by Marka Ragnos, declared both Kun and Qel-Droma the leaders of the new Sith Empire. Exar, the more powerful of the two, was appointed the Dark Lord of the Sith, with Ulic as his apprentice, and both were annointed with unknown Sith symbols on their foreheads. With this resolution of the leadership dispute, the Great Sith War had begun.
Enemy of the Republic
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 almost the entire Massassi race, transcending his own mortal body which was destroyed in the process along with the rest of the surface of Yavin 4. However Nomi Sunrider realized somehow what Kun was attempting and caused the Jedi to erect a 'Wall of Light' with the Force around the moon, keeping Exar Kun's spirit from fleeing the planet and instead chaining him there for all eternity. He remained largely dormant inside a massive, black and green granite tomb, and was even forgotten as the centuries passed and he grew bitter. Not even his former apprentice Ulic Qel-Droma could sense Kun's spirit within the ancient ruin when he visited some time later, and so it would remain for millennia.
- "How you must hate me. I can feel your anger."
- ―Exar Kun to Luke Skywalker's students
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 young and extraordinarily talented Kyp Durron.
In addition, he somehow sundered Luke Skywalker's spirit from his body, resulting in great confusion and dismay amongst Luke's Jedi apprentices. Kun's spirit was eventually roused from hiding and banished into the Force by the combined efforts of the Jedi apprentices, Luke's spirit, and the long-dead spirit of Kun's Master, Vodo-Siosk Baas. After Kun's shade was vanquished, Corran Horn destroyed Kun's temple with proton torpedoes, thus removing his dark taint from Yavin 4 forever.
Powers and abilities
- "Darth Vader would have found you amusingly quaint, and the Emperor… well… The Emperor succeeded in destroying the Jedi, so he'd see you as the very definition of failure!"
- ―Mara Jade to Exar Kun
Exar Kun was masterful at lightsaber combat, known to have been a double-bladed lightsaber combat 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. He also was able to independently change the length and strength of the blades, causing confusion and over/under-compensation from his opponents in combat.
After learning the powers of the Sith and being consumed by the dark side, as well as benefitting from the power of Freedon Nadd's amulet, Kun's power in the Force was extraordinary. He was capable of emitting blasts from his hands that could crumble stone walls and kill Sithspawn with a few hits, had a strong Force Sense, and the ability of Force Flight. Jedi Oss Willum described him as "immensely strong with the Force". His studies of ancient Sith scrolls, and the designs of Naga Sadow on Yavin 4, also gave Kun a more than working mastery of Sith Alchemy
Kun showed the Jedi Order his new powers, but found himself ostracized for his new-found abilities. 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 recover 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.
- "That wasn't precisely Kyp who did that. He was possessed by the spirit of a long-dead Sith Lord named Exar Kun."
"That's exactly the sort of thing I hope never to have to explain to a Senatorial committee."
- ―Luke Skywalker and Cal Omas
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 by modifying his old two-handed lightsaber. Thus unlike later designs, Kun's double-bladed lightsaber roughly equaled to the hilt length of a standard lightsaber. 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 Zannah, Darth Maul, Asajj Ventress and Azrakel. This weapon was also very popular with the Sith during Darth Revan's Jedi Civil War.
Behind the scenes
- Exar Kun first appeared as a spirit in the Jedi Academy Trilogy written by Kevin J. Anderson, who also wrote the Tales of the Jedi which detailed Kun's life.
- Exar Kun is the only known Dark Lord of the Sith to construct and wield a lightsaber that did not have a red blade. Darth Vader was the other exception, though that blue lightsaber was constructed when he was still a Jedi and was soon replaced with a red one.
- Although he never demonstrated it, The Dark Side Sourcebook claimed that Exar Kun was a master of Force lightning.
- A Guide to the Star Wars Universe
- The Essential Guide to Characters
- The Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology
- The Dark Side Sourcebook
- The New Essential Guide to Characters
- Geonosis and the Outer Rim Worlds
- The New Essential Chronology
- Evil Never Dies: The Sith Dynasties
- In Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins, XR has an enhancement mode that he activates by saying "XR Gun!" which sounds like "Exar Kun". Though this is probably unrelated, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command does bear similarities to Star Wars.