- "I was the greatest Dark Lord of the Sith. I am Exar Kun."
- ―Exar Kun, to Kyp Durron
Exar Kun was a Jedi Knight who fell to the dark side, assumed the mantle of Dark Lord of the Sith, and waged a destructive war against the Galactic Republic and Jedi Order during the era of the Old Sith Wars. A Human male, Kun was apprenticed to the respected Jedi Master Vodo-Siosk Baas, and in his days as a student he came across forbidden knowledge of the history of the Sith. Extremely confident in his own abilities and naturally quick to anger, Kun was filled with a burning curiosity regarding the Sith, and soon went on his own quest to find out as much as he could. Kun's search led him to the planet Onderon, which had once been ruled by a Sith Lord named Freedon Nadd. With the help of a pair of Nadd's followers, Kun came across Nadd's tomb on Onderon's moon Dxun, and there was confronted with the spirit of the dead Sith himself. Seeing in Kun a potential avenue to regain a physical form, Nadd directed the young Jedi to the ancient Sith homeworld of Korriban. There, Nadd conspired to grievously injure Kun, only healing the man when he accepted the dark side into his heart. Kun's next stop was to the moon Yavin 4, a place with its own Sith history—Kun enslaved the primitive Massassi living there and compelled them to build extensive temple complexes across the forested world. Soon afterward the fully corrupted Kun banished Nadd's spirit, having never trusted the old Sith, and in the process learned of several other nascent dark side users who had learned from Nadd.
Seeing Nadd's other apprentices—Satal and Aleema Keto, Tetan nobles who had founded the Krath cult and conquered their native star system—as a threat, Kun set out to destroy them. On Empress Teta, Kun encountered Ulic Qel-Droma, a Jedi Knight who had lost his Master to a Krath attack and had gone undercover within the group to seek revenge. Qel-Droma had been seduced by the dark side himself, and while the two briefly dueled, their battle was ended when the spirit of long-dead Dark Lord of the Sith Marka Ragnos appeared to proclaim the two fit to call themselves Sith Lords. Exar Kun was to be the Dark Lord of the Sith, and Qel-Droma his apprentice, and together they resolved to bring a Sith golden age back to the galaxy. Allied with the remnants of the Krath and the Mandalorian warrior clans, Kun and Qel-Droma commenced a bloody war against the Republic starting in 3996 BBY. In the early stages of the conflict, Kun traveled to the Jedi library world of Ossus, murdered the Jedi Keeper of Antiquities, Odan-Urr, and took possession of a rare Sith holocron. Kun then took several prospective Jedi followers back to Yavin 4, where he used the holocron's power to corrupt them and reshape them into his Brotherhood of the Sith. Kun sent his Brotherhood out into the galaxy to kill their Masters and wreak havoc, while he headed to the Republic capital of Coruscant to rescue Qel-Droma, who had been captured after launching an ill-advised attack on the planet.
Ever the showman, Kun burst into the Senate Hall in the middle of Qel-Droma's trial for war crimes, murdering Supreme Chancellor Sidrona and setting Qel-Droma free. On his way out, he was confronted by his former Master, Vodo-Siosk Baas—unable to talk the Krevaaki into joining his side, Kun instead unveiled his new invention, the double-bladed lightsaber, and killed Baas in a duel. Distrustful of Aleema Keto, who had been responsible for Qel-Droma's capture, Kun sent her to her death soon afterward, manipulating her into causing a massive supernova in the Cron Cluster that was sure to destroy the planet Ossus. Ahead of the Jedi Order's chaotic evacuation of the doomed planet, Kun and Qel-Droma descended onto Ossus and ransacked the Great Jedi Library for its ancient treasures. While Kun made it in and out with a sizable haul, Qel-Droma got caught in combat, killed his brother, was taken prisoner and stripped of his connection to the Force. Shattered by his brother's death, Qel-Droma switched sides and led the Jedi to Kun's base on Yavin 4. In the ensuing battle, Kun refused to go quietly, conducting an ancient ritual to free his spirit from his mortal form so he could wreak havoc through the cosmos. He did not entirely succeed: while the ritual worked as intended and the Jedi thought him dead, Kun's spirit was trapped on Yavin 4 for the next several millennia.
In 11 ABY, the Jedi Master Luke Skywalker established a Jedi training ground on Yavin 4, as he attempted to build a New Jedi Order after the old Order's destruction at the hands of the Galactic Empire. After thousands of years in isolation, Kun attempted to influence Skywalker's apprentices to do his bidding, successfully turning the young Padawan Kyp Durron to the dark side and severely wounding Skywalker. However, the rest of Skywalker's apprentices banded together and, with the help of the long-dead shade of Vodo-Siosk Baas, banished Kun's spirit and finally put an end to his schemes.
- "Exar Kun! Cease! Anger is not the way! Do you think anger will make you a great warrior? Are you a greater warrior than your teacher because of it?"
"You are the master. But only I know what I can do."
- ―Vodo-Siosk Baas and Exar Kun
A Human male, Exar Kun was discovered as a Force-sensitive and taken in for training by the Jedi Order several millennia before the Battle of Yavin. Recognized as an extremely promising talent, Kun apprenticed under the venerable Krevaaki Jedi Master Vodo-Siosk Baas, training on the planet Dantooine alongside the Cathar mates Crado and Sylvar. On Dantooine, Kun honed his skills with the lightsaber by frequently taking on the two Cathar in training duels. From the beginning, Kun harbored a deep, burning desire to become a great Jedi, and pushed himself extremely hard to achieve his goals. Possessed of great ability but not a Jedi Knight yet, Kun regardless had great pride in his own skill and believed himself ready to learn about forbidden knowledge and the history of the Sith. On one occasion in 3997 BBY, Kun sneaked into Baas' hut and activated the Master's holocron, which contained a wealth of information about the Sith—it was there that Kun first heard the name of Freedon Nadd, a fallen Jedi turned Dark Lord of the Sith who conquered the planet Onderon and ruled as a Sith king. Baas soon discovered Kun with the holocron, and rebuked the young apprentice for his curiosity. As Kun was nearing the end of his lightsaber training, Baas instead sent Kun to summon Crado and Sylvar for another round of training duels.
Kun swiftly and easily defeated the weak-willed Crado, before engaging the Cathar's fierce and determined lover Sylvar. At the beginning of their encounter, Kun attempted to make Sylvar doubt her Cathar heritage with taunts; instead, it caused Sylvar to give into her instinctive rage and claw Kun across the face, severely scarring him. Kun responded with a furious outburst of his own, nearly striking Sylvar down, but Baas jumped into the fray in the nick of time and disarmed his apprentice. When Baas challenged Kun himself, Crado tossed the Human his lightsaber, daring Kun to prove his arrogance. Wielding only his wooden staff, Baas quickly found Kun's balance point and sent him flying with only a single blow. But as Kun lay on the ground, he spotted another lightsaber sitting only a short distance away, using the Force to retrieve it and arming himself with both blades. Summoning all his rage and power, Kun went back on the offensive, eventually smashing Baas' Force-imbued staff in two. Kun took his leave of the Krevaaki Master soon afterward—his interest in the power of the Sith growing, he decided to venture to Onderon in his starship, the Starstorm One, to seek out the forbidden knowledge of Freedon Nadd.
- "You are not welcome on Onderon, Exar Kun."
"Nonsense. I am a Jedi Knight and am free to come and go as I please. I will begin my research without your help."
- ―Arca Jeth and Exar Kun
Posing as a Jedi archaeologist investigating Freedon Nadd and the Sith on Onderon, Kun managed to gain an audience with Jedi Knights Cay Qel-Droma and Tott Doneeta, who were supervising the transformation of the Dark Lord's old starship into a Jedi outpost. Although Kun was interested in a trove of Sith artifacts that had recently been found in the lair of the dead Onderonian king Ommin, the two Jedi informed him that they had been instead ordered to be shipped to the Great Jedi Library on Ossus, while Doneeta offered Kun a tour of Nadd's court in the city of Iziz instead. When Kun insisted that he had to study the artifacts, he was rebuffed—Qel-Droma and Doneeta's Master, the Arkanian Arca Jeth, arrived on the scene and confronted Kun about his fascination with the dark side, revealing that he knew Kun was lying about being an archaeologist. Although Jeth attempted to banish Kun from Onderon, Kun resolved to continue his investigation without their help and raised ship for Iziz. After wandering the streets of the walled city for some time, Kun came across a pair of street preachers named Nebo and Rask, who were being assaulted by an angry crowd for speaking out against the Jedi and expressing Naddist sympathies. Kun rescued the men from their plight, and after an interrogation and a promise of gold, the two Naddists agreed to guide Kun to Freedon Nadd's tomb, which Master Jeth had hidden away in secret on Onderon's moon Dxun.
Kun ventured on alone after reaching Dxun, easily slicing through the beasts that guarded the massive structure. To his dismay, however, Kun realized that the mausoleum itself was made out of Mandalorian iron, through which his lightsaber could not cut. After trying and failing to break into the tomb, Kun suddenly felt a strange power surrounding him, and on his next attempt he easily broke through the outer shell of the crypt. Although Kun had some misgivings about proceeding further, he nonetheless journeyed on—passing the sarcophagi of King Ommin and his wife, Queen Amanoa, Kun finally came across the skeletal corpse of Nadd himself. To Kun's shock, Nadd's spirit emerged from the coffin. Offering Kun a "gift," Nadd ordered the Jedi to remove his corpse from the sarcophagus, leading Kun to find a pair of scrolls written by Nadd's former master. Nadd revealed that the scrolls would lead Kun to the "last home of the Sith," where Nadd would meet Kun again to continue the young Jedi's journey down the dark path. Nebo and Rask attempted to rob Kun for the scrolls when the Jedi emerged from the tomb, but Kun lashed out in a burst of anger and quickly slaughtered the pair with his lightsaber. Although Kun was shaken and distressed by how easily he gave into his anger after being touched by Nadd's dark power, he could not dwell on these negative emotions for long—he was overcome with relief and excitement to have the scrolls in his possession, and felt ready to uncover the secrets that awaited him. Returning to the Starstorm One, Kun ran the scrolls through an electronic translator, learning more of the history of the Sith and the name of their final home: Korriban.
Surrender to darkness
- "I am going to Yavin Four. But unlike you, I will never be seduced by the dark side."
"Oh, but you already have… you already have!"
- ―Exar Kun and Freedon Nadd
While the rest of the Jedi Order was meeting at the Conclave at Deneba, the ever-curious Kun was putting the Starstorm One down on the surface of Korriban, landing his ship in the long-forgotten tombs of the ancient Valley of the Dark Lords. As Kun descended into the valley, he was attacked by skeletal corpses made animate by dark side energy—after destroying several, he once again heard the voice of Freedon Nadd, which beckoned him into a nearby temple. Disturbed by the immense dark side power he felt within the place, Kun attempted to turn back and return to his ship, only to find that the exit had been blocked in a sudden rockslide. With no choice but to press on further, Kun followed Nadd's spirit through the halls of the temple until finally coming across a mausoleum containing a large crystal that held the spirits of Jedi Masters defeated by the ancient Sith. As Kun peered into the crystal, Nadd released the cataclysmic energy inhabiting the temple, bringing the whole structure down on Kun. Kun barely survived the collapse, clinging to life with his bones smashed in over a hundred places. As he lay motionless on the rubble of the temple, Nadd's spirit again appeared to Kun, promising that he could only be saved by surrendering to the dark side. Master Baas sensed Kun's turmoil light years away, and although the Krevaaki attempted to shield Kun with the light, Nadd's spirit manifested itself and foiled the Jedi's efforts.
His body broken and with no help coming, Kun was left with no choice but to accept Nadd's offer and surrender to the dark side. In an instant, Kun's bones healed and strength returned, although Kun experienced several moments of intense pain—his cries were heard through the Force as far away as Deneba, where the Jedi convocation had gathered. Made whole again, Kun rose feeling stronger than he ever had before. Nadd's spirit guided him to the resting place of many of the ancient Sith Lords, where Kun realized that he now had the ability to read the Sith language written on the sarcophagi. Although Kun maintained that he was still a Jedi and would never belong to the dark side, when Nadd roused several deadly tuk'ata beasts into the room to test Kun, he found that he had lost his ability to draw on the light side of the Force. His lightsaber taken by Nadd and a tuk'ata at his neck, Kun reluctantly called upon the dark side and his inner anger to retrieve his lightsaber and slay the beasts. The spirits of the ancient Sith announced their approval of Kun after this act, and although he still believed that he had not been seduced by the dark side, Kun decided to follow Nadd's bidding and complete his research on the moon Yavin 4, where the Sith magician Naga Sadow had taken his followers hundreds of years before.
Becoming the Dark Lord
- "Freedon Nadd, I've had enough of you guiding me, testing me…"
"Nonsense! Let's get to work… I am hungry to reacquire flesh and life and power!"
"Power? Yes… there is power…"
- ―Exar Kun and Freedon Nadd, before the former annihilates the latter's spirit
Kun immediately charted a hyperspace course to Yavin 4, landing the Starstorm One next to one of the ancient Sith temples that dotted the moon's landscape. When Kun disembarked he heard Nadd's voice again, although Kun maintained that he wanted nothing more to do with the spectral Sith. As Kun moved further into the jungle, he was attacked by a group of Massassi warriors—the mutated and twisted descendants of Naga Sadow's followers, transformed into violent and single-minded guardians by Sadow's magic. Again finding his access to the light side of the Force blocked and hesitant to use the dark side, Kun was injured by the Massassi's flying lanvarok discs and was quickly swarmed by the warriors while attempting to flee the skirmish, while other Massassi began removing parts from his ship and rendered it inoperable. Overtaken by several warriors, Kun was inspected by the Massassi temple priest Zythmnr, who had emerged from twelve years in solitude after sensing the commotion. Recognizing Kun's power, Zythmnr ordered his warriors to bring Kun to the Temple of Fire, where Kun was chained to a Massassi altar to be the honored guest at a blood sacrifice. Using the power of Zythmnr's Sith amulet and Naga Sadow's ancient magics, the Massassi summoned a mighty Sith wyrm, a Sithspawn beast created by Sadow that towered over the unarmed Human. The wyrm attacked Kun, and as the Jedi Knight struggled in the beast's grasp, he again heard Nadd's call, ordering him to call upon the dark side and save his own life.
In that moment, Kun had his final realization—the time had come to cast aside the Jedi ways and give in to his rage. Suddenly finding that he could speak the Sith tongue, Kun channeled his anger and laid claim to the Sith amulet. With his anger multiplied a hundredfold by the amulet, Kun summoned an immense amount of power and energy, obliterating the Sith wyrm and a number of Massassi. Although Kun nearly lost control, he emerged victorious, and those Massassi that had survived honored him and pledged their service. The battle over, Nadd suddenly manifested himself again to Kun, expressing his delight with Kun's newfound power and declaring that it was time for them to begin work on Sith alchemy that could once again give Nadd a physical form. Instead, Kun decided that he had had enough of Nadd's orders and tests. With a single burst of anger, multiplied by the power of the amulet, Kun obliterated Nadd's spirit once and for all. In his last moments, Nadd appeared to two of his other dark students—the cousins Satal and Aleema Keto, leaders of the Krath cult, who had used their significant talent in Sith magic to conquer the Empress Teta system—warning them of Kun's power and declaring him to be a pretender to the Sith legacy.
- "Sadow's curse is gone… but his magician's power lives on. A power that could easily destroy me, unless I learn to master it. So master it I shall!"
- ―Exar Kun
By lifting the curse of Naga Sadow from the moon, Kun established himself as the leader of the Massassi on Yavin 4, with the tribesmen believing that he was the returned Dark Lord of the Sith spoken of in their legends. Kun had little interest in titles, only power, and as such he ordered the Massassi to build massive temples in accordance with ancient Sith designs, in order to focus a great amount of dark side energy on Yavin 4. The Massassi followed their "God-King" enthusiastically and reverently over the following months, building statues and monuments to him along with the temples—Kun was willing to allow the tribesmen to believe whatever they liked about him, as long as they continued to obey him. Kun additionally took the opportunity to further his control over the Massassi, imprisoning the souls of their children in a massive Golden Globe, held in the newly built Palace of the Woolamander. Kun began to draw energy off the trapped souls within the Golden Globe, which was bound with Sith magic that only could be undone by Force-sensitive children. For himself, Kun constructed a temple that would come to be known as the Temple of Exar Kun as a private retreat, adorned with Corusca gems and distinguished by an ebon statue of the dark side sojourner. Kun also continued his research into the moon's dark mysteries, eventually deciding to follow the draw of the dark side back into the Temple of Fire where he had defeated the Sith wyrm. Kun surmised that the wyrm was created to guard something older and more powerful, which he was determined to master. Kun plunged into the pit from which the wyrm had emerged, finding within a hangar that contained the Corsair, Naga Sadow's flagship that had brought the Massassi to Yavin 4 centuries before.
First excited at the prospect of having a way off the moon, Kun found something more inside: Sadow's alchemy lab, containing a wealth of ancient Sith knowledge and alchemical lore that was previously lost. Parsing through the Sith scrolls he found in the lab, Kun discovered the process through which Sith magicians were able to modify living creatures. Kun was eager to put this knowledge to the test, and the priest Zythmnr agreed to be his first subject. In accordance with Sith legends that told of alchemy that could turn a warrior into a god, Kun began a dark side ritual in the Temple of Fire where the power of the dark side would transform Zythmnr into "the greatest of all the Massassi." Indeed, when the ritual was completed and the matrix opened, Zythmnr was changed. Kun had infused the priest with a metallic bioarmor and enhanced his muscle mass and bone structure, along with giving Zythmnr razor-sharp claws and a hardened outer hide. Contrary to Kun's assurances, the process was excruciatingly painful for Zythmnr—the Massassi still urged that the process continue, and Kun finished the ritual by infusing Zythmnr with the dark side, using some of his own physical makeup as a template. Zythmnr took well to the treatment and showed promise with the Force afterward, encouraging Kun enough to repeat the procedure on several dozen other Massassi. On Yavin 4, Kun would also use the secrets of Sith alchemy to create monstrous creatures, such as the terentatek, which hungered for Force-sensitive blood, and two-headed battle hydras.
Lord of the Sith
- "Exar Kun, because of you, the Sith will never die. You have earned the right to bear the mark of Dark Lord of the Sith."
- ―Marka Ragnos, appointing Exar Kun as Dark Lord
Afterward, Kun decided that it was time to take his leave of Yavin 4. The Sith amulet had shown him the existence of the Ketos, and with the discovery of the Corsair giving him the opportunity to finally leave the moon, Kun resolved himself to track down Freedon Nadd's other students and kill them. Along with two of his Massassi, Kun lifted off from Yavin 4 in the Corsair and traveled to the planet Empress Teta in search of the Ketos, eventually finding his way to the Iron Citadel that the Krath magicians called home. As he approached the fortress, his Sith amulet began to glow—Kun realized that the Ketos had taken possession of the amulet's mate, making them even more of a threat. But by then, circumstances had changed: Satal Keto was dead, slain by a Jedi named Ulic Qel-Droma who had initially joined the Krath as a sleeper agent, but had himself become seduced by the dark side and was leading the Krath alongside his now-lover Aleema Keto. Desperate to save Qel-Droma from his fate, several of his Jedi friends attacked the Iron Citadel from above in a daring bid to extract him from the Krath. Kun approached the citadel amidst the Jedi bombs, although by the time he reached the building the Jedi had already realized that Qel-Droma would not be swayed from his path and decided to leave.
While Qel-Droma and Keto embraced, Kun announced his arrival. Keto immediately attacked but Kun swiftly took her out of commission with a blast of dark side power—Kun and Qel-Droma dueled, but the two were both such master swordsmen that neither could gain the advantage. As the two fallen Jedi battled, the Sith amulets they wore began to glow and envelop the pair in energy. The energies from the amulets combined and began to form an image of the ancient Sith Empire, a message carried in the two talismans for centuries. Finally, the image of long-dead Dark Lord Marka Ragnos appeared and ordered the pair to cease fighting, which they both immediately obeyed. In awe, Kun realized that he recognized the long-deceased Sith, as he had seen his mummified remains on Korriban. Ragnos' spirit named Kun the new Dark Lord of the Sith, his initiation into the dark side complete—with a single touch, Ragnos burned a mark into the center of Kun's forehead, along with that of Qel-Droma, whom Ragnos said would become Kun's first and foremost apprentice. When the smoke cleared and Ragnos' spirit had dissipated, Kun and Qel-Droma, rippling with tremendous amounts of dark side energy, eagerly clasped hands and resolved to bring down the galaxy.
The Sith War
- "I am a Jedi Master. Odan-Urr has passed his flame to me. I am the keeper of the future… we have great deeds ahead of us. I promise you one thing—I will never underestimate the power of the dark side."
- ―Exar Kun to his new Jedi devotees on Ossus
Determined to defeat the Republic and the Jedi, the newly minted Lords of the Sith made their first order of business to consolidate the space around the Empress Teta system, having already gained the allegiance of Aleema Keto and her Krath cult. For this task he put into use, for the very first time, the Dark Reaper, an ancient Sith artifact that he had chanced across on Yavin 4. Coupled with a device called the Force Harvester, the Dark Reaper had the ability to drain the Force energy from those around it and focus it into beams, making it a horrific offensive weapon. After the Reaper claimed thousands of lives on Raxus Prime, Kun devised a plan to use the weapon to destroy the Jedi Order. However, Qel-Droma, still harboring affection for some of his friends and relations within the Jedi Order, covertly aided the Republic in foiling Kun's plot and disabling the Dark Reaper at the old Sith world of Thule.
It was 3996 BBY, the Great Sith War was underway, and to contend with the galactic powers that be, Kun and Qel-Droma decided that it was time to put together a force that could challenge their enemies. For his part, Kun ventured to the Jedi library world of Ossus, where he proclaimed a renewal of the Jedi way to Knights on the world, not letting on that he had fallen from the light himself. Kun railed against the current Jedi establishment, particularly focusing on Jedi Masters keeping their students from forbidden knowledge, and asked some of the apprentices on Ossus to leave their teachers and follow him instead. On Ossus, Kun revealed that it was he who had destroyed the spirit of Freedon Nadd, producing his Sith amulet—which he called a "Jedi amulet"—and wowed some of the apprentices with the vision of his power. After this display, Kun overheard venerable Jedi Master and Keeper of Antiquities Odan-Urr discussing a Sith holocron he had discovered in his younger days. Kun immediately knew that he had to have it, and as he entered Odan-Urr's hut, the holocron sensed his dark power, left the Jedi Master's grasp and hovered into Kun's hand. Odan-Urr attacked Kun, but the Dark Lord's Force power was too much for the old Master, who succumbed and died, his body disappearing as he passed into the next world.
After the clash, a group of Jedi Knights rushed to the scene, planning on pledging themselves to Kun's cause: among them were Kun's former classmate Crado and the Vultans Oss Wilum and Zona Luka. Kun claimed that Odan-Urr had peacefully passed on and had given him the holocron as a gift before naming him a Jedi Master. At the end of the day, Kun had a total of 20 Jedi ready to follow him, a number that included Wilum, Luka, Crado and the Human Jorak Uln. Meanwhile, Ulic Qel-Droma was busy building up an army. Qel-Droma won the allegiance of the formidable Mandalorian warrior clans after besting their leader, Mandalore the Indomitable, in single combat on the world of Kuar. Qel-Droma unified the forces of the Mandalorians with those of the Krath, creating a fighting force that would devastate worlds across the galaxy. Qel-Droma next seized the Republic's great shipyards at Foerost, claiming 300 of the Republic's newest and most advanced warships for the Sith cause. Kun and Qel-Droma spoke over hologram after the Foerost raid—while Kun wanted Qel-Droma to continue building up the fleet while he trained his Jedi learners in the dark side, Qel-Droma and the Mandalore were determined to strike at the Republic's capital of Coruscant. Kun was frustrated with Qel-Droma's rashness, but realized that he would not be able to sway his apprentice to change his mind. Kun reluctantly allowed Qel-Droma to attack Coruscant, but warned that he would continue his plans without him should his apprentice fail.
Chaos in the Senate
- "This is not the end, Exar Kun. You and I will fight again… perhaps not for a long time, but I will defeat you."
"Words. Go on to your higher plane, teacher. The galaxy is mine now."
- ―Vodo-Siosk Baas and Exar Kun
While Qel-Droma pressed on with his plan to attack Coruscant, Kun flew his new Jedi charges to Yavin 4 aboard the newly repaired Starstorm One. Upon landing, Oss Wilum, sensing the touch of the dark side, realized that all was not as it seemed—but when he tried to leave the group, he was attacked by a group of Massassi that Kun was forced to call off. Kun explained that while the moon did have a dark side taint, he was attempting to purify it, and would need their help. Kun revealed Odan-Urr's holocron was indeed a Sith one, but instead of destroying it as he promised the Jedi he would, he instead released the faint remnants of the ancient Sith that remained within. The holocron shattered into dozens of crystal shards that became embedded within Kun's Jedi followers, immediately incorporating themselves into their targets, corrupting them with the dark side and reshaping them into Kun's Brotherhood of the Sith. The only one remaining unaffected was Crado, who was loyal to Kun nonetheless—the Dark Lord had other plans for the Cathar. Finally possessing his own force of dark acolytes, Kun ordered his charges to go out into the galaxy and murder their Jedi Masters. For his part, Kun resolved to deal with his old Master Vodo-Siosk Baas himself, instead dispatching former classmate Crado to assist Oss Wilum in killing the powerful and respected Tchuukthai Jedi Master Thon.
But as the corrupted Jedi lifted off from Yavin 4 to begin their mission, another craft touched down on the moon. The ship was piloted by Mandalore the Indomitable, who brought news from the Coruscanti front: Ulic Qel-Droma's attack had failed, and the Republic was preparing to put Kun's apprentice on trial for war crimes. Kun agreed to help save Qel-Droma, and the pair immediately made their way to Coruscant along with a phalanx of Massassi troops. Kun and his force brazenly marched into the Republic Senate Hall while the trial was underway, with Kun using a Sith spell to freeze the onlookers and render them unable to react. Kun freed Qel-Droma and promptly made his way up to the Senate pulpit, which was occupied by Supreme Chancellor Sidrona. The aged Chancellor attacked Kun with his staff, but his attempt was quickly cast aside—Kun then used Sith magic to dominate Sidrona's mind, forcing the helpless Chancellor to parrot Kun's pronouncement of the Republic as a crumbling, outdated institution. When Kun released his hold on Sidrona, the Supreme Chancellor died. While Kun and Qel-Droma prepared to leave the Senate chamber behind, however, Vodo-Siosk Baas emerged to speak to his former student.
Kun was reluctant to engage his former Master initially, hoping instead that Baas could be convinced to join their Sith movement. When Baas refused, Kun challenged him to battle—if Baas won, Kun pledged that he would return to his old Master's tutelage. The two dueled on the Senate floor, with the Krevaaki Jedi Master wielding only his wooden staff as he had before on Dantooine. When Kun found himself unable to swiftly overcome Baas, he decided to go with his ace in the hole, revealing a modification he had recently made to his lightsaber: a second blade. The tide of the duel immediately turned, and with one final blow, Kun blasted through his former Master's staff and killed him—with Baas promising, in his final words, that the two would one day fight again, and that Kun would be defeated. Kun then dispatched of his former classmate Sylvar with a telekinetic blast when she charged him, but allowed her and several other Jedi present in the chamber to live. Having made his point, Kun and Qel-Droma left the shocked, silent Senate chamber behind, walking right out the front door with no resistance.
- "We have arrived, Exar Kun."
"Yes, Ulic—Ossus is ours for the taking."
- ―Ulic Qel-Droma and Exar Kun prepare to raid Ossus
Kun promptly returned to Yavin 4 with Aleema Keto, where they met with Qel-Droma and the Mandalore, the latter of whom had discovered that it was Aleema's treachery that had led to the Sith apprentice's capture by the Republic. Meanwhile, Kun's corrupted charges fanned out into the galaxy to slay their Jedi Masters. Some of his apprentices failed in their duty—Oss Wilum and Crado were defeated and the former taken captive by Master Thon and Nomi Sunrider on the planet Ambria, and Zona Luka was slain in battle with her former Master—but Kun's plot resulted in the deaths of eight of the most respected Jedi Masters in the Order. Wounded, Crado survived the clash on Ambria and managed to escape back to Yavin 4, where he reported on Thon's survival and Wilum's capture to Exar Kun. Putting on a forgiving face, Kun assigned Crado to part of a force led by Aleema Keto that was planned to attack the Kemplex IX jump station in the Auril sector. Using the ancient power held within the Corsair, Aleema would destroy the jump station, and whatever Republic and Jedi forces they could draw there, with Sith magic—it was meant to be a strike against the Republic, but secretly, it was also a way for Kun and Qel-Droma to get rid of the nuisances and traitors that were Crado and Keto. Meanwhile, Kun and Qel-Droma also had another plan for Kemplex IX, as it would open the way for them to pillage the nearby Great Jedi Library on Ossus of any relics and valuables of use.
Following Kun's plan, Keto used the power of the Corsair to rip the core from one of the ten stars of the Cron Cluster, which she then used as a weapon to destroy a number of Jedi who had pursued them to Kemplex IX. In doing so, however, she had doomed herself—the removal of the core caused a chain reaction inside the Cron Cluster, releasing a massive surge of energy that obliterated the Corsair and killed Keto and Crado. Back on Yavin 4, Kun and Qel-Droma felt a disturbance in the Force that confirmed to them that their plot had succeeded—the supernova was next to claim Ossus, and the Sith pair immediately set out for the world to rob the library blind as the Jedi evacuated. The Cron supernova immediately caused a panicked, desperate evacuation, and provided a perfect opportunity for the two Sith Lords. Kun flew to Ossus aboard the Starstorm One with Qel-Droma flying in on his personal shuttle, their descent covered by a phalanx of Mandalorian troops. Although Qel-Droma was quickly caught up in a firefight with his brother Cay, Kun landed safely within the walls of the Great Jedi Library and set out with a group of several Massassi warriors to plunder whatever he could from the complex.
Kun soon came across the tree-like Neti Jedi Master Ood Bnar, who was busy safeguarding a trove of ancient lightsabers and other artifacts in a shielded vault. The two briefly battled, but when Bnar—never a great warrior—realized he had no chance of winning a contest of strength, Bnar used his Neti ability to take root on top of his vault of artifacts, denying them to Kun. Although Kun was disappointed, his Massassi had already loaded up the Starstorm One with dozens of treasures, and he considered the endeavor to be a success. Although a vengeful Sylvar attempted to attack Kun as he retreated to his starship, Kun simply allowed his Massassi to buy him time until he pulled away for Yavin 4. His apprentice would not be so lucky. Left behind on Ossus by Kun's departure, Qel-Droma wound up in a pitched duel with his brother Cay, eventually slaying him in a fit of anger. The Sith Lord was immediately overcome with guilt for what he had done and begged for forgiveness, only for Nomi Sunrider to strip him of his connection to the Force. Broken, repentant and blind to the Force, Qel-Droma realized that Kun needed to be stopped, and agreed to lead the Jedi to his former Master's base on Yavin 4.
- "My spirit will live forever! Forever!"
- ―Exar Kun transcends his mortal form
With Qel-Droma now aiding the Jedi and Aleema Keto dead, another pillar of Kun's dark army soon fell. While the attack on Ossus was still ongoing, Mandalore the Indomitable led a massive force of Mandalorian troops in an invasion of Onderon at Qel-Droma's behest. Met personally in battle by Onderonian King Oron Kira and Onderon's native Beast Riders, along with reinforcements from the Republic Navy, the Mandalorians found themselves hopelessly outgunned and retreated back to the moon Dxun. Hoping to evade pursuit in Dxun's wild jungles, the Mandalore instead had his Basilisk war droid shot down before being ripped to shreds by jungle beasts. Defeated in every sense, Ulic Qel-Droma led a combined force of thousands upon thousands of Jedi, in thousands upon thousands of ships, to Exar Kun's base on Yavin 4 for what could only be the final endgame of the war. Furious at Qel-Droma's betrayal, Kun realized that he had no chance at standing up to the combined might of the entire Jedi Order, and so delved into the ancient texts that he had salvaged from the Great Jedi Library. Kun was certain that he would die, but he had uncovered a way that his consciousness could continue to exist, separated from his physical body. Kun had no choice but to undertake the ritual—he still did not completely understand the pathways the act would open, and cognizant of the possibility that his plan could fail, Kun sent the Massassi warrior Kalgrath to wait in the isolation chambers beneath the temples as a last line of defense.
Kun's ritual needed the use of tremendous amounts of life, so the Dark Lord called in every single Massassi on the moon and gathered them within the structure that would come to be known as the Temple of Exar Kun. Kun chained himself to an altar as the Massassi began to sacrifice themselves by the thousands so that Kun's spirit could escape—Kun hoped that his consciousness would be able to run rampant through the cosmos forever. As Kun's mortal body disintegrated, the incredible amounts of energy that surged forth from the Temple of Fire reacted with the wall of light cast down upon the moon by the Jedi forces, causing a massive fire that swiftly engulfed the jungles of Yavin 4. The Jedi, and Qel-Droma, did not need to see any more to know that Kun was defeated, and they soon departed. But unbeknownst to all, Exar Kun's ritual had succeeded—but not in the way he had hoped. While his spirit had been freed from his body, he was trapped inside the walls of the temple, desperate to find a way out of his pitch-black chamber.
In the meantime, Kun's dark campaign soon fell apart without him and Qel-Droma at the helm. After Mandalore the Indomitable was killed on Dxun, his mantle was taken up by the young Taung warrior known as Mandalore the Ultimate, who withdrew the Mandalorian Crusaders from the conflict. With Aleema Keto dead, the Republic managed to recapture the Empress Teta system, and scatter the Krath to the farthest corners of space. The rest of Kun's forces were pushed back to remote areas that comprised the traditional "Sith space." Kun himself did not sense another living soul for two years, when Ulic Qel-Droma, now a nomad perpetually searching the galaxy for a way to regain his connection to the Force, made a journey to Yavin 4 to fulfill his desire to see what really happened on that fateful day. Although Kun called out to his former apprentice, Qel-Droma was unable to hear him, and soon left the vanquished Dark Lord behind.
- "I have dreamed of you. A dark man who offers me incredible secrets, then destroys me. I am lost if I go with you."
- ―Gantoris, to Luke Skywalker, mistaking the Jedi Master for his visions of Exar Kun
Over the coming years, Kun's spirit would continue to be bound to Yavin 4, slumbering restlessly. During one period of intense Force activity on the moon in 3638 BBY, the former Dark Lord's spirit manifested as a ghost in the jungles east of the Temple of Sacrifice. It would not be the last time that Kun's spirit would make contact with the living— although the Jedi expunged all record of the Yavin system in the aftermath of the war, the citizens of the galaxy would eventually stumble upon Kun's moon again. During the Galactic Civil War around four thousand years after Kun's physical death, some of his temples on Yavin 4 were rediscovered and used by the Rebel Alliance as a base of operations. Kun was briefly roused from his stupor during this time, although he was only dimly aware that his temples were being occupied.
In fact, in the early days of Rebel settlement on Yavin 4, Alliance naturalist Dr'uun Unnh stumbled across the Temple of Exar Kun, and had begun work translating the temple's writings and pictographs before he was killed in the opening salvoes of the Battle of Yavin. As knowledge of the existence of temples filtered out, in 1 ABY Professor Walter Emanus led a Corellia University archaeological expedition to the moon. However, during their excavations, they uncovered the catacombs beneath the Dark Lord's temple and reawakened his spirit. He possessed them and made them into the Cult of Exar Kun, devoted to his worship. Under his influence, some of the cultists traveled to the Corellia University research outpost on Talus to recruit more students and researchers to their ranks. The cult based itself around the catacombs, but was destroyed when Professor Cornelius Wagglehorn, a former colleague of Emanus, hired a group of spacers to drive them out. Exar Kun himself battled the spacers, but due to his spirit form, was easily defeated and silenced once more.
However, Kun still had great power from beyond the grave. During the era of the Galactic Civil War, Kun made a link with a young Force-sensitive man named Gantoris, a native of the remote world of Eol Sha—Kun began to appear in his dreams, with Gantoris perceiving the fallen Dark Lord as a "dark man" who he believed would offer him incredible secrets before destroying him. In 11 ABY, Gantoris was recruited by Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, who was traveling the galaxy in search of prospective apprentices for his New Jedi Order. Although Gantoris initially believed Skywalker to be the "dark man," he eventually allowed Skywalker to train him in the Jedi ways. As it happened, Skywalker chose Yavin 4 as the place where he would train his first class of Jedi students, amongst the ruins of Kun's temples. It would not be long before Gantoris and fellow Jedi prospect Streen stumbled across the Temple of Exar Kun, immediately identifying it as a site of great power—only Skywalker, a trained Jedi Master, could discern its darkness. While Gantoris and the other apprentices learned at Skywalker's Jedi Praxeum, Kun again began to speak to Gantoris in his dreams, secretly instructing the man on how to build his own lightsaber and driving the Padawan towards the dark side. Kun also began to influence the other inhabitants of Yavin 4, at one point appearing in the dreams of Luke Skywalker himself, trying to convince the Jedi Master to study the heritage of the Sith under the guise of Skywalker's father.
- "How you must hate me. I can feel your anger."
- ―Exar Kun, to Luke Skywalker's Jedi students
With several prospective Jedi students now inhabiting Yavin 4, Kun saw an opportunity to lure them to the dark side—just as he had with his Brotherhood of the Sith—and turn them into a new Force-wielding army. He started his attempt with Gantoris. Although met with some resistance, Kun succeeded in pushing Gantoris to give into his anger after showing the apprentice a vision of his people being massacred by Imperial forces at their new colony on Dantooine. Enraged, Gantoris attempted to attack Kun's shadow, only for the former Dark Lord to obliterate him. Gantoris' incinerated body was discovered by his fellow students the next morning. Although Gantoris was gone, Kun soon found another target: Kyp Durron, a new arrival to the Jedi Praxeum, a young man who had spent most of his life imprisoned in the spice mines of Kessel and who had swiftly outpaced the rest of Skywalker's apprentices. Immensely talented in the Force and driven by an all-consuming desire to destroy the Empire that had imprisoned him and destroyed his family, Durron was frustrated with the slow pace of Skywalker's lessons and allowed Kun to teach him his secrets. Kun showed Durron the path to the Temple of Exar Kun, previously rediscovered by Gantoris and Streen, and Durron immediately made his way to the structure along with his companion Dorsk 81. Kun used the Force to put Dorsk 81 to sleep once the pair were inside the temple, and proceeded to teach the awestruck Durron, who wanted nothing more than the power to defeat the Empire himself, the history and ways of the ancient Sith.
Emboldened by Kun's teachings, Durron began to rebel against Skywalker, whom he believed to be weak, indecisive, and not committed to destroying the Imperial threat that had recently reared its head again under the command of Admiral Natasi Daala. Although Durron was still wary of Kun, he soon fled Yavin 4 in a stolen starship, and after searching for relics of the fallen Sith Lord Darth Vader on Endor, the young apprentice proclaimed himself to be the new Lord of the Sith. Durron promptly returned to Yavin 4, and with Kun's aid, Durron used the Force to bring forth the Imperial superweapon known as the Sun Crusher from inside the gas giant Yavin Prime, where it had been secreted away. Skywalker was stunned at Durron's fall, and although he attempted to convince Durron to turn away from the dark side, Kun revealed himself and aided his young apprentice in attacking and overwhelming the Jedi Master—as Durron left Yavin 4 behind aboard the Sun Crusher, Skywalker was left in a semi-comatose state, his spirit sundered from his still-living body. Pushed fully into the dark side, Durron used the Sun Crusher to destroy the planet Carida, home to the Imperial Military Academy. But while Durron was on his rampage, Kun was still at work. Just as he had with Gantoris and Durron, Kun began influencing another of Skywalker's Jedi prospects: this time it was Streen, a former tibanna prospector from Bespin who had joined the Order to calm his powerful innate Force empathy. Although Streen was already accustomed to hearing the thoughts of others in his head, Kun's constant whispers drove the grizzled man to panic. Kun also attempted to influence the Jedi apprentice and former New Republic ace starfighter pilot Corran Horn to turn to the dark side and kill Skywalker, but was not able to affect the Corellian—the two would clash again when Horn intruded upon Kun's temple. After Horn mocked Kun, the former Dark Lord sent the pilot flying from the structure, breaking the man's arm.
Kun would also confront Skywalker's spirit, which had remained in the presence of his students and family who had rushed to his side, with the former Dark Lord proclaiming that he would destroy Skywalker's body and doom the Jedi Master to a fate untethered to the physical world. After Kun issued his threat, he put Streen into an unconscious trance, driving the man to try and kill his Master—fellow apprentice Kirana Ti managed to stop him, and Streen soon snapped out of his state. Kun next sent battle hydras—descended from some of his alchemical creations during his lifetime— to attack Skywalker, only for Skywalker's spirit to guide the hand of his young nephew, Jacen Solo, to battle like a master swordsman and foil Kun's plan. His attempts on Skywalker's life unsuccessful, Kun continued to harass and taunt the Jedi Master's spirit, even while Skywalker's students plotted to destroy the "dark man." But for all of Kun's bravado, he was not able to overcome the collective will of the Jedi. When Kun next attempted to drive Streen to murder his Master, he found his attempts to influence the man repelled, as the rest of Skywalker's students gathered to stand against him. With increasing desperation, Kun attempted to weaken the Jedi by driving at their failures and insecurities, but was met only with resolve. As the synergy between the Jedi grew, the images of Luke Skywalker and the long-dead Vodo-Siosk Baas appeared—after four thousand years, Master Baas proclaimed Kun defeated, just as he had promised before his former apprentice struck him down on the Senate floor. Once the scene had reached a fever pitch, Streen and Ti crossed lightsabers within Kun's shadowy body, extinguishing the "dark man's" spirit and banishing him for good.
- "The infamous Sith Lord Exar Kun had no relations with the true Sith Empire, but his fall to the dark side set the stage for the Mandalorian Wars and the eventual fall of Revan and Malak."
- ―Jedi Master Gnost-Dural
Although Kun's spirit remained hidden away in secret for thousands of years after his physical death, the impact of his life, and his war with the Republic, was felt throughout the galaxy. One of Kun's most immediate legacies lay in the millions who perished in the Great Sith War, and the worlds his campaign razed: places like Toprawa, Ossus and his moon Yavin 4, which saw its forests scorched at the end of the Great Sith War. It took less than ten years for Yavin 4 to be green again, but Kun's temples still dotted the moon's landscape for millennia. Ossus remained a shattered wasteland, with the descendants of some Jedi survivors persisting as primitive tribes. Those worlds were not alone—nearly a quarter of the civilized worlds of the Republic were devastated by the Great Sith War, and many were forced to rebuild by themselves, as the Jedi Order and Galactic Republic were greatly depleted by the conflict. The Republic was able to greatly rebuild its shattered infrastructure and economy over a 30-year Restoration Period, although it wouldn't be long until the government was embroiled in another galaxy-spanning conflict.
In 3964 BBY, Mandalore the Indomitable's successor attacked the Republic, and while the Republic prevailed again, the war directly led to the horror of the Jedi Civil War— Kun's fall was credited as a major catalyst. Despite all the bloodshed, Kun's story was largely regarded as legend by the galaxy at large by the time he was rediscovered on Yavin 4, as many historical sources were destroyed along with the Jedi Temple during the Galactic Empire's purge. He was remembered in some circles, however, as the inventor of the double-bladed lightsaber, or "saberstaff," which in time became used by Jedi Masters and Sith Lords alike. In fact, the Sith Lord Darth Maul, a noted wielder of the double-bladed lightsaber who lived several thousand years after the Great Sith War, patterned his weapon on Kun's.
Over the coming years, the results of Kun's study of Sith alchemy, which included experiments on living creatures, continued to pose dangers to the living. Sithspawn such as terentateks and Sith wyrms were still present throughout the galaxy. As a result, the Jedi Order launched the Great Hunt, a campaign to exterminate Kun's creations, that touched worlds like Onderon, Kashyyyk and Korriban. Many Jedi died during the Great Hunt, and it was not entirely successful— by the time of the Jedi Civil War, there were still terentateks to be found on Kashyyyk and Korriban. In addition, Kun's battle hydras continued to make a home on Yavin 4, regressing into typical predator behavior and making their lairs in mountain caves.
Kun's rise ended up having a dramatic effect on one of Vodo-Siosk Baas' other apprentices, who in turn became a central figure in a bizarre affair within the Jedi Order several decades after the end of the Great Sith War. Shattered by the deaths of her husband and Master Baas during the war, Jedi Master Krynda Draay became obsessed with prophecy, distraught over the fact that the Jedi Order's greatest seers had failed to predict Kun's fall to the dark side. In response, Draay began training several promising young Force-users to become seers, in time forming the secret Jedi Covenant dedicated to keeping watch for the return of the Sith. The Covenant's visions eventually led to the massacre of four young Padawans on the planet Taris in 3964 BBY, after the Covenant's First WatchCircle misinterpreted a vision to mean that one of their students would bring about the ruin of the Republic and the Jedi Order. Surviving Padawan Zayne Carrick was publicly accused of the murders, but he was eventually exonerated after elements within the Covenant rose in an unsuccessful attempt to usurp control of the Jedi Order.
Outside of keeping vigil for the return of the Sith, the Jedi Covenant's activities also included the recovery and storage of hundreds of dark side artifacts—in time, this came to include Kun's double-bladed lightsaber, which was recovered by Jedi Shadow Celeste Morne and placed in the Covenant's storehouse in the Sanctum of the Exalted on the planet Odryn. In 3963 BBY, in the midst of the Mandalorian Wars, the lightsaber fell into the hands of the notorious Mandalorian scientist Demagol, a Zeltron biologist who had dedicated his life to researching the source of the Jedi's Force powers. In a fight with his daughter Chantique on the planet Osadia, both Zeltrons died, each impaled on one of the lightsaber blades. Afterward, Zayne Carrick turned the weapon back over to the Jedi Council for safekeeping. By the time of the Galactic War several centuries after Kun's original defeat, Kun was the subject of a text called Exar Kun: The Lesson, The Warning, which was suggested reading material for Jedi apprentices of the age. A holocron attributed to Kun was also extant during this time, containing information on Force spirits. During the Galactic Civil War, Kun was depicted in a painting called The Will of Exar Kun, which was available for purchase in the town of Aurilia on the planet Dathomir.
In the aftermath of Kun's banishment by the Jedi class on Yavin 4, Luke Skywalker's spirit was able to return to his body and the Jedi Master continued to train his students. Many of the prospective Jedi that fought against the former Dark Lord—including Streen, Kirana Ti, Corran Horn, Cilghal and Kam Solusar—became respected Masters of the New Jedi Order. Even Kyp Durron found himself redeemed, vanquishing his memory of Exar Kun within the Sith Lord's old temple on Yavin 4 as his last test before being readmitted into the Order. The Jedi Praxeum flourished on Yavin 4, and in 22 ABY, apprentices from the training center stumbled upon Kun's Golden Globe, which had continued to hold the souls of trapped Massassi children for the last several millennia. With the help of the Jedi Master Ikrit, young Anakin Solo and Tahiri Veila succeeded in breaking the globe and freeing the spirits of the Massassi.
In 40 ABY, Tionne Solusar, a Jedi Master who had been among the Jedi class that battled Exar Kun on Yavin 4, compiled a compendium about the history of the Force that discussed Kun's life and afterlife extensively. The tome included a first-hand account from Streen on his experiences battling Kun's shade, among other stories from the Tedryn Holocron on the Sith Lord's life. Solusar was unable to find any clue as to why Kun was unable to cause more havoc in the Jedi Praxeum, although Corran Horn offered the possible explanation that, after 4,000 years in solitude, the exertion it took to possess Kyp Durron and defeat Luke Skywalker had simply tired Exar Kun out.
Personality and traits
- "Exar Kun, you are the most formidable student I have ever had… but I sense something is missing in you. An empty place hidden even from yourself—a place that remains unseen because no light escapes from that region of your heart."
- ―Vodo-Siosk Baas
Confident in his talent and abilities to the point of arrogance, as a young man Exar Kun developed an obsessive curiosity towards the forbidden knowledge of the dark side. Although he held great respect for his Master, Vodo-Siosk Baas, and pushed himself extremely hard to fulfill his burning desire to become a great Jedi, Kun was impatient and chafed at the slow pace of his lessons. Kun believed that that he was underestimated by his Master and his peers, a perception fueling an inner anger that occasionally came to the fore during lightsaber training sessions. As such, Kun placed himself well above his fellow Jedi students, the Cathar mates Crado and Sylvar, disdaining the abilities of what he termed to be "animal Jedi," and he would later turn on his "friend" Crado with no reservation. Kun believed that only he knew the true extent of his abilities, and his heart remained a mystery to those around him— meanwhile, Kun's fascination with the dark side continued to grow, to the point that Kun broke with his Master and proved himself willing to lie and scheme to get his hands on Sith artifacts. Kun made the choice to pursue knowledge of the dark side, but he initially found himself surprised by what that choice entailed.
The growing ease with which he was able to give into his anger and accept Freedon Nadd's dark power disturbed him, even as his excitement at being nearer to the secrets he sought grew. But despite his misgivings, Kun's insatiable curiosity pushed him on, while Nadd's meddling eliminated any chance that Kun could turn away. It was Kun's fear of death that pushed him to finally fully accept the dark side into his heart—but even after Nadd saved him, Kun remained defiant, claiming that the dark side would never claim him. Kun only begrudgingly allowed himself to be taught by Freedon Nadd, while initially despairing that his connection to the light side had deserted him. But once Kun fully accepted his hate and completed his fall, he never looked back, his reluctance replaced only with a lust for power. This new Exar Kun cared little for titles or trappings, his only focus being his quest to accrue as much power as possible, including his subjugation of the Massassi race. Others who might also study the dark side were only seen as threats, to be immediately eliminated, at least until the spirit of Marka Ragnos proclaimed Ulic Qel-Droma to be Kun's first apprentice.
Nevertheless, Kun and Qel-Droma's relationship was often rocky—Kun was frustrated with Qel-Droma's rashness and disobedience, scoffing at Qel-Droma's "foolish" strivings to "prove his manhood," ultimately allowing his apprentice to proceed with his plans but leaving him to suffer the consequences of his choices. In turn, Kun never let go of his respect for Master Vodo, and he initially tried to find a way to bring the Krevaaki Jedi Master into the fold. As Dark Lord of the Sith, Kun proved himself to be an able spinner of lies and dark side seducer of curious Jedi, sparking the interest of prospective apprentices by appealing to their interest in forbidden knowledge and sowing distrust towards the leading Masters of the Jedi Order. Hiding his Sith status from them, Kun presented himself instead as the greatest of all Jedi, solely intent on safeguarding a great future for their Order. Of course, Kun always did have his eye on the future, but his goal was a future based on his Sith teachings, not what he viewed as the "creaking old" Republic and Jedi ways. Kun disdained the Jedi Order he once served, seeing the old foundations of the galaxy as irrelevant, outdated and ineffective, with the Republic government especially seen as puppets to tradition. Kun's all-surpassing hunger for ancient knowledge still drove him on, as he became obsessed with his quest to bring back an ancient Sith "golden age" to rule the galaxy.
As he descended deeper into ancient Sith lore, Kun discovered a fondness for Korriban's highly intelligent tuk'ata, or Sith hounds, bringing several with him to Yavin 4. Although Kun grew bolder in his rebellion against the Republic, culminating in his storming of the Senate floor and his devastation of Ossus, his focus remained completely single-minded, and he had no qualms casting aside those who did not hold any further use to him, including Ulic Qel-Droma. This latter betrayal would end up leading to Kun's defeat in the end, but as it was when he first fell to the dark side, the Dark Lord was willing to sacrifice anything and everything to avoid death. Millennia in isolation on Yavin 4 made Kun grow desperate and half-mad, but his ambition was never dulled. His disdain for the Jedi class of Yavin 4 was complete, and he scorned Luke Skywalker, an accomplished Jedi Master in his own right. Kun dreamed of reviving his old Brotherhood of the Sith with the new Jedi apprentices on the moon, but he was reduced to ineffective attempts to prey on the apprentices' emotions when things eventually unraveled for him and he was ultimately defeated. Kun stood 1.9 meters tall, and had black hair, gray eyes and light skin.
Powers and abilities
- "Nadd only taught you the beginnings of Sith power, woman–but I have learned everything!"
- ―Exar Kun, to Aleema Keto
The venerated Jedi Master Vodo-Siosk Baas called Exar Kun the most formidable student he had ever trained, and his power in the Force only grew once he accepted the dark side into his heart. Once the choice was made, Kun lost his ability to tap into the light side of the Force, but the dark side offered new possibilities and new abilities to master. On Yavin 4, Kun intensely studied Sith magic, learning how to unleash enormous amounts of destructive dark side energy, even more so once he discovered Naga Sadow's ancient Corsair. The discovery of the Corsair also allowed Kun to research Sith alchemy, which he would quickly master—Kun would eventually gain the ability to create monstrous dark side creatures, such as terentateks and Sith wyrms, that would continue to pose a menace long after the end of the Great Sith War. Kun would also develop strong mental Force powers, notably using a Sith spell to mesmerize the entire Galactic Senate and dominate the mind of the Supreme Chancellor. As he delved deeper into Sith magic, Kun discovered pathways that he did not truly understand, but that he used anyway to free himself of his body at the end of the Sith War—at the expense of thousands of Massassi lives.
But while he would become a master of the arcane ways of the dark side, Exar Kun shone the most with his vaunted lightsaber ability, which he honed in training duels with the Cathar Crado and Sylvar on Dantooine. His preferred form was Niman. Even as an apprentice, Kun was strong enough to defeat his Master, Vodo-Siosk Baas, although his combat style tapped into an inner anger that worried his Master. An overwhelming combatant with his single-bladed lightsaber, Kun would later add to his arsenal by innovating and mastering the double-bladed lightsaber, which was a previously unseen weapon in his time. Kun's formidable prowess in combat was bolstered by his tactical genius in utilizing the adaptability of his double-bladed lightsaber. By suddenly changing the intensity or length of one of his blades, Kun was often able to trick his opponents into overextending themselves and creating openings for fatal counterstrikes. Coupling his tactics with his ability to predict his enemies' actions through the Force, Kun became a nearly unbeatable force.
In addition to his proficiency with a lightsaber, Kun was also handy with a blaster pistol and with vibroweapons. Kun was fluent in Basic, Arkanian, Ryl, Catharese, Kreva, and Tetan, along with the ancient Sith language after his corruption to the dark side at the hands of Freedon Nadd. Kun's powers expanded after his physical death, although he lost the ability to use some Force skills, such as Force lightning. No longer bound to a mortal body, Kun gained the ability to manifest where he pleased amongst his network of temples on Yavin 4, appear in the minds of others, and even possess his targets. In his spiritual form, Kun was still strong enough to complete great feats of Force power, such as sundering Luke Skywalker's spirit from his body and helping Kyp Durron bring forth the Sun Crusher from Yavin's sun, but he was weak enough that he was unable to prevent his own demise at the hands of a group of Jedi apprentices.
- "Time to make this more interesting… do you like the modifications I made to my lightsaber, Master?"
- ―Exar Kun unveils his double-bladed lightsaber
A master of lightsaber combat, Exar Kun was remembered for his innovation of the double-bladed lightsaber, using a blue-bladed weapon that he constructed himself as a modification of his original blue-bladed lightsaber. Although Kun was often credited with the weapon's invention, Master Vodo-Siosk Baas' Tedryn Holocron stated that Kun followed instructions from a Sith holocron, possibly prepared by the original Sith Lords, Jedi exiles who fought in the Hundred-Year Darkness millennia before Kun's life. Kun added a second emitter matrix on the other end of the lightsaber's handle, which allowed him to use the weapon with only one blade released or both. Kun also added customized controls to the lightsaber, allowing him to adjust both the length—measuring from half a meter to one and a half meters—and the intensity of each blade, using this variability to his tactical advantage in combat. Kun used this modified lightsaber much as his Master, Vodo-Siosk Baas, used his quarterstaff, utilizing one blade to block attacks before spinning his grip and attacking with the other blade.
Kun's lightsaber prowess and Force ability was bolstered in turn by the powerful Sith amulet that he obtained after being captured by the Massassi on his first trip to Yavin 4. Wearing the amulet on his left hand and shoulder, Kun gained the ability to unleash huge amounts of dark side energy. Kun owned a cortosis-woven light battle suit during his life, which may have been found by the Sith-turned-Jedi Revan and his apprentice Meetra Surik on their adventures during the Jedi Civil War and Dark Wars, respectively. Not long after the Battle of Yavin, the Rodian treasure hunter Suz Tanwa discovered what she believed to be Kun's light battle suit on the moon of Yavin 22, where it had been hidden by her ancestor, Suvam Tan, a former Sith slave during the Great Sith War. During his life, Kun made use of his personal starship, the Starstorm One, a vessel that could be operated by himself alone. Kun used the Starstorm One as a Jedi apprentice and continued to fly the ship as Dark Lord of the Sith, using it to transport Jedi artifacts after his raid on Ossus.
Behind the scenes
- "I almost wish I could have done the backstory first. I could've added more detail to the books. I spent more time writing the comics than the books. I know so much about him; he wouldn't have been quite so clear-cut a villain. I'd take the edge off him."
- ―Kevin J. Anderson
The character of Exar Kun was created by author Kevin J. Anderson, who used the Dark Lord's spirit as a major antagonist of his 1994 Jedi Academy Trilogy. Kun first appeared as a dreamlike "dark man" in the trilogy's first novel, Jedi Search, and was properly introduced in the next novel, Dark Apprentice. When creating the character, Anderson was initially unsure whether Kun should be a Dark Lord of the Sith or a "Dark Jedi," finally making his decision when George Lucas voted on the former. Soon afterward, Tales of the Jedi comic author Tom Veitch suggested that they combine Kun's story with that of Veitch's already-running Tales of the Jedi, as Kun had only been established as living "sometime in the past" and not in any set timeframe. Enthusiastic about the idea, Anderson decided to sketch out Kun's backstory for a stand-alone Tales of the Jedi issue, which turned into a three-issue story arc, which ended up turning into the 12 issues comprising Tales of the Jedi: Dark Lords of the Sith—written by a collaboration between Veitch and Anderson—and Tales of the Jedi: The Sith War, written by Anderson alone.
After writing the comics and fleshing out Kun's life story, Anderson stated that he wished he could have written the Jedi Academy Trilogy books afterward, as he had a better sense of the character and he could have provided more depth. In the Star Wars universe, Kun is notable as the first character ever depicted wielding a double-bladed lightsaber, a weapon that would gain popularity when the antagonist Darth Maul used it in the 1999 movie Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace. The concept was created by artist Chris Gossett, who pencilled most of the Dark Lords of the Sith arc, but it went unused until fellow artist Dario Carrasco, Jr. drew Kun with it in Tales of the Jedi: The Sith War. During his run in the Tales of the Jedi comics, Kun was illustrated by three different artists: Gossett, Carrasco, and Art Wetherell. Kun was also portrayed in the audio adaptation of Dark Lords of the Sith, where he was voiced by Peter Reneday.
The Star Wars Insider 26 article Straight from the Horse's Mouth lists Kun's rise to Dark Lord of the Sith at 3991 BBY, although numerous later sources place the event at 3997 BBY. As the Insider article contradicts numerous other established dates, it is treated as incorrect on that matter for the purposes of this article.