"On the pyramids is a legend, the great god Kopa Khan who came from the stars and vanished, and the legends say he will come back again someday."
Unidentified Human singer[src]

Kopa Khan was a deity worshipped by the Lortan Fanatics who instigated the Reslian Purge. He was described as a Man-Hutt hybrid, and expected by his cult to remove evil from the galaxy. After the end of the Reslian Purge, the song "Light the Sky on Fire", which referenced the legend of Kopa Khan, was popular on Kashyyyk.


The Lortan Fanatics who ravaged the Yushan sector in the Reslian Purge were described by the Galactic Empire's propaganda as "Kopa Khan cultists."[1] The god they worshipped was a Man-Hutt who they believed would banish evil from the galaxy.[3]

"Light the Sky on Fire", a song sung by a Human band popular on Kashyyyk circa 1 ABY.[4] also made reference to the "Great God Kopa Khan". The song mentioned that Kopa Khan arrived from the stars, and then vanished. The song also mentioned that his return was prophesied.[2]

Behind the scenes[]

This deity's first mention in Star Wars material comes during Jefferson Starship's performance of "Light the Sky on Fire" in The Star Wars Holiday Special. The deity is mentioned during a spoken-word break between verses.[2] However, in the absence of an official script or subtitled home video release of the Holiday Special, the name of this deity as spoken by lead singer Marty Balin is difficult to determine. The liner notes to the CD release of Jefferson Starship's Gold, an album which includes "Light the Sky on Fire", do not include lyrics which would establish the spelling of the deity's name.

The name "Kopa Khan" is found in a transcript of the Holiday Special made in 1995 by a fan named John Haller. In an introductory note discussing "Light the Sky on Fire", Haller says "A couple of the lines of this song are just guessed at."[5]

According to the lyrics of the song, as transcribed by Haller:

On the pyramids of the legend. /The great god Kopa Khan came from the stars and vanished. / And the legends say he will come back again someday.[5]

Kopa Khan was mentioned for the first time in written Star Wars material in part 10 of Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Warfare Author's Cut.[1] Paul R. Urquhart, co-author of The Essential Guide to Warfare, indicated on the Jedi Council Forums that Kopa Khan from the Holiday Special should be identified with the Man-Hutt worshipped by the Lortan Fanatics which X-Wing Rogue Squadron 25 refers to.[6]

Elements of the description of "Kopa Khan" in "Light the Sky on Fire", such as the association with pyramids, the celestial origins, and the prophecy of return, are consistent with Kukulkan, the feathered serpent god from Mayan mythology.[7] In response to a fan asking about a connection between Kopa Khan and Kukulkan, Urquhart responded that he did not specifically mean to make the connection. Urquhart did note a parallel between the Man-Hutt in Rogue Squadron 25 and Emperor Leto Atreides II, a main character in Frank Herbert's Dune series.[8][9]



Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 StarWars.com Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Warfare Author's Cut, Part 10: The Rise of the Empire on StarWars.com (article) (backup link)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 The Star Wars Holiday Special
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 X-Wing Rogue Squadron 25
  4. StarWars.com Slugthrowers: An Overview of Popular Music and Musicians in a Galaxy Far, Far Away, Part 2 on StarWars.com (article) (backup link)
  5. 5.0 5.1 John Haller, THE STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL TRANSCRIPT Version 1.0, hosted on StarWarsHolidaySpecial.com
  6. Paul R. Urquhart (writing as "Thrawn McEwok"), Jedi Council Forums, thread "The Official StarWars.com Blog Thread - That's right, I went there", post #1135.
  7. The Mayans are the same civilization which built the pyramid at Tikal used during the filming of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope to represent the Rebel base on Yavin IV.
  8. Paul R. Urquhart (writing as "Thrawn McEwok"), Jedi Council Forums, thread "The Official StarWars.com Blog Thread - That's right, I went there", post #1139.
  9. In Children of Dune, Herbert's third Dune novel, Leto II becomes a hybrid between human and sandworm. By the time of the fourth novel, Leto II has led a religious crusade which has brought known space under his control, and reigned for thousands of years as the titular God Emperor of Dune.