Three years before the Battle of Yavin, Starkiller was sent on a mission to the planet Felucia; his objective was to assassinate Master Shaak Ti, one of the last surviving members of the Jedi Council. Trained in the ways of the dark side of the Force as the secret apprentice and personal assassin of the Sith Lord Darth Vader, Starkiller was raised to exterminate his master's enemies without question or remorse, particularly the Jedi fugitives who survived Order 66 and the rise of the Galactic Empire. With Vader's assurance that a confrontation with Ti would be the final test of Starkiller's skills, the apprentice headed to Felucia, determined to prove his worth in order to become a true Sith Lord.
Shortly after landing on Felucia, Starkiller was met with resistance from the local Felucian natives, whose natural prowess with the Force was amplified by Shaak Ti. After fighting his way through the jungles of Felucia, Starkiller confronted Ti at the Ancient Abyss, a mega-Sarlacc sacred to the Felucians. During the ensuing lightsaber duel, Ti fought with the aid of several Felucian warriors and the mega-Sarlacc, but was ultimately overpowered by Vader's apprentice. Ti, wounded and unable to defend herself any longer, accepted her fate by willingly falling into the mega-Sarlacc, but not before warning Starkiller of the Sith's track record for treachery.
- "You have defeated a tired old man and an outcast. You will not be ready to face the Emperor until you have faced a true Jedi Master."
- ―Darth Vader to Starkiller
Soon after Starkiller completed his second mission in the ruins of the Jedi Temple, he received his most important assignment yet from the Sith Lord Darth Vader. Communicating to his secret apprentice through the holodroid PROXY, Vader ordered Starkiller to travel to the planet Felucia and kill Shaak Ti, one of the last surviving members of the Jedi Council who survived Order 66 and fled into exile. Despite Starkiller's successful missions against other Jedi Masters, such as Rahm Kota and Kazdan Paratus, Vader felt that victories over an "old man" and an "outcast" were too insufficient to fully confirm his apprentice's true potential. With growing anticipation at the prospect of becoming a true Sith, Starkiller obeyed his master's orders without question.
During the journey to Felucia, Starkiller was too focused on his mission and the reward of a successful outcome to pay any attention to Captain Juno Eclipse, the pilot of the Rogue Shadow. With the exception of issuing orders, Starkiller avoided Eclipse's attempts to converse. Upon arrival, however, the image of Felucia's environment—rich and vibrant with life—caused an emotional disturbance in Eclipse. Starkiller inquired as to the reason behind Eclipse's increased emotional state, mainly due to the conflicting feelings that he sensed within her. She half-heartedly revealed her involvement in the Bombing of Callos and how, as a consequence of her actions, the Galactic Empire reduced the planet to a dead and barren state. Unconcerned with Eclipse's moral dilemma, Starkiller stated that Eclipse made the correct decision by fulfilling her orders to the letter.
Once Eclipse landed the Rogue Shadow on the surface of Felucia, Starkiller disembarked from the vessel and began his hunt for Shaak Ti. Unknown to Starkiller, however, Ti witnessed the Rogue Shadow's arrival on Felucia and correctly concluded that Darth Vader had discovered her secret location, and thus dispatched an assassin to kill her. After Maris Brood, a young Jedi padawan who survived Order 66 before being taken under the mentor-ship of Ti, grudgingly agreed to remain out of the fighting, Ti ordered her Felucian warriors to intercept Vader's apprentice.
The hunt for Shaak TiEdit
- Shaak Ti: "Assassins."
- Maris Brood: "Darth Vader has found us."
- ―Shaak Ti and Maris Brood[src]
When the Rogue Shadow departed for a secure location to await further orders from the apprentice, Starkiller was attacked by a group of Felucian warriors. During the initial engagement, Starkiller sensed the natives' natural affinity to the Force, and thus he correctly assumed that they had been trained to control their abilities by Shaak Ti. In order to conserve his energy for the primary target, he quickly and efficiently killed the Felucians in his path. As he progressed closer toward Ti's location, Starkiller felt a degree of respect for Ti's prowess, as well as her ability to survive amidst the galactic-wide persecution of the Jedi. However, he also felt that Ti's activities on Felucia interrupted the natural rhythm of the Force. Therefore, in Starkiller's mind, Ti's death was made even more necessary by his desire to restore balance between the opposing forces of Light and Darkness.
Despite their determination to protect Shaak Ti, more and more Felucians were killed in their failed attempts to neutralize Starkiller. Upon locating a Felucian village from a distance, Starkiller tamed one of the river-dwelling animals with the Force in order to reach the village by water. After arriving at his destination, he discovered that the entire village was built on top of a mega-Sarlacc, otherwise known as the "Ancient Abyss" to the Felucians. Much to the apprentice's satisfaction, Shaak Ti patiently waited for his arrival near the center of the village, which also happened to be the maw of the Sarlacc. While the remaining Felucians avoided him, Starkiller confidently approached the Togruta Jedi Master.
- "Vader's assassin. Welcome to the Ancient Abyss; a place of sacrifice, since time immemorial. Are you prepared to meet your fate?"
- ―Shaak Ti to Starkiller.
Shaak Ti was perched on one of the concentric gums of the Sarlacc, untouched by either the massive feeding tentacles nor the flexing of teeth, deep in meditation. Starkiller telekinetically ripped a mushroom out of the Sarlacc's skin and hurled it at Ti, who flicked it aside. As she rose from her meditative position, accusing Vader of cowardice for sending an assassin in his place, Starkiller activated his lightsaber and readied himself for combat. Ti opened the duel with a spinning, downwards strike, which threw Starkiller off-balance as he back-flipped and blocked the Jedi's lightsaber with his own blade. After tearing off his hood as it snagged on one of the Sarlacc's teeth, Starkiller could only fend off Ti's assault until he regained his balance. He overleapt her and fell down two layers of gums toward the Sarlacc's maw, before leaping back up. Shaak Ti intercepted him, and her rapid attack prompted him to send a bolt of lightning into the Sarlacc's flesh below them. Its shaking and tremoring caused Ti to loose her footing, and she jumped back from his attack. Starkiller pursued and seized the offensive against the Jedi Master.
Their fight progressed toward the lower rings of the Sarlacc. Starkiller improvised his strategy by slicing off teeth and hurling them at Shaak Ti, or slashing and shocking the flesh beneath to keep the beast quivering underfoot. Ti countered by taking control of the Sarlacc's distributed intelligence and sending its feeding tentacles after him. As they neared the very center of the pit, digestive byproducts from the Sarlacc's reeking maw made breathing difficult. As they fought on, Ti also lectured Starkiller on Jedi philosophy, much to the chagrin of the Sith apprentice.
As their battle drew to an end, Starkiller drove Ti back into the Sarlacc's maw and, expecting her to be devoured, assumed that his mission had been completed. As he turned to leave, however, Ti reemerged, perched on one of the Sarlacc's massive tentacle. Through her Force-enabled control of the creature, Ti commanded the Sarlacc to assault Starkiller with its massive tentacles. After Starkiller dodged the first two tentacle strikes, he climbed onto one of the fleshy masses as it pulled back. But he was unable to maintain his grip, and nearly fell into the maw, only to become pinned between four tentacles. He blasted them apart with a Force repulse and launched himself back at the ground. When Ti charged off the Sarlacc at him, he deflected her strike, drove her back into the tentacles and blasted the entire mass with a wave of Force lightning with Ti caught in the attack.
- Shaak Ti: "You are Vader's slave. But your power is wasted with him. You could be so much more."
- Starkiller: "You will never convince me to betray my master."
- Shaak Ti: "Poor boy… The Sith always betray one another. But I'm sure you'll learn that soon enough…"
- ―Shaak Ti and Starkiller[src]
Shaak Ti managed to regain her feet, but she was already dying. As she expired, Ti stated that Starkiller was enslaved to Darth Vader's will; she also expressed her disappointment with this fact because of her belief in Starkiller's potential to be far more than just Vader's slave. Yet her comments only disgusted the apprentice, who felt appalled by what he perceived as deceptive tactics aimed at driving him apart from his master. In Starkiller's eyes, the remnants of the fallen Jedi Order had grown so weak and pitiful, a far shift from the great and powerful institution that it once was.
Hence, Starkiller declared that his loyalty belonged to his master, and that he would never betray the Sith for the Jedi. At that moment, Shaak Ti felt a sense of pity for the apprentice, and thus she warned him that the Sith always betrayed each other. She then fell into the Sarlacc pit and died, exploding in a massive flash of Force energy. Starkiller quietly left, satisfied that the removal of Shaak Ti's influence would allow the dark side to take hold on Felucia and return life to its normal rhythms once again. When Starkiller returned to the Rogue Shadow, he reported his mission's success to Vader, who declared that the time was right for them both to assassinate Darth Sidious, better known throughout the galaxy as the Emperor Palpatine. Starkiller was barely able to hide his elation at the prospect of finally achieving the primary goal that he had been raised and trained for since childhood. As he journeyed back to the Executor, Starkiller contemplated his future as a true Sith Lord who ruled over the Galactic Empire as his master's right hand.
But upon his return, however, Starkiller found the Executor surrounded by the Emperor's fleet, composed of Imperial Star Destroyers. Starkiller, undaunted by the warships, approached his master's side and inquired as to when they would strike down the reigning Dark Lord of the Sith. Vader responded by explaining that he never summoned the fleet and then with a surprise attack and impaled his lightsaber through Starkiller's abdomen while explaining that the Emperor's spies had tracked Starkiller to the location and thus prematurely exposed their plot. Sidious, while communicating through PROXY, angrily scolded Vader for committing high treason, as well as for breaking the Rule of Two. Threatened with death unless he complied with the Emperor's commands, Vader seemingly "killed" his apprentice.
Six months later, Starkiller awoke on the Empirical and was utterly surprised to still be alive. With PROXY assuming his form, Darth Vader explained to his outraged and restrained disciple that he never truly killed Starkiller; the execution had been faked to deceive Darth Sidious. While Starkiller was trapped in an unconscious state for several months, Vader worked to repair the apprentice's damaged body. With the promise of exacting vengeance on Sidious, Starkiller reaffirmed his loyalty to Vader, his commitment to the Sith and the dark side, and his readiness to accept another mission. To that end, Vader tasked Starkiller with the covert creation of an "alliance of rebels and dissidents." Its ultimate purpose, as explained by Vader, was to distract the Emperor's attention until the time was truly right to assassinate him.
On Felucia, the death of Shaak Ti created severe repercussions for the planet. As a beacon of the light side of the Force, Ti was able to hold the dark side at bay. Without her influence, the native Force-sensitive Felucians regressed to their primal instincts, and thus they were overtaken by the dark side of the Force. Maris Brood also proved very susceptible to the allure of the dark side and the impulse for greater power, having lost another fellow Jedi and mentor to the Sith. Not long after Starkiller departed, the armed forces of the Empire were dispatched to occupy and subjugate Felucia, though the task ultimately proved to be immensely difficult for the Imperial garrison.
- The Force Unleashed novel (First appearance)
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed comic (Appears in flashback(s))
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed video game
- The Force Unleashed Campaign Guide
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide: Updated and Expanded
- The Essential Reader's Companion
- "Classic Moment"—Star Wars Insider 140
- Star Wars: Force Collection (Card: Shaak Ti) (Indirect mention only)