- "And he did not master Vaapad. Vaapad mastered him."
- ―Mace Windu, to Palpatine, speaking of Sora Bulq
Sora Bulq was a Weequay Jedi Master from the Bulq family on Ruul. Renowned among the Jedi for his skill with a lightsaber, he mastered every form of lightsaber combat known among the Jedi, becoming one of their greatest instructors and Weapon Masters. Bulq was therefore recruited by his colleague, Mace Windu, to assist in the refinement of Vaapad, Windu's new combat form. However, Vaapad required that the user dance along the edge of the dark side of the Force, and Bulq fell captive to the darkness. He pursued his studies of the dark side in secret until Count Dooku captured him during the earliest days of the Clone Wars and turned him fully to the dark side.
Bulq reemerged as a secret agent of Dooku's, calling together several Jedi who were unwilling to fight for the Galactic Republic in an attempt to create a schism in the Jedi Order. Instead of setting up Windu to look like an assassin, the meeting saw Windu expose Bulq's scheme, learning that he had fallen to the dark side and convincing those Jedi dissidents who survived to rejoin the Order. Bulq then turned to Dooku's side, where he commanded the Dark Acolytes, a collection of other Jedi who had fallen to the dark side and joined the Confederacy of Independent Systems.
Bulq was one of the highest-profile Jedi traitors in all the war, having taken part in the murder of former Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum. Later, he was placed at the head of the Morgukai Shadow Army on Saleucami. When that army was besieged in the closing months of the Clone Wars, the Separatists could not hold out against the Republic. Bulq managed to kill Jedi Master Oppo Rancisis of the High Council, but was no match for Master Quinlan Vos, who had served as a double agent for Dooku before rejecting the dark side and killing Bulq in a final duel.
Master of the lightsaber
- "Many, many Jedi has he trained. Great his influence is."
- ―Yoda, speaking of Sora Bulq
Sora Bulq was born into the Bulq family, a wealthy Weequay merchant clan which owned most of Ruul, a moon of the Weequay homeworld, Sriluur, and on which they had their estate. Bulq spent time on both Sriluur and Ruul before being taken in by the Jedi Order as an infant after having been identified as Force-sensitive. Bulq was contemplative and philosophically inclined, preferring long meditation before deciding on any course of action. Grand Master Yoda recalled Bulq as always having been emotionally balanced and strong in the Force, even from a young age. Bulq lacked a great connection to his Weequay heritage, rejecting his species's use of Quay totems to interpret the will of the god Quay. He saw the spheres, which returned answers after being shaken, as no more than toys. He believed many of his species held Jedi potential, but were limited by such cultural dependencies. Due to his rejection of the Quay religion, Bulq was not well-loved on Sriluur and his people took no pride in his accomplishments.
Bulq rose through the ranks of the Jedi Order, becoming a Jedi Master and recording some of his own thoughts in the holocrons Jedi used to preserve wisdom. He was exceptionally skilled with a lightsaber, developing talents that put him among the most skilled in Jedi history and caused him to be considered among the very few on the level of Mace Windu. Bulq developed total mastery over all known lightsaber forms, even the experimental and obscure. Bulq's preferred dueling style, involved the use of a lightsaber and shoto—a short lightsaber held in the off hand—in a utilization of the Jar'Kai dual-saber style modified to accommodate the techniques of Vaapad. Bulq became an instructor in lightsaber combat at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, where he trained a great many students over the years. Among them was one of his succession of Padawans, Mira. However, Mira was not a lightsaber virtuoso, preferring a more passive approach. It was thus that Bulq had gained the position of Jedi Weapon Master.
Bulq's skills caused Mace Windu to choose him as his partner in developing and refining Vaapad, Windu's dangerous yet deadly perfection of the unfinished Juyo form. Bulq frequently sparred with Windu, testing and finessing Windu's new form; Bulq was one of a very few to truly know the form. What Windu did not realize was that Vaapad's dependence on enjoying battle and walking on the edge of darkness was having a profound effect on Bulq, who had even before that time harbored a secret fascination with the dark side of the Force. Bulq began his own private explorations of Vaapad, growing even more attracted to the darkness. One considered among the greatest of the Jedi undertook a secret exploration of the dark side, falling ever more under its influence.
This may have affected Bulq's teaching methods, perverting them subtly. Bulq was entrusted with the retraining of Jedi Knight Quinlan Vos in lightsaber techniques after he lost his memory. Bulq introduced Vos to some elements of Vaapad despite the form's darkness-skirting nature and Vos's own struggle with the dark side—which he was being retrained to overcome. Bulq did not tell Vos of the elements' origin. Bulq later explained this, upon Windu's discovery of that fact, as being a test of Vos's darkness which Vos had passed and after which Bulq proceeded no further. It was unclear if Bulq was telling the truth, if Bulq had done so under the unconscious influence of the dark side, or if it had been a deliberate ploy by Bulq to lead Vos down the dark path.
Geonosis and its aftermath
Twisted my mind?! He opened it! After defeating me on Bakura, Dooku tended to my wounds and reasoned with me! He showed me the anger at the core of my being—and made me acknowledge its power!"
- ―Sora Bulq, to Tholme
In 22 BBY, Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi was captured by Separatist leader Count Dooku, a former Jedi and another of the Order's most renowned duelists, while on an investigative mission which led him to Geonosis. There he discovered that Dooku was building a confederation in preparation of attacking the Galactic Republic. Kenobi transmitted this information to the Jedi Council before being captured. Being among the Jedi available at the temple, Bulq was tapped to serve in Windu's team of two-hundred-some Jedi dispatched to rescue Kenobi. Bulq and his Padawan at the time, Galdos Stouff, were among those who infiltrated the execution arena. When Dooku deployed a battle droid ambush, Bulq fought his way through the assault and was one of the survivors who formed a defensive circle in the center of the arena, though Stouff perished.
Though the Jedi in it were among the Order's most elite, the overwhelming numbers of battle droids caused the situation to appear hopeless enough that Dooku offered the Jedi a chance to surrender, which Mace Windu rejected. At that moment, the Grand Army of the Republic appeared under Yoda. The new clone army swept into the arena aboard LAAT/i transports and laid waste to the surrounding droids. The Jedi were loaded aboard and evacuated. Bulq boarded with Tarados Gon and Council member Eeth Koth. The battle was not over, and the Jedi turned to engage the Separatist armies outside the arena. Bulq never joined the battle, though, as his evacuation gunship was shot down, nearly killing him and causing the Order to assume him dead.
In fact, Bulq survived and was recruited by Jedi Master Tholme, with whom Bulq was friendly, into a hasty pursuit of Dooku to Bakura, where Dooku had a base. There Bulq and Tholme dueled Dooku, though Bulq used two green lightsabers instead of his customary blue saber and shoto. Bulq did not prove to be the match for Dooku that Tholme had hoped for, though, falling to a blast of Force lightning unleashed by the Sith Lord. Rendered unconscious, Bulq was levitated away from the battle by Dooku after the Count of Serenno defeated Tholme, trapping him under a pile of rubble.
Bulq, despondent at the deaths at Geonosis—having trained most of those who died there, including Stouff—and having lost faith in the Republic over years of watching it fall into corruption and self-interest, was persuaded by Dooku that the galaxy could only be ruled properly by the Jedi. Only they had the strength and moral purity to govern, and the Jedi Council erred by not recognizing that. Dooku also taught Bulq to see his anger as a source of strength and as a fundamental part of him, turning him fully to the dark side and making him a servant of the Sith. Dooku then allowed Bulq to return to Tholme, who had just escaped his living burial. Bulq rescued Tholme, bringing him back to Coruscant. Bulq claimed that he had narrowly escaped from Dooku's custody, and the rescue built Bulq's credibility, which would be useful in his new assignment. Bulq did not stay any longer than needed to return Tholme, and disappeared from the Order's ranks, vanishing into seclusion with the Jedi considering him effectively missing since Geonosis.
- "Tell me, Sora. When did you go over to the dark side?"
- ―Mace Windu, to Sora Bulq
Bulq resurfaced three months after the Battle of Geonosis, calling together several dissident Jedi to his old family estate on Ruul—his family was by now apparently deceased, as the estate had fallen into disuse and was overgrown. Bulq unified four Jedi dissidents—Sian Jeisel, K'Kruhk, Rhad Tarn, and Bulq's own former Padawan Mira—themselves leaders of different antiwar schools of thought, into a group which claimed to speak for all dissident Jedi. Bulq asserted that he wished to discuss the issue of the Clone Wars with those Jedi who had opted to refuse the Council's call to service, and the group invited the Council to send a representative to argue their side, asking for Bulq's old sparring partner, Mace Windu. Bulq's sudden reappearance as a dissident leader was unsettling to the Council, who worried that Bulq's prestige and influence could sway even more away from the war effort. Moreover, the factions Bulq had united were themselves sufficient to cause a potential schism in the Order.
After discussion, Windu was sent to the Bulq estate on Ruul. What he did not know was that the entire series of developments was a plot by Dooku. Dooku's Dark Jedi assassin Asajj Ventress was waiting there for the summit's dissident Jedi; it was Dooku and Bulq's intention for Ventress to assassinate one or more of the dissident Jedi and escape, and to then lay the blame for the incident on Windu. They hoped to capitalize on Windu's reputation as a hardliner to make the attack credible, as well as establishing that the assassin must have come aboard Windu's ship. With that accomplished, the Jedi's credibility would plummet and a great many more might defect to Bulq's splinter faction.
Windu arrived and spoke with Bulq, who greeted him and told him, in answer to Windu's questions, that he had disappeared after Geonosis because of his grief at that battle's slaughter and his questioning as to whether the corrupt Republic was worthy of that sacrifice. Bulq also told him that he had not yet decided on what side he would ultimately come down. Bulq left to gather the other negotiators, though K'Kruhk and Jeisel found their way to Windu before Bulq could find them. When they had all gathered, Bulq convened the summit. After the others discussed, his opinion was asked, and Bulq came out against the Republic, though uncertain of his final decision. He swiftly adjourned the meeting, as it was growing late, and sent the others to sleep or meditate.
On a supposed meditative walk around the estate, Bulq was victim to a staged ambush by Ventress, receiving a minor wound for the purposes of authenticity. Perhaps because Bulq was not in true danger, his former Padawan Mira was the only one to sense something wrong and set out to investigate. She came upon Bulq and Ventress dueling and entered the fray to aid her Master, though Bulq warned her that she was no match for Ventress. Ventress overcame and slew Mira; by that time the other Jedi had been attracted to the fight. When Windu arrived, Ventress acted as if she were his subordinate and disappeared. This engendered controversy, but Windu left in pursuit of Ventress. Bulq ordered the three remaining dissidents to follow and support Windu in combat, dismissing his wound as insignificant. He took Mira's body back to the estate's buildings to tend to it.
Bulq laid her body out on a bier and expressed over it his remorse at her death, suggesting that it had not been in his plans. He was interrupted, by Windu, who had found Ventress's ship on the grounds and had connected it with Tarn's statement that no ship could land on the estate without Bulq's knowledge. Stepping back and looking at his old friend free from preconceptions, Windu deduced that Bulq must have been working with the assassin. Windu confronted Bulq, who freely admitted his fall to the dark side, revealing his Vaapad-fueled fascination with it and Dooku's approach to him. Bulq intended to kill Windu and the others and return himself to claim Windu's treachery; a change in plans, but necessary. The pair dueled, with Bulq confident he could defeat Windu. However, Ventress attacked the other three Jedi, goading the headstrong young Tarn to the dark side, causing him to attack Jeisel. Jeisel was forced to kill him. When Bulq and Windu sensed this in the Force, Bulq taunted Windu that, with their deaths, he could not possibly win. Windu agreed, blasting Bulq into a pile of rubble and rendering him unconscious, then rushing to the other Jedi, where he forced Ventress to flee.
Bulq awakened and sought out Windu, but he and the other Jedi had fled under attack from Bulq's service droids. His plan had been foiled. Jeisel and K'Kruhk survived and returned to the Jedi fold, completely nullifying any chance of schism. Bulq's fall to the dark side and defection to Dooku were also revealed to no gain. With his potential as a prestigious double agent foiled, Bulq was returned to more overt service for the Confederacy.
- "You are to obey Sora Bulq as though he were me. For all my intents and purposes, he is."
- ―Darth Tyranus, to Quinlan Vos
Bulq returned to Dooku's side, where he became one of Dooku's most trusted subordinates. As his top lieutenant, Bulq commanded Dooku's Dark Acolytes—Dooku's personal Dark Jedi followers, such as Ventress, Tol Skorr and Kadrian Sey. His position was largely unquestioned, with none of the infighting that consumed the lower ranks, each striving to gain higher position, touching him. Bulq could frequently be found at Dooku's side, relaying the Sith Lord's orders and learning from his master. Over time, Bulq gained Dooku's near-complete confidence, deputized by Dooku to oversee his Dark Acolytes and other projects with the full authority of Dooku himself. Even as a darksider, Bulq continued to wear Jedi-style robes in dark brown, though he swapped the blue crystals out of his lightsaber and shoto in favor of red ones to signal his dark side affiliation.
As one of the most prominent Jedi defectors, both within Dooku's circle and within the Order, Bulq's name, once honored within the Jedi Order, became synonymous with betrayal. Bulq was among those Dark Jedi most frequently cited as examples of corruption striking the Jedi, even their best. He was a particularly sore subject for Windu, who felt some amount of guilt for exposing Bulq to Vaapad, but laid blame for his fall firmly on Bulq himself.
Some four and a half months after the Ruul ploy, Bulq participated in the boarding of the Acclamator-class assault ship VCD987. There, he and Dooku took captive several Jedi, including Jeisel. Also present were Tsui Choi and Kai Justiss, but Dooku spared their lives, sending them back to the Republic. Dooku maintained that his fight was with the Republic, not the Jedi. He hoped to sow doubt in the Jedi about their cause and his nature, much as he had earlier at Ruul; he pointed out as much to Bulq, who questioned why Dooku would let an enemy go free. With Dooku's answer, Bulq learned that even mercy could be a weapon.
Bulq continued serving Dooku as second-in-command of the Dark Acolytes. When Quinlan Vos joined the ranks of the Dark Acolytes at around the same time as the VCD987 incident, Bulq attested to the fact that Vos had a significant darkness within him, as he had discovered in his Vaapad-fueled test of Vos. Vos was in fact a Jedi plant, spying for the Order, but Dooku was aware of this and planned to use it to his advantage, genuinely corrupting Vos. Vos was accepted and trained in darkness by Bulq and Dooku. When it came time, Dooku took Vos, along with Bulq, Skorr, and Sey, to Tibrin. There, Dooku took possession of the world for the Confederacy, executing its former strongman leader, Suribran Tu, and placing Bulq in command of the interim government. Bulq systematically rounded up and exterminated all Tu's associates on Dooku's orders.
One year and four months into the war, Bulq contracted Sajé Tasha, through the Separatist secret agent Senator Viento, to carry out the assassination of former Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum, who was fomenting dissent against Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, Dooku's secret master under the name of Darth Sidious. The attack resulted in the the deaths of all aboard the Star of Iskin, its wreckage killing thousands more on the ground below.
The Shadow Army
- "The problem with returning from the dead, Tholme, is the necessity to send you back!"
- ―Sora Bulq, to Tholme
In the final year of the war, Bulq was placed in command of a scheme to raise and train a clone army of Morgukai warriors. An elite Nikto warrior cult, the Morgukai were extinct but for Bok, whom the Jedi had thought slain years ago by Aayla Secura. Bulq and Dooku recruited Bok and gained his cooperation by guaranteeing him the return of the Morgukai, under his command, if he would provide the genetic material for the army and teach them Morgukai combat styles. Bulq also recruited almost all of the Anzati master assassins to train the clones, dubbed the Shadow Army, in assassination and stealth techniques. The project was highly secret, with individuals like Vos knowing only that something big was in the works. Bulq traveled frequently to direct this operation, traveling mostly between Anzat to recruit teachers in the ways of assassination and Saleucami, where the cloning facility was located growing in the caverns beneath the planet's main city.
When Vos returned to the Republic, thirty months into the war, he revealed to the Jedi Council that Bulq had a major, mysterious project under his command which involved frequent visits to Anzat. At a private landing pad, while discussing details with the Anzati master assassin Rath Kelkko, Bulq felt something, but only briefly. Even odder, the Bok clone charged to guard the Dark Jedi's Sheathipede-class shuttle wasn't responding. Not willing to idle here, Bulq and Kelkko boarded the shuttle and departed to Seleucami.
Upon arriving at the cloning facility, Bulq, Bok, and Krakko reported to the holographic images of Dooku and General Grievous, Supreme Commander of the Droid Armies. They were preparing to move the army offworld and into action when Bulq sensed another presence in the facility. He sent two Bok clones to find and attack this infiltrator; it turned to be Tholme, who had transmitted the information about the facility to Secura before dispatching his assailants. Drawing his lightsaber, Bulq revealed himself to Tholme and went for the kill. Tholme attempted to talk his companion at Bakura back to the light, but Bulq revealed to the Jedi Master his corruption and deception on Bakura. Bulq attacked furiously, claiming that Tholme could not resist his skill. Tholme agreed and forced Bulq to dodge an assault of glass shards for just long enough to disappear. Having vanished into the vast cave system, Tholme began sabotaging the facilities. As a master of stealth, he was impossible to track down. Frustrated, Bulq accepted that the sabotage would keep the army from being deployed and that Tholme could not be removed in time. Instead, he ordered that the equipment be moved deeper into the caverns to be shielded from orbital bombardment and prepared for a Republic ground assault.
When the Republic's strike force arrived under the renowned Jedi tactician Oppo Rancisis, they found Bulq entrenched in the caldera city with water and supplies, protected by a geothermal-powered planetary shield and planetary ion cannon. The shield prevented the Republic from striking the city, while the ion cannon held off the small fleet in orbit under Captain Sagoro Autem. With the Republic unable to swiftly overcome the Separatist defenses and Bulq unwilling to press the attack and risk his secure position, the situation grew to a stalemate. The siege stretched for five months before a chance explosion in battle revealed one of the underground tunnels, which Vos—Rancisis's second-in-command—used to destroy one of the perimeter shield generators and gain the Republic access into the caldera city. Meanwhile, Tholme had continued sabotaging Bulq's operations for those five months, escaping every attempt to capture or kill him and infuriating the Dark Jedi.
Throughout the conflict, Bulq maintained Vos as a double agent, hoping to find Rancisis's battle plans from the Jedi spy. Rancisis was dependent upon his battle meditation, and shared his plans with no one. With the Republic incursion into the caldera, Bulq summoned Vos for a face-to-face meeting, their first during the siege. Vos was a triple agent, hiding his spying for the Confederacy from the Jedi but still intending to find and slay the second Sith Lord, whom he had become convinced was Bulq. Dooku and Bulq were aware of this, and still felt that they could manipulate Vos to their advantage. Vos met with Bulq and the Weequay's top lieutenants—Skorr, Bok, and Kelkko; more importantly, Dooku was present via hologram. Vos was charged with hunting down and eliminating Tholme, his old Jedi Master.
Meanwhile, Bulq undertook a plan of attack meant to remove the Republic's greatest asset on the planet. His troops initiated a diversionary attack, causing Rancisis to go into battle meditation. While he was so occupied, Bulq had the Anzati assassins sneak into the Jedi Council member's chambers and attempt to assassinate him. Rancisis was not so easily distracted, and vanquished the Anzati. The assassins, were no more than diversions themselves; during the battle Bulq himself was able to move behind the distracted and tired Rancisis and plunge his lightsaber into the Thisspiasian Jedi Master's back, becoming one of the few able to claim the notoriety of slaying a Jedi Councilor.
Vos also succeeded in his mission, or so he thought. He returned to the Republic's camp, where he devised a new plan of attack, claiming it had been Rancisis's. A diversionary battle covered him and Secura as they slipped inside the tunnel network to plant charges on the main shield generator. Vos abandoned Secura, to come before Bulq. He sold out Secura to Bulq, who sent Bok to investigate Vos's report of her position. Though Vos seemed as if he had handed victory to Bulq, Bulq and Dooku—again present by hologram—arranged a final test: Vos must kill Khaleen Hentz, his go-between to the Confederacy and his lover. Vos refused, claiming himself as a Jedi.
Bulq prepared for a showdown, intent on driving Vos to the dark side for good. He could detect the anger within his former student and encouraged him to admit it. At that moment, Bok reported that the reported position of Secura was false. Then Tholme revealed himself once more, having faked death. He intervened on Vos's side, engaging Bulq, who lost his shoto when he hurled it to activate the room's lockdown sequence. Bulq furiously battled Tholme, whose continued sabotage had become a powerful irritant—especially considering that Bulq had once saved him from death—and caused him to attempt to draw out the duel with Tholme and prolong the Jedi spymaster's death for his own catharsis. Bulq beat Tholme in the head, slashed him lightly across the chest and destroyed his prosthetic kneecap, leaving him vulnerable on the floor, but Vos pierced through his opponent, Skorr, in time to block Bulq's killing strike. Bulq turned to dueling Vos, still attempting to drive him to the dark side and against Tholme with Dooku's aid. As Vos struggled with the dark side and turned inside to confront his own darkness with Secura and Tholme's mental support, Bulq easily gained the advantage over Vos; in fact, the Dark Jedi may have used the Force to don the mental guise of Vos' worst fear: his darker side.
As Vos knelt, Bulq rushed in behind him, lightsaber upraised for the killing strike. At that moment, Vos conquered his inner darkness and turned, rising and striking Bulq across the chest. Bulq collapsed as Dooku watched his lieutenant die.
Meanwhile, Secura successfully sabotaged the main shield before attacking and slaying Bok, causing the containment systems for the magma which powered the base's geothermal systems to fail. As the orbital bombardment began and Bulq's enterprise fell in ruins, magma slowly consumed his body.
Following Bulq's death, his name became known among those who worried of the fate of the Galactic Republic and whispered of the fall of the Jedi. The dark whispers spoke of Bulq, of Depa Billaba, and other Jedi who had fallen to the dark side of the Force, or worse, had massacred civilians or joined the Separatists. These tales, not allowed on the HoloNet, but shared nevertheless, led many to the suspicion that the Jedi could no longer be trusted. Neither the Separatists nor Jedi long outlasted Bulq as Palpatine seized galactic control under the banner of the Galactic Empire. Bulq's memory was not preserved among his people, either, as they rejected him for his own dismissal of the Quay religion's trappings. Many years after his death, holocrons containing his personal notes came into the possession of Luke Skywalker's New Jedi Order.
Personality and traits
- "You separate the dark from the light because you have been taught to fear, Master Bulq. One need not fear the dark if one is disciplined enough and just in one's heart."
- ―Darth Tyranus, to Sora Bulq
Bulq was a respected Jedi Master, noted as a philosopher and committed to thinking all decisions through thoroughly before taking action, suggesting that he kept any dark-side inclinations well hidden. Even after renouncing the Jedi way and submitting to the dark side, he was able to play the part of the wise and serene Jedi convincingly. In fact, Yoda recalled him as ever having been balanced in his nature. Underneath he was fascinated and tempted by the dark side after dancing its edge in the use of Vaapad. He dabbled in it for years as a Jedi, successfully concealing his dark taint from his peers. Despite this, however, Bulq remained more ambivalent about the dark side than he later indicated under its spell, as he chastised Dooku on Bakura for having fallen; however, he may have been simply acting as a Jedi in front of Tholme. Along with that, Bulq genuinely felt saddened by the loss of life at Geonosis, lending credence to his statement's authenticity. That temptation was combined with an ideological appeal from Dooku, whom Bulq admired, in order to ensnare his full fall to the darkness, indicating that the Jedi should rule the galaxy due to their superior moral qualities. Bulq had grown quite ambivalent about the increasingly corrupt Republic, and this suggestion appealed to him.
Bulq's fall unleashed his rage and anger, though he usually kept it under control. He was supremely confident in his own abilities, if he had not been so before; he considered himself more than a match for Windu and believed himself to have gained true mastery of Vaapad, perfecting it with the dark side in ways Windu had not. Bulq was not consumed by rage in the earlier stages, expressing regret at the death of his former Padawan Mira; but after three years of immersion in the dark side, he had sharpened his anger. Tholme's five-month run of sabotage in the Saleucami facility made Bulq furious, and caused him to regard Tholme as a thorn in his side. Bulq, in fact, found it necessary to draw out the duel by toying with Tholme, as he did not feel that a short duel and quick death for Tholme would bring him sufficient satisfaction—Bulq apparently felt that he was far enough above Tholme in skill to be in no danger from this approach. As Bulq had saved him before on Bakura, he regarded Tholme as literally owing Bulq his life; he repeatedly claimed it as his by right to take in his battles with Tholme. Despite that, he was loyal and levelheaded enough to serve as one of Dooku's most trusted lieutenants, leading important projects with Dooku heavily delegating authority to Bulq.
Powers and abilities
- "It was a mistake to expose you to Vaapad. I see that now."
"I have perfected it. I have harnessed all that is inherent in it."
- ―Mace Windu and Sora Bulq
Sora Bulq was best known among the Jedi for his exceptional skill with the lightsaber; quickly displaying outstanding talent in swordsmanship from a young age, Bulq became among the greatest swordsmen ever produced by the Jedi Order, with his level of skill even making him one of the few considered comparable to Mace Windu. Tholme also believed that Bulq had greater chances in defeating Dooku in a duel than most Jedi and indeed Bulq managed to single-handedly hold his ground against the now Sith Lord Tyranus, with Dooku using the Force instead to knocking him out. Upon joining Dooku's Dark Acolytes, he quickly established himself as the most skilled of them all, surpassing even Asaji Ventress, with him continuing to refine his bladework under Dooku's tutelage. After having previously easily stood toe-to-toe with Ventress while holding back not to kill, he was able to duel Windu on equal grounds, only being overpowered via the Force. He displayed the ability to easily outduel and severely injure the likes of Tholme and also proved to be the superior duelist to fellow Vaapad user Quinlan Vos, managing to gain the upper hand; only with aid from other Jedi's meditation was Vos able to break through Bulq's illusions and kill him.
Having achieved complete understanding and mastery over all the stances, techniques and forms of lightsaber combat, from Shii-Cho to Juyo, Bulq was one of the most capable lightsaber instructors in the Jedi Temple, having effectively instructed many Jedi in finding and mastering their naturally specialized form, to the point that he earned the title of Jedi Weapon Master for his great acclaim of his outstanding success in teaching. Bulq's grasp of the seven combat forms was sufficient for Mace to chose him as his sparring partner in developing Vaapad, at which he often sparred with Windu to test and finesse the form to be ready to be used in combat and Bulq became one of the very few Jedi to truly know and be proficient in Vaapad, though despite his claims of having perfected Vaapad by being able to draw upon the dark side after his conversion to harness what once limited his use of it, Mace's use of Vaapad proved to be equal to his and Windu later noted that Bulq had not mastered Vaapad; instead Vaapad mastered him. Count Dooku once praised Bulq's skills in fencing, indicating a remarkable amount of mastery in Makashi. With his level of defense being considered to match that of Mace Windu, Bulq displayed outstanding skill in Shien's defensive techniques, with his outstanding deflection skill being great enough for him to survive the Battle of Geonosis, and mastery of the form's reverse grip, which he often adapted with each of his weapons, allowing him to effectively block and immediately counter. Bulq was also proficient in the use of Niman's techniques of incorporating the Force into lightsaber combat, which he often did.
Bulq's preferred combat style involved the use of his lightsaber and a shoto in adapting the Jar'Kai form of lightsaber combat to his personal style, displaying superb skill in dual-blade combat, and Bulq was also as equally skilled with a single lightsaber as he was with two, hence overcoming Jar'Kai's prominent weakness. He was quite ambidextrous, changing hands with his lightsaber in the heat of battle. During his final duel, Sora displayed superb skill in the use of Dun Möch, almost succeeding in pushing Quinlan Vos completely towards the dark side.
Though Bulq was most renowned for his lightsaber talent, he also wielded considerable power and skill in the Force. Even Yoda acknowledged him as being very strong in the Force even while still a child, and Jeisel felt that Bulq was as powerful as Windu. Bulq himself displayed considerable prowess in telekinesis, displaying the ability to unleash Force pushes of great power in combat, which he often applied that overwhelmed the defenses of most Force sensitives, although he was unable to penerate Windu's and a single Force Push from Windu was capable of knocking him out, when his back was against a collapsible portion of the cave he and Windu were fighting in, although he quickly recovered with no noteworthy injuries later on. On one occasion, after throwing his shoto, Bulq was able to telekinetically manipulate it into hitting a specific target.
Bulq also possessed considerable skills in the use of the Force for stealth, able to evade the notice of even Jedi Master Rancisis; he also was able to effectively mask his embrace of the dark side in the presence of other Jedi, even the likes of Masters and Councilors, and only got exposed when Windu discovered the truth. His senses were so highly acute, he barely registered Aayla Secura and Tholme, even as the Jedi masked their presences from him. He could also sense any attack that would come from behind. Bulq was adept enough in Force empathy to feel the anger within Quinlan Vos, despite the Jedi's claims of sticking to the light side. Other powers in his arsenal included telepathy, Force sight, Force healing, and the Jedi mind trick, the last of which he expanded to the usage of Force illusion. He effectively used this very ability on Quinlan Vos during their final duel, preying on the Kiffar's inner turmoil by taking on the form of his darker side, which he was able to maintain without sustaining any strain while also battling Vos. The illusion proved powerful enough that Vos proved unable to overcome it on his own despite his own skill with the Force. Only with aid from Secura and Tholme's meditation was Vos able to break free.
Behind the scenes
Bulq first appeared in Attack of the Clones as a background Jedi in the Battle of Geonosis. Author John Ostrander used the character in Jedi: Mace Windu as a secret Dark Jedi. Inside the Worlds of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, released only a few months after Jedi: Mace Windu, incorrectly stated that Bulq had died on Geonosis. Ostrander went on to use the character as one of Dooku's top subordinates, setting him up as a major villain in the Trackdown and Siege of Saleucami arcs of Star Wars: Republic, in which Quinlan Vos believed Bulq to be the second Sith. Trackdown complicated Bulq's backstory, by including a flashback to Tholme and Bulq tracking Dooku down on Bakura shortly after the Battle of Geonosis and having Bulq later return to the Temple. This conflicted with implications made in Jedi: Mace Windu that Bulq had not been seen by the Order since Geonosis, and implications in the Databank that Bulq had been rescued by Dooku in the aftermath of Geonosis itself, not of the Bakura mission. However, the accounts are not impossible to reconcile. Of note, events related to Sora Bulq in Trackdown would be later contradicted by Star Wars: The Clone Wars. In the sixth season episode "The Lost One," Finis Valorum is shown alive in 20 BBY, one year after the events of Valorum's death, which Sora Bulq was mentioned to have orchestrated in Trackdown. Lucasfilm did not address this inconsistency before declaring Expanded Universe material non-canon.
The character model appeared in the episodes Sabotage and The Jedi Who Knew Too Much. Pablo Hidalgo eventually confirmed that Bulq was the Weequay Jedi in "Grievous Intrigue." However, he was never specified to be in "Sabotage" and "The Jedi Who Knew Too Much," and as both of those episodes are set past Bulq's fall to the dark side, any connection between Bulq and the Weequay Jedi in those episodes is eliminated.
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones (First appearance)
- Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones comic
- Jedi: Mace Windu
- Shatterpoint (Mentioned only)
- Jedi: Count Dooku
- The Clone Wars: No Prisoners (Mentioned only)
- The Clone Wars: No Prisoners audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Grievous Intrigue"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Deserter" (In flashback(s))
- Republic 63 (Mentioned only)
- Yoda: Dark Rendezvous (Mentioned only)
- Republic 71 (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Republic: Trackdown
- Labyrinth of Evil (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Republic: Siege of Saleucami
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith novelization (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith unabridged audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Inside the Worlds of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
- Geonosis and the Outer Rim Worlds
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 108 (MAC16, Mace Windu)
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 109 (DEF4, Defence of Kamino)
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 116 (DOO8, Count Dooku)
- Star Wars: Complete Locations
- The New Essential Chronology
- Star Wars: The Comics Companion
- The New Essential Guide to Alien Species
- Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
- Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 7
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: Complete Locations
- Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 43
- Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 78
- Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- The Official Star Wars Fact File Part 6 (22 BBY 77, Conflict Spreads)
- (Picture only)
Notes and references
- Jedi: Mace Windu
- Star Wars: Republic: Siege of Saleucami
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
- Inside the Worlds of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
- Geonosis and the Outer Rim Worlds
- The New Essential Guide to Alien Species
- Star Wars: Republic: Trackdown
- Jedi: Count Dooku
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Republic 63
- Yoda: Dark Rendezvous
- Labyrinth of Evil
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith novelization
- Republic 61
- Republic 71
- Star Wars Roleplaying Game Revised Core Rulebook pg. 311
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Lost One"
- The Official Star Wars Fact File Part 60 (20 BBY 67–70, Sifo-Dyas' Legacy)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Sabotage"
- The Jedi Who Knew Too Much