It is a time of tranquillity for the New Republic. The remnants of the Empire now lie in complete disarray, and the reemergence of the Jedi Knights has brought power and prestige to the fledgling government on Coruscant. Yesterday’s Rebels have become today’s administrators and diplomats, and the factions that fought against Imperial tyranny seem united in savoring the fruits of peace.
But the peace is short-lived.
As several of you undoubtedly know, it was Mon Mothma who suggested the moon Yavin 4 orbiting the nearby gas giant of Yavin as a possible location for Luke Skywalker’s Jedi training center during the early years of the New Republic. There, with no government oversight, no teacher’s assistants, no fixed curriculum, and no established metrics by which to measure student progress, Luke proceeded to run a school with one of the worst graduation rates in history. Here is a partial but by no means complete list of student outcomes from the first graduating class.
Tionne: An unqualified success! She goes on to use her not-particularly-strong abilities to become a Jedi historian, eventually achieving the rank of Master and serving honorably in the Yuuzhan Vong war. Good for Tionne!
Dorsk 81: Oh, Dorsk 81. It’s still hard for me to think about him, even now. He had such a hard life! The first clone of Khomm in a thousand years to be different (“I was a failure”), he finally finds a place among his fellow Jedi trainees on Yavin 4 only to wind up being partially responsible for Daala’s assault on Khomm itself. He dies in part of the greatest Force Push in history, channeling the powers of all of the other cadets through his own body in order to push seventeen Star Destroyers about to attack the Great Temple out of the star system. Dorsk. Dorsk! Truly you were the Rudy of the Jedi.
Kirana Ti: Another success! Goes on to become a Jedi Knight and eventually a Master herself. But it takes a lot more than Luke Skywalker’s generalized incompetence as a teacher to hurt a Dathomiri witch from the Singing Mountain Clan.
Kam Solusar: He makes it too! He even gets to marry Tionne. That’s three people who didn’t die already.
Brakiss: Luke is congenitally incapable of realizing that his one successat turning someone from the Dark Side occurred under fairly unusual, unrepeatable circumstances. It was his dad. It was right before he died. This does not make you an expert at turning people away from the Dark Side of the Force, but try telling Luke that. He knows Brakiss is a double agent and a Dark Jedi sent by the Imperial Remnant to try to destroy the Praxeum, but he takes him on anyway, convinced that his aw-shucks farmboy charm and, I don’t know, deep commitment to niceness will show him the error of his ways. It doesn’t. Brakiss flees Yavin 4 with a broken mind after a failed meditation attempt — so Luke’s taken a regular Dark Jedi and turned him into an insane Dark Jedi — goes on to command an army of Red Terror gladiator drones, kidnaps the Solo-Organa twins, and dies horribly in an explosion.
Streen: Streen…doesn’t die. That’s about all you can say for Streen. Because he’s not a deeply troubled vulnerable boy with pouty lips, he gets roughly four seconds of attention from Luke. Spends a lot of time reading.
Gantoris: “I have dreamed of you. A dark man who offers me incredible secrets, then destroys me. I am lost if I go with you.” First thing Gantoris ever says to Luke. It’s pretty much spot-on. Slowly corrupted by the spirit of Exar Kun, he is eventually incinerated from the inside-out. Sorry, Gantoris.
Mara Jade: “Within a week Jade left, dissatisfied with Skywalker’s instruction.” Good for you, sister.
Cilghal: Just sort of there.
Corran Horn: It is impossible not to have strong feelings about Corran Horn’s description of events in the revisionist I, Jedi. I personally love the man and will hear no arguments to the contrary. He’s endlessly frustrated by Luke’s passivity and “whatever” approach to student learning/Gantoris challenging him to near-fatal duels while clearly possessed by a Force demon. Eventually leaves without completing the course after helping to defeat Exar Kun because Luke is a terrible teacher.
Kyp Durron: KYP DURRON. Turns to the Dark Side, betrays every one of his friends, steals the Sun Crusher, destroys an entire star system, receives literally zero consequences. HE LITERALLY DOES NOT GET IN TROUBLE FOR COMMITTING GENOCIDE ON A GALACTIC SCALE. NONE. He doesn’t even get put in a Magneto-style Jedi prison, which I feel like would have been a really easy punishment that doesn’t involve putting him to death. I can’t…Guys, I still can’t get over this one, and it’s been, like, fifteen years since I finished Champions of the Force. Here is an actual conversation an actual person has with Luke Skywalker about Kyp:
“Let’s talk about Kyp Durron.”
“Master Durron is a fine, responsible Jedi.”
“I’m not talking about the Jedi he is now. I’m talking about the teenager who destroyed most of the life in the Carida system all those years ago.”
“He was under the influence of the dark side of the Force at that time, affected by the mental sendings of a long-dead Sith Lord. And in the years since, he has proven himself to be courageous, a defender of life—”
“Yes, he has. I’m not questioning that.”
THIS MAKES ME MADDER THAN ANYTHING. LUKE YOU NEED TO SORT OUT YOUR PROTEGE/SEXUAL ISSUES ON YOUR OWN TIME. Literally here is what happens:
Kyp Durron gleefully embraces the Dark Side while training at Yavin 4, becomes influenced/possessed by the spirit of Exar Kun (which, okay, but it’s not like that happened by ACCIDENT, he did not trip into Exar Kun’s disembodied energy while out on a birdwatching walk).
Kyp Durron steals the Sun Crusher and blows up Carida.
Mon Mothma – Mon motherfucking Mothma – says that the New Republic’s governing body is “not qualified” to judge him and hands his fate off to Luke. This would be (yes, there’s a Nazi analogy coming, I’m sorry but it has to be made) like if the Nuremberg Trials got interrupted on Day Four and the judges said “You know what? This really can’t be up to us. You know who should determine their fates? Kaiser Wilhelm,” if Kaiser Wilhelm had still been around. AND LUKE JUST FORGIVES HIM. And that’s it. That’s it. That’s all that happens to Kyp. He feels super angsty about it for a long time, but, you know…that’s it.
Kyle Katarn: Also left without graduating, concerned with Luke’s “meh” responses to the Dark Jedi forces clearly starting to possess his students.
Dal Konur: Leaves after two months without telling anyone out of disgust with Luke’s methods.
Dev Sibwarra: Not actually a student at the Praxeum on Yavin 4, but deserves an honorable mention as yet another sexy-sensitive male character whose death comes about as a direct result of being Luke Skywalker’s protege.