Warning: SPOILERS for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge #3
The most devoted Star Wars fans know of the legendary and ancient order known as The Guardians of The Whills, whose role in the story has yet to be fully revealed. Thankfully, fans don’t have to wait any longer to see these near-mythical Star Wars monks in action.
George Lucas may never have explained his original (or current) plans for The Guardians of The Whills, but Rogue One became the first movie to actually incorporate the mysterious order into the new Star Wars canon. However, the characters Chirrut Îmwe and Baze Malbus are already referred to as former Guardians when audiences meet them, as the Imperial occupation of Jedha has effectively ended their order’s mission at the galactic holy site. But thanks to Star Wars comics, fans can turn back the clock to see the Guardians as they were, guarding the relics of the Jedha Temple from anyone who would dare to steal them.
It’s an unlikely place for the mysterious Guardians to be unveiled, since the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge comic was introduced primarily to flesh out the lore behind Black Spire Outpost–and the Disneyland attraction after which the series is named. But when Black Spire resident and Star Wars: Rebels fan-favorite Hondo Ohnaka takes a trip down memory lane, readers are taken along for the ride to see how this grifter once stole from The Guardians of The Whills themselves… who offered more than a little resistance.
The memory begins with Hondo’s caper being interrupted by a rightfully enraged Guardian of The Whills, finding he and his client sneaking along a “sacred tunnel to the temple of the kyber.” The Guardian makes a memorable impression, revealing that some elements of his costume match those of Chirrut Imwe’s seen in Rogue One. The blind warrior monk’s garb was originally taken to be his own clothing, since it bore little in common with his friend and fellow Guardian Baze. But it seems actor Donnie Yen’s wardrobe has now been adapted, through the comic, into the vestments of the Guardians of The Whills. With customizable flourishes, of course.
Hondo and his client eventually end up in physical combat with other Guardians wielding a variety of weapons, who prove themselves to be far less adept at combat than Chirrut, capable of eliminating a dozen Stormtroopers with a staff… and no vision. But this reveal also shows that The Guardians of The Whills are not restrained to a single alien or humanoid species, or even cultural background given their differences in face and head coverings. In fact, it seems a clever addition courtesy of writer Ethan Sacks and artist Will Sliney that among the humans who fill the ranks of the Guardians glimpsed in this issue, at least one Ugnaught can be spotted.
The small, pig-like, humanoid aliens have been seen across Star Wars media since their introduction working on Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back. Their reputation for hard work is both a gift and a curse, often relegating them to support roles even when they’re not being used for comic relief (tossing around C-3PO’s head, for instance). But not so in Galaxy’s Edge.
We can only hope that Star Wars fans will see some honor and nobility afforded the Ugnaught as a result, with one of their own ascending to the role of a true Guardian of The Whills. Even if he’s less skilled with a light own than Chirrut or Baze, it’s the dedication that counts. More importantly, these variations in race show how much the Star Wars Universe’s notion of The Guardians of The Whills has changed from George Lucas’s original concept. It’s still possible that Star Wars 9 will use George Lucas’s original twist ending, when it is revealed that the Skywalker saga is just one of several stories recorded, preserved, and retold by the Guardians. But if that happens, they won’t much resemble the version Lucas first imagined, as he explains in the annotated screenplay of A New Hope:
“Originally, I was trying to have the story be told by somebody else; there was somebody watching this whole story and recording it, somebody wiser than the mortal players in actual events. I eventually dropped this idea, and the concepts behind the Whills turned into the Force. But the Whills became part of this massive amount of notes, quotes, background information that I used for the scripts; the stories were actually taken from the ‘Journal of the Whills.'”
One can only hope that The Guardians of The Whills managed to survive the Imperial invasion, to carry on their legacy and replenish their numbers. Indeed, the fact that the Guardians seem numerous in this story set years earlier raises hopes that they vacated the city or planet, leaving only Chirrut, Baze, or a few others. If that’s the case, then they may not have been present when Jedha City was obliterated by the Death Star, and could still appear in Star Wars stories set after Rogue One–now that fans know who they’re looking for.
Interested readers can see the Guardians in action for themselves, as well as the next twist in Hondo’s adventures at Black Spire Outpost and beyond by picking up your own copy of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge #3. Until then, read on below for the issue’s official details and plot synopsis:
- STAR WARS: GALAXY’S EDGE
- Writer: Ethan Sacks
- Artist: Will Sliney
- Cover: Tommy Lee Edwards
- THE JEDHA CONNECTION! During the height of the EMPIRE, DOK-ONDAR hired an unlikely team to pull off an impossible score — to steal a relic out of the occupied HOLY CITY OF JEDHA. With FIRST ORDER troops now blanketing the BLACK SPIRE OUTPOST on BATUU, history may finally be catching up to the notorious procurer of the unprocurable. Guest starring fan favorite Outer Rim pirate HONDO OHNAKA! Based on Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the new themed land coming this year to Disney Land and Walt Disney World.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge #3 is available now from your local comic book shop, or direct from Marvel Comics.
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