Character Profile - Galen Marek/Starkiller

Jobi-Wan

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Welcome, Rebelscum readers! Earlier this week, we explored the vast history and impact of The Force Unleashed in our “Expand Your Mind” section that explained why the project was important, the compelling narrative that it told, it’s importance within the Legends canon, and why it’s such a valuable investment opportunity for collectors. We looked at some of the coolest The Force Unleashed collectible items out there.

Today, in our “Character Profile” segment, we’ll be talking about the central protagonist of The Force Unleashed saga: Galen Marek, aka Starkiller. Portrayed by actor Sam Witwer in all versions, Marek was the orphaned son of the Jedi Kento Marek, who was killed by Darth Vader on Kashyyyk in the early days of the Empire.



Instead of taking out the entire force-sensitive bloodline, Vader chose to spare the boy’s life and train him as his apprentice: Starkiller (a name familiar to fans, as George Lucas’s first treatment of the original Star Wars was titled The Adventures of Luke Starkiller).



Marek went on to become Vader’s chief assassin, taking down surviving Jedi mercilessly. Yet Marek wasn’t remorseless because he was inherently evil, but because he’d never experienced compassion. After being brutalized by his master, Marek began a path of redemption where he trained as a Jedi under Master Rahm Kota, whom he’d blinded during his time as Vader’s pet. He also develops a romantic bond with his former pilot Juno Eclipse.



Marek became an important member of the rebellion as they grew under Bail Organa (prior to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, this told of how the rebels got the plans for the Death Star). Unfortunately, this association meant that Marek had to remain true to the most important trait of the Rebel Alliance: sacrifice. Facing off against his master in a final confrontation aboard the bridge of the newly constructed Death Star, Marek is killed by Emperor Palpatine’s force lightning in a darker version of the ending of Return of the Jedi.



Marek may have died that day, but his consciousness lived on both spiritually, and later physically. The plot of The Force Unleashed II follows the story of a clone of Marek (conveniently also named Starkiller) who was created by Vader on Kamino. This clone takes on his own path of redemption and once again falls into conflict with Vader, as he’s taken on Marek’s memories. Did the clone somehow possess Marek’s Jedi spirit, or was he not a clone at all, and rather kept alive in a secret plot by Vader? We don’t know, because the answers promised by The Force Unleashed III were erased when that project was cancelled.



Why is Galen Marek/Starkiller such a popular Star Wars character? Not only is he fully fleshed out across the game, novel, and comic, but the character is compelling and questions the themes of learned behavior versus inherent goodness that has always been integral to Star Wars. It helps that actor Sam Witwer is among the most popular and friendly Star Wars actors, and has interacted regularly with fans.



Witwer has remained a big part of the Star Wars universe. He first returned to play the Son in the “Mortis Trilogy” story arc on Star Wars: The Clone Wars and voiced Darth Sidious several times in Star Wars games. This was before he landed the most exciting gig: lending his voice to Darth Maul. Witwer took over as the popular character when he first returned on The Clone Wars and continued to voice him on Rebels before showing up in Solo: A Star Wars Story.



Fans definitely want to see Marek return, and there’s no question that Witwer would be the only choice to bring him back. Outside of his obvious enthusiasm for the story, Witwer’s likeness was used to design the character. Witwer is no stranger to playing live-action characters in popular science fiction projects, as he’s a veteran actor of Battlestar Galactica, Smallville, Supergirl, Being Human, Star Trek: Enterprise, Angel, and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it role in The Walking Dead.



As the fate of the clone remains ambiguous, it seems like there would be room for Marek to return in a Disney+ series, perhaps The Mandalorian or the upcoming Ahsoka or The Book of Boba Fett. While an outright film or series adaptation of The Force Unleashed would be exciting, fans would like to see the story concluded somehow. With Dave Filoni taking on creative control at Lucasfilm, is The Force Unleashed III in the cards?

We don’t know anything yet for sure, but what is clear is that Galen Marek/Starkiller merchandise sells faster than free drinks at the Mos Eisley Cantina. Any figures have only gone up in price, but considering the prospects of the character showing up again soon, they’re a worthy investment for collectors. Check out our “Expand Your Mind” segment to hear about all the coolest Marek/Starkiller items available.



What do you guys think? Why do you love Galen Marek? How would you like to see his story come back? Has anyone met Sam Witwer, and why is he such a beloved figure for Star Wars fans? Let us know in the comments below, and may the force be with you!
 
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