'Star Wars: The High Republic': We Now Have A Wookiee Padawan

In the upcoming multimedia project titled Star Wars: The High Republic, a new cast of characters will be introduced that will showcase a new generation of Jedi, colloquially referred to as "The High Republic Padawans." Padawans are some of the more interesting kind of Jedi. They have a unique perspective on the Jedi Order, and they are a good way for people to get a better idea of what the Jedi Order is all about. When their masters teach them about the Force and the Order, we are also learning about them at the different periods in their history. The Jedi are an eclectic group of races, but there have been very few Wookiees that we have seen wielding lightsabers. (Lowbacca in Legends and Gungi from The Clone Wars may come to mind.)

Well, now we get to add one more to the established canon. According to Light of the Jedi author Charles Soule:

"Burryaga is one of the few Wookiees to travel from the lush forests of Kashyyyk to study in the ornate halls of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. While he is skilled with his two-handed lightsaber, it is Burryaga’s natural, effortless ability to sense the emotions of others that sets him apart from other members of the Order." 

What makes this interesting is that Wookiees have been portrayed in pretty much the same way throughout the Star Wars universe, naturally starting with Chewbacca in A New Hope. They are a warrior race mostly known for using their bowcaster blasters to great effect. The Force Awakens showcased how powerful those can be. We did not really get to see much of their homeworld, Kashyyyk, on film until Revenge of the Sith, but we are shown that it is a lush, forest planet where the Wookiees live in the treetops on platforms. 

Though if Lucas had gone with one of his earlier drafts for Return of the Jedi, it would have been Wookiees, not Ewoks, on Endor. Whether or not that would have been a good thing has been the cause of many heated debates over the course of the last four decades. 

In any case, because we will be getting a Wookiee as a fledgling Jedi, that could add a unique perspective to the order, as it is a species we do not often see as Jedi. While it is hard to know exactly how many of them leave, the comments by Charles Soule do seem to hint that he will be portraying them as a group that tends to keep to themselves. Everything we know about them so far outside of the movies (such as the video games or novels prior to September 2014) has been decanonized into the Legends continuity, so the authors pretty much have free reign on how to portray the Wookiees. Granted, it cannot be too far away from what the fans already know and love, but they have some wiggle room. 

Adding another Wookiee Jedi could be a real opportunity to expand the culture of both the Jedi and the Wookiees themselves. The author's comments on Burryaga's powers about his abilities to sense emotions could add a lot of depth to the other characters. From what the author is saying, they will not be able to hide what they are feeling from him, and in an order that focuses on controlling their emotions, that could be the cause of some really interesting conflict. Either way, there are definitely good opportunities for a Wookiee Padawan. Their species is both mysterious and familiar, so the authors can go in a lot of different directions while still keeping to the furry sasquatches that we all know and love. 

Source(s): cbr.com