The next novel being released in the new canon, Christie Golden’s Dark Disciple, is less than a week from release. Based on eight unproduced scripts for Cartoon Network’s The Clone Wars, the novel will star Asajj Ventress and Quinlan Vos. Now, to the casual fan of the films, these names might not mean anything. Both, however, were major players in the old Expanded Universe, and both were brought into the canon via the aforementioned TV show. In anticipation of the novel, I’m going to run through some major appearances for each character, and give a general overview of their history. The goal of this is to help new readers get a feel for each character before the new book, as well as to serve as a reference guide for those who might be curious (much like I did with my Dooku rundown). Of course, many of these appearances are no longer considered canon, but from what I’ve heard the novel does a good job staying true to their pre-established characterization. If nothing else, it will be an interesting exercise in seeing what’s been changed. Without further ado, let’s begin talking about Quinlan Vos, and where you can see him in action.
Quinlan Vos is arguably Dark Horse Comics’s greatest Star Wars creation. Introduced about a year after the release of The Phantom Menace, his story was one of the great through lines of Star Wars: Republic. Introduced as an amnesiac Jedi, Vos constantly struggled with the dark side. Never fully recovering his memories, he spent much of his time afterwards trying to help his Padawan, Aayla Secura (who actually made the jump from comics to movies in Attack of the Clones). Along with Aayla, Quinlan’s old master Tholme and Devaronian scoundrel Vilmarh “Villie” Grahrk (who I discussed in my Tales piece) make frequent appearances with Quinlan. After returning to the fold and becoming a Jedi Master, Vos served as a spy in the Clone Wars, making an attempt to infiltrate Count Dooku’s inner circle. The assignment nearly consumes Vos, as he flirts dangerously close to the dark side before finding his way. Vos almost made it in to Revenge of the Sith, but his scenes, despite being scripted, were never filmed. He still, however, got a mention by Obi-Wan, who noted “Master Vos has moved his troops to Boz Pity.” That was his rough history before the canon reset, but if you want to really get to know Quinlan you ought to check out the following.
Omnibus: Quinlan Vos: Jedi In Darkness
Despite that many-coloned monstrosity that is this book’s title, it really is the book to own if you want to see Quinlan Vos’s adventures. I mean, it’s got him in the title and on the cover. I don’t think any other characters have actually pulled that off, certainly none created by Dark Horse. This volume, over 500 pages in length, covers all of Quinlan’s major appearances before the start of the Clone Wars. What with being a graphic novel and all, it reads pretty quick. That being said, if you just want a primer on the character, a few of the story arcs are very skippable. Twilight, the first arc in the book, is a must read. It opens with Quinlan having no memories of his past, and follows his adventures as he tries to find out what happened. Beyond introducing Vos, it also features major supporting players in his stories, including Aayla and Villie. The second arc is Infinity’s End, and it has a distinct feeling from the rest of the stories included in the book. I’d probably chalk that up to the fact that it’s the only arc in the collection not written by John Ostrander, Quinlan’s creator. It doesn’t add much to the Quinlan’s overall narrative, though it does provide some thrills. It features the witches of Dathomir, who will come into play more heavily with Ventress. It’s definitely not required reading if you want to get the basics on Quinlan, though since it features the witches it might tie in nicely if you want to prepare for Dark Disciple (just be aware that Zalem, one of the witches in Infinity’s End, has the exact same design as a different character in Ventress’s material, Mother Talzin. They’re based on the same concept art). The third arc in the book is Darkness, and I highly recommend it. This arc introduces Tholme, Quinlan’s master, and dives into his relationship with Aayla much more so than “Twilight.” It ends with him turning her away from the dark side, a favor which she will repay in kind. The next arc is The Stark Hyperspace War, and it’s told primarily through flashbacks. It features Aayla and Tholme in present times, and the flashbacks show Quinlan before he lost his memory. It’s interesting for that reason, but is ultimately not needed to get Quinlan’s full arc. The next arc, The Devaronian Version, barely features Vos at all. It stars Vilmarh Grahrk retelling the events of Jedi Council: Acts of War from his perspective. It’s absolutely unnecessary to understand Quinlan, but just due to my admitted love of Villie I endorse reading it. The last arc is Rite of Passage. It opens with a flashback to Aayla and Quinlan’s first meeting, and ends with both of their promotions: Quinlan to Master, and Aayla to Knight (and it sets up a lot of their adventures in the Clone Wars). I recommend it.
Clone Wars Volume 1: The Defense of Kamino
Quinlan features in all three issues featured in this collection, but it’s really only the first issue, Sacrifice, that features him in an important role. Vos’s story sets up the following issue, actually involving the Battle of Kamino, quite well, but it’s more important in this context for introducing Khaleen Hentz, the woman who would become his love interest in the Legends continuity (I’ve heard that Dark Disciple pairs him with someone else, but I’ll let you know for sure once it’s out). Honestly, you probably could skip this whole volume, but that first story might be worth your time.
Clone Wars Volume 4: Light and Dark
I’ve mentioned this before as a pretty good showcase for Count Dooku, but it’s also the big jumping off point for Quinlan’s arc for the rest of the Clone Wars comics. It contains four issues, all of them involving Vos fairly significantly. Assigned to infiltrate Count Dooku’s inner circle, Quinlan’s brushes with the dark side become more and more frequent from here on. Of note is the fact that only a select few Jedi know of his assignment, most believing he’s crossed over for good. To see their reactions, especially Aayla’s, is rather interesting. Included in the collection is the issue Jedi: Aayla Secura, which features several much-appreciated flashbacks to her apprenticeship to Quinlan before their loss of memory. If you want to get a good sense of who Quinlan was and what he was up to in the Legends continuity, this is a can’t miss collection.
Clone Wars Volume 6: On the Fields of Battle
While not featuring as much of Vos as the last entry, this still features a lot of important developments for his story. It shows him seemingly slipping further to the dark side, along with his first meeting with Aayla after his supposed defection, along with him apparently returning to the Jedi Order at large. The first story, Show of Force, features him only for several pages, so it could be skipped. That being said, it features several of the most powerful Jedi in the galaxy demonstrating, much like the title suggests, a show of force, and it’s rather fun to see. It’s rather enjoyable in its own right. The other stories feature Vos more heavily and should definitely be read. Dreadnaughts of Rendili also features Ventress heavily, and is the one story that features both characters up to this point.
Clone Wars Volume 8: The Last Siege, the Final Truth
Even though Quinlan returned to the fold in On the Fields of Battle, it isn’t until this volume that his fate is really decided. Still in contact with the Separatists, and desperate to learn the identity of the second Sith, Quinlan is still in danger of falling to the dark side until the events of this volume. Even though there’s never a huge amount of doubt that he’ll eventually stay on the side of light, it’s great to see the inner struggle play out. Despite all that happens for Quinlan in Volume 6, it’s this along with Volume 4 that are probably the most important in Quinlan’s Clone Wars arc. Definitely one worth reading if you want to learn about Quinlan. He’s on the cover, for Christ’s sake.
Clone Wars Volume 9: Endgame
If Quinlan’s story climaxes during the Siege of Saleucami, seen in the previous volume, then its denouement is in Volume 9. It features a much more at peace Vos than we’re used to seeing, and it’s a nice change of pace. Shame that Order 66 had to come around and muck it up. If Vos survives, I won’t say here, but the ending was apparently a mandate that came straight from George Lucas himself. This all happens in the first arc included here, the others don’t factor in to Vos’s story at all (though the second arc sets up the excellent follow-up series to Republic, Dark Times, and the final story, Purge, features Darth Vader taking on a bunch of Jedi. Both are fun). That about cover’s Vos’s appearances in the Expanded Universe, but there is one other place you’ll want to see him…
Hunt for Ziro
Look, I’m not gonna lie to you and say this is a particularly good episode of The Clone Wars. Ziro the Hutt is a character that gets on a lot of people’s nerves, his romance with Sy Snootles feels ridiculous, despite the episode’s opening aphorism, and some of the references the episode makes to other works don’t quite land for me (including an homage to the opening number of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom). That being said, it is also Quinlan Vos’s only canon appearance right now. His characterization is much more laid back and “surfer bro” than the brooding, conflicted Master we see in the comics (though I hear the upcoming novel is going to work on getting the two a little more in line). He does, however, keep his psychometric powers, and appears to still have his spy net active, and that’s something. By my count, he’s the only EU Jedi (not counting Aayla, who appeared in the films) to make the jump to The Clone Wars, so that in and of itself is pretty cool. It will be a bit of a shock if you read that other material first and then watch this, but seeing as this is the only thing Dark Disciple absolutely has to be in line with, it’s worth viewing before the release of the book.
– Well, wouldn’t you know that I was on the Wookieepedia page for Hunt for Ziro and saw a fairly long list of positive reviews. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, and honestly, if you enjoyed the episode more than I did, I’m happy for you. I could just never get behind Truman Capote the Hutt.
– Despite being a huge figure in the Republic comics, Vos hasn’t gotten as much attention in terms of high-end collectibles as other EU stalwarts, getting only a 6-inch maquette produced as a Celebration VI exclusive. He has, however, been much more prominent on the toy front, getting four action figures, a Lego minifigure, and a Galactic Heros figurine produced of him.
– Now, I say Vos is an EU character, but it is worth noting that he was actually retconned into being in The Phantom Menace. When he was originally created, his appearance was based on an extra seen in Mos Espa, but was meant to be a distinct character. Well, down the line, Hasbro based an action figure on that extra, and actually said it was Quinlan Vos. Lucasfilm ran with it, and he is now officially present in TPM. Since the character was originally separate from the extra, I think it’s still fair to view Vos as an Expanded Universe creation.