Seeking a refuge for healing and peaceful contemplation, Jedi Knight Nomi Sunrider returns to the planet Ambria and the dwelling of Master Thon, her former Jedi Master. Traveling with Sunrider is her beloved 4-year-old daughter Vima and fellow Jedi Knight Sylvar who, like Nomi, seeks the peace and wisdom which Master Thon can offer. The joyful reunion with Master Thon is brief, however, disrupted by the sudden ambush of reptilian creatures swelling with the Dark Side of the Force and controlled by Sith assassins. Commanded to destroy Master Thon and his company, the Sith-controlled creatures surround the Jedi and launch their assault.
Found in the fourth issue of Tales of the Jedi: The Sith War, a Dark Horse Comics series published in the 1990s which details stories of the Jedi living thousands of years prior to A New Hope, the vicious attack by these dark side creatures was emblazoned in my mind as a ten-year-old Star Wars fan, the deadly battle masterfully captured in a single image. The muscular reptiles tower above the Jedi , mouths baring sharp teeth and yellow eyes manifesting the evil driving them. In the background, Oss Willum – a Jedi being mind-controlled by a nefarious Sith spirit – commands the attack from high ground while his accomplice Crado, an acolyte of Sith Lord Exar Kun, stands closer to the fray. At the edge of the battle the Jedi Sylvar slashes at a creature with her yellow lightsaber while closer to the center Master Thon grabs one of the reptiles by the neck, pushing it away with his own muscular arm.
It is Nomi Sunrider who truly stands out, though; she is the reason this image is so unforgettable. Resolve and grit etched on her face as she braces for an attack, Sunrider holds her right arm in front of her, lightsaber in a guard position, the blue blade extending across her body horizontally. In her left arm Nomi clutches her daughter Vima, the child clinging to her mother in fear of the reptilian attackers.
Today, the power on display in this image, what it conveys about Nomi Sunrider, is apparent to me in a way I could not fully appreciate as a young Star Wars fan. Back then, I was enamored by the battle itself, the action being my focus above and beyond any subtle metaphors a picture meant to convey. Yet, this image of Sunrider stuck with me, it captured my imagination in a way other moments in Star Wars comic books did not. Why that is I cannot say. The simple fact is that the image never left my memory, and as a result, I have always had a fondness for Nomi Sunrider. For that I am incredibly grateful because when my interest in Star Wars shifted away from the “Wars” as I got older, when I began to experience the deeper layers of characters and events, my understanding and appreciation for Nomi Sunrider fundamentally shifted.
Sunrider’s story in Tales of the Jedi is rich and complex, with moments of incredible joy and devastating heartache. Through it all one thing remains a constant: her love for Vima. As a young Star Wars fan I could not fully appreciate the power in this image, or Sunrider’s story more fully, because at that time I could only see Nomi Sunrider as a Jedi Knight. I was obsessed with the Jedi, trapped in the belief, like Luke Skywalker, that the Jedi were great because they were warriors. In a sense, the glow of Sunrider’s lightsaber in the image blinded me to the deeper and far more important meaning being conveyed. I could not see back then as I do now that that the brave determination embedded on Nomi Sunrider’s face and reflected in her defensive stance is not that of a Jedi alone. No, it is more significantly that of a mother protecting her frightened young child.
Nomi Sunrider is the very best of the Jedi Order in Tales of the Jedi, a living symbol of Light Side of the Force which the Order serves. But her devotion to the Light Side cannot and must never be disconnected from her devotion to her daughter. Nomi Sunrider’s fearless love for the Light Side of the Force is fundamentally grounded in her motherhood, in the unconditional love she has for Vima. And that is exactly what is reflected in this singular image.
Fiction’s Fearless Females is in it’s third year! Yay! The series runs for the month of March and along with myself feature posts by Nancy and Kathleen of Graphic Novelty2, Kalie of Just Dread-full, Mike of My Comic Relief, and Green Onion of Green Onion Revival Project. Be sure to follow each of these blogs and to check out all of the Fearless Females in the series. Just follow these links:
What a beautiful post! I hope to see more pieces like this, delving back into the depths of the EU, going forward ;D. There is SO MUCH there and it either a) brings warm waves of nostalgia, b) teaches me something new about a character I’d never known before, or c) all of the above. This post fall in that category as I never read ‘Tales of the Jedi: The Sith War’ but I remember those Dark Horse comics and EXAR KUN! What a menacing blast from the past!
Now that I’ve met Nomi Sunrider, I feel I need to know a lot more about her. What an amazing character and an incredible addition to the series. It also opens up the larger questions about the Jedi Order and celibacy because, as you describe so well, her motherhood seems to be her strongest anchor to the Light Side of the Force.
Also, I adored your line – “I was obsessed with the Jedi, trapped in the belief, like Luke Skywalker, that the Jedi were great because they were warriors.” Because that’s so true! It’s true of Luke and I think it’s true of so many Star Wars fans, too. We fall in love with these heroic warriors but then, the more time we spend with Star Wars, we are often called to contemplate the lessons Yoda tries to teach Luke on Dagobah about what a warrior really is. Looking at how Nomi’s motherhood affects her connection to the Light Side obviously pushes this contemplation, too.
Great piece! And now I’m gonna go see if these comics are collected in one of Marvel’s “Epic Collections” where the reprint the Dark Horse comics or if it’s on Marvel Unlimited…
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I like how Nomi appealed to you for one reason at a younger age, and now as an adult, you see even more depth to her character. Now that you are a father yourself, you connect with protecting your child at all costs and that is why I enjoy reading books at different stages in my life for I will understand new layers to the story. Plus, I agree with Michael’s comment above, for you can see that celibacy doesn’t mean you will be a better Jedi.
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Hey there IT! Great post 🙂 Long time no speak though, I hope all is well with you and yours. Never heard of Nomi Sunrider but she looks like she could be a great inspiration for a young Jedi in training 😉
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You’ve never heard of her!?! That is surprising since you play The Old Republic. Although, I guess the events of the game do take place like 300 years after Sunrider’s time. Still, she has a connection with Revan and the events of Knights of the Old Republic through her daughter Vima. Vima went on to train Meetra Surik (the protagonist in KoToR2). Anywho, I think you’d really enjoy Tales of the Jedi. You should check it out.
All is well here. Just busy with coaching volleyball. Hoping to get back to writing a bit more post-season. How are things down in the land of the Kiwi???
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Oh okay now that is a name I know Meetra Surik 🙂 I think I am going to have to check out these books for sure 🙂 Glad to hear everything is good where you are. Things are as good as can be in NZ. We’ve had a couple lock downs since the first one last year but we seem to be stamping out the virus when it shows up in the community pretty fast so I have faith that we can all get through this 😀 Hope to see more of your writing again, have a great weekend!
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