Upon the purchase of Lucasfilm by Disney, a corporation that has already established itself as keeping the Marvel universe under close eye and coordination, it was not a surprise to discover that the same effort would be applied to the Star Wars universe. In the build up to The Force Awakens, we witnessed a lot of well-planned releases, such as the release of multiple books and comics under the banner of “Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakes,” which included everything from Star Wars: Aftermath to Star Wars: Shattered Empire. None the less, it was still quite a surprise to see how well coordinated the release of Marvel’s Kanan: The Last Padawan (the title has bounced back and forth between just Kanan and the aforementioned lengthier version) and the Star Wars: Rebels’ episode, “The Protector of the Concord Dawn.”
While both comics share a character separated at times by approximately two decades, the Jedi Kanan Jarrus, one would expect the collaboration between the two to fall more into the realm of simply not contradicting each other. This is an expected bar to meet, especially with the level of advertised cohesion among all the Star Wars expanded universe mediums. Even before the Lucasfilm acquisition, Leland Chee’s status as the ‘keeper of the Holocron’ a reference to the in-universe reservoirs of knowledge, was highly touted. However, on September 27th, 2016, Lucasfilm ala Disney displayed a rare level of synchronization between its various arms of production.
At whatever time one’s favorite comic book shop opened on that Wednesday, copies of Marvel’s Kanan issue number 10 went on sale. The issue is a continuation of another story concerning Kanan’s life as a padawan under the tutorship of his Jedi Master, Depa Billaba, prior to the infamous Order 66. It’s the Clone Wars and the two are engaged in what is entitled the Third Battle of Mygeeto. The pair, plus two other clone troopers, are marooned on a landing platform quickly being overwhelmed by Separatist battle droids. They are desperately outnumbered by their mechanical foes and call for help.
Their initial rescue comes in the form of a flight of Mandalorian fighters lead by a Mandalorian warrior called Fenn Rau. Fenn Rau’s appearance is limited to one frame on one page in the book, but it’s enough to establish his name, the name of his squadron, “Skull Squadron,” and to place him and his fighters in a decidedly non-Pacifistic camp of Mandalorians (this contrasts with the Duchess Satine Mandalore storyline in the tv show The Clone Wars). In a blink, it’s over and if Fenn Rau is to return to the expanded universe is left up in the air. Though, hours later, it turns out it’s not up in the air, it’s broadcasted over the air.
On the evening of the same day, Rebels aired it’s eleventh episode of the second season, “The Protector of Concord Dawn.” That episode featured an attempt by the rebels to find a safe path through Mandalorian controlled space, and even before we get the title image, “Star Wars Rebels,” we are introduced to the flight leader of a Mandaloran squadron of fighters: Fenn Rau. Rau’s character becomes the chief antagonist in the episode, but even more incredible, the events of Mygeeto are recalled by Kanan in a conversation with Rau.
Given the amount of space provided in Marvel’s Kanan, one can probably assume that Fenn Rau’s appearance came at the behest of the Rebels’ production team. It might have well been a cameo appearance in Kanan created entirely to establish a background between Kanan and Rau in “The Protector of Concord Dawn,” but still, given that television production and comic book production most likely do not run on the same production schedules, it was an incredibly fun and fascinating display of synchronicity between two mediums telling different stories. A thanks to the powers that be at Lucasfilm, Disney, and Marvel, for arranging it all to the surprise of fans.