A recent clip previewing for Star Wars Rebels emerged on the web, showing Kanan talking to a brand new character to Star Wars: the Bendu. Although we’ve never seen this character in any TV or movie, the concept of the Bendu goes way back. Let’s take a moment to see where the Bendu came from, and where they could be going.
If you haven’t seen the clip, check it out:
Voiced by Tom Baker of Dr. Who fame, the Bendu character looks like a cross between a yak and a giant succulent plant of some kind. He is cool and definitely an original design, but the concept of the Bendu goes way back.
The Bendu is based on the original name for the Jedi, the “Jedi Bendu” created by George Lucas. The Bendu monks were an extension of this idea, and the order of the Dai Bendu. The Dai Bendu studied the Force and midi-chlorians, and are ancient going back to the early hyperspace age. It is said that Darth Plagueis had texts from the Dai Bendu, and was perhaps one of the few people that kept record of them, at least in the old canon from the Plagueis novel. It remains to be seen what part of this old story of the Bendu will remain with the new canon, but it definitely looks like some things are going to change.
One thing that will not change is the fact that the Bendu are ancient. Dave Filoni says that he wanted the Bendu to feel like a character from an ancient time. The new Bendu says to Kanan that he woke him from a “deep slumber”, so it makes you wonder just how long was his sleep? Hundreds of years?
The Bendu seems to be part of a growing trend in the new Star Wars canon, of Force-wielders that aren’t Jedi or Sith. Maz fits in this, as does Ahsoka. I can’t help but remember how Snoke liked the fact that Kylo Ren was balancing both the light and the dark side of the force. I had this idea that maybe, just maybe, Snoke could be a Bendu? Well, of course in this day and age, it’s all been done, and of course this theory has been developed by others, including a video by the Stupendous Wave. Check out the video because it has some good points. In general, I think Stupendous Wave has some good stuff. The connection between Snoke and the Bendu could just be superficial, and like I said part of a growing trend. Now that the Sith destroyed, they will have to come up with new baddies, and Force-sensitive bad guys that aren’t Sith could share a lot in common with the Bendu. The other similarity between Snoke and Bendu is the fact that Snoke is ancient, and the Bendu are ancient as well. We’ve also speculated that Snoke could be a Celestial, and there are connections between the Bendus and the Celestials, namely they are ancient Force-wielders that practice a balance (think the Father).
That doesn’t mean that there is anything deeper to these connections, and it could just be part of the aforementioned growing narrative trend. With the Sith gone, they can’t really come back. The whole point of Anakin as the chosen one was that he would destroy the Sith. Bringing the Sith back would make his sacrifice moot, so we need to explore the gray area between light and dark, hence the Bendu. Snoke and Kylo practice the dark side, but they are not Sith either. That said, the Bendu don’t appear to be bad guys at all. Going forward, how will they make the distinction between these guys “in the middle” that are good, and those that are bad?
The Bendu are not afraid of the dark path. They probably scoff at Yoda’s warning “Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny”. Kanan goes to the Bendu for help in understanding the Sith Holocron that Ezra had and was hiding. For the Jedi, the Bendu are a middleman that enables them to understand the dark side without risking slipping down that slope themselves. The Bendu seem to have the power to avoid the slippery slope. They can maintain their own balance.
There is another new video that just surfaced of teen angst Ezra looking at and opening his Holocron. Presumably, Kanan will find the Holocron, and ask Bendu for help in understanding it and why Ezra has it. The danger that Ezra faces is the fact the he does not have the power to keep balance on his own. The same could be said about Kylo Ren. Even though he has a balance of light and dark, he seems to have a complete lack of control.
Probably one question on a lot of people’s minds is: what is the meaning of the owl (convor, plural convorees) that perches atop Bendu? You can see in the picture above that it bears some resemblance in color to Ahsoka. In a recent interview with Dave Filoni, GeekGirlDiva asked him specifically about the convor. Filoni replied:
There’s a bit of a trick to the owls. I’m not gonna give up what that is yet. You have to look closely at them to know when you’re dealing with one that might be more than an owl and when you’re dealing with one that might be an owl. So there are just owls, and then there are owls that are a bit more than just an owl.
OK, so this is a little off topic for the Bendu, but not completely. The connection could be deeper. What exactly are these certain convorees, and how are they connected to the Bendu? Ahsoka was sort of “in the middle” too, in that she is no longer a Jedi. Could it be that somehow Ahsoka has returned as a convor, much like many have speculated that the daughter has done as well? I’d love to hear your input, so leave your comments below.