Warning! This post contains SPOILERS for The Living Force by John Jackson Miller


  • A key decision by a Jedi Master before The Phantom Menace ensured the Empire’s destruction years later.
  • Depa Bilaba chooses to forego her fear of attachment and train a Jedi apprentice at the end of the novel The Living Force.
  • Depa’s Padawan was Caleb Dume, the future Rebellion hero and Jedi survivor known as Kanan Jarrus.

One Jedi Master helped seal the Galactic Empire’s fate long before it officially began in the Star Wars timeline. As seen in the year before the events of The Phantom Menace and the start of the prequel trilogy, the Jedi Council embarked on a crucial mission beyond the confines of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. During this time, Jedi Master Depa Billaba was convinced to make a decision regarding her future that would have dramatic effects on the future of the galaxy far, far away.

In the new Star Wars novel The Living Force by John Jackson Miller, Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn challenges the Jedi Council to take a renewed interest in the more present Living Force and the individuals who make up the galaxy, as opposed to its future and the bigger picture as they often do. Taking Qui-Gon’s words to heart, each member of the Jedi Council finds ways to “help one person” and focus on what it means to be a Jedi. This includes Jedi Master Depa Billaba whose experience helped ensure the defeat of the Galactic Empire decades later.


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Jedi Master Depa Billaba Nearly Went Without A Padawan

Depa Had A Fear Of Attachments

Dipika O'Neill Joti as Depa Billaba in Star Wars

Deciding to visit the world of Kwenn, the Jedi Council is split up, embarking on personal missions on their own or in pairs before intending to reconvene to decide whether to shut down the planet’s Jedi outpost known as Sanctuary Mount. Examples in the novel include Plo Koon and Saesee Tiin helping resolve a labor dispute, or Even Piell providing much-needed structure and mentorship to multiple wayward students. However, Depa Billaba’s situation was somewhat different as she was already in the region working undercover to infiltrate a group of pirates.

Forming a bond with a young girl who’d been working for the pirates known as the Riftwalkers, Depa’s mission evolves as she tries to keep the girl safe while investigating the Riftwalkers’ plan to unite multiple criminal gangs under one banner. However, the entire investigation began following the death of a fellow Jedi in this very region, one whom Depa had declined to take on as her apprentice due to her fear of forming an attachment. Receiving guidance from her former master Mace Windu, the end of The Living Force sees Depa saving the girl (while also choosing to finally take on an apprentice).

Depa’s Padawan Was Kanan Jarrus (Caleb Dume)

A Future Hero Of The Rebel Alliance And Jedi Survivor

Jedi Master Depa Billaba’s pre-Phantom Menace decision is huge for the Star Wars canon considering who her apprentice was and who he’d eventually become. Deciding to finally take on a Padawan of her own, Depa’s apprentice was Caleb Dume, later known in the Star Wars timeline as Kanan Jarrus. Following the events of Order 66 and Depa sacrificing herself to save him, Caleb Dume survived the Jedi Purge and took on the name Kanan, eventually forming the Rebel cell known as the Spectres as an adult alongside Captain Hera Syndulla as seen in the animated series Star Wars Rebels.

As seen in Star Wars Rebels, Kanan became a key leader who trained young Ezra Bridger in the ways of the Force. He also fought alongside Ahsoka Tano, dueled multiple Imperial Inquistiors (including the Grand Inquisitor), and even survived encounters with both Darth Maul and Darth Vader himself. Ultimately, Kanan sacrificed himself to save his fellow Spectres in the final season of Rebels, though his legacy would continue through Ezra as well as Kanan and Hera’s son Jacen Syndulla (whom the live-action Ahsoka show confirmed is also Force-sensitive).

The Star Wars Galaxy Would Be Drastically Different Without Kanan

Kanan’s Absence Would Have Major Effects On The Star Wars Timeline

Kanan Jarrus holding back a blast of fire in Star Wars Rebels

The impact Kanan Jarrus had on the Star Wars canon can’t be overstated. Not only was he instrumental in the formation of the Rebel Alliance, but he also helped ensure the continuation of the Jedi’s teachings by training Ezra. Without Kanan, there would be no Ezra, which means Grand Admiral Thrawn wouldn’t have been exiled to another galaxy in Rebels‘ finale. As such, Palpatine keeping his greatest military leader and tactician would likely have resulted in the Rebel Alliance being wiped out before it had truly begun.

Keeping that in mind, all of Kanan Jarrus’ efforts and Jedi heroics are all thanks to Master Depa Billaba. Kanan’s impact on the galaxy stems from her key decision to train an apprentice a year before The Phantom Menace, and the resulting domino effect is quite fascinating. Had she not experienced what she did working undercover and helping this one individual from the aforementioned pirates, she might have gone one without training young Caleb Dume in what would have likely been a very different Star Wars timeline.

Star_Wars_Episode_I_The_Phantom_menace movie poster

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

The beginning of the Skywalker Saga, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace sees young Anakin Skywalker put on his path to discovering his ability to influence the Force. While attempting to thwart the nefarious Trade Federation in their plans for the planet of Naboo, two Jedi discover an exceptionally-gifted slave with the ability to wield the Force. Little do they know, rescuing him is just the beginning of a saga that will span generations of the Skywalker family.  

Release Date
May 19, 1999

20th Century

133 minutes

$115 Million

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