The Great Tree of the Jedi

In the miniseries Dark Empire II, released from 1994 into 1995, Luke Skywalker’s quest to revive the Jedi Order takes him to the planet Ossus, said to have once been an ancient center of Jedi learning. While exploring, Luke and his companions are attacked by servants of Palpatine. The dark siders kidnap one of Luke’s potential students, only to be thwarted when the tree behind them reveals itself to be an ancient Jedi Master named Ood Bnar, who has been laying dormant on the planet for thousands of years. Bnar gives his life to defeat the Sith acolytes and Luke soon discovers that he was standing sentinel near a library of Jedi books and artifacts, which aid Luke in his attempts to increase his understanding of the ancient Jedi.

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Bnar had been introduced earlier in 1994, in the Tales of the Jedi comic written by the same author. That story introduced him as a member of a race of beings that “evolved from trees on the planet Myrkr.” The species name was given as “Neti” further on in the Tales of the Jedi series and later Dark Horse comics introduced other important Neti Jedi, such as Master T’ra Saa.

Years later, seasons five and six of The Clone Wars established an area of the Jedi Temple that had not been previously seen, a courtyard including a large tree that served as the setting for a few important scenes. In 2015’s Shattered Empire miniseries, there came about a story need for some piece of Jedi history that Luke could recover from Palpatine’s facilities after Return of the Jedi. No one involved wanted to tell another story about holocrons, so the Story Group suggested that writer Greg Rucka instead use saplings taken from the Jedi Temple’s tree before it was destroyed. The comic shows Luke successfully recovering the saplings with the help of Poe’s mother, Shara Bey, and ultimately giving Shara one of the two saplings to plant at her home while he takes the other. This marked the beginning of an ongoing arc highlighting the importance of that tree and others like it to the Jedi of old.

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The following year, Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide gave a name to this type of tree by identifying Chirrut’s staff as being made from Uneti wood, and its worth noting the similarity between that name and “Neti.” The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary further confirmed that the tree on Ahch-To containing the ancient Jedi texts is an Uneti tree, which gives a neat echo to Dark Empire II showing the ancient Jedi library being guarded by a Neti Master. The book also says Luke’s key to finding the ancient temple was the study of Force-sensitive Uneti saplings, like the one he acquired in Shattered Empire.

The Great Tree on Coruscant served as the setting for an important scene between Yoda and a young Dooku in Dooku: Jedi Lost, where Dooku mentions that the tree is said to have once stood at the heart of the First Temple on Ossus. While we know the real first temple was on Ahch-To, the legend that the tree comes from Ossus provides another interesting echo to the story of Ood Bnar. The 2016 Fantasy Flight Games book Nexus of Power contains a legend that an ancient Neti master named T’alla planted herself at the center of a garden in the Ossus temple and became a tree, which could have some implications about the story of Coruscant’s Great Tree. Most recently, The High Republic: The Rising Storm had another reference to the tree with Uneti blossoms taken from it for display at the Republic Fair. 

The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary took the connection even further by explicitly mentioning Luke found some of the ancient Jedi texts while exploring the subterranean ruins on Ossus, as shown in Dark Empire II. It also revealed the pages of the texts are literally made from Uneti pulp in many cases, which has helped to preserve them through a thousand generations, just as Master Bnar stood guard for that long.

The Uneti trees are one of my favorite examples from recent years of collaborative storytelling leading to a simple story need for a comic turning into an arc that weaves through a dozen different places. It’s also one of my favorite examples of how there’s always a bit of truth in Legends, and how traces of the old stories will always crop up in new ones.

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Numidian Prime

I like Star Wars. And Marvel too, to a lesser degree.

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