Starring Diego Luna as a conflicted Rebel first seen in Rogue One, Andor is now streaming a full first season on Disney+, with a follow-up season on the way. The espionage-heavy Star Wars limited series garnered positive reviews from fans and critics. Luna’s dark-edged mercenary has some undeniable similarities (and notable contrasting qualities) to a character who’s still revered in many corners of the fandom: stormtrooper-turned-Jedi-Master Kyle Katarn.
First made popular to fans through 1995 FPS Dark Forces and other tie-in media (his appearance later based on actor Jason Court from sequel Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II), lovable badass Katarn (and partner Jan Ors, often likened to Felicity Jones‘ Jyn Erso due to obvious similarities), is the original thief of the Death Star plans, until the new era of Lucasfilm largely retconned or dismissed the Expanded Universe, now “Legends.” Though Katarn’s story has been assimilated into other properties and characters, most notably Cassian Andor and Finn (John Boyega), for many fans, there is simply no replacing him. Even if some changes are made to make him co-exist with new additions to the lore, Katarn is so popular, so well-liked for good reason, he would be welcomed all too eagerly by much of the fandom.
10 Kyle Katarn is a rogue badass worthy of Han Solo, sort of like if Han were a Jedi.
A graduate of the Imperial Academy who defects after a family tragedy and a crisis of conscience, Kyle’s character bears a passing resemblance to Harrison Ford‘s immortalized pop-culture staple Han Solo. Both are cynical, jaded, strong, and always willing do what’s right with varying degrees of reluctance.
Whereas Han occasionally rubs people the wrong way or gets distracted due to mere selfishness or pride, Katarn truly struggles with the dark side of the Force.
9 Kyle’s story deals with mature themes like grief, finding your own moral compass, and learning to let go.
Even before Dark Forces and as told in William C. Deitz and Dean Williams’ series of tie-in novels, Kyle’s story begins at the Imperial Academy. His father Morgan opposes the Empire, but he’s a farmer with limited means, and sends his son to the Academy for an education.
For secret plotting against the Empire in the nascence of the Rebel Alliance, Morgan is brutally killed—decapitated, in fact. Once Kyle discovers the truth about his father and the Empire thanks largely to Jan Ors, he changes trajectory. Along the way, Katarn grapples with grief and anger, finding his own way to the light even in the face of temptation from the path that’s “easier, more seductive,” as Yoda once said.
8 Kyle’s incredible Force powers would guarantee killer action scenes.
Once he learns of his Force sensitivity and defects from the Empire, and thanks to guidance from beyond from his father and murdered Jedi Master Qu Rahn, Kyle becomes a force to be reckoned with, pardon the pun.
Kyle’s walk on the wild side—er, Dark Side—has given him the uncommon ability to wield dark powers like grip, and, most notably, lightning. Developed over his journey into the Light, Kyle’s unique belief system is that it’s less about the abilities and more about how you use them. He also never fully gives up on projectile weapons, notably holstering his trusty Bryar pistol alongside his saber. Imagine the spectacle of Katarn unleashing in live-action. It would be unlike anything seen before.
Something that’s been sorely missing from the Star Wars lore for some time is romance, or any kind of heat. Reylo was tantalizing for a moment before being utterly squandered in Rise of Skywalker. Pilot Jan appeals to Kyle’s higher self when he’s at a low point, and the two are constantly getting each other out of danger. Their professional relationship, filled with quips and close calls, gradually becomes a romantic one.
Jan is a terrific character in her own right: flawed but sympathetic, funny. Highly competent but not a Mary Sue. Star Wars fans have adored seeing Cal Kestis and Merrin’s will-they-or-won’t-they rom-com in recent games; Kyle and Jan are just as lovable.
6 Katarn has a touching bromance with none other than Luke Skywalker.
Along with his can’t-live-without-her attachment to Jan and their close interaction with Mon Mothma, Kyle’s most trusted ally is none other than the farmboy from Tatooine. They even become co-workers at the Jedi Academy.
Jedi Outcast is one of the finest Star Wars games ever, especially from a storytelling standpoint. The giddiest moment is when the player gets to steamroll a pack of malicious “Reborn” warriors back-to-back with Skywalker.
5 Introducing Kyle would be a great opportunity to see more of the Jedi Academy in live action.
Kyle’s rapid but hard-earned ascension from Imperial officer to Rebel agent to guardian of the light is unique in Star Wars history. Frankly, it’s what should have happened with Finn.
Once Kyle befriends Skywalker, the ex-stormtrooper eventually mentors students alongside Anakin’s offspring. The game Jedi Academy was a taste of the possibilities of drama between students and teachers as they take on outside threats.
4 Katarn confronts some truly memorable villains who would be awesome in live action.
Kyle’s first and most notable nemesis is the blind, extremely powerful and calculating Dark Lord Jerec, responsible for the death of Kyle’s father. In Jedi Knight, Kyle kills half a dozen Dark Jedi including Jerec, manic Twi’Lek Bok, and steely evil Sariss. Kyle grants mercy to conflicted young Yun, who eventually turns against the Dark Jedi to save Kyle.
In Jedi Outcast, Kyle faces power-hungry Force-sensitive man-lizard Desann and his protégé Tavion. After Kyle grants Tavion mercy following a winning duel, his apprentice Jaden later destroys her in Jedi Academy.
3 The Valley of the Jedi would also be a sight to behold in live action.
Revisited throughout Dark Forces and Jedi Knight media, the Valley of the Jedi is an ancient battle site that traps the spirit of dead Jedi and Sith, a nexus of Force energy. In the games, Kyle frees the Jedi and thwarts Jerec’s plan to commandeer the Valley’s Force power.
The Valley is a major threat that’s a refreshing change of pace from spheric planet-destroying space stations. Not only would the vast valley make a killer set piece, the potential misuse of its Force energy is a valuable plot device.
2 The more we learn about Kyle Katarn, and the more he grows, the more sympathetic he becomes.
Kyle Katarn has anger issues, a lot of that stemming from the death of his father. What made Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II such an outstanding and memorable, gratifying game was that players had the option to take Kyle down the path of the dark or light. The light ending was canon within the Expanded Universe.
Even after mastering the Force and becoming a Jedi, his path isn’t all linear. In Jedi Outcast, he tiptoes around the dark side once again when he’s led to believe Jan is dead. The conflict makes Kyle more interesting, and he always comes through.
1 Kyle Katarn is the Chuck Norris of the galaxy far, far away. He’s irreplaceable.
“Kyle Katarn once threw a thermal detonator that killed 50 stormtroopers. Then the thermal detonator exploded.”
“Baby Wookies aren’t born. They’re formed from Kyle Katarn’s beard shaving.” These are just a taste of the Katarn memes that propel this one-of-a-kind character’s reputation into nearly three decades of existence. Kyle Katarn is a considerable part of Star Wars history, and fully deserves to be canon again.