Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker saw Ben Solo give his life to help Rey defeat Palpatine and the Final Order, but 18 years before that, the Legends continuity had already handled the death of Han and Leia’s son more effectively. While they only had one child in Star Wars canon, they had three children in the old Expanded Universe (now branded non-canon, or “Legends”). One of these sons, though very different from Kylo Ren in canon, met his end in a similar, heroic manner. This sacrifice would leave a lasting impact on the Solos, the Skywalkers, and the entire Star Wars Legends timeline from that point on.
George Lucas’ Star Wars Expanded Universe rules meant that authors were not allowed to kill off Luke, Leia, or Han. As a result, Legends stories set after Return of the Jedi had plenty of emotional deaths for new characters, as well as supporting characters from the original Star Wars trilogy. Chewbacca was the most notable character death in Legends, becoming one of the first casualties of the Yuuzhan Vong invasion at the start of the “New Jedi Order” series. However, the death of Han and Leia’s son in Legends proved to be just as devastating, showing how much more powerful Ben Solo’s sacrifice could have been in The Rise of Skywalker.
Anakin Solo’s Sacrifice In Star Wars Legends Explained
Anakin Solo was the third child of Han and Leia, the younger brother of the twins Jaina and Jacen Solo, born six years after Return of the Jedi. Because he was named after his grandfather, Anakin feared he would turn to the dark side too. Anakin eventually joined his siblings at Luke Skywalker’s Jedi Academy, where he became friends with a young girl named Tahiri Veila, and the two fell in love a few years later. Unlike his brother Jacen, who came to hate using the Force for violence, Anakin believed in the importance of taking action. This made him a pivotal figure in the Yuuzhan Vong War, where he became a strong leader.
The Yuuzhan Vong invasion devastated the Solo family at the very beginning, as Chewbacca died in Legends saving Anakin’s life. The youngest Solo was forced to leave Chewbacca behind on a world about to be destroyed, creating a rift between him and his father, and Anakin struggled to overcome his guilt throughout the war. Still, he refused to give in, and fought on the front lines throughout the Yuuzhan Vong War – leading a strike team of young Jedi Knights on one crucial mission in Troy Denning’s Star By Star. During one battle, a badly-injured Anakin found himself surrounded by countless Yuuzhan Vong warriors, and he stayed behind to make sure his friends and family escaped, meeting his end as a true Jedi Knight.
Anakin Solo’s Sacrifice Was More Epic Than Kylo Ren’s
While Kylo Ren had a chance to fight in The Rise of Skywalker, Anakin Solo’s sacrifice was a lot more epic in Star By Star. Anakin was killed while fighting off Star Wars‘ monstrous Yuuzhan Vong, extragalactic invaders who were the deadliest warriors the galaxy had ever seen, and he kept fighting until the very end. Kylo Ren may have single-handedly defeated the Knights of Ren, but they didn’t put up much of a fight once he got his hands on a lightsaber. He was also thrown down a pit before he could help Rey fight Palpatine, whereas Anakin took down enemies left and right as he saved an entire squad of young Jedi Knights.
Anakin’s Sacrifice Completed His Arc, Kylo Ren’s Was Last-Minute Redemption
Anakin’s sacrifice managed to bring all his character arcs full circle, but Kylo Ren’s only offered a hint of redemption at the end. Anakin had many demons that he struggled to overcome, most notably his fear of turning to the dark side, and his guilt over leaving Chewbacca to die. Throughout the war, however, Anakin became a hero and a leader, embodying the light as he sacrificed himself for his family. Kylo Ren had served the dark side for years, and while he saved Rey’s life, this was only a single act. He became one with the Force soon after, rather than living to help rebuild all he had destroyed.
Anakin Solo Became The Ultimate Jedi
Despite how young he was, Anakin Solo’s sacrifice showed he was one of the greatest Jedi who ever lived. The New Jedi Order: Star by Star by Troy Denning described Anakin in his final moments, where “His aura was burning so brightly that he cast shadows behind his foes.” Anakin fully allowed the Force to flow through him, surpassing his physical limitations and shining as a beacon of the light. He died defending those he loved, and his sacrifice ensured the success of the mission, which saved the lives of more Jedi from the ruthless Yuuzhan Vong. The death of Anakin Solo exemplified what it meant to be the ultimate Jedi.
Anakin Solo Proved He Was Better Than Vader, While Kylo Ren Repeated His Story
Anakin Solo also proved that he was better than his grandfather, but Kylo Ren’s story was largely a retread of Darth Vader’s. Being named after Anakin Skywalker placed extra pressure on the youngest Solo, fearing that he would one day turn to the dark side and follow in Vader’s footsteps. However, Anakin proved that he was free to choose his own path, becoming a true Jedi and saving his friends and family. Unfortunately, Kylo Ren did choose to follow Darth Vader’s pattern, becoming a ruthless dark-side warrior for a powerful empire. Even though Ben Solo left Kylo Ren behind at the very end, his redemption followed the pattern established by Darth Vader.
Anakin Solo’s Legacy In Star Wars Legends
Following his death in the Yuuzhan Vong War, Anakin Solo’s legacy would have major implications for the Star Wars Legends timeline. Anakin’s family and friends were devastated by his loss, especially Leia, who felt her son’s death through the Force. Han was plagued by guilt for having blamed Anakin for Chewbacca’s death, and Jaina was scarred from having to watch her brother die, nearly succumbing to the dark side afterward. However, the biggest long-term impact was on Jacen, for while Anakin’s death inspired him to become a man of action and end the Yuuzhan Vong War, it also contributed to his eventual turn as the ruthless Sith Lord Darth Caedus.
However, Anakin’s legacy had a positive impact as well, and his heroic sacrifice helped save the new Jedi Order. Anakin became a shining example of what it meant to be a Jedi, and Luke’s son, Ben Skywalker, grew up hearing stories about his Jedi cousin. While losing Anakin affected every member of the Solo family, it also brought them closer together, with Han vowing to never abandon Leia as he had when Chewbacca died. Anakin Solo’s sacrifice in Legends shows that Star Wars nailed the death of Han and Leia’s son long before Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, leaving a legacy that future Star Wars stories can learn from.
More: Legends’ Version Of Kylo Ren Was FAR Better Than The Star Wars Sequels