The Return of Don-Wan Kihotay?

Jondee here at Aduba-3,

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The Entertainment Weekly article (released online on June 22nd) introduced the characters that we saw in the cast photo from last year. Interesting was Donnie Yen’s character, Chirrut Imwe, a “warrior monk”, like the blind Zatoichi. This was a swordsman created by Kan Shimozawa and turned into a series of films and tv shows. The last one was The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi (2003) played by Takeshi Kitano who also wrote and directed the film(!). Yen is a formidable actor in martial arts films including the Ip Man films, the last one was Ip Man 3 (2015) with Ip Man facing Mike Tyson. Chirrut still believes in the Jedi. In the teaser trailer, Chirrut is seen facing off against stormtroopers with a staff! It was also noted in the article that Jiang Wen’s character, Baze Malbo (I don’t love these character names so much), is like Sancho Panza, the loyal servant to Don Quixote, the characters in the novel by Miguel de Cervantes. Wen is an actor and director for Chinese films including The Sun Also Rises (2015) that covers different places and times all connected. In the trailer, Baze is wielding a blaster rifle running on the sands towards the Imperial walkers.

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The character of Chirrut Imwe reminded me of another character from an earlier Star Wars comic book. This was the follow up to the Star Wars adaptation (which ended with issue 6) so writer Roy Thomas took from a popular Japanese film, Seven Samurai (1954) and placed it in the Star Wars setting. Three years later, Battle Beyond the Stars (1980) had a similar inspiration. In issue 8, “Eight for Aduba-3”, with art by Howard Chaykin, Han and Chewie end up on the planet Aduba-3 after they lose the reward money meant for Jabba. He is hired to defend a village, Onacra, from the Cloud-Riders. They assemble a group of spacers called the Star-Hoppers of Aduba-3. This finishes with issue 9, “Showdown on a Wasteland World!” We are introduced to Don-Wan Kihotay who was formerly known as Hess Korrin, a librarian on Obroa-skai in the Inner Rim. He was obsessed with readings about the Jedi, but the Imperial Security Bureau closed down his section of the library. He takes up the name Don-Wan Kihotay, wears Jedi robes, and armor (this is more reflective of Quixote than the Jedi). In Legends terminology, he would be a Jedi Consular, though his yellow lightsaber blade is more in line with Jedi Sentinels. This Don-Wan does not have a Sancho Panza, key to the character, but joins the Star-Hoppers. He dies at the hand of Valance the Hunter who was pursuing Kihotay’s fellow Star-Hopper, Jimm Doshun because he looked like Luke Skywalker. It is not a canonization of Don-Wan Kihotay, but does bring a similar character to the Star Wars universe.

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