In 2008, the Star Wars world was taken by storm by a conflicted Sith Apprentice. He wore his mastery of the Force like a mixture of a billboard and a battering ram in the way he acted as a mobile Hurricane Katrina in his missions throughout the Star Wars galaxy. Most shocking of all, he did this in an era that was restricted for so long- a time period whose stories so far had been restricted to smugglers, gamblers, and spies and mostly published over twenty years ago. In The Force Unleashed, Starkiller defined events fans had only dreamed about, while at the same time displaying public acts of Force prowess that would have made Obi-Wan Kenobi second guess his decision to leave an untrained Luke alone with Starkiller’s master. And, in the end, Starkiller too, renamed Galen Marek after the child he had once been, made the ultimate sacrifice, becoming the inspiration not for the Rebellion itself, but for its leaders and its symbolism. But there’s more to the story…
“Oh Master, I can tell you she’s going to be impossible to reprogram.”
The Force Unleashed introduced us to a character who had access to the most restricted holocam feeds in the Empire and had decorations and statistics to rival those of Han Solo and Soontir Fel. No, not one of the Jedi or Sith: humble pilot Juno Eclipse.
PROXY gives us a brief description of Juno’s backstory when we’re introduced to her. The youngest student ever accepted to the Imperial academy, presumably a day or so younger than the norm. She was a decorated officer with over 100 missions, and leader of Darth Vader’s personal squadron- the same one that Han Solo snuck up on in A New Hope. PROXY also felt it important to note that she would be impossible to reprogram- why he said this, I’m not sure, because it wasn’t really that hard, but I suppose it was good for PR. Here’s looking at you.
Later on in the novel, Juno managed to hack into a holocam feed by tracking PROXY, a state of the art training droid that probably has more slicing technology in his processors than the entire Rebel Alliance put together, to view Darth Vader and Starkiller in private corridors. In other words, Juno Eclipse managed to get past security protocols specifically designed so that the best slicers in Imperial Intelligence could not get past them, while tracking a droid who those same operatives should not have been able to deduce the existence of. And nobody ever found this out. She’s good.
On top of that, Juno was a very active pilot who could have been considered one of the best in the fleet if she didn’t have that pesky conscience to get in the way. Over 100 missions plus military training, practice and drills indicates that she spent time almost every day since the Academy in a cockpit or simulator of some sort- never mind that it takes an expert pilot to survive to your second or third mission alone in a standard TIE Fighter.
Juno is the type of pilot who would have flown alongside Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles against the first Death Star and survived- and she’s the type of slicer who would have made Kyle Katarn and many other early Rebel operatives unnecessary by simply downloading the station construction plans onto her iPad at home. The Rebels would have been unstoppable if she remained with them for long, if just for that reason. She was more valuable than many Bothans.
But Juno wasn’t around to download the Death Star plans, though she certainly knew of its existence, having seen it in person (and presumably delivering information of its location to the Alliance). Did she have a change in heart, and return to fight for the Empire? Unlikely, but admittedly possible. Did she choose to remain neutral? That doesn’t sound likely, unless she remained with Garm Bel-Iblis after his faction broke off. No, the most likely story is that Juno Eclipse Must Die, and she must die soon.
Knowing pre-ANH stories, she’s going to die a martyr. And to die a martyr, Aerith needs a cutscene. In a video game.