You and your descendants will go out far beyond the most distant stars and discover a great race of wisdom called the Whills. Their destiny will be revealed to them, and they will follow you to a hidden expanse of space and time engrossed in the light of the Ashlan Nebula. In the holy system, they will dwell on the fourth domain.
—Journal of the Whills, 1:3
The Order of the Whills was an order of beings in the pocket dimension of Ashlan Four tasked with recording the history of the galaxy in a document called the Journal of the Whills. This historical documentation, along with the foundation of the Order, was seen in the visions of a holy man, who transcribed his findings in the Prophecy of the Whills. The holy man’s prophecy was proven true when, as he foresaw, the Order of the Jedi Bendu, led by Matthew of Skywalker, brought the Whill species from their homeworld of Brodo Asogi to Ashlan Four and founded the Order of the Whills.
After the Order’s formation, the Whills began to view the history of the galaxy using the time stream, a body of water that contained moving images of the universe’s history. The Whills were unable to use this to its fullest extent, however, until the arrival of their shaman, Ussej Padric Bac. This was because the shaman was the only being capable of taking part in the historical events. The Whills and the shaman continued to record the history of the galaxy at least until the formation of the New Republic, the galactic government that came to power after the fall of the Galactic Empire.
Sometime prior to 99,945 BBY, the year in which the Order of the Whills was founded, philosophers spoke about a prophecy written by a holy man that said a great race of wisdom, the Whills, would follow a great order to Ashlan Four and record the story of the galaxy. This great order was the Order of the Jedi Bendu. The Jedi Bendu were led by Matthew of Skywalker, who found the Whills on their home planet of Brodo Asogi and led them to Ashlan Four. After they arrived on the planet, the Jedi Bendu constructed a monastery for the Whills, and a Chief of the Whills was appointed. Matthew shared his knowledge of the Force with the Whills, as well as the history of the Jedi Bendu and the planets in the Ashlan Nebula. The Whills documented this history in the Journal of the Whills, a manuscript that they would use to record galactic history. After this, the Jedi Bendu had no further contact with the Whills.
In order to help them record the galaxy’s story, the Whills used the time stream, a body of water which images of the universe's history flowed through. Supposedly, standing in one spot for a long enough time would have allowed a viewer to watch the entire history of the universe. Around 3,900 BBY, a man named Ussej Padric Bac, who was a former Jedi Knight in the monastic peacekeeping Jedi Order, fulfilled his destiny and subsequently arrived on Ashlan Four, where he became the Shaman of the Whills. Upon his arrival, Bac relayed to the Whills the history of the galaxy from the Great Hyperspace War, a conflict between the First Sith Empire and the Galactic Republic, to the Second Ashlan Civil War, a conflict that took place in the Ashlan Nebula.
It was later discovered that Bac was the only person with the ability to enter into the time stream and actually take part in the universal events as an observer or cause interference. Because Bac sometimes interfered with the timeline to ensure that it was carried out the way he felt the universe’s higher powers needed it to, the Whills nicknamed him the “guardian of forever.” The Whills continued using the time stream at least until the rise of the New Republic, a galaxy-spanning government that came to power after the Galactic Empire fell at the conclusion of the Galactic Civil War.
The only known location of the Order of the Whills was Ashlan Four, which was located in the Ashlan Nebula and was described as being a planet of myth and prophecy. The Whills constructed their monastery near the time stream on Ashlan Four, and they kept the Journal of the Whills within the monastery. Ashlan Four, however, was not the original homeworld of the Whills. The Whills were brought to Ashlan Four by the Order of the Jedi Bendu, as foreseen by the holy man years earlier.
Interpretation is the key.
—Ussej Padric Bac, referring to history being open to interpretation
The Whills were tasked with being historians, their duty being to record the history of the galaxy in the Journal of the Whills by using the time stream. The Whills discovered that the historical events seen through the time stream were subjective rather than objective, so it was decided that more than one interpretation belonged in the Journal of the Whills so that future readers could reach their own conclusions. As stated by Ussej Padric Bac, all points of view had to be understood in order to fully comprehend history and the events seen in the time stream. Bac also stated that, despite the fact that he involved himself in historical events, what he saw was still subject to point of view.
Behind the scenes
The Order of the Whills was developed by Star Wars creator George Lucas while he was writing his original drafts for what became the film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Lucas originally planned to have the story of Star Wars told by an immortal being known as a Whill, who would watch the whole story and record it. This Whill, according to Lucas, was “probably wiser than the mortal players in the actual events”. Lucas eventually dropped the storyline and the concept of the Whills turned into the Force, although the Whills “became a massive amount of notes, quotes [and] background information” that Lucas used when writing the script for the original film.
Brandon Rhea, co-founder and author in the Alternative Star Wars Saga, began developing his own version of the Whills in 2005 after reading about the Shaman of the Whills in the novelization of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Rhea posted some information about the Whills on the Star Wars Fanon Wiki, including an Order of the Whills article. After nearly two years, Rhea included the Order of the Whills in a fan fiction novel in 2009, when the Order was featured in the prologue of the second draft of his novel Star Wars: Episode I - The Chosen One. Rhea found inspiration for this not only in Lucas's original notes, but also in a fan fiction story called Star Wars: The Preservers by Brendon J. Wahlberg.
The Order of the Whills had previously been mentioned in the first draft of The Chosen One. The reviews for the prologue were mixed; fan photonovel author Andrew Barton stated that the Order’s inclusion “didn't feel like Star Wars”, although TheStarWarsRP.Com administrator Brent Krajewski disagreed by saying the segment was “quite fun”. Rhea has responded to the criticism of it not feeling like Star Wars by saying that he was elaborating on source materials rather than inserting something foreign into the storyline.
- Star Wars: Episode I - The Chosen One (First appearance)