The tides of fate are impossible to stop once destiny takes her course.
Sarus was the leader of the Ophuchi Clan during the time of the Invasion of Utapau. When he was young, he found out that he was carrying a spirit inside of him that had lasted for over one hundred thousand years, a destiny that he did not originally accept until he came to realize that if he believed in the possibility then he would do the right thing when the time came. In the years that followed, Sarus met Shmi Skywalker who was pregnant with a son, despite the fact that she was a virgin. After he fought off a supposed Sith assailant, Sarus helped deliver the child whom Shmi named Annikin Skywalker. Sarus believed that Annikin would go on to be the Chosen One based on what was said in the Prophecy of the Chosen One and the circumstances surrounding his birth. Shortly thereafter, Sarus was contacted by the Shaman of the Whills who told him of the destiny he would play in Annikin's life. In the years that followed, Sarus kept a close eye on Annikin, and he also had dealings with the Trade Federation.
Years later, Sarus came into contact with Annikin once again, as well as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jard Dooku, Jar Binks and Sabé Arcadia, the outsiders that Annikin was allowing to stay at his home. Sarus led them into the Ophuchi Sanctuary in the Dune Sea where he told them about the Ophuchi people, and later the prophecy of the Chosen One. Annikin had a difficult time accepting his possible destiny, but Sarus was able to convince him to believe that it could be true. Later, they traveled to Anchorhead where they were able to negotiate with Bib Fortuna at Jabba the Hutt’s regional office to release Annikin from the Lars family’s sharecropping contract, though Annikin would first have to win a swoop race against his rival Sebulba.
Annikin won the race, partially because of the fact that Sarus damaged the stabilizer on Sebulba's racer. After securing Annikin's release from the contract, Sarus confessed this to Annikin, who did not take it well. Shortly before saying goodbye to Annikin, Sarus transferred something from inside of himself into Annikin, though he did not tell Annikin what it was. Sarus left and spoke with the Shaman of the Whills once again who told him that his role in Annikin's destiny was over, though he would still have preordained roles to play in the future.
Sarus was born on Tatooine into the Ophuchi Clan, a group that had been labeled "crazy old wizards" by locals in the settlements. As a young man, he had traveled to the far corners to Tatooine and back, and was always able to find out something new about himself by searching within, which he always believed was the true test of the desert wastes. He knew that while some preferred lush, green worlds, Sarus could not see himself living anywhere else. When he was a teenager, his father took him to an Ophuchi compound just before the dunes of Arrakeen where he was told that he was carrying a spirit inside of him that had been given to multiple people for one hundred millennia, and would continue to be given to people for many years to come. Sarus did not originally want to believe that he held such a destiny, but in the end he realized that so long as he accepted that it could be true then he would make the right decision when the time came.
A few years later, after he had become familiar with the Prophecy of the Chosen One, Sarus overheard a local telling someone that a young woman had claimed she had gotten pregnant despite being a virgin. Sarus immediately believed the story and met the woman, who at that point was named Shmi Skywalker, and told her about the Prophecy of the Chosen One, but she dismissed it and asked him never to speak to her again. He agreed, though he kept a close eye on her. In the end, she became thankful for that, because when she was nine months pregnant, Shmi was attacked by a lightsaber-wielding assailant who was dead set on murdering her to prevent the birth of her child. However, Sarus was able to elude the man he believed to be a Sith Lord and was able to help her escape to the caves in the Ophuchi Sanctuary.
Despite their escape, the assailant was able to find them. Sarus and his men chased the warrior outside into the rain, and while they were gone, Shmi went into a painful labor. Sarus arrived just in time to help her, and even though the assailant was forced to retreat, the other Ophuchi did not survive. While Sarus was badly injured, he was able to help Shmi deliver her baby, which turned out to be a boy. She could not think of a name, so he suggested Annikin. She approved of the name and named her son Annikin Skywalker. Shortly thereafter, Sarus brought her to the nearest medical center he could find. Before saying goodbye for nearly eighteen years, he gave her a snippet of Japor and asked her to give it to Annikin when he was thirteen, something he later found out that she never did.
Shortly after Annikin's birth, Sarus was contacted by the Shaman of the Whills, a religious leader of a lost species in the Unknown Regions called the Whills. Sarus found out that the Shaman had been in contact with many of the Ophuchi leaders throughout the centuries and Sarus had a destiny to help the Chosen One in his journey to leave to Tatooine later in life. Sarus agreed to this, though he realized that he likely had little choice but to do what the Shaman asked him to do.
In the few years that followed, Sarus had become the leader of the Ophuchi people. He had some dealings with the Trade Federation, specifically Viceroy Nute Gunray. He came to discover that Gunray was easily deceived, a trait that Sarus was able to exploit in his dealings with him. One of his original dealings was before the Stark Hyperspace War when the Trade Federation was plundering supplies from Tatooine. Sarus knew that the Ophuchi needed those supplies, as they smuggled them from the local settlements, but eventually Iaco Stark became a hero when he seemingly stopped the plundering. However, Stark later turned his back on the people and started the war, greatly angering the Ophuchi and all other citizens in the Outer Rim Territories.
One of the other major events of the years after Annikin's birth was a dealing Sarus had with the Hutts. A young Ophuchi girl named Reahana Kaylon was kidnapped by a Rodian slaver called Ledo, who also had a hand in betting on the local pazaak games. Knowing he had to get the young girl back from the Rodian, Sarus made a wager with Ledo during the grand pazaak tournament held every year where if Sarus’s choice in players won, the girl would be released. The player Sarus bet on won the tournament, but Ledo refused. Not knowing where else to turn, Sarus assumed the role of Reahana's father and spoke to Gardulla the Hutt on her behalf. Gardulla ordered the girl to be released per the bet that was made, but rather than releasing her and admitting defeat, Ledo murdered Reahana. Sarus returned to the Hutts to demand some sort of punishment, hoping it would be in the form of an arrest. Instead, Gardulla had Ledo murdered for his two crimes.
Years later, a group of young Ophuchi chose to abandon their heritage and try to become part of normal society, despite the protests of many, including Sarus. They attempted to live in Mos Eisley, but they did not realize what they were getting themselves into by trying to assimilate into such a violent environment. The locals branded them “crazy wizards” and many of the worst traders were able to exploit the fear of the locals, the worst of those traders being the Trade Federation. Because of that, the traders took the young people as slaves and they were never seen nor heard from again.
When the starship carrying Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jard Dooku and Sabé Arcadia crashed a few kilometers just outside of Anchorhead, Sarus and the Ophuchi believed that it signified the arrival of the Argus, a person spoken of in the legend of the Chosen One as the one who would help free the Chosen One from slavery. Nearly forty-eight hours later, he led a group of his people to the crashed starship that Annikin Skywalker had been helping to repair to get the attention of the people at the Lars homestead. Shortly thereafter, Annikin arrived with Obi-Wan, Dooku, Arcadia, Jar Binks and a group of Utapau guards. Sarus told them that he needed to speak with Annikin and the two Jedi, and they agreed to go with him on a pilgrimage into the Dune Sea, as did Arcadia and Binks.
After walking for nearly eight hours through the nighttime desert into the Dune Sea, Sarus and the group arrived at the Ophuchi Sanctuary where they found that it was a self-sufficient village underneath the ground. The compound even had moisture along the walls, which Sarus knew surprised the group considering the eighteen year long drought that had plagued the planet. When they arrived in the main chamber, Sarus revealed that the hermits were part of what was called the Ophuchi Clan. He then led them to a feast that had been prepared in their honor. They were all greatly taken aback by the generous hospitality, but they accepted it and all sat down for the meal. After Sarus led the group in a blessing of the food, they all began to eat and enjoy the bounty that had been placed before them, considering the journey they had just taken.
To break the silence, Annikin asked who the statue in the entrance to the sanctuary depicted, and Sarus told him that it was a prophet, though the Ophuchi could not speak his name because they were not worthy to do so. Sarus went on to discuss a brief history of the Ophuchi people, saying they had once been part of the Jedi Order. He also discussed how some of his people tried to become part of normal society, though the locals feared them and the Trade Federation enslaved them. Arcadia was not sure if she believed it because of new anti-slavery laws the Galactic Republic had imposed for the Outer Rim and other outlying territories, and tension between her and Sarus rose when he essentially called her naïve. To lower the tension, Dooku asked why they had been brought all the way out to the Dune Sea, so when they were finished eating Sarus brought them into a catacomb and led them towards an ancient sanctuary where he would explain what he needed to discuss with them.
After a half hour of walking through the catacombs, Sarus brought the group into a cave sanctuary, the walls of which were painted with numerous ancient writings and cave paintings that represented many different things. Sarus told them that the Ophuchi had been going to the caves for thousands of years ever, since they were led there by a man called the Shaman of a species called the Whills. When Sarus began speaking of the prophecy regarding the Son of the Suns, which he also referred to as the Chosen One, he could tell that Annikin had become worried that Sarus believed that Annikin was, in fact, the one spoken of. Annikin asked who the Chosen One, who was also called the Optivum Servator in Ophuchi, was and Sarus told him that it was Annikin. Sarus went on to point out a painting on the wall which showed a dove, representing the Chosen One, being freed from his chains by one called the Argus and then slaying a serpent, which possibly represented the Sith. Not wanting to hear anymore, Annikin left to be alone.
Sarus soon arrived and tried to comfort Annikin, but Annikin was adamant on not accepting his possible destiny. Sarus told him that he himself was told that he had a destiny greater than he wanted, referring to the spirit within him. When Annikin asked how he was able to believe that, Sarus told him that it had nothing to do with believing. Instead, if Annikin was able to accept the fact that he could have a destiny as the Chosen One, then when the time came he would be able to make the right choice. Sarus then left and returned to the caves, leaving Annikin to his thoughts for as long as he wanted. When Sarus made his way back to the cave, he spoke with Arcadia and apologized for his outburst. He went on to say that he had his own dealings with Nute Gunray in the past, so Arcadia asked him for any advice he had in dealing with him. Sarus told her specifically that Gunray was easily deceived because he was an "ignorant fool", so if she could find a way to exploit that as an advantage then she would almost certainly prevail against the Trade Federation forces. Sarus then went to talk to Binks and told him about the Prophecy of the Rana Hama, one that literally meant "Frog Man" and spoke of an exiled monarch returning to his people to defeat those who betrayed him. This was a prophecy he believed Binks could possibly fulfill.
Hours later, as they were preparing to return to the Lars homestead, Annikin tripped down the catacomb and was knocked out. A few minutes later, Arcadia and Obi-Wan were able to help him come to. Sarus gave Annikin a cold compress to help with the neck pain and offered to allow them to stay for a few extra hours of even an extra day while he healed, though Annikin refused and said that he was ready to leave whenever anyone else was. Only a few minutes later, the group collected their belongings and began their trek back through the Dune Sea towards the homestead.
During the walk back to the homestead, Sarus told Obi-Wan the story of Annikin's birth to help prove his case that Annikin was the Chosen One. He also further explained his duel with the supposed Sith Lord. When they finally arrived nearly eight hours later during the early dawn hours, the family was already there waiting for them, as they had seen them approaching. Sarus greeted Shmi for the first time in eighteen years and he could tell that she was shocked to see him. A few minutes later, Annikin and Obi-Wan emerged from the house and Sarus was told that Shmi had told Annikin about his birth and that she had finally given him the Japor snippet. Annikin also agreed to leave Tatooine and go to Coruscant to find training at the Jedi Temple, though they would first need to speak with Jabba the Hutt and free Annikin from the family's sharecropping contract. Therefore, they decided to go to Jabba's regional office in Anchorhead to schedule a meeting.
An hour later, they arrived at the hunting lodge that held Jabba's office. Annikin found his friend Kitster Banai there and they agreed to get together that evening before Annikin left. When they went into the office, they found the office manager Bib Fortuna who was speaking for Jabba while the Hutt was away on Nal Hutta. Sarus presented their case to Fortuna, and after a few questions Fortuna refused to make any sort of bargain. Sarus tried to reason with him, though Fortuna adamantly refused. Obi-Wan exploited the Twi'lek's ego and subtly reminded him that he should not be making decisions for Jabba without knowing exactly what he would do. Fortuna agreed to ask Jabba if there was any way to accommodate them and left to contact him. While he was gone, Arcadia and Binks came in. Shortly thereafter, a HoloNet news briefing appeared on the HoloNet Screen in front of them and the announcer talked about the situation on Utapau, saying that thousands were reported to be dead. When the report ended, Fortuna returned and told Annikin that in order to be freed he would have to win a swoop race against Sebulba the next day. Knowing that Jabba would make no other offer if they refused, Annikin reluctantly agreed and they returned to the homestead to prepare for the race.
The next day, Sarus arrived at Beggar's Canyon where the race was to be held. While Annikin and Kitster were preparing the swoop racer, Sarus watched as Sebulba sabotaged Annikin's port stabilizer. When the others walked away from the racers, Sarus did his best to fix Annikin's racer but then performed the same act of sabotage against Sebulba. Annikin saw him standing at the starting line near Sebulba's racer and questioned him, but Sarus told him that he was simply waiting for him to wish him good luck. They walked to the spectator buildings where Sarus stood with Obi-Wan, Dooku and the Lars family. When the race started, Sarus watched as Annikin's racer did not take off because of the damage, but Annikin quickly fixed it and was able to begin the race. Sarus and the others were able to view the race on a large screen, and the few minutes that they watched were extremely tense. However, Annikin was able to defeat Sebulba by exploiting the damage that Sarus had caused to Sebulba's engine.
After the race was over, Sebulba approached Fortuna for the papers that would confirm that Annikin was no longer part of the contract. The Twi'lek initially refused, but Sarus threatened to bring the case to Jabba the Hutt. Sarus knew that even though Jabba would be angry that Annikin had won, the Hutt laws still dictated that bets had to be honored. Fortuna knew that as well and signed the papers. Sarus brought them to Obi-Wan for safe keeping and they all then left to return to the Lars homestead. When they arrived, Sarus said goodbye to Obi-Wan and wished him well in his journey. He told Dooku that although they never saw eye to eye, it was interesting seeing another perspective on various issues. Sarus once again apologized to Arcadia for his abruptness with her, but she thanked him again for his advice. He then told Binks that he knew that the idea of the Rana Hama was overwhelming and that he honestly did not know whether or not Binks would fulfill the prophecy, but he wished him well all the same. Finally, Sarus said goodbye to Shmi and wished her well, though she was not comfortable speaking with him.
When he was finished with his goodbyes for everyone else, Sarus entered the garage where he found Annikin with Kitster and Threepio. He asked the other two to leave and then spoke to Annikin, who wondered what happened to both of the stabilizers. Sarus confessed that he was responsible for the damage to Sebulba's racer, something that Annikin became angry at because it had nearly killed Sebulba. Sarus tried to explain, but Annikin did not want to hear it. Sarus wished him well all the same and then touched Annikin's shoulder, transferring some sort of essence into him. With that, he left the homestead to return to the sanctuary, leaving Annikin shaken as to what had just happened to him.
Before returning to the Ophuchi Sanctuary, Sarus waited and watched as Arcadia's starship took off into space, taking Annikin with it. When the ship was out of his visual range, he returned to the cave at the sanctuary and made his way up to the same ridge where he had talked to Annikin. When he arrived, he found the Shaman of the Whills there waiting for him and told him that Annikin had left hours ago. He asked for further instructions, but the Shaman told him that his role in Annikin's destiny was over. Sarus was disappointed and somewhat frustrated by this, but the Shaman assured him that he would have roles to play in the future. Sarus was able to take some comfort in that as the Shaman disappeared, and Sarus hoped that he would one day see Annikin again.
Personality and traits
As a member of the Ophuchi Clan, Sarus was inherently mysterious to those who were not members. This was due to the fact that he was a hermit who lived in the desert, and because of the fact that when he spoke he would often times speak of ancient prophecies and what some referred to as mysticism. Neither of these things were understandable to many people. Some of this was deliberate as he attempted to remain vague and allow people to come to their own conclusions, such as he did when he only hinted that Jar Binks would fulfill the Prophecy of the Rana Hama, but it was also because the Ophuchi culture was much different than that of the outside galaxy, particularly the Galactic Republic. Their customs and traditions were seemingly alien to many people, and because of this Sarus and the others had an air of mystery surrounding them.
One of Sarus’s most admirable traits to many people was his compassion, and that compassion did allow him to regret some things. He knew he had insulted Sabé Arcadia during the feast when he first led her, Annikin Skywalker and the other outsiders to the Ophuchi Sanctuary, and even though he apologized to her and spoke to her about it later that night, he continued to feel guilty because of it. Two days later, as he was saying goodbye to the outsiders before they left Tatooine, Sarus apologized to her once again as he wanted to be absolutely sure that he had made amends before she left the planet.
The guilt that came with his compassion did not apply to every situation, however. Although he knew he had to confess to Annikin about what he had done to sabotage Sebulba’s racer before the swoop race that won Annikin’s freedom, Sarus did not regret what he had done. Instead, he almost wished he had not told Annikin the truth because it seemingly destroyed their friendship. In the end, however, he did not regret telling Annikin what he had done as Sarus always tried to consider himself an honest person.
The main reason that Sarus had sabotaged Sebulba’s racer was not because Sebulba had done it to Annikin’s first, but it was because Sarus had promised he would do anything to help Annikin leave the planet and fulfill his destiny as the Chosen One. He had completely dedicated himself to his role in the salvation of the galaxy, which was one of the reasons that he was so disappointed when the Shaman of the Whills told him that his task with Annikin was over when Annikin and the outsiders left Tatooine. However, he was able to find solace in the fact that the Shaman told him he would have future roles to play, though it was frustrating not knowing what those future roles were.
Sarus was in charge of a great deal as the leader of the Ophuchi Clan, and it was a job he cherished above everything else. The part of his position he enjoyed above all others was the ability to carry out the various Ophuchi ceremonies that were performed. However, he never understood the brief celebrations that some people would take part in after winning something, particularly the simple raising of the hand to declare the champion. He had become accustomed to more elaborate ceremonies to signify something.
Leading ceremonies in the sanctuary quite frequently for many different occasions, he had made sure that they were all elaborate. He would marry members of the clan, and some months later there were many times that he welcomed those members back for a birth ceremony. The birth ceremony was one of Sarus’s favorites, as he felt privileged to be one of the first to welcome new Ophuchi into their way of life. There were also many simple worship ceremonies that he enjoyed leading where they would give thanks to their prophet and to the higher powers that they all believed in.
Despite his mostly unwavering dedication to the Ophuchi and the cause of the Chosen One, there had come a point in the years after he helped Shmi Skywalker-Lars give birth to Annikin where he nearly gave up hope that the Argus would one day arrive. At times, as he knew all too well, hope died out and needed to be reborn from the inspiring spark of another. Obi-Wan Kenobi was able to provide that for him when he arrived and led Annikin to him, which signified that Obi-Wan was the Argus, and for that Sarus had cause to think with deep gratitude for those who would help light the way towards the balance of the Force.
Talents and abilities
Sarus had the ability to convince many people that his opinions and his interpretations of certain prophecies were correct without having them consider the alternatives. While they were in the Ophuchi Sanctuary, Sarus was able to fully convince Obi-Wan that the prophecies on the cave wall were true. He was also able to cause Binks, Arcadia and Annikin to believe strongly in the possibility that they were true. With Annikin, though, Sarus had to convince Annikin of the possibility that the Prophecy of the Chosen One could be true, as he believed that Annikin was not ready to accept the fact that it was the truth. He also set Binks on the road to believing that the Prophecy of the Rana Hama was about Binks, though Sarus did not know if he himself believed that.
The only person he was not able to convince that night was Dooku. Sarus tried to explain his side to Dooku, but Sarus ended up feeling that Dooku was simply too arrogant to be convinced otherwise. While Sarus considered it a challenge to try to change Dooku’s opinion, he also considered it futile. In the end, Dooku and Sarus left on bad terms because of it, although Sarus believed that they never had a good relationship to begin with considering the difference in personality between the two.
Although it was in a different setting, Sarus was also able to help convince Fortuna to speak with Jabba the Hutt about arranging for Annikin’s release from the sharecropping contract. Sarus was able to recognize the fact that Fortuna was a person who liked to feel important and needed an ego boost, so with Obi-Wan’s help he used that knowledge to his advantage and was able to help arrange for Annikin’s release from the contract and subsequent departure from Tatooine.
Behind the scenes
The character of Sarus, and the Ophuchi for that matter, was a late addition to the Star Wars: Episode I - The Chosen One storyline. Originally, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Jard Dooku were going to find Annikin Skywalker in much the same way that The Chosen One depicted. However, instead of meeting Sarus, Obi-Wan would have somehow believed that Annikin was the Chosen One based on any feats that Annikin might have performed. Even while author Brandon Rhea was putting together this part of the story, he felt that simply believing that he was the Chosen One without any plot elements such as midichlorians was somewhat weak.
During an IRC conversation with Atarumaster88, Ataru told Rhea that he was never a fan of storylines on Tatooine. The main reason for this was that the characters on Tatooine frequently noted how insignificant it was, yet it produced the likes of a Rakatan Star Map and the original Anakin Skywalker and Luke Skywalker. After the conversation, Rhea realized that he agreed with Ataru and began considering ways of making Tatooine more important in the destiny of Annikin Skywalker while maintaining the secluded desert element from the films, novels and video games.
These considerations led to the creation of the Ophuchi storyline. The storyline was virtually identical to the one that played out in the novel, but there were two Ophuchi leaders rather than one. The first was Sarus who would have explained the prophecies to the characters, and the second was Ray'Kele Makius, a character that would serve the purpose that the final version of Sarus did in convincing Annikin to believe that his destiny was possible without accepting it. Eventually, these two characters were merged into one, that one being Sarus. Rhea felt it would be more meaningful and dramatic to have one character that could interact with Annikin rather than trying to split the focus between two.
Sarus was also somewhat based on the character of Stilgar, the leader of the Freman tribe in Frank Herbert’s Dune, Dune Messiah and Children of Dune. While there are differences between the two characters, Rhea did choose Uwe Ochsenknecht. Ochsenknecht is recognizable to Dune fans as the actor who portrayed Stilgar in the 2000 Sci-Fi Channel mini-series Frank Herbert's Dune.
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 The Chosen One: Chapter Eleven - The Ophuchi
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 The Chosen One: Chapter Twelve - Prophecy
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 The Chosen One: Chapter Thirteen - Bargain
- ↑ 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 The Chosen One: Chapter Fifteen - Destiny
- ↑ The Chosen One: Chapter Seven - Tatooine
- ↑ The Chosen One: Chapter Nine - The Hermits
- ↑ The Chosen One: Chapter Fourteen - Freedom