Why Are Wookiees Rare Jedi? The High Republic Will Introduce a New Jedi From The Species

Star Wars is known for its fun characters and out-of-this-world species. One such people are the Wookiees, who the famous Chewbacca belongs to. They live very long lives; Chewbacca is over 200 years old according to The Rise of Skywalker and has appeared in The Clone Wars, the original trilogies and, of course, the new sequels. They’re big but not at all dangerous to their friends and allies. And even though it’s rare for Wookiees to be Jedi, a couple exist already. Plus a new one coming to the new High Republic stories debuting later this year. 

The 'Star Wars: High Republic: Light of the Jedi' book cover, a part of Project Luminous. Burryaga Agaburry, a Wookie Jedi, is seen here.
The ‘Star Wars: High Republic: Light of the Jedi’ book cover, a part of Project Luminous. Burryaga Agaburry, a Wookie Jedi, is seen here | Lucasfilm Ltd.

The new High Republic era of ‘Star Wars’ will feature a new Wookie Jedi

In a press event and announcement video that debuted on Feb. 24, Project Luminous was announced. This is a multi-year publishing initiative by Lucasfilm and consists of a collective of writers. They’re going to create novels, comics, and more for all age groups and it’ll all take place 200 years before The Phantom Menace

This era is known as the High Republic period and it’s when Jedi are in their “prime.” It’s a time of hopefulness and peace, and the Galactic Republic is also feeling this optimism. The Sith supposedly went extinct around 800 years prior to this period and the new villains are known as the Nihil. 

It’s obviously a very different time for Star Wars and one new character is already turning heads. On the cover for Star Wars: The High Republic: Light of the Jedi, coming out in August, a Wookie wielding a lightsaber is shown. According to io9, that Jedi’s name is Burryaga Agaburry. His lightsaber has a sword-like hilt similar to actual knights’. Jedi lightsabers typically don’t have hilts like that, and the only thing sort of close is Kylo Ren’s crossguard saber.

Charles Soule, the author, said at an event on Feb.24 that Burryaga Agaburry is “is amazing. He’s very sensitive. He’s a very, very sensitive Jedi.” It’s not clear yet if that means he’s sensitive with the Force, or a gentle creature. Either way, he looks majestic. 

Jedi from the Wookie species are rare, but they’ve existed before

The reason that you haven’t seen a lot of Wookie Jedi — or any, really — is because in Star Wars canon, they’re actually pretty hard to come by. In The Clone Wars Season 5, Ahsoka Tano is tasked with bringing a group of Youngling Jedi learners to perform the Gathering, where they harvest their kyber crystals for their lightsabers. One of her students is Gungi, a young Wookie. 

When Gungi goes to make his lightsaber with droid Professor Huyang, the professor said, “A Wookiee! Rare you are to the Jedi. Proud, your people must be.” He then says Gungi is unique, “just like your saber will be.” Gungi ends up picking out brylark wood material for his lightsaber, which is obviously uncommon. So maybe cool sabers run in Wookiees’ genes.

But why are Wookie Jedi so rare?

The logistical answer as to why Wookiees are rare Jedi is actually outside of canon. Allegedly George Lucas made a rule against them in the Expanded Universe in the early 2000s. There’s no explanation why he did, but before he implemented that, Jedi like Kirlocca, Lowbacca, and Tyvokka are Wookiees in Legends.

However, Lucas allowed Gungi to exist and is currently the only Wookie Jedi in canon. That will change, of course, with the addition of Burryaga Agaburry.

While fans may never get a solid explanation from Lucas about the rule, it does make Jedi from this species extra special. And in August, fans will get to see what Burryaga can do, too.