The Bendu was a Force-sensitive individual in the galaxy that represented the center of the Force, between the Light and the Dark side.
At some point, the Bendu entered a deep sleep on the planet Atollon.
After Phoenix Squadron maintained a base on Atollon, he called out to the Jedi Knight Kanan Jarrus, who was meditating outside Chopper Base. Kanan had retreated into meditation after losing his sight during a mission to Malachor. The Bendu called out to Kanan through the Force and eventually led him into a series of mesas in the wilderness.
When Kanan finally arrived, the Bendu told the Jedi Knight that his imbalance had awoken him from his slumber. After introducing himself, he allowed Kanan to identify himself as a Jedi Knight. The Bendu listened as Kanan told him about his fear that his apprentice Ezra Bridger was falling to the dark side. When Kanan showed him the Sith holocron that Ezra had obtained on Malachor, the Bendu explained that any object could not make someone good or evil. However, he stressed that only a person could choose to change themselves. The Bendu then took an interest in Kanan's sensor marker, which the Jedi had used to ward off several Krykna Spiders, arachnid predators that were indigenous to Atollon.
The Bendu then destroyed the sensor marker. When Kanan protested, he told the Jedi that he would never regain his sight but that he could teach Kanan to see through his other senses. When Kanan agreed to take his lesson, the Bendu instructed the Jedi to empty his mind, turn around and walk forward. Kanan was quickly surrounded by two Krykna which did not attack him. The Bendu then explained that Kanan's bad experience with creatures stemmed from not seeing them for what they actually were. Kanan began to make peace with the Krykna but was startled when he sensed that Ezra was in danger. After igniting his lightsaber, Kanan realized that the Krykna had been feeding of his fear and emotions. When Kanan deduced that he had isolated himself from everyone and the Force, the Bendu commented that he had finally regained his Force connection. Before leaving to rescue Ezra, Kanan left the Sith holocron with the Bendu. The Bendu then inspected the object and laughed.
After the former Sith Maul kidnapped the other members of the Ghost Crew, Kanan and Ezra traveled on a speeder bike to the Bendu's lair in Atollon's wilderness. The two Jedi were surrounded by several Krykna but the Bendu awoke and scared them away. When the Bendu asked the two Jedi whether they had come for a chat, Ezra related to the Force-wielder their predicament with Maul. Ezra and Kanan explained that Maul desired both the Sith holocron and Kanan's own Jedi holocron. While the Bendu was unfamiliar with Maul, he remarked that the convergence of the Sith and Jedi holocrons would be dangerous.
The Bendu corrected Ezra's view that the holocrons were merely libraries and pointed out that they could grant clarity of vision but also produce chaos. When Ezra reiterated that he needed the Sith holocron in order to save his friends, the Bendu opined that the object was a source of imbalance between him and Kanan. However, he told the boy that he needed to enter a cave inhabited by Krykna in order to retrieve the Sith holocron. Before entering the cave, Kanan instructed his apprentice to leave his lightsaber behind and to use a comlink instead. When the Bendu inquired, Kanan explained that his apprentice needed to learn how to resolve problems with out a lightsaber.
While the Bendu waited outside, the two Jedi ventured into the cave and managed to retrieve the Sith holocron after a trial which involved Ezra learning to overcome his fear of the Krykna and forgiving himself for the events on Malachor. After Ezra and Kanan returned from the cave, the Bendu expressed satisfaction that the imbalance between master and apprentice had been resolved. However, he warned the two Jedi that their true test had just begun. Since Maul was unable to open the Jedi holocron, the Bendu warned that the task would have to fall on one of them. When Ezra suggests they could wield the power of both holocrons, the Bendu warned him that it came with a price. He opined that once a secret was known, he stresses that it cannot be "unknown."
Spectre of Maul
After Maul used the dark side of the Force to torment Ezra with Force visions, Ezra and Kanan traveled into the wilderness to seek help from Bendu. Bendu had been expecting them and remarked that they were not very "quiet creatures." When Ezra told Bendu that Maul had resurfaced, Bendu replied that joining the holocrons together would bring great wisdom and danger at the same time. Ezra admitted that this was the price of his power and that his vision was incomplete because he let go before the holocrons could reveal their full secrets.
Bendu remarked that this was not a good sign. When Bendu asked Ezra what he wanted, he advised Ezra and Kanan not to turn around. Despite his warnings, the two Jedi turned around and saw Maul watching them from atop a dune. Asking Bendu what to do, they noticed Bendu had disappeared.
While the Mandalorian weapons expert Sabine Wren was undergoing instruction with the Darksaber, she went to a rock to contemplate on her fears and struggles about her family. Ezra went to comfort her and reassured her that Kanan meant well. Realizing that Ezra was right, Sabine went into the wilderness to clear her mind. As she left, the Bendu surfaced but did not initiate contact with her.
Battle of Atollon
- “Leave this place, I am the Light, I am the Dark, I am The Bendu”
- ―The Bendu ordering the Imperials and Rebels to leave Atollon
Eventually, the rebel forces at Atollon were located and ambushed by Grand Admiral Thrawn. Kanan went to the wilderness seeking out Bendu for help. However, Bendu refused to help Kanan in order to keep his neutrality and blamed him for bringing the war to Atollon. Kanan then called Bendu a coward, which led to Bendu rising into a ball of smoke and exclaiming that perhaps it was the will of the Force to destroy the Jedi "and all your kind," which he vowed to carry out. While Kanan returned to Chopper Base, the Empire initiated an orbital bombardment on Atollon.
After Thrawn landed on Atollon and trapped the rebel leaders at Chopper Base, all were drawn to look at a gathering storm in the sky, with one bolt of lightning almost striking Thrawn himself. Two glowing yellow eyes appeared in the midst of the clouds and the Bendu's echoing voice proclaimed his identity. He then cried "I bring death!" and unleashed powerful lightning strikes onto the ground, destroying two All Terrain Armored Transports and several grounded rebel fighters. Desiring his world to be left in peace, Bendu ordered both rebels and Imperials alike to leave Atollon, killing several Death Troopers with his lightning strikes as emphasis. Kanan and his fellow rebels then attempted to flee on the Ghost; noticing the fleeing rebel ships, Bendu called out to Kanan by name and struck the Ghost with lightning but not enough to destroy it. One A-Wing Starfighter was destroyed by him but the others escaped and so Bendu increased his onslaught on the Imperials, once more demanding that they leave. Thrawn ordered his forces to shoot at the eye of the storm. Bendu was struck by fire coming from the AT-ATs and the Death Troopers, causing the huge Force entity to fall from the sky and crash to ground.
After the defeated rebel forces abandoned the system, Thrawn found Bendu lying wounded on the ground and asked him what he was. A defiant Bendu replied that he was one beyond Thrawn's power to destroy. When Thrawn disagreed, Bendu warned him that he could see where the Chiss couldn't; his ultimate defeat, like "many arms wrapped around him in a cold embrace." Undaunted, Thrawn proceeded to finish Bendu by shooting him with his blaster, but the Force entity vanished very quickly before the blast could touch him and let out a disconcerting laugh, indicating to Thrawn that he indeed was beyond Thrawn's power.
Personality and Traits
The Bendu was a wise and patient teacher who believed that other Force-sensitive beings needed to learn to overcome their fears and imbalances through personal trials. He taught Kanan to overcome his blindness and his fear of Krykna by teaching the Jedi Knight to rely on his senses and the Force.
While recognizing that the Sith holocron was dangerous, the Bendu believed that only the individual had the power to change themselves for better or worse. The Bendu recognized that the convergence of Sith and Jedi holocrons had the power to produce clarity of vision but could also lead to chaos. He was concerned with the relationship between Kanan and his apprentice Ezra and believed that the two needed to repair it.
The Bendu's wisdom along with his unusual sense of humor shrouded him with mystery, and his balance between the light and the dark made him uncannily perceptive, sensing the imbalance in Kanan, and then the imbalance between Kanan and Ezra.
Indifferent and uninterested in the conflicts of the galaxy, the Bendu refused to help the Rebels when Thrawn and his forces invaded Atollan. Instead, he was furious with them, particularly Kanan, for bringing war to his world. Infuriated by Kanan calling him a coward, the Bendu retaliated by using his power to bring a storm of destruction upon the two warring factions, intending to destroy them all or at least drive them away from his world.
Bendu felt at peace living on Atollon and was angered when the rebels unintentionally lured the Empire to his planet. He was insulted when Kanan pleaded for him to break his neutrality and fight the Empire. Bendu was ambivalent to the galaxy's problems. He was enraged when Kanan called him a coward, causing him to take the form of a storm and attack the rebels and Imperials alike. Despite his patience, wisdom and powers, Bendu entered into a rage when Kanan accused him of cowardice for not wanting to help the rebels during the Battle of Atollon, showing a degree of pride and a desire for respect. Still, Bendu was not intimidated by Thrawn and predicted the Grand Admiral's defeat.
Powers and Abilities
The Bendu was a powerful and wise force-wielder, demonstrating psychic and empathic senses to perceive the emotions and minds of others through the Force across Atollon, which is how he sensed Kanan and knew to call out to him telepathically. He also could levitate the Sith holocron with hand gestures in order to examine it, and was able to open it.
Bendu was an immensely powerful being who had the power to appear and disappear at will. He also commanded immense power, such as the ability to use the Force to summon a lightning storm and project his own image on the clouds. Despite this, his physical form remained vulnerable, as Imperial forces were able to halt his attack by concentrating their fire on the center of the storm where he hid.
It is possible, if not likely, that the Bendu possessed the power of Teleportation, which could explain how he could suddenly appear or disappear, seen multiple times, especially in how he escaped Thrawn's attempt on his life mere moments where he warned the Chiss that he had foreseen Thrawn's ultimate downfall, indicating he could foresee the future.
Aside from his great knowledge of the Force, his physiology allowed him to apparently hibernate on Atollon for an unknown length of time. Also his size made him greatly strong, enough to pick up and crush a sensor marker with his fingers alone.
- "The Mystery of Chopper Base" (Cut from production)
- Star Wars Rebels: Steps Into Shadow (First appearance)
- "The Holocrons of Fate"
- "Visions and Voices"
- "Trials of the Darksaber"
- "Zero Hour"
- He is voiced by Tom Baker.
- The Bendu was originally going to be explored in "The Mystery of Chopper Base".
- The Bendu gets its name from the original name concept for the Jedi; referred to in the original script as "Jedi Bendu".