Star Wars may be set in a galaxy far, far away, but for the most part, the aliens are all humanoid. Even Jabba, more slug than man, has distinctive eyes, a mouth, and arms, but there’s one villain in the universe that no one can agree what they even looked like. Waru, the antagonist in the Extended Universe 1994 novel The Crystal Star, is the closest Star Wars has come to an indescribable eldritch horror straight from the works of H.P. Lovecraft.
Created by author Vonda N. McIntyre, The Crystal Star is widely regarded by many fans as the worst Star Wars novel of all time. That’s doing a disservice to the work of McIntyre, a Nebula and Hugo-award-winning writer who took a big risk with the novel and did something very different with the Star Wars galaxy. On Goodreads, it sits at 3.09 stars from readers, which is just below average.
Who Is Waru?
It is described as a blob of raw, permeable tissue surrounded by golden plates, acting as a type of armor, with enough room inside that fully grown humans could “swim” through its essence. Extragalactic beings can be found throughout Star Wars lore, but Waru is one of the only trans-dimensional beings, stranded outside of its home reality and trying to consume powerful Force users to return home. The strange crystal star Crseih, combined with Dark Side acolytes dabbling with forces beyond their keen, is apparently what pulled Waru out of its dimension.
Recruiting an Imperial Procurator of Justice, Hethrir, trained by Darth Vader in the ways of the Force, Waru set up a beneficial relationship: sacrifices would be offered to the trans-dimensional being, with those that had no Force-sensitivity consumed by the monster, while those that passed, would be recruited into the “Empire Reborn.” Waru’s strange abilities could heal all manner of alien beings, which resulted in a cult forming around the being that worshipped it, but the cultists were unaware that the being from beyond would sometimes consume the life essence of those seeking healing in order to sustain itself.
Luke Skywalker And Waru
While searching for new students to train, Luke, Han, and C-3PO met up with Xavarri, a former ally of Han’s, investigating Waru. Crseih Station had been converted to include a massive altar to Waru, filled with his devotees, but despite witnessing the strange being healing multiple aliens, Han remained convinced it was a con. Luke, however, was transfixed, suffering from the strange radiation of the crystal star cutting off his ties to the Force. Waru is the bug light, and Skywalker is the moth.
Waru, over the next few days, tried to tempt Luke into being “healed” as part of a ploy so that the extra-dimensional being could consume the Jedi Knight. At the same time, Hethrir abducts the children of Han and Leia, and while Leia rescues the twins, Jaina and Jacen, Anakin, their youngest and most powerful (none of whom exist in the post-Disney Star Wars universe), is taken as a sacrifice to Waru.
Of course, that doesn’t work with Luke, Leia, and Han entering Waru’s body, while the strange being uses hypnotic control to try and convince all three to stay inside the swirling, golden, nearly undescribable whirlpool at his center to be consumed. That fails, and now with no more cult, or powerful Jedi to go home, Waru dramatically expands, consumes Hethrir, and disappears into a void of time and space.
Why Fans Hated The Crystal Star
Star Wars fans can agree on very few things, but a burning hatred for The Crystal Star can unite fans who think the prequel trilogy was really good, and those who think Rey is an amazing character. Waru, again, an extra-dimensional being that eats the Force, is described as being too weird for the Star Wars universe, and McIntyre’s poor descriptions, done intentionally in a “can’t define a being this strange” type of way, make the book’s climax barely comprehensible.
In addition, all of the main Star Wars characters act wildly out of character, with Leia proudly proclaiming at one point, “being a pilot is better than being a Jedi.” Luke is no longer acting like a Jedi Master, and instead is, well, if you’ve seen any Doctor Who episode with Rose trapped behind a door, that’s essentially Luke during the story of The Crystal Star. While we love to look back at the Expanded Universe before Disney wiped all of it from continuity, for every great idea, like Grand Admiral Thrawn or Mara Jade, there was a Waru or a Jedi Hutt.