So, Darth Bane has crept his way into canon and, whilst there is no denying that he is completely awesome and deserves a place in the Star Wars universe, if I had to choose, I would pick his apprentice Darth Zannah to be canonized. Here's why...
Zannah – nee Rain – completely and utterly blew me away when I came across her in the Darth Bane trilogy. She crops up in Path of Destruction by Drew Karpyshyn, as a young girl on the war torn planet of Ruusan. She comes to Darth Bane's attention when, grief stricken by the death of her beloved Bouncer, Laa, at the hands of the Jedi, she strikes them down in a fit of murderous rage. Thus, she is snapped up by Bane and becomes his apprentice, leaving behind her childhood name of Rain and becoming the indomitable Darth Zannah.
Now, I do confess to being a slight Sith sympathizer and generally lean slightly towards to darker side of the Force, so I was always going to be drawn to Zannah as a character. Of course, I can't not talk about Zannah without mentioning the fact that she is a girl. Not only is she a completely badass girl, whose twisted and evil capabilities rival even those
of her master, she is also a girl who is arguably one of the leading characters in Rule of Two, and the main antagonist in Dynasty of Evil.
One of the things I particularly loved about Zannah was that, although she is a girl, she is almost accidentally a girl. What I mean by that is that she could easily have been written as a male character and nothing in her story would change at all, but instead, she is female. Her woman-ness doesn’t define her as a character; she just happens to be a girl and that is that. Bane picks her because of her awesome affinity for the Force and her white hot rage which ultimately leads her to fully embrace the dark side.
Where characters like Darth Talon and Aayla Secura (even Asajj Ventress to an extent) are uncomfortably female – if you’ve seen any fan art you’ll know what I mean – Zannah is a girl, mentioned in the dramatis personae as a human female and that’s pretty much the last you hear of it. She is an accomplished Sith, a capable assassin and a brilliant apprentice for Bane. She grows from the timid and reluctant child on Rusaan to a cold and calculating Sith master. She wields a unique double-bladed lightsaber, used to compliment her smaller frame. I love that she uses her opponent’s own strength against them, defending with her twin saber until she spots the perfect gap or weakness and then strikes without hesitation.
This is something I have always loved about the Force. It's an equaliser. A girl like Zannah can go toe to Djem So with the awesome and overwhelming power of Bane because the Force makes them equal. Physically, Darth Bane is far more brutally powerful than Darth Zannah. She needs to rely on all her cunning and mystic powers of the Sith magic to help her. As Zannah herself says, "Evil is a word used by the ignorant and the weak. The dark side is about survival. It’s about unleashing your inner power. It glorifies the strength of the individual". Bane and Zannah's ultimate battle was breathtaking, epic and yet by far the most subtle and complex Force duel I have ever come across.
We need more female characters like Darth Zannah in the Star Wars canon. Women who are complex and compelling in their own right. But also women who just happen to be women – it’s not their defining characteristic. We are getting there with the likes of Rey, Jyn and Ahsoka -but now surely it’s the baddies turn?! Ventress is getting lonely!
To paraphrase Zannah - this is the way of Star Wars. Legends may rise and fall, what is canon comes and goes, "...but the Sith are eternal..." And to me, Darth Zannah will always be eternal. <3
(Note: Can we please just take a minute to appreciate how ahh-maz-ing this picture of Darth Zannah is??! It's done by an artist called Eli Hyder whom I adore and I think it's hands down the best picture of Zannah that I have ever seen, he's just captured her so well! Go check him out, he does fantastic Star Wars art that you can drool over, you can find him on Instgram @venamis or on Twitter @venamisart)