Nomi Sunrider – Fiction’s Fearless Females

By Jeffrey Cagle of The Imperial Talker

Seeking a refuge for healing and peaceful contemplation, Jedi Knight Nomi Sunrider returns to the planet Ambria and the dwelling of Master Thon, her former Jedi Master. Traveling with Sunrider is her beloved 4-year-old daughter Vima and fellow Jedi Knight Sylvar who, like Nomi, seeks the peace and wisdom which Master Thon can offer. The joyful reunion with Master Thon is brief, however, disrupted by the sudden ambush of reptilian creatures swelling with the Dark Side of the Force and controlled by Sith assassins. Commanded to destroy Master Thon and his company, the Sith-controlled creatures surround the Jedi and launch their assault.

FFF 2021 6

Photo Credit – Dark Horse Comics

Found in the fourth issue of Tales of the Jedi: The Sith War, a Dark Horse Comics series published in the 1990s which details stories of the Jedi living thousands of years prior to A New Hope, the vicious attack by these dark side creatures was emblazoned in my mind as a ten-year-old Star Wars fan, the deadly battle masterfully captured in a single image. The muscular reptiles tower above the Jedi , mouths baring sharp teeth and yellow eyes manifesting the evil driving them. In the background, Oss Willum – a Jedi being mind-controlled by a nefarious Sith spirit – commands the attack from high ground while his accomplice Crado, an acolyte of Sith Lord Exar Kun, stands closer to the fray. At the edge of the battle the Jedi Sylvar slashes at a creature with her yellow lightsaber while closer to the center Master Thon grabs one of the reptiles by the neck, pushing it away with his own muscular arm.

It is Nomi Sunrider who truly stands out, though; she is the reason this image is so unforgettable. Resolve and grit etched on her face as she braces for an attack, Sunrider holds her right arm in front of her, lightsaber in a guard position, the blue blade extending across her body horizontally. In her left arm Nomi clutches her daughter Vima, the child clinging to her mother in fear of the reptilian attackers.

Today, the power on display in this image, what it conveys about Nomi Sunrider, is apparent to me in a way I could not fully appreciate as a young Star Wars fan. Back then, I was enamored by the battle itself, the action being my focus above and beyond any subtle metaphors a picture meant to convey. Yet, this image of Sunrider stuck with me, it captured my imagination in a way other moments in Star Wars comic books did not. Why that is I cannot say. The simple fact is that the image never left my memory, and as a result, I have always had a fondness for Nomi Sunrider. For that I am incredibly grateful because when my interest in Star Wars shifted away from the “Wars” as I got older, when I began to experience the deeper layers of characters and events, my understanding and appreciation for Nomi Sunrider fundamentally shifted.

Sunrider’s story in Tales of the Jedi is rich and complex, with moments of incredible joy and devastating heartache. Through it all one thing remains a constant: her love for Vima. As a young Star Wars fan I could not fully appreciate the power in this image, or Sunrider’s story more fully, because at that time I could only see Nomi Sunrider as a Jedi Knight. I was obsessed with the Jedi, trapped in the belief, like Luke Skywalker, that the Jedi were great because they were warriors. In a sense, the glow of Sunrider’s lightsaber in the image blinded me to the deeper and far more important meaning being conveyed. I could not see back then as I do now that that the brave determination embedded on Nomi Sunrider’s face and reflected in her defensive stance is not that of a Jedi alone. No, it is more significantly that of a mother protecting her frightened young child.

Nomi Sunrider is the very best of the Jedi Order in Tales of the Jedi, a living symbol of Light Side of the Force which the Order serves. But her devotion to the Light Side cannot and must never be disconnected from her devotion to her daughter. Nomi Sunrider’s fearless love for the Light Side of the Force is fundamentally grounded in her motherhood, in the unconditional love she has for Vima. And that is exactly what is reflected in this singular image.

Fiction’s Fearless Females is in it’s third year!  Yay!  The series runs for the month of March and along with myself feature posts by Nancy and Kathleen of Graphic Novelty2, Kalie of Just Dread-full, Mike of My Comic Relief, and Green Onion of Green Onion Revival Project.  Be sure to follow each of these blogs and to check out all of the Fearless Females in the series. Just follow these links:

Kara Zor-El (Supergirl)

Martha Jones

Lieutenant Nyota Uhura

Lisa Simpson

Norma Bates

5 thoughts on “Nomi Sunrider – Fiction’s Fearless Females

  1. Nomi Sunrider is clearly a very fearless female! I love your insight into Nomi’s connection to the Light Side of the Force –

    “But her devotion to the Light Side cannot and must never be disconnected from her devotion to her daughter. Nomi Sunrider’s fearless love for the Light Side of the Force is fundamentally grounded in her motherhood, in the unconditional love she has for Vima.”

    This feels so right to me!

    PS: I hope you don’t mind me sharing this, but this issue is something I found very difficult in Christianity.

    Matthew 10:37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

    I tried for years to reconcile this, tried to force myself to accept it and felt guilty and unworthy when I found that exceptionally hard. It’s one of the many things in Christianity which eventually broke my faith.

    It’s OK now. I found more natural, Taoist and liberal Quaker ways of living which feel kinder and wiser to me and I’m content with that. But it shocks me that Star Wars legends feels more right to me that the Bible.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate your sharing; thank you! That passage was always difficult for me, too – especially when you put it with the whole “I’ve not come to bring peace but the sword” passage that precedes it in 10:34-36. For what it’s worth, I’ve come to not take those verses in the harsh, tone they seem to present literally.

      My studies of the Historical Jesus have given me a different context/frame for these verses. I’ve learned to see them as part of Jesus’ larger discussion of the Kingdom of God. As he’s preaching this radically transformed society, he’s saying it will naturally divide people as not everyone’s ready to give up the worldly ways and live the Kingdom. So it’s not that Jesus is literally bringing a sword and setting families against each other in his name but rather following Jesus may divide families…and if that happens you should trust in your heart. If it pulls you towards the Kingdom, you’re ready to live that life. If it doesn’t, then you’re not – and that’s ok, too!

      Many scholars will say those verses most likely don’t go back the Historical Jesus himself, either. Rather they are additions from the developing tradition which was looking for ways to tell people converting to Christianity and following Jesus’ way (even when Rome would kill you for doing so) was worth it. One of the things we see consistently in our understanding of the Historical Jesus is that everyone who came to him was worthy. He gave worth back to people as opposed to testing and judging them on it. But, for better or worse, as religious traditions develop judgment often creeps in so the church that rose up around Jesus’ teachings didn’t (and doesn’t) always keep to what he said/modelled/did.

      Sorry if that was too much! I sort of went into theology nerd zone and just kept going :). But, regardless of your experience with those verses, I’m happy you found a more grace-filled path in Taoist and liberal Quaker teachings! Really, at the end of the day, that’s what’s most important – that we can find a path that lets us feel how loved we are and helps us to love others as well. That’s the goal, really. And if Star Wars helps us get there, too, well that’s part of why we love Star Wars!


      1. Thank you so much for your reply! The theology nerd zone is an awesome place!

        It’s really interesting to hear your take on the Historical Jesus. The Baptist’s I belonged to before had no concept like that at all – they followed the Bible in a very literal way with no ground given to how the early church might develop the Gospels. What you say makes sense in terms of how texts are changed as they are used and how the heart of the things HJ said about how people were accepting and kind.

        Thanks again – I realy appreciate your wisdom!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m glad it was helpful/interesting! I know for myself, that Historical-Metaphorical approach to scripture is essential for me to connect to it, And I love talking about this stuff! So I’m always up for a theology nerd out!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s