Does this Jedi Knight who made the most of one appearance in The Clone Wars, but had a whole history in legends, have a future in the Star Wars universe?
The story of how Quinlan Vos even became a thing in the Star Wars universe has become interesting in itself. The likeness of the character is tied to an extra from The Phantom Menace. And, when a comic writer and artist were working on the character for an issue run, they stumbled across the extra in Episode I (never underestimate the importance of great character design!) and Quinlan Vos was born. Vos’s first appearance would be in Star Wars issue #17 in 2000 and his adventures as a Jedi Knight (including with his Padawan Aayla Secura) would be mostly in the comics. Perhaps it was his fleshed-out story and popularity in the now legends comics that his fate in the films was left open.
Vos did appear twice in The Clone Wars series. His first appearance was during season three in 2010 in the episode “Hunt for Ziro” where he worked with Obi-Wan Kenobi to track down Ziro the Hutt and ended up in a fight with Cad Bane. The episode did establish the basics of Vos’s character: he was a free-spirited Jedi, whom Obi-Wan didn’t seem to care for, and had the unique force ability of psychometry (sensing the history of an object by touching it). Since this was the first time this power was used in canon and, through a Jedi who bared the likeness of Indigenous Americans, it does walk up to the line of a stereotype; however, the ability has since been further developed and used in Jedi: Fallen Order by the hero player Cal Kestis and is an ability of Karr Nuq Sin in the young adult novel, The Force Collector. Vos did make a non-speaking appearance in the 2014 Yoda-focused “Destiny” as one of the many Jedi Yoda sees at the Jedi temple in his vision, but it was a blink-and-miss cameo. For a long time, it felt like canon Quinlan Vos was going to be more of an easter egg for legends fans than a meaningful character.
However, it was when Katie Lucas’s unproduced episodes for The Clone Wars revolving around Asajj Ventress was turned into a novel that canon Vos elevated within the fandom. And, while Quinlan Vos is a central character of Dark Disciple, the novel is about Asajj Ventress completely letting go of her hate for Dooku and finding peace. Vos is a device to get her to that point, though he does go through a mini-arc of his own. It would be nice to see where this experience from Dark Disciple influenced his actions in the waning years of the Old Republic.
Lucasfilm has also not given confirmation of his survival of Order 66 and the most recent state of Vos is wrapped up in a Twitter response by Matt Martin, a member of the Lucasfilm Story Group:
This is the most official statement on the fate of Quinlan Vos though still non-committal. But Vos is named checked as a possible survivor in Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith #17 by Jedi Master Farren Barr along with known survivors Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda so it is very “likely.”
While the growing list of surviving Jedi of Order 66 in canon is somewhat eye-rolling, it makes perfect sense that, if Vos did survive the initial purge, he would be the one most likely to avoid Darth Vader and the Inquisitors given that his specialty during his time as a Jedi was assuming new identities. He would have more contacts and knowledge of the galaxy and thus could disappear into a new life. So, the question is not so much “what” happened to Quinlan Vos but “where” could he show up next:
Least Likely: Jedi Fallen Order 2 or any Star Wars game
While he could be referenced in a game, his appearance as an NPC or even playable character in a storyline relevant to canon does not seem likely. Fallen Order did have former Jedi that Cal faced off against as bosses but the survival rate of those characters was 0 for 2. When Dathomir was first listed as a destination in the game, I thought that Vos might show up there given his connection to Ventress and his dark side past (that spot ended up being occupied by Taron Malicos as a boss fight). And since Cal Kestis also has psychometry, I doubt they would want to put two characters with the same unique force ability in the same game, no matter what the capacity. Since it looks like Star Wars gaming will be tied to battle games, open worlds, and Fallen Order 2 for the near future, Vos is not likely to make his return in this medium.
Somewhat Likely: The Bad Batch
I know I also put this as a possibility for my Barriss Offee post but because there is little known about the plot of The Bad Batch, only the timeline, any survivors of Order 66 are on the table to make an appearance. A Jedi encounter during the series seems inevitable, especially if it is more than one season (which I am leaning towards because it is being marketed as an “original series” and not a “limited series”). Given Quinlan Vos’s personality and the types of missions he was sent on during The Clone Wars, it would not be surprising if his path already had crossed with members of the team. The main focus of the series will be character development for the Bad Batch as they navigate their new reality post-Clone Wars but a run-in with a Jedi would be a great catalyst for soul searching during their journey.
More Likely: Obi-Wan Kenobi
As casting news starts being released for Obi-Wan, keep an eye out for an actor of Quinlan Vos’s likeness. There is even less news about the plot of this show but, unlike The Bad Batch, this has been confirmed as a limited series. The entirety of the series may ground Kenobi on Tatooine; however, with the casting of Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader, the show will either include flashbacks or part of it will take place from different POVs. My bet is on the former as the show is set ten years after Revenge of the Sith so Obi-Wan will have been established on Tatooine, watching over Luke with a lot of time to think about his life as a Jedi and the tragic fall of both, the Jedi Order and Anakin Skywalker. It is possible that memories of Quinlan Vos, particularly during the events of Dark Disciple, could come up. Kenobi and Vos had a complicated relationship as Obi-Wan did not necessarily agree with Quinlan’s tact as a Jedi but ultimately was there for him during one of his darkest moments (the loss of Asajj Ventress). This is especially poignant because it was after Kenobi suffered the loss of his love Duchess Satine at the hands of Darth Maul, something which is also kept secret from the rest of the Jedi Council. Then again, the focus of this series will be on Obi-Wan and Anakin so how much time would they have to devote to anything outside of the relationship of those two? Vos could also just show up at Kenobi’s adobe one day during an episode, having been looking for survivors of Order 66. I would also be ok with that.
Also, given that the last canon appearance of Vos is in a novel, some of those events can be retconned to fit whatever medium he might show up in next, similar to how Ahsoka’s battle with Darth Maul was different on screen in The Clone Wars final season in 2020 than it was portrayed in her novel in 2016. Despite saying “it all counts” for Star Wars canon, some canon matters more and Lucasfilm isn’t going to tie characters down to events that happened in novels if a great story idea comes across their desk. The Lucasfilm Story Group is there to protect major continuity errors but, if the right story idea presents an opportunity for a live-action Quinlan Vos (or an animated one) to return, I doubt fans of the character will complain.
One last thing: something that rarely comes up in discussions of Vos and possible whereabouts is that, despite appearances, he is not human. His species, Kiffar, is labeled near-human except for a few notable differences like blood color and facial tattoos. But the Kiffar species is underdeveloped in both canon and legends and the average lifespan of the Kiffar is not clarified (Quinlan Vos remains the sole representative of the species in canon). Therefore, who’s to say that Vos couldn’t show up in content that runs parallel to the Sequel trilogy or even further into the future? But I supposed that is the other side of the coin when you are waiting for an answer…you just end up creating more questions.