Character Spotlight: Kir Kanos
My analysis on Kir Kanos will be taken from Crimson Empire 1-3 by Dark Horse Comics, The Bounty Hunters: Kenix Kill by Dark Horse Comics and the Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia.
Kir Kanos began his career in the Imperial armed forces and he earned sufficient honors to enroll in Royal Guard training on Yinchorr.
As a graduation exercise, Kanos and his training partner Lemmet Tauk stood before Emperor Palpatine and battled each other to the death. Kanos was successful and as he stood over his partner’s broken body, trying to apologize for his ultimate betrayal, Darth Vader, who was watching informed Kanos that he should never regret a command from the Emperor. Darth Vader attacked and defeated Kanos. This attack left him with a jagged facial scar, which served as a reminder of his place in the Emperor’s hierarchy. Vader would warn Kanos that compared to the dark side of the Force, he would always be weak.
Kanos was a cold and brutal individual. He was known to kill without mercy and felt little guilt about this—if any at all. Kanos had developed these characteristics through a brutal upbringing filled with harsh lessons and images of death from the very start of his career in the Empire
When Palpatine died during the Battle of Endor, Kanos and most of his fellow guards continued serving the Empire. Kanos felt a unique sense of connection with Palpatine, and his one visit to the Academy at the same time as Kanos's training resulted in the Emperor of the galaxy briefly meeting eyes with Kanos. Due to this, Kanos looked up to the Emperor as a father and was driven by revenge following his death. They knew that Palpatine’s power was great and their faith in him was rewarded when the cloned Emperor emerged. However, the Sith Lord would die his final death on Onderon.As the surviving Royal Guards gathered on Yinchorr to mourn, one of their brethren arrived with shocking news. Palpatine had died, in part, because of damaged clones arranged by fellow guardsman Carnor Jax. In the next moment, Jax’s stormtroopers burst in and murdered everyone in the room. Kanos was the only survivor.
Kanos thought that if he could no longer serve Palpatine, he would take vengeance on the cloned Emperor’s killer. Carnor Jax, having become leader of the Imperial Interim Ruling Council, put everything he could into finding and eliminating the seemingly unstoppable guardsman. After a class on Phaeda, where Karnos met New Republic operative Mirith Sinn, Jax and Kanos faced off in their old training arena on Yincorr. Kanos was able to win the duel, and by doing so became the last Royal Guard.
Kanos then set his sights on the Imperial usurpers of the Interim Rueling Council. On Baramorra he established a bounty hunter alias, “Kenix Kil,” an anagram of his name in guard battle language.
Kanos abandoned his plans though, when Mirith Sinn was captured by Grappa the Hutt. He dropped everything to rescue Mirith from the savage Zanibar aliens on Xo. Mirith Sinn got closer to Kanos than anyone had in years, but he resumed his mission and executed “Emperor” Xandel Carivus. Under his Kenix Kil alias, Kanos continued his grim work.
The ersatz “Royal Guards” promoted by Admiral Daala and the clone guardsman Major Tierce enraged Kanos. He would work behind the scenes to undermine and eliminate such pretenders, including the false guards who ruled the Second Imperium’s Shadow Academy.
While voyaging across the jungle of Xo with Mirith Sinn, Kanos began to have his first traitorous thoughts, and his faith in the Empire was wavered when Sinn confronted him with what she believed to be undeniable proof of their evil and cruel ways. Sinn had a legitimate effect on Kanos, and he seemed to entertain leaving his quest to avenge the Emperor to be with Sinn. However, his devotion to the Emperor was too great, and he eventually parted with her.