Throughout the franchise of Star Wars, Darth Vader has had a reputation for being severe and insensitive. Often, he even uses the Force to dominate those around him, eventually suffocating Imperial officers with the Force from time to time. He despises many of the officers he serves as cowardly and disloyal, among other things.
For this reason, he has not established good relations with most, much less has gotten along with them. There is an exception to this and his name is Erv Lekauf. Many may not know that this character exists or his closeness and adventures with the Sith Lord Darth Vader.
10 Imperial Lieutenant who served as Darth Vader’s personal aide
Erv Lekauf was originally created by Karen Traviss and named after Ryan Kaufman. He first appeared in the Traviss short story, In His Image, which featured him as Darth Vader’s personal assistant. More specifically, he was an Imperial Lieutenant who served under Vader during the early years of the Galactic Empire’s reign.
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He became someone Vader held dear, as he distinguished himself from the rest by his loyalty. Erv also earned Darth Vader’s trust, something very few could boast of.
9 only friend in the empire
It was no secret that Darth Vader didn’t like many of the Imperial officers he had to work with. As a result, he did not make or have many friends among the officers and stormtroopers with whom he worked. That is precisely what makes Erv Lekauf so special relative to most other Imperial lieutenants and those who served under the Galactic Empire in general.
Darth Vader had a bad concept of most of those around him, so it was very rare for him to trust and even establish a close relationship with Erv. It can even be said that Erv was Vader’s only friend in the Empire, as most of the other relationships he had were strictly professional.
8 Respected as a family man
Lekauf was also a married man, with a wife and son, and his family resided on Coruscant. He even had a reputation for being a well-loved family man and this only reinforced Darth Vader’s already positive impression of him. Vader came to consider him not only loyal and a great personal assistant, but also an honorable man. Despite having such a distant family, he remained loyal to Darth Vader and served him exceptionally well. Furthermore, Erv Lekauf had as much respect and admiration for Vader as he did for Erv.
7 Erv Lekauf helped fight the killers
In 19 BBY (before the Battle of Yavin), Erv Lekauf went with Darth Vader on a mission to Vohai, where he really proved himself in Vader’s eyes. While there, they were ambushed by assassins sent to kill them. Although Vader told Lekauf to hide, he disobeyed his orders and helped him repel the assassins.
Later, Darth Vader was attacked by an Emperor’s Hand sent to test him, Sa Cuis and Lekauf tried to help once more but were stopped by Vader. Despite technically disobeying his orders, Darth Vader was in awe of how Lekauf demonstrated true loyalty by fighting at his side against unfavorable odds.
6 Vader recommended that he be cloned
It was this event and the mission to Vohai that really cemented how different Erv Lekauf was from the other Imperial officers for Vader. As a result of this mission, Vader recommended that Lekauf be cloned into a secret new Imperial project using new DNA templates. This complimented Erv, who went on to oversee the creation of the clones.
They were created in less than a year, and in the process, Lekauf got to know Emperor Palpatine himself. Lekauf taught six of his clones the art of sword fighting and later faced the Force-sensitive clones of Sa Cuis who were trained by the Emperor’s Hand, Sheyvan.
5 Lekauf assisted Darth Vader in his hunt for the fugitive Jedi Drake Lo’gaan
In 18 BBY, Erv assisted his master in a less direct way, researching the records of the Clone Wars to gather more information on the success of the infamous Order 66. This order caused the clone troops to turn against the Jedi, effectively reducing the Jedi population to near extinction at that time.
Upon further investigation, he discovered that the 327th Star Corps of Felucia had to kill two Jedi to prevent them from allegedly poisoning the planet’s water. He then located two clone troopers who served on Felucia and who joined Darth Vader on his mission to find and capture the fugitive Jedi Drake Lo’gaan. Lo’gaan was reportedly on the planet during the Battle of Felucia and had eluded Vader’s grasp for some time.
4 Sheyvan and the clones attacked on the shuttle
When Emperor Palpatine decided that the clones’ training was over, the Emperor headed to Coruscant with Vader, Sheyvan, the clones, and Lekauf. While en route to Coruscant in the Lambda-class shuttle, Sheyvan and the Sa Cuis clones attacked Lekauf and company.
Sheyvan viewed Emperor Palpatine as a traitor and used his clones to take control of the ship, attempting to convince Darth Vader to join him in the process. Equipped with flamethrowers, Lekauf and his companions fought back alongside Vader.
3 Erv suffered severe burns
It was during this confrontation that Erv suffered serious injuries. The Force-sensitive clones reflected the fire at Darth Vader and Lekauf leapt in front of him to save him. In the process, he received the full weight of the flames and suffered severe burns. Filled with rage, Vader finished off Sheyvan and the Sa Cuis clones.
He even used the force to comfort Lekauf and keep him alive, aided by the bacta patches recovered by the pilot. This is also significant because it is the only time he has used force in that way for someone.
2 After healing he retired
After landing, Lekauf underwent several weeks of bacta tank treatments to fully heal his burns. This incident also struck a chord with Darth Vader, as it reminded him of his own burns suffered after his fight with Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Erv survived, making a full recovery, and went on to officially retire afterwards. This was also largely to take care of her grandson, Jori Lekauf. He helped raise Jori and told many stories about his adventures with Darth Vader before passing away in 40 BBY.
1 His grandchildren served together
The legacy of the relationship between Darth Vader and Erv Lekauf lives on in their grandchildren. Jori Lekauf and Darth Vader’s grandsons, Jedi Knights Jacen Solo and Ben Skywalker, served together in the Galactic Alliance Guard. Jori would even become a corporal of the Guard as well.
He told Skywalker and Solo how much his grandfather talked about Darth Vader and how much he liked and respected him. It is also revealed at this point that Erv Lekauf had a greater involvement in raising Jori than his own parents and that Jori admired him more for it.