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The Legacy of Revan

In anticipation of the release of the Revan novel, I wanted to discuss my favorite character in all of Star Wars, Revan.  Similar to Anakin, Revan starts as a hero of the Republic, then becomes a conquering Sith, and finally redeems himself as the savior of the galaxy. This coupled with his fundamental mysteriousness makes him an interesting topic for discussion.


Who I am is not important—my message is.



First off I would like to say that this article does have some spoilers, but I agree with JJ’s rationale that you cannot give spoilers to a game that is eight years old at the time of this article’s writing.  Also I have included links to several YouTube videos that show the conversations that are unlocked in the KOTOR and KOTOR 2 games.  If you were like me and played KOTOR until the disc burned up, you probably already know these dialogues, but I decided to include them as a way to refresh our memories.  Some of the conversations in KOTOR 2 I had to look up because I could never seem to get sufficient influence with my companions to get them to do anything but tell me to go away.  Thank the Force, BioWare Austin developers are giving me a way to farm affection in SWTOR.


I would find it difficult to believe that anyone who is reading this, or following SWTOR for that matter, would not know the story of Revan, either from the KOTOR games or BioWare’s Old Republic Timeline on the Jedi Civil War.  For the sake of completeness, I will quickly recount the facts that have been made canon for Revan.  Revan was a Jedi who disobeyed the Jedi Council by going off to fight the Mandalorians who were burning and pillaging planets on the Outer Rim like some sort of galactic Vikings.  After defeating them, Revan and his friend Malak pursued what was left of their forces, where they stumbled upon the Sith Empire that makes its appearance in SWTOR.  Revan and Malak came back into Republic space as conquerors.  Taking up the Darth title, both of them proclaimed themselves to be Sith Lords.  Malak betrayed Revan at one point and fired on Revan’s flagship.  After almost dying, Revan was captured and reprogrammed with a new identity by the Jedi.  Revan was redeemed back into a Jedi and saved the galaxy from Malak’s Sith Empire, and forestalled the real Sith Empire’s invasion by several hundred years.  Revan left Republic space after Malak’s defeat, and at this writing it is unknown what happened to him.  Apart from finding out who the Sith Emperor is after all this time, the Revan novel is going to tell us Revan’s final fate.


That is basically the plot of Knights of the Old Republic.  There are two other sources I wish to use in this discussion.  The first of which is Knights of the Old Republic 2:  The Sith Lords.  While the story of this game does not involve Revan directly, they cannot help but reference him several times during the game.  The plot of the game centers on the Jedi Exile, a Jedi who joined the Revanchist movement (we will get to this in a moment) and who fought in the Mandalorian Wars.  The Exile is targeted by three separate Sith Lords: Darth Sion, Darth Nihilus and Darth Traya.  These Sith Lords rose to fill the power vacuum left by the fall of Malak.  The Exile defeated all three Sith Lords and then left the Republic to chase after Revan.


The second source I wish to talk about is the fascinating comic book series, Knights of the Old Republic, that I highly recommend to anyone interested in this time period of Star Wars.  The comics take place during the Mandalorian Wars and focus mostly on the adventures of a Jedi Padawan, Zayne Carrick.  While Revan does not meet Zayne during the story, he is depicted in the comic several times in flashbacks.  In this comic, Revan starts a subdivision within the Jedi Order called the Revanchist movement.  This movement basically believed that the Jedi had to fight in order to serve the Republic.  One of my favorite exchanges in KOTOR 2 is when Atrius is lecturing the Jedi Exile on the Jedi’s role within the Republic, and the Exile fires back, “The Jedi served no one through inaction.”  At any rate in this comic we meet a bald Jedi Knight named Alek who is in Revan’s movement.  Alek takes the name of Malak later.  If you are interested in reading this comic you can find them on Amazon; this is the first volume.  Make sure you do not get the volume about Nomi Sunrider and the Qel-Droma brothers.  This second comic book was a compilation of earlier Tales of the Jedi comics which got titled “Knights of the Old Republic.”  I was confused by this when I was looking for Zayne’s comics and I wanted to clarify this for my TOROCast friends.


So just to get our canon straight here, Revan is a human male who redeems himself after losing his memory, despite the fact that the game allowed us to play females and to succumb to the dark side.  I was really disappointed when I found this out.  I was really pulling for Revan to be female.  Not because I have a fixation on playing female toons, but I really wanted there to be a powerful female Force-user in the Star Wars universe.  I know there are several running around, but there are not many iconic Force-wielding ladies out there.  Nomi Sunrider is the only one that comes to mind, but there are a multitude of them who are male.  It just seems a little stacked gender-wise on the side of male Force-users.  The Jedi Exile has been confirmed in the lore to be a human female and that she also ended her story as a light side Jedi.


That in essence is about all we truly know of Revan’s story.  Several months to a year after KOTOR 2 was released I was reading a fascinating thread on the official Star Wars website.  The thread was titled simply, “Darth Revan.”  The first post was, “What do you guys think of Darth Revan?”  I am paraphrasing, of course, but when you use the words “what do you guys think” on the Internet that translates to “the floodgates are now open.”  When I was preparing to write this article, I searched for this old thread, but could not find it anywhere.  I can only assume that the official Star Wars site took it down during some housekeeping of their forums.  I started reading this thread and by page thirty-something I think I was only about halfway through it.  I am not sure what their page limit was back then but I am pretty sure that the thread was up to fifty-something pages.  This was a thread that was simply speculating about Revan and his story.  I want to go into some of the points that the folks in this thread made.


Firstly, there was speculation about whether or not Revan truly fell to the dark side.  This video is the dialog with Kreia (one of the Jedi Exile’s companions in KOTOR 2) where she discusses this.  It is possible that Revan sacrificed his “light side points,” to save the galaxy.  Knowing now that Revan met the Sith Emperor while in deep space, perhaps he just paid lip service to the Emperor then returned to mobilize the galaxy to combat the true Sith threat.  In this video from KOTOR 2, Canderous (reborn as the new Mandalore) talks about what Revan told him before he left for the Unknown Regions.  Revan, much like Commander Shepard, was trying to mobilize an army to fight a war and wanted the Mandalorians to fight for him.  In this video of a scene that was cut from the final game, Canderous foreshadows the Great War that we are going to experience in SWTOR.  When Revan attacked planets during the Second Sith War (or the Jedi Civil War), he left key military and administrative infrastructure intact.  Contrast this with Malak, who destroyed whole planets—see Taris and Dantooine.  With the hindsight of knowing the Old Republic’s story, Malak was probably following the Sith Emperor’s orders, but it seems that Revan was not trying to crush the galaxy under his boot.  He was trying to unite it, and make it a strong place to defend against the Sith Emperor’s onslaught.  If this is the case then one has to wonder what Revan’s plans were after the true Sith were beaten back, if indeed he was thinking that far ahead.


The second point of speculation was the most intriguing to me personally.  It deals with the possibility that Revan and the Jedi Exile had a closer relationship than simply general to subordinate officer.  In the lore it has been canonized that Revan was male and the Exile was female, and that both were human.  The major point was that Revan gave the Exile the task of powering up the Mass Shadow Generator. Technically speaking, she in turn gave the responsibility to Bao-Dur, her tech specialist, but it was her responsibility to in essence destroy Malachor V.  This was a task he did not even ask Malak to complete.  That tells me that Revan thought he could at least trust her with ending the Mandalorian War, which is what activating the Mass Shadow Generator was supposed to do.  I find this to be a very interesting possibility: perhaps Revan and the Exile might have been close; I hesitate to use the word lovers because that might be taking this a bit far, but I would not discount this fact if it ever came to light.  I will say that if you go back and play KOTOR 2 with the preconception that the Exile was Revan’s lady during the Revanchist movement and later in the Mandalorian War, you will have a very interesting  experience when she talks about Revan’s teachings and actions during the War.  I realize that the Exile has no voice acting to portray her emotional state in the game, but one can almost detect a note of admiration in her words.


The last point is one that always seems to come up when discussing not only Revan but any powerful Sith.  Was Revan the Sithari?  Just so we are on the same page, the Sithari was an ancient Sith legend.  At some point in Star Wars history a perfect being will be born.  This being will be a powerful Sith who will destroy the Sith Order, but in destroying them he or she will lead them into a new golden age, similar to the ancient Sith Empire before the Hyperspace War.  In my opinion, there are three big contenders to the Sithari title: Revan, Bane and Vader.  Vader destroys the Sith Order of Bane’s Rule of Two which does lead 125 years later to Darth Krayt’s Sith Order who do rule the galaxy.  Bane destroys the Sith of his time and instates the Rule of Two, which does strengthen the Sith by eliminating the backstabbing so common in their history.  Even though Revan defeats Malak, thus ending his Sith Empire,  Bane gets the idea of the thought bomb, which he used to destroy the Jedi and Sith Orders on Ruusan, from Revan’s holocron.  Also at the time of this writing, we do not know what role Revan will play in The Old Republic.  It is more than possible that he is the key to victory over the Sith Emperor and his empire.  In this case, Revan might be the one that destroys the True Sith Empire.   On the Sithari Wookiepedia Page they also state that the Sithari was free of all restrictions.  I do not for the life of me remember that being said in KOTOR, but I could have missed it.  At any rate, Revan is the only one of the three that might meet this requirement.  If you recall from before when we talked about the conversation the Exile has with Kreia, in which she questions whether Revan ever fell to the dark side, she uses the idea that Revan made a sacrifice instead of falling, and thus did not succumb to the dark side.  I concluded my first article by concluding that to my knowledge there were no Force-users who could use the dark side without becoming a slave to it.  It seems as though Revan was the exception to this rule, but then again in my opinion he is an extraordinary character who is the exception to many rules.

Got some thoughts on Revan and his importance?  Let’s discuss it here.

Until next time may the force be with all of you.

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