The Star Wars galaxy just keeps expanding, and following an eventful week at Star Wars Celebration 2023, it appears that Disney and Lucasfilm are gearing up to revisit a beloved timeline within the iconic sci-fi franchise – The Old Republic era.
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The future of the “Galaxy Far, Far Away” is shining brightly as Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and the creative minds behind the franchise took the stage to unveil what’s next for Star Wars. The next few months are going to be jam-packed with Star Wars content that fans can enjoy from the comfort of their own homes. The Mandalorian Season 3 is still going strong, the video game continuation Jedi: Survivor is set to launch on consoles and PCs everywhere by the end of April, and the second volume of Star Wars: Visions is expected to hit Disney+ just in time for May the 4th. Beyond that, we’re eagerly anticipating the premiere of Ahsoka and the concluding season of The Bad Batch. However, the most significant news from this year’s Star Wars Celebration revolves around what’s in store for Star Wars movies.
Three feature films have been announced. First up is a film by filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, promising to continue Rey’s (Daisy Ridley) story from The Rise of Skywalker, delving into how Luke’s (Mark Hamill) successor rebuilds the Jedi Order. Next, Dave Filoni is working on a film that’s being dubbed the pinnacle of the “Mandoverse,” potentially bringing together characters from The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, Ahsoka, and more. Finally, and most intriguingly, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny director James Mangold is hard at work on a film that will explore the origins of the Jedi and the Force, possibly serving as the definitive beginning of the Star Wars saga as we know it.
However, the revelation of Mangold’s project brought even more exciting news – the cherished Old Republic era is now official canon and follows directly after the events of the film in the official timeline. This naturally raises the question – What exactly is the Old Republic era?
The Old Republic Originates from the World of Video Gaming
We owe the existence of the Old Republic era to the world of gaming, with the concept originally crafted by the renowned role-playing game developer, Bioware. Lucasfilm’s once-active gaming division, Lucasarts, teamed up with Bioware to brainstorm a fresh game concept, aiming to coincide with the release of Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. While the obvious route might have been to create a game set during the Clone Wars, it appears that Bioware saw a unique opportunity to do something truly exceptional and distinctive. Instead of following the crowd, they opted to build an entirely new segment of the Star Wars universe from the ground up.
‘Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic’ is a Prequel to the Prequels
And thus, the birth of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic unfolded, a tale set approximately four thousand years prior to the events of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace and, consequently, the rest of the prequel trilogy. As the title suggests, the Old Republic carves out its unique niche by dialing back the science fiction elements and amplifying the fantasy aspects of the Star Wars universe. While you’ll still encounter droids, lightsabers, blasters, spaceships, and all the other scientific marvels synonymous with Star Wars, there’s a heightened focus on the deep-seated mythology surrounding the Jedi and Sith.
This emphasis on mythology is likely a result of the Old Republic era boasting more Force-sensitive individuals than any other time in the Star Wars timeline. This includes an abundance of Jedi, Sith, and all those who tread the blurry line in between. The galaxy found itself ripped asunder, torn between the Jedi-backed Old Republic and the Sith-endorsed Empire. At first glance, this may not appear strikingly different from what we’ve witnessed in Star Wars narratives before, but what truly sets this era apart is the sheer magnitude of Jedi and Sith entangled in these cataclysmic conflicts. Now, you might be wondering what ignited these relentless battles. Well, the root cause can essentially be traced back to one pivotal figure.”
Darth Revan, Valiant Jedi and Lord of the Sith
Certainly, let’s delve into the enigmatic character of Darth Revan, an individual who undoubtedly stands as one of the most famous and infamous figures from the Old Republic era. Yet, their story remains veiled in mystery, even within the non-canon expanded universe. Jedi, Sith, hero, villain, savior, and murderer—these labels and more can all be ascribed to one of the most intricately layered personalities in the annals of Star Wars history.
In the days of yore, Revan was a revered and celebrated member of the Jedi Order. A skilled warrior and shrewd leader, they were credited with masterminding the Jedi’s triumph in the Mandalorian Wars, a conflict that, at the time, posed one of the gravest threats the Order had ever encountered. However, the toll of this protracted war seemed to have left its mark on the once-benevolent Jedi. Revan and their apprentice, Malak (Rafael Ferrer), vanished into the far reaches of the galaxy. Upon their return, they emerged as something entirely different—no longer champions of the Light, but rather, the most dreaded Sith Lords to ever darken the galaxy.
By this point, there was scarcely a soul in the galaxy unfamiliar with the name Darth Revan, which had become synonymous with fear and infamy. Their relentless campaign against the Jedi became an ever-escalating concern for the Order, prompting the Jedi Council to dispatch a remarkably talented Jedi named Bastila Shan (Jennifer Hale) on a mission to dismantle Revan’s regime once and for all. The climactic showdown between Bastila and Revan transpired aboard Revan’s capital ship, and it was a pivotal moment. However, it led to Revan’s capture by Malak, who believed he had successfully vanquished his master—for the moment, at least.”
‘Knights of the Old Republic’ Sees New Heroes Rise and Old Villains Return
Certainly, let’s dive into the captivating world of “Knights of the Old Republic,” where the story takes an unexpected twist. The game’s origins are set before its events begin, setting the stage for a thrilling journey. As an RPG, players are bestowed with the unique opportunity to craft and mold their own character, ultimately evolving into a formidable Jedi Knight prepared to confront the looming Sith Empire. The Jedi Council entrusts the player character with an immensely crucial mission: to thwart Darth Malak’s quest to reach the formidable Star Forge—an enigmatic facility with the power to assemble a fleet capable of obliterating entire star systems.
Thankfully, the player character doesn’t venture into this perilous undertaking alone. They are equipped with the Ebon Hawk, a state-of-the-art vessel, and an eclectic crew of heroes. Alongside the protagonist, this ensemble embarks on a quest to locate the elusive Star Forge. The crew comprises a diverse array of characters, each with their own distinctive traits and backgrounds. Notable figures include the purported Revan-killer Bastilla Shan, Republic pilot Carth Onasi (Raphael Sbarge), Mandalorian exile Canderous Ordo (John Cygan), enigmatic Gray Jedi Jolee Bindo (Kevin Michael Richardson), conflicted Padawan Juhani (Courtenay Taylor), resourceful underworld denizen Mission Vao (Catherine Taber), the kind-hearted Wookiee Zaalbar, loyal astromech droid T3-M4, and the bloodthirsty assassin droid HK-47 (Kristoffer Tabori).
Together, this motley crew embarks on a galactic odyssey to locate the Star Forge, ultimately culminating in a climactic showdown with Darth Malak himself. However, the narrative takes an astonishing twist as Malak unveils a startling revelation. The character players have been controlling throughout the game is none other than Revan. Contrary to earlier beliefs, Revan did not perish in Malak’s treacherous act of betrayal. Instead, they lost their memory and were unwittingly transformed into a Jedi Knight once more through the schemes of Bastilla and the Jedi.
What happens next is a choice left in the hands of the players. “Knights of the Old Republic” is an RPG that empowers players to decide Revan’s fate—whether to grant them a second chance at becoming a Jedi hero or succumbing once more to the temptations of the Sith. The power of choice rests firmly in your hands, shaping the destiny of Revan in this captivating Star Wars tale.
The Old Republic Era Continues Beyond ‘Knights of the Old Republic’
Of course, let’s delve further into the captivating world of the Old Republic era and its sequels, shedding light on some remarkable Star Wars adventures. First in line is “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith Lords,” a sequel that introduces entirely new narratives and characters. In this installment, players step into the shoes of an exiled Jedi commander tasked with a monumental mission—to rescue their fellow Jedi and confront the formidable Sith entity known as Darth Nihilus. While it may not have achieved the same level of popularity as its predecessor, Knights of the Old Republic II has garnered a dedicated following and is still revered as a top-tier Star Wars saga.
Moving onward, we encounter the third game in the Knights of the Old Republic series, which was initially in development at Bioware. Regrettably, this project was eventually shelved in favor of an ambitious MMO (massively multiplayer online) game set several thousand years after the events of Knights of the Old Republic, yet still a thousand years prior to the events of “The Phantom Menace.” This MMO, aptly titled “Star Wars: The Old Republic,” immerses players in a vast, open-ended role-playing experience. It offers eight distinct classes to choose from—four aligned with the Jedi Republic and four with the Sith Empire. The game boasts an extensive narrative that provides hundreds of hours of storytelling for each class. Remarkably, it continues to receive support from EA and Bioware to this day. For those who may not be prepared to embark on such an epic gaming journey, there’s an alternative—exploring the utterly captivating cinematic trailers that “The Old Republic” MMO has graced us with over the years. These cinematic masterpieces are renowned as some of the finest animated Star Wars content available.
The Old Republic era appeared poised for a triumphant return when Playstation and Lucasfilm announced a full remake of the original game currently in development. However, it seems that eager fans may need to exercise some patience, as the project has regrettably been placed on indefinite hold. The galaxy far, far away still holds countless untold stories, and we await with bated breath for the Old Republic era to once again grace us with its presence.
Has Disney’s New Canon Referenced The Old Republic Era?
Certainly, let’s explore some of the intriguing connections to the Old Republic lore that have subtly woven their way into the Star Wars universe. The expansive world of Star Wars is a treasure trove of rich history and captivating details, and it’s always a delight to discover these hidden gems.
In Season 2, Episode 5 of “The Mandalorian,” eagle-eyed fans were treated to two subtle nods to the Old Republic era. First and foremost, we encountered the formidable HK assassin droids that Ahsoka, portrayed by the talented Rosario Dawson, confronts during the episode. These particular droids were predecessors to the well-known models featured in the original Knights of the Old Republic games—an exciting connection for longtime fans. Ahsoka’s encounter with these deadly droids added an extra layer of nostalgia and intrigue to the episode. Moreover, Ahsoka tantalizingly name-drops the planet Tython, a locale with significant ties to The Old Republic MMO. Tython served as the ancient home of the Jedi Order in the game, making its mention a thrilling treat for fans with a deep appreciation for the expanded lore of the Star Wars galaxy.
Moving on to the “Andor” series, it too has contributed to the broader Star Wars tapestry by referencing the Old Republic era. Luthen Rael, portrayed by the esteemed Stellan Skarsgård, graced us with a direct mention of the Rakatan Empire. This ancient and technologically advanced civilization has left an indelible mark on the franchise, giving rise to some of the most awe-inspiring technology, including the legendary Star Forge. These subtle references serve as a testament to the enduring influence and boundless storytelling potential of the Old Republic era within the Star Wars universe.
As we continue to explore the vastness of the galaxy far, far away, it’s these intricate connections and nods to the past that remind us of the enduring magic and depth of the Star Wars saga.