Revan. The very name floods you with memories from Knights of the Old Republic. Revan is one of the most memorable and beloved characters in the Expanded Universe, both because of his history and his role in one of the most popular Star Wars games of all time. He started as a prodigal Jedi Knight who led the Republic to victory in the Mandalorian Wars before becoming a Dark Lord of the Sith bent on subjugating the Republic to his will. Despite a near death experience, he returned to the Light Side and defeated the Sith Empire that he himself created. Then he vanished, never to be heard from again. Revan’s life after the events of KOTOR is a mystery, but Drew Karpyshyn’s upcoming Revan novel should finally fill us in on what adventures Revan undertook after his role in bringing down the Sith Empire he helped create. In anticipation of this novel I will be filling you in on everything we already know about Revan, how and why he entered the Mandalorian Wars, why he fell to the Dark Side, and how he returned to the Jedi. Join me as I dive into the history of one of the most iconic Star Wars characters of all time.
No one knows where Revan was born or how the Jedi Order discovered him. According to his first master, Kreia, he sought out training and tutelage from many different Masters within the Jedi Order. His hunger for knowledge seemed insatiable, even dangerous in the eyes of some, but this was often dismissed as mere exuberance and eagerness. Many had the belief that Revan would be a future champion of the Jedi Order and, as such, often were eager to share knowledge with the young Jedi. As time went by, his interests grew, studying the history of the Order as well as rare techniques such as Force Bonding. Some Masters would even claim that Revan sought out knowledge of ancient Sith magics, though no one knows if this is true.
When the Mandalorian’s began launching attacks on the Outer Rim of the Republic, the Jedi were hesitant to intervene. Revan, who was well known as a charismatic and powerful Jedi Knight by this time, was not willing to stand by and let the Republic suffer. He became very vocal in his belief that the Jedi needed to intervene in the conflict. At first he was alone, but as time went on and the Republic’s casualties increased, he started to develop a following of Jedi, mostly young knights, who agreed that the Republic required the assistance of the Jedi. His most vocal supporter was his best friend Alek, the man who would later be known as Darth Malak. The two gathered their forces and joined the Republic forces against the wishes of the Jedi council. At this time, Revan was seen as an honorary Master among his followers and was considered the undisputed leader of the Jedi who followed him to war. After seeing the brutality of the Mandalorians on the front lines, Revan returned to the Jedi Council once more in a final attempt to make them see things from his point of view. They again expressed that they felt the Jedi had no place in this war. He left the council behind and began to make his views known on a more public scale, rallying Jedi to his cause. Revan suddenly found himself a celebrity on the HoloNet, with the media outlets calling him the Revanchist.
As the Republic military suffered defeat after defeat, they finally made an official petition of aid to the Jedi Council. The council remained firm in their stance, they refused to enter the war for fear of an unknown threat that could be manipulating the Mandalorians and forbid any Jedi from serving in the Republic military. Revan, however, was fed up with the Jedi Council at this point. When the details of the Battle of Cathar–where the Mandalorians slaughtered the Cathar people–came to light, Revan used the atrocity to his advantage. In an act of rebellion greater than anything he had ever done before, Revan sent out a full call to arms throughout the Jedi Order. Revan was no longer content with arguing that the Jedi should intervene, he was going to intervene whether the Jedi Council approved or not. Hundreds of Jedi answered Revan’s call,and the Council reluctantly put out arrest warrants for Revan and any Jedi who stood with him.
Revan and his forces made a trip to Cathar to ascertain the events that took place there. While there, Revan discovered a Mandalorian mask in the dirt. Upon touching it, a vision appeared before Revan and his followers. At the end of the Battle of Cathar, the Mandalorians, lead by Cassus Fett, were chasing the Cathar survivors into the ocean with the intention of slaughtering them completely. Before they opened fire, one female Mandalorian stepped in front of Cassus and plead for him to spare the Cathar. She claimed that the Cathar were defeated and that slaughtering them in this fashion was unnecessary. Cassus stated that the Cathar deserved death for dishonoring them during the war with Exar Kun and that if she wished to stand up for them, she would share their fate. He ordered his troops to open fire and the Mandalorian warrior, along with the Cathar, were slaughtered to the last individual. It was at this point that Revan placed the dead warriors mask upon his face, vowing to never remove it until the Mandalorians were brought to justice.
When these details were brought to the Jedi Council they were sufficiently swayed enough to sanction Revan’s actions in the war, though they still maintained the stance that Revan was acting hastily and that the Jedi should remain out of the war. Their efforts proved fruitless however as thousands of Jedi began to flock to Revan’s side as he took full command of the Republic’s war effort. This proved to be the turning point of the war. Revan was a master of tactics on the battlefield, matching the Mandalorian’s ferocity with his own. As he scored victory after victory. Revan eventually found himself in direct command of a third of the Republic fleet and with this he began to push the Mandalorians back to the edge of the galaxy. Yet despite their victories, concerns grew over Revan’s behavior. Throughout the war he was changing, from the young Jedi who was moved by a desire to safeguard the innocent, to a man who grew to despise weakness. The Mandalorians began to change him through conflict, though this alone was not the only reason Revan began to fall to the Dark Side.
While on Kashyyyk, the Wookiee homeworld, he discovered a Rakatan Star Map. He then discovered the ancient Sith world of Malachor V, which was considered taboo to the Mandalorians. On its surface Revan was quickly assaulted by the destructive Dark Side energies that permeated the world, yet through the strength of his will, he was able to feed on the evil power without being consumed by it. Soon thereafter, he stumbled upon the Trayus Academy, a Sith Temple on the surface of Malachor V. While unearthing the planet’s buried secrets, Revan learned the exact location and immense significance of the planet Korriban, the homeworld of the Sith species. It is unknown what happened when Revan visited Korriban, but it is believed that while there he discovered the existence of the “True Sith” Empire. This discovery caused him to voluntarily surrender himself to the Dark Side in order to prepare the galaxy for the eventual war with this Sith Empire, who he saw as a far greater evil than the Mandalorians.
Returning to the front lines of the war, Revan forced a final confrontation with the Mandalorians above Malachor V. It was here that Revan unleashed a plan to wipe out all his enemies in one fell stroke, though it was not enough to defeat the Mandalorians. He needed to destroy all Jedi and Republic Military commanders whose loyalty could not be counted on. In order to do this Revan commissioned the creation of a Superweapon known as the Mass Shadow Generator. Using the unique gravitational fields present on Malachor V, the Mass Shadow Generator would crush both fleets and kill all the forces stationed on the planet. In a separate system, Revan engaged Mandalore, the Ultimate leader of the Mandalorians, in single combat and slayed him. This, combined with the massive losses they suffered at Malachor V, proved to be the end of the Mandalorian War, and secured a Republic Victory. This also was a personal victory for Revan. Not only had he crushed the Mandalorians he had effectively wiped out all Jedi who were not loyal to him alone, and much of the Republic Military as well. Revan further assured that the Mandalorians could not rise again by denying them Mandalore’s mask, which effectively kept them from choosing a new leader. He then gathered his forces and led them into the Unknown Regions. Though he claimed this was done in order to track down the remainder of the Mandalorian fleet Revan knew they were no real threat to him any longer. His true motives for disappearing were so he could seek out the legendary Star Forge in secret, as well as further explore the Sith ways in order to increase both his power and the power of his forces.
While in the Unknown Regions, Revan stumbled upon the Sith Empire and Revan came before the Sith Emperor himself. Having already surrendered to the Dark Side, Revan decided to join the Sith rather than destroy them. The Emperor sent Revan back to the Republic and ordered him to claim the Star Forge for the Sith empire, imagining a return to the galaxy hundreds of years before his original plans. But it wasn’t long before Revan decided that he was not content with serving the Emperor and decided to claim the Star Forge for him alone, imagining himself as the leader of his own Sith Empire. He discovered Star Maps on Dantooine, Kashyyyk, Korriban, Tatooine, and Mannan, which eventually lead him to the Star Forge. Using the Star Forge, he was able to develop a massive fleet in a relatively short time and used it to launch his attack on the Republic. He was very selective in how he waged his war however. He made sure to avoid attacking planets that may cause serious damage to the Republic’s infrastructure, hoping to keep the framework of The Republic intact. He did not wish to destroy The Republic, in his mind he was just doing what he felt would make it stronger in order to face off against the Sith Empire. And he was doing a good job of executing his plan until he was betrayed by his apprentice, Darth Malak.
During the course of the war, the Jedi launched a a surprise attack on Revan and his ship was boarded by a Jedi strike team that included Bastila Shan. Malak, who saw a chance to destroy his master, ordered his ship to fire upon Revan’s bridge in an attempt to kill him and Bastila, whose Battle Meditation was a grave threat to Revan’s Sith Forces, all in one fell swoop. Revan was greatly injured by Malak’s betrayal and left on the verge of death, however he would not die that day. Bastila preserved Revan’s life with the Force and brought him back to the Jedi Council. In what can be considered one of the most controversial decision’s in the Jedi’s history, the Council decided to reprogram Revan’s damaged mind with a personality loyal to the Republic in an attempt to use him to discover how Revan had managed to amass such a massive force in such a short time. By following the vague memories of his former life, Revan and Bastila, along with their companions, discovered the Star Maps and the location of the Star Forge once again. During this journey Revan came face to face with Malak again, and his past identity was revealed to him while Bastila was captured and turned to the Dark Side of the Force. Bastila attempted to turn Revan back to the Dark Side, claiming that even though his memories were gone, his strength of will and power in the Force made him the rightful heir to the Sith throne. Revan was able to reject her offer with the help of his other companions and journeyed to the Star Forge in order to destroy it once and for all. While he was there he fought against Bastila and turned her back to the light by confessing his love for her. Afterward, Revan journeyed to the command center and faced off against Darth Malak. He slayed his former apprentice and the Star Forge was destroyed, ending the threat of Revan’s Sith Empire.
Nobody knows what happened to Revan after the war. What is known is that his memories were slowly returning, leading many to believe that he headed into the Unknown Regions to confront the True Sith. He left all his companions behind, taking no one with him for fear that he would only be placing them in danger. The novel Revan, which releases on the 15th, should finally fill us in on what happened to him after the war. As an added bonus, the novel promises to give us a look at the Sith Emperor, who has remained a relative unknown up to this point.
Hopefully, this article has given you a greater insight into who Revan was and why he did the things he did. One of the most interesting aspects about Revan is the nature of his fall to the Dark Side. He was not seduced by promises of greater power, his passions did not cause him to fall. For him the Dark Side was a choice. He made that choice in order to protect The Republic, to do what he felt was best for the galaxy as a whole. When Revan drops on the 15th I look forward to filling in the missing details of this iconic character’s life.
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