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Bastila Shan is one of the more prominent characters in Old Republic lore. She faced many trials in her life and served the Jedi Order faithfully. Throughout the KOTOR video game, you learn all about her and how she views the Jedi and Sith. You then experience her character growth as you play through missions with her.
Bottom Line Up Front
Bastila Shan is one of the key characters in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. She got trained as a Jedi Sentinel and was tasked with capturing the evil Sith Lord, Darth Revan. She formed a force bond with him and eventually fell in love with him after he had his memories wiped. Once the Jedi Civil War ended, the two got married.
In this character bio, we’re going to explore the ins and outs of Bastila Shan. Her inner conflicts with the Jedi teachings and her romance with Revan are fantastic stories to learn about.
Bastila Shan was born in 3979 BBY on the planet, Talvarin. Unfortunately, not much is known about this planet as it’s only mentioned in conversations in the Old Republic video games, but it was found in the Core Worlds region of the galaxy.
Her parents were treasure hunters, and her mother sent her to the Jedi Academy believing that it would bring her a better life than the one they were currently living. Bastila had a strong relationship with her father, but she resented her mother, Helena Shan, as she often encouraged her father to go on dangerous missions to get more money. The name of her father is never mentioned.
Bastila was a strong student in the Jedi Academy, and she strongly embraced all the teachings of the Jedi, fully believing in their values. Early on in her training, they discovered that she had a strong Force ability called Battle Meditation. This allowed her to meditate and increase the morale and hope of people around her while decreasing that of the enemies they were against. This Force power becomes very useful in later wars.
As the Mandalorian War started, Bastila agreed with the Jedi Council’s stance not to get involved. Because of this, she resented Revan and Malak for defying them. I found that resentment is something Bastila struggled with fairly often when playing through KOTOR.
Her support of the Jedi Order grew even stronger when Revan and Malak returned from the Outer Regions as Dark Lords. She fought for the Republic and ended up being the leader of a Jedi strike team that was tasked with capturing Revan.
They boarded Revan’s ship and fought with him. It was at that moment that Malak betrayed Revan, ordering his ship to fire on them. Malak assumed Revan to be dead and took over as the Dark Lord of the Sith and leader of the Sith Empire. However, Revan and Bastila survived. Bastila saved Revan using the Force which resulted in a Force bond between them.
She took him back to the Jedi Council and they decided to use the Force to erase his memories and give him a new identity as a Republic soldier. A while later, Revan was positioned aboard a ship that Bastila was the commander of. Malak hunts the ship down to kill Bastila due to her Battle Meditation abilities. She escapes to the planet Taris below, and Revan is tasked with finding her. This is where the game, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, begins.
Throughout this story, Bastila aids Revan in his quest to find Star Maps. These Star Maps give the location of the Star Forge, an ancient space station that the Sith use to get unlimited power and resources.
Bastila is sent with Revan as they have a Force bond. They share dreams that give them the location of the Star Maps. These locations are imprinted in Revan’s memories from when he was a Sith Lord.
During the long quest to stop Darth Malak, Bastila starts to fall in love with Revan. While she’s prideful and feels superior to him at first, she sees how pure his actions are and admires them. There’s massive confliction in her heart, though, as she knows who Revan used to be.
Before finding the final Star Map, Bastila is captured by Darth Malak. Their team gets intercepted by Saul Karath’s (the Sith Fleet Commander) ship, and they encounter Malak upon trying to escape. Malak reveals to Revan his true identity and Bastila sacrifices herself to save him.
Every time I see this scene go down in the game, I think of how Bastila saved Revan in the first place, and how she’s saving him again. Her actions allow him to keep fighting and overthrow Malak later, saving millions of lives around the galaxy. She shows how she’s one of the biggest supporters of Revan, and a worthy wife to him once the war is over.
Malak turns her to the Dark Side after torturing her. He capitalizes on her resentment toward the Jedi Council and others. As Malak’s new apprentice, she encounters Revan and his party members on the planet, Lehon. This is where they find the Star Forge location, so they battle before Revan and the team set a course for it.
Bastila is easily defeated by Revan and encourages him to rejoin the Dark Side so that they can lead the Sith as lovers. Revan refuses and Bastila retreats to the Star Forge. This leads to the final battle between the Empire and the Republic.
Bastila uses her Battle Meditation to aid the Sith in the battle, causing heavy Republic losses. The tides only change once Revan encounters Bastila again. He defeats her another time and tries to turn her to the Light Side. She eventually accepts after Revan admits his love for her, and Bastila uses her Battle Meditation to help the Republic instead.
After Malak is defeated, Revan and Bastila get married. It was against the Jedi Council’s orders to get married back then as well, but they defied them. Revan believes that his relationship with Bastila is a source of strength in the Force and attempts to bring these teachings to the Council. They refuse them and prohibit Revan from teaching others his ideologies.
They live happily for two years until Revan sets off to find a dwelling Sith enemy that he constantly dreams about. Bastila reveals that she’s pregnant, yet Revan exclaims that he needs to protect his child from a life of misery.
Bastila eventually becomes a Jedi Master and dies in her old age, never seeing Revan again after his departure.
- Bastila’s Battle Meditation abilities are identified early in her Jedi training. This power eventually makes her an asset to both the Republic and Sith when fighting on their sides.
- Bastila is present when Malak gives a speech to the Jedi and convinces them to join him and Revan in the Mandalorian war. She is one of the few to deny the invitation. Another prominent character in that scenario is Meetra Surik, who joins the fight against the Mandalorians. You play as her in the second KOTOR game.
- Bastila discovers that Revan and Malak have turned to the Dark Side. She recommits to fighting for the Jedi and Republic to take them down.
- She saves Revan after he gets betrayed by Malak. A Force bond gets ignited between them, and this bond lasts until she dies.
- Bastila falls in love with Revan after seeing his new character growth. She sees him as pure in every situation but is wary because of his past.
- She meets her mother again on Tatooine and discovers that her father died in an attempt to get a Krayt Dragon pearl. She begrudgingly gives her mother 500 credits to find a doctor to cure her illness but feels at peace after letting go of her resentment.
- Malak captures and converts Bastila to the Dark Side.
- Revan defeats Bastila and admits his love for her. She converts back to the Light Side and aids the Republic in their final push against the Sith at the end of the Jedi Civil War.
- Bastila and Revan get married. She gives birth to their son, Vaner, shortly after Revan leaves to investigate a Sith threat. Vaner turns out not to be Force-sensitive, which is very surprising seeing as though Revan and Bastila are such powerful Force users.
Bastila Shan Themes
Early Life and Relationship with Parents
One of Bastila’s first signs of attachment is her relationship with her father. She loved her father and hated it every time he left on a dangerous mission to find treasure in fear that he wouldn’t return. She blamed Helena Shan for encouraging her father’s journeys.
She kept this resentment in herself even as she trained as a Jedi. When she met her mother on Tatooine years later, she acted bitter toward her, especially after finding out her father had died on an adventure. Her childhood fear came true.
However, her father was trying to find a valuable treasure that would help pay to cure and illness that Helena picked up. After Bastila realized that her parents were just trying to do whatever they could, she offered to pay for her mother.
The resentment that she carried with her was lifted when she realized how good it made her feel to help her family. It’s not stated anywhere whether Bastila saw her mother again.
Overall, I think that Bastila making peace with her mother was one of the things that prevented her from falling to the Dark Side even sooner. Emotions that things like that cause are often catalysts for Force users to pull on their negative emotions for power.
Battle Meditation Ability
Knights of the Old Republic was the first piece of Star Wars media to demonstrate the Battle Meditation Force ability, making Bastila Shan even more significant as a character. A few comic books demonstrated Force users using the power in later years. But like the KOTOR games, these comic books were made to not be Canon after Disney purchased Star Wars from George Lucas.
Mild forms of Battle Meditation are shown in Canon such as Adi Gallia meditating in battle in the Clone Wars TV series. It’s also mentioned in an encyclopedia for that series that Mace Windu can use it.
In terms of KOTOR’s story, it was Bastila’s main story point as a character. It made her desired by both the Republic and the Sith as she had the power to sway battles. As soon as Malak betrayed Revan, he hunted her down knowing the power she had. He planned to either kill her or turn her to his side to use her ability to help the Sith Empire.
Relationship with Revan
Other than Battle Meditation, Bastila’s main driving force in her story is her relationship with Revan. As you play through KOTOR, you start noticing how short she is with Revan at the beginning. You only realize after finding out Revan’s true identity that she was like that because she was hesitant of him.
Revan and his party travel from planet to planet, looking for Star Maps. However, Revan ends up helping a lot of people along the way. Bastila sees this and starts to admire his actions. The inner turmoil she experiences is incredible as she knows who Revan was. Add to that the fact that Jedi aren’t supposed to get involved in romantic relationships.
There’s even a time on the Ebon Hawk (the ship they travel on) where Bastila gives in to her emotions and kisses Revan. She immediately regrets her decision, sticking to her beliefs that Jedi can’t take on lovers. She’s also scared that Revan will revert to who he was. Ironically, she turns to the Dark Side because of that fear while Revan remains true to the Light.
When they get married, Bastila starts to disagree with the Jedi Council’s teachings and ways. After they forbid Revan from sharing his teachings on attachment, she grows bitter of them and encourages him to fight. Revan refuses as he doesn’t see the point in debating ideologies with the Council and would rather live happily with Bastila. Her stance on this shows a huge contrast to when she boldly believed in all the Jedi values as a young Jedi.
After Revan leaves to eventually attempt to take on the Sith Emperor Vitiate, Bastila has a son named, Vaner. His name is an anagram for Revan, showing how Bastila honored her husband and kept his legacy going. She didn’t know that he’d keep on living for another 300 years in Vitiate’s prison.
Although she never saw Revan again, he watched over her through the Force from his prison, taking joy in knowing that she lived a full life.
Vaner Shan wasn’t Force-sensitive, but he had a family of his own which eventually led to Satele Shan being born a few hundred years later. Satele was one of the strongest Jedi in the Order, and she became the Jedi Grand Master in the time of the Cold War and Galactic War.
Satele is one of the main characters in Star Wars: The Old Republic, which is an MMORPG set a few hundred years after the KOTOR games. I’ve always loved how Revan and Bastila’s stories lived on in this game, leading you to learn more about them and what happened after the Jedi Civil War.
Related Perks, Special Abilities
I’ve covered Bastila’s Battle Meditation abilities fairly extensively, but she had several other Force abilities that she used frequently. In the KOTOR game, you experience her use of Force sense on many occasions when she makes you aware that things are about to happen.
She also uses mind tricks, similar to how Ben Kenobi convinced a stormtrooper to let them pass in Star Wars: A New Hope. Other than that, she uses Force stun in combat quite often.
Bastila was a Jedi Sentinel, meaning she focused on both the Force and physical combat in an equal manner. She also learned useful skills that would act as a middle ground for those two schools of thought.
One of my favorite things about Bastila is that she wielded a yellow double-bladed lightsaber. In the Star Wars universe, a double-bladed lightsaber was first seen being used by Darth Maul in Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace.
KOTOR came out a few years after that, so it was very cool to see another character using this unique lightsaber, especially on the Light Side of the Force. She started using this double-bladed lightsaber after capturing Revan. Before that, she used a single-bladed yellow saber.
- “The Jedi do not believe in killing their prisoners. No one deserves execution, no matter what their crimes” – Bastila talking about Revan being captured. This draws a parallel to how Anakin didn’t want to execute Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith. Interestingly, sparing Palpatine had a terrible outcome while sparing Revan had an excellent one.
- “Is there a place for me in your future? Do you love me?” – Bastila talking to Revan after he spares her and attempts to bring her to the Light Side.
- “What greater weapon is there than to turn an enemy to your cause?” – Explaining the idea behind erasing Revan’s memory. This is also a huge theme in KOTOR as Bastila turns against the Republic and becomes a weapon.
Question: Is Bastila Shan in Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords?
Answer: You get to see Bastila in a brief scene with Carth Onasi, and both of them express how they’re wondering where Revan is. Other than that, Bastila isn’t mentioned by name in any of the dialogues in the game. This is why less is known about her than Revan as Revan’s story gets expanded on quite extensively in the game.
Bastila doesn’t get involved with the battles in the galaxy at this time as she’s raising her son in secret while avoiding the Sith Triumvirate who were hunting all the Jedi down.
Question: What Color Lightsaber Did Bastila Shan Use?
Answer: Bastila primarily used a double-bladed yellow lightsaber. However, you can see the concept art of her using blue and green lightsabers. Either those were ideas that never came to life in the game, or she used those colors before starting to use a yellow saber.
In the KOTOR game, you have the option of swapping out lightsaber crystals to change the colors of your lightsabers. You can do this for your party members as well. So, you get to choose which color she uses.
When Bastila falls to the Dark Side, she unsurprisingly uses a red lightsaber.
Question: Who are Bastila Shan and Revan’s Descendants?
Answer: Bastila and Revan had a son named, Vaner. He wasn’t Force-sensitive and ended up running to become Supreme Chancellor of the Republic. Vaner married a woman named, Emess. The two of them had children named, Reesa and Bress. Not much is known about them other than the fact that, unlike their father, they were Force-sensitive.
Five generations down the line, Tasiele Shan was born. She was a Jedi Knight and similar to Revan and Bastila, she believed that attachment was a source of strength for Jedi. The Jedi Council exiled her for this. She had a daughter named, Satele Shan. Tasiele spent her exiled days writing journals and teachings for Satele to read. Satele later became the Grand Master of the Jedi Order.
All this information can be found when playing through Star Wars: The Old Republic. Finding stories that relate to the original KOTOR games is one of my favorite things to do in the game.
Question: Why Did Bastila Shan Fall to the Dark Side?
Answer: She was captured by Darth Malak. He didn’t want to kill her as he predicted that her Battle Meditation abilities would be incredibly useful in battles against the Republic. So, he tortured her and fed on all her insecurities and resentment until she snapped and gave in to the Dark Side of the Force.
In the KOTOR game, you can choose whether to kill Bastila, join her in the Dark Side, or bring her back to the Light Side. The publicly stated ending is that she rejoins the Light Side. However, the Dark Side ending of the game is fairly interesting.
Revan and Bastila end up killing several of their party members, and Bastila tells the Republic forces that she’ll use her Battle Meditation to help them, only to betray them in the middle of the battle. Revan and Bastila go on to become Rulers of the Sith after defeating Malak.
Question: Is Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Canon?
Answer: Unfortunately, both KOTOR games, as well as Star Wars: The Old Republic, aren’t canon. Before Disney acquired Star Wars, these games and stories were known as being part of the Star Wars Extended Universe.
They’re now referred to as Legends stories, and they don’t exist in the current Canon events of the Star Wars universe.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is the game where you learn most about Bastila Shan. If you want to experience her incredible story, you should play it. Her name is mentioned here and there in comic books from the time and in the Star Wars MMORPG, but nothing is as involved as the original game.
She will always be known as the character who brought Revan back to the Light Side, helped him save the galaxy from Malak, and ended up marrying him. On her own, she was an incredibly strong character. But her partnership with Revan is what elevates her strongly compared to many other female characters in the Star Wars universe.
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