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Revan is one of the key characters in the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic video games. Since I grew up playing these, he has a special place in my heart as a notable Star Wars character. So, I’m going to explain everything about him and hopefully convince you of why he’s such an amazing part of the Star Wars Universe.
Bottom Line Up Front: You play as Revan in the first Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic video game, leading his story to unfold in front of you. This comes as a twist, though, as Darth Revan had his mind wiped by the Jedi Order before you start playing as him in the game. After that first game, the character of Revan goes on to face intense storylines that all involve the powerful Sith Emperor, Vitiate.
Canon vs Legends
Before getting to the specifics of everything Revan was involved in, it’s important to know that he only exists in Star Wars Legends. The Old Republic games don’t form part of the same story as the current movies, TV shows, and books.
This came because of Disney’s acquisition of Star Wars. The only Star Wars stories that are considered canon are the films, Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV show, and anything released after Disney took the lead in 2012.
Star Wars: The Old Republic is an MMORPG has seen several updates after that time, but it still isn’t regarded as canon in the Star Wars universe. So, all these stories of Revan may change if Disney decide to add him into the current Star Wars Universe.
Also, you get to choose your gender in the first KOTOR game as well as decide how you want the events to unfold. However, later storylines regarding Revan establish that he was a male and that the game ended with the Light Side option.
With that being said, let’s move on to exploring one of the greatest Star Wars characters to exist.
Revan was a human male born in the year 3994 BBY. The specific planet he was born on has never been disclosed, but it’s believed that he came from somewhere in the Outer Rim.
He joined the Jedi Order as a Padawan and quickly rose through the ranks. Similar to Anakin Skywalker, he was far more powerful and talented than most of his peers, slightly worrying the Jedi Council.
His first master was a Jedi named, Kreia, who becomes an integral character in Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: Sith Lords. Known to be a fairly complex Jedi with questionable teaching methods, Revan eventually outgrew her teaching and moved on to being mentored by multiple Jedi masters.
In this time, Revan befriended another Padawan named, Alek. They became close companions through all their years of training. Revan was known to be an eager learner of uncommon concepts while Alek was a strong warrior. Both eventually became Jedi Knights and served the Order faithfully for a time.
In 3976, the Mandalorian Wars started as Mandalorian warriors sought to conquer the Galactic Republic. Revan wanted to fight them head-on, but the Jedi Council refused as they wanted to keep to their peaceful values. Revan then went against the Council and took Alek with him to get involved in the war.
After many years of battles, Revan ended up killing the leader of the Mandalorians, Mandalore the Ultimate. It was after that moment that he found out that the Sith Emperor Vitiate convinced the Mandalorians to start the war, so Revan and Alek (now named Malak) traveled to unknown regions to find him.
The Sith Emperor turned both Jedi to the Dark Side, now being referred to as Darth Revan and Darth Malak. He instructed them to destroy the Galactic Republic, so Revan became the leader of the Sith Empire with Darth Malak as his apprentice and second-in-command.
As all Sith end up doing, Darth Malak betrayed Revan as his ship was boarded by a Jedi strike team, firing upon the ship in hopes of its destruction. One of those Jedi, Bastila Shan, took Revan captive and returned him to the Jedi Council. They stripped his memories and trained him as a Jedi again in hopes that he would destroy the Empire he built up.
Revan then went on to form a team of allies to help him find a group of Star Maps that would lead him to the Star Forge, a large ancient space station that was supplying the Sith Empire with power and resources.
On that journey, Revan slowly got visions and memories of his older life. He eventually found out that he was Revan after a confrontation with Darth Malak. Bastila Shan saved him from that encounter, but she got captured by Malak to be tortured and converted to the Dark Side.
Revan decided to stay on the path of light and defeat Darth Malak to bring peace to the galaxy. Before meeting Malak, he had an encounter with an evil Bastila Shan who tried convincing him to join her to rule the galaxy. He admitted his love for her and refused to strike her down. They met again on the Star Forge and Bastila converted back to the Light Side of the Force.
Revan managed to defeat Malak, marry Bastila, and experience peace in the galaxy for a short period. However, he knew Emperor Vitiate was still out there and his memories of him kept returning. So, he left a pregnant Bastila to seek out and put an end to the biggest threat to the galaxy.
His feud with Vitiate lasted hundreds of years. When he arrived in the Unknown Regions, he was captured by the Sith and they kept him locked up for 3 years. Meetra Surik, one of Revan’s old companions and the protagonist of the second KOTOR game, rescued Revan with the help of a Sith named Scourge.
The trio planned to kill Emperor Vitiate, but their plan failed, and Meetra was murdered. The emperor then kept Revan in captivity for 300 years, constantly torturing him and fueling Revan’s hate for Vitiate.
The Republic rescued Revan, leading him to create an army of machines with the use of the Foundry. This was an automated space station that he discovered years before. It was made by the Rakatans, who were the same species responsible for the Star Forge. Revan’s plan failed as he was stopped by an Imperial strike team.
He was killed. However, he was fueled with so much hate for the emperor that he managed to will himself back to life. Although only his dark side came out in this physical form while his light side remained a spirit. This was when he became known as Dark Revan.
Emperor Vitiate had been killed at this point by other Republic forces, but his spirit lived on. Revan planned on bringing the emperor back to life so that he could completely stop him once and for all. Both the Empire and the Republic thought this was an awful idea, so they joined forces to stop Revan from completing his plan.
The alliance was able to prevent his plan, and Revan’s light side spirit joined his dark side body to become one with the Force.
- Revan gets trained to be a Jedi along with a Padawan named Alek on Coruscant and Dantooine.
- The Jedi Council realizes that Revan is a heavy seeker of knowledge and isn’t afraid of seeking out forbidden concepts.
- Revan decides to fight in the Mandalorian Wars and convinces many Jedi to follow.
- Revan sees the destructive powers of the Mandalorians on Cathar and vows to wear a Mandalorian mask until all the Mandalorians have been defeated.
- Revan defeats Mandalore the Ultimate in single combat. This is an incredible feat as the Mandalorians are known to be the best warriors in the galaxy, and Mandalore the Ultimate is in his position for being the best warrior out of all the Mandalorians.
- He finds out that Emperor Vitiate was the cause of the Mandalorian Wars.
- Vitiate turns Revan and Malak to the Dark Side, starting the Jedi Civil War in 3959 BBY.
- The Jedi capture Revan, wipe his memories, and train him to be a Jedi Knight again.
- Revan finds the infamous Star Forge and defeats his old friend, Darth Malak.
- Bastila Shan and Revan get married and Bastila gets pregnant.
- Revan leaves for the Unknown Regions after getting countless visions and returning memories of the emperor.
- He gets captured and tortured by Scourge. Meetra Surik rescues him, and Scourge joins their plan to kill the emperor.
- Scourge betrays them and kills Meetra. The emperor then imprisons Revan for 300 years.
- The Republic frees Revan. He then builds a droid army to help him overthrow the Sith Empire and kill Vitiate. The Sith Empire stops him and kills him.
- Revan comes back to life with only his dark side present in his physical body.
- The emperor gets killed by Republic forces, but his spirit lives on. The Republic and Sith Empire join forces to stop Revan from reviving the emperor. Revan’s light side joins with his dark side and he becomes one with the Force. His plans to stop the emperor never come to be as the emperor lives on in other bodies and continues to be a threat to the galaxy.
Revan Themes and Plot Points
Early Life and Initial Jedi Training
Revan showed incredible promise in his early time with the Jedi Order. Although many saw his potential, no one predicted just how powerful he’d become and how integral he’d be in the galaxy’s conflicts.
One of my favorite things about Revan is that he wasn’t one to blindly accept the Jedi teachings. Instead, he questions everything in pursuit of better solutions. He was a bit like Qui-Gon Jinn in this way.
As a Padawan, he studied subjects such as Force bonds. This wasn’t commonly learned about in the Order, and Revan ended up having a few Force bonds with people over the years. The most important Force bond was the one he developed with Bastila Shan.
Friendship with Malak
Revan and Malak’s relationship is a classic example of how emotionally taxing conflict can be in the Star Wars universe. You can see a few parallels between them and the relationship between Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
However, both Revan and Malak fell to the Dark Side together, giving a bit of a twist on the tale from the mainline movie characters. While Revan and Malak were friends when fighting for the Republic in the Mandalorian Wars, they only saw each other as acquaintances when they fought against the Republic.
Malak steadily grew impatient with Revan’s cold and calculating strategies. Revan had planned out an overtaking of the Republic that would take several years while Malak wanted all-out warfare with brute force.
In Malak’s first attempt to challenge Revan, a lightsaber battle ensued, and Revan cut Malak’s jaw off. This is why Malak had to wear a respiratory device at all times. This is another parallel to modern Star Wars characters such as Darth Vader.
As Malak successfully betrays Revan and attempts to kill him a second time, you can feel the emotional impact of how the Dark Side can turn friends against each other. This is taken even further in their final battle as Malak expresses his curiosity about what would have happened to him if Revan didn’t lead him on the dark path in the first place.
I find the Mandalorian Wars to be the most vital part of Revan’s character arc. As the Mandalorians started raiding and pillaging planets, Revan couldn’t stand not being able to aid the Republic allies. His frustrations with the Jedi Council are completely understandable as he felt he could be helping people.
He decided to go against the council’s wishes and became a revanchist according to the public media, meaning he was a person fighting to reclaim territory. This is where the name Revan comes from. However, many people at the time also referred to him as the “Crusader”.
His arguments for the cause were so influential that he gained many followers, and he convinced several other Jedi to go against the Council’s wishes.
A few Jedi Masters ended up with Revan on the planet Cathar, and they all received a vision of how the Mandalorians massacred the people of the planet mercilessly. It was after that instance that the Jedi Council no longer disagreed with Revan and his cause. However, they still discouraged other Jedi from joining it.
Revan was such an asset in the war that he became the Supreme Commander and was given a large chunk of the Republic Military to command. He was an excellent war strategist and won many battles due to his cunning plans. However, many of his and Malak’s tactics were seen as merciless, and you could argue that they started their path toward the Dark Side from then already. They matched the viciousness and brutality of the Mandalorians with their own brutal strategies.
The war ended with a final battle between Mandalorians and the Republic on a planet called Malachor V. This was where Revan showed his most brutal hand by ordering a superweapon called the Mass Shadow Generator to be activated. It ended up killing thousands of people on both sides. More Mandalorians died than Republics soldiers, but many argued that the Republic soldiers died needlessly.
The Jedi Council ordered Revan and Malak to come before them and answer for their crimes. They refused, though, and traveled to the Unknown Regions to seek out information about the Sith Emperor that Mandalore the Ultimate spoke to Revan about before being killed by him.
Revan and Malak had been dabbling in Dark Side concepts at this point as they previously made their way to the Sith world of Korriban. On that world, they found some Sith teachings that they thought would aid them in the war. So, you can see the steady decline of the two of them, making it less surprising that they came back as Dark Lords after encountering Emperor Vitiate.
Jedi Civil War
Since Revan was one of the main commanders of the Republic army, he had a strong advantage when he turned against them. He knew all their plans and strategies, making it very easy to win battles. At first, it seemed as though the Jedi Civil War was going to easily be won by the Empire with Revan leading the charge.
One of Revan’s unique plans was to capture Jedi and turn them into Dark Jedi, increasing his army of warriors. You may be thinking that there can only be two Sith at any one time, but the Rule of Two didn’t exist in this period. However, Revan was one of the older Sith Lords that Darth Bane studied when he was establishing the Rule of Two. So, Revan was one of the catalysts of it.
The turning point in the war came when Revan was captured and lost his memories. It was a genius plan from the Republic and Jedi that paid off beautifully. The journey from Jedi to Sith to Jedi makes Revan one of the more interesting characters in the Star Wars universe.
He uses both Light Side and Dark Side powers in conjunction with each other, arguably making him one of the most balanced Force users to ever live.
Relationship with Bastila Shan
Another interesting dynamic to note is the relationship between Revan and Bastila Shan. Bastila was the only survivor of the strike team that was onboard Revan’s ship when Darth Malak fired upon it. She took Revan captive and healed his wounds with the Force, causing a Force bond to form between them. This joined their thoughts and emotions.
The idea of this bond was always one of my favorite aspects of the KOTOR games as it hadn’t been seen in the mainstream movies. It gave another view into what can happen with the Force.
Bastila was ordered by the Jedi Council to be at Revan’s side after his mind was wiped. They traveled the galaxy aboard the Ebon Hawk and spent plenty of time together – the perfect recipe for romance. It was their love for each other that brought Bastila back to the Light Side after she was turned by Malak. That may sound cheesy to some, but I think it’s beautiful.
The two defied the traditions of the Jedi and got married. While the Jedi Council didn’t approve of this, they let it slide as Revan was such an important figure in the galaxy. Bastila and Revan lived in an apartment on Coruscant together.
Revan started to theorize that their emotional bond made them even stronger in the Force. He wanted to bring these thoughts to the Jedi Council, but they quickly turned them down as the Jedi don’t agree with marriage.
As Yoda says in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” While that ended up being true for Anakin Skywalker, you could argue that Revan was more in control of his emotions and was right in his philosophy. Bastila resented the Council for rejecting his ideas, but Revan calmed her and decided it wasn’t a fight worth worrying about.
Shortly after finding out that she was pregnant, Revan left Bastila to find out more about Emperor Vitiate and seek answers to the dreams he was having. While that sounds like an awful husband move, Revan saw it as his duty to protect the galaxy and create a safe place for his child to live in.
Revan has two descendants that you come across when playing Star Wars: The Old Republic. Their names are Satele Shan and Theron Shan. Satele was the Grand Master of the Jedi Order and Theron was her son, born in secret with Commander Jace Malcolm as his father.
The Old Republic MMORPG
I’ve mentioned most of what there is to know above about the feud between Revan and Emperor Vitiate. Most of this storyline comes from the game, Star Wars: The Old Republic. One more thing to say about it is that the arc has divided many Star Wars fans.
In the game, you don’t get to play as Revan. Instead, you play as a character in either the Galactic Republic or Empire factions. You end up defeating Revan as he’s the final boss of two expansions for the game.
Some say that this story arc tarnishes his reputation as being one of the most powerful Force users alive as you can beat him fairly easily in the game.
My personal view is to follow the storylines and accept that Revan had to be taken down eventually. As time goes on, Force users evolve and more powerful. I love how Revan joined his light and dark side to become one with the Force at the end of the story. It perfectly encapsulates his journey as a character.
Related Perks/Special Abilities
Revan was an exceptionally talented swordsman. It hasn’t been stated which Lightsaber form he used, but you can choose to use any in the game, leading to the assumption that he was somewhat proficient in most of them. His combat abilities were proven when he defeated Mandalore the Ultimate in single combat.
He was even more powerful when using Force abilities. He was a master of Force lightning, telekinesis, Force choke, Force sense, mind control, and many more. Since he channeled both the Light and Dark Side of the Force, he was able to do more than any other Jedi or Sith could do with the Force.
Key Relationships and Quotes
- “I’m sorry, Carth. I wish this wasn’t true.” – consoling Carth Onasi as their crew discovers his true identity.
- “This is the way of the Dark Side, Malak. All things end in death.” – after he defeats Darth Malak on the Star Forge.
- “I think you’re interested in more than just the “bond” between us.” – a bit of flirtatious banter aimed at Bastila Shan.
Behind the Scenes
Revan is one of the most popular characters in the Legends continuity. There have been hundreds of requests from fans to bring him into the current Star Wars Canon. While we’ve all been hoping and dreaming, there have been two minor signs of Revan appearing in Canon.
The first comes from a deleted scene from the Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series. Anakin and Obi-Wan travel to a planet called Mortis. On the planet, a character called The Son had Darth Revan and Darth Bane as his advisors. The scene was deleted as George Lucas didn’t see the scene as compatible with how the Force works.
A more recent and hopeful sign of Revan came in the Rise of Skywalker Visual Dictionary. The Sith Trooper units from the movie are divided into legions, and each legion uses a name of an old Sith Lord. To everyone’s surprise, Revan is one of those names.
Question: What Was Revan’s Original Name?
Answer: Since you get to name your character in the first KOTOR game, Revan’s original name is up to whoever plays the game. Because of this, Revan was never given an original name and a name hasn’t been revealed in all the continuities he appears in.
This is quite strange, though, as Meetra Surik was given her name in all the Legends continuities.
Question: Who is Meetra Surik?
Answer: Meetra Surik is the character you play as in the second KOTOR game. When playing the game, everyone refers to you as the Jedi Exile and you get to choose your name and gender. However, the other Star Wars games and books state that the events of that game happened to a female Jedi named, Meetra Surik.
Meetra Surik and Revan were close friends in the days of the Mandalorian Wars. It was Meetra who carried out Revan’s orders of activating the Mass Shadow Generator that killed everyone on Malachor V to end that war. This is why she was exiled from the Jedi Order.
Question: How Important is Revan to Modern Star Wars Canon?
Answer: After Disney labeled most of the old Star Wars content as Legends, Revan became completely insignificant to everything stated as Canon. He technically didn’t exist in the same world as the movies until his name was seen in the Rise of Skywalker visual book.
It’s unclear at the moment whether Disney will choose to keep Revan’s same story arcs. They may change his story and character completely to fit the modern shows, movies, and books. Hopefully, they don’t alter his stories too much as Revan is one of the most interesting Star Wars characters to exist.
He lived an incredibly long life full of learning, fighting, conquering, redemption, and love. If you want to know what balance of the Force looks like, Revan is a very compelling character to investigate. It’s incredible how he was able to balance the Force and pull from both the Light and Dark Side.
If you want to learn more about his amazing story, the best thing to do would be to play the Knights of the Old Republic video games. Doing this will allow you to live in his shoes and have in-depth conversations with all the characters around him.
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