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"Revan was power. Staring into his eyes was like staring into the heart of the Force. Even then, you could see the Jedi he would slay etched on his soul." — Jedi Master Kreia, in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
In the Star Wars universe, Darth Revan is a fallen Jedi and Dark Lord of the Sith. Darth Revan is featured in the video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, which is set 40 years after the Great Sith War and the fall of Exar Kun, or 3,956 years BBY.
NB: In the game, Revan may be either male or female. Due to incomplete programming, several points in the game indicate that Revan is male, but there is no canonically-stated preference. The player's choice of a male or female Revan will not change the game's endings or Revan's allies, so for the purpose of this article we will assume he is male.
Before the Wars
When Revan was first being trained as a Jedi Padawan, he was found to be very strong in the Force. His close friend Malak was strong in the Force as well, though Revan was undeniably the stronger of the pair. Revan's first Jedi Master was Kreia, though he learned from several others, including Masters Zhar, Dorak, and Kae. But after learning from these Masters, he came back to learn more from Kreia. After the Jedi Civil War, Kreia was overcome with guilt and confusion about Revan's fall. She journeyed to Malachor V, where she was corrupted by the dark side, becoming Darth Traya.
The Mandalorian Wars
Nearly 4,000 years before the events of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, a warrior race known as the Mandalorians began raiding worlds on the edge of the galaxy. The Jedi Order insisted on staying out of the war, hoping for a peaceful resolution to the threat. Revan, followed by fellow Jedi Malak, left with a force of rebellious Jedi Knights to defend the galaxy. After a series of battles, Revan and Malak crushed the Mandalorians and won the war, ending with a battle at the planet of Malachor V. By positioning some of his increasingly disloyal forces to the planet, Revan lured the Mandalorians to the planet, then crushed them with the "mass shadow generator" weapon, created by the Zabrak Bao-Dur.
At the final battle of the war, Revan discovered the Trayus Academy on Malachor V, where he was corrupted by the teachings of the Sith. The planet itself was an ancient storehouse of the Sith; steeped in a darkness so great that it almost destroyed Revan. He was able to survive this darkness only by giving into the dark side of the Force. Taking the mantle of Dark Lord of the Sith, he began to corrupt other Jedi easily.
The Star Forge
After his corruption, Revan took ships beyond the known galaxy in search of an ancient artifact known as the Star Forge. For several years prior to the war, Revan and Malak had been researching artifacts in reference to this powerful Star Forge. They discovered that it was a massive space station with the ability to produce an almost limitless number of ships, accomplished by siphoning power from a nearby star as well as feeding on the dark side energies imbued within it. Revan and Malak, now beholden to the dark side, created a massive fleet to destroy the Old Republic and the Jedi, reforming the ex-Republic forces who followed them into a militaristic empire.
The reinvigorated Sith won battle after battle, until a young Jedi named Bastila Shan entered the fray with her Battle Meditation. This rare and powerful Force ability increased the combat effectiveness of the Old Republic's forces and sapped the will of enemy combatants. Even with this power, however, the Old Republic's forces knew that they could not hold out forever against the Sith. In a desperate attempt to end the war, the Old Republic set a trap for Revan and Malak, during which Bastila and a team of Jedi boarded Revan's flagship and managed to corner the Dark Lord on the bridge. As one of the most powerful Sith Lords of all time, it is likely that Revan would have defeated Bastila and the remnants of her Jedi strike force. Unfortunately, Darth Malak chose that moment to attack his master's flagship, attempting to kill both Revan and Bastila at once. He fired upon the flagship from a nearby battle cruiser, but was successful in killing neither his master nor Bastila. Revan, nearly dead and mentally destroyed, was captured by the Jedi. His broken mind was reprogrammed by the Jedi Council to hide the Dark Lord's old identity, while enabling the Jedi to use Revan's subconscious memories to locate the Star Forge and destroy it.
Revan was enlisted as a soldier in the Old Republic army and placed under Bastila's command on the Old Republic warship Endar Spire. Malak, thinking his master dead, devoted all his forces to the hunt for Bastila. In orbit over the world of Taris, the Endar Spire was attacked by a Sith fleet and destroyed. Bastila managed to escape to the planet's surface, followed soon after by Revan and fellow Republic soldier Carth Onasi. The Sith blockaded Taris, intent on capturing Bastila. They were unaware that the young female Jedi had already been taken prisoner by a swoop gang called the Black Vulkars, who intended to give her to the winner of an underground swoop racing tournament as a slave. Revan eventually succeeded in rescuing her when he infiltrated and won the tournament. In orbit, Darth Malak, deciding that the search for Bastila was taking too long, gave the order to destroy the entire planet. Positioning themselves in strategic positions, the ships of his fleet unleashed a devastating planetary bombardment that wiped out nearly all life on Taris's surface. Revan, Bastila, and Carth, along with their newfound crew, barely escaped in time aboard the Ebon Hawk, formerly the personal spaceship of the late Taris crimelord Davik Kang.
Revan and his companions fled to the Jedi stronghold of Dantooine, where Bastila convinced the Jedi academy council to retrain the amnesic Dark Lord in the ways of the Jedi. After Revan completed his formal training, he and Bastila were sent to investigate an ancient stone structure. Inside, the two uncovered an ancient artifact known as a Star Map, a relic of the long-forgotten Infinite Empire of the Rakata. Though the Map was not complete, it pointed the way to the worlds of Tatooine, Kashyyyk, Manaan, and Korriban, on which more Star Maps could be found. Only with the combined information of these five worlds, Revan discovered, could the location of a mysterious Rakatan artifact called the "Star Forge" be found.
Revan, Bastila, and their companions journeyed to these worlds, tracing the steps Darth Revan had taken years before. On each planet, the powerful dark side aura of the Star Maps had created perilous conditions that made access to the Maps difficult. Additionally, the crew of the Ebon Hawk found themselves hunted by Sith and bounty hunters, and confronted with the problems of the local populace at every turn.
After discovering the fourth Star Map, Revan and his allies were captured by the Sith flagship Leviathan. They managed to escape from their holding cells, but, as they fled toward the Ebon Hawk, Revan was confronted by Darth Malak, who revealed to him his former life as the Dark Lord of the Sith. A vicious lightsaber duel ensued, culminating with Bastila's capture by Malak. Revan was forced to deal with Malak's revelation and his loss of Bastila as the quest for the Star Forge stepped up, until at last it was found in the home system of the ancient Rakata.
After gaining the support of this race, Revan was forced to confront a fallen Bastila. Following weeks of torture at Malak's hand, Bastila had at last given in to her hate and had fallen to the dark side. She was now, she claimed, the Dark Lord's new apprentice. His original apprentice, a former Jedi named Darth Bandon, had previously been slain by Revan during the search for the Star Maps.
Atop an ancient Rakatan temple, Bastila attempted to entice Revan to reclaim his former title of Dark Lord of the Sith. This was the climax of the quest for the Star Forge, and it ended with Revan, once again, making a choice that would change the fate of the galaxy.
Alternative Dark Side Ending
Accepting her offer, Revan and Bastila struck down the Jedi Jolee Bindo and Juhani, the stain of their blood on the temple stone symbolizing Revan's return to power.
Returning to his starship, the Ebon Hawk, Revan explained the absence of Jolee and Juhani to his stunned party. Shocked by his return to the dark side, Carth Onasi fled, leaving Mission Vao to be mercilessly struck down by Revan. (Alternatively, Revan uses his mind-dominating force powers to convince Zaalbar to kill Mission or Revan must kill both Mission and Zaalbar).
Flying to the Star Forge, Bastila used her Battle Meditation to thwart the Old Republic fleet, allowing Revan to penetrate the depths of the Star Forge to fight with Darth Malak. Striking Malak down ruthlessly, Revan regained his rightful place as Dark Lord of the Sith.
Using the resources he now commanded as Master of the Star Forge, Revan created an infinite fleet that rolled forth to crush the Old Republic. Surprisingly, however, Revan soon halted his offensive. It was noted as odd that Revan deliberately avoided striking the Republic's manufacturing facilities in his previous war, and again that he seemingly ended the Star Forge's production of vessels early. Bastila Shan, in a holocron discovered on Korriban, reported that Revan mysteriously vanished one day and told her to wait for him. Without its strong leader, the Forge atrophied and was destroyed. It is assumed that Darth Revan visited all his former strongholds searching for something that is not yet readily apparent. It is known, however, that he headed for the Unknown Regions with the intent of stopping something menacingly powerful, something that was apparently responsible for initially coercing the Mandalorians to invade. Revan's former master, Kreia, suggests that Revan was searching for the original Sith Empire.
Canonical Light Side Ending
Revan made the choice of a Jedi, rejecting Bastila's temptation. Enraged, Bastila retreated to the Star Forge. Revan and the crew of the Ebon Hawk pursued her as an Old Republic fleet commenced an assault of its own.
Aboard the Star Forge, Revan faced off against Bastila once again. After defeating her, he succeeded in convincing her to return to the light side by drawing on the powerful bond of love that had formed between the two during the course of their quest. Finally, Revan again confronted his old friend and apprentice, Malak, in an epic lightsaber duel, while the Old Republic fleet, now no longer hindered by Bastila's Battle Meditation, continued its bombardment of the Star Forge. During their duel, Malak continually sucked the lifeforce from Jedi held in stasis to replenish his energies, but even this was not enough to defeat Revan. At last, Malak was cut down. Before his friend's death, Revan apologized for starting him down the dark path, even though Malak had continued down it willingly. Malak accepted his apology, realizing that he had no one to blame for his fate save himself. Then Darth Malak, Dark Lord of the Sith, died, his life ending in darkness and regret, and the Star Forge was destroyed.
A year after the defeat of Malak and the collapse of the Sith Empire, Revan left the Old Republic, having remembered the remnants of the ancient Sith Empire he had rediscovered as the Dark Lord. Hoping to put an end to the threat it posed before it could attack the weakened Old Republic, Revan bade farewell to the nine comrades who had accompanied him on his quest, knowing that none whom he loved could safely accompany him in the places he had to walk.
He entrusted Carth Onasi with the Old Republic's safety, and said goodbye to Bastila. "It would have been better," Kreia would later remark, "if he had made her understand. But she was always strong-willed, that one, and did not understand war as Revan did." Then Revan disappeared, leaving the Ebon Hawk with T3-M4 and HK-47 on the edge of Known Space. It is believed that the exile may have chosen to search out his former commander and assist him in his mission.
If Revan ever completed his self-appointed mission and returned to the Old Republic and his waiting friends is unknown.
NB: In the sequel to Knights of the Old Republic, Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, both endings are left open as possibilities, the course of events after Malak's death being nearly the same regardless of Revan's choice. Despite this, Lucasfilm has stated that the true, historically canonical ending is the light side choice.
Revan as Master Planner
One of the most interesting revelations in The Sith Lords is one many gamers have missed, concerning Revan himself. Whereas the first game implied that Revan's actions in the Mandalorian Wars caused Revan to fall to the dark side of the Force, The Sith Lords features characters that knew Revan before and after his fall.
These characters point out that Revan, during the Wars, discovered something outside the realm of the Old Republic: the original Sith Empire, believed to have collapsed millennia ago. In learning this, the characters say, Revan felt compelled to protect the galaxy from this threat. Under this revelation and others, Revan's actions become quite different than the rash, destructive goals of Darth Malak and other, later, Sith. These include:
- Ignoring, militarilly, any planet with a strong industrial infrastructure: one that would be required to defend the galaxy against the unknown threat. Revan's plan was to leave the Old Republic's infrastructure intact, giving him a relatively functional military and economy to work with once he had conquered the galaxy, rather than starting from scratch. Also, had he failed in conquering the galaxy, the end result would have remained: a stronger, more capable Republic.
- Use of assassin droids, such as HK-47, to assassinate those who would have destablized local governments, planets, or entire sectors.
- Focus on conversion, rather than murder, of Jedi. In joining the dark side (or at the very least, abandoning the constrictive Jedi teachings), these Dark Jedi would be stronger against the ancient Sith Empire.
Even Revan's fall to the dark side of the Force takes a considerable new angle with this new information. Darth Traya even goes so far as to stubbornly believe that Revan did not fall to the dark side: When Revan was faced with the power of the dark side on Malachor V, he came to believe that a Dark Lord of the Sith was the only one who could defeat the old Sith Empire. Embracing the dark side, Revan founded a new Sith Empire to defeat the old. To save the galaxy, he would conquer it. To become the galaxy's greatest hero, he would become its greatest villain.
In an ironic turn of events, Revan succeeded and failed at his task. Unexpectedly betrayed by Darth Malak, Revan's plans were quickly quashed by his brash and violent apprentice, who sought to destroy the Old Republic entirely. It was only fate that kept Revan alive, being reborn with little existing memory of his earlier self. Using his slowly-returning memories, Revan was accomplishing his original tasks. His memories more fully restored, Revan left to take the fight to the Old Sith Empire.
It is unknown if Revan succeeded or failed at his task. This is assumed to be a key aspect of any new Knights of the Old Republic game. Some argue that Revan succeeded at his task - the next Sith to succeed was merely a corrupted Republic official. Others argue that Revan failed in his task, stating that regardless of "Old Sith" or "New Sith," the Sith do triumph against the Republic - it merely takes them 4000 years.
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