The Tides of Revan
By: Stacey Cline
Behind the Mask
A Jedi. A Sith. A Jedi once more.
Throughout galactic history there have been many individuals who abandoned their trainings and changed sides. Whether this be for a noble cause or something more sinister, each instance plights the order of the galaxy in some way or another.
But what happens if the individual were to change sides again?
This is where Revan comes in. You may know him from Star Wars: The Old Republic video games, the Star Wars Tales comic, or the 2011 novel, The Old Republic: Revan by Drew Karpyshyn. Every character in our beloved universe is unique, but this is especially true about Revan.
His journey comes out to be one of the most twisted, coolest tales of the timeline.
The Jedi Crusader
Revan was born in 3994 BBY and was soon after accepted into the Jedi Order. He trained alongside Alek, later Darth Malak, on both Coruscant and Dantooine.
In his youth he displayed a deep hunger for knowledge, and that need for wisdom led Revan to be a determined Padawan before reaching Knighthood. This desire was also a cause for concern for the Jedi Order, a desire that could --and would-- lead him down a dark path. He became a well known and respected member of the Jedi Order, often called charismatic throughout its ranks.
These charismatic traits reached their peak during the Mandalorian War, where he became known as the Jedi’s Crusader for his outrage at the Order’s refusal to aid the Republic as the number of civilian and military casualties continued to rise.
The Jedi have always been slow to action, encouraging patience, and so they encouraged Revan to use the same patience, fearing their true enemy had not yet been revealed. Revan wasn’t having it; after all...wasn't this a just cause?
Innocent people were dying while the Jedi sat back. He amassed a following of soldiers and departed to the front lines, against the Order’s wishes.
Revan’s insatiable thirst for knowledge led him, along with his companion Malak, to Malachor V and, willingly, to the Sith Temple hidden there. Thus began the pair’s fall to the dark side.
While Revan's fall wasn't immediate, it was intense beyond belief. After the Mandalorian Wars came to an end, under the heavy influence of the seductive dark side, Revan led a sizeable invasion fleet to Coruscant.
He declared war on the Republic, ultimately wanting to unite the galaxy under a single ruler in order to defeat the Sith Empire. This would never happen. Revan’s long time companion, now Darth Malak, betrayed him; ordering his fleet to fire on Revan’s flagship.
After all...there is no place in the dark side for alliances or trusting your long-time friends to not attempt to kill you.
Fields of Memory
Gravely injured, Revan was taken to Dantooine by the Jedi, Bastila Shan, where he was healed, stripped of his memories, and given a new identity. Unsurprisingly, Revan struggled with his forgotten memories and they threatened to consume him throughout his recovery.
Even though they were wiped, they refused to be forgotten.
Slowly creeping back to him, he was constantly plagued with obscure visions that terrified him. He knew there was something there. Something big, vital to galactic peace. And he was going to figure it out.
But what really brought Revan to this point? Was it the impatience that the Jedi have warned against throughout galactic history? Was it the Jedi’s belief that emotional attachments and thinking led to dark paths? If Revan had waited, would the Sith Empire have raised its ugly head on its own? Was his need for more knowledge -- another red flag for the Jedi -- what ultimately led him, willingly, to the Dark side? Or was it the effects of war?
As Revan continued to struggle with the erased memories, he decided to leave his life with Shan, his now wife who was pregnant with their child, on Coruscant and went out in search of answers to his past.
Even with a memory wipe, the Jedi were unable to rid Revan of his thirst for knowledge or his willingness to fight for others
On his journey he was captured by the Sith and eventually teamed up with the Sith that captured him, Scourge and Nyriss, to defeat the Emperor. Revan was given the mask of Mandalore, an artifact that he wore during the Mandalorian wars, which returned to him his memories when he put it on.
He could finally recall what happened to him and what was so vital to the survival of the galaxy -- thanks to a Sith.
But you can't trust a Sith...a lesson that Revan still had not grasped. He was once again betrayed, captured and tortured by the Emperor, and kept teetering on the edge of life and death for centuries while the Emperor fed on Revan’s power. The Emperor linked his mind to Revan’s in attempt to usurp his knowledge, but this allowed Revan to impress his own will on the Emperor, unbeknownst to the Emperor of course, slowing down his invasion of the Republic as long as he could.
He would never see his family again.
Maintaining the Balance
Revan tried to walk the gray line between the light and the dark.
The valiant warrior attempted to ride the line by taking a few things from each side and avoiding the extremism that often accompanies either. It was his frustration with the Jedi’s unwillingness to act, partly due to their denial of emotional thinking, alongside his need for knowledge that set him down his treacherous path to the dark side.
However, it was that same need for knowledge that allowed him to save his family and prolong the Republic’s position against the Sith Empire by making the sacrifice he did. He could have given up all of the Republic’s information to the Emperor, he could have chosen to turn back to the Dark side instead of fight the Emperor, but his constant torture forced him to separate his mind.
He focused on the Force, while the other part dealt with the terror and pain forced upon him. He would one day be freed, losing his advantage in the Emperor’s mind, and going on to fight the battle with Empire as a fully realized Jedi warrior.
There is so much more left to Revan’s story. After all...his fight didn’t end here. He proved himself resilient, despite the unspeakable things that he experienced at the hands of comrades and friends. He sacrificed a life with his wife and never knew his child in order to battle for their future, the future of his grandchildren, and the lives of all other citizens in the galaxy. Even when he was led astray, he began with good intentions and maintained those intentions even under the harshest circumstances, the roughest tides.
Would you be able to make the same sacrifices?
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About Stacey Cline
Stacey lives in North Carolina and works in an office by day. She is a ‘round-the-clock Star Wars fan and enjoys discussing fan theories, movie tie-ins, and all sorts of Star Wars jargon with anyone who will listen. When she's not thinking about a galaxy far, far away Stacey can be found spending time with her family, enjoying a margarita on the rocks, or pretending to be a chef.
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