Cody “Micajah” Bye, Managing Editor
In all honesty, there’s probably nothing that’s
impacted my life more than the first time I watched the Star Wars
Trilogy. When my father first inserted that video cassette into our
ancient VHS player, I was a mere five years old and the epic anthem of
the opening credits would blare in my mind for decades to come. Through
the years I collected any piece of Star Wars memorabilia I could find
and afford: books, roleplaying and collectible card games, LEGOs, and
action figures were all part of my massive and ever-growing collection.
To say I was obsessed would have been an understatement.
When I first heard that George Lucas was going to continue the epic
story of Star Wars, I – like so many other Star Wars fanatics
– was thrilled. Questions swirled in my head. Which part of
the universe would he explore? How would he depict the Jedi? What sort
of fantastic journey would we be going on next? The expanded universe
of the Star Wars novels and comic books had opened up a completely new
portion of Star Wars that was still being revealed, and Lucas had a
veritable treasure trove of creative talent to help make his decision.
Knights of the Old
Republic was an incredible best seller.
Yet Lucas’ prequel episodes – in the eyes of many
– were lackluster. I was one of those disappointed fans; an
individual that had spent hundreds of dollars in devotion to a
franchise that ended up giving me a pre-teen Anakin Skywalker
(“Yippee!”) and a pidgin-speaking alien. After the
first two prequel episodes, droves of fans swore off the series
altogether and turned elsewhere for the science fiction fix. But the
Star Wars franchise continues to command one of the largest fan bases
in all of pop culture.
Some of the franchise’s remaining popularity can be squarely
attributed to the success of Bioware’s Star Wars: Knights of
the Old Republic (KOTOR), which has sold well over a million copies.
The open-ended stories that Bioware told within KOTOR were
award-winning, and many fans that had lost hope in Star Wars could feel
that soaring John William’s anthem rise in their soul again.
Now with the announcement of a Knights of the Old Republic MMOG, Star
Wars fans are beginning to whip themselves into a frenzy once again.
Forums are abuzz with the possibilities of a KOTOR online game and what
it means for Star Wars players. Unfortunately, many individuals who are
eagerly awaiting the release of KOTOR Online really don’t
know all the details behind the Knights of the Old Republic. I
constantly hear questions regarding the Jedi and the Sith, and how
those powerful individuals are going to be depicted in an online game.
Will there be thousands of Jedi running across the universe? How will
Bioware be able to justify having more than two Sith? Who will the
players fight against? What kind of storyline will players follow?
For those players that do have those particular types of questions,
you’re in luck. Although my knowledge of Star Wars is far
from comprehensive, I can certainly assist those individuals who have
general fears about the setting and timeline of Star Wars. Thankfully,
things are not as restrictive as you may believe.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be exploring different aspects
of the background of Star Wars and the Knights of the Old Republic, and
how these pieces of Star Wars history will help Bioware construct a
Star Wars game that will be full of what players desire from the Star
For my opening article, I really want to hit on an important article
for any Star Wars fan, whether they’re obsessive or not. The
The Jedi Knights in the
Era of the Old Republic
There is no emotion; there is
There is no ignorance;
there is knowledge.
There is no passion;
there is serenity.
There is no death, there
is the Force.
- The Jedi Code
Anyone who’s even the least bit interested in Star Wars knows
about the Jedi and their stoic ways. Yet in the original trilogy and
the prequels, the Jedi Knights seem to be a smaller organization, with
few agents ever seen and the entire population of
“good” Force wielders in danger of being driven
into extinction by various outside forces, including their
philosophical rivals, the Sith. Thankfully, the Knights of the Old
Republic chronology places it completely out of the timeline of the
movies, to an era that’s holds a much higher number of Jedi:
the era of the Old Republic.
The era of the Old
Republic is 4,000 years long.
Spanning a 4,000 year long timeline, the era of the Old Republic begins
after the fall of the original Sith Empire (5,000 years before
“A New Hope”) and continues until the very
beginning of the Rise of the Empire (1,000 years before “A
New Hope”). This is the era in which Bioware’s
original best-selling Star Wars game, Knights of the Old Republic
place and features a time where the Jedi are plentiful and powerful.
Despite the portrayal of the Jedi in the original Bioware game (you
only see a handful of Jedi), there are a fairly large number of Jedi
throughout the galaxy.
Throughout the whole Star Wars expanded universe, almost every mention
of the Jedi depicts them as the “watchdogs” or
“police officers” of the galaxy. It seems that
wherever there’s a threat, a Jedi is more than ready to slip
on the mantle of justice and fight against evil and oppression. While
neither the novels nor the original Bioware game ever give exact
numbers on the number of Jedi in the galaxy, it’s apparent
that there are enough of them to disperse across to the far reaches and
either help out local populations or do their own sort of research.
On top of that, the Jedi are also noted scholar and philosophers, so
it’s not without reason to assume that a vast number of Jedi
are not roaming the galaxy but instead are holed up in a library some
where, finding out the origins of their past. Were there more Jedi
Knights on Coruscant than those shown in the Jedi Council chambers in
the movies? Absolutely. According to the StarWars.com website some 200 Jedi were still available during the
, a number that was "spread thin."
The Jedi ability to use the
Force inexplicably began to diminish. This,
coupled with increasing violence in the galaxy sparked by a Separatist
movement overburdened the valiant protectors. Their ranks were spread
thin trying to maintain the peace, and many Jedi fell during the
crisis. When it came to war, and the first shots of the Clone Wars were
fired on Geonosis, only a scant 200 Jedi were readily available for the
Although the Knights of the Old Republic games did focus on a large,
galaxy-shaking type scenario in each of the two games; there was
certainly more going on in the universe than those two particular
events. Some fans of the Bioware games may know this, but the Knights
of the Old Republic series was actually introduced toward the later end
of 1993 by bestselling author Kevin J. Anderson and Dark Horse Comics.
In the ongoing comic book series titled Tales of the Jedi, Anderson
compiles a series of stories surrounding some of the major players in
Star Wars universe between the years of 4,000 and 3,986 years before
“A New Hope.”
Due to a very similar timeline in Bioware’s Knights of the
Old Republic games (which were set right around 4,000 years before
ANH), it can be surmised that there were far more Jedi – in
fact many, many more – during that time period. Enough for
their to be several different Sith assailants upon the Galactic
Republic at the same time or a whole host of Jedi Knights wandering
about the galaxy. In just a few of the comics, you find characters like
Nomi Sunrider, Vima Sunrider, Ulic Qel-Droma and a number of
On top of that, there are also several different variations of Force
wielders throughout the Star Wars universe. Unlike what some people
assume, not every Force adept person in the Star Wars universe chooses
to follow the path of the Jedi or Sith. Aside from the Jedi and the
Sith, Bioware might include character options in their game like the Dathomir
witches, the Potentium heretic or any sort of strange hermit
that may have simply become a shaman type of character to their tribe.
The official Star
Wars website stated that only 200 Jedi were there to assist in the
If Bioware was creating their game’s backstory with an eye on
potentials, it would make sense for every character in their title to
be a “Force sensitive” or someone that has at least
some aptitude for manipulating the force, whether it be to simply
affect gambling results or full on Force powers. It’d be
silly to make the game in any other way, and it’d be
impressive to see players that don’t have Force powers able
to manipulate certain interactions within the game if they opted to
perfect a particular element of their inherent
The question that does remain is whether or not Bioware will ask
players to “work” to make their characters into
full-blown Jedi. Almost all of the Star Wars lore points directly at
characters – even the most Force talented –
requiring at least a bit of training in order to unlock their full
potential. If Bioware opts to go this route, we may see players opting
to create a variety of different characters before diving into the
“Jedi” role. One particularly interesting facet of
Jedi training Bioware might follow is the idea of Jedi Masters and their Padawans
Much like a "mentoring" system in other games, Bioware could definitely
use this system to help new characters attain higher ranks within the
And the official Star Wars website even states that Jedi training is no
easy task. Here's a snippet from the official
To become a Jedi requires the
deepest commitment and most serious mind.
It is not a venture to be undertaken lightly. As such, Jedi instruction
is rigidly structured and codified to enforce discipline and hinder
transgression. Only 20 Jedi have ever voluntarily renounced their
commissions. It is with great regret that the Jedi order recognizes the
so-called "Lost Twenty." A Jedi who fails in his training can be a very
serious threat. The dark side of the Force beckons to the impatient,
and students in the past have been lured to its call with devastating
In any case, Bioware has plenty of freedom to allow players to create
whatever type of character they wish, be they Jedi Knight, alternate
Force wielder, or common smuggler. While the mechanics behind becoming
a Jedi – whether players have to “train”
their minds or not – has yet to be determined, it’s
safe to assume that there will be at least a few hundred Jedi running
around each of Bioware’s KOTOR servers.
Although that number may be a bit high for the Star Wars universe,
it’s not entirely unfeasible. I’m sure the
developers at Bioware have taken all of these various factors into
their thinking, and as players you shouldn’t be afraid to see
a game filled with Jedi. Even if it does happen, expect Bioware to have
a threat that’s equally capable of destroying legions of
So fear not, Star Wars fans. The Jedi are perfectly safe in
Bioware’s world, and they’re here to stay. But if
you're more of an "evil" type of character, make sure you check back in
with Ten Ton Hammer when we take a look at the history of the Sith!