This is an exciting week for fans of the hit video game Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR). On Friday, October 7th, EA/BioWare, the maker of the game will release details on its upcoming expansion Knights of the Eternal Throne.
For those who are unfamiliar with the game, Star Wars: The Old Republic is a massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), think World of Warcraft here. The hallmark of SWTOR is that it places a tremendous emphasis on immersing you in great Star Wars stories, and in that regard, the game does not disappoint.
The stories of SWTOR take place approximately 3,000 years prior to the events of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. What’s interesting about SWTOR is that its place in Star Wars’ lore is undecided.
At Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, I attended a story group panel titled One Big Story: Working Within the Star Wars Canon. During the panel, a fan noted that he had seen a Story Group credit for Shadow of Revan, the game’s expansion that was current in 2015, and asked if that meant the stories of SWTOR were canon.
Pablo Hidalgo stated that a Story Group mention was not a badge of canon, but he also went on to say, “Until we start delving into the deep past of the Star Wars universe, we’re probably not going to make a statement one way or another… I mean the deep past in any other media.”
Star Wars: The Old Republic is in an awkward place. It’s like the Schrodinger’s cat of Star Wars. The stories are not canon, nor are they definitively part of the Expanded Universe. SWTOR is one of the few mediums that is actively creating new Star Wars stories that are not canon.
Given the disparate timeframes between SWTOR and the movies, story collision seems unlikely, but when you have Luke Skywalker combing the galaxy in search of the first Jedi temple, you’re delving into the deep past of a galaxy far, far away.
Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens ended with Luke and Rey standing on the grounds of what is believed to be the first Jedi temple. The planet Luke is on is a new one called Ach-to. I had hoped that Luke was on Tython. Tython appeared in Drew Karpyshyn’s 2007 novel Darth Bane: The Rule of Two, where it was described as the birthplace of the Jedi Order; a notion that was carried over into Star Wars: The Old Republic. It should be noted that Drew Karpyshyn wrote the story for the original Knights of the Old Republic video game, and is a writer for Star Wars: The Old Republic. It should come as no surprise that SWTOR would draw upon elements from all of his Star Wars works.
It’s not clear how the discovery of the first Jedi temple will impact SWTOR, but it does place the new canon in the same neighborhood of The Old Republic. Even if Episode VIII were to invalidate Tython as the birthplace of the Jedi, it’s not the worst thing in the world. The one great thing about telling stories, is you can always create new ones to course correct, and it’s better for the game’s chances of becoming canon if they can bring their stories in line with the new trilogy so they share the same deep history. As a fan of Star Wars: The Old Republic, I would love to see characters such as Darth Revan and HK-47 earn a spot in the canon alongside other recent additions such as Grand Admiral Thrawn.
The Cantina Cast
The wretched hive your Jedi Master warned you about!