Revan vs. Dark Disciple
Thousands of Years Apart;
But Similarities Abound
With a lull between Star Wars new canon novel releases (I currently have Catalyst, Ahsoka, Empire’s End, and Thrawn on pre-order), I’m taking the opportunity to expand my Star Wars Legends knowledge. This past weekend, I was transported back in time nearly 4,000 years on the Star Wars Legends timeline.
Well, 3,950 years BBY (“Before the Battle of Yavin”) to be precise.
The period is well known by many Star Wars fans as the Old Republic Era in which tales from the Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) reside. It’s many accounts were spawned from the KOTOR video game’s release in 2003 and popular characters had their stories continued in various forms of media.
One of the most well-known characters is Revan, a Jedi who turns to the dark side and then is redeemed.
But Revan’s similarities to the most famous Jedi turned evil turned good is not where this post is focused. No, in fact while reading Drew Karpyshyn’s novel Star Wars The Old Republic: Revan, I drew many more similarities between Revan and the main characters in Christie Golden’s novel Dark Disciple.
Karpyshyn’s novel tells Revan’s story in the years following the events of the KOTOR game. Revan’s popularity warranted that the rest of his story be told. Golden’s novel continues the story mainly of Asajj Ventress, whose popularity also had Star Wars fans wanting more. The other main character in Dark Disciple is Quinlan Vos, who I also found very much like Revan.
Caution: Potential Spoilers Ahead
If you’ve read both novels, you probably already know where I’m headed. If you haven’t, proceed with caution as the rest of this post contains some plot specifics about each novel, although I’ll be careful not to spoil the ending of the books in case you haven’t read either one. I’m confident you can finish this post having not read either book and still pick them up later and enjoy them.
Revan & Quinlan Vos
I didn’t draw any comparison to these two male Jedi until the latter half of the book when Revan was locked in a cell for years drugged, tortured, and interrogated – severely. Much like Vos, Revan was captured by Sith and held captive for a very significant period of time. Both authors describe in detail how the characters battled the Dark Side and leaned on the Force as their only way of dealing with the enormous pressures their mind, body, and souls were forced to undertake.
From there, the connections between Revan and Vos really hit home. Like Revan, Vos was lured to the Dark Side and partnered with the Sith (Malak & Dooku). Like Revan, Vos witnessed his partner’s demise at the hand of a Sith Lord (Scourge & Dooku). Like Revan, Vos returned to the Light and reaffirmed himself as Jedi.
Revan & Asajj Ventress
Revan may have returned to the Light and his standing in the Jedi Order re-established, but the novel makes a point to explain that following the events of KOTOR, Revan preferred to be incognito about his affiliation. He ended up as an outcast for various reasons, including his renouncing the Jedi way of not forming attachments and engaging in marriage. It reminded me of Ventress, who was betrayed many times by her Sith master and resorted to a life of bounty hunting and otherwise wanted to hide the fact she at one time aligned herself as a member of the Sith Order and later outright denounced the Sith.
From there, the similarities began to fall in line for me: Like Revan, Ventress’ mission was to destroy the opponent’s perceived leader to stop a war (The Emperor, Imperial ruler & Dooku, leader of the Separatists). Like Revan, Ventress is hell bent on destroying her former master (Emperor & Dooku).
But perhaps the biggest reason I linked Revan and Ventress after reading both novels was how they both – being former Sith and for a season only looking inwardly at themselves – end up sacrificing themselves for the good of others. Each in their own unique way of course, as the novels end very differently.
And I’ll leave it right there.
Of course the storylines could probably be applied to many Star Wars accounts and perhaps countless other stories of different genre. But there was something about Revan and his story that made me think of Quinlan Vos and Asajj Ventress. Probably a coincidence because Golden replied to my tweet asking about a certain scene Kapryshyn’s novel stating she wasn’t familiar with it.
Still, I can’t deny that both books contain stories of Jedi turned Sith, then Sith turned Jedi, and eventually two beings who kind of end up somewhere in the middle doing something uncharacteristic in a moment of clarity. Thousands of years apart but forever intertwined because of their journeys, because of their will, because of the Force.
May the Force be with you.