Kyle Katarn

Kyle Katarn’s Claim to Fame as the man who stole the First Death Star Plans.

Kyle Katarn with Bryar Pistol

Katarn in Dark Forces 2, Jedi Knight

The beginnings of Kyle Katarn.

Kyle Katarn is a farmer’s son who only went to the Carida imperial Academy for the educational opportunities. He had no idea his father was head of a local Alliance Resistance cell. His life turned upside down when he was told the Alliance murdered his Father. It turned upside down again when he ran into Jan Ors for the second time after his Cadet leader graduation mission, where he went against a Rebel communication center. She proved that his beloved father was murdered by the Empire. And so a Rebel was born.

His first missions include stealing the first Death Star plans from Danuta. He then investigated a secret Imperial project, Dark Troopers, that started out wiping out a Rebel Base. He broke Crix Madine out of an Imperial Prison and even fought Boba Fett on Nar Shaddaa. He also met up with Rianna Saren, who stole an updated set of the Death Star plans.

Opinions:

While some on Wookieepedia see the physical difference between Kyle having a beard in the Soldier for the Empire book and the video game Dark Forces to be a conflict, I don’t. His escape from the Empire alongside Jan Ors had the side effect of a dead Imperial Governor, and even in Soldier for the Empire it’s revealed that news of his defection has spread among his graduating class. It makes sense that he would grow or even wear a fake beard when going straight into an Imperial base when news of his defection is on the holonet and so recent.

Source:

  • Soldier for the Empire (Novella and audiodrama)
  • Dark Forces (Lucasarts)
  • Lethal Alliance (Lucasarts)

Continuity:

  • Nar Shaddaa, where he fights Boba Fett, again appears in Jedi Knight, Jedi Academy, Han Solo Trilogy by Ann Crispin, Star Wars The Old Republic, and various prequel era Dark Horse Comics.
  • Carida is the place Han Solo went to the Academy and was destroyed in Jedi Academy Trilogy by Kevin J. Anderson, and mentioned in detail in Han Solo Trilogy by Ann Crispin.
Rebel Agent Novella

Dark Forces, Rebel Agent cover art.

Kyle Katarn’s Destiny is the Force

After the death of the Empire, its revealed that while working for the Alliance he still considered himself an independent agent. He was trying to track down who, exactly was responsible for his Father’s death. This led to the revelation of the Spirit of the Jedi, Rahn. The Dark Jedi who killed Morgan Katarn is now seeking the location of the Valley of the Jedi, a place of great power. Morgan took the knowledge of its location to his death and now, a race is on to find the message he left for Kyle to find it. Kyle finds himself learning to be a Jedi on the fly as he pursues the map and finds the lightsaber his Father ’s friend Rahn left him. One at a time, or occasionally two at a time he took on Jerec’s dark Jedi crew and his Imperial troops, until it was Kyle against Jerec to save the Valley of Jedi and free the Jedi spirits trapped there.

Source:

  • Rebel Agent (Novella and audiodrama)
  • Jedi Knight (Novella and audiodrama)
  • Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight (Lucasarts)

Continuity:

  • Jerec also makes an appearance in the Galaxy of Fears YA series : Spore.
  • Ruusan and the Valley of the Jedi, as well as how the Valley gained its power, are shown in the Darth Bane series novels and Jedi VS Sith story arc by Dark Horse comics.

 

mysteries-of-the-sith-mara

Mara Jade in Mysteries of the Sith, seeks to save Kyle Katarn

Kyle Katarn Discovers Dromund Kaas!

Katarn joined forces with Mara Jade for a time. During this he was led to Dromund Kaas where the intense Dark Side presence drew him to the Dark Side. Mara however, successfully found and drew him back to the light. This rattled his confidence though and led him to turn in his lightsaber over to Luke Skywalker.

Source:

  • Jedi Knight 2 Mysteries of the Sith (Lucasarts Expansion)

Continuity:

  • Dromund Kaas also appears in Legacy of the Force, Fate of the Jedi series and is a playable planet in Star Wars the Old Republic.
Kyle and Jan

Kyle Katarn and Jan Ors begin their mission in Jedi Outcast

 The Force Reclaims Kyle Katarn

The Force wasn’t through with Katarn. He and Jan Ors discovered the Empire using crystals and experimenting on creating Force sensitivity in their droids and people. Driven to pick up his lightaber again, Kyle would end up in  showdown with a fallen Jedi, Dasaan, who had attended Luke Skywalker’s Jedi Academy.

  • Source:
    Jedi Knight: Jedi Outcast (Lucasarts)

Continuity:

  • Luke’s Jedi Academy on Yavin 4 was established in the Jedi Academy Trilogy by Kevin J. Anderson. It also is the location of much of the Young Jedi Knight and Junior Jedi Knight series.
  • Katarn went on to train Jedi apprentices, including Jaden Korr and Rosh Penin.

Source:

  • Jedi Academy (Lucasarts)
  • Crosscurrent by Paul S. Kemp
  • Riptide by Paul S. Kemp

Kyle Katarn in the New Jedi Order era.

Kyle went on to become the Jedi Battlemaster, fighting and surviving the Yuuzhan Vong war along with Jan Ors. He was on the Jedi Council during the crisis with Darth Caedus and fought him personally. He also was involved with the conflict with Daala during the Fate of the Jedi era.

  • Star Wars Tales 21: Equals & Opposites
  • Dark Nest Series
  • Legacy of the Force Series
  • Fate of the Jedi Series

Character Growth:

Over the course of his stories, Kyle starts out as angry and cynical. The murder of his Father left a mark and his life as an agent of Rebellion pretty much is about revenge. He isn’t entirely trusted, partly as a former Imperial and partly because he’s so much a free agent they don’t trust him to put the rebellion’s needs before his own.

As he learns about being a Jedi he is still keeping much to himself, in spite of his close working relationship with Jan Ors, who continuously saves him from trouble by backing him up even without knowing what his is doing or where he is doing it. In spite of some mistakes, he finally succeeds in defeating Jerec in a way that doesn’t send him spiraling into the Dark Side.

Kyle is still a lone wolf though at this point. A Jedi Academy exists but he is apart from it, teaming up at most with Mara Jade. Overconfident and going alone against the likes of the Sith world Dromund Kaas, his fall causes him to doubt himself, even though he is redeemed.

At last though a mission comes up, once more with Jan Ors, that brings him full circle. Once more the Empire is in pursuit of a way to use the Force against the New Republic. Only this time Jan is the one who gets hurt. Kyle is furious at her loss and desperate to track down who his responsible, someone who clearly can use the Force. Once more he returns to the Valley of the Jedi, using a shortcut to regain the power he is out of practice using. Kyle’s fury now is bypassed on finding Jan might be alive. But in the end there still is a showdown. Confidence regained, Katarn now shows himself a Jedi.

Now Katarn is ready to move on and become a full member of the Jedi, helping train others in hope (not always successful) that they will not make his mistakes. He doesn’t much go for the formal approach but cares about his students. Eventually he is on the Jedi Council and a full Master of the Order.

It’s an impressive character arc given that the vast majority of it is in video games. His wit in them stands out an anyone playing his character can appreciate those moments he wise cracks. “Not another thing to fall from!”  comes after many missions where sure enough, one may steer him over a cliff in spite of best efforts.  “Your joking right?” is another of his signature lines.

One of the great virtues of Kyle Katarn as that as a game character he has so much personality and character growth, yet the player is invested in him and in his mission. We get the opportunity to steal the Death Star Plans, and the missions only gets more amazing from there, taking on the Empire, Boba Fett, becoming a Jedi Knight, fighting the Dark Side and on into becoming one of his students.

Jedi Academy Game Review & Continuity

The Jedi Academy Game is a tie in that goes in all directions. By this I mean previous games, comics and books, as well as those that come after. For that alone I would love it. I also find it most helpful in that I had previously been stuck on Jedi Outcast. After playing this I found it gave me skills I needed to succeed at the earlier game.

Released the year after Attack of the Clones, it is a follow up on the popular ‘Dark Forces’ series. In this game, instead of playing Kyle Katarn, you play his apprentice, Jaden Korr. As you work up through the levels, you start out choosing whether to play male or female from 4 species and what styles to wear. You also get to choose from different lightsaber hilts.

Jedi Academy Player Character Options

Jedi Academy Player Character Options

The opening encounter introduces Rosh Penin, a fellow student and involves a shuttle crash onto the Yavin moon. We quickly find trouble at work in the form of Imperial allies who have dark Jedi companions. This sets the story for the game.  We also learn Jaden does already have at least some skill in the Force: already has built a lightsaber with no training.

The very important detail to continuity comes in the form of Jedi Master Luke Skywalker assigning students to teachers. He explains that the ‘old’ Jedi Order kept it one on one, but they did not yet have enough Jedi for that. This explains that this is not a contradiction with the Phantom  Menace and Attack of the Clones, (Revenge of the Sith wasn’t out yet) but a natural result of a decimated order. As he assigns students to teachers, familiar names from the Jedi Academy books are among them.

Jedi Academy Temple Training Area

Jedi Academy Temple Training Area

The first level is an awesome tie in  level. Jaden gets to run through the Yavin Academy and solve puzzles as the player learn about using the Force and the lightsaber. We get the basics immediately: push, pull, speed, jump. Some of this scenery we experienced in Jedi Outcast. And previously we had to earn (or re-earn) those powers. But it also ties in to other stories. This is what Jaina, Jacen, Anakin Solo and their friends would’ve gone through between scenes of the Young Jedi Knights and Junior Jedi Knights books.

Having warmed up, we are now ready to take on missions. We get to choose our weapons and which Force powers to boost first. Here we get to choose which order they come in. On one, we get to team up with Chewbacca. Some of the missions are just good deeds, others are a quest to find out why the Empire was sneaking around Yavin 4. We meet sandpeople, jawas, pirates and (of course) imperials.

Tie ins in the first set of missions:  (Jedi Initate)

Emergency Assistance – Bakura: is set on the world introduced in the Truce of Bakura by Kathy Tyers, first novel after the Thrawn trilogy.

Cult Investigation – Corellia: We’ve long heard Han Solo was Corellian, but the movies never showed it. It has popped up in Rogue Leader & X-Wing Rogue Squadron comics, I,Jedi and the Corellian trilogy novels. It is a hotspot in the Legacy of the Force novel series. We admittedly don’t see much outside of the flying tram.

Nod to another franchise:
Merchant Rescue – Blanjeel was inspired apparently by the Dune series.

Tie ins in the second set of missions: (Jedi Apprentice)

Jedi Academy Video Game - Vader's Stature on Vjun

Jedi Academy Video Game – Vader’s Stature on Vjun

Vjun – Exterior / Vjun – Castle Basement / Vjun – Vader’s Castle : the planet Vjun was first revealed in Dark Empire 2 comics and visited by Anakin Solo in Junior Jedi Knights, Vader’s Fortress. The planet was also base to Dooku in Yoda: Dark Rendezvous.

Now we need to choose whether to add a new style of lightsaber combat. Or we can choose to stick with what we got but choose duel lightsabers (pick your hilts and colors) like Anakin used in Attack of the Clones, or a double bladed saber, such as introduced by Exar Kun and later used by Darth Maul as well as Bastila Shan.

Tie ins in the third set of missions: (Jedi Knight)

Dismantle Device – Yalara – This level features the Noghri, made famous in the Thrawn trilogy. These noghri have been out of touch for awhile. They are not allies, even though they are fighting Imperials and will attack with poison gas.

Force Theft Investigation – Byss :  The planet Byss was first revealed in Dark Empire comics. It was destroyed in Empire’s End comics. It is the destroyed system that is visited in the game.

Taspir (which is all new) is where you are faced with the test of rescuing Rosh Penin, fellow student who (apparently) was captured and turned. At this point you have to choose whether to forgive him (and stay in the light) or kill him (and go to the Dark side.)

marka-ragnos-ghost

Korriban, Tomb of Marka Ragnos. He was first introduced in Golden Age of the Sith by Dark Horse Comics

Korriban – Catacombs / Korriban – Valley of the Dark Lords  : Korriban first appears in Tales of the Jedi,  comics. It reappears in Empire’s End (comics),  Knights of the Old Republic (game and comics), The Old Republic (game and comics), Legacy of the Force, Fate of the Jedi, Jedi Quest: The Final Showdown,Crosscurrent and Riptide (both of the latter starring Jaden Korr).

Somewhere in the third set of missions you have to choose to stay a Jedi of the Light or fall to the Dark Side.

For a real walkthrough, Check out this Gamespot article.

Jaden Korr - canon version

Jaden Korr – canon version as he is described in the books.

Each video game has one ending which is considered canon. In this case, it’s the light side ending. While Jaden Korr can be played with various options, the canon version is a white human male since that is ow he appears in the follow up books Riptide and Crosscurrent. (Which is a bit disappointing to me, given how many other options there were.)