Dark Forces primarily starts life as a video game. Built on the old Dos System, by modern standards its pretty out of date. But this pixelated adventure starring Kyle Katarn (the player) is the first critical movie tie in. That’s because it is Kyle Katarn who steals the primary, complete plans of the Death Star that allows Luke Skywalker to blow it up.
Kyle’s adventure only begins here. The game continues with him tracking down piece by piece the details of the special Dark Trooper project and rescuing General Madine from an Imperial prison.
Dark Forces: Soldier for the Empire Novella and Audio Drama.
This is the story of how and why Kyle ends up going after those Death Star plans in the first place. The son of a craftsman, he went to the Imperial Military Academy at Carida as it was the cheapest way to get an education. He was unaware that his father was a leader of the moon of Sulon’s resistance. His final test as a cadet before graduation was to take a Rebel held asteroid. There, in the chaos, he meets Jan Ors and finds himself unable to kill her. But even as he is on this mission, the Dark Jedi Jerec is pacifying Sulon, the moon of Sullust, framing the Rebels for the deed and Morgan Katarn pays the price.
Kyle himself receives word that his father was killed by Rebels. But on shipping out on leave, he runs into Jan again, who has evidence to the contrary. Kyle, motivated to join the Rebels, agrees to his first mission, an apparent suicide mission to steal the Death Star Plans from a secure Imperial base.
The novella has the added perspective of showing things from Jan Ors point of view as well as Kyle’s. It includes a very important quote, which explains why it seems so many others seem responsible for the Death Star Plans:
The only thing better than a well-laid plan is a well conceived backup plan. Our forces on Toprawa may have a shot at the Death Star plans as well. The problem is, that while the Toprawa plans include the battle station’s hull design and life support infrastructure, the Danuta plans include additional engineering schematics and, if we’re lucky, a complete map to the offensive and defensive weapons impalements. We need both sets to ensure success. – Mon Mothma to Jan Ors.
Influences on the Galaxy:
- Danuta will appear in the video game Lethal Alliance, where Rianna Saren steals an updated set of the same plans. She does meet Kyle who offers her a job that eventually leads her to join the Alliance.
- Sullust is mentioned in the movies, but the Sorusuub corporation mentioned here is mentioned in West End games and other books as being a Sullustan company that supports the Empire. The colonists were building there own G-Tap power source to avoid dealing with the company. Sorusuub also builds starships, such as Han Solo’s first ship, the Bria.
- Meck Odom, AKA Odom Meck, a friend of Kyle’s is a mentioned as being a member of the Bomarr monks. These spiritualists are seen in Galaxy of Fear series, Tales of Jabba’s Palace and mentioned in X-Wing Rogue Squadron as well as DarkSaber.
- Carida the military academy is visited and mentioned in the Han Solo Trilogy by Ann Crispin, and is a major player in the Jedi Academy Trilogy.
- Thrawn, at the time a Captain, is revealed to have served under the Dark Jedi Jerec.
- Lando Calrissian meets Kyle here on the Star of Empire, and his droid Vuffi Raa (from the Lando Calrissian trilogy) is mentioned though not by name.
- Phrik: the substance Kyle discovered being mined for Dark Troopers is lightsaber resistant and appears again in Knights of the Old Republic (comic), Darth Plagueis, Republic Commando: Triple Zero, Labyrinth of Evil, Star Wars Galaxies, Scourge, The Old Republic, and the Clone Wars micro series.
Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight Video Game
Kyle discovers that the dark Jedi Jerec is his father’s killer. Details of how and why lead Kyle (the player) through Nar Shadaa’s city after a data disc containing information. Upon retrieving it, Kyle has to return to Sulon, and find his father’s droid Wee Gee, the only one who can decrypt the message on it. Kyle discovers his Father’s secret and what Jerec seeks: the Valley of the Jedi. He inherits the lightsaber of his father’s Jedi advisor, Rahn and has to go on a quest to find the valley and stop Jerec and his dark Jedi allies from gaining power enough to make him a new Emperor or worse.
Dark Forces: Rebel Agent Novella and Audio Drama.
This tells the story of Kyle’s journey through the perils of Nar Shadaa, his rescue (again) by Jan Ors and his visions of Rahn which warn him of the dangers ahead. An additional detail one gets from the book is how Weegee ended up with them (the game skips this bit). It also reveals that for all his accomplishments, their is mistrust at the higher echelons of the now New Republic. This is because he hasn’t ‘officially’ joined the Alliance though he works for them. He is not a team player and often goes off on his own.
Dark Forces: Jedi Knight Novella and Audio Drama.
In this we get not only details of Kyle’s arrival on Ruusan, where the Valley of the Jedi lies and his adventures there. Here he faces his worst enemies: not only those who killed his father, but his own desire for revenge which, as a potential Jedi could lead him to the Dark Side. Luke is involved in this, when the Alliance discovers the details of Jerec’s plan, he supports Kyle’s need to be the one to act.
Between book and video game, the book versions are the ‘canon’ versions of events, since one’s choices in game could ultimately turn Kyle either to the Dark Side or the Light.
In Galaxy Influence
- Ruusan, Valley of the Jedi, will get it’s official backstory in Jedi VS Sith by Dark Horse comics and the Darth Bane trilogy by Karparshyn.
- Jerec will officially be revealed as a Miraluka Jedi Archaelogist trained by Jocasta Nu before becoming an Inquisitor. He is mentioned in Dark Horse Comics during the Clone Wars era, SkyeWalkers: A Clone Wars Story and during the Empire in Galaxy of Fear.
- Boc is mentioned as being missed for potential Jedi training due to the watchman Anoon Bondara (Darth Maul Shadow Hunter) being killed. He was discovered too late by Nejaa Halcyon (I,Jedi, Jedi Trial). He was enslaved by Admiral Screed (Droids) before being discovered by Jerec.
- Nar Shadaa: The Smuggler’s Moon is also featured in Dark Empire and the Han Solo Trilogy by Ann Crispin.
- Rahn is mentioned as being part of a part of an underground to help Jedi escape the purge that included Halagad Ventor (Skyewalkers: A Clone Wars Story) and Djinn Altis (Children of the Jedi).
Dark Forces: Mysteries of the Sith (Video Game Expansion)
Kyle is training with Mara Jade when the New Republic base is attacked. His (the players) initial mission involves taking on the attackers and infiltrating their main base disguised as an asteroid to stop the attack.
The game shifts here to Mara Jade (now the player) as Kyle has gone on an investigation to Dromund Kaas. When he doesn’t return her adventures involve tracking him down past pirates and other enemies to the Sith infested swamp world, where he has succumbed to it’s Dark Side power. There she has to win him back.
Scenes in the game imply that Mon Mothma now has implicit trust and a need for the services of both Kyle Katarn and Mara Jade. This is the only game in which Jan Ors does not appear.
In Galaxy Influences:
- Mara Jade is a recurring character in the novels, created in Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy and well into the Legacy of the Force era. She also appears in Dark Horse Comics “By the Emperor’s Hand” and “Union”.
- Dromund Kaas appears again in Fate of the Jedi series and is mentioned in The Old Republic.
Kyle (the player) begins Jedi Outcast back to his mercenary agent ways. Back with Jan, he is investigating an Imperial outpost. But this leads him to discover the Imperial Remnant is trying to artificially give people the power to use the Force. Running headlong into a fallen Jedi from the Academy, he loses Jan to them. Believing her dead and seeking revenge, he returns to the Valley of the Jedi to regain the abilities he’d walked away from. Then he returns to the Jedi Academy of Yavin 4, where he left his lightsaber. Kyle finds himself once more chasing through familiar locales: Nar Shadaa, Bespin’s Cloud City, Yavin 4, as well as Imperial Outposts and bases. His goal: find out if Jan could still be alive and stop Desann and his allies from creating a Force powered army.
In Galaxy Influence:
- Ruusan (again) is back.
- Morgan Katarn’s Force Spirit appears.
- Luke’s Jedi Academy on Yavin 4 appears just as it did in the Jedi Academy trilogy, complete with a Jedi training course. It will appear again in Young Jedi Knights, Junior Jedi Knights and on into the New Jedi Order era.
- Cortosis: Kyle discovers they are mining this alloy. In Specter of the Past/Vision of the Future duology cortosis is revealed as being lightsaber resistant. It also is used in the Darth Bane trilogy.
Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy Video Game
Jaden Korr (the player) is apprenticed to Kyle Katarn who is back, now as a Jedi Master. Some missions are with Kyle, some without. They proceed through Tatooine, Yavin 4, Bakura, Corellia, Hoth, Coruscant, Vjun, Taanab, Byss, Ord Mantell, Chandrila and more. The enemy: the Empire Reborn, led by Tavion. Tavion was apprenticed to Desann in the Jedi Outcast game. Now she too, seeks to give Force powers to an army. But her goal is to resurrect an ancient Sith Lord.
In Galaxy Influence:
- Bakura is from Truce at Bakura, the novel set right in the aftermath of Return of the Jedi. It also returns in the Corellian Trilogy.
- Byss is from the Dark Empire comics.
- Vjun is from the Dark Empire comics and Junior Jedi Knights, as well as being visited pre empire in Yoda: Dark Rendezvous. Vader’s statue is shown here, fallen, just as it is in Junior Jedi Knights.
- Korriban and the Valley of the Sith is visited in Dark Horse comics Golden Age of the Sith, Jedi Quest series, The Old Republic series, Darth Bane trilogy, Knights of the Old Republic, and Fate of the Jedi era.
- The ancient Sith Lord Marka Ragnos is from Golden Age of the Sith.
- Chandrila is Mon Mothma’s homeworld.
- Jaden Korr gets his own duology: Crosscurrent and Riptide.
- Kyle Katarn and Jan Ors are seen in a Tales comic fighting the Yuuzhan Vong (canon possibly)
- In the Legacy of the Force era Kyle is officially a Jedi BattleMaster.