Why KOTOR and SWTOR are Expanded Universe Canon

Incompatibility with Disney’s Timeline

There are several reasons why the very founding of the KOTOR and SWTOR games prevent them ever fitting into the Disney’s new canon.

When Disney’s LFL announced they would not be continuing the old Expanded Universe, they claimed several things. One that all new stories would be equal in the new canon, and two that it was for creative purposes.

To start with, there is nothing creative about taking from the old canon and putting it in the new. Even if you take names and places there, they aren’t the same things. They aren’t the same history. Thrawn without his history isn’t Thrawn. It isn’t just that he looks different. The whole universe of events leading up to him has been altered. The same is true of the Noghri, the Jedi and Sith history and everything else. This is especially true of something as large as Knights of the Old Republic (both games) and The Old Republic MMO.

As for all stories being equal canon, their stories have already directly contradicted the history the games were founded on and referenced within the games. SWTOR especially has a vast trove of these historical references to in the stories, the codex, datacrons and even side missions and and gathering missions.

nomi-leia
Leia hears of Nomi in the holocron in Dark Empire. This leads to Tales of the Jedi series, & SWTOR appearance

Dates

Funny how modern Wookieepedia tries to erase or ignore dates they find inconvenient. Not only in our universe (the April Fool page) but also in the fictional universe. Their own canon claimed hyperdrive and the Old Republic were invented 10,000 years before the movies.

“For a thousand generations the Jedi were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic. Before the dark times. Before the Empire.”

Obi-Wan Kenobi, A New Hope

A generation, according to the average dictionary, is about the span of the birth of parents to the birth of offspring. In human terms (like Kenobi) that is about 25 to 30 years. Simple math means that means the Jedi have been guarding the Republic for at least 25,000 years. For there to be an old Republic that long, there must also be a means of faster than light travel for at least that long. The Expanded Universe accounts for this. Disney canon does not, if they stay true to their own word that all media is now equal canon.

There is reference in the Expanded Universe to the Ruusan Reformations. This explains that the Republic was reorganized after the war that wiped out the Sith (except for Darth Bane). It’s was put in to explain the apparent difference between Obi-Wan’s words and Palpatine’s.

“I will not let this Republic that has stood for a thousand years be split in two.”

Palpatine, Attack of the Clones

Game Dates

According to various storylines and in game dates, the hyperdrive was invented many millennia before the game setting. The game setting in itself is already many millennia before Disney’s hyperdrive invention, and therefore its Republic founding. This is because the games are based on the Expanded Universe. In this case, the earliest in universe Expanded Universe stories published at the time were the Tales of the Jedi comic book series. The comic book series is set 5000 years before the movies at least. But it in itself references even older dates.

Historical Events

Knights of the Old Republic 1 & 2

Jolee Bindo talks about Nomi  Sunrider
Jolee Bindo talks about Nomi Sunrider

Knights of the Old Republic is a direct follow up of the Tales of the Jedi. Had there not been legal complications, Bastila Shan would’ve been Vima Sunrider, daughter of Nomi. However, even though the name ‘Sunrider’ ran into complications, Nomi Sunrider and the events of the Great Sith War of Tales of the Jedi are referenced by Jolee Bindo if you unlock enough conversations with him. The Mandaloreans of these tales also are the cultural ancestors of Canderous Ordo and his clan in the sequel game.

In both games you visit places introduced in the comics (Korriban for one) and find gear related to those characters. We also meet past Sith ‘spirits’ in the tombs from the Hundred Years Darkness.

Intertwining further with the rest of the Expanded Universe, the events referenced in the video game receive their own comic book series of the same title. Zayne Carrik, a Jedi padawan, gets swept along into his own adventure that entangles him in the Mandalorean Wars. We do see both Revan (briefly and masked) and Malek (unmasked, full name and face intact) in the comic series.

Star Wars the Old Republic MMO

The sheer number of events referenced in this game are impossible to map. But the Jedi Consular storyline particularly harkens back to Tales of the Jedi. The avatars of the Noetikons (sort of an interconnected holocron technology) are Jedi from the comics.

The Sith Empire’s return to Korriban in the trailer is based on how they were cast out during the Fall of the Sith Empire comic book arc. The entire in game Sith Culture is based on these events.

The Jedi too are based on this. While Tython was invented in game, it still founds the Jedi Order on that world and is further expanded on in Dawn of the Jedi comics. After it is left behind, the Jedi Odan Urr founds a new home on Ossus after the Great Hyperspace War. There isn’t room for Disney canons claim of a different world as the origin point.

Non player characters also exist that directly tie to the Expanded Universe, as do other events.

Here is a gallery as well as a list of examples. But there are more. You can’t turn a corner in SWTOR especially without running into connections to the Expanded Universe!

(Click image for full size)

  • The Exar Kun you see floating around Yavin 4 during Shadows of Revan is the same Sith beaten in Tales of the Jedi. He is also the same one whose spirit was destroyed by Luke Skywalker’s first Jedi students.
  • The Marka Ragnos spirit is the same one as we saw in Tales of the Jedi, he also tried to get reborn under Tavion, in Jedi Academy the video game. He was defeated by Jaden Korr, apprentice to Kyle Katarn.
  • In the Ossus expansion you need to access Ood Bnar, the Jedi from the comics who planted himself as Exar Kun destroyed that world by irradiating it by causing a super nova. He is hiding lightsabers as well as helping you get the datacron. He will only reveal the lightsabers to Luke Skywalker in the Dark Empire series as he sacrifices himself at last to stop a dark side acolyte.
  • In Onslaught, a Jedi Knight named Halcyon stands against you if you are fighting on the Imperial side. His decendent, Nejaa Halcyon, fought in the Clone Wars. And in turn Corran Horn, whose father’s name was changed to protect him during the purge, is a member of Rogue Squadron and a Jedi trained by Luke Skywalker. (Jedi Trial, Illusion Elusion, Rogue Squadron series, I,Jedi, Specter of the Past, Vision of the Future, various New Jedi Order books, Fate of the Jedi)
  • The Thul family on Alderaan has a descendent attending Luke’s Jedi Academy. Raynar Thul’s family survived the destruction of Alderaan because they were traders. (Young Jedi Knights YA series)
  • The Panteer family, former royalty of Alderaan, have a private moon that Leia tried to pursuade them into using as a Rebel base. (Empire comics)
  • Not surprising as SWTOR is KOTOR’s descendent, you can find Canderous Ordo‘s skull in SWTOR. You can also unearth the sad ending of one of the Taris quests.
  • Rakghouls origin and their end fate appear in the crossover comic series ‘Vector’ spanning from the KOTOR comic series all the way to the Legacy series involving the some time great grandson of Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade.
  • The Great Hyperspace War from TOTJ is mentioned in the lore. One of the Republic fleet ships is called the Daragon after either Jori or Gav Daragon.
  • Most of the playable planets and many space missions come from the Expanded Universe. Even if they didn’t originate there, the details, culture and species did. Check out this post here.
  • The Barsen’thor is actually buried on Chandrila in a tomb that is a playable level in Jedi Academy.
  • The Cathar species was founded in Tales of the Jedi with Sylvar and Crado and the whole culture is based on that.
  • The Sith Purebloods come of Tales of the Jedi
  • The Ratattaki species is based off the original Asajj Ventress origin story. This is also why I disagree that The Clone Wars fits in Expanded Universe canon. See more on that on this page.
  • Black Sun’s criminal organization first appears in the Shadows of the Empire multimedia project and is mentioned as being very old. They also show up in Darth Maul (the comic arc) when he takes down their leadership, the Medstar series, and Coruscant Nights. While I believe they have a version in Disney canon, that is vastly different. The Black Sun organization there is listed as run by Falleen, however in the Expanded Universe version SWTOR is based on, it is run by whichever Vigo (boss) can become the leader of the pack. Before Prince Xixor of Shadows of the Empire fame, for instance, it was a human. The head before that was also a human.
  • There are various armor sets available in game, especially in the Cartel market, that are based on and named for the original history and canon of the game. While armor sets based on Disney canon ideas are there, only original canon sets (pre game era) have direct reference as they are based in that timeline. For instance, the Handmaiden from KOTOR 2, Xoxann (one of the first Sith), Bastila Shan’s armor, Gav Daragon’s, Mandalore the Indomitable for instance.
  • The Gree originate in the Star Wars Adventure Journals by West End Games. By the Imperial date, they had forgotten how to build or use their own technology. SWTOR shows them at their peak.

For interviews with the SWTOR Developers on how the game is founded by the Expanded Universe lore check out this page.

There is also a complete list of the lore from the game on swtorista’s site. The page is here. I highly recommend this site if you want to dive into the game.

Summation

By insisting all their ‘new’ lore was equal canon, Disney insured the old expanded universe canon doesn’t fit. You may take a name or face from the old, but even then, it isn’t the same character. Without its history the character is different. There may be a billion people on Earth named ‘Jesus’ or “Mohammed’ but only one (based on when born, who they were born too, and place in history) is considered ‘Son of God’ to the Christians, or a Prophet to the Muslims. The rest just share the name.

Chiss Imperial Agent

Therefore, taking a name like ‘Thrawn’ or ‘Revan’ or even ‘Chiss”and plunking it in Disney canon does not make it the same character, even if it has the same author. The entire history of the galaxy that would be the foundation of their character, their motivations, culture and personality is different. You cannot bring in one small part, without pulling in the other threads that wove it together. In this case, that is the entire expanded universe, beginning to end. A universe that had hyperdrive for over 25,000 years, where the first sighting of a holocron, and the first ‘Tales of the Jedi’ story was revealed to Leia Organa Solo in the Dark Empire comic book series.

References:

  • Game Developer Interviews (You can Read or watch here)
  • Tales of the Jedi:
    • Golden Age of the Sith,
    • Fall of the Sith Empire,
    • Ulic Qel-Droma and the Beast Wars of Onderon
    • The Saga of Nomi Sunrider
    • Freedon Nadd Uprising
    • Dark Lords of the Sith
    • The Sith War
    • Redemption
  • Tales of the Jedi Companion (West End Games)
  • Knights of the Old Republic by Alex Kane (Boss Flight Books)
  • Knights of the Old Republic (comics)
  • Knights of the Old Republic (game)
  • Knights of the old Republic 2
  • Star Wars the Old Republic (all origin stories and expansions)
  • Dawn of the Jedi
  • Empire comics
  • Young Jedi Knights (YA novels)
  • I,Jedi
  • Jedi Academy (books)
  • Jedi Academy (game)
  • Clone Wars (Microseries)
  • Republic Clone Wars comics
  • Star Wars Adventure Journals (West End Games)
  • Star Wars Force and Destiny Sourcebook