The Pain of being a KOTOR II Fan

You know, it really, really sucks when you’re a Star Wars fan like me. You can’t stand the new canon created by Disney, but you can’t stand SWTOR either, which is often considered “the last bastion” of the old Star Wars Expanded Universe  (now referred to as Legends).

Some things can turn me against other things. Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords isn’t the first one to do so.

Warning: I am still pissed off and I shall whine and whine and whine…

If you’ve been following me long enough, you’ve probably grown to realize that I have developed a particular… aversion towards the 2008 Star Wars: The Clone Wars CGI series, also known as TCW, even though that very series is the one that first got me obsessed with the Star Wars universe. The C-Canon (now Legends) Star Wars turned me against it.

Call me an ungrateful brat or anything but, it’s happened again.

This time, it’s KOTOR II.

When I first watched the cinematic trailers for the MMORPG Star Wars the Old Republic or SWTOR, I was mesmerized. I downloaded the game and happily played as F2P because I can’t afford to subscribe. I fell in love with Vette, Vector, the LS male Sith Warrior (my dear Allyron), the LS female Sith Inquisitor, and the female Imperial Agent. I really enjoyed playing it.

At that time, I had very little knowledge about Revan and the Jedi Exile. What I knew of Revan was, “Revan is overrated”, and as for the Jedi Exile… “Uh… who is the Jedi Exile?”. Pretty pathetic, I know, especially for someone who claims to love Star Wars Legends.
I also followed the thinking that SWTOR’s Jedi Knight storyline was KOTOR III. At that time.

I’ve heard that both KOTOR games are very good, so I decided I’ll not play them until I can get them legally. Because I had no knowledge that Steam existed, I decided I’ll just read the KOTOR comics for consolation.

I fell in love with sweet Zayne Carrick. I related to him so much. I related to his troubles, his mishaps, his bad luck, his incompetence… He was just like… me. I fell in love with the other characters too – Jarael, Gryph, and even the would-be Darth Malak, Alek “Squint” Squinquargesimus. For a while, I was content with what I had.

On one Christmas break, I visited my not-cousin. He told me he’d bought and downloaded about fourteen Star Wars (Legends) games on Steam for just around IDR 200k and told me how. Of course, I rushed to follow his instructions and bought those fourteen games for myself.

The package included KOTOR I and II. I was super excited to play them. What I did not expect was the pain that came along with it.

I started playing KOTOR I first, but I got kinda bored. I played male Revan as canon says, yes, but it’s not his fault. It’s Carth’s fault. He annoyed me XP. I hadn’t developed a crush on Revan at that time, so I had little motivation to finish the game. Thus, I started on KOTOR II instead.

I uh… I hadn’t realized the nice meaning behind the name Meetra Surik, (Meetra – Mithra, god of bonds, alliances, and friendship; Surik – hero), so I used my own name. And made her a blond.
Silly me.
I quickly restarted the game with the canon Jedi Exile (complete with the accurate physical details) after I realized she’s already so beautiful in the canon description (NOT SWTOR’s stupid rendition of her, whose designer very high likely confused her with Atris) of “short brown hair, pale skin, piercing blue eyes, strong features”. The “piercing blue eyes” got me so badly, haha.

I already shipped Exile with Atton before I even played the game, so I was so excited to meet Atton as Meetra. When I first heard him speak, I just… quickly fell in love with him.

Long story short, I enjoyed the game very much. I fell in love with the Ebon Hawk’s crew. I loved how everyone has their own demons to deal with and their own dark pasts and secrets. I loved how flawed The Jedi Exile was. I loved how her past mistake(s) were brought to light and she had to deal with it. I loved how it took her ten years to regain her connection to the Force with the help of the people around her (unlike a certain new female protagonist in Star Wars – ahem). I loved how Kreia described her as the death of the Force. It’s about time a woman is referred to as “Death”.

I just… loved KOTOR II.

I went on to play KOTOR I afterwards. Bastila pissed off the hell out of me at first, but as she softened, I grew to appreciate her. Also, after KOTOR II, I had grown a little appreciation for Revan. I also had a little headcanon (after scouring thorough several KOTOR fanart and fanfics) that Revan was very attractive, so yeah, I chose the most attractive male head available.

Upon finishing the game, I realized I still preferred KOTOR II, from the characters to the dialogue, despite the bugs present in the game (even with the TSLRCM), thank to the rushed release date.

Again, I’m in the minority.

As I played KOTOR II for the second time with the Party Swap mod (which allows you to have BOTH Mical and Brianna – VERY RECOMMENDED), I realized just how much of it that SWTOR had swept under the rug.

I played SWTOR again and found none of that old excitement and wonder I felt when I played it months before. I saw very little mention of the Lost Jedi. I watched as the Jedi Exile was turned into a mere cheerleader for Revan. I realized how little the MMORPG acknowledged KOTOR II.

And then yes, I read and watched the Revan novel. I wanted to take a pen and edit the shit out of it. I’m just totally baffled how Drew Karpyshyn got the Jedi Exile’s shell (name and physical description) right, but not her personality. He also trivialized Darth freaking Traya and the goddamn Jedi Exile pretty much somehow forgot about Nihilus when she was on Nathema!
No mention of the Lost Jedi, even though they REBUILT the Jedi Order (and SWTOR acknowledged this fact but did NOT show how significant they were! Ugh!).
Atton, Brianna, Mira, Bao-Dur, Visas, Mical – none of them were mentioned!

I got so angry at how Karpyshyn didn’t return the favor to Avellone. Chris Avellone, who developed KOTOR II with Obsidian, went through everything Star Wars he could get his hands on before writing TSL. Karpyshyn, on the other hand, barely did any research on the Jedi Exile before writing about her! Some even say he didn’t even play KOTOR II!

That’s just… that’s just very inconsiderate of him.

Then, I heard about the cancelled KOTOR III, which Avellone was developing at that time. The plotline was roughtly the same as the Revan novel, and that just… pissed me off.

It hurt. It really hurt knowing that.

And so, that’s how KOTOR II turned me against SWTOR.
From then, I began to view SWTOR as a third, separate continuity from Star Wars Legends. The KOTFE expansion only strengthened my resolve to see it as a third continuity.
I love some aspects from SWTOR and I do want to continue playing the game without losing my mind or continuously whining over what it’s done to KOTOR II, so I just had to keep it separate from the rest of Legends.

I’ll take what I can from Revan and SWTOR. I’ll keep the Exile’s shell and even the fact that she died, but the circumstances surrounding those events are very different in my head.
I love the idea of RevanExile bromance. I really do. It’s about time we have a platonic relationship with this much closeness between a man and a woman, but I still think Karpyshyn executed the idea pretty poorly in his novel, not to mention stomping much of the Exile’s identity, significance, and story along the way. That much ignorance is truly inexcusable. If Avellone could take the time to research, why not him?

I hope one day there will be a Star Wars Legends: Knights of the Old Republic III, helmed by Chris Avellone, and the team given sufficient time. Perhaps by then, I can contribute to its development…

~Covert Knight


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