The Case for Lady Revan

Emily

What if Disney returned fan favorite Revan to canon? What if, when that happened, Revan was a woman? 

Revan is first introduced in the 2003 game, Knights of the Old Republic. Because KOTOR takes place well before the events of any of the Star Wars films, (approximately 4,000 years) fans have long anticipated Revan’s return to canon after Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012. 

The thing that has made Revan such a favorite in the Star Wars universe is that so much of the character’s history and story arc relies on the choices the player makes in KOTOR. You can choose your gender, which dictates your romantic options, including a canon same sex pairing with Juhani. 

You can follow the path of redemption and the Light, or seek the path of the Sith and the Dark Side. Allowing for so much freedom of choice allows players a chance to truly craft a unique experience within the game, and it gives real power to the consequences of the decisions we make. 

Revan is masked for most of the game, only revealing their identity after a confrontation with Darth Malak aboard the Leviathan. We learn that the Jedi student we’ve been playing up to this point is really the former Darth Revan. They had been grievously injured in battle, and the Jedi Council erased their memory. 

Now, we have to decide what to do with this knowledge: does the player embrace their new life, or blaze a path of destruction via the Dark Side? Given that freedom of choice, the player—and Revan—has branching decisions to make that lead to different endings.

We’ve seen hints of Revan’s return to the Disney canon. In Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary by Pablo Hidalgo, we find out that in Luke’s hut on Ahch-To, there are several Jedi artifacts, including a Jedi Crusader pendant containing a shard of red lightsaber. In Legends, the Jedi Crusaders were members of the “Revanchist,” followers of the Jedi-turned-Sith Lord, Darth Revan. 

We again find an easter egg In 2019’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary. Hidalgo writes that the Sith Troopers are organized into Legions, and the 3rd legion bears the name of Revan.

In addition to the KOTOR game, Revan also appears in several novels including the eponymous book by Drew Karpyshyn. In this book, and in Legends canon, Revan is gendered as male. He is married to Bastila Shan, and the pair share a daughter. He is also referenced heavily in Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, as well as the comic series Knights of the Old Republic from Dark Horse. 

So, what could a return to canon mean for fan-favorite Revan? Their story takes place in the Old Republic, an era rich in lore and war stories. We could see the Jedi academy on Dantooine (a planet that gets a mention as a former Rebel base in A New Hope). 

We could explore the Sith academy and lore on Korriban. We could see the Rise of Revan, and how they and their followers rose from the Jedi teachings and took that knowledge to war against the Mandalorians. 

We could see the Redemption of Revan, with their fall, defeat, and eventual return to the Light as chronicled in Knights. We saw Ben Solo’s redemption in TROS, and the Old Republic tale of Revan is a perfect opportunity to explore themes of redemption, sacrifice, and the power of our choices. 

Star Wars has always had somewhat of a diversity problem. Even with recent improvements, we saw Rose Tico sidelined in Rise of Skywalker. John Boyega has given several interviews about how he was treated poorly during the filming of the sequel trilogy. Rise gave us the first same sex relationship on screen, but only as a background kiss between Commander D’Arcy and an unnamed Resistance pilot. This kiss was removed in several international markets.

Bioware gave us a fully fleshed out same sex relationship in KOTOR back in 2003. Sixteen years ago we got better queer representation in a video game then we have in canon on-screen media to date. 

Because Revan’s gender is up to the player, Disney has the opportunity to bring Revan back and make her female. This opens up a number of interesting storytelling avenues, such as the romantic relationship between Revan and Juhani and a dyad relationship between Revan and her Jedi companion, Bastila Shan. The dyad was a central theme of the most recent movie trilogy, between Kylo Ren and Rey, and is a concept that deserves more exploration.

Disney has the platform to give the fandom its first fully realized on-screen queer couple, and using a fan favorite character like Revan to do it makes sense. Why? Because so much of what made Revan such a fascinating character to play lies in the personal journey. 

We’ve had several cishet male heroes and villains in the current Star Wars canon, so giving some space to a female queer lead allows for another group of people to see themselves on screen, in the universe, recognized as a tangible part of the character expierence. 

The more diverse characters, relationships, and experiences we explore and show, the more accepted these relationships become in mainstream media. Seeing a same sex couple in the game in 2003 was a fundamental stepping stone for me to begin to consider my own identity. It gave me an example to look to, and a frame of reference in which to start to explore what label I may someday feel comfortable giving a voice to in my own life. 

In game, I could explore safely with that label, getting used to it. Representation matters. Seeing ourselves in all forms of media opens the doors to marginalized people to have a seat at the table, a place in the story, and gives us the language to explain ourselves in a way we did not have before. 

The Galaxy Far, Far Away is rich in diversity and relationships, and we need to see more of that in the mainstream canon. It’s time.