Part of every good adventure is putting down our own milestones. These milestones remind us where we’ve been and help point us forward to where we are going. As the Legendary Adventures crank on, it’s important to take a look back and remember where we have been so far!
Have you fallen behind on the Legendary Adventures? Get caught up as we take our first break and recap where we have been on the journey…
Dawn of the Jedi: Into The Void | Lost Tribe of the Sith | The Old Republic: Revan | The Old Republic: Deceived | Red Harvest | The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance | The Old Republic: Annihilation | Knight Errant | Darth Bane: Path of Destruction | Darth Bane: Rule of Two | Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil
One of the main goals of the Legendary Adventures was to see whether or not it was worth reading the Legends canon in chronological order. Legends starts at the very beginning of a time long, long ago at the Dawn of the Jedi. The next story skips to a lost Tribe of Sith, scurrying away from Freedon Nadd’s war. We move into the Jedi and Sith War, where the Sith Empire and the Republic (aided by the Jedi led by Master Satele Shan) fight for supremacy over the universe. Surprise appearances by Revan, zombies, and familiar last names spruce up this war before we encounter the fierce Darth Bane, the creator of the Rule of Two…
My thought was that, while the books were not necessarily written with the others in mind, there may be some unexpected benefits to reading these stories in order. Whereas you may greatly enjoy Rogue One, most would find it more fulfilling having read Catalyst. Legends may not have had too many similar ventures (though, Darth Plagueis was written to encapsulate a few of the books set before The Phantom Menace and Fate of the Jedi drew on the Mortis trilogy, but they were not written under one guiding team). My hope, then, without some sort of guiding Story Group was that there would be still be a few, say, accidental benefits.
So, what’s the verdict on the Old Republic era? Were there many benefits to reading the stories this way? Few, honestly. (Bear with me, though! This absolutely changes when we reach the Prequel Trilogy age, which has some of my favorite accidental continuity ever.) There were two main benefits, here: learning more about Darth Revan and contextualizing one of my least favorite Legends novels ever.
One of my favorite moments was seeing Darth Revan invoked across the timeline, both in the eponymous novel and again in Darth Bane’s adventures. As we know, the Legends canon ending to Knights of the Old Republic was the light side ending, where Darth Revan was redeemed. Revan returns under The Old Republic banner, where we are reintroduced to most of the heroes from KotOR. At the end of the novel, Revan is taken by the Sith Emperor that he may serve the Emperor’s goals for eternal life. Unfortunately, his fate is left open for the sake of the video game, something the Legendary Adventures can’t afford to follow. But, the novel does show that Revan is committed to the Jedi and the light side, despite being taken by the Emperor.
The next time we hear from Revan, it is from a holocron that he creates when he is still a Sith Lord. While the Darth Bane trilogy doesn’t touch on his backstory (as it was written long before the TOR: Revan novel was written), reading the novels in order adds subtle nuance to both Revan’s future and Bane’s present stories. Revan’s choice to act as a Sith Lord has far-reaching consequences even his redemption cannot undo. Darth Bane still learns about the Dark Side from Revan, as the holocron of Darth Revan lives on, even if the man is dead. This is an interesting parallel to Darth Vader’s continued legacy in Bloodline, where Leia is haunted by the specter of Vader though Anakin was redeemed at the Battle of Endor.
The second major benefit of going on the Legendary Adventure was the context added to Red Harvest. I tried to give the novel credit in my review, and give it a bit more patience and grace than I wanted to, but time has done the novel no favors. It was a fun zombie book, but didn’t feel like a great Star Wars book. As I noted in my review (and as you may notice above), the book takes place right in the middle of The Old Republic banner novels. I can’t remember if the book gave me any reason to place it there, but this is where The Essential Reader’s Companion places it. Thankfully, this strengthens the novel.
On its own, this novel stands as a far-flung prequel to the Original Trilogy era novel Deathtroopers, describing the origin of the disease which brings the dead to life. In chronological order, the novel is placed right in the middle of the reign of Sith Emperor Darth Vitiate. Except for a drive for eternal life, Darth Scabarous creates a virus in order to prolong his life. Of course, it goes wrong, and ends up creating Sith zombies. On its own, it seems like a repetitive origin story for zombies we’ve seen before. In light of The Old Republic, the novel’s premise is a bit stronger.
We know from the novels and the games that Darth Vitiate is looking for ways to increase his own life. This is why he takes Revan, hoping that Revan’s incredible strength will be able to boost Vitiate’s own power in extending his life indefinitely. While the novel never says this explicitly, we can imagine that the Academy that Scabarous lives at has been conscripted to aid in the Emperor’s mad pursuit of life. Rather than succeeding, the whole Academy succumbs to the virus as it goes off the rails and devours the Sith acolytes studying there. Now, that may not solve a lot of the problems I had with the novel, it helps me appreciate the novel a bit more.
On the whole, this “era” as I have defined it for the Legendary Adventure was made up of (mostly) solid stand alone novels. There may be a small benefit to be gained in reading chronologically, but if one doesn’t strike your fancy, I won’t say there was a great loss. Next up? The pre-The Phantom Menace novels! While there may be only a handful, this chunk is entirely interconnected, where most of the novels add something significant to each other. Watch for my individual novel reviews on Fridays and for a recap after the next five are posted!
The Old Republic Era: Dawn of the Jedi: Into The Void | Lost Tribe of the Sith | The Old Republic: Revan | The Old Republic: Deceived | Red Harvest | The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance | The Old Republic: Annihilation | Knight Errant | Darth Bane: Path of Destruction | Darth Bane: Rule of Two | Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil
The New Jedi Order Era: Scourge
Canon Novel Reviews:
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Star Wars Young Reader Reviews:
Adventures in Wild Space: The Escape (Prelude)
So You Want to be a Jedi?
Beware the Power of the Dark Side!
Poe Dameron: Flight Log
Princess Leia: Royal Rebel (Backstories)
Darth Vader: Sith Lord (Backstories)
The Force Awakens: Finn’s Story
LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures Reviews:
“A Hero Discovered” 1×01 | “The Mines of Gabralla” 1×02 | “Zander’s Joyride” 1×03 | “The Lost Treasure of Cloud City” 1×04 | “Peril on Kashyyyk” 1×05 | “Crossing Paths” 1×06