Remembering History

Ok, rant on. I am SICK of George Lucas and Lucasarts changing things! First we have Obi-Wan Kenobi being the last of the Jedi in A New Hope, then we have Yoda being the last of the Jedi in Empire Strikes Back, and now we have untold HUNDREDS of Jedi who survived Order 66 and were hiding around the galaxy. After all, we only saw a handful of them get killed in the movie, right? Shaak Ti was the highest rank of them apparently, and of course she gets pawnerized by Starkiller in The Force Unleashed.

So much for Jedi history. It keeps changing, with every season of The Clone Wars changes something else. I guess it is George’s sandbox and he can knock down any sandcastles he wants to. One of the interesting points on Attack of the Clones was the Jedi Archives were supposed to be inviolate. The only ones who could access them were Jedi and why would Jedi change or remove information? Why indeed? Can anyone spell retcon? Rant off.

The Jedi Order existed hand in hand with the Republic for a very long time. As a matter of fact, according to Wookiepedia, the initial study of the Force was undertaken on Tython thirty six thousand, four hundred and fifty three before the destruction of the first Death Star at the battle of Yavin. Since the Republic itself was founded twenty five thousand and fifty three years before that battle of Yavin (there have been several there in Star Wars history after all), this shows the origination of the Order predates the Republic.

Now the actual Order of Jedi that people recognize as Jedi didn’t come to be until much later. And the reason it came to be was typical. Powerful people will have differing opinions on things, this is known. And when those powerful people have access to things like the Force, well… Yuck. The conflicts known as the Force Wars devastated Tython, and the survivors went elsewhere. They founded the Jedi Order some seven centuries later. Interestingly enough, the lightsaber, the signature weapon of the Jedi, was not invented for many years, almost ten thousand according to Wookiepedia. Before that, they used swords, blaster and other weapons as the situation called for it. Of course, once they had lightsabers, all bets were off.

The history of the Jedi Order, unsurprisingly, is dark versus light. Ever since the inception of the Order, heck, before it with the Force Wars on Tython, there were always those who chose the dark path. The Jedi stood for selflessness, for compassion, for mercy, for nobility and courage. This is not an easy path. It is so tempting to give in to expediency, ‘just this once’,’ just for this time’… So, much of the Jedi’s history has been conflict with Dark Force users.

Eventually, this culminates in the events of what we learned about in 1977 in Star Wars: A New Hope. But it takes a long time to get there. The time we are focused on is set thirty five hundred years before the events of A New Hope. It is a time of war, a time of heroes and villains. It is a time where history will be made, and lost.

The timeline on the SWTOR website  is an interesting look at the history as told by a Jedi historian. It is going in reverse order, starting with the Sacking of Coruscant, the defining moment of the game. It is chronicled by a Jedi historian who is trying to uncover the truth behind the war. At the moment, it is half done. Considering that the game is due out in April of 2011 that works well for updates over the next seven months. The reading is fascinating. A great deal of work went into the writing of the timeline, and getting Lance Hendrickson to voice Jedi Historian Gnost-Dural, that was a stroke of genius.

So far, the timeline has covered the Great War itself, and has moved as far back as the Mandalorian Wars, the events that set in motion the game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Now, not all of the material is great, the Mandalorians using Sith Armor is just one inconsistency that strikes me, but there are some parts that just resonate. The Battle of Bothawui was such a powerful piece. Inspired of course, by the last stand of the Spartans at Thermopylae, as was glorified in Frank Miller’s 300, this entry was, in a word, epic. Others were kind of ‘meh’. I personally couldn’t care less about some smuggler defeating a Mandalorian fleet. But for the most part, the entries are very good.

As teasers go, this timeline is probably one of the best I have seen for a game that is not out yet. It gives just enough information to whet the potential player’s appetite while at the same time leaving lots of room for expansion and leaving people hanging. As a marketing tool, it is working. People are talking about it. People are visiting the site, trying to figure out what was left unsaid, trying to fill in the gaps. Which is good, from a marketing standpoint. The publisher wants people engaged, they want it to be talked about. They want the game hyped as much as possible. That said, if it is over-hyped, bad things can result as well. But I do not see that happening. This timeline is a good example of a marketing tactic focused on a particular group, Star Wars fans.

I just hope George Lucas doesn’t start changing things in this as well, or we might wind up with a Kushiban as the Sith Emperor. That would make about as much sense as some of the other dubious choices made in The Clone Wars recently. I loved the idea of The Clone Wars, I HATE the execution.

Enough ranting. What do you think of the Jedi history as told by the Timeline? Does it make sense?

Photo courtesy of Star Wars: The Old Republic RP Wiki