Nearly four thousand years before
the birth of Luke Skywalker, the
Mandalorian Wars have strained
the OLD REPUBLIC's resources
to the breaking point.
With so many Republic forces at the front,
systems in the Outer Rim teeter
on the edge of lawlessness even the
city-world of TARIS, which was once
a thriving commercial center. Here, as
elsewhere, the Republic relies increasingly
on JEDI KNIGHTS and their students
to help maintain order.
But some Knights, frustrated with
the conduct of the Wars, argue for a more
active Jedi role, appealing to others
for support. Even from those Jedi
and their untried students who are struggling
to maintain order at home
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is a monthly comic book series published by Dark Horse Comics which ran for 50 issues, from January 2006 to February 2010. It is part of their 20th anniversary retooling of its long-running Star Wars series. It takes place in the same timeline as the video games of the same name, eight years prior to the first game.
The Knights of the Old Republic comic stars Padawan Zayne Carrick, a notorious screw-up who the Jedi Council wrote off as only having a "marginal connection to the force." Nonetheless, he joined a group of four other Padawans being trained by a group of five Masters on Taris. When the day of the Knighting ceremony comes, Zayne — already late and doubting he'll be knighted — decides to stop on the way so he can finally capture his criminal rival, the Snivvian conman Marn "Gryph" Hierogryph.
However, when he finally arrives, he is greeted by a ghastly sight — his fellow students slain by the Masters, who quickly turn their sabers on him. He escapes, barely, with Gryph's help, only to find that the Masters have framed the duo for the murders, claiming that Zayne has become a Sith. Hoping to escape the planet and find evidence to clear their names, Zayne and Gryph join forces with a crazed but brilliant Arkanian Off-Shoot named Camper and his beautiful bodyguard Jarael, travelling across the galaxy to unravel the mystery behind the Padawan massacre.
A five-issue mini-series sequel was produced in 2012 by the original writer, called Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: War. The story begins with Zayne Carric making a stop at his homeworld on the way to visit his family on Dantooine, only to find out that, having been born there and no longer being an official Jedi, he's eligible for the draft. Soon enough, he's forced onto the front lines of the Mandalorian Wars, and must find a way to survive while keeping to his pacifistic morals.
Tropes found in KOTOR are:
- The Ace: Shad Jelevan. Of the Taris Padawans, he was easily the most talented and the natural leader of the group, clever enough to realize that their Masters were up to something and self-assured enough to call them out to their faces, and an all-around nice guy who was liked by everyone. He, naturally, doesn't make it past the first issue, leaving the role of The Hero to his friend Zayne Carrick.
- Ace Pilot: Carth Onasi as both helmsman for a capital ship and a fighter pilot.
- Action Girl: Jarael. Some of the time.
- Affably Evil:
- Arkoh Adasca is extremely charming and polite while telling Jarael how her race is an abomination and while trying to sell dangerous superweapons to the Republic and the Mandalorians.
- Chantique as well. She's all smiles when manipulating Zayne, and even goes so far as to put her arm around him and give him a drink.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Subverted big time. Shel and Jarael both want Zayne, turning down Adasca and Alek for him.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Applies to Adasca and Lucien Draay as the galaxies richest playboys/jerkasses.
- Armor Is Useless: Pleasantly subverted. Mandalorian Neo-Crusader armour turns out to be surprisingly resilient against lightsaber blades. Zayne's nigh-indestructible phrik vambraces are even better; though they only cover his forearms, the advantage in a lightsaber duel is obvious.
- Artifact of Doom: Kanness Muur's talisman.
- Artifact Title: Technically, none of the protagonists are titular Jedi Knights. The title was inherited from the video game, which in turn got it from earlier Tales of the Jedi comics.
- The Atoner: Lucien Draay, eventually.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Lucien Draay and Mandalore are both amongst the best warriors in the galaxy.
- Bait-and-Switch: See Jossed below. The writer seem to have intentionally made readers think that characters were really characters from Knights of the Old Republic (the games) and subverted a fictional case of Young Future Famous People. Krynda Draay sounds like Kreia, has precognitive/clairvoyant powers, and is half-Miraluka like Kreia is implied to be in KOTOR II; Haazen looks like Darth Sion; Lucien Draay is even offered the title of Darth Sion, fits the definition of a "scion," and was originally named "Lusion". None of these people ended up having any direct consequence to the plot of the games. Alek does end up starting down the road to becoming Darth Malak though.
- Bald of Evil: Alek. Better known by the alias he eventually adopts, Darth Malak. Interestingly enough, the loss of his hair coincides with the beginning of his Start of Darkness.
- Better as Friends: Zayne and Shel end up as this; surprisingly, the Zayne Jarael Shippers are able to avoid bashing her, and usually take this route in their fanfics.
- Berserk Button: Chantique mocks Jarael about what she did to Zayne. Jarael....doesn't take it very well. And by not very well I mean "savagely beat Chantique into submission and stand over her ready to deliver the death blow."
- Betty and Veronica: Shel (Betty) and Jarael (Veronica), the Love interests of Zayne.
- Blind Seer: The Miraluka Q'Anilia. This seems to be a trait of the species, but she's particularly talented.
- Brains Evil, Brawn Good: Inverted. Given he isn't a prodigy with a lightsaber or The Force, Zayne practically has to win by cunning. Many of his opponents, such as Lucien Draay and Feln are far more physically imposing and skilled in combat.Xamar: Zayne never wins by brute force, Admiral—but by misssdirection. He will find a way!
- Break the Cutie: The entire Destroyer Arc counts as Zayne's Break the Cutie. He's enslaved, shown visions of torture, experiences an elaborate manipulation at the hands of Chantique, is forced to watch as a slave he befriended dies, drives Jarael away, and doesn't realize that he's been lied to until it's too late.
- BrotherSister Incest: Not quite right because they're Not Blood Siblings, but Lucien Draay and Q'Anilia seem to be lovers by the fact they share the same room with one bed. Also, they hold each other a great deal in times of duress. Arkoh Adasca confirms it by mentioning that Lucien used to always show up at parties with Q'Anilia as his date.
- Born Lucky: Zayne's apparent disability with learning the Force actually swings the odds in his favor.Zayne: My master says that my existence is proof that the Force has a sense of humor!
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Del Momoo is an idiot, yet he is remarkably good at anything bomb related, showing an extremely intricate knowledge of how they work (There is one funny scene when he explains why a bomb failed to go off and Raana simply stares in shock.)
- The Captain: Saul Karath.
- Clear My Name: Zayne's quest for the first half of the comic.
- Comedic Hero: Zayne Carrik, worst Padawan in Jedi history. He gets over it pretty fast, though, proving that his incompetence was more than anything due to a neglectful Master.
- Con Man: All of the heroes have been one at one time or another. Marn is the one who makes a definitive career out of it.
- Continuity Porn: For the games. At one point, Zayne is hanging out with the Hidden Beks in Taris' lower city, which includes Gadon Thek before he went blind, Brejik before he made his FaceHeel Turn, and Mission as a young kid.
- Jarael enjoys dressing up as a Jedi Knight, a Sith Lord, and other disguises. It's more for fun than anything really relevant. That and a chance for the artist to show her in a variety of cute outfits.
- Shel and Alek do this in Turnabout, when she and Alek dress in pirate-like clothing to meet with the Jedi.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Adasca is halfway between this and an Evil Chancellor since he's both a corporate head as well as the owner of a planet.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Chantique commits pretty much every atrocity she does simply to get revenge on Jarael.
- Dark Action Girl: Chantique .
- Dark Lord:
- The Revanchist and Alek are destined to be Darth Revan and Darth Malak.
- Subverted with Haazen, who looks like he's going to become one, even choosing the name Darth Haze but ends up getting killed within minutes.
- Also subverted with Lucien Draay, for whom Hazen had even picked out a Sith-apprentice name. Made all the more surprising because Draay's actions up to that point had clearly been leading him down the path of the dark side- and even worse, the name Hazen picked, Darth Sion, was already known to be that of a future Sith Lord whose mutilated physical appearance could have been a match for for him. The role was prepared for him. He just refused to play the part.
- Deadpan Snarker: Gryph, Zayne, and practically everyone else at some point.
- Doomed Hometown: Taris... eventually. Its destruction isn't shown, but we know from the game that it's toast.
- The Dragon: Lucien thinks he's this for his mother but he's really The Dragon for Haazen. Cassus Fett is The Dragon to Mandalore.
- Engineered Heroics: When Slyssk breaks their arrangement and starts demanding to be paid for a ship instead of for stealing a ship, Zayne and Gryph arrange for Gryph to rescue Slyssk from a pillar that Zayne topples and then offer to call it even if he'll just honor the original agreement. It fails because Slyssk is so delighted that someone thought him worth rescuing that he's happy to owe them a life debt and spend the rest of his life following them around the galaxy.
- The Empire: The Mandalorians are becoming The Empire. They were previously The Horde. The fact they're becoming one is actually something that at least one Mandalorian objects to.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Or Knight Templar Cannot Comprehend Good anyway. The Covenant routinely misunderstand Zaynes motives/actions, such as thinking he must have killed Celeste Morne.
- Evil Matriarch: Zayne Carrick assumes Krynda Draay is this. Subverted. In fact, she's horrified by her son's actions in her name.
- Evil Mentor: Lucien Draay and especially Haazen.
- FaceHeel Turn: This isn't a secret to anyone who plays the games, but Admiral Saul Karath will end up becoming one of the most evil men in the new Sith Empire. Likewise, Alek is also Darth Malak.
- Facial Markings: Jarael and Chantique's facial markings are actually their names, written in a secret Sith dialect.
- Fair-Weather Mentor: The First Watch Circle Jedi Masters were this to their Padawans. While it's true that Lucien was the worst of them and at least the four other masters actually put effort into the training of their Padawans, it is clear they only took Padawans in because they had no choice, as they needed a cover-up for their secret activities in the Jedi Covenant. When they get a vision they believe shows them one of their students turning to the Dark Side, they decide to kill their students. How they react to the thought of killing their students varies. Raana Tey was the first to say they should kill their students, though later she would suffer from guilt. Lucien Draay and Feln are indifferent to the thought of killing their students and show no remorse. Q'Anilia and Xamar are the ones most horrified at the thought of killing their students, but reluctantly agree to kill them. Both Q'Anilia and Xamar suffer a tremendous amount of guilt for the murder of their students, but only Xamar questions if they did the right thing and finally confesses to their crimes.
- Fainting Seer: Krynda Draay takes this to the point of having a stroke. Of course, she is quite elderly when it happens.
- Fake-Out Make-Out: Zayne gets three: Jarael kisses him in order to whisper a warning about Adasca in his ear, Shel kisses him to play off their argument as a lover's spat to a suspicious Mandalorian patrol, and he kisses Jarael to convince Alek they're together so he won't question why she'd rather stay with him than join the Revanchist cause.
- Fantastic Racism: The treatment that pure blooded Arkanians show off-shoots.
- Fanservice: The appearance of Mission and her brother during the Siege of Taris.
- Faux Action Girl:
- Shel is the worst assassin you could possibly pick. Ever.
- After saving Zayne from the Jedi Covenant in the introductory story-arc, Jarael seems incapable of defeating anything other than Mooks, and has to be rescued by the main characters from the Mandalorians, Lord Adasca, a rogue assassin droid.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Zayne and Griff.
- Foreshadowing: Several, given the amount of Author's Saving Throw the writer manage to pull off. A particularly notable one is hidden in one of the extra bounty hunter ebullient at the end of one of the issues, saying a certain person couldn't be the Corellian Strangler because he's too small. Cue issue 38.
- One of the subplots is Malak's Start of Darkness. His rough treatment of Rohlan, whom he believes to be Demagol, makes the Mandalorian exclaim: "That's the way you like it, Jedi — don't you? So save your Republic — but who'll save the Republic from you?" Saving the Republic from Malak is your mission in the eponymous game.
- For the Evulz:
- Haazen is ONLY destroying the Jedi Knighthood and taking over the Republic to further spit on Barrison's grave.
- The Crucible gleefully admits that they no longer have a purpose for their crimes, but do it anyway.
- Genre Blind: Apparently, none of the Jedi Covenant are familiar with the concept of a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy and fall into a pretty classic example of it.
- Gilligan Cut: Gryph says that his false trail is just a temporary one because Zayne's masters will be way too smart to actually follow it into the Undercity. The very next page? Raana Tey chopping up rakghouls.
- Good Parents: The Carricks. Zayne's mum is seen in a flashback expressing worry over her son's future and safety in the Order. When Zayne runs into his father later, there's no explanation needed—none of the family believed the charges against him for a second.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Haazen destroys Barrison Draay solely out of jealousy over the man's wealth, power, and luck with women.
- Guile Hero: Gryph, though initially light on the heroism. Zayne eventually develops into one under his tutelage.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Krynda Draay, the mother of Lucien Draay is a half-human/half-Miraluka hybrid.
- Senator Gorravus is a half human half Mirialan hybrid (his wealthy father had an affair with an alien servant).
- HeelFace Turn: Lucien Draay betrays Haazen's plans and ultimately gets to live.
- HeelFace Door-Slam: Raana Tey.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: Zayne Carrick is believed to be a multiple mass murderer of Jedi. He gets better.
- He Who Fights Monsters: The Jedi Covenant. Alek is destined to go this way.
- Hoist by His Own Petard:
- Arkoh Adasca, eaten by his own weapons.
- Raana Tey, stabbed by Shel with the lightsaber she taught the girl how to build.
- Haazen, killed by his own weapons when he loses his controlling artifact.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Cassus Fett, Mandalore's aide-de-camp and general right-hand-man, seems to be the brains of the Mandalorian Empire- it's heavily implied that his eye for tactics and logistics is what has enabled most of their victories so far.
- Instant Drama, Just Add Tracheotomy: Slyssk needs to have one after being force chocked. It's mentioned that since he's a Trandoshan, his natural toughness and regenerative abilities will keep him alive when it would most likely still be fatal for other species.
- Ironic Echo: After saving Zayne from the covenant at the end of the first arc, Jarael says she can't let Zayne go around thinking sacrificing himself for her is sensible behavior. Chantique says the exact same thing to Jarael, about the exact same subject, during their fight to try and convince her that Zayne no longer cares about her.
- Irony: An remarkably bitter example. Zayne discovers that the Padawan Massacre occurred early enough for him to miss it (and survive) only because one of his best friends realized he was too incompetent for the Masters' claim that he was being knighted along with the rest of them to be truthful. He does not take this realization well.
- Karmic Death: This is actually a major plot point. There are implications that, due to Zayne Carrick's peculiar relationship with the Force, that people who attempt to kill or harm him will suffer these.
- Karma Houdini: At least one of Zayne Carrick's villains gets away scott-free. Lucien Draay, the man who orchestrated the massacre, is blinded but otherwise gets to live out his life.
- Kick the Dog: "Meaningless, wasn't it?" That line effectively sealed Chantique as a monster.
- Knight Templar:
- The Jedi Covenant in a nutshell. They'll do anything to prevent the Sith from returning, even if it means killing their own students.
- And the Jedi Crusaders, aka The Revanchists. They want to stop the Mandalorians in the face of the Council's inaction, but they're destined to become Revan's army of Sith and Dark Jedi.
- La Résistance: After the Mandalorians invade Taris, their senator and the swoop gangs take up arms against them.
- Last Minute Hook Up: Zayne and Jarael in the final issue.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Golliard is captured by his own drones. And is handed over to a man whose father died thanks to his cowardice.
- Late to the Tragedy: The reason Zayne survives the Padawan massacre. It's also revealed that they were forced to act early because his friend Shad was also late, leading to him Spotting the Thread of Zayne's master having his lightsaber and forcing them to act early.
- Light Is Not Good: Lucien Draay, who also goes around wearing white, is a real bastard for most of the comic.
- Loveable Rogue: Gryph in a nutshell. It's questionable whether he actually does all his con games for money or the sheer joy of screwing with people's heads.
- Love Triangle: A low-level one between Jarael, Alek, and Zayne. Zayne doesn't make any non-platonic feeling clear for a long time, and Jarael pushes Alek away for largely unrelated reasons, but it's there.
- Mad Scientist:
- Demagol. His name actually means "flesh carver" in Mandalorian.
- Arkanians as a whole have a reputation for doing really dangerous and unethical things with science.
- Mystical Plague: The rakghoul disease is really the continuing spell from an ancient Sith sorcerer who used it to create an army of slaves who could function as skilled warriors and pilots, but were otherwise mindless. It's still around because it's spread by bite.
- Nice Guy: Zayne Carrick is almost unique amongst Star Wars EU protagonists in that he's just a swell person. Oddly, this makes him very popular in a genre dominated by Darker and Edgier protagonists. It also pays in dividends. Zayne is able to make friends out of pretty much everyone whose not a complete asshole by simply being a pretty swell, upstanding guy. And almost everyone he helps ends up returning the favor. Even Cassus Fett. Even Lucien Draay
- Not So Different: Zayne Carrick and Haazen. Haazen points out that he too was an abused failed Padawan that no one took seriously. The difference is that Zayne didn't expect that he would make it on the coattails of his more-skilled friends, whereas Haazen let it build into a lifelong resentment.
- Of Corsets Sexy: The dress code for all the female Crucible members.
- Official Couple: Zayne and Jarael.
- Omniscient Morality License: The Covenant, and Lucien in particular, think they have one of these due to all being powerful seers. Too bad that no one ever told them that "always in motion is the future".
- Prequel: An interesting pragmatic example. Pitched and sold as a prequel to Knights of the Old Republic video game, the series avoids many typical prequel pitfalls such as Foregone Conclusion, Saved by Canon and having to feature heroes prior to their Character Development by focusing on an entirely different cast with an original plot instead. The game characters who do appear, are relegated to supporting roles and some too-on-the-nose Foreshadowing turned out to be Red Herring. The comics obviously share the same setting and hit the important required plot points, but end standing completely on their own, with only a passing knowledge of the game required.
- Prophetic Fallacy: The dream of the red space suited Sith is almost certainly about Darth Malak. The Jedi Covenant chasing Zayne wastes time, resources, and effectively destroys their organization.
- Prophecy Twist: Zayne Carrick's prophecy. Is in fact totally made up to just screw with the minds of the Jedi Covenant and to buy him time..
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Mandalorians in general. Rohlan Dyre in particular, who's so much of one that he questions the current crop of Mandalorians.
- Redemption Earns Life: Unlike the other Jedi Covenant members, Lucien Draay survives after he rejects the Sith and helps to kill Haazen and thwart his plans.
- Redemption Equals Death:
- Raana Tey dies only seconds after realizing that she was wrong about Zayne and accepting his offer of salvation.
- Also applies to Xamar, although unlike Raana he dies a healthy space of time after he turns away.
- Screw Destiny: Zayne Carrick has this attitude, but he was almost certainly never really destined to be a Sith Lord anyway. Lucien Draay is a more direct case as we find out he was destined to be Darth Sion.
- Secret Police:
- The Jedi Covenant is a secret cult of these within the Jedi Order. They all get killed off or arrested at the end of Haazen's plan.
- The Covenant itself has Jedi Shadows, secret agents wiped from the records who go around doing highly dangerous things like collecting Sith artifacts.
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecy:
- The Jedi Covenant more or less gets itself killed off one by one attempting to kill Zayne in exactly how their visions predicted they'd die.
- Subverted with Xamar in that his attempt to do the right thing is what causes him to get killed.
- Shadow Archetype:
- Haazen and Zayne Carrick.
- Jarael and Chantique.
- Sleazy Politician: Subverted by Taris Senator Goravvus, who got his seat by buying out politicians for corporations in return for them supporting his bid for office, but then once in office started to care more for the people than the payouts. He even threatens to go public with the bribes if they pull their support from Taris. They try to have him killed to keep him quiet.
- Snake Talk: Xamar.
- Spanner in the Works:
- Zayne Carrick utterly unravels the Jedi Covenant, Adasca, and Mandalore's plans for the galaxy. It seems to be his role within the Star Wars universe.
- Del Moomo actually fills this role once when his stupidity and singlemindedness distract Raana and Shel long enough for Gryph to disarm the latter, saving Zayne's life in the process. Shel also unintentionally derails Jervo's plan to kill Senator Goravvus with her first attempt to kill Zayne.
- And the padawan massacre would have gone off without a hitch if Shad's own late arrival didn't lead to him Spotting the Thread and pulling it, forcing the Masters to act early.
- Gryph, full stop.
- Stern Chase: The first part of the comic is Zayne constantly fleeing from the authorities for his supposed crimes while trying to help people (from the Republic Navy to his friends) as much as he's able.
- Start of Darkness: Both Lucien Draay and Haazen have these in flashbacks. And Malak, formerly known as Alek, gets one in the comic itself.
- Took A Level In Bad Ass: Zayne Carrick manages to setup an information gathering network he calls the "Rogue Moon Project," designed to help refugees and people who were wrongfully accused while making himself its first field agent. You read that right kids, that Zayne Carrick.
- Tournament Arc: The issues where Zayne jumps into the swoop-duel arena and ends up exposing a massive slaving operation, which leads into the complete version of Jarael's backstory.
- Tragic Villain: Chantique may be evil but her backstory is pretty heartbreaking, and goes a long way to explain why she's so bitter and nihilistic.
- Treachery Cover Up: The Jedi realize how damaging the truth of Haazan's manipulations and actions would be if the Republic found out. Keeping the whole thing a secret from the galaxy, and blaming the bombardment of the Jedi temple by the Republic fleet on the Mandalorians.
- 2-D Space: Forming a ring of ships over the equator of Corruscant is supposed to prevent any ships from reaching the planet.
- Unlimited Wardrobe: They have a HUGE selection of costumes for the characters.
- The Virus: The Rakghoul Plague that transforms you into (one of) the Star Wars equivalents of a Zombie.
- Villainous Breakdown:
- Haazen and Arkoh Adasca both experience these as their evil plans collapse around their ears. They both die within minutes
- After he realizes how he's been played by Haazen and the (immediately afterward) death of his mother, Lucien has one of these. It's followed by Villainous BSoD and then a HeelFace Turn.
- Demagol get's one too, learning that his life's work was a failure and that the force talent he thought he instilled in his students was just his latent powers all along. Except for his daughter, who has actual talent, but who he sold into slavery, thinking she was a failure. Then he ends up dying by the very blade he'd stolen to give to Jarael.
- Raana Tey slowly becomes more insane to the point where she throws Zayne THROUGH A LARGE GLASS WINDOW. Both combatants are lacerated by the falling glass.
- Warrior Poet: Rohlan the Questioner. It's more mocking than any real admiration by the other Mandalorians, though.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: The entire point of the Jedi Covenant.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Lucien Draay craves this from his father. Subverted in the fact that his father is dead and seems likely to have not been nearly the stuffed shirt that Lucien Draay thinks he was.
- Winds of Destiny, Change: Zayne's "learning disability" with the Force turns out to be the ability to have probibility swing his way.
- Wham Line: By Elbee. "That was not the Mandalorian that broke my hand."
- Where It All Began: Zayne settles matters with Raana Tey in the Jedi tower on Taris when he returns there.
- Jarael, Demagol and Chantique have their reckoning at Demagol's "school" on Osadia, where Jarael and Chantique were raised.
- Whole Episode Flashback: Haazen has one of these.