Drew Karpyshyn’s New Novel Revealed
Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ is continuing to expand beyond the core game and into novels and comics. Del Rey Books has already published two novels in the Old Republic timeline, Fatal Alliance and Deceived, and last year announced that a third Old Republic novel was to be written by Drew Karpyshyn, Principal Writer at BioWare, and author of the Darth Bane series of Star Wars™ novels.
Now the name of that novel can be revealed: Revan. As well as exploring what happened to Revan after Knights of the Old Republic, in this novel readers will learn who the Sith Emperor is in the time of the Old Republic, where he came from and how he has held onto power for so long.
Read on for an exclusive Q&A with Drew Karpyshyn on Revan.
Q: How does it feel to finally reveal that the title of your latest Star Wars book is Revan?
A: I'd like to start by saying how gratifying it was to work on this book. Knights of the Old Republic™ (KOTOR) was my first creative foray into the Star Wars universe, so writing Revan felt a little bit like I was returning to my roots. I also know a lot of fans have been patiently waiting a long time to find out what happened to Revan after KOTOR -- it's probably the number one question I'm asked on my website. I'm glad the story is finally being told, and I'm ecstatic that I'm the one who gets to tell it.
Q: The book is months away, but can you say how much of Revan will be revealed?
A: We called the book Revan because this is his story; he is the main character, and readers are going to see much of this book through his point of view. There are other characters, of course - some old and some new - but Revan is the primary protagonist.
Q: How much of this is material that had been developed earlier for KOTOR? Was Revan fleshed out at that point, or was he always a sort of a cipher to be filled in later?
A: Anyone familiar with the KOTOR games knows that we walked a delicate line with Revan: the legend and reputation of this great Jedi-turned-Sith were well established, but players were also able to define many aspects of the character as they played.
Obviously this wouldn't have worked for a book with Revan as the main character, so I decided to focus on certain universally established elements from the KOTOR games while also reinforcing previously established canon from the greater Star Wars universe, such as Revan being male and choosing the light side/redemption ending of the game.
However, by coloring in these details I was also able to delve much deeper into the character than we did when Revan was the "blank slate" of the games. It was a difficult decision, but I feel the payoff was worth it. Fans want to know what happened to Revan after KOTOR, and now they'll finally get to see that story.
Q: What other characters from Knights of the Old Republic and Knights of the Old Republic II might we expect to see?
A: You can't tell a story about Revan without also exploring his companions; they were such a key element of the KOTOR experience that it wouldn't feel right without bringing some of them back. Of course it would be impossible to include all of them in a novel in a way that would make a cohesive and fulfilling story, so I focused on those who felt most directly relevant to what happened to Revan after the KOTOR games. I don't want to give too much away, but Canderous, T3-M4, the Exile and Bastila Shan all have significant roles to play in the novel (along with some significant characters who appear in Star Wars: The Old Republic).
Q: How much time do the events of Revan span? And where does it sit in relation to the other Star Wars: The Old Republic novels?
A: The story picks up right after the end of the first Knights of the Old Republic and continues through and beyond KOTOR II -- a span of roughly five years. There are allusions to the events of KOTOR II, but my focus was on the story taking place before, between and after the games -- I didn't want to rehash a story fans already knew.
Because we're set in the same time period as the KOTOR games, we're roughly 300 years earlier than the other The Old Republic novels... though the events of this book have a major impact on shaping The Old Republic universe.
Q: How has working at BioWare influenced your writing of Star Wars fiction?
A: For starters, it's easier for me to make the connections between the book and the game. Instead of trying to work from a twenty-page summary, I have the advantage of knowing the intimate details of the hundreds of hours of story we've created. I know the feel and flavor of the universe, and I know the subtle nuances in the game that I can call out, tease and play off.
Similarly, being the lead writer on KOTOR has given me a deep understanding of Revan and other KOTOR characters. I was thinking about all this years before the original KOTOR ever released, so it's fair to say I've spent more time with the canonical Revan than anyone else. I never knew for sure if we'd continue his story, but it was always in the back of mind, just waiting for the opportunity.
Q: In what ways will readers who have read Revan benefit when playing Star Wars: The Old Republic?
A: I think the novel will give them a much better understanding of the Sith Emperor and the Empire, for one thing. The Old Republic Sith Empire is very different from what people know from the movies, or even from the Great Hyperspace War comics that focus on characters like Naga Sadow and Ludo Kressh.
The novel will also give them some very direct background and detailed information that ties in directly with key Flashpoints in the game. I can't say too much, of course, but like any great prequel the books will give you the details of what came before to add an extra layer of depth to the experiences in the game.
Q: Readers know you from your bestselling Darth Bane books. Might Bane fans see things they recognize from that trilogy, even though this is set much earlier than those books?
A: I didn't make a lot of direct references to Bane or his time period; after all, Revan is almost three thousand years removed. And I like to think that both Revan and Bane have stories that can stand on their own. However, I think fans will recognize the complex way I approach both the light and dark side. I would never want to meld them into a shade of gray - that isn't what Star Wars is about. But Revan walked both paths, and he came to understand there were positives and negatives to both sides of the Force. That theme ripples through the novel and the characters in the same way that I tried to have Bane's story be a reexamination of the dark side in a way that most Star Wars fans hadn't experienced before.
Revan will go on sale worldwide later this year.