A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… before the Star Wars Sequels and the Prequels… and the Originals… there was The Old Republic.
For better or for worse, the Star Wars universe is going through an awkward phase at the moment. The fandom is still on the fence regarding the latest movie trilogy, and Disney seems to avoid it like the plague, too. Of the last three Star Wars live-action shows, none of them has been set in the Sequel Trilogy.
As a franchise, Star Wars has always relied a bit too much on the success of the first three films – so much so, in fact, that most of the Star Wars-related media we’re getting today still has ties to characters from the Original Trilogy. That said, there are just so many times you can present Darth Vader and the Stormtroopers before the series begins to feel more than just a bit stale.
From a marketing point of view, it makes sense to use the most emblematic characters and settings from any given franchise as much as possible, but audiences can become fatigued due to overexposure to the same material – something that’s evidently been happening to Star Wars fans in recent years.
Most of the issues with the actual state of the Star Wars universe stem from a single decision made by Disney back when they acquired the rights to the franchise in 2012: getting rid of the Expanded Universe, also known as Star Wars Legends.
Some of the most iconic characters for fans come from this Expanded Universe, like Mara Jade and Kyle Katarn. However, the biggest loss of this decision was that the Old Republic era was no longer to be considered canon.
How Old is the Old Republic?
Set almost four thousand years before the events of A New Hope, the Old Republic was a period of intense conflict that saw some impressive confrontations between Force users – some of them even giving shape to the structure of the modern Republic.
During this time, the Jedi and the Sith were at the top of their game. The Light Side of the Force was rocked by the Jedi Civil War: a conflict that saw Jedi Knight Revan becoming one of the most fearsome Sith Lords the Galaxy has ever seen.
These epic conflicts, their iconic characters, and their complex storylines were all swept under the lug by Disney, as they’re now trying to push their own version of this period in the Star Wars: The High Republic line.
The passage of time and the progress of technology has always been a kind of complicated subject for the Star Wars franchise. Maybe that’s why the tech looks way more advanced in the prequels than in the original trilogy. The same thing happens with the Old Republic, which already features lightsabers thousands of years before the films. However, there are also all kinds of vibro-blades on display here – which basically are just real-life swords with a fancy sci-fi name.
This technological disparity alone should be more than enough reason for fans to want to see a new Star Wars story set in the Old Republic continuity. There’s also the fact that, now that The Mandalorian has proved to be a massive success, people would most likely want to know more about Mandalore – which is something that the Old Republic delivers in spades.
More Wars for Star Wars
One thing that has always differentiated Star Wars from, say, Star Trek is the former’s focus on open conflict. It’s right there in the name: “War” and “Star Wars” are inseparable by design.
Considering how important armed conflicts are to the Star Wars mythos, it’s a miracle that we haven’t had at least two trilogies worth of material from the Old Republic. As we mentioned earlier, this is a period that was marked by civil wars of all kinds: between the Mandalorians, the Jedi, and the Sith… all we are missing is a Wookie World War and we would have seen every type of war imaginable during the Old Republic.
The best part about these stories is that, for all intents and purposes, they’ve all already been told before. Die-hard Star Wars fans would no doubt appreciate it if Disney suddenly decided that the Expanded Universe is canon again – not to mention if they ever got to see some of their favourite stories brought to life in live-action.
It’s not easy to introduce new characters and themes into such robust mythos as Star Wars – which only makes the Old Republic sound all the more impressive. This was a time when Star Wars experimented with deeper narratives and concepts, delivering some of the most narratively fascinating characters in its long-running history.
Heroes and Villains for the Ages
Perhaps one of the most pressing reasons why Disney should consider focusing on the Old Republic for the future of the Star Wars franchise is that it features some truly memorable characters that would vastly improve the overall narrative of the series if brought to live-action.
Most Star Wars fans’ knowledge of the Old Republic era comes from the video game series Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Characters like Kreia, Revan, and Darth Nihilus, just to name a few, have become household names for fans of the game (and probably the entire franchise).
On top of that, many of these characters could easily translate well into the live-action realm – particularly Kreia, who is one of the most fascinating Force users in the series. Not to mention that Revan is one of the greatest villains in Star Wars lore; a perfect fit for the kind of movie the Star Wars universe has been trying to tell since the prequels.
This is precisely the kind of content that’s lacking in the Sequel Trilogy: characters that present the conflict from both sides. Even though Star Wars has always been about painting the force as black or white, the Old Republic introduced some of the most interesting “gray” characters in the franchise – ones that will definitely resonate with today’s audiences.
There’s some good news for the Old Republic, though. Last year, Sony announced that there would be a remake of the first game in the series coming out soon. At the very least, this is a clear indication that there’s still interest in the franchise – enough for one of the big three console manufacturers to announce a remake of one of the best Star Wars games ever made.
Who knows, maybe the Old Republic – and the Expanded Universe – aren’t as gone as we once thought. After all, if the prequels taught us anything, is that no one’s ever really gone.
Tell us, do you want a Star Wars: The Old Republic movie or TV show?