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Lit Reconstructing the Old Republic era

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Golbolco, Jan 17, 2020.

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  1. Golbolco

    Golbolco Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jan 20, 2016
    I have long had gripes with how, in my opinion, decompressed and overextended the Old Republic era in Legends is. The idea of a singular Old Republic publishing era is not ideal: not counting the various periods established in Essential Chronologies, hyperspace articles, and one-off mentions, I think that there are more like 4 distinct eras before 1000BBY, but we’ll touch on that later.

    Let’s look at the G-canon sources first, or whatever is closest to them: Terry Brooks’ novelization of the Phantom Menace places the founding of the Sith Order at “nearly two thousand years” before 32BBY. A Jedi Knight, denied by the council the right to study the Dark Side, left the Jedi and was soon followed by others. No scale is given before their ensuing war and the demise of their leader and then each other. Then Bane reforms the Sith shortly thereafter, in 1000BBY. TCW production notes reference an era when Coruscant was Sith-dominated, and an early draft for A New Hope gives us a rogue padawan named the Darklighter (what a Prometheal name!) teaching a race of space pirates called the Sith how to use the Force.

    I don't dislike Abel G Pena's Darth Ruin, but I am skeptical that he will fit into the timeline as George Lucas's unnamed Darklighter, or even be the founder of the New Sith in a tangible way. George's Darklighter is equally applicable to any Jedi that had fell in this era: Xendor, Ajunta Pall, Freedon Nadd, Exar Kun, Revan, Phanius... it all depends on how the restructuring occurs.

    Tom Veitch and KJA first introduced us to elements of the Old Republic era in Dark Empire and the JAT until writing Tales of the Jedi. I can’t find a quote, but I’ve heard that when Veitch was pitching Tales of the Jedi, he kept upping the number from 1000BBY until getting a green light for 5000BBY as the Golden Age of the Sith.

    TOTJ gives us a speculative timeline: 10 years of a Great Hyperspace War, followed by the destruction of the Sith Empire save for several pockets and safe havens (the nature and number of which are not entirely understood.) Exar Kun reinvigorates some of the Sith Remnants in 4000BBY and his war lasts until 3996BBY. We also get our first references to the Great Schism/Hundred Year Darkness, albeit as separate events (and it is the former described as birthing the Sith Order.) Naga Sadow is stated to be the first Sith Lord to reestablish contact with the Republic in “thousands” of years.

    One thing I considered doing was finding an “anchor year” to base all of the timeline around and merely shift the numbers forward, but I found that this doesn’t work. If one tried to reflexively apply Veitch’s timeline to Lucas’s we’d immediately run into several problems. Assuming that 2032BBY is the start of the Hundred Year Darkness (when the Sith originate) 1000 years later is the time of Naga Sadow, and Sadow certainly didn’t live 1000 years from Revenge of the Sith.

    I tried looking into when the Hundred Year Darkness was established to be between 7000-6900BBY. I could not find a source. I assume this timespan was invented to justify Sadow’s reference to “thousands of years” having passed between contact with the Republic.

    One possibility I looked at was compressing the time between Naga Sadow and Exar Kun. Sadow lived for maybe 6-700 years from pre-5000BBY until death in 4400BBY when he trained Freedon Nadd in the ways of the Sith. The time Sadow spent in suspended animation could be compressed to some degree, although that only partially solves our problem.

    My solution came to be this: assume that while Darth Sidious meditates on the history of the Sith in TPM, he is going by the Sith calendar, which we can presume to be Korriban's orbit: 780 days, of which a day is 28 standard hours. 21840 hours x 2000 years gives us 43680000 hours, which is approximately 4986 Earth years. Since we're at 4986 years before TPM, we're at 5018BBY. However, a GFFA year is three days longer than an Earth year, so I might be off by ~10 or so years.

    I was actually very surprised to see how close that timeline appears to match Legends' normal timeline. So the Hundred Year Darkness lasts from 5018-4918BBY. If Naga Sadow is the first Sith Lord to make contact with the Republic in "thousands" of years, then the minimum time that could have passed is 2000 years.

    5018-4918BBY: The Darklighter and his followers leave the Jedi Order, running into Sith pirates and forming the Black Knights of Sith
    2918BBY-2908BBY: The Great Hyperspace War occurs, concluding in the dismantling of the Sith Empire
    2308BBY: The Dark Jedi Freedon Nadd is trained by Naga Sadow and kills him, establishing a petty kingdom on Onderon
    1918BBY: Exar Kun falls to the Dark Side. The Great Sith War ensues until 1914BBY.

    If we could divide the Old Republic Era into several publishing eras, now is where we'd start. The Golden Age of the Sith (the era surrounding the Great Hyperspace War) and the era of Exar Kun are too distinct to group together, in my opinion.

    Exar Kun's era links us directly into the KOTOR multimedia project, and I would say that Knights of the Old Republic could easily make up its own publishing era encompassing everything from TOTJ to the Revan novel. Converting the 4000-3950BBY date gives us 1918-1868BBY. I could touch on how this renumbering might affect the era that the Infinite Empire ruled in (because we'd have to adjust Bastila's statements on galactic rotations) but I'm not going to get into that right now.

    Assuming that the distance between KOTOR and TOR remain equal (313 years), then TOR is placed in 1561BBY. This era's upper boundary is 1596BBY (the TOR comics) and lower boundary is 1547BBY (the newest expansion Onslaught.)

    Rechronicling from this point onwards is not necessary except for perhaps the Lost Tribe of the Sith stories. It can be assumed that the Eternal War (redated to 1554-1548BBY in this chronology) was devastating enough to reduce much of the Galaxy's technological level. The Sith Empire we see either progresses over the next 400 years until its collapse pre-Knight Errant, or at some point there is an interwar period until Phanius falls to the Dark Side and reunites the Sith Empire as Darth Ruin. That's up to your interpretation, but this is as slim a reconstruction of the timeline that I've been able to manage thus far.

    There is one more alternative theory I could present for an even more radical reconstruction, which is consolidating the RPG character Darth Rivan with Darth Revan (and placing the Jedi Civil War in the 1400sBBY) but I couldn't find a definitive date on when Rivan was Dark Lord of the Sith. If anyone has a date, please let me know because it could open the possibility of the TOR era directly preceding the Bane era.

    So, to cap it off, here's version 1 of my consolidated Old Republic timeline:

    5018-4918: Ajunta Pall the Darklighter founds the Sith following the Hundred Year Darkness.
    2918-2908: Naga Sadow initiates the Great Hyperspace War, leading to the dismantling of the Sith Empire (Golden Age of the Sith era)
    1918-1868: Exar Kun reinvigorates the Sith Remnants, paving the way for the Mandalorian Crusades and the Jedi Civil War until the False Sith wipe each other out (Knights of the Old Republic era)
    1599-1554: The True Sith reemerge until their emperor Darth Vitiate is forced to flee known space; the Eternal War ensues, destroying much of the Galaxy until the Eternal Empire is pushed back by the Outlander; then the New Sith War ensues (The Old Republic era)
    1100-1000BBY: The New Sith War draws to a conclusion on Ruusan when Darth Bane fools the Brotherhood of Darkness into utter annihilation (Bane of the Sith era)

    I'm almost certain this isn't perfect, so please let me know if I've messed up at any point or if there's a way to simplify this even further.
     
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  2. Xammer

    Xammer Jedi Master star 2

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    Jan 31, 2009
    This is a solution without a problem. At least not a clearly stated one.
     
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  3. Golbolco

    Golbolco Jedi Knight star 2

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    Jan 20, 2016
    To clarify: my main problem is that I find it improbable that the distance between events in Legends spans thousands of years when considering cultural, linguistic, and technological progression. While many fantasy universes can get away with stagnation/lack of significant progression, the Old Republic era (and the films) appears to directly contradict this notion with technological progression. I would also argue that there is no significant differences between the organizations glimpsed in timespans of thousands of years. The relevancy of bloodlines between the Old Republic era and the post-ROTJ era is improbable, especially when most species don’t live for more than 100 years (and are fertile for less than half that.)
     
  4. Xammer

    Xammer Jedi Master star 2

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    Jan 31, 2009
    OK - you didn't say that in your post, and this seems to be actually the central point. So are you saying that you can't accept tech/cultural stasis at all in the Star Wars universe, or you could accept it, but there is some progression which contradicts it?
     
  5. Golbolco

    Golbolco Jedi Knight star 2

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    Jan 20, 2016
    I’m saying that there is not sufficient technological stasis in Star Wars at all, at least not in this era. In my opinion, if there is not technological stasis, then it points to (as do a number of other reasons) an artificial and arbitrary length in timespan. I think that a reduction of timespan is a worthwhile exercise.
     
  6. ColeFardreamer

    ColeFardreamer Jedi Master star 4

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    Nov 24, 2013
    While technological stasis is an interesting point Star Wars is famous for, I'd try to look at it from a different angle.

    Of course technology, like in the real world here with us, evolves and is developed faster than biological lifeforms can adapt to it or socially evolve themselves. Thus comes the point where we use technological horrors like nukes or Death Stars like kids in a kindergarten fight instead of with the responsibility and care neeed for an evolved species that intends to overcome the selfdestruction scenario and mishandling of its own planet/galaxy.

    From out point of view, a slower technological evolution, as slow as that it may seem stalled at times like in stasis seems unrealistic. But from the gffa's pov, our technological evolution is way too fast. Star Trek would even call upon the Prime Directive and not allow us advanced tech just yet!

    Therefore I ask, could there be other believeable reasons why the GFFAs technological stasis happens and is kept?

    I think there can be:

    For one, the GFFA has as we all know reached the point where highly advanced enough technology seems like magic to lesser developed societies (including ours!). And I mean not only the possibilities the Kwa, Gree, Sharu, Celestials and others have reached technologically. The average GFFA already has plenty of such technology. Be it total facial reconstruction via nanodroids in TCW turning humans into shapeshifters or other superlatives with kyberpowered technology. Forcebased technology of old did wonders before tech reengineered it for nonforceusers to use.

    SW essentially already has a deeply ingrained "Ancient Aliens did it first" routine with characters regularily stumbling across ancient tech far ahead of modern gffa tech, which then is utilised by modern folks like kids playing with toys beyond their understanding.

    The galaxy also saw its wars and destruction beyond the comprehensible. Not just planets or solar systems lost, no, far worse: Entire galactic regions ripped out of spacetime into Otherspace, the Unknown Regions cut off and disrupted and worse. And even without ancient aliens or eldritch horrors involved, simple Force users kicked off wars beyond any normal scale.

    The gffa is at a point where it knows the dangers and attempts to contain them. The Senate passed laws to prevent or at least slow down any such happening again. Like forbidding the ancient runic languages that are often tied to these horrific wonders of ancient technology. See C3PO in TROS as proof. Constant monitoring and forbidding of too dangerous technology could lead to a partial stasis in a far enough evolved high tech society. Did they reach a capstone? Not yet but maybe they in some areas did or limit themselves enough to dread to go beyond the possible.

    That of course helps but does not solve the problem. What about those ancient aliens, ascended beings and space gods? May their hand be involved in limiting technological evolution without social evolution to be fit for it? Potentially yes. First and foremost SW needs no technological but a social evolution to be fit for this techlevels required responsibility.

    But gods did it isn't the best or favoured solution most would want. Looking at SW society and politics you can clearly see that aside some evolved modern societies, the galaxy entire mostly is rather medieval and inequal. The rich have technology most others do not. Cults and sects hide regional tech from spreading galaxywide. This also slows tech evolution and limits access.

    All together might just work to explain it. And all the sub-eras of the Old Republic are very distinct and upon closer inspection work nicely. Of 25000 years, only the last 7000 deal with Sith Lords. And while some stories depict it as rather similiar looking technologywise, guidebooks added enough to differentiate the eras and technologies, travel times, etc.
     
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  7. Golbolco

    Golbolco Jedi Knight star 2

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    Jan 20, 2016
    This is one of the most important parts in my opinion. It’s really hard to say that technological stasis has taken place when only the aesthetics resemble other eras (which, in my opinion, is tenuous.)
     
  8. darklordoftech

    darklordoftech Force Ghost star 6

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    Sep 30, 2012
    I know Leland Chee told Dan Wallace that the formation of the Sith was 7000 years before the movies when Wallace was writing New Essential Chronology. I have no idea where Chee got that from.

    Had Terry Brooks just said “thousands of years ago” rather than “almost two thousand years ago”, there wouldn’t have been an “Old Sith Wars”/“New Sith Wars” divide and the TPM novelization would be interpreted to be referring to the First Great Schism/Hundred-Year Darkness.

    I always thought it would have made more sense for KOTOR to have been set in 2000 BBY, separating it from the largely disconnected Kun era and tying the beginning of the “Darth” title and red lightsabers to the TPM novelization. I also think it’s fitting for the Sith to start with Revan and end with Vader. KOTOR II should be set during the Republic Dark Age, with the KOTOR games ultimately leading to Bane.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020
  9. Golbolco

    Golbolco Jedi Knight star 2

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    Jan 20, 2016
    I also wasn't a fan of KOTOR being set only 40 years after Exar Kun's time because of the aesthetic difference, until JJM's comics smoothed over the gap a little bit more.

    I would personally consider the Republic Dark Age to ideally be lumped in with the latter events in TOR, although I can't yet find a reason to justify that placement.

    The "Darth" title is interesting. Everything under Lucas's direct supervision from TPM onward indicates that Darth is a title followed by a made up name. The JAT treats the identity as a Dark Lord of the Sith as something you can just proclaim (like Kyp telling himself that he's a Sith Lord.) I suppose that there might be some in-between in the timeline. Sith like Marka Ragnos, Andeddu, Freedon Nadd and Naga Sadow might go by Darth as their ruling title, and then Revan and Malak take pseudonyms that, in Malak's case, is fairly close to their real names. Seems to me that the earliest known Sith with a Darth Noun title (the noun being something other than their real name like Andeddu) is Darth Vitiate? Revan, Malak, and the Triumvirate having Darth Noun names fits this pattern and appear to be directly linked to
     
  10. darthzac14

    darthzac14 Jedi Master star 4

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    Nov 8, 2012
    I've also thought in the past 10 years that the Darth title was possibly started by the Sith Emperor (Vitiate). The first Sith Lords we see with the title are Revan and Malak. From the Revan novel, there are also members of the Dark Council with Darth titles, as well as Sith Lords in SWTOR. The one thing I'm not sure where it fits is the Sith Triumvirate: kind of remnants of Revan's Sith Empire, aware of the True Sith. And the Darth titles were just copying Revan and Malak, who were either copying True Sith or christened by the Sith Emperor
     
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  11. Darth Invictus

    Darth Invictus Jedi Master star 5

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    Aug 8, 2016
    Personally I’m generally fine with the timeline as established at the end of the legends continuity.

    It’s a long period with large gaps without much in the way of published content but I think it works.

    Of course there are certain contradictions especially as various novels, comics, the prequels and so on give conflicting dates and time periods for things like the Sith’s founding.

    But this speaks to the nature of how the EU continuity came to be-in an extremely haphazard way with lots of rough edges. I generally overlook that sort of thing on an understanding basis.
     
  12. ColeFardreamer

    ColeFardreamer Jedi Master star 4

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    Nov 24, 2013
    Regarding the Darth titles:

    As I discussed here:
    https://boards.theforce.net/threads...ing-ceremonies-and-essence-transfer.50052951/

    There is more to the naming ceremonies than meets the eye and than the EU initially thought.

    So either we lack the Sith names of the Dark Lords that are known by their real name only or the tradition with supernaturally conjured names started later only. But it may simply be that Vitiate held the title and all Sith Lords and pretenders concurrent with his long reign got no conjured Sith names because the lineage was held up by Vitiate. Even with hundreds or thousands of Sith and Darth's there are always only two true Sith? Interesting idea. If true I'd say Vitiate found the perfect apprentice and foe in Revan who continued the line at odds with his master. Vitiate needed to end Revans lineage in order to continue it on his own with someone else. Or Revans lineage needede to end Vitiates. Hmm...

    Also funny new take on the Dark Lords of the Sith:

    Are they dark Jedi that subjugated the Sith Species? Or did the Sith species trick them and the dark Jedi that arrived to subjugate them were lured into a ritual that had ancient Sith Gods take their bodies as their vessels. Thus the Sith species never was defeated by the Jedi exiles but rather took their bodies for their disembodied spirits (like Kun did with the Holocron smashing in front of his Jedi friends^^) and ever since the original Dark Lords / Jedi Exiles were somebody else using their bodies starting the line of bodyhopping and name changing that the Sith species already practiced since before their arrival. The tradition may be far older than previously envisioned!
     
  13. Golbolco

    Golbolco Jedi Knight star 2

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    Jan 20, 2016
    I think the Sith Triumvirate and their most loyal agents came from Sith strongholds established when Naga Sadow went into hiding, and other parts stem from Exar Kun/Revan’s remnants (mostly the military and civilian holdings.) The Malachor Academy is perhaps even older than Naga Sadow, and the Darth Traya name might be one of the best examples of a Darth Noun name originating pre-Vitiate, if it goes as far back as Kreia says it does.
    I think that the gaps are symptomatic of other problems, like repetition of events and differing visions.

    People often mock the 7 different missions to steal the Death Star Plans. There’s other repeats too, like how the Thrawn Trilogy and the Dark Empire trilogy seemingly depict very different post-Endor events (that were thankfully smoothed over in no small part to the RPG team and KJA.)

    One of my many issues with the Legends Old Republic timeline is that we have three Sith Empires (Revan’s, Vitiate’s, and Ruin’s) that leave the Republic on the verge of collapse. In Revan’s case, we witness the first Jedi purge.

    in the cases of Vitiate and Ruin’s respective wars, we hit mostly the same beats: the reunification of Sith remnants, a war with the Republic, an event that causes the collapse of both the Empire and Republic, and then finally an extinction of the Sith (although we don’t know for certain that’s the case with Vitiate’s empire.)

    At that rate, it almost begins to make sense if Ruin is Malgus’s Sith apprentice, and that the Galactic War is the New Sith War. I think that this is even worse than 7 Death Star missions, because these are basically events that define their own corner of the universe. It also doesn’t help that we don’t know enough about the 2000-year gap between Malgus and Bane to really say how similar and repetitive things are. If we could point out all the details of Ruin’s era and see what makes that era distinct, I might be arguing for something else.
     
  14. DurararaFTW

    DurararaFTW Jedi Knight star 3

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    Jul 5, 2014
    Revenge of the Sith tells us there was a period where the Sith ruled the galaxy outright, I think that's more important to acknowledge then a different use George found for the Darklighter name before Biggs became canon.
     
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  15. Golbolco

    Golbolco Jedi Knight star 2

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    Jan 20, 2016
    I thought Legends accounts for this already when the New Sith War had several Sith nations controlling the majority of the Galaxy--or should we interpret this as a Sith-controlled Old Republic, something we never saw in Legends?
     
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  16. DurararaFTW

    DurararaFTW Jedi Knight star 3

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    Jul 5, 2014
    Something that justifies Palpatine saying "once more". Having an advantage in terms of territory for a while in a ongoing war they eventually lost against the Republic that ruled before, during and after them does not constitute that. Palpatine is selling what he accomplished short if that's what he is comparing his Empire too.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
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  17. Darth Invictus

    Darth Invictus Jedi Master star 5

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    Aug 8, 2016
    I don't mind it, history is cyclical and time is vast and all that.
     
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  18. darklordoftech

    darklordoftech Force Ghost star 6

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    Sep 30, 2012
    I think the Sith species either should have been given the role of the Rakata or should have survived until immediately before the creation of the Rule of Two. Exar Kun should have been the first Dark Lord of the Sith, being corrupted by the ruins of the Sith species (this could occur in either 25,000 BBY or 4000 BBY).
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
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  19. Golbolco

    Golbolco Jedi Knight star 2

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    Jan 20, 2016
    I recently saw a proposal to bring back the concept of a post-ROTJ invasion of Sith Purebloods, one of the early NJO ideas I believe. I think the Sith species are a bit wasted, honestly; their status as a near-human empire and major rebel force against the Rakata could have been explored a lot more before Legends ended, especially if they returned to known space and asked for the independence of the Stygian Caldera post-Legacy or something.

    How many Sith Purebloods/Massassis and non-hybrid offshoots survived to the film eras, if any?

    Not counting the Hundred Year Darkness, Exar Kun makes the most sense as the founder of the Dark Lords of the Sith (a separate title from Sith Emperor, perhaps? A religious title compared to the figurehead, not always the same person?) Would Exar Kun take a Darth title? If I recall, Haazen in JJM's KOTOR implies that "the Sith of old" had Darth Noun names, but I think only Andeddu ever had the title Darth in front of his name, and as far as I know he's only established as the oldest known Darth by essential chronologies. His real name could just be Andeddu and Darth the title in front of it.

    By the way: does anyone else think that in the greater context of the pre-TOR continuity, Revan and Malak going by the Sith titles didn't really make a lot of sense?
     
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  20. darklordoftech

    darklordoftech Force Ghost star 6

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    Sep 30, 2012
    I could see Kun creating the title “Dark Lord of the Sith” for himself and his followers in honor of the species that he feels was “persecuted” for their “wisdom”.

    I’m not a fan of the title “Sith Emperor”. It was clearly an attempt to make TOR resemble the movie era.

    Maybe they should have made Vitiate and Andeddu one and the same?
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
  21. Golbolco

    Golbolco Jedi Knight star 2

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    Jan 20, 2016
    Vitiate and Andeddu would make the most sense if it were a Vitiate-Valkorion situation, I think; Vitiate might have learned essence transfer from Andeddu, and then used it against him to rule as a puppet on Prakith. Otherwise, Andeddu was never built up as a supreme ruler of the Sith and I think it would be somewhat out of place if he were synonymous with Vitiate.

    I'm beginning to lean towards a potential rechronology that combines Exar Kun with Darth Ruin in 2000BBY. Ruin's story and Kun's story mostly fit the same idea of being denied power by the Jedi, and both Ruin and Kun are betrayed by their allies (unnamed Sith in Ruin's case, the repenant Ulic Qel-Droma in Kun's case.) The Sith proceed to form an empire from the remnants of both Kun and Ruin's machinations (Revan and the Triumvirate, the New Sith Empire and Brotherhood of Darkness) and then dissolve back into infighting and extinction.
     
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  22. Voltron64

    Voltron64 Jedi Master star 1

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    Dec 23, 2009
    Same, I don't the long timeline. Makes the thing feel way more epic if you ask me.
     
  23. darklordoftech

    darklordoftech Force Ghost star 6

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    Sep 30, 2012
    Maybe also combine Ulic and Revan, and as I said, move KOTOR II to the Republic Dark Age (Kreia’s views would make more sense in that era).
     
  24. Darth Invictus

    Darth Invictus Jedi Master star 5

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    Aug 8, 2016
    Is “dig” the word you were looking for :)

    Yeah 25,000 years really sells the grand scale space opera nature of legends to me.
     
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  25. darklordoftech

    darklordoftech Force Ghost star 6

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    Sep 30, 2012
    If they wanted to have the Je’daii split into the Jedi and Sith 25,000 years before the movies, I’d be good with that. If they had been consistent about the Sith beginning 7000 years before the movies, I’d be good with that. What I don’t like is how the Jedi Exiles in 7000 BBY and TOTJ: Golden Age don’t work together.
     
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