The galaxy's historic texts recount the tales of heroes and villains as a simple conflict between good and evil. The heroes are portrayed as infallible beings unable to falter from their quest for peace and justice. However, reality sees the side of these heroes that the history books do not. It knows about Revan and his fall before saving the galaxy from the evil clutches of Darth Malak. History also knows about the similar path his companion, Bastila Shan, took during Revan's redemption. Reality is full of gray and Bastila, one of the galaxy's greatest heroes, was anything but infallible.
Read on after the jump to find out how!
Bastila's early childhood was similar to that of other Jedi Padawans. Whisked away from her family when she was very young, the Jedi saw great promise in the young human, but they failed to see the emotional turmoil that lay beneath the surface. Already attached to her father, young Bastila knew Helena, her mother, to be a self-centered woman who forced her husband into the dangerous profession of treasure hunting.
The Shan family jumped throughout the galaxy following trails that had the potential to lead to great wealth, but usually ended in ruin. Over the years, the Shans' number of credits dwindled. Bastila was old enough to remember how Helena pushed to continue treasure hunting to prolong the family's wealth. When Bastila's mother gave her to the Jedi Council for training, a spark ignited within young Bastila. The love she had for her father and the animosity she held toward her mother became the driving forces behind her actions and eventually had a great impact on the galaxy.
Her resentment stayed with her through her early years of training, but her Jedi instructors constantly reminded her not to let her emotions get the better of her. With time, Bastila learned to keep her demons at bay, becoming one of the Council's most promising students. It quickly became evident that Bastila was destined to become a great Jedi. Her natural control of the Force was most apparent when she mastered her yellow, double-bladed lightsaber and the use of battle meditation. This powerful skill allowed Jedi to reinforce the resolve of allies while sapping the morale of enemies.
It was during these early years that Bastila first encountered her eventual nemesis, Malak. Still a headstrong Jedi Knight, Malak spoke out against the Jedi Council on behalf of his best friend Revan. The Jedi Council refused to join the fight against the invading Mandalorians and Malak sought to encourage other Jedi to join with him in the fight against Mandalore's army. His passion against the Council's inaction succeeded in convincing several Jedi to join Revan's forces, but Bastila refused to turn her back on the wisdom of the her Masters and stood her ground.
Several years later, Revan and Malak returned. This time, their passion was not delivered with words, but with force. The two Jedi returned as Sith to conquer the galaxy for themselves. By this time, Bastila's training was complete and the Council used her battle meditation to strike against the massive Sith armada. One mission saw Bastila lead a strike force to capture Darth Revan in hopes of discovering how he managed to amass his enormous fleet in such little time. The outcome of this mission had dramatic effects on Bastila and reinforced the inner struggle between her Masters' teachings and the powerful bitterness toward her mother.
Unbeknownst to Revan and the Jedi Council, Malak had aspirations of his own. When Bastila struck, Malak turned his ship's guns on his master's flagship. The attack rendered Revan unconscious just as he squared off against Bastila's Jedi strike force. Realizing that the Dark Lord's life was in danger, Bastila healed him with the Force. Since Revan was Sith, the link Bastila formed needed to be strong in order to heal the man's wounds. As a result, a Force bond formed between the two that lasted for years to come.
The strike force succeeded in escaping with a comatose Revan and delivered their prize to the Jedi Council. Seeing a chance to learn more about Revan and Malak's plans, the Council decided to imprint a new personality on the Dark Lord's mind. They assigned Revan, who had no recollection of his dark past, to the Republic fleet and tasked Bastila with keeping an eye on him. After a series of events on Taris, the unlikely pair set out for the Jedi enclave on Dantooine.
It did not take long for parts of Revan's past to resurface. Bastila and Revan began sharing Force visions of the long-lost Star Maps that led to the Star Forge, which was instrumental in the creation of Revan's massive fleet. The Jedi Council knew they would be unable to keep the mind-wiped Revan from using his Force abilities and agreed to train him as a Jedi. Bastila's position as his watcher remained and the two set out in search of the Star Maps in hopes of stopping Malak from continuing his conquest.
During their journey, Bastila began to open up to her companion and Revan eventually stirred up the resentment Bastila felt toward her mother. She admitted the turmoil she felt due to the teachings she learned as a Padawan. The fact that she harbored such animosity went against everything that the Jedi taught her. Revan listened as Bastila poured out her feelings and tried to support her in spite of her self-doubt. When the two traveled to Tatooine in search of a Star Map, the emotions about the woman who took Bastila away from her father briefly took precedence over their mission.
While investigating a cantina in Anchorhead, fate reunited Bastila with her mother, Helena. After years of pent-up frustration, Bastila's emotions got the better of her. When Helena informed Bastila that her father died in the Tatooine deserts searching for a rare krayt dragon pearl, the two argued about the past and how terrible Helena had been to her family. However, Helena's story was different. According to her, treasure hunting was a means to pay for medical treatments, but time had burned Bastila's memories so deeply she refused to believe her mother's claims of a deathly illness. Only the news of a lost Holocron left by her father in Tatooine's sands forced Bastila to listen. Eventually, with Revan's encouragement, the young Jedi let go of her hatred and Bastila parted with her mother on good terms.
The altercation with her mother led Bastila to contemplate her struggle with the Jedi teachings even further. A particular obstacle was the fact that Jedi were not allowed to have a family. The Jedi had a strict policy against Padawans visiting their families and prohibited grown Jedi from having romantic relationships and starting families of their own. Bastila struggled with this due to her growing feelings toward Revan.
However, she discovered her feelings for Revan were mutual. Staying true to the teachings of the Jedi Order, Bastila urged Revan to support her in turning away from her feelings. She told him it was necessary to avoid falling to the dark side, but deep down, Bastila knew who Revan used to be. Part of her desperately wanted to stop lying to the man she loved and tell him who he really was, but she resisted because the Council forbid it. Bastila continued to struggle and again had difficulty keeping her emotions in check. "Every time I try to call on all my teachings to calm myself, they fail me," she once said. Eventually, Bastila's struggle proved futile. The Force bond that still existed between her and Revan drew them together and they gave in to their passion.
After their first intimate engagement, Bastila regretted her actions. She told Revan they could not waste time trying to sort out their romance, especially with Malak and his fleet still looming over the galaxy. Before Revan could rightfully mend their relationship, the Leviathan, one of Malak's warships, attacked the Ebon Hawk. Bastila and the ship's crew were quickly captured, locked away and tortured. Luckily, Malak's troops were not very thorough in their search of the Ebon Hawk and one of Revan's companions was able to escape detection and free the captured crew.
During their escape, Bastila and Revan faced off against Darth Malak. Revan's old apprentice fought fiercely, but the deepest wounds he scored were from the words he spoke. Before the saber duel began, Malak revealed Revan's his dark past to him. Bastila pleaded her case and Revan forgave her for following the Council's orders. Malak enraged by his former master's compassion, placed Bastila in a Force stasis field and attacked Revan.
Bastila was forced to watch, frozen in place as the man she loved fought against the Dark Lord. Calming her mind, she was able to break free from Malak's grip. Just as Malak's lightsaber came down to land the finishing blow, Bastila threw her lightsaber and lured him away in the hopes that the others would escape. Details of the duel that followed are unknown, but in the end, Bastila was no match for the Dark Lord of the Sith. She became his prisoner and was taken to the planet Lehon, where Malak planned to turn her to the dark side and use her battle meditation to destroy what remained of the Republic.
Deep within an ancient Rakatan temple, Malak unleashed many forms of torture upon Bastila. Much to his disappointment, Bastila's resolve was strong and she refused to fall to the dark side. Malak did not let this deter him, though. "I can see the truth in your heart," he said. "The dark side calls to you, Bastila. You hunger to taste it." The resentment toward her mother, the conflict she felt against the Jedi Order for lying to Revan, and refusing her desire for him were all easily visible through the Force. Malak tapped into these seeds and manipulated them until Bastila's inevitable fall was complete.
While Malak worked to turn his new apprentice, Revan and the rest of his crew continued their quest to find the Star Forge. Their search led them to Lehon, where Revan and Bastila met again, this time as enemies. Bastila had replaced her yellow lightsaber crystals with the synthetic red crystals of the Sith. She spoke to him of how the Jedi Council taught Padawans to fear the dark side as a way to keep their control over them. Bastila believed that the only way a person could reach their true power was to embrace the dark side. Only then were the shackles of the Jedi Council broken.
Bastila implored Revan to join her in defeating Malak so that she and Revan could conquer the galaxy together. Despite her arguments, he did not give in to her and refused to reclaim the mantle of Dark Lord of the Sith. Instead, Revan had the audacity to try to turn her back to the light; back to the ways of the Jedi Council, whose doctrine prohibited their love affair. She struck out at Revan with the Force, but he was too strong for her and she fled to the Star Forge where their duel resumed.
Once again, Bastila tried to convince Revan that the dark side was the only true side of the Force. She spoke of how the Jedi Council had enslaved both her and Revan, but she failed to sway his spirit. In despair, she asked him to leave her to her fate at the hands of her new master. Suddenly she felt strength emanating from Revan through their Force bond. She latched on to that strength and Revan convinced Bastila to break free of the dark side. With Bastila redeemed, Revan ran off to face Malak one last time. Bastila remained behind to use her battle meditation to swing the battle in the Republic's favor.
Revan finally eliminated Malak and escaped the Star Forge with Bastila before its destruction. Hailed as the galaxy's saviors, Bastila was a changed woman forever. The events that followed the Battle of Lehon are largely unknown, but the legacy of Bastila Shan continued. Revan eventually left her and the rest of the known galaxy to investigate an unknown threat. The two Jedi maintained their powerful bond and Bastila even programmed Revan's utility droid to contact her if anything were to happen to her lover.
Eventually the droid did return, but it could not locate Bastila. Even though Bastila could not be found, it is known that she was one of the few Jedi to survive the First Jedi Purge. Due to the Purge, the Council's rule against romance was forced to change and Jedi were allowed to marry and have children in order to replenish their numbers. This decision did not last, however. By the time the Sith Empire returned 300 years later, the council once again believed that romantic attachments led only to the dark side.
Satele Shan, one of Bastila's descendants and Grand Master of the Jedi Order during the time of The Old Republic, may have strong opinions about this decision; the Jedi exiled her mother. Many believe Satele to be the heir of Bastila and Revan's offspring. If her mother was exiled for disobeying the edict against romance, the galaxy might start to see some of her ancestor's traits emerge.
Header image from Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide