One of the easiest ways to see the divides in the Star Wars fandom is to have them vote on characters. StarWars.com is currently conducting a poll to determine what character should be Hasbro’s next 6” Black Series figure. The results, thus far, have been causing a lot of chatter. The favorite right now is Darth Revan from the Knights of the Old Republic games. A lot of fans on Twitter, myself included, have been advocating for Sabine Wren (who is currently in second place) because she’s not only an awesome character but also the only (for sure) female character who made it into the finals. Watching the back-and-forth on Twitter has made me realize that how myself and a bunch of other fans view Revan is almost the exact opposite of how others, including many who aren’t very attached to the KOTOR games, view Revan. (Trust me: the irony of this is not lost on me.)
At his/her core, Revan is a self-insert character. Revan is exactly as cool and as dark side or light side as you choose to make him/her. That’s part of the fun of the games. Revan is played up through the first two-thirds of the game as being this incredible strategist who beat the Mandalorians and probably would’ve beaten the Republic if Malak hadn’t turned into a power hungry betrayer. In Legends, the character was declared to be canonically male for the purposes of The Old Republic game which… is what it is. (I’m already on record as saying I think everything that was post-KOTOR2 canon is dumb but that’s neither here nor there.) Regardless, it’s pushed forward this view of Revan as being this super cool and badass Sith Lord who is badass enough to survive being tortured for a few hundred years and then do… whatever that storyline in the TOR game is. It’s how a lot of those who aren’t KOTOR fans see Revan. After all, what’s all that groundbreaking about another brown haired white guy gone evil and then good and then… possibly good or evil again?
To some fans though, she is way more. To a strong minority, Revan is the woman of color Jedi turned Sith Lord turned hero that we never otherwise get to see. Keep in mind, the first KOTOR game came out back in 2003 when there weren’t too many great female Sith villains never mind many Sith who were people of color. Revan was something different. She was an opportunity. She was a wish fulfillment character that a lot of us had never really had before. In case anyone doubts the lasting affect of Revan, one only has to go check out the KOTOR community on tumblr. We may have our own thoughts on whether she stayed on the light side or fell to the dark again or even which member of her crew she fell in love with but it’s clear that idea of this very capable woman who finds success against all odds holds strong over ten years after the game’s release. Needless to say, she still means a lot to this part of the Revan fanbase, myself included.
Does this all boil down to headcanon? Of course. Again, that was a part of the game’s charm. Does it suck for the (admitted) minority of KOTOR fans who love female Revan that the chances of Hasbro creating a female Revan toy are approximately 3720 to 1? Hell yes. However, despite what Legends canon says, the two Revans are still very much a part of the Star Wars fandom and to completely ignore one when discussing the character in broad strokes is to do part of the fandom a disservice.