How Tabletop RPGs Made Me Love Star Wars Again

By Rhi

I was first introduced to Star Wars at age 8, when the Original Trilogy was re-released on VHS. My mom, who had seen the movies in theaters when they’d first come out, saw the VHS tapes on sale and got really excited, telling me and my brother how great the movies were as she picked them up for purchase. I, on the other hand, was deeply skeptical: the movies had “war” in the title, and war was bad, right?

Fortunately, my mom ignored my concerns and plopped me and my brother down to watch the movies with her. I don’t have many clear memories of those first viewings, but I do know that by the end of Return of the Jedi, I was hooked. I watched the movies over and over, and as I got older, I started reading some of the Expanded Universe books–the Thrawn Trilogy stands out in memory as the first ones I picked up. And when the prequels came out, I went to see them all in theaters–multiple times, even as I found myself thinking that they sounded like they’d been written by someone who’d rather be doing anything else.

But after the prequels, I sort of drifted away. The prequels hadn’t captured my heart and imagination the way the OT did. The Knights of the Old Republic (KotOR) games brought me back to Star Wars briefly–I was pretty active in the fandom for a while, but for some reason, I didn’t really think of myself as a Star Wars fan, even as I wrote fanfic about Jedi and smuggler pilots. It was in the Star Wars universe, sure, but I wasn’t a Star Wars fan. I was a KotOR fan, and eventually, I moved on from that, too.

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Search Your Feelings — They’re Buried in There Somewhere

By Rhi

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is a classic role-playing video game, published by Bioware in 2003. The game is set some 4,000 years prior to the Clone Wars. Even though the game is set so far in the past, there are many similarities between the two time periods: the Republic and the Jedi Order are mired in war, the Dark Side and the Sith are a potent threat, and the Jedi Order is absolutely awful at basic emotional intelligence. By demanding that all members of the Order reject their own emotions as a matter of course, the Old Republic Jedi Council sends many of its padawans down the same road that Anakin Skywalker would one day walk: Struggling to follow the restrictive rules of the Order, chafing under the chains, and eventually giving into decades of unaddressed emotional turmoil in a rapid fall to the Dark Side.There are three characters in particular who follow this path. Bastila Shan, Juhani, and Yuthara Ban each have stories that demonstrate a way that the Jedi Order has failed them–and failed all Jedi. While we only see the fall of these three characters, many more padawans and knights face the same emotional struggles.

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Force Persuasion

By Rhi

The Star Wars Propaganda book is one of my favorite types of canon texts: a work that’s written in-universe, with all the biases and uncertainties that come along with it. These kind of works can be a fantastic world-building tool, showing not only new facets of the world’s history and culture, but also how people perceive those things. So, naturally, I bought the book, and as soon as it was delivered I plopped down on my couch and devoured it in an afternoon.

When I’d finished my first pass, though, I found myself surprisingly underwhelmed. I’d expected something that really expanded on the new canon of Star Wars, and while there were a handful of places where there was new information and world building, it still fell short of my expectations. My problem, one that I keep encountering in Star Wars in general, is a lack of imagination from the creators.

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