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Hyperspace Beacon: The Lost Suns


This week, we are taking a break from studying the class powersets, although I do plan to return to them eventually. As I was contemplating what to write, it occurred to me that I really haven't covered any lore for quite some time. While my editors and I are talking about doing a specific series of lore-based articles leading up to the game's release, I definitely wanted to focus on more of the canon history behind the game. After all, this is Star Wars: The Old Republic, and it epitomizes the fourth pillar of MMO design: story.

I finally got my hands on the latest comic book with direct ties to SWTOR this past week. It's called The Lost Suns, and while it's fresh on my mind, we should probably discuss some of the main points and characters in the story. BioWare writer Alexander Freed and comic book artist Dave Ross collaborated to bring us this first of a five-issue comic book series about Theron Shan. As Freed said on the official TOR forums, "I like to describe The Lost Suns as our 'ninth story' -- every class in The Old Republic tells its own Star Wars epic, and Theron's tale intersects with the other eight and pushes the greater game story forward, just as they do." Follow after the break to discover how this "ninth story" is starts out.

Satele Shan is not the primary protagonist of this comic, but she does play a major role in the backstory of the series. In the comic, she appears in a flashback told by Jedi Master Ngani Zho. She is the leader of a strike force during the Sith invasion and is tasked with thwarting the plans of Darth Mekhis. Satele is obviously not the timid Jedi padawan she was in the Return trailer. The artist captured the intensity we saw from her in the Hope trailer. However, even though she is probably the most recognizable Jedi in all of Star Wars: The Old Republic, we really know very little about her.

Satele no doubt carries the last name of her grandmother (several times removed), Bastila Shan. It is hinted that Satele is the descendant of Revan as well, but no one but the developers of SWTOR knows that for sure at this time. Even with her lineage, it's been 300 years since the time of Revan. Nothing of her two ancestors can really be applied to her personally.

This comic book, like many comic books, sets up key characters right from the first page. In parallel with the game itself, these represent Satele's companions, and I would not be at all surprised to find out that Satele's relationships with these characters in the future comic books mirror our in-game relationships with our companions.

Right up front, we are introduced to Darth Mekhis, who appears to be the primary antagonist in both the present day and flashback portions of the comic. I usually divide Sith into two different categories: those who use magic and those who use technology. Darth Sidious was one of those who used technology to further his ruthless goals. In fact, Darth Vader is probably the prime example of using technology to enhance the Dark Side. By contrast, Darth Nihilus and the Sith Triumvirate relied more on the mystical side of the Force. In the brief glance we have of Darth Mekhis, we can determine that she is going to rely on technology to further her Imperial glory. Her Magneto helmet, Ke$ha eyebrows, and life-sucking Star Destroyer reveal her dependance on tech.

Obviously, she survives her encounter with Satele Shan during the Sith invasion, but that is clearly not the story to be told. We want to know why she survives the face-off with Satele. The storyteller in me says that we are looking at congruent events here. The flashback will, in a fashion, mirror the events in present day. Since the protagonists are different, this usually means that the present-day hero will face the same enemy as the past hero but will overcome this enemy because he made different choices or because he is a different person. However, at this point, this is all speculation, as this first episode mostly served as a way to introduce us to the cast of characters.

On the official holonet page for Satele Shan, the aurebesh text says "A Secret Son" next to Satele's right elbow. We assume this refers to Theron Shan, the primary protagonist of this series of comics. It is also possible that the title of the series has a double meaning and that Theron is actually a lost son to Satele. Like most of the characters in the comic book, Theron has a shrouded past that will most likely be revealed during the course of the series. However, we do have some clues as to where his tale will take us.

As I mentioned above, I believe his story will mirror his mother's story and the player's story as well. We are seeing Theron's "character story" from the beginning; Satele's story is one we are picking up at its mid-point. Most likely, we have seen Theron's first companion as well in the form of a Tolian Twi'lek with gargantuan lekku. (Honestly, I don't see how she doesn't topple over at every step.) We are also introduced to M-6, his trusty droid. Afterall, what is an intergalactic spy without a trusty droid sidekick?

As a final thought, I would like to point out the biggest piece of the story that stood out to me. Master Zho, whom I mentioned above, tells the flashback story. He is also the Master of Satele Shan. If you have been following Satele like I have, then you probably did a double-take like I did. How many masters does this Satele need, exactly? So far, we have the Zabrak from the Return trailer, Master Dar'nala from the Threat of Peace webcomic, and now Master Zho from this comic. I was always under the impression that Jedi were given one master to train them. Granted, both of Satele's other masters died, but where does this guy fall in the timeline? Am I the only one who is a bit confused?

Thanks for indulging me this moment to talk about the lore behind SWTOR. If you have any thoughts regarding the comic, let me know in the comments below. What did you think of the comic as a whole? If you haven't bought it yet, find it in your local comic book store. I believe this story will help connect the dots in your personal class story in the game.

Star Wars: The Old Republic is finally here, and the Force is with Massively! We've prepared a Hutt-sized feast of class introductions, gameplay guides, lore roundups, and hands-on previews to help you navigate the launch period and beyond. And don't forget our weekly SWTOR column, the Hyperspace Beacon!

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