Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic Remake Shouldn't Be Canon

The remake of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic shouldn’t be canon, even though it’s arguably the most beloved Star Wars video game of all time. Although once considered canon, KOTOR was moved into Star Wars' Legends continuity when Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012. While elements of the games and expanded material have been referenced in canon Star Wars material, the new High Republic publishing initiative, set 200 years before the events of The Phantom Menace, contradicts multiple elements of KOTOR, making it difficult for a full remake to be made canon. Bringing KOTOR into canon would undermine the High Republic, and potentially even make Star Wars even more confusing for gamers who don’t keep up with the franchise’s minutia.

Knights of the Old Republic, developed by BioWare and published by LucasArts, launched on the original Xbox in 2003, eventually coming to PC a few months later. The game takes place roughly 4,000 years before the Skywalker Saga movies, following the story of a Republic soldier who trains to become a Jedi. The player, who makes decisions that push their Jedi toward either the dark side or light side, is tasked with confronting Darth Malak, a Sith lord that has been terrorizing the galaxy.

Related: BioWare Not Working On Star Wars: KOTOR - Remake Is The Right Decision

While the game made a big splash in both the Star Wars and gaming worlds, spawning a Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic sequel, an MMORPG and numerous books, it was removed from the Star Wars canon when Disney purchased the franchise in 2012. Like the rest of the Expanded Universe’s books and video games that were released mainly throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Knights of the Old Republic became a part of Star Wars Legends rather than the new Disney canon, which includes the sequel trilogy and the High Republic. However, as beloved as Knights of the Old Republic is, as well as how exciting it is that a full-blown remake is a reality, it would be a mistake for it to reenter canon now.

As mentioned earlier, the High Republic (which is also coming to the gaming medium with the Last of Us-inspired Star Wars Eclipse) is a canon collection of stories exploring the world before the Star Wars films. It doesn’t follow just one storyline, either. Instead, the High Republic explores many facets of the Jedi Order and the Republic before The Phantom Menace, including a few different antagonists in an interconnected, political world.

When it was announced, fans immediately began to compare the High Republic to the Old Republic because both are set prior to the movies. The High Republic is still considerably more recent on the timeline than the Old Republic, since the former commences 200 years before The Phantom Menace while the latter is 4,000 years before. Regardless, it would be a strange move to reintroduce Knights of the Old Republic to canon right now when the Star Wars franchise is in the midst of a multiyear, multimedia project with the High Republic.

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Opening the door to a canon version of KOTOR with its remake would, most likely, include Old Republic books, comics and other spin-offs, just like it did in the early 2000s. Star Wars is an expansive franchise, covering every possible entertainment niche. With a High Republic video game from Quantic Dream in development, as well as its already existing books and comics and upcoming TV show, it doesn’t make sense to start focusing on another enormous prequel era at the moment.

While there’s not too much content in Knights of the Old Republic that directly contradicts canon, that doesn’t mean that a reintroduction would be painless. Disney announced its intent to acquire the Star Wars franchise in 2012, and its first canon entries in the series after scrapping Legends began to hit shelves in 2015. Now, in 2022, there are dozens of canon Star Wars books and games, all set in a comprehensive timeline, as well as TV shows like The Mandalorian and spin-off movies like Rogue One and Solo.

Star Wars isn’t quite at the same level as Marvel yet when it comes to intertwined storytelling, but it’s not unheard of. There are character cameos everywhere in the Star Wars universe, and in the High Republic especially, the events of one book can influence the plot of another. Introducing a piece of Star Wars media that was created almost 20 years ago into new canon and trying to make sure it fits isn’t necessarily impossible, but it could be a daunting task.

Related: Why KOTOR Remake Is A Timed PS5 Exclusive (When Original Was Xbox-Only)

In fact, Knights of the Old Republic’s canon status was a point of contention among Star Wars fans even in the days of the Expanded Universe. Without getting into too many spoilers (since the remake is likely to draw in newer and younger fans), the ability to pick whether the player’s character follows the dark or light side in KOTOR meant that the game had multiple endings. The canon version of Knights of the Old Republic’s ending was explicitly stated in following media, but not without controversy.

Again, it’s a little difficult to talk about without giving spoilers, but the smallest details from the player character’s gender to decisions made throughout the game were picked apart for years by Star Wars fans. Once Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords and the 2011 novel Revan came out, fans received both sequels and answers to their questions, but not everyone was satisfied with the final result. When Disney is trying to cultivate a cohesive, easy-to-understand timeline across Star Wars games like Fallen Order, as well as other media, the confusion that Knights of the Old Republic brings, as well as its history, may not be worth the struggle.

Because of all that, it’s easier for Lucasfilm Games to just release the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic remake as a fun throwback with no bearing on the current story instead of trying to change canon. It eliminates the need to make sure that all of the game’s storylines, which would have rippling effects into the future, aren’t somehow retconned by material in the High Republic or other future Star Wars stories. Plus, with the success of the High Republic and the number of new stories being released, it just doesn’t make sense to pivot back to the Old Republic right now. It’s simpler to leave the remake as is - a one-off story that won’t have to abide by the new Star Wars canon.

Next: Star Wars: KOTOR Remake Can Fix The Original's First Mistake



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