For a decade, Star Wars: The Old Republic has been telling a tale thousands of years before the movies about the cyclical conflict between Jedi and Sith, and Republic and Empire. So it’s only natural at this point that its heroes and villains are beginning to express wariness how the establishments that drive that conflict are maybe the problem more than anything
To celebrate today’s launch of Legacy of the Sith, the latest expansion to the ongoing saga of Star Wars: The Old Republic, Bioware dropped “Disorder,” the latest in a long line of traditional, meaty, and gloriously gorgeous CGI trailers for the game. Are they reflective of how you actually play a MMORPG? Absolutely not. Are they exciting as all hell? Absolutely yes.
What makes “Disorder” great is that you don’t entirely need to be familiar with what’s happening in The Old Republic’s ongoing narrative at this point for its biggest emotive beats to work. Sure, you might be a little confused as to why Darth Malgus, the guy who looks like Vader with his helmet off, is stabbing members of his own team, but that’s not really important. It’s that in between giving us some rad lightsaber combat (we see you doing that Last Jedi Rey saber-hand swap move, Padawan, and we love it), “Disorder” is about awakening the Jedi to the fact that its systems fail the Knights, Masters, and Padawans it intends to serve.
Telling the tale of a Jedi Master and his apprentice’s coming together — and their falling apart, as the latter realises the cruelty of the Jedi’s penchant for nabbing only the strongest Force-sensitive kids and leaving their families behind in the process — the focus in “Disorder” is the snazzy duel between Malgus and his Jedi foes, but there is a constant undercurrent of the Order’s failings. Not just the emotion of the young Twi’lek Padawan, Sa’har, being given a vision of her brother’s enslavement after the Jedi abandoned him — not even for not being Force sensitive, but simply for not being sensitive enough to be a warrior in the ongoing conflict. There’s even Malgus’ willingness not to kill both the Jedi, instead willing them to open their eyes to how the Order goes about adding to its ranks is only fuelling the pain and anger that has lead to their generations-long war with the Sith (who, at this point, Malgus doesn’t particularly care for either). He leaves Sa’har in one piece, not to punish her, but to give her the chance to see things the way he does, and realise that the Jedi’s approach being wrong didn’t stop at her master being kind of a dick.
Of course, all of this is coming from Malgus’ perspective, and Legacy of the Sith is largely going to be about players from either the Republic or Sith Empire side of The Old Republic trying to put a stop to his plans, so it’s not like the game is explicitly supporting his standpoint. But it’s still interesting to see Star Wars media slowly but surely become just as much about critiquing the structure and dogma of institutions like the Jedi Order — at one time the mythologized ideal we and characters like Luke Skywalker were taught to revere and hope to see restored, in all its glory — as much as it is celebrating individual members of that order.
Star Wars: The Old Republic’s new expansion, Legacy of the Sith, is playable now.
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