Our review series of Star Wars: The Fallen Knights, an interactive comic featured on The Cantina forums, begins as we meet two of our main characters: a wayward Jedi Knight, and a lightsided Sith Lord.
Hello ladies and gents of the SWNN readership! As we previously introduced ourselves here, over the next couple of months (and beyond), we will be covering the first unofficially official foray into the Old Republic era under the new canon continuity: the interactive Old Republic Paint Adventures by Alamact, a community undertaking where each and every voice paints the story and its characters under one guy’s canvas (healthy dose of humor included).
This is Dork Lord of the Bith with my partners-in-crime, Darth Snow and Teline, and today we are going to cover the very beginnings of this tale, as well as invite you guys to check it out and join us in the thread itself.
Since this is the first review that we’ll be doing, I’m just going to give you a brief rundown of our format. First up, there’s going to be a non-spoilery preview (similar to a TV show’s synopsis) to give you a good description of what the Chapters that we’re tackling focus on. After that, we have a brief segment where we take a look behind the scenes with the author of the comic, Alamact. This is then followed with a spoilery recap of the chapter’s most important events as we end the review with a faux-podcast commentary in our very soon-to-come article where we sometimes invite guests from the comic’s fanbase to participate.
NO SPOILERS PREVIEW
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
It is a period of conflict unending in the galaxy. The vicious Sith Empire and the Galactic Republic fight for control of a divided Outer Rim, mired in a costly stalemate.
Many Jedi Knights, valiant defenders of the Republic, lay down their lives to halt the advance of the dark warriors of the Sith, as the great war reaches its second crucible.
Hoping to escape the price of his duty, a lonesome Jedi Knight books passage under the guise of an Imperial refugee headed towards neutral space….
Our tale begins as we are introduced to a cynical young Jedi as he contemplates his existence on board a Chiss Ascendancy star cruiser, charting a course to material riches now that his link with the spiritual has been fully untethered.
Meanwhile, in a Nar Shaddaa watering hole, an aimless Sith Lord searches for his missing Mandalorian pilot as he gets swept up in a dangerous underworld revenge scheme.
REAR ADMIRAL’S FRONT
A few words of wisdom coming directly from the comic’s author, Alamact!
“It’s odd coming back to the early days, considering that starting this – neither of us really knew what we had in front of us. This was no epic, sprawling tale; the design was rough and characters lacked any nuance whatsoever. It was lowbrow, pulpy and directionless. Yet it was fun – humorous to some – and despite the odds, it laid a good foundation for growth.
Usually it is the earliest suggestions that shape the characters the most, and the latter ones that shape their subtler attributes. With our titular fallen knights, Doop and Saber, what surprised me the most was the inversion. We had a very materialistic Jedi, and a pacifistic Sith Lord. Not something I was expecting to work with, but something that has absolutely defined the themes of the narrative going forward.
How does a lightsided Sith Lord interpret and embody the tenets of his faith? What makes our Jedi protagonist different than the Sith? How did the great galactic war affect a younger Jedi Order, and what were the lessons they brought into the Clone Wars a millennia after?
Months passed before I started to give the plot proper attention, as the early days were the simpler times. The comic was exploring what it was, and what it could be – but one thing that stayed consistent throughout was the humor. It’s a very humorous take on the Star Wars universe. The jokes most often bend the lore to land, but there is a strong sense of continuity that I tried to preserve and establish. We’ve been fortunate with the Story Group’s decisions thus far, and I have a clear image in my mind how it all connects, but ultimately, we are pioneers painting on a fresh, but familiar canvas that merely serves as a companion to the official lore.
One thing that I can promise to people who decide to take the comic in stride, is that they’ll probably have fun during the first few chapters, but not to enter expecting much. It took me hundreds of users and fifteen chapters to figure out the full potential of what the comic could be, and it feels remarkably humbling to return to a time when I was happy with just seeing two suggestions crop up per day and call it a win.”
FULL SPOILER RECAP
Warning! Prologue and Chapter 1 spoilers ahead. If you wish to read through it at your own leisure, please visit the Archives on The Cantina. For those interested in the full experience, you can visit the main thread also on The Cantina. Otherwise, continue reading on for our recap of all major events!
Prologue: Jedi Dropout Extraordinaire
Launching our tale, we are presented with our first protagonist: an ex-Jedi, semi-professional swindler, lover of shady cantinas, as well as any type of valid currency – Doop Skychafer. On board a passenger ship, specifically the Chiss Ascendancy cruiser named “ASC Blueballs”, our former Padawan decides that after living the unfulfilling life of a Jedi, it is necessary to let loose and live a little.
While spending time in the cruiser’s bar, Doop finds himself in a bind when he offers to buy drinks for the entire establishment, yet is unable to pay for the aforementioned beverages. Broke and belligerent, he quickly ends up in one of the ship’s holding cells, watched over by Private Beneduct Cumberchiss. In a hungover and fruitless attempt to escape, he ends up bringing an untimely death to a suspiciously placed Gungan specimen in the neighboring cell.
Now faced with even more trouble, Doop attempts to bribe the private in exchange for his freedom. Without possessing any usable funds to work with, Doop resorts to offering the private his very own starship (and a gorgeous twi’lek) for the meager sum of 500 credits. Unwittingly, private Cumberchiss pays Doop for a ship and a girl that exist only in Saber’s dreams. In other words, the guard has just been DOOPED.
Feeling invincible all of a sudden, Doop heads straight off to give the highest ranking official on the ship, Grand Admiral Snote, a piece of his mind.
Aware of Skychafer’s unlawful exploits, the decorated Chiss Admiral pulls a blaster on him as Doop draws his yellow lightsaber, prepared for a showdown. In a shocking twist, Grand Admiral Snote puts away his weapon and ignites two red-bladed sabers, irreversibly revealing himself as a supposed Sith Lord. Finding himself well in over his head, Doop hastily retreats to the escape pods.
Given the choice between the absolutely identical Pod 01 and Pod 02, Doop opts for the second pod – because choices matter. However, a malfunction with the pod forces him to go with the other one instead – because choices matter. Quick as much as eager to begin his search for great fortune, he escapes Blueballs to the Smuggler’s Moon below. Shortly after his departure, the issue with Pod 02 resolves itself in an infelicitous turn of events, revealing what would’ve been his, had he only been more patient.
A faint Toydarian cry is heard in the distance…
Chapter 1: Barge of Pleasure
Darth Saber, our gallant Sith Lord who follows the ways of the light, begins his journey in Booze Girls, a seedy establishment in the Corellian sector of Nar Shaddaa ironically featuring rinsed booze and no girls. Waiting for his missing pilot, Ratchet, he grows impatient and plots a plan of search and rescue. Distracted by the bartender who lost his helmet (as well as his marbles), he decides that helping the stranger along the way is the right thing to do.
Upon leaving Booze Girls, he overhears a Mirialan woman mutter something about a missing helmet and attempts to enlist her aid. The only problem? Darth Saber is too socially inept to talk to members of the fairer sex – sole exception being his childhood friend, Ratchet. To conquer this problem, he mind tricks himself into seeing Ratchet instead of the pretty green stranger, now being able to talk with her like a normal person.
After some exposition, Saber discovers that the person behind the helmet theft is none other than the wanted villain, “The Fluke”. In addition to helmet thievery, The Fluke played part in one of the biggest heists of the decade alongside the wanted fugitives, Mynock and Kestrel (who appear on several “Wanted” posters in the area). Taking this new information in stride, Saber embarks with Faux-Ratchet to find the bartender’s lost helmet, as well as his missing pilot. This leads him to one of the pleasure barges of the local crime lord known as Grabba the Hutt, this one being the local Mandalorian hangout.
Once aboard, Saber tries his best to blend in with some flamboyant dance moves. This only scares the local ladies off the barge (and even prompts one into virtual suicide). Shortly thereafter, Saber gets introduced to a gritty Mandalorian by the name of Cancerous Ordo, who just so happens to know his missing pilot by name.
With Cancerous on Ratchet’s trail, Saber decides to work on his conversational skills with a reclusive armored dame occupying one of the tables there. After selling her his patented “Mr. Saber’s Armor Cleanser”, she reveals herself as The Fluke’s twin sister, which apparently is a really common trope in a galaxy far, far away.
The Quirk knows not of her brother’s whereabouts, but she boasts herself the owner of a very special ship that would become pivotal to the plot later on: the comic’s very own Millennium Falcon – the Centennial Turkey.
A quick conversation with a rather strange Mandalorian Jedi Master reveals that a woman named Ratchet was never even present at this party, and Saber soon discovers that Cancerous and he were not on the same page when talking about “a ratchet girl”.
The beautiful thing here is that unbeknownst to anyone at the time, this Jedi character eventually went on to become the comic’s fifth protagonist: Standard Fett, a weathered scholar who followed in Tarre Vizsla’s footsteps and joined the Jedi Order at the cost of forsaking his Clan and House.
Returning to the main floor, Cancerous introduces our Sith Lord with the Queen of all Ratchets who ensues to hand Saber his proverbial ass. With self-preservation in mind, Saber force throws the Ratchet Queen overboard. Since she was also Grabba the Hutt’s top schutta, this action earns him the ire of Nar Shaddaa’s most prominent crime lord.
Siva, the Mirialan lady with whom he started this unfortunate evening, mysteriously slips by unnoticed as Grabba’s Trandoshan enforcers arrive to arrest Darth Saber for interfering in Grabba’s affairs for the first and last time.
Finally, Chapter 1 ends on a cliffhanger as we see Saber get hauled away into imprisonment to the palace of the Corpulent One.
See you very soon on our Knights’ Watch piece, the faux-commentary part of the review where we’ll discuss how our two heroes got their names and how it has shaped their character, including a guest appearance by the guy whose suggestion gave us Darth Saber’s title.