Who Is Darth Traya? 'The Acolyte's 'KOTOR' Inspiration Explained (2024)

The Big Picture

  • The Acolyte venture into the Dark Side, uncovering sinister crimes of the Sith in the High Republic era.
  • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords' Darth Traya's legacy influences the new Star Wars series.
  • The series explores a new perspective on the Force through characters like Mae, challenging the Jedi philosophies.

There is a new Star Wars series just around the corner, and this time, we're visiting the Dark Side. Although trailers show many Jedi swinging lightsabers, The Acolyte promises to delve into the lore that surrounds the Sith, their ancient enemies, and series creator Leslye Headland has been giving interesting tips about what that means. A fan herself, she knows her lore, including the non-canon sources on the Legends label. To flesh out the Dark Side in The Acolyte, she sought inspiration from a fan-favorite game, Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, especially a much-overlooked character — Darth Traya. But how can Revan's old master influence the new series?

Who Is Darth Traya? 'The Acolyte's 'KOTOR' Inspiration Explained (1)
The Acolyte


The Acolyte is a mystery-thriller that will take viewers into a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark-side powers in the final days of the High Republic era. A former Padawan reunites with her Jedi Master to investigate a series of crimes, but the forces they confront are more sinister than they ever anticipated.

Release Date
June 4, 2024
Cast
Carrie-Anne Moss , Amandla Stenberg , Lee Jung-jae , Manny Jacinto , Dafne Keen , Jodie Turner-Smith , Rebecca Henderson , Charlie Barnett , Dean-Charles Chapman

Main Genre
Sci-Fi

Seasons
1

Studio
Disney+

Darth Traya Trained Two of the Sith’s Greatest Dark Lords

When asked about the influence classic Sith Lords like Darth Bane would have on The Acolyte during an interview with Den of Geek, Leslye Headland mentioned that she would really like to tackle these characters in future seasons. Who she gave as an inspiration was Darth Traya, a rather deep-cut character from the Knights of the Old Republic video game series — one that isn't usually thought of when people list their favorites. But she does have a huge legacy.

In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, Darth Traya doesn't start out with this name. She acts as a guide for the player, known only as Jedi Exile, posing as a Jedi named Kreia. She holds a sort of motherly love towards the Exile, and only reveals her true nature after they complete one of the main missions in the game. We learn that she had once been a Jedi, but was cast out of the Order because the Council believed it was her teachings that influenced one of her earlier apprentices, Revan, to fall to the Dark Side of the Force and lead an invasion armada against the Republic in the first Knights of the Old Republic game. Later on, as a Sith, she trained the two main antagonists of The Sith Lords, Darth Sion and Darth Nihilus, who also cast her out once they grew powerful and restored their Sith Armada.

Later in the game, Darth Traya begins to train a fourth apprentice. In the plot of The Sith Lords, the Jedi are the victims of their first galaxy-wide purge, carried out by Darth Sion and Darth Nihilus. One of the remaining Jedi, Atris, has a bad history with the Jedi Exile, and falls to the Dark Side, being briefly trained by Darth Traya. She even wants Atris to take on the mantle of Darth Traya afterward, and then she reveals that her Sith name comes from the word "betrayal," and that "there must always be a Darth Traya, one that holds the knowledge of betrayal. Who has been betrayed in their heart, and will betray in turn." Tragic as it is, though, Darth Traya's history is not her best trait as a character, but rather her views about the Force.

Darth Traya Is Known for Her Unique View of the Force

During the game, we learn that the Exile has been exiled by the Jedi Council because of their connection to Revan. On Malachor V, they turned on a terrible device called the Mass Shadow Generator, which wiped out the planet in a gravitational vortex. The aftermath of this is seen millennia later in the second season finale of Star Wars Rebels, and the loss of life was so huge, it created a "wound" in the Force itself. This was so huge, it severed the Exile's connection to the Force entirely.

After a lifetime of betraying and being betrayed by both Jedi and Sith, Darth Traya grew hateful of the Force itself. She believed that neither the Jedi nor the Sith deserved to win their "cosmic chess match" that had already cost the galaxy so much, and she saw the Force as the cause of such destruction, something that "enslaved" all life in the galaxy. She didn't see life itself as a problem, but as something that deserved to exist without being the battlefield of some cosmic war between two factions that, in her eyes, were dependent on the Force.

In this sense, Darth Traya saw the Jedi Exile as a perfect being, someone who could draw on the Force for power, but was not a subject to its will. The Exile was ultimately banished from the Jedi because the Council saw "the death of the Force" in them, and Darth Traya saw in them a way of making her plan come true: to actually "kill" the Force. Her intentions in training and guiding the Jedi Exile throughout The Sith Lords were to understand how their connection to the Force was severed in the first place, how their actions on Malachor V managed to damage the Force, and to try and amplify it, in a way, to take on the whole of the Force.

Related

The Mysteries of 'The Acolyte' Deepen in New Teaser

The series premieres on June 4.

How Can Darth Traya Influence ‘The Acolyte?’

Curiously, the idea of someone severing their connection to the Force and that no one should win a war for supremacy over the Force has already appeared in canon with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) in The Last Jedi. What Darth Traya wanted was more radical, though. Skywalker sees the Force as greater than the war over it, while Traya sees it as the cause of those skirmishes. As we approach the release of The Acolyte, Leslye Headland and the cast have been teasing a new approach to the Force in this new era of Star Wars, especially regarding the Dark Side.

In an interview with Empire, Amandla Stenberg talked about how "the way people use the Force is very expansive," and that this idea allows the story to "explore the different way this character relates to the Force," talking about her character, Mae. Leslye Headland has also teased this idea, that the Jedi don't have a "monopoly on the Force," but that there could be beings who have a connection to the Force — ones that don't necessarily fit the Jedi's view of what balance is — and it becomes a problem for them. In the first trailer for The Acolyte, a Jedi Youngling who seems like a younger Mae talks to Master Sol (Lee Jung-jae) about "seeing fire" when she closes her eyes, and it apparently isn't something the Jedi know or even care to find out how to deal with.

While the first impressions of The Acolyte are already around the internet, most of us know only that she is a Dark Side assassin who has been killing Jedi. At the end of the High Republic, when the series takes place, the Jedi are indeed the dominant force in the galaxy, and killing them seems like a good way to tilt the balance against them - maybe even "hurting" the Force. Most people seem to think that "balance" means a predominance of Light over Darkness, but is it, though? Shouldn't there be room for more, or at least for someone not to be "enslaved" by their connection to the Force? Hopefully, those are the answers the series provides.

The first two episodes of The Acolyte premiere exclusively on June 4. You can catch up on everything Star Wars on Disney+ in the U.S.

Watch on Disney+

Who Is Darth Traya? 'The Acolyte's 'KOTOR' Inspiration Explained (2024)
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