The Exile is a fully customizable character at the start of the game, and can be male or female, although Star Wars canon states the Exile as a "heroine" because of entries into The New Essential Guide to Droids, although the Official Webpage and artwork depicts the exile as male. The player also can choose what side of the Force their character takes through the course of the game.
The Exile was a Human Jedi Knight, on par with most Masters of the time, who studied - and taught - at the Academy on Dantooine as a Padawan. Master Kavar instructed her for a time. Before the Exile could take her own apprentice, the Mandalorian Wars surged through the galaxy. Overwhelmed with compassion for the lives lost to the ravages of the Mandalorians on the Outer Rim, the Exile joined the Galactic Republic forces led by Revan, who was the first Jedi Knight that had defied the Jedi Council to battle the Mandalorians. The Exile left a prospective Padawan, Mical (the Disciple), without a master.
The Exile served as a General under Revan during the Mandalorian Wars. Overseeing the final, titanic battle at Malachor V, she gave the order to activate the mass shadow generator, which crushed both the Republic soldiers and Mandalorians caught in the weapon's destructive sphere. The amount of death and destruction caused such a substantial 'wound' in the Force that the Exile was forced to sever her connection to it. The Exile was the only Jedi under Revan able to turn away from the dark side after Malachor V, the Exile was also the only Jedi to return willingly to Coruscant, to face trial for her actions - and defend them.
Although the Exile passionately plead her case, the Jedi Council decreed the Exile was to be banished from the Jedi Order because the Exile had defied the Council's wishes and followed Revan to war (hence, why she was dubbed "the Exile"). In reality, the Council feared the 'wound' in the Force that surrounded the Exile. Some on the council felt that they were punishing the Exile not because of what the Exile did, but because the she was the only one the Council could avenge themselves on, and because the Exile was symbolic of the many Jedi that had fallen to the dark side over the course of history. Some council members felt that the Exile was the perfect opportunity to examine why and how so many Jedi fall to the dark side. However, the more fearful council members felt no need to do more than exile the former Jedi. At first, the Exile believes that the Jedi Council severed her from the Force but later realizes that the Exile severed herself from the Force to save herself from the destructive Force wave that came from the death of all the beings at Malachor V and of the planet itself.
The Mandalorian Wars
The Exile’s involvement in the Mandalorian Wars was significant. She led the Republic army in several battles, namely the battles of Dagary Minor, Dxun and Malachor V. The Republic took some of their largest casualties in these battles, most especially Malachor V where the Exile ended the war with the aid of Bao Dur’s Mass Shadow Generator. The Exile is a skillful practitioner of the Force, with a unique strength. This unique strength is the unusually strong connection to the Force the Exile possessed, through her ability to easily form Force Bonds between herself and other people or even places.
Another facet of the Exile’s character was her leadership ability. The late Master Vandar described the Exile as a natural leader; the Republic officers and soldiers under the Exile's authority were tremendously loyal to her. Coupled with the Exile's force bonding, the Exile’s leadership potential is unparalleled.
Revan counted on this loyalty when he sent the Exile down to the Dxun jungle to do the impossible: break a Mandalorian defensive that had developed a near impregnable siege defense in the jungle moon for close to four years. The Exile’s soldiers and officers were fewer than ideal, but her unit pressed them on, defending them valiantly and inspiring them to fight against the odds.
With the Mandalorians littering their defensive perimeter with mines and droid placements, what started out as a battle became a slaughter as the Mandalorians frequently mowed down several of her men as the Republic attempted to drive the Mandalorians to a retreat. The Jedi Exile, convinced that the war would end with a Republic victory, fought tirelessly and persistently to the awe of the Mandalorians. The Exile’s tattered unit held on long enough for Revan to launch the Republic’s critical attack. Although it was Revan’s victory that day, few knew that the Exile’s dogged insistence had provided Revan with his opportunity at victory.
That battle would mark the end for the Mandalorian Crusade and it would serve to fester within the Exile, the vital difference in perspective that would allow her later to turn from war and avoid participation in the Sith War that followed.
Full details of the Exile's travels in the Outer Rim are unknown, but it is known that Atris had orchestrated the Exile's return to known space; in order to attract the growing Sith threat, she leaked news of the Exile's return to the galaxy and, predictably, attracted the Sith's attention. However, the Ebon Hawk rescued the Exile from an unappealing fate. The utility droid, T3-M4, helped guide the Ebon Hawk towards the mining facility at Peragus II.
There the Exile met with an old woman named Kreia. Kreia was a mysterious Jedi Master - and the first among many - who trained the eventual Sith Lord, Darth Revan. When he fell to the dark side, the Jedi Council exiled her from the Order, blaming Kreia for his demise. She would eventually guide the Exile through her journey to find the missing Jedi Masters who sentenced the her to exile, and reinstruct the Exile in the ways of the Force. While searching for a way off the abandoned station, the Exile encountered Atton Rand, locked in the brig. After Darth Sion and a force of Sith Assassins arrived to kill the Exile (believing she was the last of the Jedi), the three escaped with T3-M4 on board the Ebon Hawk and traveled to Telos. When the Sith pursued them in the asteroid field around Peragus, laser fire from the Sith ignited the volatile fuel within the asteroids. This explosion destroyed both the facility and the entire asteroid belt, though the Ebon Hawk and the Sith were able to escape.
After arriving at the massive Citadel Station in orbit around Telos, someone had stolen the Ebon Hawk and T3-M4 and brought them to the Telosian surface. Using alternative transportation to get down to the surface, Czerka air-defense turrets shot down the Exile's party. An Iridonian engineer named Bao-Dur, who designed the Mass Shadow Generator and served under the Exile at Malachor V, saw the crash and pulled the three unharmed from the wreckage. While on the surface, they learned that someone had taken the Ebon Hawk to the old planetary aqueducts in the polar region of the planet. Stealing a shuttle from an abandoned military compound, they traveled to the aqueducts and found Jedi Master Atris there, a member of the Council who sentenced the Exile. Atris was attempting to recover lost Jedi teachings and had surrounded herself with several Echani sisters. These sisters were called Handmaidens, who had vowed not to learn the ways of the Jedi, and instead are trusted to watch them for traces of the dark side, and watch after them. After speaking with Atris, the Exile and his party left with the Ebon Hawk and T3-M4. If the player is male, the "Last of the Handmaidens" (Brianna) will join his party.
After leaving the academy, T3 revealed that it had managed to download Atris's database while being held, including a recording of the Exile's trial where the last five remaining Jedi Masters were hiding: Atris on Telos, Kavar on Onderon, Vrook Lamar on Dantooine, Zez-Kai Ell on Nar Shaddaa, and Lonna Vash on Korriban. The crew goes to these worlds in search of the Jedi Masters in an attempt to unite them against the Sith and to find the answers as to why their Jedi Leader was sentenced to exile.
However, finding the Jedi Masters proves to be a difficult task for the Jedi Exile because the Sith War (also called the Jedi Civil War by those who do not understand the differences between Sith and Jedi), which ended five years ago, had torn apart the galaxy. However, the damage that the Sith War caused takes a back seat to the Republic's ailing political and economical state and the assassinations of countless Jedi and Force Sensitive individuals at the hands of the Sith Lords Darth Sion and Darth Nihilus. In the Exile's quest to discover the truth behind the decision of the Jedi Council to exile her, the Jedi Exile stabilizes the key outer rim worlds of Telos, Onderon and Dantooine. Escaping the destruction of Peragus Mining Facility, the Telosian Restoration Effort faced an impeding crisis from the lack of cheap Peragian fuel. Telos represents a chance for rebuilding, to a Republic on the brink of collapse. The success of the Telosian Restoration Effort rested on the Jedi Exile, and the project's failure could've resulted in a permanent economic downturn for the Republic.
In Onderon, the great city of Iziz is in turmoil over the political feuding between idealistic and young Queen Talia and her pragmatic and experienced cousin, General Vaklu. Whichever side the Exile chooses may or may not affect the Republic negatively. When General Vaklu's political ambitions for an independent Onderon threatened to cause Onderon to secede from the Republic, the Republic fears that Onderon's secession could trigger much other secession from Outer Rim and Mid Rim worlds, a situation that could spell doom for the weakened Republic. In her quest to find Kavar, the Jedi Exile either supports Vaklu and brings about Onderon's secession from the Republic (from a certain point of view, ending the political wrangling to bring stability) or aids Talia against Vaklu in the Civil war and secures Onderon's position as a member of the Republic. Supporting Vaklu forces a confrontation between the Exile and her former friend Kavar.
Dantooine, which Darth Malak bombarded during the civil war, is where the Jedi Exile meets Vrook Lamar. On Dantooine, the Exile finds Mical, a former Padawan turned Republic soldier, (if the player is female, Mical will join the Exile after the player leaves the planet). While Dantooine has no Republic support, it remains an important defensive military tactical site for the Republic against outer rim invasions. Dantooine's problem with mercenaries escalates when a mercenary named Azkul, representing Czerka Corporation, attempts a military take over of the colony world. Either the Jedi Exile supports the Azkul’s mercenaries or she lends a hand to Dantooine's Khoonda militia, repelling the mercenary attack. Supporting Azkul and his mercenaries will inevitably lead to a duel between the Exile and Master Vrook.
Master Zez-Kai Ell is found on Nar Shaddaa and can become either an ally or an opponent for the Exile to test himself against, based on the Exile's choices. In the canonical story arc, the Exile aids the refugee population of Nar Shaddaa in their struggle with the oppression and exploitation of the crime syndicate the Exchange, who have an interest in capturing Jedi. The Exile's interference with the refugees sets up a showdown between her, the crew, and the Exchange with its mixed array of bounty hunters, thugs, and crime bosses. Alternatively, in the non-canon story, contributing to various downfalls in the Refugee Sector and elsewhere gains the Exile prestige in the eyes of the Exchange, until the Exchange boss meets with her. The Exile sets up a ploy to kill the Exchabge Crime Boss Goto with the mercenary Hanharr. In both storylines, the Exile is taken aboard the crime lord Goto's ship, where she is eventually rescued by the rest of the crew, and goes on to confront Zez-Kai Ell, for better or for worse.
The Exile also visits Korriban in her journey, learning the history of some of the former Sith Lords, as well as having confrontations with her own past in a strange cave ruin. However, in the end, it came down to locating Master Lonna Vash, and after navigating the ruins of the Sith Academy, the Exile found the former Master has been dead for an hour. Vash's resourceful thinking before death, however, allowed the Exile a chance to escape the Academy, but not until after a confrontation with Darth Sion.
While it is not yet explicitly clear which ending is canonical, the official stance from Lucasfilm on games where players can choose between the light side and dark side has traditionally been that the light side ending is the canonical one, although with The New Essential Guide to Droids calls her a Heroine a few times.
After each confrontation with the Jedi Masters - Vrook, Kai-Ell, and Kavar - they agree to meet with the Exile in Dantooine's former Jedi Academy. Once she had met with all of the missing Jedi Masters, the Exile returned to Dantooine to find the rebuilt Jedi Training Academy. There, the Jedi had formed a council in which they would decide her fate. They told the Exile of how she was cut off from the Force after Malachor V, and that the Sith had learned of her ability to become stronger in the Force by leeching on to the life of others. With the threat of the Sith learning from the Exile, the Masters decided it was best to cut her off from the Force so to partially end the Sith threat. The council attempted to cut the Exile from the force but before the Masters were able to strip her of the Force, Kreia interferes, taunting them with her own opinion on the matter, before stripping them completely of the Force, resulting in the death of the Council Members, proving that they could not do what the Exile had; live without the Force. She then left the Exile unconscious in the enclave, and was taken by the Handmaiden sisters to Telos to meet with Atris, who revealed she had become a Dark Jedi. Kreia then revealed her own identity, that of Darth Traya, and left Telos. The Exile then arrived to find Kreia. After a fight with Atris in her private chambers, she (Atris) was defeated, and the Exile helped her return to the light, after which she revealed to her (the Exile) Kreia's dark persona, although Atton already told the Exile that Kreia is a Sith.
Along with Mandalore and Nihilus's former apprentice Visas Marr, the Exile then boarded Nihilus's flagship, the Ravager, which had arrived at Telos. Kreia had successfully manipulated the Dark Lord into believing that the last Jedi Academy (and thus, the last gathering of Jedi in existence) was located on Telos and contained many Jedi. Consumed by his hunger, Nihilus descended upon Telos in order to feed on the "Jedi" gathered there. A fierce battle ensued, during which the Exile killed the Sith Lord. After detonating the ship, the Exile returned to Malachor V, the location of the final Mandalorian battle, and found the Trayus Academy, home of the reunited Darth Traya (Kreia) and her former apprentice, Darth Sion.
There he/she slew both Sith Lords, along with their legion of Dark Jedi and Sith soldiers. Before her death, however, Kreia revealed where Revan had set out following his defeat of Darth Malak. With that knowledge, the Exile ordered the reactivation of the mass shadow generator, tearing Malachor V apart and silencing the Wound in the Force for good. The Exile made her escape aboard the Ebon Hawk and with T3-M4 left to find the former Dark Lord.
Kreia spent her time developing the Exile to connect with the Force because it was the only way to kill the Force; she believed the Exile's wound would wipe the Force from the galaxy upon her death.
Once the Exile had found and slain all of the missing Jedi Masters, she returned to the rebuilt Jedi Enclave. Upon entering the room where the Council formerly held conclaves, the Exile finds out that Kreia has followed her, deceived the Exile into believing she would meet the source of her problems there. Kreia asks the Exile why she desired to kill Atris and the other Jedi, among other things. The Exile's answers are everything Kreia did not want to hear. Claiming the Exile has failed her, Kreia attempts to draw out the Exile's life force, but the technique simply leaves the Exile unconscious on the ground. Kreia, as the Handmaiden sisters' "prisoner", journeys to Telos to meet with Atris, who is revealed to have turned to the Dark Side. Kreia then reveals her own identity, that of Darth Traya, and leaves Telos. The Exile arrives and exacts revenge upon Atris for condemning her to exile. The Exile either kills Atris in combat or leaves her weakened and at the mercy of the malevolent Sith Holocrons she had collected in her meditation chamber.
Along with Mandalore and Nihilus's former apprentice Visas Marr, the Exile then boards Nihilus' flagship, the Ravager, which had arrived at Telos. Kreia had successfully manipulated the Dark Lord into believing that the last Jedi Academy (and thus, the last gathering of Jedi in existence) was located on Telos and contained many Jedi. Consumed by his hunger, Nihilus descended upon Telos in order to feed on the "Jedi" gathered there. A fierce battle ensued, during which the Exile killed the Sith Lord. After detonating the ship, the Exile returned to Malachor V, the location of the final Mandalorian battle, and found the Trayus Academy, home of the reunited Darth Traya (Kreia) and her former apprentice, Darth Sion.
There she slew both Sith Lords, along with their legion of Dark Jedi and Sith soldiers. Before her death, however, Kreia revealed where Revan had set out following his defeat of Darth Malak. With this knowledge, the Exile leaves to find the former Dark Lord after sacrificing Kreia to the core of Malachor V, and leaving the planet (and hence, the Wound) intact.
However, the Exile, through alternate set of answers to Darth Traya, can choose to stay at the Trayus Academy and assume the mantle of the Dark Lord of the Sith. This unlocks the video "Assuming the Dark Throne."
The Exile’s character shares a lot of similarities with the tragic hero. Torn within by the death the Exile had caused throughout the Mandalorian wars and finally the battle of Malachor V, the Exile is a character struggling to face the aftermath of her actions. The Exile's return to the Republic provides an opportunity for redemption through revenge or forgiveness. But the aftermath the Exile finds, was even more frightening, more severe than she had first thought.
The "wound" The Jedi Exile suffers from (one brought about by a complete denial of the force subconsciously) is not restricted in its effects to her alone. The Exile discovers that her actions at Malachor V did more than sever the Exile's connection to the force, but they create two monsters in the form of Darth Nihilus and Darth Sion; it creates a monster in Darth Nihilus more so than Lord Sion perhaps. His 'hunger' is similar to the Exile’s 'wound' in one similar way: they are both lacking in the Force. Sion, through Kreia’s teachings and the rift in the Force caused at Malachor V by the Exile's decision in the last battle of the Mandalorian Wars, make him a savage amalgam of dead flesh and malicious intent. The revelation of the Exile’s connection to these two murderers brings the Exile ever closer to resolving her past deeds.
Behind the scenes
The alternate dark side story only differs in the fates of the planets the Exile visits (Onderon is usurped by General Vaklu, Dantooine is captured by Azkul and his mercenaries, and Malachor V remains intact), as well as one party member (Hanharr joins the player's party instead of Mira).
The Jedi Exile is fully customizable by the player, and thus can take several different appearances and either gender. The male and female storylines have minor differences, with the most notable one being one of the player's party members (Brianna, the Last Handmaiden, only joins a male Exile's party, and Mical, the Disciple, only joins a female Exile's party). There is a slight discrepancy if the player is female however as the Handmaiden appears on Dantooine out of nowhere after the Exile meets with the Jedi Masters. If the player has been male the Handmaiden is on the Ebon Hawk as part of the crew and her presence is therefore explained. In addition, there is a scene on Nar Shaddaa, where the Exile meets a Twilek named Domo, who is hiring dancers for Vogga the Hutt. If the Exile is male, either the Handmaiden or Mira becomes the dancing girl. However, if the Exile is female, she gets dressed into a red/golden bikini and they bring her to Vogga as a dancing girl instead.
LucasArts traditionally considers the light-side ending of its games to be canon, which is supported when the New Essential Guide to Droids says the Exile is a Heroine several times.