Crucible Review & Continuity

Crucible Book Cover Crucible
Star Wars
Troy Denning
Sci Fi
Ballantine Del Rey
January 1, 2013
Hardcover & Paperback

Han Solo, Leia Organa Solo, and Luke Skywalker return in an all-new Star Wars adventure, which will challenge them in ways they never expected—and forever alter their understanding of life and the Force.

When Han and Leia Solo arrive at Lando Calrissian’s Outer Rim mining operation to help him thwart a hostile takeover, their aim is just to even up the odds and lay down the law. Then monstrous aliens arrive with a message, and mere threats escalate into violent sabotage with mass fatalities. When the dust settles, what began as corporate warfare becomes a battle with much higher stakes—and far deadlier consequences.

Now Han, Leia, and Luke team up once again in a quest to defeat a dangerous adversary bent on galaxy-wide domination. Only this time, the Empire is not the enemy. It is a pair of ruthless geniuses with a lethal ally and a lifelong vendetta against Han Solo. They will stop at nothing to control the lucrative Outer Rim mining trade—and ultimately the entire galactic economy. And when the murderous duo gets the drop on Han, he finds himself outgunned in the fight of his life. To save him, and the galaxy, Luke and Leia must brave a gauntlet of treachery, terrorism, and the untold power of an enigmatic artifact capable of bending space, time, and even the Force itself into an apocalyptic nightmare.

The Last Adventure Of Han, Luke, Leia and Lando – the Original Trilogy Heroes

This is the culmination of a lifetime of service that began with the Original Trilogy, as well as a chance to unexpectedly reflect on the past and decide on the future.  Youth has been replaced with age, but also with wisdom and confidence in each other.Han, Luke and Leia are off on a last adventure to help old friend Lando Calrissian.

Luke and Leia had devoted their lives to one thing, fighting the power of the dark side. It was that simple. Wherever the dark side rose, wherever the the Sith had dared show themselves – there Luke and Leia had rushed, never hesitating, never flinching. It had been their destiny to shepherd the galaxy into a new era of hope, and not once had they shrunk from that calling.
~Crucible, by Troy Denning.

From the release of the first Star Wars novelization of the original trilogy, to this, the last book published with Han, Luke, Leia and Lando Calrissian, this quote sums up these characters perfectly. And it’s a story..a story of shepherding in hope, that you can ONLY get in the true Expanded Universe. For there to be hope, their must be more victory than failure, more triumph than tragedy, and love and friendship that overcomes all failings.

The Story itself and what I thought of it:

Our original trilogy heroes have stayed true to themselves through long years in spite of the violent changes. And that means that even though the galaxy has problems, they never forget to make time for an old friend. While the path has been long and winding, while it took terms I didn’t expect (and would prefer not to have been done) this story restores something I’d missed. A sheer adventure, clearly meant to be a last hurrah for the original trilogy heroes, not due to failure of their mission to restore democracy and the Jedi,  but because they had succeeded and it was time to let a new generation lead.

“A Jedi can’t get so caught up in matters of galactic importance that it interferes with his concern for individual people.”  ~ Luke Skywalker, Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn.

Decades later, this is still true. Leia Organa Solo, fully a Jedi Knight is off with husband Han Solo to a meeting with old friend Lando Calrissian, who is having pirate troubles at one of his mining operations. To make matters worse, they may be involved with someone threading Lando’s family. As usual, this leads to some shocking discoveries, an old enemy who Han did not even realize he’d made, and some true villains who are plotting a galactic takeover. Their advantage: vast wealth, vaster intelligence, hired Mandaloreans, and an ally who is of the lost tribe of the Sith. Their weakness: a hatred of Han Solo for a crime he did not commit.

Han and Lando though have an advantage too: allies who are Jedi, including the Grand Master Luke Skywalker who is ready for a little time away from being the Grand Master. He’s also ready to check in with his son, Ben Skywalker and Tahiri Veila, who happen to be in the area investigating a Jedi who is missing. She was off searching for the mysterious Force rich and legendary ‘Mortis’.

There are some surprising new twists in the story, not least of which is the mystery of what the villainous Qrephs have found and are protecting. The battle to stop them from unleashing…something…is a view of not only the sheer toughness of Luke and Leia (no matter their age), but also how Han Solo has come to view them and what he has learned from them, life and the Force.

A little history for the story and it’s continuity:

This book stands alone, but it also ties into both The Clone Wars TV series Mortis story arc and Fate of the Jedi series. While The Clone Wars had continuity clashes that Fantasy Flight Games (RPG) retconned as ‘COMPNOR altering the records’ the Mortis arc stands pretty well on its own, with no specific reference to continuity to really alter.  It is a mysterious place where the Chosen One is challenged by beings known as the Ones who are ancient and those who for eternity have, until the clone wars era, kept the Force in balance.

According to Fate of the Jedi, Yoda did mention this odd adventure of Anakin and Obi-Wan’s to Luke. In Fate of the Jedi an entity known as ‘Abeloth’ who was associated with these ‘Ones’ caused chaos in the galaxy. Mortis seems like the kind of place the New Jedi Order might just be interested in finding. At the same time an ancient tribe of Sith, who had long ago been lost and marooned for generations on a forgotten world return to cause chaos.  Among them: a young Sith named Vestara Khai, whose deception caused deep pain for young Ben Skywalker.

Recent events of the battle with Abeloth, the Sith, the fall of one of their own to the Dark Side (Legacy of the Force), the wars with the Yuuzhan Vong (New Jedi Order series) are mentioned, highlights and tragedies of Luke, Han and Leia. Lando’s wife and son are also mentioned, his wife, Tendra, first appeared in the Corellian Trilogy by Roger Macbride Allen. Chance AKA Lando Jr.  first shows up in Fate of the Jedi series.

A little planned (and canceled) future for the story:

Crucible is the ending of an era, that of the original trilogy heroes taking lead, and the intended setup of another, one curtailed by the Disney purchase. This is where our heroes decide to step aside and retire and why they make that decision. The stories after were meant to be about the next generation, Jaina Solo, Jagged Fel, Ben Skywalker, Tahiri, Allana Solo and their friends. There was just enough mystery left at the end of this to lead to interesting stories for the future. One can but hope those now in charge of the franchise come to realize that these stories deserve to be told.

Crucible-HC - Troy Denning, with the original trilogy trio

There were 2 promotional covers and 3 actual of Han, Luke and Leia for the Crucible novel. The hardcover shows a grayer, older looking Han. The paperback (seen at top) shows a grayer but not quite as gray Han. The third one, the last release, features different art for all 3 characters. But the oddest choice is giving Luke a beard as in the ‘other’ galaxy. Luke in the expanded universe never wore a beard except when needing a disguise.

Asajj Ventress

Asaaj Ventress origin story is first told in Dark Horse Comics republic series

Asaaj Ventress origin story is first told in Dark Horse Comics republic series

Asajj Ventress grew up on Rattataki. When the man who raised her was killed in war, a Jedi Master named Ky Narec found and began training her. The two went on to become heroes, fighting unknown to the Jedi Council for peace. They became heroes. But their enemies struck back, killing Narec and orphaning Ventress once again.

“On her own, Asajj would have died. Left to his own devices, the stranger would have undoubtedly been captured and killed. But together…they became something our world had never known…they became heroes.”
―Osika Kirske, one of those who fought against her and Narec.

Ventress wielded 2 lightsabers, hers and her former Master Narec’s, until Dooku gave her new ones, with curved hilts and red blades.

She blamed the Jedi for abandoning her Master on her world and never aiding him or their people. The Jedi, however, had presumed him dead.


Ventress fights in the arena to win a place at Dooku’s side in Genndy Tartakovsky, Clone Wars Microseries

Filled with anger, she sought out Count Dooku to train her as a Sith. She won the right to serve him in a gladiator tournament. Her first assignment was to aid in a biologic weapon assignment on Oma Dun, moon of Naboo. Here she battled Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin at the same time and proved a formidable foe. She was ordered directly by both Dooku and Sidious to kill the padawan Anakin Skywalker. They clashed over Muun before leaping to He fought her in the sky and on planet before defeating her for that day on Yavin 4.

“Come, Padawan, your fall will be my ascension to the Sith!” ~ Ventress to Anakin

ventress vs anakin temple

Ventress vs Anakin in Clone Wars


Ventress has her first appearance in Dark Horse Comics, alongside Durge

Ventress eventually resurfaced, continually clashing with Obi-Wan in particular. After she captured him and he escaped, she bore a grudge. She was particularly upset he’d gotten away with her Jedi Master Narec’s lightsaber.
She also, critically, discovered Anakin’s relationship with Padme and threatened to kill her. Anakin again defeated her, apparently to death. But unconvinced Obi-Wan sought her out, again. And again, he found her.

At one point she attempted to assassinate Master Yoda, who was on a secret mission.

“Confusion to the Enemy” ~ Ventress, considering the confusion of the Republic forces on Yoda’s death….even though she knew that it was a Yoda impersonator she’d taken and they didn’t.
Ultimately Dooku would betray Ventress and she faked her death to escape.

The Clone Wars TV series throws in some additions:

It suggests she was taken to Rattak as a child by someone who took her from Dathomir, making her akin to the witches.

It also suggest that for a time at some point after breaking with Dooku, she worked as a bounty hunter and even at one point teamed up with Ahsoka Tano. However, due to the cancellation of The Clone Wars TV show and discontinuation of the Expaned Universe, this ends any contributions to her fate into the Expanded Universe Canon.


Dark Horse Comics:

Republic series.

Obsession (mini series)


Star Wars Clone Wars by Genndy Tartakovsky, an animated microseries. There is also a flash game based on it, duel as Anakin against her here.

The Clone Wars


The Cestus Deception

Yoda: Dark Rendezvous

Jedi Trial (Briefly)




Tales of the Jedi and it’s Continuity Influence

The Tales of the Jedi had a ripple affect on the Star Wars galaxy, particularly after the Return of the Jedi era.

Tales of the Jedi was a comic book series featuring the adventures of Jedi living 4000 years before the time of Luke Skywalker.

The series included :

  • Golden Age of the Sith –
  • Fall of the Sith Empire –
  • Knights of the Republic (first version and first of the series released, originally only as Tales of the Jedi)
  • Dark Lords of the Sith
  • The Sith War
  • Redempion

It was far enough in the past that any differences between the Jedi of that era and the Jedi of the not yet written Prequels would be easily explained.

The chief characters often featured frequently:

Naga Sadow
Empress Teta
Nomi Sunrider,
Uliq Qel Droma,
Exar Kun.
Satal Keto
Aleema Keto
Vima Sunrider


Naga Sadow’s era of the Sith Empire saw Republic explorers blunder into Sith space, unwittingly revealing the Republic’s whereabouts. Ultimately, Empress Teta, with the aid of the regretful explorers, and the Jedi, defeats them. Sadow retreats only to find other Sith have turned against him and force him to flee to the Yavin 4 moon.  AKA in movie terms: the Rebel Base from A New Hope.

A few human generations later, Empress Teta’s descendents, Satal and Aleema Keto dabble in Sith magic, which leads them to Onderon. There, the Jedi are fighting to end the rule of Freedon Nadd, long dead Sith, whose descendents still battle those who want peace. Escaping with a Sith Amulet, their actions eventually lead to the deaths of some of those Jedi. Feeling it’s his duty as the apprentice to a fallen Master and watchman of the Onderon system, Uliq Qel Droma, goes undercover to defeat them. Uliq’s anger and Sith poison soon lead him into the Sith as well.

Meanwhile elsewhere another Jedi has gone through Onderon, seeking forbidden knowledge and found it on Korriban, home of the Sith and Yavin 4.

Joining forces the too lead a war on the Republic. Ulic brings the Mandalorians he bested and we see an ancient view of the warring culture and their mighty war droid ships. These later are mentioned in Knights of the Old Republic era video games and stories. Tricking his fellow Jedi, Exar Kun seduces fellow apprentices into the dark side.

The Jedi lose many masters, and their great library of Ossus. Nomi Sunrider reveals the power she was taught to strip a dark side user of the Force, something she unleashes on Uliq. And Exar Kun is cornered on Yavin 4.

Ultimately Uliq, regretful and powerless, is alone on Rhen Var when Vima Sunrider, daughter of Nomi, comes to  him wanting him to train her. Through her, he finds redemption.

The After Effects:

The planet Korriban is used in Jedi Quest, and some of the Sith traps are shown.

The next mention of these characters is in Dark Empire set 6 years after ROTJ, when Leia Organa Solo encounters Vima Da Boda, descendent of Vima Sunrider. This same character was mentioned but not named in Han Solo and the Hutt Gambit.  Leia also got a hold of a Jedi holocron, which revealed the stories from Tales of the Jedi and the lessons they learned. Also the planet Onderon makes an appearance.

I Jedi

I, Jedi, ties into Jedi Academy, telling of the battle with Exar Kun from one Jedi’s point of view.

Then came the Jedi Academy trilogy and I, Jedi. Exar Kun’s original defeat at Yavin 4 had left his body dead but his spirit alive and trapped, to awaken when Luke began training a new order of Jedi. The Jedi also learned more of his history from then holocron.

In addition, Exar Kun’s connection tied in to ‘Classic Star Wars’ written long before, suggesting that the mutated creature that attacked the Rebels during their stay, was left in hibernation during that time.

Exar Kun’s influence would be in affect for years to come, due to how he twisted Kyp Durron to do his will, leading to the massive destruction and there after affecting the views by the people and government of the dangers involved with the Jedi’s return.

The Tales of the Jedi characters and what they learned would again be mentioned in Young Jedi Order, specifically in ‘Lightsabers’ when Tionne, the historian, used the lessons to instruct the students.

Junior Jedi Knights continued this by opening with an adventure involving a left over trap Exar Kun left that held the spirits of the Massassi natives children.

In ‘Crimson Empire 3’  Vima Da Boda appears to have finally joined up with Luke’s Order as she shows up on Yavin 4.

After the New Jedi Order and the war with the Yuuzhan Vong, the Jedi once more moved their training facilities to Ossus. This is first mentioned in Swarm Wars, the Dark Nest Trilogy.
The Tales of the Jedi helped form the very basis of the Jedi Order that Luke created, in addition to his own training under Yoda and Obi-Wan.

The Lost Tribes of the Sith, which shows up in ‘Crosscurrent’ as well as in the series of short stories and in Fate of the Jedi are from the Great Hyperspace War in Tales of the Jedi.  One group has crashed on a primitive world, another was caught in an damaged hyperspace bubble, just barely at light speed and dropped out in the era of the Luke Skywalker’s New Jedi.

Affects on Non Print Media:

The double bladed lightsaber Darth Maul possessed in The Phantom Menace was inspired by Exar Kun, the first Jedi / Sith character shown to use the double blade.

In Attack of the Clones, the Solar Sailor ship that Count Dooku uses strongly resembles the designs of ships from the Tales of the Jedi Comics.

In Revenge of the Sith, a bas relief of the ancient battle between Jedi and Sith was used in Palpatine’s office.

Onderon and Dxun

Tales of the Jedi introduces the planet Onderon and it’s moon.


The Clone Wars TV show used the planet Onderon  as a site with a puppet government in charge, leader imprisoned, and the Jedi knights including Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano, training a core group of rebels to take back their planet from the Separatists.

Ahsoka helps Lux train rebels on his home world of Onderon

Ahsoka helps Lux train rebels on his home world of Onderon

It has also affected the games, as Uliq Qel Droma appears to Anakin in one variation of Star Wars the Clone Wars video game and shows him how to defeat the Force harvester weapon left over from his era, and which Dooku has found and is unleashing.

In Knights of the Old Republic video games, the double bladed lightsaber Exar Kun used has one of the main characters, Bastila Shan using it. The Characters also visit Korriban, home of the Sith, and some of the same Sith are mentioned as being in the tombs, for instance, the death of Marka Ragnos starts the Golden Age of the Sith and the tomb is one that needs to be entered.