The Fandom Redemption

Luke with George Lucas kindness quoteThere is a wide variety among Star Wars fans.  There is a wide variety in the characters in its media.  But ultimately Star Wars itself (under Lucas) had one very important theme set:  love, hope, and redemption.   Anakin Skywalker is the central character of the six movies he made and the entire arc goes through  his fall to his redemption.  I question how many realize this, for they seem unwilling to realize it translates to reality and how we can treat other fans.

Anakin’s redemption can guide us in fandom.  In terms of chronological release, Return of the Jedi we get our first real look at Anakin Skywalker.  A fallen, broken man who had once loved someone enough to father a son.  A former Jedi who had once been a great hero and friend of Obi-Wan.  It wasn’t until the prequels though that we found out more. We found out he was gifted from childhood but was still an ordinary child who dearly  loved his mother. He was an anxious teen,  who was forbidden to get attached yet had a secret crush and then a real romance for a Senator.

Contrary to some beliefs Anakin didn’t become Vader on killing the sandpeople. He broke, yes.  Justifiably angry and horrified he snapped, in a way some real world people have.  That didn’t make them Vader either.   In fact,  Yoda certainly knew something had happened.  The Jedi already sensed he had shadows, but were he Vader they would have already known and acted. Anakin was not Palpatine. He wore his emotions on his sleeve. Palpatine was a politician with decades of training to hide or fake them! No, Anakin became Vader when his ideal of the Jedi failed.

Anakin believed as the Jedi taught him that is wrong to kill an unarmed prisoner.  At the least the sandpeople were armed. But he did regret it.  ‘I know I’m better than this’ he said.  When he killed Dooku (at Palpatine’s urging) he said the same. ‘I shouldn’t have done that.”  So while he had an ulterior motive on saving Padme in rushing to Palpatine’s arrest, it was Mace Windu that finally struck the last blow to Anakin’s faith in the Jedi. As far as Anakin knew,  Palpatine was down and unarmed.  Mace was clearly going to kill him.  And so the fall. He knew the Sith were evil, but he also no longer believed the Jedi were good.

Anakin-redeemed-by-LukeSkip ahead two decades and Luke Skywalker, his son confronts him in a replay of his own fight with Dooku.  Only this time he is the Sith, and Luke the one told to cut him down.  Luke displays all the characteristics of the Jedi that Anakin had once believed in. He refuses.  Anakin in this moment is reborn.  After decades in darkness, the light has shown forth.

Being reunited with Yoda and Obi-Wan was the indication that he was redeemed and forgiven. Not due to earning it so much as his act of selfless sacrifice in stopping the Emperor.

Lucas considered this scene,  particularly the death scene, so important that he directed it himself.  What’s more he did it when being hurt by a divorce.

Lucasfilm in turn recognized that and it crossed multimedia lines. Here are a few examples:

  • Jedi Uliq Qel-Droma’s fall and redemption are featured in Tales of the Jedi Comics.
  • Cade Skywalker, due to a tragedy that killed his father ends up raised by pirates, becoming a bounty hunter and turning people in, even to the Sith.  His path to redemption is told in Star Wars: Legacy
  • Revan is famous or infamous (depending on your POV) in the video games Knights of the Old Republic and even Star Wars: The Old Republic through a twist of fate.  The canonical story has Revan’s redemption after his fall to the dark,  losing his memory and getting it back.
  • Kyp Durron is introduced in the Jedi Academy novels. He is led to the dark side by a Sith spirit when Luke Skywalker tries to train him as a Jedi.  He performs terrible acts, but is brought back into the fold.

That is every medium and every era of Star Wars!  While not the only theme, redemption and forgiveness certainly is one of the most important. Even in real life terrible people have been redeemed.  It’s rare, but it does happen.

Yet here we are, claiming to be Star Wars fans, and ignoring this incredibly important message.  Assuming that this fan or that fan can not be redeemed, can never be swayed to our side. Slurs are cast like ‘misogynist’ or ‘racist’ or even ‘Nazi’.  Some are true accusations but others are cast simply because someone doesn’t agree with a certain point of view. Often they seem to be cast out by people who don’t even want to listen to see if maybe the perceived insult isn’t what it seems.  But even the ones that may be true ignore the fact that forgiveness and reconciliation are possible.  Most people aren’t Palpatine.  There aren’t many who can say they wiped out a whole planet, plotted and pulled off the destruction of an entire established government, tortured people floating around the internet. In fact I suspect there are none among the fan base. For one thing, they would not root for our heroes. For another they are too busy doing more of the same.

So let’s remember that three of the core things of Star Wars have always been faith, hope, love which in turn to forgiveness of many flaws. If we truly are Star Wars fans, we should offer each other the same grace.

 

Double the Billboard Double the impact

The billboard is back!

Twin Suns Foundation started out as Give Us Legends. This is where the first ever Star Wars billboard requesting new Expanded Universe came from. While it’s intent was misconstrued by the mainstream media and the clickbait fan sites ignored it, LFL knew exactly what it meant.

Cut to years later, the original domain name was hijacked that was on that old billboard but the new one is twin-suns.net and it’s more than alive and kicking. Since it became an officially recognized 501c3 charity, it has already given over a thousand books to children in hospitals, at recreation centers and been invited to Star Wars Celebration (twice!)

Now the latest announcement is a new fundraiser for TWO new billboards! The demand hasn’t gone away. Marvel saw fit to give us issue 108 of the original Marvel series decades after the fact. Star Wars the Old Republic has had the Ossus expansion, a new Dantooine event and we look forward to the new Onslaught event on Onderon. Note that all these locations are worlds originally explored in the Expanded Universe.  If they can give us these, they can give us more comics and novels.

Meanwhile the original excuse, ‘we’re focused on the new trilogy’ is about to expire as of December.

Now is the time. The billboard is already over 25% funded. Get in on the action!  November 31st is the deadline for these billboards to get up next year!
Check out their donate page
And their new billboard details! 

How Ackbar warned me about Preconceptions

Ackbar-ROTJ-storybook

Admiral Ackbar in Return of the Jedi Storybook

I was very young when Star Wars was first released.  I quickly grew to love Science Fiction. I knew nothing of human biases. I grew up in a school with different races and never had a particular problem with any. My fav Sci fi being Star Wars and Star Trek, even classic Battlestar Galactica, none of those shows had any biases. We had female heroes and people of different race.  It never dawned on me it was at all unusual for them to share screen space. But I suppose given when they were made it may have been.  But non humans I’d not thought of much. Star Trek reruns may have been full of aliens, but they were all at that point humanoid. Only when I was older would I understand the messages they taught. No, that job was left for Admiral Ackbar who no one could mistake for a painted human.

I had not seen Return of the Jedi yet when I ‘met’ Ackbar in the form of an action figure. I don’t know how long after it came out I saw it. It seemed from my 12 year old point of view to be forever. I flipped through the story book but tried not to read, only look at pictures. I had no idea who Admiral Ackbar was. Why I assumed he was a villain I will probably never know but that is the side I lumped him with in my play. Maybe its because he just wasn’t very pretty. Certainly most of the aliens outside of Chewie had all been dangerous unfriendlies in Star Wars. Greedo had planned to shoot Han.  The Bounty Hunters had all worked for the Empire. Either way I felt oddly guilty. I felt I’d done Admiral Ackbar wrong.

But I got surprised with Ackbar and was just old enough to wonder.Why HAD I assumed he was a bad guy? I quickly switched him to the Rebel side of my play once I saw him in the movie. He was a Rebel! And he was on the side of my heroes! But I never quite forgot that realization that I had misjudged him. I’d been biased just because he wasn’t human or cute.

Ackbar-tradingcard-topps

Ironically years later I found the Expanded Universe established that he had worked for the Empire, but only as an unwilling slave. Upon being rescued he used the knowledge he’d gained to become a thorn in the Empire’s side. He helped evacuate Yavin. He protected the Fleet. Ackbar cared about his people and always wanted to protect, hence recognizing immediately the Fleet was over-matched in the Emperor’s death trap.

After Endor, as the Rebellion became a New Republic it got more political. That meant he had to fight bureaucrats and politicians who thought they could use the military to gain power. Ackbar refused to throw away lives needlessly. He faced unfair allegations of corruption from allies, being set up and outright sabotage from his enemies. Even in semi retirement he helped protect his people on Dac AKA Mon Calamari from Imperial attack. He also planned protection for Han and Leia’s children when it became known they were related to Vader and the Jedi.

Rogue-Squadron-book with Ackbar wedge and feylya figs

Rogue Squadron by Stackpole features Admiral Ackbar guiding Wedge Antillies overriding bothans who would’ve manipulated them for political power.

All this, from a character who I’d assumed from the action figure was a ‘villain.

It’s an important lesson and I learned it young. And I learned it from Admiral Ackbar in the form of a classic Kenner figure. At this point I hear and see people on the internet screaming ‘we want more representation for us. Female, races, etc.  But I remember we already had that. I remember those early sci fi shows that were well ahead of the curve. I don’t want more people like me.  If I want to know about humans I can watch the news. I can even just look in a mirror. I want more like Ackbar,  like Boss Nass and yes I daresay even Jar Jar!  Those are the characters that teach us to look beyond mere appearance and make us see ourselves through other eyes,  see our spirit not just out looks. If we want to see ourselves we see ourselves in our mind’s eye we don’t need a movie for that. All we need is a mirror. But seeing ourselves threw another’s eye can be far more educational.

Admiral Ackbar to me isn’t just some shallow background character.  He’s a gateway to a deeper insight. And I do thank him for it.

 

Peter Mayhew A Wookiee’s Legacy Tribute

Chewie head shotPeter Mayhew died at the end of last month on April 30, 2019. His 75th birthday would’ve been on May 19, the same day The Phantom Menace and Revenge of the Sith came out.   I never met the man but all the reports I’ve heard are that he was a very nice man and a hit at conventions.  His foundation continues to help people and what is that if not an act of love? He poured his personality into making Chewbacca a lovable, believable character. I am still baffled and confused that there wasn’t the outpouring that there was at Carrie Fisher’s funeral.  Sure there were memorials in Star Wars The Old Republic but nothing nearly as huge. Actors behind masks make just as big an impact.  It takes a lot to act in a costume where the character doesn’t speak ‘Basic’ (or English). Everything depends on that body language.

I was too young when I first ‘met’ Chewbacca to analyze his singular situation. Big furry and animalistic, he also helps fly a sophisticated spaceship. He gives every impression that he’ll rip the arms off the droids for beating him in Dejarik (IE holochess as some think of it as).  But he is in mortal terror of the dianoga in the trash compactor! Brave but timid. Intelligent but a beast.  And who wouldn’t want a friend as loyal as Chewbacca on their side?

Some of my fav moments in the movies are Chewie going nuts in defense of his allies.  Fiercely loyal he showed that barring the occasional dianoga, he would let nothing stop him. And watching him go into battle alongside the ewoks was brilliant. They were, as the novelization said,  like little country cousins.

Han Solo's Revenge with Chewbacca

Han Solo’s Revenge with Chewbacca

The expanded universe also has its heroic Chewbacca moments, and it’s Peter Mayhew’s wookiee I imagine on reading. Most of Chewbacca’s stories come alongside Han’s, as is to be expected. My first encounter was Han Solo’s Revenge. Han and he deal handily with the slavers, but separated from Han, Chewbacca must deal with a damaged Millenium Falcon, a not quite crash landing. He has a family of his own as well, a wife Mallotobuck who he proposed to in the tradional wookiee manner. They have one son. He valiantly defends Leia while Han is frozen while they hunt for Boba Fett. He also helps her in the Thrawn trilogy deal with noghri assassins, and in other stories he takes Leia’s kids to the holo zoo, as well as freeing his fellow wookiees from slavery. In the end, Chewbacca sacrificed himself to save Han’s youngest son.  If a wookiee like Chewbacca is gonna go out, it can only be as he lived, protecting his extended family and going out in a blaze of glory. There was a Chewbacca tribute by Dark Horse comics released for the ‘memorial’ of him in the storyline, where the characters remembered him and past events. This included meeting Han Solo, saving Jaina Solo, and saving a group of wookiee younglings from slavery.

One other thing we know is that Chewbacca with Peter Mayhew playing him literally invented wookiees. While the Holiday Special is much maligned, Chewie’s family are the first other wookiees we ever saw. A wife and a son who clearly adored him (in spite of his absentee due to a life debt status). There was a wookiee storybook ,wookiee plush toys and when the Expanded Universe was truly established we got more. We got Lowbacca, his nephew, in the Young Jedi Knights who wielded a bronze/yellow bladed lightsaber. He was close friends with the Solo kids. Zaalbaar in the Knights of the Old Republic introduced us to Chewie’s home planet and found out the ‘Bacca’ was a great warrior and leader in wookiee history. It surely was meant as an honor to Chewbacca. In Star Wars the Old Republic, a wookiee named Bowdaar runs around with the smuggler class character.  And at long last we saw Chewbacca, once more with Peter Mayhew in the suit, help Yoda escape Clone troopers in Revenge of the Sith. See all those wookiees around him? It all started with him!

wookiee army

Wookiee army

While Peter Mayhew may not have gotten the same tribute online as Carrie Fisher, his role had an impact on many generations. He even trained his successor in the Disney movies when he could no longer handle the role. While I for one don’t watch them, the fact that he did that is a sign to me of a great hearted man. If he couldn’t do it himself he could at least help make sure it was done right. He was well loved. Even the International Space station held tribute. The convention he was to attend in May set up his booth in a memorial for him. There were Star Wars tributes in the Old Republic, lacking Kashyyyk in the game, fans gathered on the spur of the moment on Nar Shaddaa and Alderaan on the Star Forge server.  The Expanded Alliance Guild had a party on Nar Shaddaa where people were coming and going for hours. Swtorista had one on Rishi that was streamed on Twitch. Both parties included players using a wookiee disguise terminal and getting group shots. The podcast Rebel Force Radio pulled out all their previous interviews with him and did a special tribute to him as well.

In addition to being in the movies he was a frequenter of the convention circuit, he also showed up as Chewbacca on the Muppet show, and the infamous Holiday Special. He showed up on MTV to finally received the medal Chewbacca had been denied in A New Hope, with Carrie Fisher doing the honors. When the new movies came out, its understandable that he was happy to be in them, but he wasn’t up to doing it all anymore. So he generously trained his successor. While a lot of us are unhappy they rebooted instead of honoring the Expanded Universe. It’s understandable he was glad his character lived (and its understandable fans wanted to see him too.)

In honor of his birthday, the Peter Mayhew foundation  has done a challenge coin with 100% of donations going to his charity. It’s selling very fast! The big lovable man who played Chewbacca will be very much missed by all who knew him, and deserves to be honored for his role even by those of us who never met him.

 

 

 

 

 

Lead Up to the 20th Phantom Menace Anniversary

STAR WARs the phantom menace jr novel, visual guide, Amidla and jar jar figs, watto wind up and republic gunship micromachineOnce upon a time and what seems like yesterday for some of us the Phantom Menace premiered on May 19, 1999.  The internet was still wild but relatively young. Dial up was still at thing. And word went out the Prequels were finally being filmed.  I poured over every picture presented in the Star Wars Insider,  made sure to stay up to date on the original Star Wars website where they showed sneak peeks of behind the scenes activity, especially to subscribers.  They never let story slip and speculation was rampant on the forums. I remember recording the first TV trailer with a VHS on a show I never watched.  I remember downloading it over Dial Up. When the toys hit before it came out I dove in headlong to get my share. I was an adult now, with a job. Old enough and making enough money to at least have fun with it.

obi-wan charging maulI charged into the first showing at the nearest theater after taking a very rare day off from work. I loved most of it.  The entire planet of Naboo blew me away as did the Jedi in action. I loved Jar Jar and am not ashamed to admit it. I did find some of the podracer drivers (or is that pilots?) a bit corny and still feel Jabba doesn’t match his size in the New Hope Special Edition or Return of the Jedi. (Did he go on a diet?)  and Bib Fortuna looked a bit off too. But those were minor quibbles.  I was very impressed overall and did not hesitate to see it again while it was out. I saw it again on a re-release and yet again on it 3D release! The moment Anakin meets Obi-Wan gave me chills. I felt for young Anakin having to choose between staying with his Mother and chasing his dreams of freedom and heroism. Shmi’s kindness and incredible courage and generosity in letting her son help the Jedi and go with him amazed me. And to this day, Padmé’ making peace with the Gungans is one of my favorite moments. It’s not easy to admit to needing help.

gungan city

gungan city

The Phantom Menace also broke new ground in technology.  Not so many years before an underwater city, a character like Jar Jar, battle droids, all the gungan technology and the amazing battles probably wouldn’t even have been possible. As usual Lucas was pushing the envelope. The only thing as amazing was how the artists and authors of the Expanded Universe fleshed them out. The Phantom Menace gave us Aurra Sing the Jedi killer, Quinlan Vos (blink and you’ll miss him, he had no name.) For the first time ever we saw the Jedi temple and met the Jedi Council.

ExarKun-doublebladedsaber

Exar Kun and his double bladed sword , from Tales of the Jedi, The Sith War

For those of us into the Expanded Universe, there was that extra thrill at finding the Expanded Universe  was confirmed in the movie. There was the thrill of hearing the name Coruscant on screen for the first time, confirming it was the galaxy’s capital. Darth Maul’s double bladed lightsaber had comic book fans recognizing it from Tales of the Jedi’s Exar Kun.

Back then, Star Wars was out constantly even before that in the form of books and video games. Lucas had kept the prequel era as off limits (he knew he was going to make the movies.) But Dark Horse comics had created stories set millennia before.  There was plenty of room to explain away any discrepancies therefore with the natural changes of time. But now, finally the lead in books, comics and games could lead into the prequels themselves.

In celebration its a great time to reread and revisit these stories that came out in the lead up to the movie premier of the Phantom Menace:

Jedi Apprentice young adult series however came out May the third according to the internet. I don’t know how accurate that is, but its safe to say the first book by Dave Wolverton was before the movie. It starred Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon as they began their journey as master and apprentice. Thirteen year old  Obi-Wan’s adventures included occasional clashes and reconciliation with his master, battling pirates, bounty hunters, diplomacy that was not a simple negotiation and more. They are still popular for both kids and adults in spite of being out of print.

star wars prelude to rebellion starring ki-adi-mundi and ephant monStar Wars Republic by Dark Horse Comics initially didn’t have the title Republic. But issue 0, Prelude to Rebellion came out in December 1988 with that first story arc concluding on the movie release date. These have since been rereleased as omnibuses, now under Marvel. We saw Ki-Adi Mundi and Aurra Sing in comics before in film hit theaters.

The Phantom Menace adult novelization of the movie by Terry Brooks came out the month before. The Junior Novelization by Patricia C. Wrede came out early in May. The comic adaptation started at the beginning of the month.

Other stories came out after the movie but were set chronologically before it:

jedi apprentice rising forceThe Jedi Apprentice series switched to author Jude Watson and continued a long run of 18 books and 2 special editions before changing to the Jedi Quest series which is about Anakin and Obi-Wan.

Have you ever heard the Tragedy of Darth Plaguies the Wise?  While the line wasn’t uttered until Revenge of the Sith, his story takes place leading into the prequels. Darth Plaguies was written by James Luceno with close contact with George Lucas monitoring, it’s an in depth look into Palpatine’s rise to power.

Cloak of Deception involves Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon chasing pirates who prey on the Trade federation, as Darth Sidious plots and maneuvers to weaken Chancellor Valorum prior to his being ousted in the movie.

Darth Maul Lockdown by Joe Schreiber infiltrates a prison to retrieve a bomb his Sith Master wishes to get in the hands of a terrorist group.

Darth Maul-ShadowHunter

The first adult novel with a Darth Maul adventure.

Darth Maul Shadowhunter by Michael Reaves stars the Sith Lord tracking down a neimodian out to sell the plans for the Naboo invasion to the highest bidder. He runs afoul of a down and out man and his droid, as well as a Jedi Padawan.

There is also a Darth Maul Journal and Amidala Journal by the same author (different psuedonym) as the Jedi Apprentice books. There was an Anakin Skywalker journal by Todd Strasser as well as a child’s book “The Queen’s Amulet”. These were released soon after the movie, in June. They reveal how the characters experienced the events in the film.

A set of comics was also released for each character (named for them), showing different points of view of the movie with side adventures not on screen.

There were also video games. The Gungan Frontier game for PC and Mac came out May 24,1999. The game basically is set uses Obi-Wan, Amidala and occasionally Jar Jar. But the primary objective is to create and maintain an ecosystem on one of Naboo’s moons. Disasters both natural and artificial make challenges.

Obi-Wan for XBox has the player as the Apprentice dealing with criminals and more leading right up to the end of The Phantom Menace and a battle with Darth Maul.

The Phantom Menace managed to be even better than I could imagine. Not so many years before an underwater city, a character like Jar Jar, battle droids, all the gungan technology and the amazing battles probably wouldn’t even have been possible. As usual Lucas was pushing the envelope. The only thing as amazing was how the artists and authors of the Expanded Universe fleshed them out. The Phantom Menace gave us Aurra Sing the Jedi killer, Quinlan Vos (blink and you’ll miss him, he had no name.) For the first time ever we saw the Jedi temple and met the Jedi Council. Perhaps most important of all, The Phantom Menace instantly gave and hinted at more depth to the Anakin’s redemption in Return of the Jedi. He was, as he told Padme, a person and not just a suit of armor or one dimensional villain. If you saw Return of the Jedi first one suddenly get a hint why he was redeemable. And for those who saw the prequels first, well, there is reason to root for him to return to the generous boy he started as. His ability to be redeemed is hinted at in why he fell. That all began here.

The Marvel Expanded Universe Connection

The early Marvel comics were a huge part of helping Star Wars become a success. 20th Century Fox’s reluctance to promote the film meant that Lucas had to do it himself. This included setting up comics to whet fans appetites for a new sci adventure that would change the face of film making in spite of Hollywood’s doubts. The first 2 issues of the comic adaptation came out even before the movie, in some cases using early concept art. The ‘Star Wars Corporation’ as it was called at the time did plan to execute creative control and while the Expanded Universe initially did not incorporate them, eventually they were added in by the loving attention of the young fans had grown into adult novelists and storytellers themselves. With the new announcement that a special issue is up for Marvel’s Star Wars anniversary its a good time to explore these stories and what they have to offer.

History:

letter column star wars marvel 7- plans

Marvel’s early Star Words in the letters column is explains how Lucas was involved in story arc planning. Click for full size view.

Even in these early days, Lucas’s company wanted to maintain some control over the story.  The series ran from 1977 (the adaption beginning before the movie release) to 1986,  so some ideas were derailed by the powers that be without Marvel knowing why, only to find out they were hitting into the next 2 movies territory.  Years later Allen Kausch as continuity editor did not include the stories in his notebooks of the timeline as Dark Empire and Heir to the Empire powered up a full Expanded Universe. As Leland Chee created the datacron database, these stories were initially ignored relegated to S-Canon. Later authors began to incorporate these stories, characters and places into the main Expanded Universe. Wizards of the Coast RPG and their Gamer magazine in particular went to great lengths to fit it in.

Art Styles:

jaxxon

Jaxxon is in the very first post movie adaption story arc.

Due to alternating artists, writers and editors these changed as did the quality of the story.  The first story arc involved Han and Chewie, as Marvel as yet had no guidance. Even so the character of Jaxxon did not please Lucas who said no more of Jaxxon.  He apparently was a bit too much like his inspiration Bugs Bunny. There was even an issue where he got beaten up by Dafi and Fud.  Yet later, characters called Hoojibs were allowed in (basically intelligent, telepathic bunnies). For many issues Luke was relegated back to his ‘farm boy’ outfit.  In fact, they hardly ever seem to change clothes or hair styles in early issues. Nor do the artists seem to have used photos of the actors.

Strong female characters and aliens?

They had them, even back then. It was common even at the time for their to be scantily clad females in the stories (occasionally even males – Crimson Jack had one bare leg and one not).   Examples include Shira/Brie AKA Lumiya,  who would go on to be involved in the Legacy of the Force novels. Dariel Angleworth is a moisture farmer, female, brigand hunter, Captain Cinda Tarheel an x wing pilot female as well as an unnamed female in charge of an major imperial databank. Then there are the fringe characters like Joli and Dani.

In addition, before there was Thrawn, there were various alien characters involved with the Empire. One was in charge of enslaving Mandaloreans, another with seeking out an ancient weapon.

Characters and Situations that were used in the main Expanded Universe canon:

The Wheel - marvel and dark horse

The Wheel – introduced in Marvel just after the original movie and dark horse comics Republic / Prequel era

The Wheel, a space station full of gambling and fringe sorts. Introduced early in Marvel, it is revisited in Republic comics more than once.

Senator Greyshade is introduced on the above mentioned wheel. He interacts with Anakin and Obi-Wan in the pre clone wars era. According to the visual guide, Anakin actually stole his speeder when Obi-Wan leaped out of Padme’s apartment window in order to catch him.

Human Replica Droid –  the first we see is Viscount Tardi. This droid is programmed to imitate a real man and may not be sentient.

Yinchor – the  Yinchorri are visited by Leia on a diplomatic mission.  Earlier in history these people were tricked by Sidious into attacking the Jedi in Jedi Council: Acts of War.

Jedi Breath Control – first mention is in Jedi breath control – issue 75 Iskalon Effect

Stone Mite’s such as Han and Chewie encountered are mentioned in Clone Wars 28. appears in Coruscant Nights 1 Jedi Twilight, Republic 49 and 54 among others

Realistic looking prosthetics – Valance the cyborg may have hated what he was, but even before Luke lost a hand Valance showed no outward signs of injury before he was shot.

Gordion Reach first appeared in issue 25 Seige at Yavin. It later is mentioned in several sources including Star Wars the Old Republic and several Essential Guides.

zeltrons

Zeltrons – Dani in Marvel Rebellion era, Chantique in Dark Horse KOTOR era

Zeltron are a reddish skinned species with strong pheromones and passions. We are introduced through the fringe character Dani, who was part of a smuggling gang.  They later appear in Coruscant Nights, the Knights of the Old Republic comics, Legacy comics, Knights of the Old Republic 2 (the game) and more.

 

Opportunities for explanations and further stories:

Leia’s mother (Breha who didn’t yet have a name) died when Alderaan destroyed. mentions Bail and her mother issue 53. This is fuzzy in other places in the Expanded Universe as well. Issue 91 has gundarks that bear no resemblance to later designs. they have four feet, long tongues a that behave more like nos monsters.

star wars 48 letters column lightsaber cropped

Even early on fans were concerned about continuity. Perhaps its past time Marvel explained the lightsaber goof! Issue 48. Click for full size view.

Luke still having a lightsaber after he loses his in TESB. Given that Don-Wan Khihotay had one, and years later in Young Jedi Knights Anja Gallandro appears with one, there are other ways for him to get a hold of a temporary replacement.

Y-Wings modified for more than 2 people into a full sized cockpit.

Issue 81 is soon after ROTJ. In this its shown that the jawas find a sand blasted ‘droid’ near the sarlaac that is really BobaFett. Leia and Han are there looking to retrieve credits Han left on Tatooine and chasing the jawas who stole R2. The sand crawler falls back into the sarlaac after its attacked by sand people. This predates the Bounty Hunter Trilogy story bringing him back by being found by Dengar, as well as Dark Horse comics Dark Empire.

Issue 85 post Endor mentions Bossk and IG-88 this is after all of the droid bodies were destroyed except one, that had uploaded its intelligence into the DS? Bossk had been captured at one point but also (maybe?) showed up later in other sources.

Then there are other characters like Bey, a young (very tall) man raised with Han, whose mother was Nagai and father was Corellian. What happened to them? To Dani, Kiro, Rik Duel and Chihdo?  The possiblities of more stories about these characters is appealing. There is a gap regarding the foundation of the Alliance of the Federation Planets and it’s successor, the New Republic as well as potential tie ins to the many old Imperial holdouts. Some of these were detailed primarily in games. The hatred of cyborgs mentioned in these comics was never explained either.

Alterations that have been explained in later stories.

The early Mandaloreans along with Fenn Shysa work with the Rebels when they are enslaved by the Empire and the Nagai. A large structure, formed of the skeleton of an ancient beast was thought by these Imperials to be sacred to them. Karen Traviss’s Republic Commando series goes on to say that in reality it was part of an amusement park and the ‘sacred’ place idea was a scam the Imperials fell for.

The Long Hunt was one of the annuals. This story was later explained in the story ‘Skyewalkers’. That retconned that the second apprentice was Halagad Ventor, a name similar enough to explain the mistake.

The Bespin situation: Lando falls to the ‘surface’ of Bespin but there can be no surface on a gas planet issue 56-57. Later stories reveal that the Ugnaughts did some engineering and terraforming in order to have floating areas within the planet that resemble their original homeworld. https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Ugnaught_Surface/Legends

https://web.archive.org/web/20100514070718/http://wizards.com/default.asp?x=starwars/article/sw20040930bespinmain

“Jabba the Hut” the yellow skin version is later retconned into being Jabba’s accountant who used his name and was a stand in during certain events. His real name was Mosep Binneed and was first revealed in WOTC: Ultimate Alien Anthology.

Backstories:

The prequels era gets mentioned in advance in The Long Hunt,  Silent Drifting, and Valance’s ‘The Hunter’ story arc. The Long Hunt’s story arc was retconned in Skyewalkers as mentioned earlier, and Valance’s hatred of droids ties in nicely with a man who served during Clone Wars fighting battle droids. Silent Drifting, is a stand alone story contradicts nothing and is merely a short adventure remembered by Leia as told to her by Bail Organa.

One story totally contradictory:

One story that is more a flop is the one suggesting Wedge knew Luke on Tatooine. In fact the story details suggest the writer mistook Wedge for Biggs Darklighter. Biggs was his best friend on Tatooine and the scene was cut from the final movie. This therefore was not a case of contradicting the Expanded Universe but rather contradicting Star Wars (now known as A New Hope) since Biggs was detailed in the novelization even after he was largely cut from the final film.

As for other contradictions, the primary is simply a matter of mistaken color choices ie blue eyes on a character with brown, misspelled planet names and so on. These are merely typos and editing errors.

Wrap up:

Star Wars original Marvel comics have a great many fun adventures to offer and ties to the later Expanded Universe AKA Legends. You can buy original comics off Ebay and reprints were offered by Dark Horse comics during their tenure as the official publishers of Star Wars comics, and on the return to Marvel,  in new Omnibuses. We shouldn’t miss the new anniversary issue #108 either!

star wars 8 letter column resize

View of the Letters Column and some Explanations from Issue 8 about Lucas’s involvement

 

Jar Jar Binks the Unsung Rejected Hero

jar-jar-arrested

Jar Jar has a story arc that is so accurate a statement on humanity that people rejected it, backlashing against artist, actor and character but he can teach us a lot about how even the most worthless looking person may just need to be chosen and accepted to make a difference.

His journey begins as an outcast whose clumsiness is so annoyingly costly that his own people don’t want him and arrest him just for fleeing invasion and leading people to look for aid. But even at the start we get a clue he is more than this.

Jar Jar Believes in His People even though THEY don’t believe in HIM.

“No No Mesa Stay, Mesa Yousa Humble Servant….Tis demanded by da gods it is.”

jar-jar-can-barely-watch

Jar Jar can barely watch for fear of a wreck in the podrace

Jar Jar believed in his people’s culture and wasn’t just making up an excuse to stick to the guy that seemed to know how to deal with this major invasion, or Boss Nass wouldn’t have directly asked “Do yousa have a life play with dissun” but ‘whats a life play?!’
Our outcast gungan honors it. And Qui-Gon must’ve seen some potential in him (however faint) to agree to get him out of punishment. (After all they DID ask him to take them there, at risk to himself.)

 

Chosen for Being an Outcast

Sure enough its Jar Jar, not some trained Naboo official security guard or ‘handmaiden’ that Qui-Gon chooses to take into Mos Espa. Jar Jar fits in not to the climate but the clientele at least in that many were outcasts and exiles. He continues to prove himself out of his element here (accidentally activating a pit droid and making a mess of Watto’s shop, triggering a dangerous dug pod racer, having no manners at the dinner table and getting his tongue stuck in energy binders.) But he also proves he is a caring guy – others are cheering for a wreck at that podrace but Jar Jar can barely bring himself to watch!

jar-jar-talking-to-queen

Jar Jar mentiones the Gungan army to the Queen

On Coruscant, out of his element with nothing to do, it is Jar Jar who alters the Queen’s hopeless thinking. He had no way of knowing the girl Padmé was the Queen. Jar Jar saw she was sad, worried, and said

‘Gungans not going down witout a fight. Wesa got a grand army. That’s why yousa no liken us mesa thinks’.

Until now, the Queen hadn’t thought of the Gungans. Yes they were there, as was Jar Jar. But so far as she knew, they hadn’t been threatened and weren’t her responsibility. But it suddenly made her realize they probably were not only in danger too, but also had a means to fight back the Naboo lacked. Together they might beat this invader even though alone neither could!

Jar Jar the Chosen

jar-jar-chosen

The Queen needs Jar Jar’s help

Jar Jar was like the kid no-one wanted for the sports team or class project. No one expected him to be chosen, it was just as big a shock, if not more, to him as everyone else. But only he could do this.

Remember last time he went to the city he was arrested. It took Qui-Gon to get him out of punishment. Now he risks going in alone and no one is there! Taking  the Naboo who were biased against Gungans to their sacred place!  If the Queen doesn’t win Boss Nass he will surely be blamed for leading them to their hideout! Amidala did pull it off..The unprepared and unqualified gungan outcast is now a general. He doesn’t panic and run (until the retreat is sounded).

At the end, Jar Jar grieves at Qui-Gon’s funeral, is welcomed into the city for the Peace parade and will move on to new things like becoming a Senator.

Jar Jar the Educated Senator

jar-jar-contemplating-obis-reportJar Jar was entrusted with the Naboo Senatorial situation when Padmé went into hiding.  Perhaps Palpatine wanted notthis because Jar Jar was not a fool or a secret Sith but because both had learned something from Naboo’s victory.

Consider what Jar Jar learned in his brief moment in Attack of the Clones, listening to Obi-Wan’s report from Geonosis:

  • The Trade Federation and it’s Separatist Allies have a new Droid army to attack the Republic and last time they had one it invaded Naboo.
  • Nute Gunray was still in charge AND behind the assassination of Amidala’s bodyguard and attempts on her.
  • An army already existed to oppose them (the clones) as did people to at least lead it tactically (the Jedi) if only it could be put in play.
  • It was already hostile in that it attacked Obi-Wan (his friend) for reporting on them.

When Padmé was in this situation years ago during the Naboo invasion  she had faced:

  • Trade Federation Army invasion
  • Nute Gunray in control.
  • A realization that an Army she could borrow existed (the gungans)
jar-jar-proposes-powers

Jar Jar proposes powers to save the galaxy.

So now was Jar Jar’s moment of choice: should he not do the same as she?  The stakes before were a planet, now they are the whole Republic!  Clearly the Trade Federation threatens Naboo once more! Binks had no reason to distrust Naboo’s own former Senator, Palpatine. The Supreme Chancellor’s deep dark secret was hidden even from the Jedi who worked with him and reported to him, let alone Jar Jar. Did he ever discover how he’d been used? It’s not hard to picture that Palpatine would’ve thought it appropriate turnabout:  he may have got what he wanted out of the earlier Naboo invasion. But Darth Sidious hadn’t expected the invasion to be foiled by a clumsy gungan telling the Queen his people had a convenient army! Best to subvert the gungan’s innocent goal of protecting his own people to his own ends just as he more drastically did to Anakin.

Ultimately though Jar Jar’s story is a message that many do not wish to accept: the clumsy, the annoying have potential that just needs the right moment and right person to choose and bring out the best in them.  Jar Jar isn’t made to be a super hero…he is the small, everyday hero.  People don’t choose to be clumsy and not often do they intentionally  annoy.  But to be brave, to help strangers and defend one’s own people when they didn’t want you?  Now that is a choice. That is the choice Jar Jar made.

“Helping Others is Both A Duty and a Privilege”

If you’ve ever played Star Wars: The Old Republic, you are probably familiar with this line. The Jedi say it a lot in conversation. It’s not exactly witty dialogue but it is truly what Jedi are supposed to stand for. Even Anakin Skywalker, right before he fell knew that this is what they were meant to be. “The Jedi are selfless, they only think about others.” (Revenge of the Jedi)

In a world where suddenly fans can’t simply each like the parts of Star Wars they prefer without having to destroy all who disagree, there are things on which we should.  Perhaps the difference between before and now is simply that before, there was something for all (in regard to merchandise).  Now there isn’t, at least without serious hunting. Now its the new stuff or nothing.  In point of fact, while some may love everything, prequels fans would simply like there share of merchandise, Original trilogy fans a share, and Expanded Universe fans a share, for instance simply more books and stories. None need be denied something: there was something for everyone for years. Why can’t we be that way again? Why can’t there be something for everyone? Well at the very least…there really IS something one can spend money on. Helping those who are less fortunate is always a worthy cause. It’s easy in game Star Wars the Old Republic to give a kid money (there is a Gree quest on Coruscant where you can do just that) because it really doesn’t take any actual credits away. It’s a bit harder in Knights of the Old Republic (where you have to earn them or loot them.) Since in the real world its a bit harder to get that money…we aren’t likely to trip over fallen people or monsters to loot (I HOPE). But what with finding less in stores I want to buy, I do find there are worthy places that might need it more. After all, that cool collectible will really need dusting. There are things worth more.

At the very least, there are things in the real world which we should agree on.  Sick and starving children, people who are ill, illiterate…and Star Wars fans can make a difference.

In our world, we have an opportunity to do right still.

Here are a few causes going around now.

twin-suns-logoTwin Suns Foundation already on the campaigns page, seeking to preserve and continue the Expanded Universe. Raising money to get the Star Wars Legends Books into the hands of children, currently those in the hospitals, is a worthy goal. Currently the fund raiser is for two hospitals and has only just begun. You can find out more here.

Peter Mayhew as ChewiePeter Mayhew, is everyone’s favorite wookiee Chewbacca is working to help kids in Venezuela. An economic crisis there is leading to severe malnutrition among children and this actor has a heart as soft for them as a wookiees fur. He is offering up challenge coins, $10 per coin to feed hungry kids. They ship in August and I don’t personally know when it ends. Here is where you can get in on a special wookiee coin and help kids too. You can also check out his Facebook page here.

Shannon McRandle as Mara JadeShannon McRandle is best known as Mara Jade, the model hired to be the character for Decipher’s Card Game. She’s always been a strong supporter of the Expanded Universe. But she’s now very ill and asking for support. If you’d like to know more and help, check out her Go Fund Me.

droidekaMagic Wheelchair is an ingenious idea to make sure kids who are in wheelchairs are not left out of the fun of wearing a costume at a convention or Halloween. They turn their wheelchairs into adventure! Not all of these are Star Wars themed of course, but some are. The latest being a Droideka from Episode 1. Check out their Star Wars Gallery here. and while you are there check out the rest of the site.

Lando Calrissian Expanded

general-landoLando apparently wanted to be a gambler and con artist from an early age. And he succeeded well enough to win fortunes (and lose them), starships, robots, and a mining colony. He also smuggled part time and even tried his hand at legitimate shipping.

He had an entreprenurial streak, but while on the surface he seemed selfish getting dragged into other people’s fights slowly helped mature him. The game to let him win Cloud City was rigged apparently (but not by him) in order to let him win. Yet being administrator made him responsible for the citizens. When Vader showed up looking for his buddy Han, Lando knew that the best thing for the citizens was to give him up. But how was he to know that Vader never intended to honor the deal? And so, he went for a rescue of Han’s friends, then Han, pausing only long enough to warn the citizens the Empire was taking control.

Lando was loyal, and even though Han had caused him a lot of trouble in the past, it was never intentional. His own guilty concious sent him out to find and rescue him even after they escaped Cloud City.

Ultimately, Lando would become a General in the Alliance, lead the final attack of the starfighters at Endor and fire the fatal shots that destroyed the Second Death Star.

AKA: Drebble (basically this was identity theft, he and the real Drebble hated each other.)

Family

Not much is known about them except he grew up in the Corellian system and definitely had a Mother. But he did find a wife through unconventional means. He was looking for a rich woman who would put up with (and back) his expensive schemes when he stumbled onto Tendra Risant. While not immediately rich (she had a trust fund) he did fall genuinely in love. They would marry and have a son, Lando Jr, who they called ‘Chance’.

In many ways however, Han, Luke, and Leia were also his family with the kids practically knowing him as an Uncle.

Friends

Han Solo was his most famous friend and also the one who got him in the most trouble. Not that he ever meant to, but somehow when Han was involved he often ended up with the short end of the stick somehow.

Vuffi Raa was another good friend, the small unique droid was created by a race of ‘sentient starships.

He continued working closely with Lando Calrissian and for a time actually smuggled along with Salla Zend.

Kyle Katarn was fortunately a friend, which is a good thing because while he wasn’t in charge of Cloud City he did have interest there, and investigating the gangs taking over got Lando caught by them on Nar Shaddaa.

Zak and Tash Arranda were two kids with Jedi Potential who stumbled on an Imperial plot on Hologram Fun world while Lando was there looking into investing. Fortunately for them, he proved friend enough for a rescue.

Lando had various other smuggling acquaintences, but its debatable how many he could truly count on.

Enemies

Lando booksRokur Gepta
Lando did not set out to make an enemy of the Sorceror of Tund. However when Gepta’s manipulations of him backfired, he set out to destroy Lando. In the end however Lando won.

Klyn Shanga
Shanga and his men weren’t really Lando’s enemies, he just inherited them from his pal Vuffi over a misunderstanding. They thought he was the organic being who destroyed their world. Until it was sorted, he often got caught int he crossfire.

Darth Vader
In all probability Vader himself gave little thought to him. But no doubt being forced to turn Han in and abandoning Cloud City left Lando thinking of him as the enemy.

Ev-9D9
Lando had no idea how convinced she was that he would pursue her. But he did destroy her antics on Cloud City that involved the brutal torture and murder of the droid workforce.

Accomplishments and Challenges – Character growth

Lando’s earliest aspirations apparently were just ‘be the best gambler’. He loved the thrills and the winning. He also had no problem conning people out of their money. Presumably he targeted the rich (not much to fleece from the poor for one thing.) He went on to be a smuggler as well.

But while his primary goals were selfish, he still made friends along the way and still found himself helping out. His helping out the Sharu earned him some consideration, his saving the Oswaft made him rich. These were side effects rather than goals.

Still, while putting himself in harms way for profit was usually the modus operandi, he did do it for friends as well. He rescued Han from Boba Fett once before he even knew him, convinced a pirate ex-girlfriend to pay off Fett to save Han’s Ex girlfriend from the same bounty hunter and even rescued Zak and Tash Arranda from Hologram Fun World with no profit to himself. He could’ve fled when the Empire decided to make an example of the Smuggler’s Moon of Nar Shaddaa but instead stayed to fight. When he landed Cloud City, he had to balance the desire to gamble (but not take advantage) and the needs of the populace. He didn’t turn on Han for greed, but to save the City’s citizens from Imperial takeover and when that failed, warned them.

Conscience stirred at being forced to choose between equally bad sacrifices, he now found himself working with the Rebellion and using old contacts to help them and find Han.

For a man who preferred a certain culture, it would’ve been no small sacrifice to go undercover in the dregs of Jabba’s court for the rescue. After that instead of jaunting off to gamble for credits or riches, he was gambling his neck against the Empire and Death Star 2.

While he still enjoyed gambling, he largely went back to being an entreprenuer and investing. Once more he found himself seeking to save and help Cloud City, even to the point of poking around Nar Shaddaa to find out who the kingpins taking over were when he had no authority and needing a rescue by Kyle Katarn.

Even while pursuing his own interests and having given up the rank of General, Lando continued to be available when the New Republic needed his aid.

Stories starring Lando Calrissian

Movie Years:

The Empire Strikes Back Radio Drama by Brian Daley
Return of the Jedi Radio Drama by Brian Daley
(Note these radio dramatization of the movies includes extra and extended scenes not available elsewhere. Also star the original actor as the voice of Lando.)

Classic Marvel Comics:
TESB adaptation
regular issues 83-197
ROTJ adaptation
regular issues 46-79
Lando Calrissian Trilogy by L Neil Smith (this is set between Hutt Gambit and Rebel Dawn)
Han Solo Trilogy by A.C. Crispin specifically:
Han Solo: Hutt Gambit
Han Solo: Rebel Dawn
Underworld: Yavin Vasillika (Dark Horse Comics)
Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn (Check out an Audio Excerpt!)
Galaxy of Fear Series –  by Whitman – Cameo only
Shadows of the Empire: Evolution (Dark Horse Comics)
Tales of Jabba’s Palace (various short stories)

Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn
Heir to the Empire
Dark Force Rising
The Last Command

Dark Empire – Dark Horse Comics – Also Audio Adaptation where Billy Dee Williams Reprises the role
Dark Empire2- Dark Horse Comics
Empire’s End – Dark Horse Comics

Jedi Academy Trilogy by Kevin J. Anderson
Jedi Search
Dark Apprentice
Champions of the Force

Lando in Jedi Outcast

Lando in Jedi Outcast

Jedi Outcast (game)- Cameo by Lando where Billy Dee Williams Reprises the role

Black Fleet Crisis by McDowell

The New Rebellion by Kristin Kathryn Rusch

The Corellian Trilogy by Roger Allen McBride
Ambush at Corellia
Assault at Selonia
Showdown at Centerpoint

Thrawn Duology by Timothy Zahn
Specter of the Past
Vision of the Future

Young Jedi Knights by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta
Trouble on Cloud City
Crisis at Crystal Reef

New Jedi Order Era by Multiple authors

Chewbacca (tribute) – Dark Horse Comics

Legacy of the Force Series by multiple authors
Millenium Falcon by James Luceno
Fate of the Jedi series by multiple authors
Crucible by Troy Denning

Redemption in Star Wars

Star Wars was always a space fantasy heavily influenced by myth with elements from many religious traditions. Among them it also has a Christian element, specific to the Easter time of year,  that of redemption.  The original trilogy reveals this only in the third movie, as we finally have confirmation that yes, Vader is Luke’s father. The Empire Strikes Back hinted at it, in the novelization it was fairly clear (and that no doubt based on an earlier draft of the final script) but Luke seems to sense it as truth though he still wants to deny it and asks Yoda for the truth.

Anakin-redeemed-by-LukeWith the prequels we get more of the story. Anakin was indeed a good friend, strong in the Force and great pilot. He was generous, kind and knew nothing of greed.  His mother was generous enough to let him go with the Jedi, knowing it was his only chance for freedom and to pursue his dreams. She couldn’t know that life would test him before he was ready. While his powers made him arrogant, the Jedi (besides Obi-Wan) did not seem too concerned. What should’ve concerned them were his nightmarish visions of losing his Mother.  “Dreams pass in time,” said Obi-Wan. The trouble is they passed with her death, and had Anakin recognized and been allowed to heed them sooner perhaps she could’ve been saved.  And so, devastating the sandpeople enraged not just at them but at himself, he steps toward the Dark Side. Follow this with losing an arm and years of losing friends to war, and then the same dreams of losing Padme, he was teetering on the edge.  He was not thinking clearly as a Jedi, but thinking with his terror and clearly Palpatine was able to telepathically communicate in a way that should not have been possible had they not already been close.

And so in an effort to save her he turned on everything he loved, betrayed himself and ultimately, got her killed (albeit  unintentionally.)

Anakin had been happy at the idea of having a child (he didn’t know there were children.) So when Luke comes along his efforts to win Luke are just as they were to win Padme (if tempered by a reluctance to do permanent damage.) Luke wins Anakin back by passing the test his Father failed. Luke is willing to sacrifice it all, to sacrifice himself.  The  natural thing for many to do is to fight back when friends and family are in danger, even if it means using the wrong method to do it. But Luke realized the end doesn’t justify the means. If he has to become Vader to beat him, then he hasn’t really won or saved his friends at  all. And so, while he fears for Leia and his friends he refuses to fight.  Anakin is once more faced with the choice. To remember who he was and be that man again, or let his son perish for the mistakes of his father.

While Anakin is the primary redemption arc in the saga, he isn’t the only one.

Lando Calrissian

general-landoLando’s betrayal seems far worse than it actually is. It’s a harder thing for a child watching it to grasp for one thing, plus the original release, limited by budget and technology, didn’t show the full scope of Cloud City and it’s people. Perhaps this is why some tweaks were added to the Special Edition and on to show just how many people were in Cloud City. It was always indicated that it was a city, that the people were anxious to avoid the Empire’s attention. No doubt many of them for whatever reason were hiding there. Forced to choose between the people of Cloud City who were his responsibility and leader and Han Solo his friend, he chose his people. Unfortunately he realized a bit late that he really hadn’t protected them from anything since Vader never intended to honor the deal.

Lando sets out to redeem himself by rescuing Han from Boba Fett and Jabba and then by joining the Rebellion and leading the attack on the second death star.

It’s worth noting that the Expanded Universe also has some powerful redemption arcs.

talesofthejedi5 Uliq and CayUliq Qel Droma

The most noteworthy is Uliq Qel Droma, because though his story predates the prequels, the story arc is very similar.

He begins as a Jedi, seeking to stop the spread of Sith secrets of Freedon Nadd from Onderon.  He blames himself when the enemy who have uncovered Sith secrets attacks a Jedi Conclave and kills his  Jedi Master, Arca Jeth. His plan to infiltrate the Krath attackers, that the council has already rejected, remains firm in his mind.  Going undercover, he attacks rebellious miners to ingratiate himself into the Krath elite (thereby killing presumed innocents.)  Once there he is tortured with Sith poison and seduced by a the Krath Sith Sorceress. By the time his friends come trying to pull him out he is already in to deep. Into this marches Exar Kun, initially to destroy him. But as he and Uliq both possess an amulet, it brings them together and soon Uliq is his apprentice.

Uliq continues on this destructive course, now attacking the Republic itself, claiming allegiance of the Mandalorean clans, and finally joining Exar Kun’s destruction of suns near the Jedi world of Ossus. As the firestorm sweeps toward the world and Jedi evacuate, Cay Qel-Droma sees his brother coming in and tries to force him down. They fought, Cay pleading for him to come back. Uliq kills Cay.  Shocked by what he has done, he has no time to recover before discovery by Nomi Sunrider who uses her powers to block him from the Force. A shaken Uliq takes the Jedi to Yavin 4 where Exar Kun is hiding.  They unleash their powers and trap his spirit on that world.

Still, Uliq is a War Criminal. He wanders many years seeking to win back his powers, seeking redemption before giving up and finding a frozen world of Rhen Var. But fate isn’t through with him. A young Vima Sunrider, tired of her mother never having time to train her seeks him out to train her. He reluctantly gives in (for he can’t send her away) and finds peace.

It’s interesting how close to how Anakin fell Uliq is: losing someone they care about, wanting power to prevent it happening again (Anakin – how to prevent death, Uliq – how to block their powers), killing the innocent (however understandable the motives ie they killed Anakin’s mother, the miners would’ve died anyway, finally both betray the Jedi), killing someone they loved.

His story is told in Tales of the Jedi: Knights of the Old Republic, Dark Lords of the Sith, The Sith War, Redemption. He also has a small part in the Clone Wars, a 2003 XBox game.

Gav & Jori Daragon

Star Wars Tales of the Jedi Golden Age of the SithGav and his sister Jori were orphaned when their cargo hauling parents were caught in a crossfire between in Empress Teta’s war with Rebels on her worlds. Their quest to become hyperspace explorers kept netting them little but bad debt until a vengeful merchant blamed them for his own choice of a route marked dangerous that cost him a shipment. Running for their lives, they stole their ship from Arrba the Hutt who held it for past repair bills. This time they found a viable route. Unfortunately, it led to the long lost Sith Empire. Sentenced to death but ‘rescued’ by the ambitious Naga Sadow, they were separated and Jori tricked into leaving without Gav, who Sadow was teaching Sith magic too.

Jori returned and tried to warn the Republic but their flight from debt and stealing the ship led her to a prison colony. Escaping she warned Empress Teta and gave focus to the Jedi’s dark visions.

Gav meanwhile was convinced the people would be better off under the Empire. His doubts didn’t crystallize until leading the Sith fleet he landed at Aarba’s repair dock seeking Jori, and his guards killed their old hutt friend.

Gav went to Naga Sadow and distracted him from his Sith battle meditation, but fell prey to a trick, stranding him near an exploding star. But his sacrifice and redemption allowed Empress Teta, the Jedi and Jori to go back to the Sith Empire and devastate their attackers at the source.

Jori, for her role in saving the day, was given Aarba’s repair dock.

Their story is told in Tales of the Jedi: Golden Age of the Sith and Fall of the Sith Empire

Kyp Durron

Jedi Academy Leviathan-Kyp was disadvantaged at the start, taken to the Kessel penal colony as a mere child where his parents died, and his brother was hauled off to be brainwashed into a Stormtrooper at the Carida academy. The closest he had to an ally was Vima Da Boda, former Jedi, who taught him some skills with the Force.  Rescued by Han Solo, he starts at Luke’s Jedi Academy. But no one realizes before it’s too late that though Exar Kun was defeated there, his spirit remained and was able to make mischief. Influencing young Kyp, the young Jedi ripped an Imperial super weapon he and Solo had found out of the heart of planet Yavin and sent Luke Skywalker into a coma.

He set out to destroy the Empire for what they did to him. Heading for Carida, he fell for the lie that his brother had died in training and fired the super weapon at the son. Too late he found his brother lived. His rescue attempt was failed and all on the planet died.

Back at the academy the Jedi trainees defeated the spirit of Exar Kun, and Kyp, devastated that he’d killed his brother and no longer under Kun’s influence, was brought to his senses by Han Solo. Returning to Yavin 4 to face Luke, he was put through tests which he passed. Then he helped destroy the sun crusher and a prototype death star weapon at great personal pain and sacrifice.

His story is told in the novels Jedi Academy Trilogy: Jedi Search, Dark Apprentice, Champions of the Force with some further action also in the novel  Darksaber as well as the comic book Jedi Academy: Leviathan.

Cade Skywalker

cade-legacy-endofaneraThe young boy he was trained as a Jedi. But when the Sith Empire joined forces with the Fel Empire (a mistake the Fel’s would regret) they destroyed the Ossus academy and his father fell in battle. He helped the other student’s escape but was lost in space and found by pirates who aimed to loot the place. Forced to pretend it had nothing to do with him, he had to leave his Father lie, unburied or cremated, as the pirates did as they would. They raised Cade and he became one of the crew.

Years later Cade was a bounty hunter, even turning in other Jedi for the reward with his best friend a man who hated Jedi, addicted to Death sticks and far from what he would’ve been.

But fate would not let the last Skywalker be, and he found himself forced back into the conflict, to choose to be Jedi (albeit an unusual rough edged one) or a Sith.

His story is told in Star Wars: Legacy

Revan

Revan

As Mandalore went to war against the Republic and the Jedi Council refused to get involved,the Jedi Knight Revan determined he would join the Republic war effort and take any other Jedi that would go. Among them were his apprentice Malek and his friend Meetra Surik.

But the war was devastating and soon afterward, on investigating what led to it, he and Malek fell to the Dark Side, turning and leading a large part of the Republic Fleet back against their former allies. The Jedi finally had to intervene, as Malek turned on Revan and fired on his ship, they boarded, captured him and erased his memory, enabling him to begin fresh.

As time goes on his memory is revealed as he picks up companions: Carth, Bastila (who was among those who captured him), Mission Vao, Zaalbar, T3 and even Canderous Ordo of the Mandaloreans. In the end stopping Malek is up to him.

Afterward though, he still has to face some hard truth: what made him turn, what has he forgotten. It’s important. In his quest to find out what made him turn…things will come out about the Sith and the Sith Empire that will change the galaxy forever.

His story is told in the game Knights of the Old Republic, with more revealed in the novel Revan, and in revelations in Knights of the Old Republic 2 and the Old Republic.

Exile AKA Meetra Surik

Meetra_Surik_Ghost

The Exile circa. Star Wars The Old Republic as a ghost.

War is seldom black and white. In saving people from the devastation of the Mandaloreans, the final battle of the war caused mutually assured destruction of both sides and created a ‘wound’ in the Force at the world of Malachor V. The Exile, lost or cut off from the Force and ordered away by the Jedi who felt joining the war was wrong had to make her own path.

But eventually she must return, and finds Revan is missing, the Republic crumbling do to an economy and ecologies ruined by war, and Sith have stalked and destroyed most of the Jedi.

There is only one thing to be done: Stop the Sith, find out what happened to the Jedi and how she can make right the wound that her last battle created.

Her story is told in Knights of the Old Republic 2

Atton

swkotor2 Atton RandAtton’s fate depends on the Exile for he will follow her lead.

But he once served under Darth Revan, capturing and torturing Jedi. Then one captured Jedi warned him he himself could well end up in the same position for he had the power and he  fled. But once he meets the Exile, he falls for her. And now his fate will be heavily influenced by her choices.

Now he can redeem himself by stopping the Sith alongside the Exile.

His story is told in Knights of the Old Republic 2