Honor Among Thieves Review

Honor Among Thieves Book Cover Honor Among Thieves
Star Wars
James S.A. Corey
Del Rey
2014

When the Empire threatens the galaxy’s new hope, will Han, Luke, and Leia become its last chance?

When the mission is to extract a high-level rebel spy from the very heart of the Empire, Leia Organa knows the best man for the job is Han Solo—something the princess and the smuggler can finally agree on. After all, for a guy who broke into an Imperial cell block and helped destroy the Death Star, the assignment sounds simple enough.

But when Han locates the brash rebel agent, Scarlet Hark, she’s determined to stay behind enemy lines. A pirate plans to sell a cache of stolen secrets that the Empire would destroy entire worlds to protect—including the planet where Leia is currently meeting with rebel sympathizers. Scarlet wants to track down the thief and steal the bounty herself, and Han has no choice but to go along if he’s to keep everyone involved from getting themselves killed. From teeming city streets to a lethal jungle to a trap-filled alien temple, Han, Chewbacca, Leia, and their daring new comrade confront one ambush, double cross, and firestorm after another as they try to keep crucial intel out of Imperial hands.

But even with the crack support of Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing squadron, the Alliance heroes may be hopelessly outgunned in their final battle for the highest of stakes: the power to liberate the galaxy from tyranny or ensure the Empire’s reign of darkness forever.

Honor-among-thievesI had a hard time rating this one…really I’d go 3 1/2 stars. The story itself is good its just the niggling details that bother me.

 

Continuity:

This story fits between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.

For Han Solo, the attitude of being unsure of his place matches that he has in Allegiance. Although the timeline in the book suggests it goes after Choices of One, their is an event in this book that should’ve affected his attitude in this one. So it could be it’s before Choices.

Leia also matches the attitudes and behavior in those two books, still trying to woo Alliance members (this was also how Splinter of the Mind’s Eye begins) but also acting as a military leader in choosing what risks to take and whose life to risk.

Luke is a bit iffier in spite of his small role in the book. The problem here is really Wedge Antillies being Commander. Wedge is definitely not in command in The Empire Strikes Back, Luke is.

It’s not insurmountable but its confusing. Is this before or after they flee Yavin? Luke was initially promoted to Commander when they fled, but it didn’t stick since the only one who knew it apparently died there (Classic Star Wars comic strips). He was then promoted to Commander of Red Squadron AKA Rogue Squadron after Commander Narra died. (This is in TESB Radio Drama and right when they are setting up Hoth.) Rogue Squadron was initially part of Red Squadron, with Renegade Flight led by Narra as another part.

It IS possible that Red Blade Flight (mentioned in this book) was meant to be another part of Red Squadron and it was decimated and the survivors moved into Rogue group, thereby forming the new Rogue Squadron. That still leaves Wedge a mystery though. He has been with the Alliance longer and had more training, but somehow Luke ends up outranking him. Demotion? A refusal of promotion? Was Luke promoted due to more courageous (or at least more obvious) acts? Either way Luke is the one who created Rogue Group (according to the X-Wing series) and Wedge ends up his second (according to The Empire Strikes Back.)

-Noghri. At one point Han sees a noghri female, a species he shouldn’t know about until post Thrawn trilogy. However, since the book is NOT told first person, its possible this just is a description for the reader. The species was out in the galaxy, and even Han didn’t recognize every species out there.

-The Weapon.  Given there are numerous species with ancient superweapons lying around such as the Rakata, the Gree and whatever drove the Sharu into hiding, its not unreasonable for this weapon to exist. It did however bother me the scale of it.

SPOILERS.
While races like the Rakata and whatever drove the Sharu into hiding might inspire extreme technological advancements, it seems odd one would invent something that had the power to wipe out hyperdrive ANYWHERE would be forgotten, its people lost. I’d have had a much easier time keeping my belief suspended if the device had been something more limited, even if it was still potentially devastating.

Ultimately the niggling little continuity glitches (I mean the Wedge and Luke thing is right there in The Empire Strikes Back, never mind the rest of the Expanded Universe) makes me lower my rating of it since yanking me out of the universe due to confusion isn’t a good thing.  I had trouble believing the second macguffin (the first being the data, the second being what it claimed) was for real.  Also it bugged me just a bit how the woman struck me as always being smarter and quicker on the uptake than Han. This could be just how it came across, as Han was feeling out of place still working for the Rebels. But  Han has always been a fast thinker (for better or worse) and most of the best stories have the characters as equals. Witness how he and Leia balance in other stories, or Luke and Mara for instance.

Black History in Star Wars

Diversity in Star Wars

On Earth, this tends to mean ‘color’. In Star Wars its a bit more than that, given the sheer number of non human species. Everyone isn’t black or white or brown. They might be blue, green, yellow, red or any other color. They aren’t all male or female, some are both, or neither.  But to connect to Earth, lets focus on those black  human characters since people seem to have forgotten they exist, just because no one waved a big ‘marketing’ flag for them.

Characters:

general-landoLando Calrissian: Actor, Billy Dee Williams.

We met him the hard way in The Empire Strikes Back. First he’s friend, then traitor, then we find he really had no choice. As a child its hard (or for me it was) to realize that the entire city was under his management and denying Darth Vader to protect his friend would be the ruin of his citizens. Nonetheless, when he realized they were ruined anyway he helped them escape, seek out and rescue Han. He helped lead the Rebels to victory in Return of the Jedi, firing the shot that destroyed the second Death Star.

But we also met him in stories like the Lando Calrissian Adventures, and found how he got the Falcon. We met him in the Han Solo trilogy and watched him lose it. He and Han shared many an adventure together, and we see him in a few of his own.

After Return of the Jedi he goes back to his Baron Administrator days, trying a mining operation on Nkllon. But he keeps getting yanked back to helping the New Republic. He also hunts for a rich wife (who to his shock he actually finds and falls mutually in love with), helps take over Kessel spice mines and replace the prison with a working facility by those who LIKE working in caves, and retakes Cloud City. (All this in no particular order.) Eventually he has a son named Chance and also helps create a droid army to help fight an extragalactic invader known as the Yuuzhan Vong.

About the Actor: Appearing as Lando in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, he also did the voice in numerous video games including Dark Forces: Jedi Knight 2, Jedi Outcast. He has left his unforgettable stamp on both the likeness, voice and character of Lando.
He also appeared in Fanboys ( a parody look at Star Wars fans) as Judge Reinhold.

Appearing in many Star Wars Expanded Universe adventures, he has his own trilogy: the Lando Calrissian Adventures by L. Neil Smith.

Mace Windu in shatterpointMace Windu: Actor, Samuel L. Jackson

A Jedi Council Member, Mace was a close personal confidante of Yoda, stern, no nonsense and utterly dedicated to the Republic. As a close friend of Dooku, he also didn’t believe the man would be behind assassination attempts, proving he was fallible. Mace was wary of Anakin Skywalker, given the lateness of his entry into the Order and his connection to his Mother. He beleived in the prophecy and that Anakin could fulfill it, but was increasingly wary of his friendship with Palpatine. Unfortunately his distrust created a kind of feedback loop: given that Palpatine manipulated the war, and Anakin and even the Council, the fact that they refused to trust him actually pushed Anakin closer to the Dark Side. At the moment of crisis, Mace’s lack of relationship with Anakin after Palpatine had spent years building one proved his undoing.

Appearing in many Star Wars Expanded Universe adventures, but specifically Shatterpoint is focused entirely on Mace’s quest to save his former Apprentice from the Dark Side during the Clone Wars. plus the Mace Windu one shot by Dark Horse comics.

Samuel L. Jackson loved Star Wars so much he offered to be in it even if he was just a trooper. He also convinced Lucas to let him have a purple lightsaber. (http://thehollywoodinterview.blogspot.com/2008/01/samuel-l-jackson-hollywood-interview.html)

captain-panaka

Captain Panaka, The Phantom Menace

Captain Panaka: Actor, Hugh Quarshie
A Naboo native and Queen Amidala’s head of security  in The Phantom Menace, he was distrustful of putting their faith in the Jedi but overruled. During the Imperial Era he had been promoted to Moff. He believe the Empire had brought order to chaos.

Fiolla of Lorrd
In spite of images showing a lighter complexion, the book description of her runs darker, as coming from a planet with a high solar radiation.

“The human appeared to be several years younger than Han. She had straight black hair that fell just below the nape of her slender neck. Her skin was rich brown, her eyes nearly black, indicating that she came from a world that received a good deal of solar radiation.” ~ Han Solo’s Revenge, by Brian Daley

 

Salla_Zend

Salla Zend, smuggler

Salla Zend
Han and Salla were an item once, both smuggling with Nar Shaddaa as a base. They fought in the Battle of Nar Shaddaa together when the Empire got it into its mind to totally wipe out the smuggler’s moon. However when Salla lost her ship in a dangeous smuggling job and he rescued her,  she started talking marriage without listening to his reservations. Finally Han gave up on subtle hints and decided to get out of town…or rather, the whole sector for awhile. He jetted off to the Corporate Sector. Salla kept on smuggling, and started to build a new ship. She had permission to fly deep into Imperial Space when Han and Leia needed a lift there. She reluctantly gave them one and even rescued them when they got in hot water but lost her new ship too.

Triv Pothman
Black curly hair, brown skin, this imperial trooper waited decades for a secret imperial battleship to pick him up. by the time the delayed arrival happened he’d gone native and wanted no part of it. sadly there is no artwork of Triv.  He appears in Children of the Jedi by Barbara Hambly

Sixtus Quinn, from X-Wing Battleground:Tattooine

Sixtus Quinn, from X-Wing Battleground:Tattooine

Sixtus Quinn
Abandoned by his commanding officer on a world where he could’ve been sold as slave, he led his men into joining with Rogue Squadron. He became a resistance fighter, going places the New Republic couldn’t officially hit, such as Thyferra. He first appeared in Dark Horse comics, X-Wing series, Battleground:Tatooine story arc. He reprised his role in the Bacta War. Being a black man was the colorists choice.

dace-diath-jedi

Jedi Dace Diath, Tales of the Jedi: Dark Lords of the Sith

Dace Diath
Jedi Knight from Tatooine that fought in the Great Sith War alongside, and then against Uliq Qel Droma and then Exar Kun. His father was Sidrona Diath. He first appears in Tales of the Jedi, The Freedon Nadd Uprising.

Jolee Bindo, Knights of the Old Republic

Jolee Bindo, Knights of the Old Republic

Jolee Bindo
Fan fav Jolee has the wisdom of a senile, disillusioned Jedi. He left the Order sometime after the Great Sith War and was content to stay alone in exile in the wild lowlands of Kashyyyk until Revan upended his life. Jolee helped bring down Darth Malak and stop his Star Forge.Darth Marr
Thanks to his usually being masked and hooded, you may not know it. But in the rare times he removes it Darth Marr is proven to be a dark skinned human. He is a companion in Knights of the Old Republic video game.

Darth Marr

This is Darth Marr if you preview an armor change. In order to do this, you have to skip out of the first chapter of Knights of the Fallen Empire in Star Wars the Old Republic before he .. ah… well before you lose him as companion! credit:Rebelibrarian

Darth Marr
You wouldn’t know it to look at him, because he keeps his face behind a mask. But here is a shot of him if you preview him without the classic armor in Star Wars The Old Republic.

rohlan-dyre-mando

Mandalorean Rohlan Dyre, Knights of the Old Republic Comics

Rohlan Dyre
This honorable mandalorean was highly suspicious of the methods used in attacking the Republic. His people were warriors, but gradually drawing the Republic to war instead of going at them upfront wasn’t there usual approach and he sought the truth. While willing to fight, he also sought to escape the battles to go hunting for answers. In the process he ran into Zayne Carrik and his gang, and at one point was tricked and mistaken for Demagol, who took his place while leaving him to suffer for the immoral scientist’s crimes. Rohlan however, wasn’t done yet. He appears in Knights of the Old Republic comics, beginning in the Flashpoint story arc.

Agent Fauler
A strategic information service agent of the Republic, he was assigned to work with former Czerka employee Kamus to find out what they’d left buried on Tatooine. This is a quest in Star Wars: The Old Republic available to Republic player classes involving the Tatooine planetary story arc.

Behind the scenes or the actors  you don’t see.

Darth Vader:
James Earl Jones, the famous voice from the movies.
Brock Peters (did his voice in the NPR radio dramas) and
Scott Lawrence (did the voice acting in Dark Forces, classic Battlefront 2, Empire at War and more.)

Jar Jar Binks: Voice and CGI Actor: Ahmed Best
He did the acting that was motion captured for CGI in The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith thereby paving the way for characters like Gollum and the latest Hulk. He also did the voice: Jar Jar’s voice was the same accent he used reading to his own families children. (Reference here: https://nerdist.com/jar-jar-binks-actor-talks-about-why-backlash-was-so-hard-on-him/  – note that I in NO WAY agree with the authors/interviewers opinion on The prequels or the Phantom Menace.) Don’t claim no diversity and then grumble that it’s racist that a dark skinned guy used the same voice he used to read to his family is racism. That is insulting to him and his family.  Also there are many people who love Jar Jar, especially those who first met Star Wars in the prequels yet his contribution to the very innovations that helped shape modern CGI things like Gollum, maybe even Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk have been ignored. (Source: twitter, but here is a list:  https://www.avclub.com/ahmed-best-calls-out-andy-serkis-for-ignoring-jar-jars-1819955507)
He also did Jar Jar’s voice in video games including:
Gungan Frontier, The Phantom Menace Game, Jedi Power Battles, Bombad Racing,

Voice Actors

Chop’aa Notimo (The Force Unleashed), Master Zez-Kai Ell (Knights of the Old Republic 2) : Billy Brown

Commander Zaletta (X-Wing Alliance)- Andre Ware 

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace: The Video Game (1999) Captain Panaka/Neimoidian Controller :  Jeff-Coopwood

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Felix Iresso, Star Wars The Old Republic

Felix Iresso, Republic Soldier, Star Wars The Old Republic

Felix Iresso: Dion Graham.
The character’s ‘default’ face as well as one custom is dark skinned, the actor is as well. He’s one of the romanceable (for female characters) in the Jedi Consular story arc.)

Xalex : Tony Armatrading
The Sith Apprentice is available as a companion in the Sith Inquisitor story arc and to all in Knights of the Fallen Empire.

 

The fact is, it takes a great many people to bring something as grand as Star Wars to life. Invented characters you see onscreen like in Star Wars the Old Republic can come in a variety of colors, as they also do in the imagination of the artists and authors. Its a disservice to the many involved to say they were all white male humans before Disney came along. What’s more the people behind the scenes come in all colors. You rarely can tell looking at the voice credits what color an actor is (they don’t all supply pictures on the internet!) or what color a writer or artist might be, or what color the character is that flows from the pen or ink. Why should they? After all, they are known by their works. And in George Lucas’s Star Wars, diversity has always been part of the package.

Han Solo Adventures by Brian Daley Review

Han Solo Adventures Book Cover Han Solo Adventures
Star Wars Expanded Universe
Brian Daley
sci fi/fantasy, movie tie ins
Del Rey
1979-1980
hardcover and paperback

Han Solo soars again--in this awesome trilogy of his extraordinary exploits. Ride with him as he rides to the rescue, narrowly escapes certain death, and foils evil in its ruthless tracks!

Some of the oldest stories in the Expanded Universe, before it had an official name or continuity. In fact, at the time of writing they their was no original trilogy, just one movie called Star Wars. Brian Daley did a fabulous job of staying true to the movies. Han’s early adventures introduced the Corporate Sector, an area of space that the Empire largely left to its own devices for a piece of the action. But that doesn’t it make a freer place than the Empire, on the contrary. Speaking out against the Corporate Sector and stealing from it the take very seriously, and they are just as likely to exploit, if not more so, the natives.

Han Solo Adventures trilogy by Brian Daley

Han Solo Adventures trilogy by Brian Daley

The Novels:

Han Solo at Star’s End

The first of the trilogy involves Han and Chewie doing their thing, being smugglers. Finding themselves disadvantaged by the new tech the Authorities have, they seek out to pay debts and get new upgrades. This leads them to a quest to find lost people, those who spoke or acted against the Authority. It also leads to some hints that Han is a more complex character than he has a chance to show in A New Hope.

It’s a rip roaring adventure with some tense moments. You know the heroes must survive. But what about their new allies, who you come to like just as much?

Speaking of the modern marketing term diversity, Daley was doing it back in the ‘70s. Rekkon was a black man, and it also features critical roles for Jessa, leader of the outlaw techs and Attuare, a feline female ranger.

Han Solo’s Revenge

The second book features Han and Chewie desperate for cash and taking a chance that leads to near disaster. Tangled up with a fight against slavers alongside an Authority Exec looking to shut them down, they find themselves once more on the run and finding foes and allies in strange places. They aren’t always who you’d expect.

Chewie has a great role in this one. Many stories treat Chewie as the big hairy sidekick. This one gives him a chance to shine on his own, being creative to survive.

It also introduces a great female character: Fiolla of Loord. She is described as having rich brown skin and black hair. She isn’t just some female love interest…instead she is a determined young woman seeking justice working within the system.

It also introduces Gallandro, a real gunman. He doesn’t get much play yet.

Han Solo and the Lost Legacy

This third book is a real treasure hunt. Han and Chewie meet an old pal hard on his luck and needing help to find a treasure that could bring him out of poverty. This leads to the planet Dellalt, home of the fabled treasure of Xim the Despot. But their is competition and someone has already died for it. When the enemy gets ahold of the Falcon, they are forced to trek across the planet, fighting a cult of Xim worshippers as well as the local competition…and then there is the enemy they made last time. Gallandro is on the trail and he wants revenge.

Once more we meet new characters and species. Badure is a former officer and flight trainer who reveals more hints of Han’s military past. Hasti, his friend and ally, whose sister was murdered at the hands of the competition and Skynx, a ruurian historian who will one day metamorphous into a newer but less active life form.

Tie Ins

Han solo at Stars End comic 1 small

Han solo at Stars End comic 1 comic

Han Solo at Star’s End Comic Strip.

Only the first story was adapted into a comic strip, later turned into a comic book and colored by Dark Horse Comics. As a comic strip in and of itself its a decent story but as an adaptation it suffered in 2 ways.

While the line art is generally good in this, it suffers some that the artist had apparently not seen the movie in awhile. Everyone who has will remember the Falcon’s game board and know its round and surrounded by a couch. It is not a flat square table with a regular Earth game of checkers.

The second issue is specifically for those who read the books. If you only read the comic it may not matter. But the entire opening is cut short and altered, perhaps its too long or difficult to illustrate. At the end, the story is altered drastically in how they escape. Again maybe they thought it more exciting or easy to illustrate. Or maybe they just had a limit of how many strips they could do and couldn’t fit it in. All told though as an adaptation it suffers for it. Also is the detail that trianni don’t wear clothes according to the book. Why they felt a need to clothe them in the comic might be explained by modesty standards, but only if one ignores that Chewie is also furry and has none.

It’s a decent comic, if cheesy and dated. It’s just not a great adaptation.

Fiolla of Lorrd: Wizards of the Coast and Death in the Slave Pits of Lorrd.

It’s unfortunate that for some reason artists got her totally wrong. The one most guilty of this is Wizards of the Coast, which ignored the ‘rich brown skin’ description. They may have gotten the idea from the short story “Death in the Slave Pits of Lorrd”, a hyperspace feature that short story available only to subscribers of starwars.com. In the story Tash Arranda (of Galaxy of Fear series) is telling of an adventure where she met Fiolla. Her scribbled picture had lighter skin. This however could be the in universe equivalent of not having the right color of crayon. Wizards of the Coast chose which version to use. This is a shame. (Except for color the artwork is otherwise good.)

As it fits into the Expanded Universe, the other stories very effectively use Brian Daley’s set up. The radio drama’s he also wrote reference Han in the same way. The Ann Crispin Han Solo Trilogy brilliantly interweave with it, actually explaining why Han went to the Corporate Sector in the First place and showing it as interludes while explaining what was going on that would effect him back in the Empire. The Dark Horse comics story Agent of the Empire: Iron Eclipse, we get to see Imperial Agent Jahan Cross hire Han for helping his adventure while in the Corporate Sector (something Han says yes too since they were academy friends.) Much later, a few of people and species from these will show up as cameos in the New Jedi Order series.

West End Game also did a Han Solo and the Corporate Sector Sourcebook.

These stories were released individually in hardcover and paperback, as well as 2 omnibuses.

Luke Skywalker Expanded

Luke_ANH-Windham

A New Hope: The Life of Luke Skywalker by Ryder Windham

Luke Skywalker was just a farm boy with big dreams. It looked like would never act on them. But he had a past even he knew nothing about. And a destiny that was greater than he could imagine.

Due to his Uncle’s interference, he kept procrastinating at going away to the Imperial Academy. Falling for his Uncles manipulative (if well meaning, for he knew what Luke didn’t) line that his family needed him.

His naive dream of just becoming a heroic star pilot takes a dark turn when his Aunt and Uncle are killed by stormtroopers. The mere presence of a droid carrying rebel plans they were ignorant of leads Luke on a quest to join with Obi-Wan Kenobi to deliver them and become a Jedi like his Father.

What he didn’t know was that he was destined to not only destroy the Empire’s greatest weapon, but to resurrect the Jedi within Darth Vader, that had once been Anakin Skywalker.

Along the way he discovers the Princess, whose holo message R2 once carried is his sister, gained a best friend in a smuggler, wookiee and a con artist, and sets out to rebuild all his Father once destroyed.

Family

Luke knew nothing of his sister as a child. His Uncle was step son to his grandmother. His mother a Queen of Naboo and Senator who died tragically when her husband fell from being heroic Jedi to a dark lord of the Sith.

Once Luke brought Anakin back from the darkness, he spent some time learning about him in old records.

Luke’s sister Leia had 3 children, Jacen, Jaina and Anakin. Luke went on to train all 3 as Jedi knights.

Eventually, he married Mara Jade, the former Emperor’s Hand, turned smuggler, then Jedi. They had one son, Ben. It is known that he had direct descendants in Kol Skywalker, his brother Bantha, and Kol’s son Cade.

Friends

Luke made a great many friends in his journeys. His closest childhood friend, Biggs Darklighter, joined the Rebel Alliance before him and was killed in the battle over the first Death Star.

Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Lando became friends who stuck with him through everything for a lifetime, even if they didn’t understand the Force guiding him or how it worked.

In the more ‘normal’ career department, as a pilot Luke made lifelong friends in Rogue Squadron as well including Wedge Antillies, Wes Janson and Hobbie, all of whom survived multiple wars with him.

Accomplishes and Challenges – Character Growth

Luke’s initial dream was to go to the imperial academy to become a star pilot. The imperial academy was the only real shot at higher education. When he bypassed that he jumped straight into a Rebel X-Wing. This test of character growth involved dealing with the loss first of his Aunt and Uncle, then his best friend Biggs Darklighter. He realized his dream of being a hero, but those he loved did not survive to see it.

Military Command

On joining the Rebellion, Luke successfully destroyed the Death Star and went on many missions to scout for new bases, protected (or at least escorted) Leia as she gained new allies, and formed Rogue Squadron, starting it out as Rogue Flight under Commander Narra’s reformed Red Squadron. When Narra and his Renegade Flight was destroyed Luke was promoted to Commander.  Rogue became the squadron name.  As an independent flight group, it was loosely tied to headquarters but available to back up other Rebel groups at need. Rogue Squadron became infamous for any time of mission but the attrition rate was high. When Luke, as Rogue Leader, was unavailable he left Wedge Antillies to run it. After the Battle of Endor Luke knew he would be too busy to handle the squadron and officially turned it over. Rogue Squadron remained loyal friends and allies to both him and the Jedi.

Luke’s first command of a battle group was at Bakura, where he found he far preferred his X-Wing to the command chair. Nonetheless Luke himself was eventually promoted to General.  This felt wrong to him, in spite of Jedi of the past having been General’s. He didn’t feel ready for the responsibility. Orders had him fly a battle group into what he sensed through the Force might be a trap. Doubting his own senses and unsure how to justify or avoid the confrontation he went ahead. The resulting massacre shook his confidence badly. He resigned his commission. While some after his leaving the military still referred to him as Commander, he preferred not to be referred to as General.

Dealing with his fury over the loss of his family to the Empire.

(including, he thought initially, his father.) He was tempted to get revenge over their continued torment of those he cared about. Forgiving his father, once he accepted who he was, was a feat beyond many people. But saving Anakin and inspiring him to kill the Emperor didn’t stop Luke’s destiny.

Restoring the Jedi Order

It was a new beginning. Luke now had an entire Jedi Order to recreate. His crash course was far shorter than Jedi of old who had studied a lifetime, and he could hardly start at one child at a time or there would be a bottleneck. After all, if anything happened to him and that student, there would be no one left! The Empire had done a thorough job destroying old records of the Jedi. But he had the Force to guide him. In the process he learned much of their strategies on how to run, to hide, a lesson he would put to good use later on.

At one point, confronted with a clone of the Emperor, Luke pretended to go over to the Dark Side in order to ferret out the secret of how to find out how this cloned emperor, or transferred essence was possible and prevent it. This did him harm, though there is no evidence he actually killed an innocent, the true initiation to the dark side. Leia helped him break free, as he had once helped Anakin.

Luke’s erratic instruction showed as he tried to train a generation of Jedi. He was torn between the need to protect them from the Dark Side and the mistakes that could destroy them, and the need to allow them to face it in order to grow. He was unprepared in finding himself confronted with the sith spirit Exar Kun that he wasn’t ready for, and students with weaknesses he didn’t know how to help them with. Nonetheless he persevered and overcame, as did they. In overcoming Exar Kun’s spirit, the first crop of Jedi essentially passed their true trial. They overcame the initial setbacks and soon the Jedi were flourishing. As the older students came into their full experience and powers and were able to help instruct, Luke converted the academy gradually for younger students, including his niece and nephews.

While his students became self sustaining at helping each other learn, when one would fall and wreak havoc he would be on the move to help stop them. This included the likes of Kueller, Brakiss and Desann.

A New Enemy

When the Yuuzhan Vong invaders attacked, Luke was confronted with a Republic that he had helped found turning on the Jedi out of fear. He also was forced to let his niece, nephews and the younger Jedi step into war. This led to some painful losses. In counterbalance to this, his son Ben was born.

SPOILERS.
Luke’s wife, Mara, was poisoned by the enemy. The disease could’ve killed her and her unborn child, but she fought back and they both survived. In addition to his friend Chewbacca, many of his students were killed by the enemy, but none hurt worse than losing Anakin. He felt his fall and his own guilt at giving the order (or allowing himself to be convinced to send the teenagers) was a heavy weight to bear. Jacen was captured, and only much later would he realize how badly the imprisonment and torture had opened him to the Dark Side. The former Jedi and current Yuuzhan Vong familiar Vergere’s influence would prove to be poisonous. Jaina also had a brush to the Dark Side, but unlike the others she went on to recover.

Not long after his greatest pain hit: the return of the Sith, in the form of Lumiya, an old enemy, who would be out to destroy his own family by turning someone close to him to the Dark Side and killing another.

SPOILERS.
His old foe, Lumiya, who had been trained as an Imperial agent and served as an Emperor’s Hand was able to lure Jacen to the Dark Side, declaring him a Lord of the Sith, Darth Caedus. In the process, he attempted to lure Luke’s son Ben, first by gradually nudging him to morally grey areas, then into assassination supposedly for the good of the Galactic Alliance. Ben began gradually to resist, when Jacen involved him in a plan that involved getting a man killed that had a young daughter. At this point Ben still did not feel he could go to Luke, who had been trying to get him to leave Jacen. Feeling guilty and confused, he did turn to his mother, Mara. She also was reluctant to tell Luke, so she challenged Jacen herself. Jacen killed her. For this reason, and because Jacen AKA Caedus captured and actually tortured his son, he didn’t feel he could face him without risking falling himself. Jaina ended up being the one to stop him.

Luke fought to find the right balance between serving the Republic/now Galactic Alliance and the Force. After their betrayal by the government, and seeing the corruption it overlooked (because politicians had vested interest in keeping it that way) he withdrew it from their oversight. The battle of the politicians led by Daala to force them to become an official branch of the government forced the issue. The Jedi sought to preserve and protect all, and they couldn’t remain neutral if controlled by people that wanted them used only as warriors or diplomats while ignoring the many who needed them that the government ignored. In addition, the Jedi discovered a Lost Tribe of the Sith and a dangerous threat called Abeloth that only they could defeat. Therefore they had to hold themselves at readiness for enemies the Galactic Alliance and politicians wanted to ignore because it was inconvenient to have such enemies appear.

Yet through it all, Luke never gave up. He focused on finding the positive in everyone and every situation, always there for his friends and family. He remained the determined but still compassionate man that Mara affectionately called ‘Farm Boy’.

crucible by troy denning

Luke, with Han and Leia in Crucible by Troy Denning, 45 ABY and there last story. He was about 64 at the time.

Stories starring Luke Skywalker

Early years

  • A New Hope the Life of Luke Skywalker (all eras)

Movie Years:

  • Star Wars Radio Drama by Brian Daley
  • 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.)
  • Shadows of the Empire
  • Luke Skywalker and the Treasure of the Dragonsnakes
  • Rebellion years
  • Galaxy of Fear Series – – by Whitman – Cameos only
  • Splinter of the Minds Eye ( written pre TESB and considered as a possible low budget script. the comic adaptation came out much later and was adapted to fit better into continuity.)
    Rebellion
  • Rebel Forces
  • Allegiance
  • Choices of One

New Republic

  • Heart of the Jedi
  • Truce at Bakura
  • Shadows of Mindor
  • Courtship of Princess Leia by Dave Wolverton
  • Thrawn trilogy by Timothy Zahn
    • Heir to the Empire
    • Dark Force Rising
    • The Last Command
  • Dark Empire
    • Dark Empire – Dark Horse Comics (full cast audio also available)
    • Dark Empire2- Dark Horse Comics (full cast audio also available)
    • Empire’s End – Dark Horse Comics (full cast audio also available, but only in the collector’s CD edition)
  • Jedi Academy Trilogy by Kevin J. Anderson
    • Jedi Search
    • Dark Apprentice
    • Champions of the Force
  • I, Jedi by Michael Stackpole
  • Children of the Jedi by Barbara Hambly
  • Darksaber by Kevin J. Anderson
  • Planet of Twilight by Barbara Hambly
  • The Crystal Star by Vonda McIntyre
  • 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
  • New Jedi Order Era by Multiple authors
  • Dark Nest trilogy by Troy Denning
    • Joiner King
    • The Unseen Queen
    • Swarm War
  • Legacy of the Force Series by multiple authors
  • Fate of the Jedi series by multiple authors
  • Crucible by Troy Denning

Cameos:

  • Dark Forces: Jedi Knight 2
  • X-Wing, Rogue Squadron, Wedge’s Gamble by Michael Stackpole
  • Galaxy of Fear by John Witman:
  • Eaten Alive
  • Army of Terror
  • Chewbacca Tribute
  • Invasion – – Dark Horse Comics
  • Legacy

 

A New View of Star Wars A New Hope

Star Wars A New Hope PosterWatching the original movie back in the day we had no clue there would be more. An unexpected hero had big dreams but was afraid to leave the familiar old responsibilities for new ones. Then he was forced too. The hero had a chance to save the beautiful Princess and save a Rebellion fighting a powerful evil empire.

We knew the Empire was evil for 2 reasons: we instinctively associated choking a man to death, an intimidating ball droid with needle as a torture device and blowing up entire planets with evil. The fact that the bad guy was clad in black and the heroes in white no doubt had something to do with it too – a color scheme left over from the white knight vs the black knight and the cowboy with white had vs the evil doer in the black hat.

It cost Luke dearly to follow his dreams. He hadn’t even committed when his Aunt and Uncle were killed. Obi-Wan was killed protecting him for reasons we didn’t entirely understand at the time. Leia lost her entire home world trying to help stand up to evil.

Han? Han started on his first steps to being a hero by doing something that wasn’t likely to give him a reward – saving Luke.

Years later we now have the complete story.

That moment we see Vader on screen is leavened with sadness: this is Luke’s FATHER. Once he was a hero, not the stuff of nightmares. He has power, but he isn’t truly free. He and Obi-Wan finally meet again. Perhaps killing Obi-Wan is his act of revenge for being trapped in the horror suit, but Obi-Wan’s vanishing denies him this victory.

We now know that Han’s quest to pay off Jabba the Hutt and those bounty hunters doesn’t end well. Ultimately his friends have to save him. Staying with the Rebels cost him: it cost him time to pay off the debt (though we know he had the reward, he apparently kept losing it before he could pay off Jabba!) As for Chewie: its no wonder he’s become jaded toward Jedi and heroics. He watched the Republic fall and the Jedi along with it. Still, he’s Han’s conscience.

We know Leia is Luke’s sister. This is a reunion long in the making. Luke’s instinctive attraction to her apparently isn’t the crush everyone (including him) thinks. And the scene where Leia is tortured by Vader is suddenly more horrible. In spite of just the intimidating presence and implied injection, we now know the man facing her is her biological Father. And he not only tortures her and tries to break her, he also makes her stand and watch Tarkin blow up her adoptive world and family. Given her similarity in appearance to Padme (and similar role as Senator Diplomat) it’s all the more tragic.

Extras courtesy of the Expanded Universe:

Expanded Universe fans were thrilled to see Dash Rendar’s Outrider from Shadows of the Empire added in to the Mos Eisley scenes.

The destruction of Alderaan is even more painful. While we glimpsed it in Revenge of the Sith and met Bail Organa, many of us have now had the opportunity to experience it in Star Wars: The Old Republic. We’ve explored Organa Castle, wandered and met the noble houses, helped fight to save them for Republic or lead them into the Empire.

For an extra shock, if you play the Imperial side Planetary Story arc, you encounter a rebel faction trying to stop the Thul House and their Imperial Allies. During the Conversation, the leader makes the rather prophetic statement that he’d rather see Alderaan destroyed than part of the Empire.

In the radio drama as well as the comics, we get to know Biggs Darklighter. Even in the special edition, all we got was a bit of Biggs added back into the Yavin hanger scene. The radio drama and novelization give us Bigg’s earlier meeting with Luke, when he was going to join the Rebellion and why. Dark Horse comics gave us a view of how those events played out. Suddenly that sudden death over the First Death Star hurts a great deal more because we’ve gotten to know and like him.

In Tales of the Mos Eisley Cantina we get up close and personal with denizens of the Cantina, each with their own name, species and interesting story. This one is exiled because he was forced to collaborate with the Empire. That one has rebel ties.

The destruction of the Death Star is now a lot more complicated, if one read the novel ‘Death Star’. The space station didn’t just contain Imperial soldiers. It contained all the personnel needed to maintain them, including cooks, librarians, cantina and bar personnel and conscripted Doctors. Even the soldiers didn’t necessarily believe the Death Star would be used for anything but intimidation. The destruction of the Death Star was absolutely necessary: not everyone on Alderaan was a rebel! But it sadly came at a cost that at least some of the people on board were innocent, or at the very least, capable of wanting out.

Yavin 4. This is another one that has had enormous history. You run around this world in Star Wars the Old Republic, taking on the Shadow of Revan. It has a history thousands of years before in Tales of the Jedi, a history of Sith Temples, battles with Jedi and will one day be hope to the home to the new Jedi Academy. We only glimpse it in the movie, but now we’ve had a chance to peek around the corners that we can only imagine.

It’s been a long time since the first movie, a long time since the additional title ‘A New Hope’ was added. The more one knows about the story before and after the more one sees it differently. But it adds a glorious richness. In 40 years, there have been many discoveries. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Woman Behind the Scenes of the Expanded Universe

Rostoni

Sue Rostoni

Sue Rostoni

She maintained the Expanded Universe in print and helped plan the New Jedi Order series, as Executive Editor and fiction and comic editor at Lucas Licensing. She held that job for 20 some years, retiring in 2011.

Lucy Audrey Wilson

Director of Publishing the President of Lucas Licencing. She came up with the idea of the holocron, an internal database to keep track of the rapidly expanding universe, before it was all in large binders.

Honorable Mention:

Marcia Lucas

It’s not surprising that after a painful divorce, George Lucas doesn’t talk about his first wife. But as the editor, she did have a great deal to do with the original trilogy of movies. She was the one who suggested the idea to add more impact to the first movie, at the time just called Star Wars, by having Obi-Wan die, which Lucas had apparently only toyed with. Given that he obviously still needed to be around in some form or another, George Lucas had to find a way to kill him yet have him around. Enter, the Force Spirits, that have since been a regular occurrence in the Expanded Universe, from Anakin Skywalker trying to make peace with Leia in Truce of Bakura, to the Jedi Exile appearing in SWTOR as well as Sith Force Ghosts like Naga Sadow, Freedon Nadd & Exar Kun.

Woman Models & Actors of the Expanded Universe

This is a salute to the female models, actors and voice actors that made the Expanded Universe an audio and visual adventure. This is not a complete list, but some of those who had either the most roles in the Expanded Universe or the most influential characters. Everyone probably knows about the movie actors, but did you know about these? Do you know anymore?

Shannon McRandle as Mara JadeShannon McRandle (Actor)

The real life Mara Jade. Mara Jade was such a popular character that even before she was officially married to Luke Skywalker, a model was chosen to immortalize her in the trading card game. Her likeness has also been used in art and action figures. She also happens to be supportive of the Expanded Universe, even since the reboot. You can check out her Facebook page ShannonMcrandleisMaraJade

.

Charal-Star Wars: The Ewok AdventureSiân Phillips and Marianne Horine (Actor)

played the true first female villain onscreen, the dathomire night sister ‘Charal’ in Ewoks the Battle for Endor. Her powers are mentioned in Book of the Sith and Ewoks: Shadows of Endor. Marianne Horine played the younger version. Siân Phillips the darker older version.

Zam-BountyHunterLeeanna Walsman (Actor & Voice Actor)

Zam Wessell, who goes on to be a neutral ( sometimes villain, sometimes not) character in the Dark Horse comics. But she IS an assassin and bounty hunter and introduced in Attack of the clones as a villain. The same as in the movie also did her voice work in ’Bounty Hunter’ the video game.

Cindel-EwokAdventureAubree Miller (Actor)

Cindel Towani of the Caravan of Courage AKA the Ewok Adventure and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor. This child actor had a starring role in both. Her character, Cindel, was later mentioned in the Expanded Universe as growing up to become a journalist.

mission vao in Knights of the Old RepublicCatherine “Cat” Taber (Voice Actor)

Most know her as the voice Padme of Filoni’s The Clone Wars in 2008. But EU fans may know her better as the snarky Mission Vao of Knights of the Old Republic who helped Revan save the galaxy. She also stars as the smuggler Vette, companion to the Sith Warrior in SWTOR. She also played Leia Organa in both The Force Unleashed games.

Serra Keto in Revenge of the Sith gameKari Wahlgren (Voice Actor)

Her character Serra Keto in Revenge of the Sith video game goes on to comic books in the Clone Wars era of the Expanded Universe.
Wehlgren’s voice is yours if you play a female Knight in SWTOR known as The Hero of Tython, a character who dares challenge the Sith Emperor himself.
Other roles include: Aayla & Darth Phobos in The Force Unleashed,  Empire at War: Forces of Corruption as Silri.
She was also in Kinect Star Wars (Video Game):  Gold 4 / Intercom / PC Female Pilot /.

Alora vs Rosh in Jedi Academy Game

Alora vs Rosh in Jedi Academy Game

Grey DeLisle AKA Grey Griffin (Voice Actor)

Some voice actor really make quite a dent, crossing from many, many video games and on into the animated Clone Wars Micro Series. Here they are in no particular order.

2002 Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Video Game): Padmé Amidala / Bera Khazan
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (Video Game): Sarna / Lena / Cassandra Mateil
Star Wars: Jedi Knight – Jedi Academy (Video Game): Alora / Jedi Female (voice)
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith Lords (Video Game): Handmaiden / Brianna (voice)
Star Wars: Clone Wars (TV Series): Padmé Amidala / Asajj Ventress / Shaak-Ti /
TFU (Ventress) – she is listed as a playable character when dueling. SWTOR (female bounty hunter)
TPM video game (Padme/gungan child)
E1 power battles
early learning activity center (game)
Star Wars: Demolition
Star Wars: Force Commander (Video Game): Hover Transport Driver / Leia Organa / Ruulian/ Terrorist (voice)
Star Wars: Starfighter (Video Game): Bravo 8 / Rescue 2 (voice)
Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing (Video Game): Queen Amidala
Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds (Video Game): Gungan Villager #2 / Queen Amidala / Rebel Scout Captain /
Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II – Rogue Leader (Video Game): Karie Neth (voice)
Star Wars: Obi-Wan (Video Game): Asha and more.
Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter (Video Game)
Loreli Ro / Nym Pilot 2 / Wingmate 2
Star Wars: Bounty Hunter (Video Game): Female Civilian #2 / Montross’ compute

satele-shanJennifer Hale (Voice Actor)

Hard to underestimate a role of galactic importance, she plays Bastila Shan in both Knights of the Old Republic games.  Bastila is the love interest of the Expanded Universe canon version of Revan. Hale also plays her descendent  Satele Shan in Star Wars: The Old Republic, Jedi Grand Master as well as mother of Theron Shan. The non canon version of Jaden Korr in Jedi Academy (last of the Dark Forces series) is her voice.  She had minor roles in X-Wing VS Tie Fighter and Star Wars: Force Commander. She also plays various characters in Filoni’s Clone Wars series.

Kreia-KOTOR2Sara Kestelman (Voice Actor)

Kreia /Darth Traya, Knights of the Old Republic 2. This mysterious character is a thought provoking mentor to the Jedi Exile.

Jessica Meade, Droids AdventuresTaborah Johnson (Voice Actor)

She does the voices in the Ewok and Droids cartoons of Latara (the ewok), a main character, and Jessica Meade, a tramp freighter captain.

Kneesaa, Animated Ewok CartoonCree Summer (Voice Actor)

Princess Kneesa, ewok, one of main character’s of the Ewok cartoon.

Ann Sachs (Voice Actor)

Most people know Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia. But when the popular NPR Radio Adaptations appeared, it was Ann Sachs who took the role of voice acting Leia. The radio drama added scenes not in the movie, including 3 important ones involving Leia.

Woman Models & Actors of the Expanded Universe

Juno EclipseNathalie Cox (Model, Actor, Voice Actor)

The star behind Juno Eclipse of The Force Unleashed may have had a supporting role, but it was an important one. Her character stood up to Darth Vader and was more than just the simple love interest of Starkiller, Vader’s Secret Apprentice. She became a Rebel leader in her own right. But perhaps her support of Starkiller is even more important: it was her inspiration that drove him to seek the light.  While some might play a Dark Side ending, according to the Expanded Universe (AKA Legends) canon, he turned to the light, and books and graphic novel tie ins confirm the importance of her role in this.

Jan Ors - Dark Forces 2Angela Harry (Model, Actor, Voice Actor)

Jan Ors may not have been a star or playable character, but Kyle Katarn wouldn’t have survived to get his bad ass reputation without her skill at rescuing him. No matter how often he left her without any idea what he was up to, she still came to his rescue. While the earliest Dark Forces game just gave Jan a drawing and some text of her lines,  Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight introduced Angela Harry as the true look of Jan Ors. This game featured live action cut scenes with early CGI.  While Angela Harry only voiced and acted Jan Ors for this game, her likeness continued to be used for future CGI modeling, giving the character a distinctly Asian look.

 

HONORABLE MENTION:

jaci-twiss-as-jaina-soloJaci Twiss

Jaci Twiss has not performed in any official Star Wars productions.  The actress has only appeared in the Fan Film: Legacy of the Force, adapted from the part of the novel Invincible by Troy Denning. But her role gave a physical onscreen presence to the popular Jaina Solo that was denied the character by the reboot. Jaci Twiss also encouraged her fans to vote for Jaina Solo in the 2016 Hasbro Fan’s Choice poll for a 6″ action figure.  The figure won the poll.

Woman Models & Actors of the Expanded Universe

Sources: IMBD and the Wookieepedia and the respective game, movie, and TV show credits.

Women Artists of the Expanded Universe

Jan Duursema

legacy-cade-kole

Artwork from Dark Horse Comics, Legacy -a young Cade and Kol Skywalker

Her artwork gives character to such memorable faces as Republics: Quinlan Vos, Aayla Secura (her artwork created the character that Lucas liked enough to put in Attack of the Clones), Legacies: Cade Skywalker, Darth Talon, Dawn of the Jedi: Xesh, and even some classic marvel star wars characters.

You can see more of her art with links to buy it on her website, janduursema.com

TFU-concept-art

Amy Beth Christenson concept art as shown in The Art & Making of The Force Unleashed by Hayden Blackman

Amy Beth Christenson

Video Game Concept artist for The Force Unleashed,  Starfighter, Jedi Starfighter, Bounty Hunter, and ROTS.

You can check out the designs on artbyabc.com

NJO-EdgeofVictory-conquest

Cover art by Terese Nielsen

Terese Nielsen

She did cover art for Star Wars Expanded Universe books and comics
This includes several X-Wing: Rogue Squadron comics, Union Graphic Novel, New Jedi Order novels Edge of Victory 1 and 2 and the Final Prophecy. She also did packaging at for Star Wars Miniatures: Legacy of the Force and Star Wars Miniatures: Knights of the Old Republic.

You can check out her art and buy prints at tnielsen.com.

 wildlife-of-star warsTerryl Whitlatch

Worked in the redesign of some creatures in the Star Wars Special Editions (1997 version),  creature design in The Phantom Menace. She also illustrated The Wildlife of Star Wars (a field guide), The Jedi Path and Book of the Sith.
You can check out her portfolio on ArtStation.

artwork-empire-jabiim

Artwork from Empire #30

Adriana Melo

Comic book artist for several of the Dark Horse comics, including the first issues of Empire follow up Shadows of their Fathers, that were a follow up to the Republic Last Stand on Jabiim story arc. Luke finds out that not everyone thinks his Father was a hero of the Clone Wars in these.

You can check out more of her art on her DeviantArt page.

TOTJ-comp-Bakura-srcbook

Her illustrations are inside these 2 books, among others, by West End Games.

Christina Wald

Did illustrations for West End Games Star Wars RPGs including The Truce at Bakura Sourcebook and Tales of the Jedi Sourcebook.

You can find more of her current art on her website christinawald.com

Shea Standefer

A Topps trading card artist, she worked on Star Wars Galaxy Series including Rise of the Bounty Hunters. But her most unusual contribution is by lending her appearance for Scarlet Hark (Honor Among Thieves by James Corey) and Shaylai Veila from Dark Times: A Spark Remains (Dark Horse Comics).

Check out more of her art on Deviantart, including some cool familiar Expanded Universe favorites!

StarWars-Craft-BookBonnie Burton

While not directly related to the Expanded Universe, her work does have implications for the fans. For years she ran a blog on the StarWars.com site giving crafting tips for kids and adults interested in doing fun things with their favorite characters. She also did You Can Draw: Star Wars Characters for DK books. Perhaps the most fun is the Star Wars Craft Book.  It tells you how to create a Momaw Nadon sock doll, Chewie hand puppet and action figure wreath.  Obviously if you want to turn that hand puppet into Lowbacca the Jedi instead, you can!  Nothing is stopping us from using Expanded Universe figures on the wreath either. While Momaw Nadon’s name and background come from the EU, its also no big jump to turning his sock puppet pattern into, say, Rorron Cobb, Ithorian Jedi hero of the Genndy Tartrosky Clone Wars, or one of the Moomow brothers of the Knights of the Old Republic comics too.

Women Authors of the Expanded Universe

Most of us know the characters already. But what about the female writers who invented them? Without them, these heroes we know and love would not exist. This is not a comprehensive list.

HanSolo-Huttgambit

Ann Crispin

Han Solo Trilogy:

  • Paradise Snare
  • The Hutt Gambit
  • Rebel Dawn

With a rare brilliance, she not only wrote the Han Solo trilogy and introduced us to his earliest influences, but managed to masterfully weave the rest of his Expanded Universe life into it. She interwove rather than overwrote,  Brian Daley’s Han Solo adventures,  Xaverri of the Crystal Star and Thrakin Sal-Solo of the Corellian Trilogy, she mapped out the incredible beginnings of the most famous (or infamous) smuggler in universe. His first meeting with Lando Calrissian is here, interweaving with the Lando Calrissian Adventures by L. Neil Smith, his introduction to smuggling, first clashes with Boba Fett and dealings with Hutts.

TruceatBakuraKathy Tyers

  • Truce at Bakura
  • New Jedi Order: Balance Point

The true aftermath of Return of the Jedi for our heroes started only hours after the second Death Star exploded. Her tale weaves the beginning of them dealing with their feelings on this, on Leia and Han and her feelings about Darth Vader being her biological father.  Luke struggles with the loneliness of being a Jedi. The first truce with the Empire is here, on Bakura. The character of Gareil Captison will be one of Luke’s first loves after becoming a Jedi.

Crystal-StarVonda N. McIntyre

  • Crystal Star

Her Original Trilogy character knowledge may not have been shining in The Crystal Star, but the personalities for Jacen and Jaina Solo began right here, in her one novel for the expanded universe. The Jaina who would be the pilot, the sword of the Jedi and a tinkerer starts now. The Jacen in love with animals is born here too. This book may not be the best or anywhere close to it in the Expanded Universe, but it was the foundation for great things.

Legacy of the Jedi, from Dooku to Anakin

Jude Watson AKA Judy Blundell

  • Jedi Apprentice
  • Jedi Quest
  • Last of the Jedi

She tells the tale of a young Obi-Wan Kenobi in Jedi Apprentice, as he first teams up as Qui-Gon’s apprentice. Based on Obi-Wan of the Phantom Menace and a mere few words in The Empire Strikes Back to Luke, Obi-Wan has to overcome his own impatience and anger to become the padawan able to defeat Darth Maul.

She follows up with Anakin under Obi-Wans tutelage, taking him from the confident slave boy to the lonely, eager to please but growing in power (and ego) young man in Attack of the Clones. His struggles are made real and easy to relate too in a way the movies simply had no time for.

In Last of the Jedi she follows up on Anakin’s rival, former padawan Ferus Olin, after Order 66. As a matter of fact, hints that Ferus Olin might be gay were confirmed by the author on Twitter. So she earns the fame (or infamy, depending on your point of view) of being the first author to even hint at that in one of the kids series.

Young Jedi Knights Lightsabers the Solo kids are told the story of Nomi from Tales of the Jedi

Rebecca Moesta

  • Junior Jedi Knights Series
  • Young Jedi Knights Series

She wrote the last 3 Junior Jedi Knights books and cowrote the second, expanding further on Anakin Solo, Tahiri Veila, the Jedi Tionne.

She also co wrote Young Jedi Knights where Jacen and Jaina Solo, Tenel Ka, Lowbacca, Raynar Thul would train as the future generation of Jedi Knights. Continuing on from McIntyre’s characterization, the Solo twins are growing toward their destinies.

These stories reference things from The Illustrated Star Wars Galaxy, a book author Kevin J. Anderson was also involved in.

Junior Jedi Knights the Golden Globe we seen a device left by Exar Kun during Tales of the Jedi

Nancy Ann Richardson

  • Junior Jedi Knights

She wrote the first two Junior Jedi Knights books and cowrote the third, introducing Young Anakin Solo as he begins training and his good friend, Tahiri Veila, who was raised among the sand people,

Children-Of-The-JediBarbara Hambly

  • Children of the Jedi
  • Planet of Twilight

Love her works or hate them, she started to bridge a connection between the as yet unwritten old Republic / clone wars era and the  new, via a battleship and a trapped Force Spirit. Her most notable invention however, is Belsavis. Her descriptions of an icy world with volcanic rifts led to its creation as a playable world in Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Republic Commando - Triple Zero Clones

Republic Commando – Triple Zero Clones

Karen Traviss

  • Republic Commando Series
  • Legacy of the Force:  Bloodlines, Sacrifice, Revelation

Some love her. Some hate her (for murdering Mara Jade). But she delved deeper into the ethical issues of a clone army and the Jedi’s lack of questioning than anyone. She also seriously boosted Mandalorean culture by filling out a language and culture that had only seen snippets in old comic books, even interweaving pieces out of old Classic Marvel comic books into a rich full warrior culture with its own customs and honor.

Dark JourneyElaine Cunningham

  • New Jedi Order: Dark Journey

Short Stories:

  • The Crystal
  • The Apprentice
  • Red Sky, Blue Frame

Jaina Solo suffers in the New Jedi Order when tragedy strikes her family. Delving into Jaina’s temptation with the Dark Side, the aftermath of this story will be felt in the future stories, post New Jedi Order.

classic-marvel-comics-graphicnovel-7Mary Jo Duffy

Classic Marvel comics Star Wars issue 24 (a ‘remembered’ Obi-Wan Clone Wars story)  issues 70 -170 (the end)

This classic marvel comics writer who wrote the first story with Zeltrons and brought back Shira Brie as Lumiya, Dark Lady of the Sith.

TCW-No-PrisonersKaren Miller

Most of her work was involving TCW but she also did the short story Roll of the Dice for the Star Wars Insider, based on Aaron Allson’s Mercy Kill. Not yet aware of how TCW would confuse things in the Expanded Universe, her few stories of TCW  actually were based on it, including such characters as future Admiral Pellaeon. She also brought in Callista from Children of the Jedi, introducing her unique Force talent with machines, and Djinn Altis sect of Jedi who believed in marriage, introducing them to Anakin Skywalker. This explained the reason the post Return of the Jedi era Jedi introduced shows no mention of the ‘marriage ban’ of the Old Jedi, given that most of the survivors and heirs found were more likely to be non Coruscant based splinter groups. It was a valiant attempt at bridging the post Return of the Jedi era with the prequel one, taking advantage of, rather than ignoring, established continuity.

* I credit her with trying to keep in continuity, which had to be a growing challenge as Dave Filoni apparently kept throwing a monkey wrench in. Not only was he altering established events as he saw fit, he also wasn’t even filming the show in ‘in universe’ chronological order, which also threw off even the books based on the show’s place in the timeline.

Carrie Fisher Memorial Tribute

Leia Jedi Knight

art by Terese Nielsen for Star Wars Miniatures, Jedi Academy

Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia has inspired my imagination. It set fire to possibilities both on the movie screen and in games, books and comics. It was her acting and likeness that set fire to our hearts to imagine all the possibilities.

When I first ‘met’ the character of Leia, she wasn’t my favorite. She was always so angry and I was too young to really get WHY. But by Return of the Jedi I began to appreciate her. Now she was Luke’s sister, the Princess who could take time out from the big picture (the Rebellion) and rescue Han, admit she had feelings for him. She could be chained and turn her imprisonment on her captor and stop him from hurting anyone else ever again. She had Force potential the same as her brother. Suddenly Leia was awesome! And now I can see that the world needed Leia. She was a rare kind of hero for her time, something now everyone is pushing saying they need. I don’t quite get why, not that I don’t see why we need cool female heroes. What I don’t get is why they act like we didn’t have any. We had Leia. We also had Uhura and Wonder Woman but Leia was the one I knew best. We needed more Leia merchandise perhaps: the male characters always seemed to get the best stuff. But female heroes? I had Leia. Then she was joined by daughter Jaina and finally her movie mother Padme. And I could always see the connections.

With the prequels she developed a new kind of resonance. Now I see Leia and I see the parts of her that came from Padme, and the parts that came from Anakin. The same determination that drove her Mother, the anger (not unjustified) that she got from her father. And in the Expanded Universe Jaina inherited her Force sensitivity, courage and sheer determination.

In the Expanded Universe stories I watched her struggle with the identity of her biological father. Mother of three, President of the New Republic, and finally, Jedi knight. And always it was Carrie Fisher’s face I saw as this Leia, just as with the movie Leia. It was her acting that gave my vivid imagination the framework to work with to see her as the Chief of State, the warrior and the Jedi Knight. A real do it all female hero, who struggled with family vs career in a very real way. After all, when if you don’t save the galaxy where will your family live? And she was doing this female hero thing when it wasn’t yet popular or cool. She was the damsel who may be distressed but wasn’t going to take it without a fight.

She’ll always be Jedi Leia in my mind. And now she is one with the Force in this world. As Cliegg said of Shmi Skywalker (Leia’s grandmother) in Attack of the Clones:

“I know wherever you are, it’s become a better place.”

I hope so. Because I think this world is poorer without her.

But then you get that final blow: her mother Debbie Reynolds dying within days. I feel so much for their family.

When pondering this sadness, the most common thing I hear is, Debby Reynolds died of a broken heart. I can’t help note a certain … well, resonance. In the movies Carrie Fisher’s Leia’s ‘fictional’ mom Padme did too. One reason I get so upset over people dismissing Padme as a strong female is that they give call her weak for having ‘died of a broken heart’. In real life, people do, in fact, die of broken hearts. Even healthy people, though frail ones obviously have it worse. To downplay this is a terrible thing. Whether the fictional Padme died ‘merely’ of a broken heart or some evil plot of Palpatine’s, downplaying that trauma can destroy people is much easier for people who have not lived through one, and it does not only claim the weak, the old, or the infirm.

Here is scientific evidence: http://www.sciencealert.com/can-you-really-die-from-a-broken-heart

Another thing I’ve heard, albeit rarely, is that Carrie Fisher didn’t exactly live the life of a saint. I thought this rather sad thing to say. After all, the fact that she survived challenges, overcame them and advocated for things she believed made her a brave person in real life. Saint? Who is? She is a real life example of an imperfect person doing her best to hang on in this crazy world.

I can’t help but note too that she is an example of something we are losing: the ability to argue like civilized beings and still call the people we argue with ‘friends’. Imagine that. You can argue without unfriending! That appears to be a in danger of becoming a lost art!

Here’s an example:
“He asked me to do an episode and that was really, really annoying, but it was very, very funny. Screaming at each other. Arguing big time about love scenes. We couldn’t disagree more, in any world, about love scenes. I mean hours of it, hours of ‘Why wouldn’t you say that? I talk like that.’, he said to me. I don’t believe it! And if he does [talk like that], they let him get away with it because he’s Lucas.” … “He won. He let me win in the draft, then he went off and shot it and he changed it. I went crazy! I didn’t want the shimmering arm, hair in the moonlight stuff. ‘You look so lovely. You are the magical rose of my…’ It’s in!” ~ 1994 Star Wars Insider interview regarding writing an episode of the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.

Yet clearly, she still thought of him as a friend with her good natured joking about the merchandising of her likeness. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/films/2016/12/28/watch-carrie-fisher-roast-george-lucas-2005-award-ceremony/

I’ve seen terrible and wonderful things come of her death. The wonderful was the tribute paid by so many on the Old Republic: impromptu, unexpected. More or less polite, with even the Imperials coming in to the Organa Castle on Alderaan, albeit thousands of years before Leia’s time. So many people, on so many servers, so many ‘instances’ so they didn’t pile on top of each other (what’s the occupancy limit on the hall of Organa Castle anyway?!) starting early the day she died, to the massive packed memorial service and today people still filtering into the hall just to be there. It struck me that many were saying in the memorial (in the chat) that we wouldn’t be playing this game without Carrie Fisher. I’m not sure how many realize how true this is, not only for her screen acting but because her Jedi Training in the comics led to her discovering the holocron, which led to opening the entire era of Tales of the Jedi upon which Star Wars The Old Republic was founded rests upon.

It was written up in many articles like this one on PC Gamer. The guild I am part of was at the Ebon Hawk event. This playlist shows just a few of the many already posted on Youtube.

Star Wars Galaxies fans also had a memorial tribute, even though the ‘official’ game servers are offline. Fans have set up their own servers to keep the game alive. See their tribute pictures on their Facebook page.

Terrible is those who take advantage: copyright hounds who issue take down notices of the memorial videos! How low is that? Why do these apparently heartless creatures get to stay among us when our heroes are gone? Probably they are ‘bots’ set to automatically detect and challenge stuff that have no clue its in game. But then, that system has already been hit with lawsuits and they lost so you’d think they’d fix it. And then there are the scalpers suddenly buying up all things Leia and demanding ridiculous prices of grieving fans, as I found out when I went back looking to buy the Leia 6″ figure I was had been waiting on Christmas money to get.

As usual with tragedy, terrible and wonderful mix. But its just so much, so horrible much for the fans and if its like that for us, how much worse for those who knew and loved her personally? My heart goes out to them, and so do my prayers. One thing is for sure, for all the difference is in the Star Wars community between who prefers which storyline, it was wonderful to see everyone, EU and Disney canon, Sith and Jedi come together to grieve her death and celebrate her life.