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.

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.

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

 

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.

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.