As announced by Disney Publishing Worldwide and Lucasfilm last week, there will be more than 20 Star Wars books published over the course of 2015. The titles, which range from comics to activity books and novels, will lead into J.J. Abrams’ The Force Awakens. Star Wars: Aftermath, written by Chuck Wendig (Under the Empyrean Sky, Blackbirds), will be the first book in a trilogy to be released this fall.
The plot synopsis for the book is as follows:
“The second Death Star has been destroyed. Rumors are flying that the Emperor and his enforcer, Darth Vader, are dead. A new government is forming to replace the Empire. But the galaxy is a big place, and the fallout of this cataclysm will affect different worlds in different ways. Does everyone accept the fall of Imperial rule? Has everyone even heard the life-altering news? What rushes in to fill the vacuum the Empire has left? And who will try to stop them?”
First of all, it’s extremely exciting to know that so many new Star Was books will be coming out so soon. There’s said to be a 30+ year gap in between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, which leaves ample room for explanation as to what occurred after the Battle of Endor. However, for many Star Wars fans, Aftermath and the other book announcements come as the final nail in coffin to the Star Wars Expanded Universe (EU). Like many EU readers, I too was somewhat disappointed that Disney announced a completely new canon timeline, stating that all EU novels are now classified under the Legends imprint. Many critics of the EU often liked to focus on the weakest novels (The Glove of Darth Vader, anyone?). Still, there’s not a doubt in my mind that Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy is the best EU series and a damn fine read.
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The first novel in the series, Heir to the Empire, takes place several years after Return of the Jedi, where a resurgent Empire under the command of Grand Admiral Thrawn, a Chiss military genius, wages war against the New Republic. Thrawn is one of Star Wars’ best villains. He’s not a dark lord of the Sith or a fallen Jedi Knight. Instead, he’s one of last few high ranking Imperial officials still in power. Recognizing the flaws of Palpatine and Vader’s rule, Thrawn establishes an Empire that is little more forward thinking, implementing strategy and tactics instead of fear and overwhelming force. Though The Thrawn Trilogy is not considered canon anymore, it’s a great follow-up to the original films and is well worth reading if you’re a die-hard Star Wars fan.
As I stated previously, though the EU has ended, there’s no reason not to be excited for more Star Wars novels. Wendig has openly shared his excitement for the Star Wars franchise, and implies that his new novel will respect and honor the characters and stories from the original films.
“My earliest — and still one of my best — movie-going experiences as a kid was being a four-year-old watching The Empire Strikes Back at a drive-in theater with my sister…My jaw dropped and I don’t think I’ve found it, yet. Those movies opened up a world for me, and my love of storytelling comes from them and from the galaxy of smaller, connected stories, too — from the toys to the games to the books. In fact, one of the first novels I ever read was the novelization of A New Hope. I have a son who will in a few short months be my age when I saw Empire, so to be involved with the Star Wars universe just as the new film is coming out — it feels like not only something akin to kismet, but a great and powerful privilege.”
Star Wars: Aftermath will be available for purchase September 4.
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