Thrawn Trilogy Retrospective: Heir to the Empire Chapters 9-11

Welcome back for another installment of the Thrawn Trilogy retrospective! We ended last time with our heroes escaping the Noghri and Leia being sent back to Bimmisaari. In this episode the Imperials launch another attack, and Luke visits Dagobah. Let’s get on with the show, shall we?


The Imperial assault on Bpfassh

First I would like to lodge a formal complain to Timothy Zahn for using another crazy planet that starts with a B. This time it’s Bpfassh. I know I’m to mess up this spelling, so I apologize in advance. The Imperials are launching a three-pronged attack and using C’baoth to coordinate the attacks. Pellaeon realizes it’s not only a test of C’baoth’s battle meditation, but also his ability to take orders. While watching the battle, he reluctantly admits how effective C’baoth is. He doesn’t want to think that the Emperor was controlling the Battle of Endor, but now he’s not so sure.

I don’t really like the idea of someone controlling a battle. Battle meditation is a different story–I can understand multiple Force users connecting with each other, but one person controlling others? Meh.

The attack is successful. Next step is to get some mole miners, which they can find in the Athega system on a planet called Nkllon. But C’baoth isn’t having any of that. He wants to know when he’s going to get Leia and her Jedi twins. Don’t worry, C’baoth–they’re on it. Kind of.

Mara Jade

Mara Jade in the outfit she doesn’t really wear in the trilogy but for some reason this is how she was drawn in the comics so it’s become her default outfit

The Wild Karrde just so happens to be nearby, and Karrde and Mara are watching the battle. They’re both confused as to why Thrawn would use a hit-and-fade maneuver with Star Destroyers. Karrde tells Mara they’re canceling the delivery because the New Republic is about to show up and do damage control. Mara takes this very badly; she says that they promised to make the delivery. But Karrde is insistent, and she goes along with him. She wonders if Skywalker might be coming along with the New Republic ships, but tells herself, “Not yet. But soon. Very, very soon.” This is our first Mara POV scene of the book, and it leaves the reader wanting to know more about her.

Next we head back to the New Republic, where Luke is training Leia on her new lightsaber. It’s so cute. Han breaks up the party to tell them about the Imperial attack on “Some place called Bpfassh and two unpronounceable ones.” That little bit of lampshading always makes me laugh. Han is going with Rogue Squadron (yay!) to help out, and of course Leia needs to go along. But Luke isn’t on this mission–the Bpfasshi don’t like Jedi. Something about one of their Jedi going dark during the Clone Wars, and one making it all the way to Dagobah before he was caught. This was about 30 or 35 years ago according to Leia. More timeline wonkiness! Luke is worried about not being able to watch over Leia, but Han reassures him that she’ll be fine. She can’t always have Big Brother watching over her. Luke says that they’ve never figured out which one is older, which is why I think my head canon prior to Revenge of the Sith was that Leia was actually older.

Alone again, Luke still worries about teaching Leia to use the Force. He fights against a training remote for 20 minutes without realizing how much time has gone by. That hasn’t happened to him except for when he’s meditating. He decides the Force is telling him to go to Dagobah.

Han and Leia on the mission to Bpfassh

Han and Leia on the mission to Bpfassh

In Chapter 12, Wedge! and Rogue Squadron! are with Leia on the mission to that planet I can’t spell. The wonder why the Imperials struck in those three specific places. Could they be coordinating a new communications system? Could it be a Dark Jedi? Wedge mentions the name of some Jedi Master who’s been seen on Jomark, so we know the Imperial rumor is working, at least. They’re just about to leave when–ack!–the Noghri show up.

They’ve learned, though, and use a fake Millennium Falcon to try to lure them into a trap. Leia can’t feel Chewie on board, though, and realizes what’s going on. Yay for Leia’s new Jedi powers! They formulate a plan to disable the ship, and Han uses Leia’s lightsaber to do so.

Allow me to take a moment to wonder why the hell Han is using her lightsaber? I mean, I understand that he’s protective and all, but she’s the one who was able to tell Chewie wasn’t aboard. And isn’t he the one who wants her to learn to be a Jedi? Only when it’s convenient, I guess. But whatever. I digress. At least he manages to disable the ship and send a distress signal to Rogue Squadron.

Back on Coruscant, they’re a bit on edge about another attempted kidnapping. Han suggests that Leia find some place to hole up, and they’ll use encryption so she can stay in touch with Coruscant. But they can’t use one of theirs, since there’s a leak in the Palace. Leia doesn’t like this plan at all, but Han guilt trips her into going along with the plan. Again, boo Han. They decide to pay a visit to Lando on Nkllon, to see if he knows a slicer who can help them. (Too bad they don’t know Ghent yet.)

Luke arrives on Dagobah, near the Dark Side Cave

Luke arrives on Dagobah, near the Dark Side Cave

Chapter 11 starts with Luke and Artoo landing on Dagobah. There’s a lot of nostalgia for The Empire Strikes Back, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing at this point in the Expanded Universe. But it does start hitting you over the head after awhile. Apparently Luke hasn’t been back there since Yoda died.

Artoo insists on coming with him, which is kind of funny after seeing The Clone Wars Lost Missions episodes with Yoda. Artoo is sick of those darn Jedi leaving him alone on crazy planets.

Again I’m wondering if this was retconned by something. He was hoping that there might be some kind of records in Yoda’s hut about Jedi training, but it’s been overgrown completely. (In retrospect, this is a good way to sidestep all that prequel knowledge we didn’t know about yet.)

On the way back to the ship, which just so happens to be right near the Dark Side Cave, Artoo says he’s found something electronic. Of course, it’s in the cave. Luke goes to find out what it is, telling himself that he’s beat this test and won’t succumb to fear anymore. Then he has a vision of the Sail Barge Assault at Jabba’s Palace, but this time something is different. A young woman on the sail barge snatches the lightsaber from midair, damning Luke and his friends to death. I WONDER WHO SHE COULD BE.

(Sidenote: Good on Zahn for the misdirect, here, and making you think she had something to do with Jabba, not the Emperor.)

Clearing his head, Luke finds the electronic device, but can’t figure out what it is. Artoo suggests that Lando might know, because Lando knows everything. (Later on, Luke would probably go ask Karrde.)

Looks like there’s about to be a party in the Athega system! Stay tuned for the fireworks!

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Review: Tarkin

tarkinThe Star Wars universe turns to view the galaxy from the other side with its second book in the new canon. Veteran writer James Luceno makes his return to the galaxy and his debut in the new canon with Star Wars: Tarkin due out on November 4th. Set five years after Revenge of the Sith, Moff Wilhuff Tarkin finds himself stationed on the remote planet overseeing the construction of what all of us know will become the fearsome Death Star. The story, of course, leaves the fledgling battle station behind as the Emperor first summons and then sends both Tarkin and Darth Vader to Murkhana to investigate Separatist communications technology.

Without a doubt, Luceno is the master of weaving together all the pieces into one cohesive tale that makes sense of things you didn’t even realize you wanted clarity for. The time period between the trilogies has been deemed the Dark Times and rightly so as there have been relatively few stories placed in those years. Unlike Darth Plagueis, Tarkin doesn’t cover years and years of the protagonist’s life; instead covering perhaps a week supplemented with looks back into Tarkin’s formative years and moves seamlessly between the past and the present.

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New Tarkin Excerpts

tarkinYesterday Del Rey posted another Tarkin mini-excerpt to their Star Wars Books Facebook page. Check it out here.

And also according to the Star Wars Books Facebook page, Star Wars Insider issue 153 comes out on October 22 and will contain another excerpt from the novel. Read more about that here.

Tarkin, by James Luceno, will be released in hardback and ebook formats on November 4.

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Geek Girl Con 2014 Convention Report

geek girl con logoGeek Girl Con is not a very large convention, only taking up the atrium of the Seattle Conference Center, and this year it happened to fall on the same weekend as New York Comic Con. Understandably, there were not a lot of big names present at Geek Girl Con 2014. But GGCs fourth year (and my third year attending) was, once again, a very fun time.

What makes Geek Girl Con stand out is its focus. It doesn’t specifically emphasize comics or anime or games or any particular medium or fandom like that. Instead, it is focused on celebrating geeky women and creating a safe, inclusive space for people of all types to enjoy the things they love and you could really tell, both from the make-up of the attendees and from the panel topics. Not only were a very large portion of the attendees women, but throughout the conventions various forms of non-traditional gender presentation were on display, even beyond the cosplay. The whole convention just has an open and friendly atmosphere and there really does seem to be a sense of community. Continue reading

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Tosche Station Radio #95: A New Dawn with John Jackson Miller


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On this all-new Tosche Station Radio, author John Jackson Miller joins us to discuss A New Dawn!

Kicking off the show, the hosts highlight what’s New on the Blog. Welcome Ryorin, our new staff writer. She’ll be handling news and occasional columns. She wrote about some possible directions for diversity in the Sequel Trilogy. We hope to have her on the podcast sometime soon! Bria wrote about what Sabine Wren means for Star Wars. There’s loose ends in the old Expanded Universe, so we’re Lighting the Legends Fanfiction Signal. Nanci started her Thrawn Trilogy retrospective. Bria pleaded for everyone to stop being mean to Del Rey. We roundtable reviewed of Spark of Rebellion. Bria also reviewed Droids in Distress. Nanci wrote about why Wedge Antilles needs to be in Rebels.

In Fixer’s Flash, Nanci’s been keeping busy re-reading Heir to the Empire and is about to crack open Tarkin.

Deak’s Dirt starts with Random House releasing a 50 page excerpt of Tarkin. They also revealed the full blurb for Heir to the Jedi. The Ventress/Vos novel gets a title, Dark Disciple. It’ll be released in July 2015. Clone Wars story reels- Crystal Crisis on Utapau, online now. The Lost Missions DVD/Blu Ray will be released on November 11. Rebels gets an order for a second season. Also lots of new clips, including one featuring Hera and Sabine. ABC will air Spark of Rebellion on October 26, featuring a new Vader scene. The Star Wars: Battle Pod arcade game was unveiled at NYCC. Not a lot of other news out of NYCC, but a big comic announcement: Kanan by Greg Weisman

This week on Camie’s Concerns, author John Jackson Miller comes on to discuss A New Dawn. There are major spoilers in this discussion, so if you have not read the book yet, come back to this episode later! You can find John Jackson Miller at Faraway Press and on Twitter at @jjmfaraway.

Wrapping up the show, the hosts discuss news that Warwick Davis will be appearing in Episode VII.

Nanci and Brian are the co-founders and writers of You can find Nanci on Twitter with the handle @Nancipants and you can find Brian with @LaneWinree.

This podcast has been brought to you in part by Her Universe and

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Warwick Davis to be in Episode VII

A rather amusing video of Warwick Davis, the actor who portrayed the Ewok Wicket W. Warrick, announcing that he will be in Episode VII has been posted on the official site.

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Why Wedge Antilles Needs to Be in Rebels

If you caught the latest episode of Star Wars Rebels, “Droids in Distress,” then you know already about the pretty awesome cameo in the last few seconds. Spoilers under the cut:

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