JJM Answers Fan Questions on Suvudu

new dawnDel Rey hosted another author Q&A over the past week with John Jackson Miller, author of A New Dawn.  Thankfully, they changed up the format from a free-for-all in the comment section to a ‘submit your questions and we’ll have JJM answer them all at once’ deal.  One of the responses in particular caught my attention:

Is Hera Force-sensitive or just really good at what she does?

John Jackson Miller: That’s really more of a question for the TV producers. From my point of view, I think Hera certainly is very good at what she does, and while there’s a tendency to ascribe all exceptional talent to the Force, I’m not sure links are always necessary. As readers of my earlier works may know, I enjoy like writing non-Jedi characters that excel on their own.

And we all love reading those characters, John, we all love reading them.

You can read all of the questions and answers here on Suvudu.

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Thrawn Trilogy Retrospective: Heir to the Empire Chapters 6-8

Welcome back to the Thrawn Trilogy retrospective, in which I reread the trilogy and overload you with my feels, as the kids say. In the previous post, we met two of our antagonists. In today’s installment, the crap hits the fan–for the first time of many.

The Millennium Falcon arrives on Bimmisaari

The Millennium Falcon arrives on Bimmisaari

The New Republic envoy–Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie, and the droids–arrive on Bimmisaari. (How Timothy Zahn was able to keep track of how to spell all these crazy planet names is beyond me. Don’t fault me if I misspell them.) We learn that Leia never fully realized how to understand Shyriwook. I guess she’s not as adept at Wookiee as Ahsoka. They’re greeted by the Bimms, who ask Han to leave his blaster on the Falcon. They overlook Luke’s lightsaber, however, which turns out very good for him later on. After a half-hearted attempt to split up the group, Han and Leia go to explore the marketplace while Luke heads off to explore a nearby exhibit. Chewie stays on the Falcon, because he’s the only smart one of the group.

While in the marketplace, their tour guide disappears and we get our first “I have a bad feeling about this” of the book. Then the Noghri appear, brandishing an odd weapon–stokhli sticks. Our fearsome couple (and Threepio) is unarmed, and as Leia reaches out into the Force, she feels that the strange aliens have Luke, too.

The Noghri confront Luke

The Noghri confront Luke

Chapter 7 switches to Luke’s perspective. He hears Leia’s call for help, and I like that their Force bond is more images and feelings rather than precise words. It makes sense because Leia hasn’t completed her Jedi training yet, and it keeps Luke and Mara’s bond special. Luke is surrounded by the aliens but he manages to get out his lightsaber. Yay, our first lightsaber brandishment of the book! Luke isn’t overpowered in this fight, which is a nice change of pace from the late post-RotJ Legends EU. He tries to escape the aliens, but is left with no choice but to kill them. It’s a choice he makes reluctantly, and only because he needs to go help Han and Leia. I really like this part; Zahn remembers that Luke is a farmboy.

We head back to Han and Leia, and Leia uses the Force to create a diversion with a jewelry vendor. Go Leia! During the confusion, Han manages to grab his comlink and call for Chewie.

Another POV shift, and Luke is trying to figure out how to get out of the building. He thinks that five stories is too high for even a Jedi to leap. Apparently he’s never seen Attack of the Clones or The Empire Strikes Back. He uses the stokhli stick as a sort of rope and slides down to the marketplace. Just in time for the Falcon to appear overhead.

Once on the ship, Leia insists they need to go back. The Bimms are expecting them. But Han has already made the jump to hyperspace. Leia is pissed and says he should have consulted her since it’s her mission. He retorts that it’s his ship, and there wasn’t enough time to discuss this in committee. Oh yay, another OT reference. There’s a lot of them in this series. I guess it gets a pass since it was the first EU novel written in many years. (Also, Han, you guys are married. It’s her ship, too!) Luke thinks that he needs to ask them about that joke sometime. But they have better things to worry about, like who was behind the attack. They think it’s the work of the Empire, of course, and Han suggests that Leia should have a lightsaber of her own. I agree with Han here, and raise him one: she should’ve had a lightsaber a long time ago! Like, immediately after Endor! Luke, however, is not so keen on training his sister. He thinks back to Obi-Wan Kenobi’s words:  “I took it upon myself to train him as a Jedi. I thought I could instruct him just as well as Yoda. I was wrong.” The words haunt him all the way back to Coruscant.

In Chapter 8, Thrawn is, unsurprisingly, upset about the mission failure. But he moves on quickly, much to C’baoth’s annoyance. He demands to know when he’s getting his Jedi. Thrawn says it’ll all happen soon enough, but now they need to concentrate on the attack on Sluis Van. They need cloaking shields and mole miners, whatever those are. C’baoth tells Thrawn to concentrate on finding Leia, while he’ll turn his attention to Luke. He believes that Luke will come if he calls for him. Pellaeon formulates a plan to start a rumor about an old Jedi Master recently come out of hiding. C’baoth seems pleased with this idea, for once.

200px-HeirToTheEmpireNext we head to the New Republic, where the Council is displeased about the mission being aborted. Fey’lya is pissed and they discuss how to beef up security to plug up the leak in the Imperial Palace. (This is all important foreshadowing for later.) Mon Mothma tells Leia she needs to go back to Bimmisaari tomorrow, and Han is pissed. Leia was just about to ask for a leave of absence to concentrate on her Jedi training. While Mon understands the need to have more Jedi, she says politics are more important right now. The chapter ends with a nice line from Han: “You know, it was a lot easier back when we were just taking on the Empire. At least then we knew who our enemies were.”

So there you have it. The attack on Bimmisaari is a failure, bit it’s still early on and we shouldn’t count out the Empire yet. And Zahn sets the stage for one of Luke’s huge inner conflicts–his fear of failing as a teacher.

Stay tuned for our next installment of the Thrawn Trilogy retrospective, in which the Imperials attack another unspellable planet, Rogue Squadron makes its first appearance, and Luke returns to Dagobah and has a vision of his wife-to-be.

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NYCC 2014: Marvel Announces Star Wars: Kanan – The Last Padawan

Kanan TLP1We knew that Marvel was unlikely to limit themselves to just three Star Wars titles in 2015 and today that suspicion was confirmed at New York Comic Con during the Cup O’ Joe panel.  Marvel announced a new series titled ‘Kanan: The Last Padawan’ written by Greg Weisman with art by Pepe Larraz.  The book will begin in April 2015 and solves the mystery of what Weisman is doing with Star Wars despite not being involved with Season 2 of Rebels.

The comic will help fill in the gaps in regards to Kanan’s background as a Jedi Padawan and go into his relationship with Master Depa Billaba.

You can read Weisman’s interview with Marvel about the book here.

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The Clone Wars Lost Missions Coming to Blu Ray and DVD

StarWarsCloneWars_S6LostMissions_BLUAre you waiting to add The Clone Wars Lost Missions to your video library? You’re in luck! The 13 additional episodes, comprising an informal Season 6 of the series, will be available on Blu Ray and DVD on November 11.

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Full blurb for Kevin Hearne’s Heir to the Jedi

Heir to the JediFebruary 17, 2015 will be a banner day here at Tosche Station, as Kevin Hearne’s Heir to the Jedi is released into the wild.

The novel was first announced at Celebration VI under the “Rebels” banner, and is the third book in the now defunct “Empire and Rebellion” trilogy that takes place after A New Hope. Del Rey has saved the best for last here, as this novel features Luke Skywalker in first-person POV.

To say I’m excited about this novel would be an understatement. But in case you’re not like me and squeal at anything involving Luke, here’s a more detailed blurb from Random House:

Luke Skywalker’s game-changing destruction of the Death Star has made him not only a hero of the Rebel Alliance but a valuable asset in the ongoing battle against the Empire. Though he’s a long way from mastering the power of the Force, there’s no denying his phenomenal skills as a pilot—and in the eyes of Rebel leaders Princess Leia Organa and Admiral Ackbar, there’s no one better qualified to carry out a daring rescue mission crucial to the Alliance cause.

A brilliant alien cryptographer renowned for her ability to breach even the most advanced communications systems is being detained by Imperial agents determined to exploit her exceptional talents for the Empire’s purposes. But the prospective spy’s sympathies lie with the Rebels, and she’s willing to join their effort in exchange for being reunited with her family. It’s an opportunity to gain a critical edge against the Empire that’s too precious to pass up. It’s also a job that demands the element of surprise. So Luke and the ever-resourceful droid R2-D2 swap their trusty X-wing fighter for a sleek space yacht piloted by brash recruit Nakari Kelen, daughter of a biotech mogul, who’s got a score of her own to settle with the Empire.

Challenged by ruthless Imperial bodyguards, death-dealing enemy battleships, merciless bounty hunters, and monstrous brain-eating parasites, Luke plunges head-on into a high-stakes espionage operation that will push his abilities as a Rebel fighter and would-be Jedi to the limit. If ever he needed the wisdom of Obi-Wan Kenobi to shepherd him through danger, it’s now. But Luke will have to rely on himself, his friends, and his own burgeoning relationship with the Force to survive.

A Luke Skywalker novel where he’s paired with a female lead? Count me in!

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ABC to air Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion

rebels logoIf you missed the original airing of Spark of Rebellion, don’t you fret. ABC will be re-airing it on Sunday, October 26th at 7PM. If you did see it already, well, you may still want to tune in. From the Official Site

The critically-acclaimed epic adventure Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion will air on ABC on Sunday, October 26 (7:00 p.m. ET/PT). Executive producer Dave Filoni states, “We wanted to do something special for the ABC broadcast. We’ve added a scene which gives audiences insight into the Inquisitor and includes a cameo by Darth Vader voiced by the distinguished actor James Earl Jones.

Emphasis added.

So who else is going to be watching the intro movie for the fourth time?

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Star Wars: Battle Pod Arcade Game Unveiled

star-wars-battle-podThe first Star Wars-related announcement has come in from the New York Comic Con festivities and it’s certainly not something we expected. Bandai Namco has unveiled Star Wars: Battle Pod, an arcade game in which the player sits in a simulated cockpit and pilots various kinds of vehicles on missions. From the official site:

The game includes five stages that recreate the fiercest battle scenes from the original Star Wars trilogy. Loaded with features and unique gameplay elements, players can experience the impact of the explosions and destruction that will leave them with a sense of actually piloting and taking part in action-packed scenes from the films. Enabling the player to be surrounded by gameplay images and experiences on the dome screen, players will truly take command of the vehicles that appear in the films such as X-wings, snowspeeders, speederbikes, the Millennium Falcon and TIE Advanced.

The game will be available to play at participating arcades in the United States starting January 2015, but fans in New York City have an opportunity to play it early:

Players experienced their first hands-on gameplay of Star Wars: Battle Pod this week in New York City at an announcement event at Marquee NY. The game will continue to be on display at Dave and Buster’s in the Times Square location through the New York Comic-Con.

Bandai Namco does not seem to have information about the game up on its site as of yet but will hopefully have some soon.

@BlueJaigEyes, of The Wookiee Gunner, took video of the game trailer shown at the unveiling, which includes footage of what we hope is the Death Star Trench Run:

She also livetweeted the event, including pictures of the interior of the machines. See some of her tweets after the jump. Continue reading

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