With Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens Volume 1, Landry Q. Walker returns to a good old element of Star Wars: short stories about the random beings we see in the background of the films. The 90s saw the publication of more than a few of these, ranging from Cantina tales to Jabba’s Palace. Walker lets the background characters from Jakku and Maz Kanata’s castle take starring roles in these six stories, helping flesh out the universe just a little more in this collection.
High Noon on Jakku
At last! We have found the elusive Constable Zuvio! High Noon on Jakku is a fun little mystery tale where, interestingly enough, the most intriguing character is a droid called CZ-1G5. It’s also a story that provokes thought about the state of droids in the galaxy far, far away. Is it still odd for some of them to not have owners? It’s definitely odd to think about the concept of a droid having free time and doing volunteer work.
A Recipe for Death*
A Recipe for Death is like the lovechild of Chopped and your detective show of choice with a dash of Star Wars. (That was a sentence I never expected to type.) This story really helps drive home that these are definitely a return to the old Tales from collections. Where else would you have a Star Wars story devoted to a whodunit tale set in a kitchen? This particular story was engaging and kept me guessing all the way to the final reveal of the murderer and the new sous chef.
All Creatures Great and Small
There is literally no reason why I should be giggling at this story instead of rolling my eyes at it and yet here we are. All Creatures Great and Small is two tales in one as Bobbajo calms the fear of some villagers by telling them how he and his little friends escaped from and destroyed the first Death Star. By all rights, it should come off as ridiculous and yet there’s something charming about it.
The Face of Evil
If there ever was any doubt that Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away is a spiritual successor to the Tales From books of Legends, this story should chase away all of those concerns. The Face of Evil is about two little minion-like aliens who perform some very twisted science experiments in their laboratory in Maz Kanata’s castle. In the middle of this is Ryn Biggleston, a criminal who’s running for her life. Spoilers: it doesn’t go well. This is a twisted little story that had me gaping at the page in horror while enjoying every minute of it.
In case anyone was confused, Unkar Plutt is not a nice person. Unsurprisingly, his two henchmen aren’t nice either. This one was probably my least favorite as it mostly just showed that Unkar is mean although also smarter than we likely give him credit for. There’s not much else to say here, unfortunately.
The Crimson Corsair and the Lost Treasure of Count Dooku
This was the story that I was most excited to read when the titles were first announced at New York Comic Con and it definitely did not disappoint. How could a story with a title like that not be great? I was hooked from the line that ended with “and an axe-wielding but surprisingly friendly Gamorrean nicknamed Squeaky” and eagerly turned every page. The Crimson Corsair tales has so much good stuff going on in it that I’d love to see an entire novel about this crew. Pirate gangs. Star Wars can never have too many stories about fun and engaging pirate gangs. This was by far and away my favorite story. (Oh and Dooku’s treasure? So well played that I won’t spoil it for anyone so you can experience the story for yourself.)
Overall, Aliens Volume 1 is a great return to expanding the galaxy. We may poke fun at how every single extra in Star Wars has an elaborate backstory but it’s part of what makes this universe so great. Walker has done a fantastic job and this collection is definitely worth your time. You can pick up a copy of the book for yourself when it’s officially released tomorrow (April 5th) in bookstores everywhere.
Thank you to Disney-Lucasfilm Publishing for providing an advanced copy of the book for review purposes. As a note, four of these stories were previously published in e-book form back in December. The two with asterisks are new for this collection.