Season 1 of Star Wars Rebels didn’t pull any punches when it came to raising the stakes. The season finale, “Fire Across the Galaxy,” changed the landscape of the show in several ways. It killed off the Inquisitor, setting the stage for Darth Vader as the new Big Bad of the series. It revealed Ahsoka Tano as Fulcrum, Hera’s contact in the nascent Rebellion, and established her as a recurring character. Most important, however, was the return of Bail Organa (in hologram form), in which he informed the crew of the Ghost that they were, indeed, their very own Rebel cell.
On this episode of Tosche Station Radio, the hosts are joined by Star Wars author Jason Fry to talk his contributions to the universe, The Clone Wars, Rebels, and even a bit of baseball!
This week on Fixer’s Flash, Nanci went to her last round of Star Wars Weekends for the year. Both of the hosts watched more Stargate, and Brian read more of Kenobi.
Deak’s Dirt starts with news that Star Wars Books has announced the title of the new James S.A. Corey Han Solo novel – Star Wars: Empire and Rebellion: Honor Among Thieves. The novel will be published in Spring 2014. The blog Tenth Letter of the Alphabet has a great article about the evolution of the Star Wars logo. Star Wars Reads Day to return October 5. The Course of the Force lightsaber relay in support of Make-a-Wish is back this summer, kicking off July 9 from Skywalker Ranch and arriving in San Diego on July 16. For $150, registrants can carry the lightsaber during the relay. All proceeds to go charity. The Nerdist also kicked off a multi-part web series leading up to the event. In sad fandom news, Matt Smith is leaving Doctor Who after four years.
On Camie’s Concerns this week, the hosts are joined by guest Jason Fry to discuss his contributions to the Star Wars universe, The Clone Wars, and a bit of baseball. It’s an in-depth conversation covering a whole bunch of Star Wars, so get comfy!
Wrapping up the show, the hosts field a question from a listener in Ask Us Anything.
Tosche Station Radio is the official podcast of Tosche-Station.net and a part of Majestic Giraffe Productions. If you like what you hear, please leave a review on the iTunes Music Store. We can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.
Del Rey has put a wealth of Expanded Universe ebook material on sale today. Perhaps a better way to phrase that would be a wonderfully staggering amount of ebook material on sale.
First off, both the Essential Guide to Warfare and the newly released Essential Reader’s Companion (Have you read our review yet? You should) are now available in electronic format. These editions are complete with all the illustrations that appear in their paperback counterparts, so if you own a tablet this could be a very interesting option for you.
As we mentioned yesterday, an essential novels bundle containing Heir to the Empire, X-Wing: Rogue Squadron, Vector Prime, and Legacy of the Force: Betrayal goes on sale today for only $7.99 total. A larger 10-novel bundle can also be purchased for $62.99.
The New Civil War: Paul Urquhart writes: “I found this one really tricky, because the complexity, frustration and tragic waste of the Second Civil War isn’t easily reduced to a simple campaign narrative. In the end, I tried to simply bring out all that angst and futility. This is a galaxy gone painfully wrong, in which a lot of people – ordinary citizens and powerful and capable leaders alike – are striving for some way to fix things and a cause to believe in. Which only makes matters worse. Concluding the piece with a comment from the younger Jacen Solo is designed to underscore the poignancy. I’m not quite sure that the whole piece works, but maybe it’s appropriate that it shouldn’t, quite.”
For more, head on over to Jason Fry’s Tumblr.
It’s a new week, which means there’s a new batch of Essential Guide to Warfare notes from Jason Fry. We’re finally up to the New Jedi Order, which means Fry is handing off the bulk of these notes to co-author Paul Urquhart.
Yavin, 28 ABY: The purpose of this piece is to set the scene for the events of the New Jedi Order novels – by introducing the alien culture of the Yuuzhan Vong, with its mix of mysticism, sadism and treachery, and by “interrupting” the narrative with something in a very different style, reflecting the violent shock of the alien invasion of the New Republic. Cutting the scene into static-washed fragments was Jason’s idea, and I really like the result.
Vergere’s agenda is a mystery that fans still debate, and I deliberately DON’T want to speculate on the answer, or on how much she’s deceiving her apparent allies here. (After all, Vergere’s most famous line is “everything I tell you is a lie.”) I don’t want to spoil all the surprises of the novels for fans who’ve not read them all, either. But I do want to suggest that Vergere was involved in schemes and plots we never really saw on the page – so her linkage to Mezhan Kwaad and her presence on Yavin 4 are new continuity. There are other questions raised by this piece, as well, which might sneak up on readers who give it several re-reads – for example, just who is monitoring the conversation?!
For more, head to Jason Fry’s Tumblr.
The Dark Empire: I love the Dark Empire series, which I’ve long defended as a big-hearted continuation of the Skywalker clan’s struggles with family and the Force. But Dark Empire has always been a pain in the butt continuity-wise, hard to integrate with the story other sources tell about the Empire’s fragmentation and decline. I did my best here to cement it more believably in the chronology, letting the reader witness Imperial task forces disappearing into the Deep Core before Thrawn’s campaign gives New Republic Intelligence more clear and present dangers to worry about.
Fry also takes issue with things occasionally getting too “spacey.”
I groan when things are made “spacey” for no good reason – whether it’s space fantasy or some other genre, imaginary worlds work best when they depart from our own world in as few fundamental ways as possible. This makes it easy for us to imagine stepping into the protagonist’s shoes, which causes us to invest in the character and care what happens to him or her. When it comes to characters’ hopes and dreams and daily lives, you want to keep things familiar.
For this reason, I won’t willingly entertain retcons that speed up or slow down local calendars – when Luke looks at Uncle Owen and objects that “it’s a whole ‘nother year,” we understand his despair because we know or can imagine or can remember what a year feels like when you’re a teenager. If a year on Tatooine is only 100 days, the scene doesn’t work — and if you’ve made a key scene in A New Hope not work, you’ve accomplished the opposite of what a Star Wars author ought to be doing. (The EU says a Tatooine year is 304 days, which I dislike but is at least in the right ballpark.)
And I do mean days – don’t talk to me about “planetary rotations.” STOP IT. STOP IT RIGHT NOW. WHY DOES EVERYTHING HAVE TO BE SPACEY?
For more, and there’s a lot more in this batch, head over to Jason Fry’s Tumblr.
Jason Fry is back with another batch of Essential Guide to Warfare endnotes, and this week he’s looking at two characters that play in heavily to our summer X-Wing series retrospective. First off, let’s take a look a Ysanne Isard.
War Portrait: Ysanne Isard: Paul Urquhart writes: “The idea that there was a Lusankya facility before there was an Super Star Destroyer hidden there is new; the phrase ‘dagger and fist’ is designed to suggest a less subtle and more violent form of deadliness than the traditional ‘cloak and dagger,’ one in which an opponent is disoriented and defeated through a simultaneous attack by two separate, overt, and dangerous threats — Isard is the dagger, her brute squad are the fist. ‘Brute squad’ itself is a Princess Bride homage. Armand’s fall from power is covered in the novella ‘Interlude at Darkknell’ (collected in Tales From the New Republic), but its position in continuity is complicated because it’s one of several contradictory stories built around the Rebels learning about the Death Star, so the context is simply alluded to obliquely in the reference to the ‘new-generation Imperial projects.’ I also took a moment to clarify Isard’s relationship with the Ubiqtorate (though Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor also suggests that at least one of them was also overseeing her); her role in organizing the reconquest of Coruscant in 10 ABY hopefully fits well with her activities.
“The idea of Isard being imprisoned on Lusankya at the end is a homage to a very old fan theory, though one that resurfaces with some regularity. It’s not intended to be canonical reality, but it was hard to resist the image.”
Isard’s one of my favorite Expanded Universe villains, simply for her sheer crazy. On the other end of the good/evil spectrum, Fry looks into one of the EU’s most notable Ascended Extras, Wedge Antilles.
War Portrait: Wedge Antilles: Wedge is such a familiar Expanded Universe figure that I didn’t want to spend pages rehashing him, and none of my attempts to capture his character through another character’s words seemed to work. In the end, I went for something short and I think a little sad, an account that hopefully adds depth to a well-known character. By the way, I like Wedge’s pale-blue R5 unit in Jason Palmer’s painting. If memory serves I chose the color. Does that mean Hasbro will send me one gratis? Or at least make the parts for him available at Tatooine Traders?
For more about the fragmented Empire, Warlord Zsinj, and other bits of EU goodness, head over to Jason Fry’s Tumblr to see the latest batch of notes.
Showdown in the Outer Rim: The makeup of the Imperial forces we see at the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi is one of the strongest arguments for the so-called minimalist point of view, discussed earlier in these endnotes. As far as the Galactic Civil War is concerned, Endor is the whole shooting match: Sidious has woven a trap meant to simultaneously destroy the Rebellion and turn the Jedi’s last hope into the Sith’s ultimate triumph. So why does Palpatine use only the Executor and a relatively paltry task force to pin the Rebels at Endor?
It’s a good question. Unless you want to wish away the entire EU (which you’re free to do, though please remember your humble author was not), it’s clear that the Empire has lots of Executor-class dreadnoughts, some number of battlecruisers and thousands and thousands of Imperial Star Destroyers. So why are the still-vulnerable Death Star II and the Emperor so poorly guarded?
Late in the writing of Warfare, I decided that question deserved an answer that would fit within the philosophical framework I’d worked out for the book. So here it is: Palpatine had two massive invasion fleets elsewhere, waiting for his signal to ravage Mon Calamari Space and Chandrila. And of course plenty of warships were needed to keep rebellious worlds pacified, guard the frontier against external menaces Sidious had known about for decades, and so forth. Throw in a bit of the usual mustache-twisting overconfidence that every villain’s master plan needs and I think the explanation seems plausible.
Fleet junkies will also enjoy a look at Mon Cal cruisers in this update as well as a look at the greatest military mind ever to emerge from that planet, Admiral Ackbar. Fry also takes some time to talk about the section of the book covering warfare with the most adorable little ravenous, bloodthirsty warriors.
To read the rest, visit Jason Fry’s Tumblr.
You all knew I wouldn’t pass up the chance to link to something discussing Rogue Squadron, right? Of course you knew that. The eleventh set of endnotes from Jason Fry hit this morning with a bit of roster goodness.
Duty Squadron: Rogue Squadron: Unlike with Red Squadron, I had a lot more leeway here. Get your continuity caps on and let’s go: Luke, Dak, Zev, Wedge, Janson and Hobbie are of course from The Empire Strikes Back. Kit Valent is from Inside the Worlds of the Star Wars Trilogy. Kesin Ommis is from Star Wars Insider #79. Tycho Celchu’s role in the Battle of Hoth is from X-Wing: Rogue Squadron. Samoc Farr is from Tales of the Bounty Hunters. Nala Hetsime is from Decipher’s Jedi Knights game. Zev Kabir is from
the old Star Wars Kids magazine. Tarrin Datch and Tenk Lenso are from Galaxy Guide 3. Dash Rendar got added (somewhat awkwardly) to the battle in the Shadows of the Empire video game. Tarn Mison is from Decipher, referencing an extra played by ILM’s Michael Pangrazio, but his role in the battle is new. Cinda Tarheel is from Marvel #64, the immortal “Serphidian Eyes,” after which she was never seen again. Stevan Makintay is from Star Wars Adventure Journal#8. Barlon Hightower is from Marvel #78, the equally immortal “Hoth Stuff.” Vigrat Pomoner, Stax Mullawny, Hosh Hune and Jek Puglio are all new characters.
This set of notes also dives into the the Rebellion military and digresses a bit to talk about Vader and Tarkin. For more, head over to Jason Fry’s Tumblr.
The Death Stars, the Tarkin and Other Superlasers: As you might expect, weaving the many, many Death Star tales into a coherent narrative was an exhausting continuity slalom. The parallels between the Death Star’s early troubles and those of the Malevolence are there on purpose. In retelling the Battle of Yavin, I stripped events down to what we see in the movie, plus Blue and Green squadrons – whose fighters get a mission I think makes sense.
Why didn’t I mention the various other elements added to the Battle of Yavin in assorted videogames? Because, to be frank, I think they’re great games but not so great storytelling. I think Rookie One’s exploits and the Imperial ground raid muddy the drama of the attack we see in the movie, while additions such as the Death Star’s support fleet and communications satellite lessen the power of the stark contrast between tiny fighters and a massive battle station. If you like those elements, you’re perfectly welcome to use them to fill in the blanks in Warfare’s narrative. Same goes for IG-88 getting ready to run the show from inside the Death Star II, I suppose.
I can think of a person or two that will be thankful for downplaying the importance of video games in the overall Star Wars narrative. Sure, Rebel Assault might have been a fun game, but ye gads, trying to shove that into canon is an exercise in futility and misery. It’s okay for certain things to not be canon, people.
I’m a fleet junkie, so I rather enjoyed Fry’s look into starfighters and squadron rosters int his batch of notes.
Duty Roster: Red Squadron: This was another section I was really excited to tackle. Note that Red 12 finally gets a name, chosen after sorting through a number of candidates. They were Naeco (original X-wing game), Captain Ernek Marskan (same), Fin Danglot (Galaxy Guide 1), Travis (a blonde woman from Marvel’s retelling of A New Hope back in the Droids kid’s comic – how’s that for obscure?), and Talos Merkin (Captive to Evil).
I liked the idea of using Travis, as I thought it would be fun to add a female pilot to the ranks and tip the cap to a really obscure EU tale. In the initial draft Travis was Red 12, but then Leland Chee and I saw an opportunity to address a continuity flub in A New Hope: When Red 10 gets shot down, the pilot we see die is someone else – a previously unseen male pilot with a helmet thatlooks like Janson’s in The Empire Strikes Back. That pilot, we decided, should be Red 12. That decision took Travis out of the running, and as Plan B we chose Naeco to be the lucky (or unlucky) pilot, with Leland supplying “Puck” as a first name.
There’s a whole lot of interesting stuff in this set of notes, so head on over to Jason Fry’s Tumblr to read the rest.