Review: The Last Jedi

thelastjedicoverThe adventures of Jax Pavan, Jedi Purge survivor, continue in The Last Jedi by Michael Reaves and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff.  Jax, Den Dhur, I-Five, and Laranth Tarak are on a top priority mission for the Whiplash underground resistance.  They must safely smuggle one of Whiplash’s top leaders off of Coruscant before the Empire can successfully assassinate him.  In route, however, something goes terribly wrong and it’s up to Jax and his crew to set things right while simultaneously staying very far away from Darth Vader.

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Expanded Universe Authors talk the Sequel Trilogy recently rounded up a collection of current Expanded Universe authors to ask them what they hope to see in the Sequel Trilogy, what EU characters they’d look to see make an appearance, and what the ultimate fate of the Big Three should be. Reading through, I was struck by Aaron Allston’s answers in particular:

What I Hope to See from Episodes VII-IX: Could I see “Screenplay by Aaron Allston”? No?

Well, barring that, I’d like to see the story move away from the Skywalkers, Solos, even the Jedi a bit, reminding us that there are other people doing important things in the galaxy. I’d like to see a greater proportion of female characters. I want to see more spectacle — Tatooine junkyards and bongo interiors aren’t exactly challenges for ILM’s skills. And I hope to see a return to the lightheartedness and humor of A New Hope, putting the fatalism of the prequels behind us.

What secondary or Expanded Universe character I’d Like to See Get the Spotlight: This kind of depends on exactly when in the timeline Episodes VII through IX take place. Timothy Zahn’s Mara Jade would always be a good choice. The next-generation Solos and Skywalkers, such as Jaina Solo and Ben Skywalker, would be welcome. If any sort of espionage is in the offing, some sort of nod to my ownWraith Squadron characters would be a thrill for me.

But what I really hope to see most is any sort of appearance by recognizable EU characters, which would be an acknowledgement that the EU is a significant part of what constitutes Star Wars.

How I Want to See Luke, Han, or Leia Die: You know, I actually don’t want to see them die in the movies, and it’s not just because of affection for the characters…

…Me, I’m all for having Luke, Leia, and Han be in a scene showing them knocking back shots of Corellian brandy while playing cards. Then the screen can go through a 1940s-style wipe and the camera can zoom in on their descendants saving the galaxy for a new generation.

Allston pretty much summed up exactly what I’d love to see in these new films as well as what I think should happen with Luke, Han, and Leia. So many people seem eager to see those characters killed off in epic fashion, but I’m a fan of the quiet retirement approach. They’ve earned their victory lap and fade to black.

His overall sentiments on the Expanded Universe I think are also important to consider. Many forget, but for a long time, that was it for Star Wars. The only new story material being produced. It attracted a passionate following and helped to rejuvenate the fandom from the doldrums of the 80s and early 90s and keep it alive during the long stretches when it seemed like Lucasfilm was done producing material. Including any EU characters is a gesture to fans, authors, and editors who helped to keep things alive.

For more from Allston as well as Christie Golden, Michael Reaves, Troy Denning, James Luceno, John Jackson Miller, Drew Karpyshyn, and Paul S. Kemp, head to the interview.

EU Retrospective: Coruscant Nights

I hope everyone got their fill of ‘Watch Bria have an emotional breakdown’ with the last post because we won’t be getting another one of those for awhile.  Now that the Clone Wars are over, we get to look in on what some characters were up to before the Battle of Yavin.  The Coruscant Nights books follow the adventures of Jax Pavan, a Jedi Knight who was lucky enough to survive the Purges and who, for some idiotic reason, is stupid enough to remain on Coruscant instead of fleeing for the stars.

Jedi Twilight
Hey guys.  Do you know who was alive and then died in this book?  Even Piell.  Want to know who I still don’t give a bantha’s butt about?  Yep.  You got it in one.  Literally all I know about him is that there was some continuity snafu and… nope.  Still no caring to be found.

As for the book itself, it’s a decent enough read, I guess?  I could’ve done without everything related to Black Sun because I really don’t care about Kaird or think it was a vital part of the book.  (I mean, out of all the characters to bring back from MedStar, you picked him, Reaves?  Really?)  A lot of things about the plot just felt really convenient.  I still don’t get why Vader is so focused on getting Jax of all the Jedi who might have survive.  I also don’t get why Anakin apparently gave Jax a jewel as a gift a while ago?  Just… what?  Oh and the whole Grey Paladin thing is a bit weird too.  Basically, there are a lot of things I just don’t get but it’s an entertaining enough read to not be a waste of time.  However, I think I enjoyed it more when I first read it a year or two ago.

Oh and when I said I wanted more Nick Rostu, I meant a short story where he and Mace work together to command some battle during the Clone Wars and have lots of humorous exchanges.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still nice to see him being used but it just doesn’t feel like the same Nick although the war can probably be partially blamed for that.  Poor Nick.  He deserves so much better.

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