Timothy Zahn and I at Hollywood Studios, during his Heir to the Empire: 20th Anniversary Edition tour.
I first saw Star Wars in the summer of 1992, when I was 11. (You do the math.) My dad discovered that I hadn’t seen any of the movies and decided to rectify that tragedy. We rented Star Wars (which I later learned was called Episode IV: A New Hope) and the tape broke in the middle of the trash compactor scene. That was an even bigger tragedy than having never seen the Original Trilogy. Thankfully my dad assured me that everything turned out okay, and I saw the rest of the trilogy as soon as possible.
But that’s not when I became a true Star Wars fan. I became a fan when I discovered Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn.
For people around my age, it’s not an uncommon story. We became fans at just the right time, when the Expanded Universe was started in earnest; or we were fans from an early age and the EU revitalized our interest. I often say that I became a fan because of Luke Skywalker and stayed for Mara Jade, and it’s not an overstatement. If there weren’t Expanded Universe books for me to dive into, I doubt I’d be the fan I am today. It’s even doubtful that Star Wars itself would be what it is today.
And now Heir to the Empire, and all the books that followed, have been deemed Legends. I’m okay with this for the most part, but sometimes I get sad. Sad because I’m not sure if I’ll ever read about characters I’ve become so attached to again, sad because I’ll never know the end to certain stories, sad because a huge part of what made me a fan has come to a close.
What’s the best way to stave off melancholy and indulge in nostalgia for summer days reading your dad’s copy of Heir to the Empire and falling in love with a saga all over again? Why a Thrawn Trilogy retrospective, of course!
And here we begin. I’ll be reading the entire series–Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command–and recapping it for your enjoyment. I’ll be discussing the characters, plot, setting, and the impact on the Star Wars saga as a whole. And in a way I’ll be saying farewell — but not good-bye — because the books will always hold a special place in my heart.
I hope you enjoy the retrospective just as much as I do.