George Lucas always wanted the Star Wars universe to feel lived-in and messy, to make it feel like a galaxy populated with real people, but in terms of its moral themes, the saga was nothing but pristine.
Return of the Jedi ended the franchise on a squeaky-clean ending with our heroes intact and the villains vanquished, without all of that messy cleanup that comes after a war ends and people have to move on.
But Disney seeks to blow that phony peace to kingdom come, and Chuck Wendig’s upcoming novel Star Wars: Aftermath will be the first proton torpedo fired into the galaxy’s exhaust port.
Today the official website posted a cover and synopsis of the book, which is set to be released on Sept. 4 and is available to pre-order. Wendig’s novel will be the first in a trilogy that will fill in the gaps between the fall of the Empire in Episode VI and the events 30 years later in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
"The second Death Star has been destroyed. Rumors are flying that the Emperor and his enforcer, Darth Vader, are dead. A new government is forming to replace the Empire. But the galaxy is a big place, and the fallout of this cataclysm will affect different worlds in different ways. Does everyone accept the fall of Imperial rule? Has everyone even heard the life-altering news? What rushes in to fill the vacuum the Empire has left? And who will try to stop them?"
The post goes on to say that it will introduce a host of new characters, as well as “a fan favorite from the films.”
This is all part of Disney’s campaign called “Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens” that will prepare fans for J.J. Abrams’ film by painting in the now-empty corners of the Expanded Universe. Wendig’s book will be one of about 20 new pieces of literature to be published starting this fall.
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This new era of storytelling in Star Wars can be summed up by that tagline: “The War Is Not Over.” This will not be the Star Wars galaxy of old, with happy endings and black-and-white moral choices. It appears this will be a world struggling to rebuild after the war while remnants of the Empire still pose a threat to the galaxy.
I can’t help but be reminded of Timothy Zahn’s seminal Thrawn trilogy that used these themes to essentially establish the Expanded Universe post-ROTJ. Zahn’s work examined the fallout of the defeat of the Empire, including the logical notion that such an evil organization wouldn’t fade away so easily.
The Thrawn trilogy was the series I mourned the most when Disney announced it was scrapping the EU works. If Wendig’s novel is anything close to what Zahn achieved, then Star Wars fan are in for a real treat.
As for Wendig himself, the story behind his landing this gig is heartwarming. A longtime author of sci-fi and fantasy works such as Blackbirds, Under the Empyrean Sky and Blue Blazes, Wendig tweeted his desire to write a Star Wars book about a half a year ago.
Looks like dreams do come true, for Wendig – and for Star Wars fans.
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