Jennifer Heddle, senior editor at Del Rey Star Wars Books, confirmed Star Wars: Bloodline had input from director Rian Johnson.
Star Wars: Bloodline, by Lost Stars author Claudia Gray, follows Leia as she navigates the treacherous waters of New Republic politics in her bid to become First Senator. But the shadow of her father’s past (and, I suspect, her son’s future) hangs over her campaign. Perhaps that’s why Rian Johnson, director of Star Wars: Episode VIII, was involved in the making of the upcoming novel.
In her article titled “8 Reasons Star Wars: Bloodline Will Be Essential Reading,” Del Rey senior editor Jennifer Heddle revealed Johnson’s part in the creation of Bloodline.
"Some of the story ideas and elements in this novel came straight from Rian Johnson, director of the forthcoming Episode VIII. We are indebted to him for his creativity and generosity!"
Bloodline takes place 5 years prior to the events of The Force Awakens. Heddle implied in her article that the Resistance has not been created yet, which means the First Order is likely still just a topic of heated debate instead of a militarized threat (in the eyes of the New Republic, at least). Heddle also said Leia would interact with her husband, Han Solo, though he will only be a secondary character. All of this begs the question: Has Ben Solo’s turn to the dark side happened yet?
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Snoke tempted Ben to the dark side, and Leia knows it by the time the events of The Force Awakens take place; regardless of when she gains this knowledge, once she has it I don’t think she would hesitate to form some sort of military effort to counteract the First Order, which Snoke leads. Perhaps that’s what she’s trying to do by running for First Senator. On the other hand, she still has a relationship with Han during Bloodline, which may mean nothing has happened (i.e., Ben turning to the dark side) to split them up. Bloodline could be the vehicle through which Lucasfilm and Disney play out the story of Ben becoming Kylo Ren and the division of the Solo family, from Leia’s perspective. Episode VIII, in turn, could fill in any remaining gaps, like what pushed Ben to take that last step toward the dark side and murder his fellow Jedi. Only in Episode VIII, the story would be from Kylo’s point of view.
All of this makes me wonder if we’ll see Luke Skywalker anywhere in Bloodline, or at the very least get a name drop. If he’s still around and the massacre of the new Jedi Order hasn’t happened yet, Leia could talk about him in passing. If the slaughter has already taken place, that could be one more element adding conflict to her character and situation, both personal and political: her brother, the leader of the Jedi, has essentially abandoned her and the galaxy and left his murderous nephew to run free. We already know, both from the cover of Bloodline and Heddle’s article, Darth Vader being Leia’s father is going to be an issue during her campaign for First Senator. The actions of her brother will be just as much connected to the public’s perception of her as those of Vader.
Do you think we’ll get the story of Kylo Ren’s fall in Bloodline? Why do you think Rian Johnson was involved with Bloodline, and how does that connect to Episode VIII? Talk to us in the comments, and look for Star Wars: Bloodline in stores May 3rd.