Following our retrospectives on the years 2010-2012 and 2013-2015, it’s time to round out the decade by looking back at 2016 on wards, and reminisce at just how much content we got to enjoy over the past four years in Star Wars.
Following the supremely strong end to 2015, 2016 started with the tail end of The Force Awakens’ theatrical run. Episode VII continued to pull in audiences, and finished its run as, at the time, the third-highest grossing film of all time. Only the juggernauts that were James Cameron’s Avatar and Titanic, both of which saw multiple releases, sat higher on the list. The Force Awakens released on DVD and Blu-ay in April.
Rebels continued its second season run of reintroducing fan favorites by adding Princess Leia Organa and Cham Syndulla to the mix. The second season finale, released over two episodes, pitted the Ghost crew against a team of inquisitors, saw Darth Maul return to our screens, and culminated with a duel between the former Master and Apprentice pair of Darth Vader and Ahsoka Tano. Fair to say Rebels was well and truly hitting its stride at this point.
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- New Young Jedi Adventure trailer gives first look at Bell Zettifar
- Interview: John Jackson Miller discusses transition from EU to Disney
- Ahsoka Tano is coming to Disneyland’s Star Tours
Four new titles were added to the new canon timeline. Bloodline, by Claudia Gray, gave us a further look at how the galaxy looked post-Return of the Jedi. Set around two years before the start of The Force Awakens, we saw how the Resistance came to form, and how Leia was settling politically. It’s really good, as all Gray’s efforts are.
Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy got its second part, telling us the tale of how Kashyyyk was liberated. Life Debt was more warmly received than its predecessor, and set up a strong finale.
E.K. Johnston joined the fray with Ahsoka. The title focused on Ahsoka’s life between leaving the Jedi order and becoming a key figure in the birth of the Rebellion.
Fun fact: Ashley Eckstein read the audiobook edition of the novel. I actually haven’t read Ahsoka (sat on the shelf, gonna read it post-Season 7 The Clone Wars), so I can’t add much more than that.
Finally, James Luceno, of Darth Plagueis and Tarkin fame, released a prequel novel to the upcoming Rogue One titled Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel. The title actually revealed some pretty heavy stuff, such as how the Republic was working on its own super weapon, based on a Separatist design. Catalyst released a month prior to Rogue One.
2016 was a fairly quiet year for video games under the Star Wars umbrella. 2015’s Battlefront received three pieces of paid DLC. Maps based on Jabba’s Palace and Bespin were added, while Nien Nunb, Greedo, Lando Calrissian, and Dengar were added as playable characters. At the end of the year, content from Rogue One was added, putting players at the heart of the Battle of Scarif, and added Director Krennic and Jyn Erso as playable characters.
Summer 2016 did see a surprise release, however. Across all available platforms, Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out in June. The game, as the title suggests, took place across the timeline of the film, adding some levels based on events prior to the start. Unlike previous Lego Star Wars titles, cover mechanics were added to aid with shooting, and voice acting was prevalent for the first time in a Lego Star Wars game. It was pretty good, albeit lacking some of the charm of the previous titles. It did the job, however, and proved to be a hit, sales wise.
July saw another Celebration, this time in Europe. London was the city chosen for the latest Celebration, which had panels for Rogue One, season three of Rebels, and a discussion between the “future filmmakers” of the franchise. Celebration Europe sold out as quickly as you might expect a Celebration to, and obviously I didn’t go. It was like an hour and a half away from me, too. I didn’t know what it was at the time. Lucasfilm if you’re reading this please do a London one again. Thank you.
2016 closed out with the first “Star Wars Story” feature, Rogue One. Set about a week before A New Hope, Rogue One was something totally different for Star Wars. A gritty, almost espionage-style film, Rogue One told the story of how the Rebels came to possess the Death Star plans. Rogue One may not have been overwhelmingly praised among circles of critics, but it was warm enough in that regard. It succeeded among fans, however, becoming the next Star Wars film to top $1 billion, and is highly spoken of among groups of fans to this day.