Another year, another season of Rebels introducing more intriguing elements. Season 3 gave us the re-canonization of Admiral Thrawn, the return of the Darksaber (any all that good Mandalorian stuff that comes with it), the long-awaited showdown between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Maul. In conjunction with the confirmation of Season 4 in April, however, came the news that Rebels would be ending following that season.
Five new novels joined the new canon of Star Wars stories. Aftermath: Empire’s End rounded out Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy with the Battle of Jakku. Each entry in the trilogy seemed to fare better than the last, and Empire’s End was a confident tale that ended the series strongly.Timothy Zahn returned to the Star Wars fold with the first book in a new trilogy focusing on the beloved Thrawn, who had been re-canonized in the third season of Rebels.
Rogue One received a second prequel novel, focusing on the adventures of Jyn Erso pre-Rebellion, in Beth Revis’ Rebel Rising. Christie Golden also had a release, tying into the single-player story in Star Wars: Battlefront II. Battlefront II: Inferno Squad ran during and after the events of A New Hope, and told the story of the titular squads formation. Their story continued in Battlefront II.
Towards the end of the year, The Journey to The Last Jedi project kicked in, with two new novels under this umbrella. The ever-brilliant Claudia Gray’s Leia: Princess of Alderaan was an insight into the life of a teenage Leia, becoming more active politically than her parents would necessarily like. It also gave us a further look into the early days of the Rebellion, and introduced Crait into the universe. Delilah S. Dawson’s Phasma added a backstory to one of the more under-utilized characters from The Force Awakens, ahead of her return in The Last Jedi.
In a strange move, a non-canon collection of novellas was released in October. From a Certain Point of View brought together 40 short stories to celebrate the 40th anniversary of A New Hope. The book was set over the course of the film, and told the story from the point of view of background characters, and from perspectives we hadn’t seen previously.
April 2020 brought about another Celebration, in Orlando. Celebration Orlando was the biggest Celebration to date, with over 70000 fans descending onto the city. The event gave us the first trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, as well as a special panel discussing the 40th anniversary of the first film in the series. As mentioned, it was also announced Rebels would be coming to an end with the next season.
On the video game front, Star Wars Battlefront II released for PC, PS4, and Xbox One players, and received a frosty reception across the board. The title, like Battlefront before it, was truly stunning. Each map was wonderfully detailed, and having content spanning the prequel, original, and sequel trilogies just felt good. EA promised entirely free DLC, and the story mode was enjoyable too!
The problem? The multiplayer aspects were tied to a loot box-style progression system, where your ability to be better was tied to earning random cards. Not great in itself, until you realize the game allowed you to purchase random packs of cards with real cash. The controversy sparked a wider debate on whether loot boxes should even exist in video games, and it’s hard to argue that the sales of the title weren’t harmed as a result. That said, 9 million copies sold in the first month is pretty good going.
2017 ended with part two of the sequel trilogy. The Last Jedi landed in cinemas worldwide on December 15 and went on to make just over $1.3 billion.
The film itself? Critics seemed to love what Rian Johnson did with the Star Wars formula, and the direction he took the threads left by The Force Awakens.
Amongst fans, however, The Last Jedi proved to be divisive. Some hated how Luke Skywalker was portrayed, others loved the imagery within some of the scenes. At the very least, the online discourse was civil, pleasant, and fighting was kept to a minimum.