The end of the galactic war against the Empire is so close, but the New Republic combat veterans of Alphabet Squadron have a couple of final foes to beat, including their inner demons. Star Wars: Victory’s Price is out today and is the last book in the Alphabet Squadron trilogy by Alexander Freed.
StarWars.com recently talked to Freed about writing Victory’s Price and the emotional ending to the gritty, post-Endor trilogy. The five Alphabet pilots — Yrica Quell, Wyl Lark, Nath Tensent, Chass na Chadic and Karis — have been through a lot together over the last year or so. They not only had to prove they could work well together in their “Alphabet’s worth of starfighters,” but also had to show they were up to the task of fighting the Empire’s deadly Shadow Wing TIE squadron with former Shadow Wing lieutenant Quell as their commander.
By Victory’s Price, the pilots are still struggling under the weight of their secrets, traumas and anger.
"Yes, their shared mission to stop Shadow Wing is tremendously important, as are the experiences they’ve shared over the past two books…but each of the pilots has history and traumas that’ve shaped them in ways they aren’t always keen to admit, and over time they’ve come to reveal their truest selves to one another."
While each Alphabet pilot has changed over the course of three books and a year following the Battle of Endor, Freed says the character who arguably changed the most is Kairos: “for reasons that will be illustrated in Victory’s Price.” Kairos is one of the most mysterious characters in Star Wars, with no clear explanation as to what species she is. Much more is revealed about her in Victory’s Price, but not too much that it takes away from her quiet complexity.
Freed also talked about the evolution of Quell and her inner moral conflict, which kicked off the trilogy in Alphabet Squadron. Quell went through several stages of grief after leaving the Empire to join the New Republic, including denial. In Shadow Fall, she deals with the loss of Caern Adan and IT-0 and also re-establishes contact with her former mentor in Shadow Wing, Soran Keize.
"Quell spent Alphabet Squadron in denial about herself and her past with Soran, trying to run from who she was in the Empire. In Shadow Fall, she was forced to confront her past — at several points and in several ways, but most profoundly in her journey with Adan and IT-O. Now there’s no more running. She’s accepted the truth of what she’s done. The question is: What are the implications of that, and what is she going to do about it?"
StarWars.com also asked Freed about his thoughts on his characters’ development and fraught relationships with one another, his methods for writing compelling starfighter battles, his approach to writing Hera Syndulla in a post-Endor galaxy and writing Star Wars characters in the “gray area” between good and evil.
Freed explains in part:
"One of the things I enjoy about working in the Star Wars galaxy is the clearly defined moral “poles.” Luke Skywalker is a Good Man. Emperor Palpatine is an Evil Man, and he controls the dark side of the Force. But most of the galaxy isn’t at the poles. They don’t know that Luke is Good and Palpatine is Evil. Quell lives in a universe governed by forces — no pun intended — she doesn’t truly understand, and that’s true of most of the squadron. It’s a lot easier for the reader to judge their actions than for the characters themselves."