Why Tom Veitch’s Star Wars work will never be forgotten

Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine in Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005). © Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine in Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005). © Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

This week, Star Wars, Marvel, and DC writer Tom Veitch passed away after years of filling the world with stories. He was best known in a galaxy far, far away for writing Dark Empire and Tales of the Jedi.

In the span of four years, Veitch’s contributions to Dark Horse Comics spanned dozens of comic book issues. He was apparently set to write one novel called Lightsider, according to Wookieepedia, but it was ultimately canceled.

The early 1990s were part of a now hardly fathomable time in which new Star Wars stories weren’t as easy to find, especially new ones. Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire series helped kick off a sort of renaissance in Star Wars storytelling through books, but comics remain a beloved yet often underrated staple for many Star Wars fans.

Veitch’s Dark Empire series especially offered fans something they desperately wanted: The story of what happened after Return of the Jedi. At that point, the three original Star Wars films were the biggest and most concrete stories fans had. Anyone could make up any story they wanted with the help of their action figures and imagination, but having the story of Luke Skywalker continue was like a dream come true.

Tales of the Jedi on the other hand offered something completely new: a Star Wars story set thousands of years before the original trilogy of films. This was before Knights of the Old Republic, before Darth Bane — long, long before The High Republic. Even then, Star Wars knew the key to building an ever-expanding universe of stories was to do it backward.

In a time when Star Wars fans wanted more, Tom Veitch was among those at the forefront of exactly what the community needed. Many stories have been told since his work in the Star Wars universe ended. But as part of the foundation of what many are still calling the Expanded Universe, his tales will remain some of the most important of all.

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