Han, Luke and Leia: Passing the torch? Again?

Umpth time’s the charm? A Random House listing for Troy Denning’s Crucible, the post-FOTJ novel announced last week at San Diego Comic Con, contains this:

SETS UP NEW SERIES: With this book, Han, Luke, and Leia are passing the torch to the next generation of Star Wars heroes, and the stage will be set for the next major Star Wars series.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard this, but the New Jedi Order didn’t manage it, Legacy of the Force rounded out Jacen Solo only to kill him off, and Ben Skywalker… Well, okay, Ben is in better shape than his cousins ever were as teenagers. But that’s a pretty low bar, and thus a slim hope to hang on. Ironically, just this morning I was talking about an opinion piece I’ve been mulling, tentatively titled “Hey Del Rey, it’s your last chance to make me care about Jaina.” More then…

On the other hand, I’m guessing this means we’ll be seeing either a Jaina or Ben standalone announced at Celebration…

11 thoughts on “Han, Luke and Leia: Passing the torch? Again?

  1. MattDoc

    Guess I need to get the Cliff’s Notes on FOTJ since I gave up after struggling through a couple of them. I thought they were doing pretty good stuff with Ben though. Guess something changed. But yes, nothing has ever made me think that any of those kids can carry the franchise to the next stage, that’s for sure.

  2. Dunc Post author

    The Ben comment is actually more about Young Jedi Knights than it is FOTJ, so I took out the ‘slightly.’ I actually find Ben believable as a (somewhat flawed) teen, whereas Jacen and Jaina (and their friends) at that age were cardboard standees with laundry lists of traits in place of actual characterization. I never really got much sense of them in the NJO, either – they just got kind of thrown into things as if they’d already had actual development… It’s like they forgot they still had to really sell their characters. (Traitor, yes, but I think that failed when Jacen was back to being his usual bland self in the next book. Also, it came FAR too late in the series.)

    It’s a sad trend that both Anakin (in the Keyes books) and Jacen (LOTF) got some actual development just in time to get killed off. The attention paid to both Jacen and Ben was actually one of the more sucessful bits of LOTF for me. Pity all Jaina’s time was spent selling her love life (yawn) and Mandos (gag.)

  3. Dunc Post author

    Maybe? But I’m not putting money on it or anything.

    (I hope we get details on that damn duology soon, because I’m about to start head-desking every time someone brings it up…)

  4. Brian

    I’m sure we’ll get Kemp info at Celebration, but he’s said he’s not really interested in writing the ‘main’ characters, so don’t count on his stuff being Ben or Jaina. He likes the fringes more. My bet is that it’s a duology that will work on tying up the loose threads from Crosscurrent and Riptide.

    For real though, we need a good Ben, Jaina, or even Allana book. An Allana one could end up being a little too Young Jedi Knights-ish though.

  5. Dunc Post author

    That’s it, exactly. I am 99% sure that the duology will be another sideline thing with little to no connection to anything but his previous books…

    I think an Allana book could be interesting enough – once she’s older. I’d like to see Hapes explored somewhat seriously, as opposed to the ‘Ha-Ha Domineering Ladies And Their Backstabbing’ culture. Maybe something more culture of manners and Austen-inspired? Lots of ways to play a royal court, and none of the EU has really delved into that.

  6. Doyle

    I’m all for passing the torch, but I’m not sure that we have enough fresh New Generation characters to do it. I honestly think that one of the big problems with each of these series failing to be “the one that does it” is that they keep killing all of the young people who would be the reason that the Big Three step down, and each one who isn’t killed just gets older and more and more developed with each passing book.

    The issue that I see arising from them actually passing these characters off is that people care about Han and Luke and Leia because they change and grow (not so much any more, I guess) and because we’ve seen them change and grow over the course of three films and a hundred or more novels. As readers and fans we remember where they started and how they’ve gotten to where they are, and we are incredibly comfortable with them. Now, of course, the authors have introduced other characters along the way, and they are largely (potentially) engaging and neat and younger…but they’ve all been around for a long time now, too. Twitchy, irregular characterization aside, they’re just about as comfortable and set in out minds as the existing core characters are.

    Consider this: When Heir to the Empire came out, all we had to go on was the films. When Return of the Jedi ended, we knew that Han and Leia were going to embark on a serious relationship and that Luke was probably going to continue along the Jedi path. The book shook things up a little by starting off with Han and Leia married and expecting, but things are otherwise pretty steady. There was still a lot to explore with these characters, there was still a lot of potential and adventure and intervening back story to fill in. When the novels started, the characters existed largely in a vacuum of possibility.

    Can we really say that about characters like Ben, Jaina, and Tahiri? I’ll mostly exempt Allana from this because she’s so young, but we already know A LOT about these characters. We’ve seen them go through a lot and we’ve already watched them grow and develop a lot. They’ve gotten married and had children and gone to war and killed their own siblings. Hell, Ben and Vestara are just about as old now as Luke and Leia were when the franchise began. Tahiri has to be about thirty. Jaina, Jag, Tenel Ka, and Raynar are all pushing forty. Almost all of our other ancillary Masters and support staff and military/political characters are in the same age range as the Big Three. How long can it be before we have groups of fans calling for any of them to step aside and make room for a third generation?

    I guess the question I’m asking is whether or not these characters have enough new material in them to carry the franchise forward. They’re all pretty much fully formed adult characters who have had their psyches and capabilities explored thoroughly. These aren’t characters who are picking up a torch, these are characters who have endured terrible physical and psychological hardships, and have already saved the galaxy a couple of times. And more, they and their adventures are so indelibly tied to the previous generation that I’m not sure how well they’ll ultimately stand on their own.

    This got kind of heavy, so I’m going to wrap up. I am not at all in opposition to passing the torch. I think that there’s a tremendous amount of life left in this franchise if authors are willing to plumb the depths and look for it, and I look forward to reading whatever they come up with. I do wonder, though, if they’ve waited too long for this generation to really shine.

    Also, Dunc: I would absolutely, one-hundred percent read a Hapan comedy of manners.

  7. Dunc Post author

    Doyle: I’ve long suspected that Ben and Allana are going to be the ones to ultimately carry it on, if anyone does. (Maybe Chance, too?) Obviously I’ve pretty much written off most of the YJK generation at this point. Jaina I’m willing to give another chance, but the rest? Pah. (Tahiri, go away.)

    Also, Dunc: I would absolutely, one-hundred percent read a Hapan comedy of manners.

    I’m NOT crazy! :D

  8. Nanci

    I’ve long suspected that Ben and Allana are going to be the ones to ultimately carry it on, if anyone does. (Maybe Chance, too?)

    Chance and Allana team-up series: IT MUST HAPPEN.

    Doyle’s comment almost make me wish that Del Rey jumped further ahead in the timeline after VotF, like twenty years or so. Then the NJO really would be the NEW Jedi Order – a real “next generation.” You start with the Solo and Skywalker kids grown up, ready to face their own trials. Then, you can go in and fill in the backstory with what we learn about those characters in the new era.

    Going forward, however, I think having different books focusing on specific generations/families/cultures/etc. will let everyone thrive, instead of fighting for page time as they do in the megaseries.

  9. Dunc Post author

    Chance and Allana team-up series: IT MUST HAPPEN.

    It has the possibility to be hilarious, too!

    Going forward, however, I think having different books focusing on specific generations/families/cultures/etc. will let everyone thrive, instead of fighting for page time as they do in the megaseries.

    Yeah, that’s what I’m hoping they go for – smaller-scale books to develop different characters and catch the different facets of the audience. They’ve already been doing it with all the PBs lately anyway.

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