Remember way back in 2009, when LucasBooks announced that the Fate of the Jedi paperbacks reprints would be in the slightly taller premium paperback format – and then changed their minds? Well, it seems like it’s just as well, because now it gives Del Rey a quick, easy way to make the canon novels stand out among the piles of Legends when they come out in paperback. The A New Dawn paperback, due out late next month, will be the first, but Tarkin and Heir to the Jedi have all been listed with the new format.
The premium paperback issue was rather controversial back in the day, but it seems that EU fans have bigger fish to fry these days. Below, a picture I took in 2009 to show the differences between trade paperback (The Clone Wars: Wild Space,) premium paperback (Stephen King’s Just After Sunset) and mass market paperback (Dark Force Rising.)
Chances are you don’t need this reminder, given that Del Rey Fancorps members woke up at least 8 emails in their inbox about the release of A New Dawn. It is, of course, the first of the new canon novels, a prequel to Rebels and our first new Star Wars novel since Honor Among Thieves back in March.
On sale today, A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller is the first novel that is part of the Lucasfilm Story Group approved timeline. Set in the dark times between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, and several years before the upcoming Rebels cartoon, it’s a tale of how two of the show’s main characters, Hera and Kanan, first encounter each other and eventually decide to team up. As someone excited by Rebels, I enjoyed the novel and found it interesting to see the characters before they united for a common cause.
Miller brings his skills in combining likable characters with clashing viewpoints, in a story setting that he has mastered before in Kenobi and Knight Errant: a Jedi alone in hostile territory. Only this time, the Jedi’s not interested in being a Jedi, or even be on the hero’s path at all – while someone else is sorting out what type of people are and aren’t needed for a rebellion to the Empire’s rule. And as with Knight Errant and Lost Tribe of the Sith series, where various Sith philosophies were being forged and tested against each other, the villain, Count Vidian, has his own philosophy being pushed to the extreme, and we witness it in practice.
Was it really necessary for everyone to unload every Star Wars ‘scoop’ they have today? We were bored out of our skulls most of the week, and then it all comes through at once. Can’t we have some pity? It’s Friday! In any case, since we’re already touched on the villains and Han Solo’s clothes, here’s what else came up:
→ Making Star Wars has some description of what Daisy Ridley’s character will be wearing. I’m happy to see this because a) unlike Han, we haven’t the faintest clue and b) to remind us that some women do actually exist in this movie. More lady character-centric rumors that don’t involve fancasting Lupita Nyong’o as various aliens, please.
→ Latino Review’s Dave Gonzales has finished A New Dawn and speculates about how it (and Rebels as a whole) and the new rumors seem to fit into the new tapestry of Star Wars. Possible spoilers for some of the book, naturally.
→ Jedi News claims there will be a Mon Calamari/Mon Cal character ala Admiral Ackbar, “not just in a background role.” And, you guessed it, Making Star Wars has more context, including what the connection may be to Skellig Michael shoot. You know exactly who’ll get pinpointed in this role, don’t you?
→ Episode VIII director Rian Johnson talks about visiting the Episode VII set.
The first seven chapters of A New Dawn. Pity the poor folks at Del Rey, who have to deal with a wide variety of people deeply upset over the recent changes in canon. Will the chapters help? Well, I think some of them may need more time…
Newsarama has another interview with John Jackson Miller about A New Dawn.He does have some wise words on canon and the Legends label:
I really think it’s a mistake for people to play the canon/not-canon parlor game. What they said when they made the announcement is that the previous material wasn’t being discarded, it would be drawn from – inspirations and ideas would come from it. The planets are the same; the species are the same. You know, the Rebels series uses the same manufacturer of the TIE fighters that was introduced in the Role Playing Games years ago. My book revolves around a strategic compound that I introduced back in KOTOR years ago! The universe is the same.
The thing about “Legends,” and that’s the word on the cover of the previous material: Legends can be true, in part or in whole. They inspire, they are sort of like the King Arthur story – parts of that, little bits of that here and there are true.
He goes on to talk about A New Dawn specifically and some of the other things he’s working on. And don’t forget to check out James’ video interview!