Empire’s End finishes off the Aftermath trilogy with a satisfying conclusion for some, and even more questions for others! In other words, it’s a Star Wars novel in the year 2017.
I’ve found myself cooling a bit on the trilogy as time goes on. Not enough that I won’t still recommend it, but simply as a function of the timing involved. When Aftermath was released, we were months away from The Force Awakens, and in the fever-pitch of anticipation. Anything was a possible hint! Life Debt came out months after, and we had a better idea of what to expect. And now, Empire’s End, when we’re just barely starting to ramp up to The Last Jedi. And I’m finding my old intertrilogy/original character apathy begin to creep in, a little.
Which is not to say Empire’s End is a bad read, mind.
Out Tuesday is Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath: Empire’s End, the final book in the new canon’s first trilogy. The Norra Wexley and Rae Sloane double-sided poster are exclusive to the Barnes & Noble hardcover.
Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath: Empire’s End, the third and final book in the post-Return of the Jedi trilogy, now has a blurb:
As the final showdown between the New Republic and the Empire draws near, all eyes turn to a once-isolated planet: Jakku.
The Battle of Endor shattered the Empire, scattering its remaining forces across the galaxy. But the months following the Rebellion’s victory have not been easy. The fledgling New Republic has suffered a devastating attack from the Imperial remnant, forcing the new democracy to escalate their hunt for the hidden enemy.
For her role in the deadly ambush, Grand Admiral Rae Sloane is the most wanted Imperial war criminal—and one-time rebel pilot Norra Wexley, back in service at Leia’s urgent request, is leading the hunt. But more than just loyalty to the New Republic drives Norra forward: Her husband was turned into a murderous pawn in Sloane’s assassination plot, and now she wants vengeance as much as justice.
But Sloane, too, is on a furious quest: pursuing the treacherous Gallius Rax to the barren planet Jakku. As the true mastermind behind the Empire’s devastating attack, Rax has led the Empire to its defining moment. The cunning strategist has gathered the powerful remnants of the Empire’s war machine, preparing to execute the late Emperor Palpatine’s final plan. As the Imperial fleet orbits Jakku, an armada of Republic fighters closes in to finish what began at Endor. Norra and her crew soar into the heart of an apocalyptic clash that will leave land and sky alike scorched. And the future of the galaxy will finally be decided.
We saw part of the Battle of Jakku in 2015’s Lost Stars. Empire’s End is due out in hardcover and eBook on February 21.
We’ve already covered the news out of Friday’s Star Wars writers roundtable at NYCC, but there was a decent lineup of current writers: Novelists Timothy Zahn, Chuck Wendig, James Luceno, E.K. Johnston, comic writers Kieron Gillen, Charles Soule, plus Lucasfilm editor Jennifer Heddle. Tor.com has a nice roundup of their comments.
Zahn reassured fans that the Thrawn on Rebels is not too far removed from the Thrawn of Legends. Johnston revealed that Ahsoka begins “about ten minutes—slight exaggeration—after Order 66 comes down.” And Wendig had some wise words about what makes Star Wars so appealing. (He also joked about Jar Jar being in Empire’s End, of course. But is it really that far-fetched? Really?)
We’ve got a jumbo episode of Star Wars Story Talk (AKA the show formerly known as Unboxing Star Wars) as Yowie the Skunk, Baby Jawa, and I cover a whole sandcrawler-load of the latest in Star Wars stories. Baby Jawa does her first reaction video, watching the Rogue One trailer, and Yowie and I talk a bit about Star Wars Celebration Europe, San Diego Comic-Con and review Aftermath: Life Debt, the new novel by Chuck Wendig! Plus a little update on Wear Star Wars Every Day, a visit from a Loth-cat, and of course some Baby Jawa fun time!
→ Trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – I am really excited for this movie and this trailer just pushes it up another notch. But how will Baby Jawa react to her first movie trailer viewing?
→ Star Wars Celebration Europe – Big thumbs up! A whole ton of fun and a lot of work. Plus seeing old friends and making new ones while in London!
→ Star Wars at San Diego Comic-Con – Even though there wasn’t a big movie panel, Star Wars still brought a lot to San Diego, including the Rogue One costume display and the publishing panel.
→ Star Wars: Aftermath – Life Debt – Chuck Wendig increases the scale and brings in some favorite film characters into the post-ROTJ era as the heroes help track down Han Solo as he’s disappeared while trying to liberate Kashyyyk. Solid read!
→ Loth-Cat Plush from Star Wars Celebration Europe – A big hit! Mrowwwl! Help me come up with a name for this grinning feline!
Podcasts: Thanks to Coffee with Kenobi for having me on the podcast as a featured guest to talk Bloodline, Life Debt, and Wear Star Wars Every Day, and thanks to Skywalking through Neverland for bringing me on the show to discuss Wear Star Wars Every Day.
Salt Lake Comic Con: Check out my schedule at Salt Lake Comic Con (Sept 1 to Sept 3) or just view the general Star Wars-related programming, featuring Mark Hamill, Jeremy Bulloch, Lucasfilm Story Group members: Pablo Hidalgo, Leland Chee, and Matt Martin; also including Star Wars authors, artists, and voice actors, and the Full of Sith podcast crew: Bryan Young, Amy Ratcliffe, and Mike Pilot.
Good news for folks who had trouble with Chuck Wendig’s first Aftermath novel – the sequel, Life Debt is far more accessible. No, Wendig doesn’t change things up too much, but plotwise, the book is slightly more traditional. (Those who can’t move beyond his writing style, well… Good luck.)
It also helps that we’re well past The Force Awakens. The first Aftermath found itself targeted for a lot of things, but I think the most notable (and least discussed) was the burden of expectation. As the first important canon novel to tread into the newly-cleared territory after Return of the Jedi, it was bound to disappoint readers who thought they’d be getting Heir to the Empire 2.0 – or at least Truce at Bakura 2.0. The reality turned out to be something more off the beaten track and with Life Debt, we have a far better idea of what we’re getting.
With the ground laid in the first book, Life Debt gets off the ground quickly. Wendig is free to use (sparingly) characters like Han and Leia in the A-plot, which gives readers an anchor. But the majority of the action is still with the newer characters.