This week the releases start on Tuesday, with William Shakespeare’s The Phantom of Menace by Ian Doescher in bookstores.
Wednesday brings not only Darth Vader #4, but Marvel’s first collection of the old Dark Horse stuff, the that’s-a-mouthful Star Wars Legends Epic Collection: The Empire Vol. 1.
Today’s talker: How slavish devotion to continuity can damage a series (and a fandom.) Continuity is important (and Club Jaders were big advocates for more of it back in the early days of the Expanded Universe) but when it outweighs and hinders the story and characters, it can become a problem. That’s something we saw in the waning days of the old EU. The solution? It’s somewhere in the middle.
Since it’s the weekend, I thought I’d do some low-grade pimping. A couple years ago, I wrote a beginners guide to Star Wars novels on my personal blog, and I recently updated and overhauled it to reflect the current status of the older novels. (For the record, I still don’t mind.)
At the time, I figured if you were reading Club Jade, you weren’t a beginner, but it seems that since then, we’ve picked up some new readers. In any case, if you have any curiosity about what to read in Legends, these are my recommendations, and they are deliberately few. Maybe one day I’ll be able to do this for the canon novels…
We finally got name – and a hint at the content of – our first standalone Star Wars film this week: Rogue One. We still don’t know all that much about it, but there are a few hints out there, both official and speculative.
/Film has a description of the concept art that was shown to Disney shareholders for Rogue One that is supposedly reminiscent of video games, particularly Halo. No X-wings, but why would they go for a name that recalls Rogue Squadron, then? I don’t know, but I hope as we learn more things will become clear.
Mike Stackpole is, as you might expect, all for Rogues in a movie. At Barnes & Noble, Andrew Liptak looks at the Rogue Squadron books and comics – which, it should be noted, contained a fair amount of on-the-ground missions.
In stores now, the paperback edition of Joe Schreiber’s Maul: Lockdown. It’s Legends now, if that matters to you, but James gave it a B+ when it first came out last year.
Next up is something new, Kevin Hearne’s Luke Skywalker novel Heir to the Jedi on March 3. It’s been getting some very mixed early buzz.
Our friends at Jedi-bibliothek.de have discovered two more Marvel reprints of Dark Horse material in the 2015 pipeline.
In their Star Wars Legends Epic Collection series, we have The New Republic Volume 1 coming out on May 26, containing Mara Jade: By the Emperor’s Hand, Shadows of the Empire: Evolution, The Jabba Tape, Boba Fett: Twin Engines of Destruction, and material from Star Wars Tales 1, 3-5, 10, 14-15, 20, 22. The Old Republic Volume 1 collects issues 0-18 of John Jackson Miller’s Knights of the Old Republic and comes out June 16. Interesting that they are calling it simply The Old Republic – will future volumes contain some of the Tales of the Jedi comics after they finish collecting Knights of the Old Republic?
Previously announced was Empire Volume 1, being released April 28.
Yowie and I got our hands on a copy of Imperial Handbook: A Commander’s Guide and we share the awesomeness of opening up the deluxe version, with its electronic protective case and accessories. The look and feel of this book is top-notch, with annotations by the various Rebels written in the margins, and some luxurious artwork. The Imperial Handbook, like its predecessors, The Jedi Path, Book of Sith, and The Bounty Hunter Code, is full of great detail on the organization of the Empire’s military. With sections about the army, navy, and stormtrooper corps as well as chapters on Imperial doctrine, there’s plenty of stuff for a fan of the Empire to learn, and some good comments from various Rebels about the Empire (including some snark from Han Solo). Fans of the Empire should enjoy this one, even if it is considered Legends.
Imperial Handbook is written with great detail and some awesome illustrations and schematics. There’s some propaganda style artwork as well as detailed drawings of Imperial war machines. If you’ve ever wondered what the rank badges are in the Imperial Navy, about the different training academies for stormtroopers, what General Madine recalled from his days as an Imperial, or how the Emperor inspired his command staff, this book is for you!
An advance copy of this book was provided by Becker & Mayer! for review.
Looking forward to Dan Wallace’s Imperial Handbook? We’ve got an inside preview at one of the pages from the upcoming book from Becker & Mayer. As you can tell from the image, we’ve got a section by Baron Fel on the various experimental TIE fighters, with notes from Luke Skywalker, Wedge Antilles, and Crix Madine.
The deluxe edition of the Imperial Handbook: A Commander’s Guide comes in mechanized protective case with inserts including an Imperial Order of Glory medal. The 160-page book goes on sale next week on October 14, and as previously announced, is considered Legends.
Eric Geller at TheForce.net posted a lengthy piece today looking at the ‘movement’ to ‘save’ the Expanded Universe.
It’s pretty ugly, this movement, so much so that even someone with a cast-iron case of trainwreck syndrome (hi) will want to look away. Yes, Eric quotes me, but I haven’t made a study of these people: What I’ve already run across in my regular travels on Facebook and Tumblr is more than enough. I love getting silly and (yes) occasionally childish with fandom (ahem, Tumblr) but the hatred and negativity of all this is just above and beyond. And I cut my fandom teeth flaming Star Wars authors for ‘bad’ books. I used to read Fandom Wank regularly, for fun. I moderated message boards during the prequel era. I can handle more than your standard amount of fannish negativity.
There’s nothing wrong with being sad, or even a little angry, about the Legends announcement. There’s nothing wrong with wanting that timeline to continue. But there is something wrong with letting things get quite this toxic over a bunch of novels, no matter how beloved they may be. It poisons the well.
I hope these folks are channeling something like the snotty, flaming 17-year-old I was once, and they’ll grow up and move on, with or without Star Wars. There’s little doubt in my mind that this will die down, regardless. But it’s beyond sad to see EU fandom, even if it’s just the fringes, reduced to such a sad state. We’re better than this. I hope.
Author James Luceno talks about Star Wars, the new canon and his upcoming novel Tarkin with SciFiNow.
He says he’s seen the series bible for Rebels and that when it comes to the old EU:
I chose not to really reference too much EU material only because of the setting of the story, but it was still there. It was still there to pick and choose from.
Though he does point out that there’s not that much to begin with in the primary setting of the novel. (5 years after Revenge of the Sith.)
However, as far as Episode VII goes? He knows nothing. But he makes a good point as to the Story Group:
Without spilling secrets they can say, ‘I think this isn’t a good place to go with this book’ or ‘You might want to steer clear of this topic.’ This is part of an effort to maintain a so-called continuity where every book and every game and every comic will all be part of a single story going forward, and that wasn’t the case earlier on.
Tarkin is due out November 4.