I’ve been a Star Wars fan since I was barely 13, and became an Expanded Universe fan only days later. My entire experience of falling in love with Star Wars was prompted and is because of the Expanded Universe; I ‘first’ saw the movies on VHS over Christmas break in 1991. And we wouldn’t have even had those copies in the house if not for the release of Heir to the Empire in the spring of that year.
I owe my entire fandom to Heir to the Empire and the Thrawn trilogy. The Expanded Universe, which was pretty much all there was back in those days, formed the nucleus of my fandom. They hooked me, and they hooked me well enough that I sit here, 22 years later, running a fairly popular blog devoted to the franchise, with those same worn copies of Heir, Dark Force Rising and The Last Command not four feet away.
I love the Expanded Universe. It’s a weird kind of love that you get with this sort of fandom; I kept with it through some of the absolute worst fiction I have ever read, and many books that could I barely bring myself to call mediocre and, yes, even those rare gems that make it all worth it.
But I’m also okay with letting it go.
Critical reaction to Heir to the Empire. At the StarWars.com blog, Mark Newbold takes a look back at how the first Star Wars novel of the modern era has been received over the years.
Yuletide, the annual rare-fandoms fanfic gift exchange, had a rule change this year that suddenly made it relevant to our interests – they allowed requests from lesser-ficed parts of large fandoms like Star Wars. So, for the first time, we’re seeing Star Wars fanfics among the offerings. 32 of them, in fact, including a whooping 13 X-Wing fics. Other requests included the Thrawn trilogy and The Old Republic.
EU-based fanfic has never been exactly rare, but it does tend to focus on the big ‘ships (ahem) so if you’ve been looking for something a little different, check out the listings. The authors are all currently anonymous, but will be revealed on January 1st, per Yuletide tradition.
StarWars.com has been featuring a number of important dates on both the site and through social media – and today’s is one particularly relevant for our purposes! The Facebook numbers are pretty impressive, even for the official account – More than 13,500 likes, more than a thousand shares and almost that many comments.
And, of course, without the Thrawn Trilogy, would there be a Club Jade? Probably not.
The tweet’s doing pretty well, too!
Why don’t these guys have a Tumblr yet? (If you want to reblog it there, we did the honors.)
Upcoming nonfiction. Guess what’s appeared on the Random House online catalog? It’s J. W. Rinzler’s Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, with a release date of October 8. In other Rinzler news, he’s announced that the next art book will be devoted to concept art. As someone who already owns all six concept art books devoted to the films, I hope we’ll get to see something new from the actual movies… If it comes out next year, would it be too early to hope for an Episode VII peek?
The blogside. Tor’s Ryan Britt looks at how Heir to the Empire turned Star Wars into science fiction. Lucasfilm’s Jennifer Heddle discusses balancing between work and being a fan. And Tosche Station’s Bria visits two extremes of the EU with The Crystal Star and Starfighters of Adumar.
Conventions. Dark Horse had a panel at Emerald City Comicon yesterday, and Amy Ratcliffe was kind enough to live-tweet it for those of us playing at home. While there was no breaking Star Wars news, there were a few insights into Star Wars and Legacy comics.
Short stories. Del Rey’s Frank Parisi reveals that John Ostrander has an Insider story coming up, ‘Eruption,’ with cover art by Jan Duursema. (It’ll also appear in the hardcover of Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void.) A Jason Fry story featuring a Clone Wars character was also recently greenlit. He also hints at something we’ll be seeing in Miller’s Kenobi.
The Last Jedi. Author Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff talks to NJOE (with Del Rey’s Shelly Shapiro) and TFN.
Gaming. We don’t even try to cover gaming anymore – trust me, it’s for the best – but if you’re curious about the (rumored) fate of 1313, well, here’s the word on the street.
Entertainment Weekly caught up with Timothy Zahn to talk about the week’s big announcement and the amount of mainstream attention that the Thrawn trilogy has been getting due to all the speculation – and what he knew of possible plans for a trilogy after Return of the Jedi.
That means Zahn’s books won’t be directly adapted, but the author says that was always the case: “The books were always just the books.”
But years ago, he was briefed on Lucas’ plans for sequels, and how the Thrawn books would fit in. “The original idea as I understood it— and Lucas changes his mind off and on, so it may not be what he’s thinking right now – but it was going to be three generations. You’d have the original trilogy, then go back to Luke’s father and find out what happened to him [in the prequels], and if there was another 7th, 8th, or 9th film, it would be Luke’s children. The Thrawn Trilogy really would have fit into the gap,” the author said.
Tim talks – vaguely! – about what kind of things he’d like to see in the new films.
We might not be getting further annotated editions of the Timothy Zahn classics, but at least audiobook fans are getting something: Unabridged recordings of Dark Force Rising and The Last Command will be coming out in June, Random House audio announced this week.
Read by Marc Thompson, the audiobooks will be available digitally on June 26.
Timothy Zahn has addressed the issue of further Thrawn trilogy anniversary editions on his Facebook page… And it’s not looking good.
It is now probable that next year will *not* see a special edition of DFR. However, she [Shelly Shapiro] does leave open the possibility that if there’s a groundswell of sales on the Heir 20th, it’s *possible* that the Higher-Ups at Del Rey will reverse that decision.
I’m certainly not trying to push anyone here (an author pushing people to buy books? Inconceivable!), but merely passing on information.
I bet the new Heir to the Empire makes a grand holiday gift for your more casual Star Wars fan friends!
I also wonder if perhaps a cheaper version is in order… Maybe a large trade paperback edition (hardcover sized) containing the entire Thrawn trilogy with annotations? Granted, it might be on my mind since I just reread the first couple Pern books that way (sans annotations,) but given the sheer amount of Star Wars books there are these days, collected editions make a lot of sense – for far more than just this trilogy.
Entertainment Weekly has an brief interview with Timothy Zahn to celebrate the re-release of Heir to the Empire. They do refer to Mara as “crimson-haired,” which makes my 17-year-old self wince, but I’ll forgive them. Just this once. If only because they’re not trying to cast the thing.
Suvudu has no such excuse. It’s no secret that faux-casting games drive me batty, so I’ll just point you at theirs: Captain Pellaeon, Talon Karrde, Joruus C’baoth, Wedge Antilles and, finally, Mara Jade. Remember, what goes on at Suvudu stays at Suvudu, kids: No casting games here, or you’ll make me redo this. Only worse.
As a palate-cleanser, Wired also has a tribute to Heir.
Pete Morrison has posted his review of the Heir to the Empire: 20th Anniversary Edition. It’s spoiler free (well, assuming one can spoil a 20-year old book that forms the basis for so much of the modern EU) but for the the brand-new novella as well. The book will be out next Tuesday.