The lasting legacy of Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy. Lisa Granshaw looks at the Expanded Universe’s first big hit for Blastr.
The first Star Wars novel to be set after Return of the Jedi, Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire was released in hardcover on May 1, 1991. It was the first major step out of what’s now called ‘the Dark Times,’ when Star Wars was (mostly) a dormant franchise. The book was immensely successful and helped prove there was still an audience for Star Wars
Although now classified as non-canon ‘Legends’, along with the rest of the pre-2014 Expanded Universe, Heir remains an important part of franchise and fandom history. Hell, we wouldn’t exist without it.
Also it’s a damn good story and you should read it (along with ’92’s Dark Force Rising and ’93’s The Last Command) if you haven’t already. Though note I am totally biased.
On the latest Full of Sith, Bryan Young caught up with Timothy Zahn at Origins this weekend, and got him to pronounce some of the names from his Star Wars books.
It’s not too long an episode, for various reasons – Our condolences go out to co-host Mike Pilot and family for the loss of their dog last week.
Although Timothy Zahn’s Reddit AMA today was not specifically for his Star Wars work (unlike Jeremy Bulloch this morning, who was promoting A Force For Change.) Tim’s is for the Humble Sci-Fi eBook Bundle 3, which contains his novel Blackcollar But of course there were , there were still plenty of Star Wars questions, recapped below.
First off, no Star Wars is currently on his plate. When asked about his current projects:
So far, nothing new with Star Wars, but they know where to find me if they want me.
On what he’d like to write in the new canon:
I would certainly be interested in writing more Star Wars. I presume LFL wouldn’t simply give me carte blanche, but would want something specific (a spin-off from Ep 7, maybe, or some backstory filler).
If they really let me do whatever I wanted, I have a couple of ideas (all right: 20-30) in mind. But all of that depends on them.
His thoughts on the noncanon/Legends status of the old Expanded Universe.
I wasn’t going to address this topic. But since so many of you have asked:
What the “non-canon” announcement by LFL means is that they aren’t going to be bound by the Expanded Universe books, comics, and games as they plan their new movies. Realistically, that’s something they had to do — the EU is just too big, complicated, and occasionally contradictory for them to have to deal with.
However, I’m guessing that EU stories that aren’t referenced (or contradicted) by the sequel movies will still be considered sort-of alive, in the same way that most Clone Wars-era stories (like Outbound Flight) were mostly unaffected, with the exception being all of the previous material on Boba Fett’s backstory.
Alternatively, if the new movies do contradict my books in some way, I can probably come up with some hand-waving story that will explain the apparent discrepancy. If there’s one thing we authors are good at, it’s hand-waving.
On that Chewbacca moon-dropping nonsense:
Nope, I had nothing to do with dropping that moon on Chewbacca. (Peter Mayhew’s a friend — I’d never do that to him!)
Still, given that Peter’s in the new movie (presumably as Chewie) it would appear that the folks who dropped that moon missed.
On the Mara-killing nonsense:
Not only was I given no input to Mara’s fate, I wasn’t even told about it until a couple of months before publication.
If I had been offered a say, though, I’d have argued against it. My vision of Star Wars is good vs evil, with the heroes struggling to win, and the major characters making it through. (Otherwise, either Lando or Wedge would have died inside the second Death Star.)
For the record, this isn’t just because Mara was my creation. I’d have argued against killing Chewbacca for the same reason.
Also: On his stuff making it to the screen; where the idea for Thrawn came from and if he had been in command at Endor and against the Vong; his unpublished stuff; what about more Imperial Mara? Karrde’s face/accent; on the alien invasion hints that eventually lead to the NJO; on ‘just for the paycheck’ and if he feels any resentment for being known for franchise work; on the ‘perks’; his formula for hyperspace; on continuity.
Both author Timothy Zahn and actor Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett in Empire and Jedi) are doing Reddit Ask Me Anythings today.
Bulloch is first up at noon EDT/9 a.m. PDT, while Zahn takes the evening/afternoon shift at 7 p.m. EDT/4 p.m. PDT. And, uhh, unless they make a HUGE announcement today, I don’t think he’ll be able to tell you if Mara or Thrawn is going to show up in Episode VII or Rebels.
Heir to the Empire and Darth Bane: Path of Destruction eBooks on sale for $1.99. A May the 4th special!
“There’s nothing inherently demeaning in the term ‘Legends.’” Timothy Zahn addresses the new status of the Expanded Universe on Facebook.
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.
Episode 7 News is back with some clarification on their previous Mara Jade rumor. Their source now has a name – JediDigger – and they say his info comes from “discussions between people inside Lucasfilm and it’s licenses.”
The gist of his clarification is that they’re using the existing Expanded Universe characters as a template. The actual characters we get will be based on folks like Mara/Shira Brie, Jaina, Ben and such, but with different names – like the oh-so-convenient Korriban/Moriband confusion.
“This can not be made clearer, the post ROTJ EU launched in 91 is dead,” he says. “No story from Outbound Flight forward counts.” This all comes “the request of Disney, Kathleen Kennedy and Howard Roffman.”
But “the love of Luke Skywalker’s life” is a “character George Lucas has had since the end of Return of the Jedi,” which seems like it could conflict with the idea of basing her on Mara… Or does it? It’s not like we haven’t seen a similar character from Lucas before.
They’re also claiming that Michael Arndt has “moved on to Episode 8″ and that Abrams has met with Timothy Zahn. UPDATE: Zahn himself says this part isn’t true, which casts even more doubt on the rest.
So that’s a big rumor dump – but again, not a particularly trustworthy one: Taking the EU characters as templates is significantly less dramatic a change than I would expect. I continue to be skeptical.
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!
#ThisDayInHistory – 1989: Timothy Zahn gets a call confirming that he has been hired to write the novel that will become Heir to the Empire.
— Star Wars (@starwars) November 6, 2013
Why don’t these guys have a Tumblr yet? (If you want to reblog it there, we did the honors.)