Jedi Bibliothek noted a listing saying that Timothy Zahn’s original Thrawn trilogy – Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command – will be getting new cover art in the fall. (The listing may only be visible to logged-in users – here’s a screenshot.) The new art hasn’t been revealed, but it certainly makes sense to give them a refresh, particularly given that this information appears in a listing for Zahn’s upcoming Thrawn novel. The new book will be canon and tied to the character’s Rebels appearance, but his Legends origins aren’t exactly a secret.
In short: Whatever the covers are, expect Grand Admiral Thrawn to be much more prominent. (And will we finally see ‘The Thrawn Trilogy’ as an official designation?) Which has apparently already happened, my bad.
The current cover art has been the same – with occasional design and typography tweaks like the Legends banner – since the books were released in the early 90’s. A 2011 anniversary edition of Heir introduced a more graphical look, but proved to be a one-off.
The editions with the new art are due out on September 27, but will maintain their current ISBNs and may be slow to find as stores restock.
Jaina, the oldest child and only daughter of Leia Organa and Han Solo in decanonized Legends timeline, has had at least one figure from Hasbro in the past, plus a Bishoujo-style statue from Kotobukiya. The new figure will take some time: The fruits of last year’s poll – Darth Revan and Sabine Wren – aren’t expected to hit the shelves until late this year.
The Star Wars Fan Figure vote finalists are in, and it’s a Legends-heavy field this year: Jaina Solo, The Force Unleashed’s Starkiller, Darth Talon from the Legacy comics and even our own namesake Mara Jade. Rounding out the choices are The Clone Wars’ Captain Rex and bounty hunter Dengar.
(Were certain Legends zealots doing some targeted ballot-stuffing to ensure this outcome? Oh, definitely. Yet in the grand scheme of things, they clearly followed the rules, and there’s no malice to be done here. An action figure hurts no one, so let them have their fun.)
Mara won this a couple years back, and even the resulting figure was something of a disappointment, I don’t really feel tempted to vote for her again. (That Fan’s Choice was her third Hasbro figure, and every single one had to be wearing that silly catsuit, apparently.) Having three women in the finals might be unprecedented, but I don’t find any of the choices all that exciting. Vote as you will: The winner will be announced at Hasbro’s SDCC panel on Friday.
I was never particularly enthralled with anything we heard about the old live-action series that Lucasfilm was working on back after Revenge of the Sith, but the new details that came to light last week make me even more glad it was shelved before Lucasfilm’s sale to Disney.
Cory Barlog, a God of War creative director who worked at LucasArts for a time in 2009 and got to read the scripts, told VentureBeat (via) about one plot point of the show:
“It was the most mind-blowing thing I’d ever experienced. I cared about the Emperor. They made the Emperor a sympathetic figure who was wronged by this fucking heartless woman. She’s this hardcore gangster, and she just totally destroyed him as a person. I almost cried while reading this. This is the Emperor, the lightning out of the fingers Emperor. That’s something magical. The writers who worked on that, guys from The Shield and 24, these were excellent writers.”
The Emperor turning because of a woman? It’s like an MRA wet dream. If they wanted to make me grateful for the (boring, harmless and no longer canon) Darth Plagueis novel, well, success!
Although we certainly know at this point that anything with George Lucas’ involvement was not going to be seamless with the Expanded Universe, I do have to wonder if those scripts are why James Luceno’s first iteration of the Plagueis novel was canceled in 2007. The book eventually did come to fruition for a 2012 release, several years after we learned the project was “on hold.”
Timothy Zahn was at Awesome Con 2016 in Washington D.C. this past weekend, and Tosche Station has the audio of the panel moderated by their own Bria LaVorgna.
Naturally, as the man who kick-started the modern Expanded Universe with Heir to the Empire, he was asked about Lucasfilm’s decision to to make the older books non-canon. Here’s that four-and-half-minute bit:
The Star Wars authors have always known how a sequel trilogy would effect the books, and it’s all fairly good sense. On the story group and folks like Pablo Hidalgo, Dave Filoni, and Kathleen Kennedy he says:
These are people who are not going to simply go and demolish stuff. If they have to destroy a part of it, overwrite it, it will be because its necessary to set up something else down the line. They’re not going to go with wanton destruction.
He points out that the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens is still barely filled in, and:
In a way, it’s kind of sad that it’s all ‘Legends,’ and not ‘real,’ but it was never really ‘real’ in the first place. We always knew Lucas could override anything that we’d done. But I think the Expanded Universe – and Star Wars – are in good hands.
In the full audio, he also talks about the possibility of his characters ending up in Rebels or the other new canon (he’s for it,) his thoughts on Kylo Ren, and (of course) Rey’s parentage.
If it’s Legends you’re out for, Timothy Zahn’s Specter of the Past has been on sale for $1.99 in Kindle for the past few days, though Visions of the Future is still regular price. The Hand of Thrawn duology, which wrapped up the Bantam era of publishing back in the late ’90s, is a Club Jade favorite. (If you’re new, I do have some Legends recommendations over at my sadly neglected personal site.)
Our next new novel is still just over a month away. Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath: Life Debt is dropping July 12 in hardcover and eBook. Del Rey gave a look at the book’s dedication last week. (And the first book in that series is also still on sale at Amazon.)
Last night, after the announcement that Rebels S3 would debut at Celebration Europe, Dave Filoni tweeted “I’m looking forward to seeing you all at #SWCE 2016! And remember, there’s always a bit of truth in legends.” He included the above picture, the spine of a Star Wars novel, which Pete on Twitter believes to be Heir to the Empire.
This could line up with a rumor that sent a lot of excitement through fandom… (And yes, I do hope it’s that character, not another candidate.) I guess we’ll find out for sure in July! (Or earlier, if there are toy leaks.)
If it is indeed a character, this could turn out to be the biggest port from Legends to the new canon yet.
Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo went on a tweetstorm this afternoon on the old Expanded Universe, reboots, and the original history of Mon Calamari. It’s not going to change anyone’s mind, but it’s a good read.
Bonus: John Jackson Miller, one of the few authors to write on both the old and new EU, on storytelling in a shared universe.