Author Archive



Viva Space Vegas! The History of the Marvelous Wheel, Part 2

The Wheel, the most opulent gambling resort in the Star Wars galaxy, was created in 1978 by comics legends Archie Goodwin and Carmine Infantino for a storyline in Marvel Comics’ Star Wars issues #18-23, leaving an indelible mark on the Expanded Universe. Since then, it has been a major setting for stories set during the Clone Wars, and more than a hundred years into the future in Dark Horse’s Republic and Legacy series, as well as featuring in the Essential Guide books and many roleplaying game titles. This is its story. In case you missed it, you can find part one here.


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Viva Space Vegas! The History of the Marvelous Wheel, Part 1

Rich Handley & Abel G. Peña | September 26, 2013

The Wheel

The Wheel

The mere mention of its name conjures images of luxury. Lights. Excess. And sin.

And money. Money by the starshipful.

In a galaxy spanning millions of systems, where corruption and dark ambitions run rampant, the depravities one might wish to sample are as limitless as space itself. From spice addiction and forbidden knowledge to indulgences of the flesh of any number of species — if there’s a demand for something, then someone, somewhere, can supply it.

Among such varied vices, one constant throughout the galaxy is the love of gambling. Whether at Nar Shaddaa’s sabacc tables, Umgul’s blobstacle course, Coruscant’s garbage pit races or Vorzyd V’s Cosmic Chance boards, there is no end to the number of credits one can win — or lose — pursuing instant wealth. But of all the popular gambling havens, few have attained the notoriety of the Wheel. Its reputation for debauchery unparalleled, its gladiatorial arenas the stuff of legend, the Wheel is known far and wide as the place to go for those looking to risk it all….

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Barely Tolerable: Alien Henchmen of the Empire, Part 3

Rich Handley & Abel G. Peña | September 12, 2013

Aliens are one of the most fascinating aspects of the Star Wars saga. They look strange, sound strange and act strange — all things at odds with another iconic element of Star Wars: the martial order and perfect conformity of the Galactic Empire. This series sheds a light on some of the most notorious alien henchmen of the Empire to straddle these worlds, drawing upon the films and the Expanded Universe. In case you missed them, please read part one and part two.

Given the many aliens who worked alongside Senator Palpatine during his rise to power (Sly Moore of Umbara, Mas Amedda of Champala, Onaconda Farr of Rodia, and Kashyyyk’s Yarua, among others), few could have foreseen the ideological changes that would accompany his assumption of the Imperial throne. Palpatine’s true beliefs became evident only after it was too late for anyone to stop his sinister plans.

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Barely Tolerable: Alien Henchmen of the Empire, Part 2

Aliens are one of the most fascinating aspects of the Star Wars saga. They look strange, sound strange, and act strange — all things at odds with another iconic element of Star Wars: the martial order and perfect conformity of the Galactic Empire. This series sheds a light on some of the most notorious alien henchmen of the Empire to straddle these worlds, drawing upon the films and the Expanded Universe. In case you missed it, check out part one of “Barely Tolerable: Alien Henchmen of the Empire.”

The question: Are Tusken Raiders a form of animal, mineral, or vegetable? The answer: No one in the Empire gives a womp rat’s tail.

Anti-alien discrimination ran rampant within Imperial ranks and society. In some instances, such as that of Grand General Malcor Brashin, whose family was murdered by Rodian thugs, this prejudice was understandable, if misguided. But, for the most part, it was humans’ irrational fear of the unknown, coupled with the power-idolizing influence of Palpatine, that spiraled this instinct into an out-of-control xenophobia. Nonetheless, while Imperials were fond of instituting their bigotry into law, one maxim proved the proverbial Thorn of Ryloth in their sides: good help is hard to find.

Grand General Malcor Brashin (in hologram), a noted anti-alien bigot.

Grand General Malcor Brashin (in hologram), a noted anti-alien bigot.

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Barely Tolerable: Alien Henchmen of the Empire, Part 1

In the landmark Star Wars novel Heir to the Empire, published in 1991 and written by Timothy Zahn, the character Grand Admiral Thrawn gained infamy as an alien who not only excelled in the xenophobic military of Emperor Palpatine, but even succeeded him as ruler. Historically, Thrawn has been perceived as something of an enigma — the lone alien of the Galactic Empire. However, the brilliant, red-eyed Chiss strategist was neither the only nonhuman to serve Palpatine, nor even the first.

Maul

Darth Maul, Dark Lord of the Sith.

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The Droids Re-Animated, Part 2

These are the exploits revealed in the popular Droids: The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO animated television series, which aired on ABC starting in September 1985 and ran for a thirteen-episode season as well as a one-hour special titled The Great Heep. The cartoon also spun off into a series of comic books published under Marvel Comics’ “Star Comics” imprint, as well as a Spanish-language strip that ran in the pages of MyComyc magazine. Set approximately fifteen years before A New Hope, these adventures shed new light on an unexplored corner of the Star Wars universe and the enduring friendship of C-3PO and R2-D2.

Throne for a Loop

Doodnik Sharpelz

Doodnik Sharpelz

After their adventures with speeder pilots Thall Joben and Jord Dusat, and surviving a harrowing escape from the planet Aaron, Artoo and Threepio employed the services of the Intergalactic Droid Agency once more in obtaining new masters. Given the less-than-ideal outcomes the last several times they utilized the IDA, they probably should have reconsidered their options. The IDA sent them to the desert mining colony of Tyne’s Horky to perform waitering and drink service at Doodnik’s Café.

Though C-3PO had served as a bona fide cook and maître d’ aboard the Tantive IV, the droid was severely out of practice, and his clumsiness annoyed Doodnik Sharpelz, the four-armed Jillsarian café owner and chef. Doodnik, raised by adoptive natives on the planet Ojom, had come to Tyne’s Horky full of gastronomic dreams with his friend and fellow gourmand Dexter Jettster, before making a deal with Dirconite mercenary Kleb Zellock for part-ownership of his own restaurant. Hardened by fringe life, Doodnik didn’t tolerate fools, and he quickly fired the incompetent robotic servers.

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The Droids Re-Animated, Part 1

Some friendships are forged in a single moment, others from a lifetime of experiences shared. Poets have devoted countless pages to celebrating such friendships, but there is another about which far less has been written. That friendship is forged in chrome.

C-3PO, built by nine-year-old Anakin Skywalker from the scrapped remains of several Cybot Galactica protocol droids, had a marked tendency toward fretting and prissiness. The smaller R2-D2, an Industrial Automaton astromech with an amazing knack for thinking his way out of trouble, had little tolerance for such qualities. And yet, theirs is a friendship that has stood the test of time.

C-3PO and his counterpart, R2-D2

C-3PO and his counterpart, R2-D2

Introduced to each other just before the Battle of Naboo and reacquainted ten years later, R2-D2 and C-3PO went on to share many adventures together. The droids’ circuits recoiled as they watched the Republic transform into the Empire, Anakin Skywalker fall to the dark side, and Padmé Amidala die in child birth. But they also witnessed the birth of a new hope, the Skywalker twins Luke and Leia.

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