In 1992, authors Paul and Hollace Davids released the first book in their Star Wars series of young adult novels: The Glove of Darth Vader. This six-book series featured the adventures of Jedi Prince Ken as he fought alongside Luke Skywalker and friends in a New Republic spy organization known as SPIN. Perhaps most famously, the Glove of Darth Vader series introduced the world to the Prophets of the Dark Side, not one but two three-eyed mutants rumored to be the son of Emperor Palpatine, Jabba the Hutt’s long-haired father Zorba and, of course, the titular indestructible Sith gauntlet. Since then, authors have integrated these children’s stories into the larger Star Wars tapestry. This article seeks to pull back the curtain on SPIN, to reveal its origins and place in the New Republic as well as its lasting legacy.
Archive for ‘Books and Comics’
Did the Rebels truly defeat Palpatine’s Empire at the Battle of Endor? The deep roots of the Star Wars mythos continue exploring that subject with tremendous zeal. In the literature of the galaxy far, far away, the conflict between the Alliance to restore the Republic and the crumbling Empire has played out in a multitude of wars for years beyond Return of the Jedi. Though the Galactic Civil War finally came to an end with the signing of a peace treaty almost two decades after the desolation of the second Death Star, this no-holds-barred primer profiles the most memorable and powerful Imperial renegades of those intervening years, the so-called “Warlords,” who fought valiantly, viciously, and fanatically for the scraps of the once-glorious first Galactic Empire and whose selfishness ultimately brought about its self-destruction.
Welcome to the third of 12 articles revealing — for the first time ever — material cut from The Essential Guide to Warfare before its April 2012 publication. Each section will be preceded by brief comments discussing why the material wound up on the cutting-room floor.
XIM THE DESPOT
Jason Fry: I’ve been a huge fan of Xim the Despot ever since reading about this ancient galactic ruler in the pages of Brian Daley’s Han Solo and the Lost Legacy back in 1980. I’ve never missed a chance to fill in Xim’s backstory, starting with a write-up of the planet Desevro in Wizards of the Coast’s Geonosis and the Outer Rim Worlds and continuing in The Essential Atlas. The Atlas had barely reached bookstores before I started working up an online supplement about the Tion Hegemony, Xim’s old stomping grounds.
I continued this merry obsession in Warfare — among other things, that book features the first-ever look at Xim’s warships. But looking over the Warfare manuscript, I knew I’d gone way overboard –– this wasn’t The Essential Guide to Xim the Despot. I like this goofball mashup of Hamlet, “Ozymandias,” and snobby English 19th century travel narratives. But as was often true with Warfare’s “in-universe” essays, it was less important than the more straightforward writing about Xim we already had quite a lot of.
Being a proud member of the initial generation of Star Wars fans who marveled at the first film back in 1977, it’s always nostalgic look back at that time, remembering those first releases of comics, books, novels, toys, and audio. One of the many Star Wars products to arrive in the late ’70s was the latest in an ongoing line of Read-Along Adventures, released by Buena Vista Records (known here in the UK as Rainbow), which is part of Disney.
The format had been in existence since 1958, when Disneyland Records released their first large format record of Sleeping Beauty and soon a slew of Disney titles including Herbie and The Love Bug, Treasure Island, Frosty’s Adventures in Wonderland and Pirates of the Carribean (based on the ride of course, not the film) were released. 1977 arrived, bringing with it Star Wars, and by 1979 (under
the freshly monickered Buena Vista Records label) the galaxy far, far away dropped into a million kids’ cassette decks and record players.
In a galaxy of 400 billion stars, where sentient life emerged on some 20 million distinct worlds, music, one of the hallmarks of civilized culture, has evolved in an almost limitless variety.
Some styles remain planetary bound, their appreciation limited to their progenitors. Gamorrean opera and baka rock has mostly failed to find an appreciative audience in the galaxy at large, outside of expatriate Gamorreans, who tout its snorting and squealing as sublime. Likewise Verpine choral arrangements, whose members rub their legs together to produce their version of music, are not particularly well-regarded other than by insectoid species. In a pangalactic community of such varied biology and aural temperament, some sonic compositions even have negative physical effects which their creators are immune to. The deafening noise of Aridinian folk music famously causes human ears to bleed within the sounding of a few notes and has thus been strictly regulated outside of its native system. The smazzo percussion group Shluur was once escorted off the planet Clak’dor VII after it was found the music of its avant-garde composer Wurokk provoked violent aggression in the native Bith population and nearly leveled the capitol city of Weogar in destructive riots.
Yet other genres, such as the perennially popular jizz, seem to break orbit from their homeworlds and join the Galactic community at large, changing and in turn being changed by its interactions with other cultures. Symphonic classical composition has been a kind of neutral musical ground for the expression of heterogeneous cultures for millennia. A few musical styles, such as the traditional music of the reptilian Tarasin of Cularin, achieve popularity because of the unique, pleasing effect they have on extraterrestrial species; in this case, inexplicably soothing the gills of aquatic peoples.
It is known that the Wookiees of Kashyyyk beat their tree drums in celebration of Life Day as early as 1,500,000 BBY, and early writings found in the Petrax Historic Quarter of Coruscant speak of attempts to duplicate with woodwind instruments the haunting moonsong that occurs when wind passes through the wingflutes of ringed moon shadowmoths. Millennia before the Battle of Yavin, the fragile-boned, flying reptilian Vors of Vortex in the Glythe sector were already performing their annual storm solstice Concert of the Winds, manipulating the passage of wind through the myriad tunnels and apertures of the mountainous, delicate crystalline Cathedral of Winds to produce complex, ethereal music unheard anywhere else in the galaxy.
Mythological creatures come in any shape and size, their appearance only limited by the boundaries of the human imagination. Earth’s history is full of mythological creatures and fabled monsters, some of which have found their way to the Star Wars universe, either in form or in name. In the first installment we talked about story inspirations and about names of mythological creatures that are used in the Star Wars universe. This time we’ll elaborate on the mythological creatures from Earth that have appeared in the Star Wars universe in some form or another.
Angels and demons are found in a range of religions and mythologies. Angels are best known for their role in Abrahamic religions, where they are celestial beings that act as a connection between heaven and earth, often as guiding spirits. Their depiction in art usually has them resemble glowing humans with bird-like wings, dressed in flowing robes. The opposite of the benevolent guardians, demons are malevolent spirits and sometimes even fallen angels (like the biblical devil, Satan). The Diathim and Maelibi are mysterious species often referred to as Angels and Demons, respectively. The Diathim are glowing, winged sentients inhabiting the moons (the ‘heavens’) of Iego, while the Maelibi live under the surface of the planet (the “underworld”). The Diathim were considered to be the most beautiful creatures in the universe and part of numerous wild tales told by spacers at every local cantina. The skin of a Mealibus looked like it was formed from molten gold. Their large horns and sharp claws endorsed their demonic appearance. Maelibi used their songs to disrupt brainwaves and cause a hypnotic compulsion that would eventually lead to their prey being ensnared and eaten alive.
Welcome to the second of 12 articles revealing — for the first time ever — material cut from The Essential Guide to Warfare before its April 2012 publication. Each section will be preceded by brief comments from Jason Fry and Del Rey editor Erich Schoeneweiss discussing why the material wound up on the cutting-room floor.