Welcome to the seventh of 12 articles revealing — for the first time ever — material cut from Star Wars: 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.
Posts Tagged ‘Expanded Universe’
As we move into the next era of Star Wars, easing from the end of The Clone Wars toward Star Wars Rebels and Episode VII, it’s an opportune time to take a look back over two decades to a landmark 1991 release that led us out of The Dark Times. Star Wars: Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn brought us into a decade that produced Star Wars Galaxy Magazine, Star Wars Insider, Shadows of the Empire, the Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition, and The Phantom Menace. It jumpstarted a publishing program that endures to this day and formalized the Expanded Universe — stories set outside of the canon established by the films and TV shows of George Lucas that make the galaxy deeper and richer.
Last week I was fortunate enough to be able to visit the set of General Hospital, a show that I’ve been watching (with the occasional break here and there) for over 30 years. One of the most exciting parts of the visit was getting to watch scenes being filmed. As you can imagine, filming for a soap opera is different than filming for a television show that only airs 22 episodes a year. There’s no time to dwell. The actors say their lines, do a couple takes, and as long as everything looks and sounds good, it’s on to the next scene. And General Hospital has been doing this consistently for over 50 years. It’s just mind-blowing.
It got me thinking about serialized storytelling, and the fact that it’s not easy. And that led to me reflecting on what an accomplishment the Star Wars Expanded Universe is. Publishing has been telling Star Wars stories without a break for 23 years. That’s only two years less than The Simpsons. That’s soap opera territory.
Welcome to the sixth 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.
THEY’RE AFTER OUR CREDITS!
Jason Fry: In Episode I the Trade Federation are the bad guys, but to amass the power they had in the Senate they had to have been a force for good at some point. This piece was an effort to illustrate that, showing the Trade Federation playing a positive and much-needed role in sectors of the Outer Rim that the Republic was too weak and distracted to effectively control. This piece accomplishes that, but it doesn’t accomplish much else – the character speaking isn’t very interesting, and you need a master’s degree in the Expanded Universe to decipher the blizzard of names. This was an easy cut. (So why include it in this Author’s Cut at all? Keep reading.)
There’s this story about being a writer that it’s a lonesome, solitary job where one labors in a garret or something. The reality is pretty different, and not just for us. Any writer going through traditional publishing models is at the very least working with an editor, a copyeditor, and the layout and design team. Often there are also first readers who give some distance and perspective on a new book, friends, and spouses who we bounce ideas off, other writers who we sit at bars with and talk about business and craft. So just from the outset, let’s be clear: Writing is only a solitary business when you compare it to something like tech support or consulting.
Writing for something like Star Wars? That’s a whole different level of collaboration. When we stepped into the project, there were already somewhere between 80 and 90 writers just on the novels in the Expanded Universe. Recent estimates have it that with the books, comic books, video games, and television shows, the Star Wars universe has more stories in it than there are atoms in the universe, though that may be a slight overstatement.
Few sights strike as much fear and awe in the Star Wars universe as the sight of a Mandalorian warrior clad in traditional armor. Star Wars fans were first introduced to it with Boba Fett in The Empire Strikes Back, with its iconic helmet, sleek weaponry, and very cool jetpack helping to make the bounty hunter a fan favorite. Since then it has made appearances in subsequent Star Wars movies, television shows, books, comics, and games. The armor is, without a doubt, the most iconic symbol of Mandalorian culture.
Mandalorian armor is known as beskar’gam (iron skin) in the Mandalorian language, and is worn exclusively by warriors. It is worn by both men and women, and while it gives excellent protection, it also creates a common appearance regardless of species or gender. The highest quality sets are made by lightsaber-resistant beskar (Mandalorian Iron), but the exceptionally high cost and rarity of beskar has led to the use of durasteel, alum, and duraplast in armor production. Mandalorian metalsmiths have traditionally kepth the methods for working beskar into an alloy a highly guarded secret, but the element could be mixed with other metals such as ciridium to create a highly dense and almost indestructible set of armor. (a)
The galaxy is vast and filled with wonders. There are ancient wonders, like Belgoth’s Beacon, which predates the Republic. There are massive wonders, like the Shawken Spire, which stood freely on the ground and reached low orbit. There are mysterious wonders, like the 35,000 Brass Soldiers of Axum. However, there are very few wonders in the galaxy that are ancient, massive, and mysterious all at once, like Centerpoint Station.
Throughout galactic history, Centerpoint Station has been many things to many beings. For the Killik hives, it was a religious duty. To cosmic threats, it was a prison. Colonists called it home, while criminals called it good for business. Governments have viewed it as a doomsday device, while Jedi thought it as a threat to galactic peace. For the Corellians, its power represented true independence. Centerpoint has been all of these things and more.
The establishment of the Galactic Empire following the end of the Clone Wars brought with it an age of draconian censure to the music of the galaxy. The Imperial Board of Culture was founded, whose purpose was to foment pro-Imperial thought and limit or outright ban any message contrary to the New Order in popular entertainment. The board reviewed all holo-films, novels, and sound slugs prior to their uploading to the galactic distribution nets, and issued them one of three ratings. Pro-Imperial or totally innocuous works, such as “The Mantooine Minuet” (a personal favorite of Emperor Palpatine), the Navy’s imposing parade anthem, “Imperial March,” the neo-waltzes and ganther dances of Nabicci Futana, and the ballads of the Ho’Din diva Annadayle Fayde were passed outright. Works deemed worthless or mildly offensive received a scarlet rating, such as mainstream Core World band Starburst, the track listing of whose second release Only In Your Dreams was deemed offensive and possibly political in nature. Scarlet releases were issued with a warning message, but more significantly, possession of scarlet material could be considered a misdemeanor offense at the discretion of Imperial officials, leading to artists and consumers being conveniently arrested or penalized as subversives (like the Alderaanian band Red Line who disappeared entirely after their vocal condemnation of the Ghorman Massacre at a live performance). The third action of the Imperial Board of Culture was to outright ban politically charged, anti-Imperial works, fining artists and consumers alike up to 1000 credits and imprisoning them. The rowdy scrak band Billi B And The Paradise Gang were early victims. Anti-Imperial group Deeply Religious dutifully submitted all three of their albums, Deeply Religious, The Emperor Of Air And Darkness, and Advanced Explosive Handbook, to the IBoC. All three were banned and subsequently released and distributed on the black market.
When Star Wars fandom was preparing itself for the start of the long awaited Clone Wars in the upcoming movie Attack of the Clones, publisher DeAgostini released its very first issue of The Official Star Wars Fact File on December 27, 2001. Fact File would eventually run for 140 issues, filled with Star Wars lore about characters, ships, locations, technology, and much more. Now, Fact File has returned for another series of 120 issues!