Star Wars

Interview with Troy Denning, Author, “Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse”


Interview with Troy Denning, Author, “Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse”

Ever since authors Aaron Allston, Troy Denning, and Christie Golden began weaving their tale of a father and son’s search for answers on a galactic scale, readers have been anxious to know where it was all leading. After eight books that built on twelve books before them (which in turn built on decades’ worth of character development in the post-Return of the Jedi era), Del Rey’s Fate of the Jedi series concluded with Apocalypse by Troy Denning, which went on sale last week.

I’ve been immersed in Fate of the Jedi since it began with Outcast in 2009, and I’ve had a lot to say about its introduction of new characters like Vestara Khai and its depiction of familiar faces like Luke Skywalker and his son Ben. I wanted to share these thoughts, as well as some of my Apocalypse-specific questions, with Troy Denning, and when I did, I learned a lot. We discussed not only what went into this series, but also what went into the series before it, and how that buildup carried us to Apocalypse. The Skywalkers’ quest to discover the cause of Jacen Solo’s fall didn’t start in Legacy of the Force, as Troy reminded me –– it actually started in his Dark Nest trilogy. You’ll find that explanation and a whole lot more in the interview below.

WARNING: This interview is heavy on spoilers, so read on at your own peril!

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The big shocker of this book is that Abeloth has a connection to Mortis and that Luke brings up his father’s experience on the planet (as seen in The Clone Wars Season 3). Can you talk about how you developed that connection and the process of collaborating with The Clone Wars crew?

Basically, we started the development of Abeloth with the idea that she was going to be attached to the Celestials somehow. We thought originally that she would probably be a servant to the Celestials, and that they were the ones who had inhabited the planet in the Maw. We never really thought that we would actually be showing the Celestials as characters. We came up with the idea that she would be a servant who had become corrupted. About the time we were writing Allies and Vortex, we were emailing back and forth and, of course, copying in the continuity people at Lucasfilm. At that point, one of the people –– I think it was Leland Chee –– said, “You know, they’re doing something in The Clone Wars that will deal with characters that are kind of Celestials, so we should probably check on this and coordinate. We really don’t want to have two different groups of characters of this nature running around the galaxy.” This made a lot of sense, because you don’t want more than one being that’s in charge of the balance of the force.

We were a little bit nervous about whether this would be something that caused us a problem or not. But of course we said, “Well yeah, we really don’t want to be doing anything that’s going to duplicate efforts in the EU.” So Leland approached Dave Filoni and explained what we were doing and said, “Can we work with them on this?” And Dave was really gracious and very accommodating and did everything he could to help us make this work. From that point on, we never really wanted to call the Ones in Mortis “Celestials,” but that was what we were thinking of them as. We didn’t want to pin them down, because you don’t want to pin down anything about Mortis, but that was our concept. The Ones became what we were going to do with the Celestials. They’re not really Celestials –– that’s why, if you look at the way the Killiks think of them, they are “what Celestials become.” The Killiks really don’t remember anything quite accurately. It’s all filtered through the minds of people who’ve become Joiners. That’s kind of a useful tool in this process, because I don’t really want to spell out exactly what the Celestials are. There are two reasons for that. One, they’re beyond our understanding, and I think the Killiks come back to that point. That’s probably the most accurate thing they say: you can’t understand what the Celestials are. Two, I don’t want to pin down in EU continuity that the Celestials are this and this and this. I just wanted to have them out there and say that Abeloth was someone who was involved with them.

Were you told by the higher-ups to keep the nature of Abeloth, the Ones, and the Celestials mysterious, or was that your choice because it made sense for the story?

We wanted to keep it mysterious up until Apocalypse because she just worked better as a mysterious, powerful being. She’s as much a symbol as an actual being. We wanted to keep that mystery, because she’s really beyond what a mortal being can truly understand. We wanted to explain what was explainable and understandable about her without making it seem like that was what defined her. She’s beyond anything we can understand; we can understand a few things about her, but not everything. I really presented more facts about her history than I did about her powers or what her true nature is.

Tell me about the challenges of writing a mysterious villain like Abeloth compared to writing more familiar ones like Jacen or Lumiya.

We started with a general idea of who she is –– she’s related to the Celestials, she’s a servant of them –– and we just kept painting her in with a little more detail as we got nearer to the end. Part of that was that we were developing more detail, and part of it was showing more of the detail that we already knew. It’s a little bit difficult going back and trying to remember what parts we developed at certain times as opposed to what parts we showed at certain times. We used very broad brushstrokes when we began, and we just kept defining her more narrowly at the end.

Did you always intend to leave the identity of the Sith Lord who meets Luke Beyond Shadows a mystery? I was thinking he might be White Eyes, the leader of the One Sith that we saw in Inferno and Fury.

I have a very definite idea of who he is, and he’s not White Eyes, I will say that much. But he’s definitely a character who appears in the future of the EU. If I define this too much, then people are going to be out there debating it and arguing about it. I would much prefer to let people come to their own conclusions. Even though I know what my conclusion is, it doesn’t necessarily mean that someone coming to a different conclusion is wrong. When you start getting into the mystic stuff and starting talking about symbols and the spiritual realm, there really never is one right answer. It’s always a matter of interpretation.

I was a big fan of Vestara in this series. To me, her perspective was one of the most interesting parts of the entire story. What do you think about her overall? She wasn’t your creation, but do you feel that her potential was realized in this series?

I think that Vestara turned out wonderfully. She was Christie’s idea, and I recall when she popped up in the meeting. Christie said, “I know what we should do. We should have Ben’s first girlfriend be a Sith.” Aaron and I got these big grins on our faces and everybody else just had big round eyes. They said, “You know, I don’t think we can do that.” We talked about it and the writers were pretty intent on wanting to do this. Everybody else was a bit worried about it, and finally we came to the conclusion that, as long as they don’t end up together, we could do that. I think that that was absolutely the right decision. I love her character development, where she ended up at the end, and I’m hoping –– I’m just a writer, so I don’t know what will happen in the future –– but I’m hoping that she will be a big continuing villain in the saga.

I was hoping for more of a battle between Vestara and Ben at the end of the series. Did you and the rest of the creative team always intend for her to escape in the finale? How much thought did you give to the possibility of Ben killing her?

I’m trying to remember if we ever thought we were killing her. There were a couple of scenes in Apocalypse that were decided within the first half-day of the meeting.  Of course, the very end scene –– the wedding –– was one of the things that we came up with first. That was going to happen at the end of the series no matter what; we knew that almost as soon as we started the meeting. The other thing was Vestara’s fate, that she would leave and go off on her own. I can’t remember whether we debated killing her or not, but certainly within that first half-day of our meeting, we knew that she was going to escape and disappear into the galaxy to become a possible recurring villain.

That’s interesting, because one of the scenes in Ascension that I found most promising was when Ben and Vestara finally got together. Obviously, the end of Ascension left me feeling a little worried for their future, and I was hoping that Apocalypse would steer them in a different direction. What motivated the decision that they could never stay together?

We didn’t want to repeat Luke/Mara. It’s okay to echo something, but when you repeat it, fans justly have a little bit of a down reaction to that repetition. If you echo it and turn it in a different direction, it tends to have a little bit more resonance.

I really liked how it turned out; I didn’t think it was in Vestara’s nature to become the next Mara. I mean, she was a Sith, she was raised a Sith. I think she came to the conclusion in Ascension that she couldn’t be a Jedi, that that’s just not who she was. There was that scene when she kills for Ben and realizes that Ben can’t and won’t kill for her under the same conditions. She realizes, “I’m never going to be what Ben is.” By the time Apocalypse started, she had very much made that decision. What I was intending to show early on in Apocalypse was that she seemed hopeful that she could lure Ben into a life that they could enjoy together.  She kind of has this fantasy that Ben could be something other than a Jedi, but realizes very quickly that he can’t be, that Ben is a Jedi in and out. She loves him for it, and loves who he is, but she can’t be with him. She can’t be the same thing.

So part of Vestara’s purpose in the series was to push Ben into the position of having to let go of someone who was fundamentally different from him? Was this part of his journey in reaching the point that his father reached?

Absolutely. A big theme in Star Wars is the redemption angle, and we were pretty consciously playing with that with Vestara the whole way through: “Is she going to be redeemed?” Redemption is only important if it doesn’t always work.  Not everybody can be redeemed; not every character can survive. You lose the suspense in a story if you just know that anytime a character is placed in peril, they’re going to survive it. I think the same thing applies to the redemption theme in Star Wars on a slower, deeper level –– there have to be some characters who aren’t redeemed.

I’d like to hear how the final scene in the book (Jag and Jaina’s marriage) made it in there. Did the marriage finally happen because they’d been together long enough and fans were calling for some sort of payoff, or does it maybe advance some future plotline?

We had originally intended to do that wedding at the end of Invincible, but we weren’t too far into that series when I said, “You know what? Jaina kills her brother at the end of this series…and then she runs off and gets married?” That just seemed to be such a cheapening of her character that I didn’t think we should do it. I didn’t have to work too hard to convince everybody else. They saw that, while getting married is a positive thing and we were looking for positive ways to end Invincible, that one just felt like it would have been a cheapening of what Jaina had gone through in the book.

So when we began to plan Fate of the Jedi, one of the first things we said was that at the end of this series, Jag and Jaina have to be married. That was one of the first things we established. Now, some of the fans know that I was a Jaina/Zekk shipper early on, and everybody thinks that that was because I like Zekk better. It was really because I didn’t want to see Jaina go off to live in what early on would have been the Chiss Empire and then later would have been the Imperial Remnant. I didn’t want to lose Jaina for the main storylines. She’s an important Jedi, and we’ve known for a long time that she’s going to become more and more important to the core of the Jedi, so did we really want to have to go through plot hoops and come up with plot devices to bring her back into the main story every time we wanted to use her? Or did we want to risk losing her from the main story all the time? Once we came to terms with the need to use Jaina and decided to find a way to bring Jag back into the main story for a few years (so that Jaina could be in the main story too), that pretty much solved the problem.

Was that why Luke appointed Jag the Imperial Head of State?

At that point, I think we were trying to line up the Legacy comics and acknowledge that continuity. But we also needed to maintain what worked for the novels. We had a delicate balancing act as to how to achieve all of that. We basically had two conflicting goals there. It took a while to figure out how we could do that –– serve two masters at the same time –– with Jag.

Is there anything you can tell me about the vision that Ben has on the pinnace toward the end of the novel (Page 415)? It seems to connect pretty explicitly with the events of Dark Horse’s Legacy comics and the emergence of the One Sith.

Visions and symbols are always subject to interpretation and the future is always in motion. I look on a vision as one of many possible things that could happen. What I’m doing there is giving a nod to that continuity, but I’m just a writer, so I don’t know how or even if we’re going to get from where Apocalypse ends to where Legacy begins. That’s a big mystery to me, certainly. And I would be surprised if at this point even the editors and the folks at Lucasfilm had a clear picture of everything that’s going to happen in the next sixty years of EU time between Apocalypse and Legacy. That’s a long, long period of time, and to tell you the truth, I don’t think that anybody really has a firm grasp on how we’re going to get from where we are now to where Legacy begins.

And I don’t think they should –– I don’t think anybody should have that all pegged down right now. I think there’s too much fun to be had playing with that time period right now. That’s one of the things that comes up in Apocalypse –– has the future been changed? That’s a question that I don’t think I know the answer to right now, and I’m hoping the readers won’t know the answers to it. I suspect that probably the Lucasfilm people have an answer to that, but they haven’t shared it with me –– and I wouldn’t want them to. I hate spoilers, and that would be the biggest spoiler of all.

Were you given specific instructions to foreshadow those comics as the potential future for the galaxy?

They didn’t really give me an explicit instruction to do it, but one of the things I try to do as a writer –– and I think that most of us try to do this –– is to at least give nods to the continuity that other people in other eras have established. For example, in Dark Nest, I tied into the Prequel era with the information about Luke’s mother that R2-D2 had in his memory banks.  I do that to make the EU seem like a more cohesive whole. Of course, the peril is that a lot of that stuff is not firmly tied down, and you don’t want to nail everything down tightly.

Allana does quite a bit of shooting in this book. Was that a controversial decision? Was there any hesitation in putting this eight-year-old girl into combat? The Solo kids famously grew up rather fast in their own youth.

We knew that she was going to have to be a character and we wanted her to be involved in the story. We didn’t want to keep shoving her off to the side like they did in the Bantam novels with the Solo kids when they were growing up. That left involving her as the only other choice. I tried to make her involvement realistic. It wasn’t like they were saying, “We need another soldier! Allana, get your gun, let’s go!” When she became involved in an adventure, it was because something else was dragging her into it. In Apocalypse, it was her vision that kept drawing her into the story. We didn’t have any overall editorial direction on, say, making sure that Allana was in one combat scene per book. We just tried to let it evolve organically as to how she would be involved in the story as Han and Leia’s charge.

It does seem like she is being groomed, in the same way that the Solo kids were, to take part in the next generation of Star Wars adventures.

There’s this whole theme about Allana’s destiny that goes all the way back to the Dark Nest trilogy. I tried to hammer that pretty heavily: she’s a special child in the Force, she’s the one that they keep seeing on the Throne of Balance, and she’s got a destiny. One of the things that the Solos have been trying to do is prepare her to meet that destiny. They’re not just being guardians and protectors; they’re trying to teach her how to live a perilous life. She understands the things that she’s going to face in her life and she’s doing her best to prepare herself. There’s a lot of stuff that’s going on off-stage to prepare her to be a character of destiny in the future.

It’s interesting that you mention the Solos’ role in Allana’s life, because some fans have been critical of Han and Leia for constantly bringing Allana with them into dangerous situations. To me, it seems like the Solos recognize her future importance and want to prepare her by involving her in their adventures.

Exactly. They don’t want to take risks with her, but because of who she is and what her destiny is, the risks come. I think Allana recognizes that long before they do.

I know that one of your favorite scenes to write was the death of journalist Madhi Vaandt, who was covering the slave uprisings and the subsequent involvement of the Mandalorians. Do you have any thoughts about that whole slavery subplot and how it ties into the overall themes of Fate of the Jedi?

We developed the slavery subplot after the first three books had been written. In addition to our initial story conference, we would have other conferences every time we got together at a convention. We used those story conferences to do course corrections and make sure we were all on the same page. At the second story conference –– I think it was at San Diego Comic-Con ––Christie brought up the idea of exploring the slavery angle that she had briefly introduced in Omen. She felt like the Jedi needed to have more of a moral center, and I think that she was really right about that. Up until that point, the Jedi had almost been just another political entity. They really weren’t acting as the moral center of the Galactic Alliance.

The slavery angle seemed like a really good way to bring that out and give the Jedi a moral struggle to pursue. I really enjoyed having that plot point to work with in Vortex. There’s that whole scene where Saba says, “We’ve got to follow the Force, we’ve got to follow what’s right, we’ve got to be Jedi first and political entities second.” That was the source of conflict between her and Kenth Hamner, who was loyal to the Galactic Alliance first. Again, you had the Jedi serving two different masters at that point. Until the slavery revolt came to a head with Madhi Vaandt’s death, the Jedi had been serving their political masters above their spiritual masters. In Vortex, I wanted to have them shift to serving their spiritual masters more.

So it was almost like a wakeup call for the Jedi.

Exactly. The whole slave revolt popping up really did serve to remind the Jedi of who they were, what they should be doing, and who they should be serving.

How did Freedom Front play into that? What was the impetus behind involving some of the Moffs in the slavery subplot?

One of the things that the Moffs do is have really intricate plots. Once again, we had that same problem: we wanted Jag involved in the story, but he was the Head of State, so we had to find a way to get him involved. We had to have an excuse for him to be on Coruscant, and that dragged the Moffs and their political intrigue into it. These are some of the things that you struggle with when you have characters who you really want to involve, but they’ve been placed off in a different part of the galaxy. You have to find a way to bring them back into the main story. Of course, Moffs being Moffs, they have to be plotting and doing stuff. I wasn’t the one who wrote the initial appearance of the Freedom Front, so I can’t really speak to what went into that process, but I liked the irony of it: first it was a manipulation to cause a problem for Daala, and then all of a sudden the Moffs have sparked a genuine movement.

Who was your favorite character to write in this book? Personally, I’ve always enjoyed the way you write Saba.

You know, I love all of my characters equally. Honestly, I would say that, of the movie characters, my favorites to write are Han and Leia, especially together. Of the characters that I’ve created, Saba is probably one of my favorites to write. She’s a lizard, so you can do some fun things with her –– you can get into her head and play with the irony of having her be the moral center. Even though she’s really a vicious hunter at heart, she’s one of the Jedi who sees things most clearly in black and white. Within her mind, within who she is, she is by far the most rigid Jedi in her views of what the Jedi should be doing. I enjoy playing with that kind of irony. There’s an internal conflict between Saba’s species identity –– a hunter who doesn’t hesitate to go out and hunt –– and her view of Jedi honor.

Every character brings such different things to the story. Vestara was just a blast to write, in terms of getting into her head and trying to figure out what she wanted. She was by far one of the most complicated characters in the series. What she wants for Ben and herself is what everybody wants: a life with someone she loves, family life, success, and all of that. But they’re just two really different people and she recognizes that. I think her recognition of that is something that really rang true for me.

One of the other great things about Saba is your ability to play with a more comedic side of her. So on the one hand, she’s all about the honor component, but then there’s also this other aspect of her personality that comes from her unfamiliarity with human culture.

I kind of modeled the Barabels on my own sense of humor. A lot of people don’t get my sense of humor. [laughs] I’ll say something that I take as a joke and people will take me absolutely seriously, and on the other hand everybody will be cracking up with laughter about something that goes right over my head. I think that aspect of Saba is probably where I let a little bit of myself show through.

Your only standalone novel is Tatooine Ghost, although you did write the Dark Nest trilogy alone. Do you prefer writing installments in long, nine-book series to writing standalone novels?

It’s two different pleasures. With standalones, it’s fun because you’re in control of everything. You have a vision that is more cohesive and united, because it’s this single vision that’s in your own head. You’re never guessing about what somebody else is thinking. It’s easier to write because of that. We do try to plot things very carefully when we’re working in groups. But you’ll agree on a certain set of plot and character guidelines, and then somebody will write a character in a book preceding yours and hit all of the guidelines exactly as you agreed, but it’ll be five, ten, fifteen degrees off of what you were thinking. You’ll just see that those plot points meant a slightly different thing to them than they do to you.

For instance, when I was writing Star by Star, I got the manuscript for Balance Point and saw that Kathy Tyers had followed the outline exactly. She did exactly what the outline had called for, but it was all about fifteen percent off of what I thought she meant. I was 400 pages into Star by Star and I thought, “Oh my gosh, I have slightly different interpretations of these characters than Kathy does!” So I had to go back and rewrite the first 400 pages before I could go on.

That kind of thing happens all the time when you’re doing these author switch-offs, and not just with the authors. There’s more coordination and continuity checking for everybody involved. That doesn’t mean that it’s not worth doing –– it is. It’s a lot of fun, and that’s why I’ve enjoyed doing them. The brainstorming sessions, working with other people…as a writer, you don’t get to do that very often. When you have a chance to sit down and brainstorm a story through with five or six people who are a lot of fun, I can’t tell you just what a pleasure those things are and how much energy develops in those brainstorming sessions. But with the energy comes that extra hard work and coordination, because no matter how carefully you plot and how hard you try to all be on the same page, everybody’s mind works just a little bit differently and we have to make adjustments all along the way to account for that.

How do you think Fate of the Jedi compares to Legacy of the Force?

I think that the fairest thing to say is that we learned a lot. Each time you do one of these series, you learn a lot from the previous series. Comparing Legacy of the Force with The New Jedi Order, you’ll see that the editors decided they didn’t want to have a whole bunch of authors involved. That simplified things a great deal, because then you’re only dealing with three different interpretations and three different personalities versus fifteen or something in The New Jedi Order.

From Legacy of the Force, we learned a lot of things about handing off your story. One of the things we did with Fate of the Jedi was when an author finished their book, they would write a short summary of where their characters were and what they were thinking at that time. “So-and-so is on this planet with such-and-such, and he’s wounded and sad.” The continuity improved a great deal because of those hand-offs; they helped a lot. Christie is a great team player and she was really good about that.

What do you think this series will be remembered for? How has it left its mark on the Expanded Universe?

I view the collection of books starting with Dark Nest and going all the way through Fate of the Jedi as the Jacen Solo saga. He’s the main driver behind all of those series. It started with his losing his way in the Dark Nest series, where he returned from his five-year sojourn and took the weight of the galaxy on his shoulders. That hubris leads him to fall in Legacy of the Force, and then Fate of the Jedi deals with the consequences of his fall, which are much larger than anybody could have expected. We moved from what was basically a personal journey in the Dark Nest series into a social journey in Legacy of the Force (which was very much concerned with the Second Galactic Civil War). By the time we get to Fate of the Jedi, we’re talking about a spiritual journey, and Abeloth is very much a spiritual monster. She’s something that’s beyond our understanding. She’s in the realm of mythology. So there’s a progression through those three series. I would love to say we planned that from the beginning, but the truth is, it just developed that way.

Speaking of Abeloth, can you give me any hints about the italicized passage at the very end of the novel?

[laughs] It’s an interesting interpretation you have of that passage. I really don’t want to say too much about it, except that your reading isn’t the one that I expected people to have. It’s very vague whose mind you’re inside of. We wanted to wrap that up, to do a framing of the Fate of the Jedi story. I really like the way it worked. We were debating whether or not we should frame it that way. I think you can read those lines as being in several different characters’ minds, both at the beginning and at the end of the story. What you get out of those lines is going to depend on which character’s mind you think you’re in. They operate on more than one level.

You mentioned that there was a similar passage at the beginning of the story, and sure enough, the first Fate of the Jedi novel, Outcast, begins with an italicized passage as well. Can you tell me more about the decision to use that framing technique to encapsulate the events of the series?

When Aaron began Outcast with those lines, it was a little bit of a surprise to us. We didn’t really confirm that we were going to end Apocalypse with another set of lines until I was halfway through writing it. We started talking about whose perspective those initial lines were from, and it was interesting that all of us had different ideas of whose minds they were in! We were talking about, okay, do we need to explain that (whose mind they were in)? Do we need to pick one? I’m very much of the belief that when you start getting into the area of the symbolic, you really can’t explain things. You’re operating on a level that goes beyond conscious comprehension; you start to touch on the unconscious mind. I thought, “You know, it’s better to leave this working on a couple of different levels.” I will go ahead and say that I didn’t write those lines from Abeloth’s perspective. I was thinking of someone else when I wrote them.

Is there any chance we’ll find out in some later book who you had in mind?

I don’t think so. I think that that mystery will probably be left open to each reader’s interpretation. I would be hard-pressed to see that coming back out. I mean, never say never –– somebody may pick it up and run with it and surprise me, but I don’t have any intentions to develop that particular thing any further.

Many thanks to Troy Denning for taking so much time to discuss his Star Wars work with me. Apocalypse, his latest book and the last installment in the Fate of the Jedi series, is on sale now.


16 Responses to “Interview with Troy Denning, Author, “Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse””

  1. Larry says:

    I was very disapointed in the endind for Vestara. I was really pulling for her. Too much was left unsaid. Too much had happened good and bad between Ves and Ben and Luke to let the misunderstandings hang like this. I would think that somewhere in the Star Wars legacy would be a true sith who was redeemed, not a jedi turned sith who repented. If she is a villain in future books, I hope her character has some virtuous aspects that she had picked up on from her time with the skywalkers. It would even be nice that even if they are adversaries in the future, that they will have some respect for each other and some understanding.

  2. mrbill1138 says:

    to me there was no question the sith Luke teamed with beyond shadows to battle Abaloth was Darth Krayt. perfect description

  3. jedimasterrob2004 says:

    I believe the italicized passages were from Jaina’s point of view and it was also pretty much confirmed that it is Darth Krayt who helps Luke battle Abeloth.

  4. Leon says:

    I have to agree with Larry – having Vestara still hovering between Jedi and Sith, confused and lost would have been a much better ending than having her run back to the Sith. She should have been an outcast – wanted by the Jedi and Sith alike. She could easily have slipped into new books, finding herself in situations where she has to choose being light and dark, and going both ways finding her own path.

    It is terrible to see so much characterisation just killed off because “she’s a sith” – we’re told there are now thousands of Sith, why can’t we have something original for a change?

  5. Shar-Tel says:

    Yeah, it kinda sucks for Vestara. She ends returning to the Sith by accident, because the circumstances of the attack on the Falcon are an incredible coincidence. And all her bad actions in the final books are simply for survival, she doesn’t seem as power hungry or cruel as regular siths.
    And I think being born Sith should be a point in her favor, because she didn’t have a choice about that, not like Darth Vader or Caedus. But no, she is born Sith, she can´t be redeemed. Kyp Durrok destroyed an entire planet, and they forgave him. What really evil things has Vestara done?

  6. katarnlunney says:

    I was a little disappointed by Jacen’s lack of redemption in the whole affair. I understand from a writer’s point of view that we couldn’t keep him alive (how I wish they could!) but Star Wars has always championed the redemption of love and compassion. Even if Jacen abandoned his faith, family and destiny for a facsimile of peace, I wish there was more to his story.

    The Vergere angle was interesting and the whole Potentium Heresy gave a whole avenue of stories that Jacen could have played a part of. But like the death of Anakin Solo, the death of Jacen as Darth Caedus as an unrepentant villain is a bit heartbreaking. I read about his birth. I traveled with him in the Courscant Lower Levels as a toddler. I saw him kidnapped by Imperial Loyalists, survive attempted assassinations and Yuuzhan Vong slavery.

    I just wish they gave Jacen more of a chance to redeem himself after all he suffered through in his life. I felt cheated when he died and now feel a little sadder that went to the Dark Side to save his daughter from something he would later become!

    I just hope that the writers at Lucasfilm would give us a spark of hope. The need to be edgy and darker isn’t always the best. While many of the themes of the \Jacen Solo Saga\ are very deep and very stirring, I had hopes that Jacen would be stronger than Anakin Skywalker and not believe the words of a woman he knew had sworn to destroy his family before he was born.

    Perhaps Jacen will meet his redemption in the afterlife. Han had always hoped Jacen continued to search for absolution after his death. And, in the end, Jaina DID believe he was Jacen at the end and not Darth Caedus. Perhaps guiding his daughter to her destiny from beyond would bring the Balance to the Force that everyone hopes for one day…

  7. 12parsecs says:

    The whole Legacy comics story was a big letdown for me, I was really relieved while reading the end of Apocalypse that there could be another future for the characters.
    The whole series was a great change to a more spiritual side of the Jedi which needed to be addressed.
    Looking forward to the next series

  8. Larry says:

    Speaking of Vestara in a future series, she still knows about the Pool of Knowledge and the Fountain of Power. I’m guessing she never tells the One Sith about that considering they waited another 80 years to conquer the galaxy in the Legacy comics. If the One Sith had known about the Pool & fountain, they could have made their move sooner. I hope people will light a candle for the Vestara character and let the powers that be in the Star Wars universe to give Vestara an honorable presentation in a future novel.

  9. Ava Gibbons says:

    Just finished reading Vortex (Fate of the Jedi). Am becoming more and more disappointed by typographical errors in $27 and Up books. Love the stories but Del Rey needs better proofreaders. In Vortex near the end it even states that Luke and Ben are 30 meters from the Shadow and three pages later they make a \50\ meter sprint to get on board. Come on guys! I know the times have changed and people are busy and rely heavily on technology for our daily lives. But if you are going to print it, then proof it!!!!

  10. jedi ki says:

    i do not under stand what the ending line meens or hoo it coms frome

  11. Jason says:

    I have to be honest, I’m really starting to worry about the direction the EU is taking. I LOVED this series, I’ve actually loved all the books that have come about since we first experienced the wonders of Star Wars on the big screen, but my adoration for how things are shaping up definitely took a hit with the end of APOCALYPSE.

    Well, that’s not fair. I loved the ending of the story as well, with the exception of the story of Ben and Vestara. I am so glad to see Han and Leia connection growing and expanding with the Allana story. It’s very exciting to see how destiny is wrapping itself around that little girl and showing us what’s to come.(excuse the tentacle metaphor) And it’s about time that something goes right for Jaina! The way she is promoted to master was absolutely brilliant!

    But what about Vestara and Ben? Frankly, not bringing Ben and Vestara together weakens Luke Skywalker’s legacy and does Ben a huge disservice. So Vestara goes off and either goes it alone or rejoins Some other Sith out there, meanwhile Ben is back with the Jedi and content? I don’t buy it. Ben is way to stubborn to give up on her. We saw that in his determination to find the truth about what happened to Mara. We realized his tenacity and courage when he continually stood toe to toe with Abeloth and Sith who were so much more experienced. Not to mention the torture at the hands of his own cousin. There’s no way he would give in that easily! At the very least he would want to find her and want to make her accountable for all the betrayals and lies. I’m not saying revenge, but his belief in her redemption should be equal to his belief in justice. I almost feel as if a chapter is missing, like the story is incomplete.

    And as far as Vestara is concerned, I don’t see enough of a parallel between Mara and Vestara even come close to considering it the same. Being born Sith shouldn’t have any bearing on this with the Skywalkers involved. Vestara is a 16 year old girl! there aren’t many who have their heads on straight at that age in any culture! Saying that she can’t be redeemed is pretty insulting considering Luke’s history, and the horrors that Ben has experienced in his short life and has bounced back from. There is a real chance to continue the Skywalker legacy by not only teaching Ben to be a great Jedi, but also to continue the skywalker ability to bring about true redemption in others. Why in the world could Ben and Vestara not end up together? To me, its a slap in the face to everything that Luke skywalker has done in this whole Star Wars universe.

    At this point, its as if all the time and effort developing Vestara’s character has been wasted. Unless Denning is purposely triyng to mislead us here, which I doubt. With all the different directions the EU can go while still trying to bring it around to meet with the Legacy series, there are more than enough challenges without bringing her back to be a villain. It worries me that this interview is leading me to believe that a character that we as a fan base were introduced to and were rooting for so much may end getting turned into the next Daala, the woman who just won’t go away.

    I also see a big problem coming with how the story comes around to where its going in the Legacy series. We’re getting awfully close to that storyline considering how long people are living in this particular galaxy far, far away…

  12. Joey says:

    I hope Vestara and Ben have a kid together and bring about the next star wars legacy. Vestara is a great character and shouldn’t have a crappy ending like the last book. She is the best character in FOTJ. The whole series sucked accept for her and and skywalkers.

    Vestara Khai better live a long life in EU and not as a villian. I rather she be a anti-hero or grey character.

  13. Jameron4eva says:

    Okay, i know it felt rushed, but that’s because a whole three books were cancelled. I have seen a disturbing trend with the EU, that started in Sacrifice by Karren Traviss who decided to kill off Mara, without approval by Timothy Zahn, the man responsable for Mara’s creation, and the reviving of Star Wars, and instead she has focused on building the Mando’ade to the point she doesn’t care about the rest of the universe. None of the other authors like her, and saddly this a
    keeps me from reading any Gears of War novels, because she’s the only one that has written them, and i have emposed a personal ban over her handling of Mara.

    As for Vestara and Ben, i have a suspicion that they get together, we KNOW, Ben has a child, who in turn has another child who turns from the force, and becomes a smuggler, only to be brought back by Luke. And i have always believed Vestara is a big part of Ben’s predecessors legacy, aka, i believe Ben and Vestara DO get together, but i also think the parallels will be much similar, though different, to Luke and Mara. But that’s MY view.

  14. paul says:

    I think Vestara and Ben should have their own series of books too much was left unsaid. Never have I rooted for a character as much as Vestara. Most of what she done was out of self preservation and love. And fate was not on her side. To bring her back as a villian would not do her justice, she should go it alone to become something more than just a sith.(lame excuse for giving up on her) Maybe link her to the lost tribe book by being a desendant of the jedi Jelph who was stranded on Kesh giving her more reasons to question herself and what she is or will be.
    Ben should go after her if he really belives in her and loves her. Opposites they maybe but they do make a great team.

  15. batac ilocos norte says:

    what is the conflict, and theme of this story..PLS
    email me ibatacbaranicity@yahoo.com

  16. Zan Lynx says:

    A very late comment I know, but I just finished reading this series. Vestara is one of my favorite characters now.

    I agree with Paul above about her. She is not a pure Sith, doing everything out of a desire for power and control. She loves and she wants to be loved. She wants to be able to trust people and not watch everyone for the next betrayal.

    And yet, I disagree that she and Ben can work it out. I don’t think that she can really become a Jedi. She had that insight when she killed the other Jedi to save Ben. She will always reach for the tool that she knows will work. If that is killing an unsuspecting ally, deception, using a cruel weapon that is available or Dark Side force powers, she WILL use it. And I don’t know if the Jedi can forgive her for it. Again. And again.

    In some ways she reminds me of Skirata. He’d do anything, out of love for his family. He was very Dark Side internally according to the Jedi points of view.

    I think that the Sith and using the Dark Side, even for love or to protect others, is self defeating. By using destruction, deception and betrayal, or killing and torturing cruelly, they put people against them and create their own enemies. It becomes a reinforcing cycle of betrayal and cruelty.

    In fact, I think that the Jedi are always on the edge of that themselves, because they use killing, destruction and mind control to protect others. They’d be much more light side if they devoted themselves to total pacifism.

    Back to Vestara though. She might become a sort of Light Sith as opposed to a Dark Jedi. A Sith that uses mostly Light Side force powers, when she can and encourages love, affection and trust in her followers. But I don’t ever see her giving up the options to use the Dark Side, or ever fully trusting anyone. She will always be ready for that backstab and sleep with a blaster, a light saber AND a parang under her pillow. And in her robes. And a second set in her boots. And she should, because even Ben betrayed her when he said, “Trust me.” at the end.

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