Artwork courtesy of Joshua Stolte
Welcome back to the Star Wars HoloNet Digest, a weekly feature where I bring you a recap of the latest news from the world of Star Wars. Whether it’s an Episode VII announcement or a noteworthy author interview, you’ll find it here. Let’s check the HoloNet and see what happened in the past week.
With two days to go until The Clone Wars bonus content (dubbed “The Lost Missions”) hits Netflix, Lucasfilm is ramping up the preview material. On Monday and Tuesday, it released clips from two of the bonus content’s story arcs. The first clip, embedded below, featured Master Yoda embarking on a secret mission with Anakin Skywalker’s clandestine help, while the second clip showed the clone trooper Fives visiting Kamino to investigate a “mysterious sickness.” I wonder what that sickness could be…might it have something to do with a certain double-digit order? We’ll have to wait until 12:01 a.m. PST on Friday to find out. I’ll be marathoning the bonus content all day Friday in preparation for a frenzy of reviews, and as with my reviews of the Cartoon Network episodes, you’ll be able to find all of my thoughts at TheForce.Net.
The Official Star Wars Blog has revealed the title and cover art for Jeffrey Brown’s next Star Wars book. Jedi Academy: Return of the Padawan will be published on July 29, 2014, and will feature the continuing middle school adventures of Jedi-in-training Roan Novachez. “This year,” the publisher’s summary reads, “Roan will have to face alien poetry tests, menacing robots, food fights, flight simulation class, online bullies, more lightsaber duels, and worst of all…a girl who is mad at him.” Return of the Padawan will tell Roan’s (evidently harrowing) story through his “comics, journal entries, letters, sketches, e-mails, and more.”
Yesterday was release day for Star Wars: Honor Among Thieves by James S.A. Corey, the pseudonym for Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. Reviews are available from MakingStarWars.Net, Roqoo Depot, Club Jade, EU Cantina, Knights’ Archive, FANgirl Blog, Tosche Station, and TheForce.Net. In addition, several fan sites and podcasts have interviewed Abraham and Franck, including Roqoo Depot, Full of Sith, Big Shiny Robot, The ForceCast, and TheForce.Net. The co-authors also shared the story behind Honor Among Thieves on The Official Star Wars Blog, concluding with a thoughtful and optimistic look at the future of the Star Wars franchise. I want to excerpt two paragraphs of it here because I think it carries an important message:
We’re not going to lie about this. It’s a weird time to have an EU novel come out. The news and the forums are filled with questions about canonicity and the direction of Star Wars moving forward. The place of massive body of work and love and imagination of the Expanded Universe has been called into question just as we became part of it. We wanted to write an invitation into this series for people who hadn’t seen it, and now there are going to be new movies, maybe TV shows, probably books, that may leave some or all of it behind.
So here’s the thing. If we had it all to do again, we wouldn’t change it. Star Wars — whether you mean just the work of Lucas or the television shows’ continuity or the Expanded Universe or non-canonical LEGO games — is one of the central idioms of science fiction in the last half century, and its new reinvention can change a lot of things without changing that fact. Honor Among Thieves was meant to be a book you could enjoy as part of the Expanded Universe or use to hook your boyfriend who never reads that stuff into it. And it still is.
If you are a fan of Star Wars literature, the odds are good that you’ve read a book by Aaron Allston. Whether it was an X-wing novel, a short story, or an entry in the recent Legacy of the Force or Fate of the Jedi series, Aaron’s work has touched many readers and put smiles on countless faces. On Thursday, February 27, after collapsing at a convention in Missouri, Aaron passed away due to what was believed to be massive heart failure. Losing Aaron sent a shock through the Star Wars community. Longtime friends and EU fans alike shared stories of his wit and energy. For anyone who had ever met Aaron, read one of his books, or listened to him talk about his work in an interview, the sudden loss was a profound one.
I did not know Aaron very well, although I had met him on several occasions. I had a conversation with him, along with my friend and fellow podcaster Aaron Goins, at TheForce.Net’s party at Celebration VI. Sitting there at a nearly empty table in the ballroom of an Orlando hotel, Aaron brought humor, insight, and enthusiasm to a discussion about his Star Wars novels and the characters he had helped shape. Having taken such an active role in the development of treasured characters like Wedge Antilles, Jaina Solo, and of course Luke, Leia, and Han, Aaron clearly understood and took seriously his responsibility as a creator and as a contributor to the vast fictional tapestry of the galaxy far, far away.
Aaron’s unique writing style, which infused space dogfights and commando raids with a vibrancy and punchiness that harkened back to the camaraderie of the Original Trilogy, helped make the X-wing novels and their diverse cast of characters into classics of the Expanded Universe and widely-cherished fan favorites. His refreshing approach to Star Wars literature gave fans new stories to discuss with our friends, and his convention appearances gave us the chance to thank him for his work and to hear him animatedly discuss his storytelling process.
We will never again be able to thank Aaron Allston in person, but I know I speak for many fans when I say, here on this little corner of the Internet: Thank you very much, Aaron. And may the Force be with you.
Eric Geller is a college student majoring in political science whose interests include technology, journalism, and of course Star Wars. He co-hosts The ForceCast podcast and manages social media for Star Wars fan sites TheForce.Net and Rebelscum.com. He is originally from the Washington, D.C. area.