As The Last Jedi hits bookshelves this week, NJOE is proud to bring readers an interview with Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, co-author of The Last Jedi. At the conclusion of the interview, we’ve also posted a few editorial-related questions that were answered by Shelly Shapiro, Editor at Large at Del Rey. We hope you enjoy!
NJOE: In the books that you and Michael Reaves have worked on, specifically with the Coruscant Nights series and Shadow Games, take place between Episodes III and IV. Is it a conscious choice to tell stories in this era, or does it just so happen that this time period serves as the best backdrop for the stories you want to tell?
Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff: When I came on board as a writer for PATTERNS OF FORCE, Michael had already been working in the part of the timeline beginning about 30 years before A New Hope, and ending up with THE LAST JEDI about 18 years before. SHADOW GAMES was actually a bit of a departure for us since it took place in the weeks leading up to A New Hope, and was Jedi-free. For both of these books, LucasBooks basically said, here are some areas in the timeline where you can tell a story—where would you like to put it? For LAST JEDI, we originally considered setting it a number of years after PATTERNS OF FORCE, but the Powers said, “There’s no room for a Jax story there, because…” They gave us a couple of options on where such a story could go, and we decided to set it right after PATTERNS because that time period was the best fit for the story we wanted to tell. SHADOW GAMES’ story definitely fit best in the time period right before everything goes pear-shaped for the Empire. That’s an exciting time to write about and, it was a bonus when they asked if we couldn’t have one of the canonical characters in it. I was thinking “cameo”, but Michael said, “Heck, no. Why not put Han Solo right in the middle of it all? Writing Han Solo was very cool.
There’s much more interview after the jump!
NJOE is proud to offer our readers a review of The Last Jedi, which serves as a sequel to the Coruscant Nights trilogy. This latest installment is written by Michael Reaves and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff.
Order 66 has all but exterminated the Jedi. The few remaining have been driven into exile or hiding. But not Jax Pavan, who’s been steadily striking blows against the Empire as a lone guerrilla fighter and a valued partner of Whiplash, a secret Coruscant-based resistance group. Now he’s transporting a valued Whiplash leader, targeted for assassination, from Coruscant to safety on a distant world. It’s a risky move under any circumstances, but Jax and his trusted crew are prepared to pit their combat skills and their vessel’s firepower against all Imperial threats – except the one Jax fears most: Darth Vader. And Jax knows that Vader will stop at nothing until the last Jedi has fallen.
The Last Jedi was released on February 26, 2013.
Read our review here!
NJOE is proud to offer our readers a review of The Old Republic: Annihilation, the latest installment of The Old Republic series written by Drew Karpyshyn.
The Sith Empire is in flux. The Emperor is missing, presumed dead, and an ambitious Sith Lord’s attempt to seize the throne has ended fatally. Still, Darth Karrid, commander of the fearsome Imperial battle cruiser Ascendant Spear, continues her relentless efforts to achieve total Sith domination of the galaxy.
But Karrid’s ruthless determination is more than matched in the steely resolve of Theron Shan, whose unfinished business with the Empire could change the course of the war for good. Though the son of a Jedi Master, Theron does not wield the Force—but like his renowned mother, the spirit of rebellion is in his blood. As a top covert agent for the Republic, he struck a crucial blow against the Empire by exposing and destroying a Sith superweapon arsenal—which makes him the ideal operative for a daring and dangerous mission to end Ascendant Spear’s reign of terror.
Joined by hot-headed smuggler Teff’ith, with whom he has an inexplicable bond, and wise Jedi warrior Gnost-Dural, Darth Karrid’s former master, Theron must match wits and weapons with a battle-tested crew of the most cold-blooded dark side disciples. But time is brutally short. And if they don’t seize their one chance to succeed, they will surely have countless opportunities to die…
The Old Republic: Annihilation was released on November 13, 2012.
Read our review here!
After my overwhelming excitement had died down, I began to parse some of my feelings about the confirmed new Star Wars movie trilogy. Here they are. Let me preface that this is all just speculation and opinion. We still have limited information about this new trilogy, and as always, it’s important to separate the facts from the fancy! My thoughts after the jump.
IGN.com has a copy of the original press release in full. Rather than copy it here (it’s kind of long), I will just link you to it. There is also this from Robert Iger, CEO of Disney and the first speaker in the video on IGN’s page.
The last Star Wars movie release was 2005′s Revenge of the Sith – and we believe there’s substantial pent up demand. In 2015, we’re planning to release Star Wars Episode 7 – the first feature film under the “Disney-Lucasfilm” brand. That will be followed by Episodes 8 and 9 – and our long term plan is to release a new Star Wars feature film every two to three years.
News just broke. Here’s the Washington Post with more:
A simple Google search for Disney Lucasfilm uncovers more stories. More details as they come.
To put it bluntly, the Essential Reader’s Companion is the perfect book for ANY Star Wars fan. Painstakingly (and brilliantly) compiled by Pablo Hidalgo, the Companion is 500 pages of reference material focused solely on the Star Wars Expanded Universe novels. The book does touch on The Clone Wars television show and various graphic novels, but its main focus are the books and short stories. It details every story in the EU, providing important characters, a brief summary of the book, and even trivia about the book. The Companion also contains over 150 original pictures of various Star Wars Expanded Universe characters and events – all of them wonderfully stunning. In fact, the Companion uses several different artists, so the artwork feels varied and fresh from start to finish.
So, is the Essential Reader’s Companion right for you? Read on to find out! (Read More…)
The Essential Guide to Warfare has been out since May, but having been abroad for most of the summer, I’ve just got around to reading it closely now. I’m a classics major, but all of history fascinates me, and I’m sure you may have spotted some in the Guide already! In this series, I’m going to play to my passions, and use my training to dig deep into the historical parallels between events in the Guide and real-world counterparts. This week’s article: Xim the Despot and Alexander the Great, after the jump!
For many SW fans, no other SW books can compare to Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy, the iconic stories which proved to the world that SW wasn’t dead, and that its fans were ready to eat up anything new that came their way. I count them among my favorites, and think they have most admirably stood the test of time.
And now, Heir to the Empire has been re-released for its twentieth anniversary, with annotations and a new Thrawn short story. What drew me right into the book were the annotations in the margins by both Mr. Zahn himself and his editor, Betsy Mitchell. They describe the struggle to get the book published, insights into what Zahn was thinking or trying to do with various elements, and other such goodies.
The excellent dust jacket art.
The greatest part about them, was that it made the experience of re-reading this book one of reading it with the author right beside me, saying, “Oh, about this thing here…” It brought home for me the fact that at one point, none of this ever existed, not until one man sat down and started punching keys. It also gives glimpses into what things remained in the book after the big ideas were cut, for instance the Noghri were originally supposed to be the Sith, and Darth Vader’s mask was supposed to be modeled after their faces. While Lucas vetoed that idea (for reasons we now all know), it casts the whole concept of the Noghri into a new light, which makes for a great recasting in my mind of all the multiple possibilities and directions the whole universe could have gone in with one small editing change.
STAR WARS AGENT OF THE EMPIRE: IRON ECLIPSE
Recently I had the opportunity to read the trade paperback for Agent of the Empire. Besides the title, I hadn’t heard much about the comic but within the first couple pages I was pretty hooked. Right away it was easy to identify that Jahan Cross is the Star Wars version of James Bond.
Agent of the Empire: Iron Eclipse definitely follows the standard Bond film story line. A Bond film has a typical structure to it, starting with Bond finishing up a mission, then returning to headquarters to get another mission, getting new equipment for the task from Q, starting his mission, rescuing the girl, destroying the bad guy, and getting the girl in the end. In Iron Eclipse all of these events are clearly depicted.
Agent of the Empire brings us some new characters such as Cross, IN-GA, and the Stark family, but also has some characters that fans may recognize such as Armand Isard, Iaco Stark, and Han and Chewie. Iaco Stark was the main villain in the Stark Hyperspace War story and again plays the mastermind villain in this story line. When Han and Chewie showed up at first I thought ‘Okay here is the mandatory main character throw in,’ but I actually enjoyed having them in the story. Agent of the Empire is set just prior to ANH, during the Han Solo Trilogy when Han has gone to the Corporate Sector to avoid marrying Salla Zend, an event which is reference in the story. I enjoy when authors make reference to other events that are taking place concurrently with the story line, it shows the author knows what they are taking about and has been willing to do some research into the existing canon.
Jahan Cross is the main character of this series, and as this is the first time we are introduced to Cross some time is spent introducing us to his character. Cross is a strong character and has an interesting backstory that is fleshed out a bit without taking away from the story. I’m sure as the series continues we will continue to learn more about Cross’ past.
As I have already mentioned Iaco Stark is the mastermind villain in this story, although he stays in the shadows and operates through others for most of the story. The last time Iaco was seen was in during the Stark Hyperspace War in which he had developed a virus for navicomputers in which he infected Republic ships. His plan for galactic takeover is very similar in this story. I don`t want to give too much of the story away so that I don`t ruin it.
Although this story borrowed many things from the Bond films it still stands on its own as a great comic and an engaging story line. The clear references to James Bond are humorous but not meant as a satre of Bond. I really enjoyed reading this comic series and I am interested to see what is next for Jahan Cross.
I give this comic 4 stars out of 5
As Celebration VI came to a close, there was much groaning and dragging of feet. A fantastic four days of everything Star Wars was over. I, for one, wished it could have gone on a little longer.
The magic started when I first walked into the giant exhibition room at the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC), which immediately struck me as how the inside of a Star Destroyer bay looks. The room was over twenty feet high, nearly 200 yards long, and maybe 75 yards wide.
A Republic Commando standing in the enormous Expo room
On the floor, vendors and exhibits had been set up all over, each one having its own interesting collection of items or set pieces. They recreated several iconic sets from the movies which you could get your picture taken in, including a full size snow speeder you could climb into and the bacta tank from Episode V.
Lego and Disney had huge displays, the Mando Mercs, 501st, and Rebel Legion were there en force, there were tricked out SW cars, a full sized rancor, a 1/4 scale AT-AT (it was still huge), and a 20′ diameter inflatable Death Star, which was hanging in the lobby.
Me dwarfed by an AT-AT
When the crowds finally showed up Thursday morning, the place was mobbed. People rushed from line to line to collect free swag. I picked up a promotional poster for the Essential Reader’s Companion, on the back of which is every SW novel up through the next few releases–some 160 books, Bantam and Del Rey both.
And that poster got some good mileage, as there were 6 SW authors at the convention, all giving out their autographs for free–unlike the actors who were there, who ranged from not much for Guy in Background to $125 for Mark Hamill.
If spending money wasn’t your thing, the panels were a great place to soak up everything SW, from costuming, to writing tips from the authors, to the world premier of Star Wars in 60 minutes (think “The Complete Works of Shakespeare, Abridged” but with all the SW movies). It was frankly impossible to get in every panel you wanted if you like SW at all.
Warwick Davis on a Segway. Need I say more?
The Clone Wars series was heavily featured at this con. They had some CW screenings and a bunch of panels about it. Not being big into the series myself, that diminished my interest in maybe half the material of the con…and there was still too much to do.
Throughout the convention, I rubbed elbows with the famous: seeing Mark Hamill and George Lucas, just missing Carrie Fisher and Seth Green visiting the booth I was working, and having a chat with Aaron Allston. I also was able to hang out with Timothy Zahn after the Expo room closed on Friday night. He was just checking out the various booths without the swarming crowds, and I caught his attention and he and the two people he was with came to our booth and chatted for a while. On Sunday, Jake Lloyd was wandering the Expo room for a portion of the day, and came to hang around our booth and chat. He’s a rather nice guy, and pretty laid back, and startling enough he’s about my age (22).
Hey, Kids, it’s George Lucas!
In the end, CVI was well worth the time and expense. The feeling of belonging was so comforting, with everyone openly being huge SW geeks, but not to the exclusion of those more casual ones. People were friendly, and if you wanted a good debate about anything, you really only needed to think aloud, and chances were good within immediate earshot there was someone with something to say on the matter. It was a nonstop ride that left you pleasantly exhausted by the end, and I know I’ll be going to Celebration VII if I can afford it.
Next year, if you have the inclination and/or ability to attend, you can catch all the fun at Celebration Germany.