Star Wars: Dark Disciple

Dark_Disciple_Cover

September is nearly upon us and with it comes a torrent of new Star Wars novels. In fact, in many ways, September will herald the beginning of the official Star Wars Episode VII hype. The new novels will bear the tagline: Journey to the Force Awakens, as will a slew of new comic books. So, in preparation for the upcoming flood I have finally caught up with the latest novel in the official Star Wars canon: Dark Disciple.

Here we have a Clone Wars-era novel. In fact, the story contained in this book was based on an arc written, but never aired for the final season of the Clone Wars television show. The book focuses on character Quinlan Vos, a Jedi Master who teams up with the unlikely ally of Asajj Ventress. For those unaware, Ventress was a former sith apprentice of Count Dooku who ended up turning on her master and going rogue. In this book, the Jedi order have decided to take the rather unorthodox step of assassinating Dooku in attempts to end the war. To do so, they send Vos undercover to seek out and befriend Ventress in attempt to take out her former master.

I must say, when it comes to Star Wars, I was never very passionate of the Clone Wars television series. It certainly had its moments, but overall I felt it never really stood up well against the films themselves. As a result, I was not expecting much when I started reading this book. I’m happy to report, that I was dead wrong. I loved this book. In fact, I daresay that Dark Disciple has been my favorite out of all the new Star Wars novels released thus far. The characters of Quinlan Vos and Asajj Ventress are so well represented in this book, that it makes me want to give Clone Wars another watch just to see if perhaps I was missing something the first time around. I would love elaborate on that more, but I fear by doing so I might give away some really great plot points of the book. It is truly an amazing read.

The book started off a bit slow at first, but by around 30% of the way in, I was hooked. If you’re a fan of the Clone Wars era, this book is a no-brainer. You must read it. Even if you’re not, there is some really enjoyable content here.

Story: The final season of Clone Wars was amazing, this book, like the Darth Maul comic continues that trend. Christie Golden is an amazing author. Very readable. Classic Star Wars.

Recommended:  FOR ALL FANS

Star Wars: The Official Canon

A few months back, I wrote a short entry regarding the state of the Star Wars canon. Disney made the announcement that they were “rebooting” the Star Wars timeline so to speak. This meant that all of the comic books, novels, and other story properties were no longer “official” in any way shape or form. However, they did announce that all future publications were now going to 100% official canon.

Before I continue, let’s spend a moment talk about what is and what was “canonical” in the Star Wars Universe. As of the time of this writing, only the following are considered 100% official Star Wars stories. (Meaning, they are a true and undisputed account of Star Wars history):

Film/TV:

The original six Star Wars films: Episode 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

The Clone Wars animated series; Seasons 1-5, and the Lost Episodes

Comic Books:

Darkhorse Publications: Darth Maul – The Son of Dathomir

Literature:

Short stories published in the official Star Wars Insider Magazine, starting with issue 149

Prior to this announcement from Disney, there were literally hundreds of miscellaneous comics, novels and short stories. The previous canon was divided into different levels of validity. First, we had the feature films, and other motion picture/television productions that George Lucas had a direct hand in creating. Next, up were novels and comic books. These remained “canon” as long there was nothing in them that was contradicted by George Lucas himself. The final tier were video games and other playable type of media. For the most part, this system worked fairly well. Authors and publishers did a pretty decent job of making sure that they didn’t trample over each other’s works. However, as you might expect over the years, there were more than a few really questionable entries added to the mix. Plus, with new movies on the horizon, it was about to become near impossible to avoid some major storyline conflicts in the post-ROTJ era.

In many ways, the whole Expanded Universe really did need to be flushed out. But naturally there are a few really amazing stories that many of us are reluctant to let go of. So, I still maintain what I call my “Personal Canon”. For me, this is a collection of old EU novels, that I feel will unlikely be overwritten by any future work and contain stories have been backed up in some way or another by the existing “Official Canon”.  For the curious, these are:

The Darth Bane trilogy, Darth Plagueis, Cloak of Deception, The Approaching Storm, The four Clone Wars novels, Labyrinth of Evil, Dark Lord, Kenobi, Honor Among Thieves, Razor’s Edge, and Shadows of the Empire.

Many of these are direct prequels or sequels of individual Star Wars films, or are sandboxed stories and do not contain anything that is likely to be overruled by future content. Of course, there are many more wonderful stories out there that are not on this list. For example, I’m a HUGE fan of the Han Solo Trilogy. But there are rumors of a future spin-off film that may cover Han Solo’s origins, so until I know for sure that Solo’s history will be left alone, I’m leaving it off of my Personal Canon list.

So that brings us to today. What’s next for the official Star Wars canon? Well, in just a few days the first full-length novel in the new official storyline will be released: A New Dawn. This book takes place between episodes 3 and 4, and actually sets up the background for the upcoming Star Wars Rebels animated series.

So right away, we have A New Dawn, followed by the launch of Rebels. Sounds like we’re off to a good start. So what’s coming next? Well here’s the schedule for the near future:

9/2/14 – A New Dawn – John Jackson Miller
11/4/14 – Tarkin – James Luceno
2/17/14 – Heir to the Empire – Kevin Hearne
4/21/14 – Lords of the Sith
Summer/15 – Untitled Asajj Ventress Novel

It’s safe to say that there won’t be any lack of reading in the near future. Naturally, I plan to read and review each novel. Also, keep in mind that each issue of the official Star Wars magazine all features short stories that are now 100% official. But wait there’s more! Starting next year, Marvel comics becomes the exclusive publisher of Star Wars material. Three new comic titles have been announced by Marvel:

Star Wars – ongoing series
Darth Vader – ongoing series
Princess Leia – 5 issue mini series

The future is bright for Star Wars fans. I’m counting the hours until I can am able to go down to my local bookstore and get a copy of A New Dawn tomorrow.